About 6 years ago, I went to a Dog Eat Dog concert. They are a band I used to listen to when I was a kid, back when there was still music on MTV and downloading music didn’t exist. After the show, I spoke to Dog Eat Dog’s guitarist, Roger at the merchandise stand and asked him for a copy of “All Boro Kings”. I told him I used to own it on cassette tape and carried it around everywhere I went until it got stuck in the cassette deck of my mom’s car and we couldn’t change back to the radio channel. So, from the moment we started the car, we could choose between Dog Eat Dog or, no music... For this reason, “All Boro Kings” is the album I’ve listened to the most in my life, EVER! My mom even knows every song, but still doesn’t like the album. Eventually I lost the cassette tape when my family sold the car.
Roger liked the story so much that he still remembered me last year when I contacted him to tell him we had a Guitar Booth at RockHerk 2017. He came over for a beer and to have a chat about guitars and the brand I had started. He was testing out some guitars and took his favourite two axes backstage for the soundcheck. Meanwhile, the StradlinCrew and I were in front of the stage waiting for the show, having a few more drinks. I don’t have to tell you when he showed up on stage with a StradlinGuitar around his neck and played one of my childhood favourites, I was the happiest guitar builder in the world. These were good times for sure!
Graspop Metal Axe
In the first few months of 2015, I started working on a project I really loved. After years and years of being a loyal visitor to Graspop Metal Meeting I designed a guitar especially for this Festival 20th anniversary. I used their Skull logo as a start for my design and turned it into a fast shredding, sped up metal guitar. Using Mahogany for the body and neck, a Tune o Matic bridge, and some space for 2 Humbuckers I had the perfect set up for a heavy sounding Axe. After drawing the skull 1:1 scale and glueing it onto the body we could begin the carvings.
As the GMM crew already liked it and give me some really good feedback, I wanted to do something more. I lit up the eyes with red LED lights and put a black/silver finish on the guitar. From this moment on I was proud to call it the 'Graspop Metal Axe'. Only 2 of them have been made, and neither are for sale, there was a contest on the radio and in the metal magazine RockTribune about 20 years of GraspopMetalMeeting.
This lucky Bastard won the contest and told us being on stage in front of 50 000 people was the most beautifull moment of his life. He visited all 20 editions of Graspop and this was a dream comming true!
I’ve always loved Motorhead, but when I saw them for the first time at a small festival in 2008 I was gobsmacked! They opened with ‘Doctor Rock’ and without once stopping, they continued to rock a whole set full of classics without a single break in between the songs. When Lemmy introduced us to “the best motherfucking drummer in the world, this wanker on the guitar, and himself” I was awestruck by everything I had just seen; I started the night with a whole new perception of Rock n Roll.
Almost 10 years later I was in England when I saw Phil Campbell and his Bastard Sons were playing in Swansea so I jumped on a bus headed for another crazy night, and that was exactly what I found when I arrived. At some point I ended up at a bar together with Neil Starr and Phil Campbell telling dirty jokes when everybody else had gone home. It was a good laugh and I ended up showing them pictures of the guitar I had built to honour Lemmy; a six stringed version of his Rickenbastard complete with all the oak carvings and everything, and they really liked it! I headed back to Belgium but we stayed in contact and a few weeks later I jumped on the bus to London again for another show and this time I brought the guitar.
During the soundcheck he shouted that it sounded great and afterwards he decided to take it for a ride himself. I remember he told me in the backstage after the show ‘many people come to me with their own builds and ask me for my opinion, and most of the time I tell them that it’s a nice piece of wood to play cricket with, but this is something else. It plays easy, looks great and sounds awesome. Go and put on your website that Phil told you: Really nice!’.
If you had told this story to the little boy at his first Motorhead concert in 2008 he would never in a million years believe it. THIS WAS ROCK N ROLL