QSC's Pat Quilter (center)
with his Rickenbacker
Bakelite lap steel guitar.
Anaheim, CA (February 3, 2009)--Winter NAMM always has interesting sideshows--virtuosos musicians performing, unusual instruments making their debuts, and dilapidated metalheads unaware that spandex is a privledge, not a right. One of the more enticing exhibitions this year, however, was the annual Guitar Geek Festival, where QSC founder Pat Quilter played his lap steel as part of the Rickenbacker Bakelite Band, which performed using vintage Rickenbacker bakelite instruments from the '30s and '40s.
"I started fooling around with lap steel over 30 years ago," says Quilter, who was joined onstage by a luminary cast of other players including fellow lap steel fanatic D.B. Berzansky, 84 year-old sensation Travis Harrelson on his Rickenbacker electric ukelele, and Guitar Geek Festival founder Deke Dickerson on his ungrounded bakelite Spanish electric, which caused quite a buzz when it gave the evening's host an unexpected 110-volt jolt. "We had at least a dozen players in the band, which proved to be a notable logistics challenge. Deke issued practice tracks, but we had limited pre-show rehearsals. As a result, launching into the first number, 'Steelin' Home,' was rather a leap of faith. This incredible wall of sound poured out--almost in tune--and afterwards we all looked up and agreed it was like being in a high school horn band."
Quilter also supplied the Guitar Geek Festival's house sound system this year, which was assembled on-site by an audio crew including QSC Sr. Manager of Concert Solutions Brian English. Comprised of loudspeaker components culled from QSC's HPR Series, the rig included a pair of 18-inch subwoofers supporting 15-inch two-way enclosures for the center seating section, all of which were flanked by 12-inch two-ways for seats on the side. Four more HPR cabinets additionally provided onstage monitoring.
"I had a lot of compliments on the sound," said Dickerson "The system worked great, and unlike in previous years when we used other PA systems, the QSC self-powered rig just plugged together and instantly worked with little or no tweaking. I was super-pleased with it."
While legions of the guitar faithful have come to feel that Dickerson's Geekfests represent a higher order of musical attainment, one member of the mainstream press attending a past event disrespectfully wrote that guitar geeks are "only slightly cooler than Trekkies and Dungeon & Dragons nerds."
"Guitar nerds simply can't help being who they are," Dickerson said in response. "It is therefore my job to service them with the entertainment they desire, because I am one myself. The Guitar Geek Festival is open to everyone, but for the true guitar geek, it's just like Woodstock, but without the annoying naked women everywhere."
QSC Audio Products, Inc.