Just last week Bay Ridge’s own Street Sounds Music celebrated it’s annual “Gretsch Day” and for those fans of the wonderful instruments that come care of this fine company, this was the place to be on this almost Summer afternoon. Street Sounds is cited as the world’s largest retailer of these guitars and when you see the collection they offer you as a musician you can see why this is the case. This will be the third event of its kind being held at the location and it was going to be a fun filled day of special guests, food, prizes and music. Today was also the annual Mermaid Day Parade out in Coney Island but I felt my time was better spent socializing and reporting on this event. So read on dear readers and hopefully feel like you were there with us.
The store was decorated up for the event with signs whose bright colors welcomed all passerby. Here’s a shot of the shop owner Rocky Schiano and guitarist Paul Pigat.
Next up a little better view of today’s musical menu. As you can see there would be appearances by Fred Gretsch and Joe Carducci along with Miss Kim Falcon. Fred Gretsch III actually was responsible for reviving the company a little over twenty years ago and Joe is their product specialist while Kim is their official spokes model/calendar girl. Now that you know all of these details we can continue along.
A great Gretsch display was brought in for the event and one of the highlights was the special edition 1957 “Duo Jet” George Harrison edition guitar. You can see it in the poster on the display but one of the real deal instruments was also on hand to be drooled over.
There was also a great poster of Mr. Harrison and he appeared to be holding this very guitar. Don’t quote me on that of course, I am a drummer and cannot determine from that photograph 🙂
Here is another of the great George Harrison posters that was hanging in the display setup. Can you believe this incredible force of music has been dead for almost ten years already? Thanks for the music George. The Beatles shall forever be relevant.
Here is one of the official models and it was slowly spinning in a display case for all to admire. Readers might be interested in the fact that there are only 60 of these being made and once they are gone they are gone. Its been reproduced to the tee and will be a super collectible for the discriminating fan. Be aware that it will cost you plenty.
Here is the lovely Miss Kim Falcon. She was ready to help out during the day with the giveaways and meeting the fans.
Here is a shot of Kim Falcon and Joe Carducci. They were discussing the soon to happen giveaways at this time.
The first part of the musical program of the event would be a band called Foxy Studs and here we find Joe bringing them on to perform.
The Foxy Studs are a new band and had apparently only jammed a single time before this event. Since one always should encourage enterprises like this, I gave them a few moments in the blog sun by offering up a number of photos.
Guitarist Joe working the riffs.
The lovely Miss Tammie taking center stage on the microphone.
Elia was doing solid bass work but I caught him looking disinterested in this shot. It happens.
The band did two songs with the first being by Green Day and the second Yellowcard. I leaned to the song by Yellowcard a little more because with Tammie singing it I believed it to be something by Paramore or Evanescence. I was of course wrong, but the girl had a nice voice and made it work.
Back on the drums pounding away was actually the daughter of Street Sounds owner Rocky. She was a solid player for sure.
One more group shot, even though I could not manage to get all four of them in the same visual. This is always the issue with tight quarters and four piece bands.
The day was full of surprises and when The Good Rats John “The Cat” Gatto walked in I was blown away. I didn’t expect him at all. Here’s a shot of John and Modern Drummer’s own Billy Amendola.
Next up was guitarist Paul Pigat who not only played some music but gave the audience a quick lesson on his style.
Paul usually goes by the name “Cousin Harley” when he is doing his Rockabilly thing. This music has really been making a comeback lately and I am fine with that as its a nice change of pace from what I usually listen to. Paul was playing a Gretsch guitar that is called the “Country Club”.
Before I forget to mention this, our own Skeleton Pete Parrella was also in attendance and taking photos and notes for his own blogging needs. He launched the SkeletonPete.com about a year ago and we hope you check it out after all the contributions he has done for the PiercingMetal.com site that you regularly enjoy. It’s rare to catch him in action like this, so here you go.
Here’s our friend Billy again and he is standing next to the one and only Mike Riddle. Riddle is an area staple in terms of guitarists and one of the finest I ever saw in my life. Years ago I used to watch him with the City Kids and they blew the doors off the clubs they played. Now he is a member of Prodigal Child with his wife Janet.
After the music performances, the shops proprietor Rocky Schiano got up and spoke a little bit about the event and how great it was to be representing the Gretsch brand and for everyone’s interest.
Here’s Fred Gretsch III addressing the audience. One of the highlights of the day was the “Fred and Joe Show” which essentially is a slide presentation on some of the company’s rich history. Gretsch began in Brooklyn back in 1883 by one of his ancestors who had emigrated from Germany. It was initially a banjo company and located in Williamsburg, in the shadow of that area’s great bridge.
As previously mentioned, the Gretsch official pin-up girl Kim Falcon was onhand today and here is a great moment with Mr. Fred Gretsch.
I was not going to let the chance to get Rocky and Kim pass me by at any cost today. Here they are.
There were a lot of cool giveaways today and among them were two Gretsch guitars. There were also a number of great schwag items with the Gretsch name on them such as bolo ties, playing cards and t-shirts. Check out Skeleton Pete being one of the winners. No, he did not win one of the guitars. Oh well. Maybe next year.
Skeleton Pete and Miss Kim Falcon.
After covering so many bands in concert on PiercingMetal.com, I have become somewhat consistent in getting a band shot if at all possible. Here is a shot of the Foxy Studs as a whole band. By the way, singer Tammie informed me that she had filled in at the last minute when the bands expected singer backed out. Now she is in all the photos. That’s Rock & Roll for you.
The charming singer was making sure to get some good photo op time in after finishing their performance. Here she is with Fred G. By the way, they did play twice but did the same songs once more. I would have liked to hear some different stuff but set list approval did not go through me first.
Here’s two great guitarists in a row. The Cat and The Cousin were discussing their guitar preferences but kindly obliged me with a quick photo op.
I was so happy to capture a classic right here as these are all old neighborhood friends from way back when. Many of them played in bands together over the years and some still do. From left to right is Jeff, Freddie “Planes”, Rocky S. and of course Skeleton Pete. Both Freddie and Peter are working in a band called Dance Half Done who have been entertaining the Bay Ridge and its outskirts for a little over a year now. The band also features “Falcon” Eddie Green (no relation to the lovely Kim of course).
More giveaways at hand as Kim reads off the name of the next lucky winner. Sadly neither Peter or myself won any of the guitars.
Fred Gretsch continues to line out the company history. After the event was over Fred would lead a tour out in Williamsburg where they would visit the location of the original factory. It’s condos now, but you NYC residents know that already. Practically everything that was something at one time is now a condo.
Time for more Skeleton Pete and this time with Paul Pigat. He works so hard with me in my adventures that I wanted to return the favor. The pair were discussing guitar workshops as Paul gives one. He is from Vancouver though and came all the way to NYC for this event. Talk about dedication to the brand.
A surprised Falcon…..
Here’s Miss T. and Miss K. after the singer got her own calendar signed.
This next young lass’ name escaped me, but she had just left work and rushed to enjoy some of the event.
Now it was time to get that fearsome foursome together again and include Mr. Gretsch in the mix. It was Fred’s idea to get this in front of the super cool display. Thanks Fred I was losing sight of my artistic milieu at the time.
MD’s Billy had to run out a little earlier than hoped so we snagged a photo together. Thanks Pete.
As readers know full well, Skeleton Pete is one of my most trusted allies in my PiercingMetal Command and I appreciate this. Now it was his turn to make sure I had some of the ever necessary moments for purposes such as this. Here is me and Cousin Harley aka Paul Pigat.
Kim and I were enjoying some laughs. She’s good people.
I almost forgot to get one with the main men of the day but thanks to Pete I would not. Whew.
Next up is Tammie and Myself. I told the singer that every moment should be a photo op if she is going to adventure bravely into the world of music as a professional. It’s kind of true because you never know who you are going to run into.
I actually liked this photo of Kim and I a little better.
Pete catches me speaking to The Cat and his friend Annie. She is a singer as well I am told.
This shot is a little similar to the one above but one can never have too many shots with music dignitaries.
It was indeed a grand pleasure catching up with Fred Gretsch once more. What a nice guy.
Now that the show was over the pleasantries started to wind down as the masses prepped for the Williamsburg adventure. Here is The Cat, The Cousin and The Piercing One. Too bad those two didn’t jam out a little together. It would have been cool to capture that.
When Paul Pigat (or Cousin Harley as we mentioned earlier) did his second set of songs, he played a tune called “Beaver Fever” and I had to laugh when I thought he said “Bieber Fever” as a joke about the teen Pop Idol, but I guess my hearing is finally going just a little bit. I shot some video of the song for your viewing pleasure and posted it on my Official YouTube.com channel for my Metal adventuring. It’s a little different from what else is up there but I am sure my audience does not mind the constant flow of entertainment clips.
So there you have it. What a fun and interesting day was had. The people were awesome and the food was great and I apologize for neglecting to take photos of the deli plate and the desert cake pops but that was to leave you with some level of curiosity. The Gretsch instruments used today sounded great but I expected this to be the case and if you are one of those musicians that wishes to walk in the path of legendary musicians like Eddie Cochran or Chet Atkins to name a brief few then you might want to start trying out some of these models. It was great to find both Guitar World and The Brooklyn Eagle present along with Peter and my own Internet resources but I had to admit some surprise at the lack of the regions own Home Reporter or any of its political residents. Their loss of course and our gain.
To check out Skeleton Pete’s incredible coverage just click this LINK to go to his blogsite. You can thank me later. Also be sure to look into the relevant links below for more information on the people involved in this awesome day. Special thanks to Rocky Schiano for hosting the event and for Fred Gretsch and his wisdom along with Product Manager David Waters who helped make sure everyone was getting the most out of the day.
See you next year for “Gretsch Day 2012” for sure……
Gretsch Guitars: http://www.gretsch.com
Street Sounds: http://www.streetsounds.com
Kim Falcon: http://www.kimfalcon.com
Paul Pigat: http://www.paulpigat.com
Gretsch Company Wiki Entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gretsch
The Good Rats: http://www.goodrats.com
Fender Guitars: http://www.fender.com