Trapped In Static is an alternative rock/indie band based in New York City formed by singer/musician/songwriter Athan Hilaki (previously with GAD.). The band first started using the name Trapped In Static in October 2010 with Athan on vocals & guitar but a different line-up. After a small break, the band is back with a new line-up, Athan Hilaki on vocals, guitar & keyboards, David Torres on drums and Peter Douskalis on guitar & keyboards, joined on stage by George Kostopoulos (bass). In a very short period of time – less then 4 months (Dec 2011 – Mar 2012), Trapped In Static managed to have a big impact in the NYC crowd, and the show goes on!
- In December 2011, Trapped In Static finished 5th in the competition Hometown Hero by Z100, receiving more than 1500 votes.
- In January 30th 2012, the band appeared LIVE on TV, for “Minding Your Business” on the Manhattan Network Neighborhood, with great reviews and a second appearance coming soon!
- In February 10th TIS. performed LIVE on Nexus Productions Radio (broadcasted live on TV with EllasTV) & February 12th performed LIVE an unplugged version of their songs on Hellas FM.
Some recent live shows include some of the hottest live venues in NYC such as:
- The BitterEnd, Knitting Factory, Pianos, Bowery Electric, Arlene’s Grocery, The Delancey, National Underground, Tammany Hall and more…
This week’s Pick of the Week is for the band “Sister Mary Tarantula.” They are a working rock band based in Houston, TX. They have one independent album out, and they are currently writing material for their follow up album. The members of the band are: Mark Neely/Rhythm Guitar/lead vocals, Ernest Martinez/Drums, Pablo Gonzales/Bass, and Carlos Ulloa/Lead Guitar. Their style draws from a lot of classic heavy rock, such as Black Sabbath, Ronnie James Dio, Ozzy, etc… and they do a Dio tribute band as well called “Holy Diver.” Carlos was the member of the band who ordered custom picks from us. He says that, as a performer, he was a late bloomer into the guitar love affair. He started playing drums and took up the guitar at age 21. He has now been playing for 21 years, and he can seriously site his influences as “any one whom he has ever seen play!” but some of his favorites are the usual suspects of Vai, Pertrucci & Eric Johnson. You can sample the music of Sister Mary Tarantula here: http://www.myspace.com/
Whether you are new to the world of guitar playing, or you are just looking for a change in your guitar pick, the Clayton Variety Pack is a great option to try out our different materials! With the start of 2012, we added the Variety Pack to our line, and we encourage you to check it out! For just $1.99 plus shipping, you can try six of our different most popular pick materials, including one each of Acetal, Ultem, Duraplex, Cork Grip, Frost Byte, and S-Stone. They also are given in a variety of gauges, so that you can determine the thickness of pick that best suits your guitar playing needs! Order today at http://www.steveclayton.com/variety.php. If you are more interested in our custom guitar pick picks, but are also unsure of what type of pick you would like, you can order your sample set of five picks for $5 (includes picks and shipping) by calling 1-877-752-9484.
Stoop Goodnoise, A band building, wrecking, and rebuilding again as they lead the way in the new Chicago Rock & Roll scene. Chicago has always been a city of collided cultures coming together to form something amazing and there is no band that encapsulates this like Stoop Goodnoise. A facepunch of 90′s grunge fury, punk choruses, and intergalactic guitar solos. One part Chicago street kids, one part classic rock phenoms, but all one original sound that can not be missed, that can not be ignored, that cannot be stopped.
They have played at numerous clubs around Chicago like House Of Blues Bottom Lounge & Beat Kitchen and have gone as far as being one of the three finalists in the MTV VMA 2009 Best Breakout Chicago Artist Contest where they supported All Time Low & White Tie Affair at Six Flags Great America. They’re set from that day was also featured on Comcast On Demand for the entire city of chicago to view at the push of a button.
They have just finished up they’re debut album “Crash Me, Cloud” At Million Yen Studios in Chicago with Sciphonic Productions set to be released on January 28th 2012 with touring and music videos planned in the coming months.
Check them out at:
A thrashing gust of energy from the windy city itself, Chicago rock band Losing Scarlet is ready to make a name for themselves! Losing Scarlet has gelled extremely well in 3 years and can about touch national recognition in every show that they play. Good things just continue to happen for this band.
Losing Scarlet is Jodi Kell (vocals), Scott Haith (guitar), and Shawn Kelly (drums). Once a show begins, everyone who wondered is now a believer as Losing Scarlet’s energy smashes out of nowhere and Jodi draws you in with an infectious stage presence. Losing Scarlet blends romp head-banging with an in-your-face groove that culminates in their own brand of “pretty metal”.
Losing Scarlet has spent the last 3 years consistently playing live, perfecting their stage presence, headlining shows and opening for national acts when the opportunity presents itself. Losing Scarlet has opened for national recording artists Five Finger Death Punch, Theory of a Deadman, Godsmack, Adelita’s Way, Black Stone Cherry, Alter Bridge, Pop Evil, Nonpoint, Soil, Days of the New, Tantric, Taproot and Bullet For My Valentine.
Losing Scarlet has been on one wild ride; we invite you to join us as we conquer the world one city at a time. Find out more about Losing Scarlet at http://www.facebook.com/losingscarlet.
Losing Scarlet’s custom guitar picks were made on our white delrin guitar pick material, which has a nice contrast with the band’s red artwork that bleeds to the edge of the pick (using our full bleed design option). To create your own custom picks, visit www.claytoncustom.com today!
Brian Grilli is one of the most up-and-coming artists on the east coast. Born in Chicago, IL, he began his studies of guitar at age 8. Over the years, Brian has studied with some of the luminaries of the guitar world including Doug Seven, Ernie Inucci, Mark Dunn, among others.
Brian has had success in the USA in the band Rumble Fish with a top College Radio single “Want You Around” and International acclaim with The Glory Hounds with a Number One song “Pornstar” in Spain and Portugal.
He also has had Indie critical acclaim for The Glory Hounds album “Sex-A-Go-Go” and has been featured in publications such as Spin, Guitar World, Amplifier, Nine Volt, among others.
Brian and his latest endeavour The Trailerhood have been quickly becoming an East Coast favorite. Playing over 150 shows in their first year and opening for acts such as Danny Gokey and Sarah Darling. They are set to record their debut album in July 2012. Find out more about The Trailerhood at http://www.thetrailerhoodband.com/.
Brian is a proud endorser of Steve Clayton Picks and Accessories! Brian’s picks were made on our ultem material, which looks really nice with the black and red Trailerhood logo. If you would like to create your own custom guitar picks, visit www.claytoncustom.com today!
Last week we had a Facebook contest to share your band’s story on our blog, the winner was Aaron from Story of a Ghost :-)! Story of a ghost began their musical journey from the release of their single “Akimbo”, based loosely on the May 22 2011 tornado. Akimbo, was recorded in their home town of Joplin, Mo by producer Jerrod Naff, at Zombielife Studios. It has been featured on radio stations in their home state, as well as on the 2011 compilation cd for magazine, “The Dead Timez”. They are currently in the studio working on their self-titled e.p “Story of a ghost” that is expected for release on ITUNES and AmazonMP3 in early 2012. A national tour for 2012 is definitely in the works. (Bio) links: www.reverbnation.com/
Having trouble with figuring out the perfect gift for your Valentine this year? Custom guitar picks make a great gift that is both functional and has that personal touch. To design your custom picks visit www.claytoncustom.com today. We offer guitar picks in the classic Valentines pink, purple, and red colors, or you can use one of our more basic pick types like white pearl. They can be customized with names, dates, and all those clever music/romantic graphics like the one shown on the guitar pick here. They are the perfect present solution for your special someone who also happens to be a rockstar! Hurry up…we make our picks really fast but time is starting to run out!
This week’s Pick of the Week is for a band called Lover Under Cover. The new guitarist, Tor Erik, comes from Norway, from a band called JORN and they are about to start up some recordings in January. The singer is a very busy guy and sings in 3 different bands. Secret Service (pop band) http://www.youtube.com/watch?
MIKAEL ERLANDSSON, together with one of his best friends from early school years, MIKAEL CARLSSON.
You will find out that these talented guys realy will blow your mind out with metal as good as it can be. Screaming guitars, strong melodies and a vocal performance beyond devine. Ladies and gentlemen… I give you…
LOVER UNDER COVER !!! The first embryo of LUC goes back in time as far as 1982 when Mr E and Mr C were members in the southern rock act “Rain” together with one of Sweden’s most famous ZZ-Top lookalikes, Bengt Lundh. Setteled in the beautiful arcipelago outside Kungsbacka in the west of Sweden we all remember those crazy nights with Rock n roll ( and a couple of beers ) during endless Swedish summer nights. After that Mr E and Mr C were separated for a couple of years. Mr E working with his amazing and successful solo career and Mr C turned out to be semi professional musician and doing a lots of cover gigs at the pubs in the west of Sweden.
They bumped into each other a couple of times during the years and allways said that “we should realy do something togeather” Mr E started up Last Autumns Dream wich not need any further presentation i guess, and Mr C started up the first version of Lover Under Cover around 1992 with Daniel Boscovic as a lead singer.
Mr C and Mr B recorded about 30 songs during 4-5 years before they decided to go separate ways, and now…. 15 years later then finally Mr C and Mr E got the time and opportunity to take of in the project they always wanted to do. A new colorful, harder than ever version of LUC. And the Saga continues……..’); The LUC picks were created on our black celluloid guitar pick material, which was perfect for their logo which has a black background. To create and order your own custom guitar picks, visit www.claytoncustom.com today!
Blackbox 13 was formed September of 2011, members include Joe Nassar, vocals, Joe Wiehl, lead guitar, Todd Turgeon, drums, and Cory Kay, bass. All players currently live in Las Vegas, Nv. In a short amount of time we have been able to accomplish a three song demo and a video for the fisrt song “Silent Wall.” Each member has brought to the table an amazing assortment of accomplishments . Cory Kay of Zombie Shaker Box, Joe Nassar of Light the Black Sky, Joe Wiehl, and Todd Turgeon, formally of 13 years, joined forces to create a raw crunchy straight ahead rock sound. With such a diverse array of musical influences each member is truly schooled in their craft. Cory was the member of Blackbox13 who decided to order some custom picks from Steve Clayton, Inc.
Cory’s accomplishments over the years have been playing in sold out shows around the Las Vegas, also setting attendances records in Utah. He has had the honor of winning several awards at the “LA Music Awards” for “Best Rock Album of the Year“, also winning “Best Metal Band” in Las Vegas, Nevada for “Las Vegas Rocks Magazine“ and winning a “Battle of the Bands”… all in 2010. Thru his musical journey he has also been able to be the opening act in large venues for such acts as Godsmack, Hellyeah, Slash and Joan Jett. Cory has some information to share about his custom guitar picks from Clayton, Inc: “I put a lot of thought into each pic design. Not only do I play with them, I also throw them out into the audience during my shows, something I’ve been doing for years. Clayton has given me the opportunity to promote all the bands I have played in over the years. I am looking forward to an amazing journey with Blackbox13, going into the studio in 2012 and hitting such states as California, Arizona, Utah and, of course, Nevada.” To find out more about Blackbox13, visit their sites:
Cory ordered his guitar picks on our acetal pick material, in the rounded triangle shape. To created and order your own custom picks, visit www.claytoncustom.com today!
We have recently endorsed Alex, Matt and Jason of Go Radio! Here is a little bit about the band:
It’s a truly rare occasion when a debut by a band is met with the kind of feverish fan anticipation that has encircled LUCKY STREET, the full-length debut by Tallahassee, Florida melodic rockers GO RADIO. But then again, none of those other groups have JASON LANCASTER at the helm.The GO RADIO singer/songwriter, who’s been crafting unflinchingly honest, breathtakingly beautiful music since venturing out on his own in 2007, boasts arguably the most goosebump-inducing combination of raw vocal talent and songwriting prowess in rock today. Backed by a gifted band with two stellar EPs under their belts, LANCASTER and GO RADIO are only just beginning to explore the seemingly endless potential for their mind-blowing creations.
The band–which also includes bassist MATT “BURNS” POULOS, drummer STEVEN KOPACZ and guitarist ALEX REED–immediately turned heads with the release of their self-released EP Welcome To Life in 2008, which bowled over listeners with its poignant, heartfelt lyrics and irresistible melodies. Attracting the attention of Fearless Records, the band inked a deal with the label, releasing the band’s second EP, Do Overs And Second Chances, in 2010. The EP, which featured the stunning ballad “Goodnight Moon,” landed at #8 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, going on to sell more than 15,000 copies in the U.S. In that span the group has toured extensively, heading out on high-profile runs with A Day To Remember, Secondhand Serenade and the Fearless Friends Tour with Mayday Parade among others. Despite the early success, 2011 promises to be the band’s most pivotal moment to date.
Known for their kinetic live performances and intimate interaction with fans, a packed slate of touring in support of LUCKY STREET–including a full run on the 2011 Vans Warped Tour–is the other crucial ingredient in bringing such vital art to the masses. GO RADIO aim to recruit a bonafide army of listeners, from multiple genres, as diverse as the band’s inimitable sound.
“We constantly put ourselves out there. Any chance we get to reach a new audience and get new ears, we’re down for. We’re not going to say, ‘Because you like breakdowns, you’re not gonna like GO RADIO,’ because you might,” says LANCASTER. “That’s how you build these things–one fan at a time, brick by brick. If it weren’t for everybody latching onto the band and finding something they enjoy about it, I’d still be playing acoustic guitar in my den right now.”
GO RADIO’s new album LUCKY STREET is out now on Fearless Records.
Thank you so much to GuitarTrump.com for your wonderful review about our Custom picks! Go to the link above to check out a very cool review on us as well as other reviews. They also have Giveaways and you just might see a Clayton giveaway featured ;-).
This week only you can get 15% off all Clayton products at Musicans Friend.com. Just use the promo code shown in the image to get 15% off. Remember this promotion lasts this week only, so hurry up and stock up on your favorite Clayton products! Also, be sure to “like” Musicians Friend’s Facebook to get access to more promotions, ect.
Guns Out At Sundown is a band based out of Western Maryland, finding its beginnings in 2007 with the name LenorAstray. Original line-up included: Jamie Peterson-bass/lead vox, Mike Dennis-guitar, Nathaniel Raley-guitar, and Trav Hensley- drums. Shortly after, we introduced long-time, childhood friend Christopher Tepper to drums, and moved Trav to lead vocals. After many discussions, and a drive for more, the band changed its genre to create a heavier sound. In 2008, Nick Miller joined the band to fill the position of guitarist, but left the band after recording our first professional demo. In 2009, we added Ryan Crosco to the roster. The band recorded its full-length album entitled, “The Comfort In Chaos”with Johnny Burke at Chin Music Studios in Cleveland, Ohio (www.reverbnation.com/vibestudios) in November of that year, but due to a few personal issues, the band took hiatus, planning to return stronger than ever once our lives were back on track. In early 2011, Ryan Crosco decided to leave the band, with Nick Miller rejoining and filling the slot. Now, with a new name, and our final puzzle piece, Andrew Hill on bass, we’re back. Look for the album to release independently soon, along with a music video with FBS Films, and brand new merch.
Faith n Fury was formed in December 2007. Two extremes fused together to create an explosion of musical energy, delivered to you through the airwaves. In 2008 FNF released their debut EP “Close to the edge” this concoction of epic hooks, driving basslines and eclectic drumming makes you wonder how a three piece could achieve such a giant sound. The band has been firing off live shows across the UK, making their presence known. Notably supported Zico Chain in June 2009 and The Doll that Kicks in 2010, In 2010 FNF released of their follow up EP “Start at the end” (which is available on itunes and Amazon) building up there reputation and following with continuous shows off the back of the release. Now in 2011 with a new single recorded and ready for release accompanied by an awesome music video, a strong fan base and a headlining show at the camden underworld KEEP YOU EYES PEELED!!
We couldn’t resist showing off these cute baby picks! If you are looking for a creative item to add to a baby shower, or a unique gift to give to someone with a new baby, custom guitar picks can be a great option! For the musician in your family, you can provide a gift that is both personal and useful by adding a photo like the ones shown to any of our white or black custom guitar pick materials. The picks in this image were both made on our black celluloid picks, which can support full color custom art work. The black celluloid picks are available in three different gauges; thin, medium and heavy. The backs of the picks can also be personalized with names, dates, etc. To order your own custom photo picks, visit www.claytoncustom.com today!
Poisonwood is a Melodic Death Metal band from Arkansas. Formed in October 2009, the band has already played extensively in their home state and throughout the south, gathering a loyal and devoted following en route. In 2010, Poisonwood released a 7 song EP, titled “Dark Days,” which showcases their full on, brutal and melodic sound. Made up of Justin Velte (Guitar, Backing Vocals), Dan Niven (Drums), Tyler Scalise (Vocals), Matthew Velte (Guitar), Andy Honer (Bass), Kyle Reed (Keyboards), the band cites influences such as In Flames, Mors Principium Est, All That Remains, Amon Amarth and Pain of Salvation. In July of 2011 the band released their highly anticipated sophomore album “Pseudo Utopia,” and embarked on a summer tour throughout the southern and mid-western U.S. “Justin and Matthew Velte just have that natural harmony between them… the Velte brothers are only a label and a few endorsements away from being the new Alexi Laiho.” -Bubbs Harris (Hails and Horns Magazine ” I must insist that you seek out Pseudo Utopia… This album captures everything that I love about heavy metal perfectly.” -Lexington Music Press 2011 sees Poisonwood poised to further expand their audience, as the band signed with esteemed Artist Development and Managment company The Inner Light Agency. As Bruce Swink of iLA says: “Things have been moving fast for Poisonwood and by teaming with iLA we’re going to kick everything into high gear and spread the word far and wide.”
The Campaign 1984 is best described as a “dirty south” rock ‘n roll band from Asheville, NC. The band is comprised of founding members Matt Anderson on lead vocals/guitar and Justin Biltonen on lead guitar/backing vocals, as well as bassist Jordan Luff and drummer Springs Wade. The band was formed in Fall 2004 and immediately began writing and recording music. In 2005, they self-released “Jazz For Burning” and followed up with a tour up the East Coast. After a handful of other self-booked tours, the Campaign 1984 put out “Blood For Nashville” via Long Island’s Five Point Records. Here, the music began to shift away from earlier hardcore leanings and more towards a heavy rock influence. With less screaming and more singing and musical dynamics, they were beginning to establish themselves in a realm of raunchy, riff-based rock and roll. This vision became fully realized on the 2008 digital self-release “Southern Gentlemen”. After two years of constant touring, they recorded this third album and released it for free via their website. The album was written and recorded in 2007 in between several national tours; they also put out a music video with director Ramon Boutviseth (Trivium, Sanctity, Papa Roach) behind the camera. In 2008, 2009, and 2010, the Campaign 1984 began work on what would become their fourth full-length album, “Sessions”. These three years saw the band head to Nashville, TN to work with producers Chris Henderson (guitarist for 3 Doors Down) and Roger Alan Nichols (Paramore’s “All We Know is Falling”) during three separate studio sessions. The four songs recorded with Nichols was titled the “Black Magic Revival” EP and was pressed as such before being combined with the other two recording sessions with Henderson. The 11-track CD was released on July 3rd, 2010. This album showcases the next stage of evolution in their sound: an aggressive yet accessible blend of hard, southern-fried riffage, catchy choruses, and lyrics poison-tipped with sex, cynicism, and social satire.
Bob has been playing piano since he was 7 years old, and guitar since he was 14. Today at age 26, he’s Akasha’s lead guitar player. Akasha has been around for a little over 5 years. They are the top rock act in Central America. With over 40,000 registered fans, thousands of records sold, and many awards and recognitions- next step is South America. Their videos are always featured on MTV, TELEHIT, and other smaller regional TV Channels. Their singles always reach #1 spot in the top radio stations of the region for about 8-9 weeks each. And concerts are usually sold out. Currently, Akasha has released their new single and new album. Their new album was recorded in Ocean Way Studios Hollywood, produced by 11 time grammy award winner Benny Faccone. Bob has been endorsed with Clayton since 2011 and using our products for over three years!
This week’s Pick of the Week is an elegant design created for musician Chelsea Berry. “Chelsea is a 27-year-old Alaskan born singer/songwriter with the edge, power, and finesse of legends. Livingston Taylor calls her vocals ‘world class’ and her presence has been described by listeners as ‘compelling… she draws the entire house into her world like moths to a flame.’ Her vocals are smooth and lyrics reminiscent of the folk music of the sixties. Recently, she appeared as the cover of The Noise magazine in Boston, has been featured multiple times on Boston’s 92.5 The River, and has played venues from Boston’s House of Blues to the Shalin Liu in Rockport, MA and Carnegie Hall in New York City. She has opened for artists such as Livingston Taylor, Laurie Lewis, Roger McGuinn Tom Rozum, and more. Chelsea falls somewhere between Sheryl Crow and Joni Mitchell… with a little Alaskan edge.” Visit her site at www.chelseaberry.com Check out her sound in the music section. Purchase music at iTunes and cdbaby.com. Chelsea’s picks were made on our acetal material, and we love the how the light tan/brown colors came out. We also though that it was a really good use of a full bleed design (meaning that the art goes all the way to the edges of the pick). Design your own custom picks today at www.claytoncustom.com!
Joe Hero was originally formed by three long-time friends and local music veterans who have performed together for years under different scenarios and with different bands. Drawing upon this experience, they formed as a rock trio in 2005 and recorded their initial 4-song demo that summer. After writing numerous songs and playing numerous shows in their area, Joe Hero completed the recording of their debut album which was released in 2007 with the title “A Hero’s Welcome”. Described as “in-your-face hard rock with a turn-it-up attitude and no BS” by Darryl Gregory of Indie-music.com, A Hero’s Welcome is available through CDBaby.com or iTunes. Music from the album has received traditional radio and online radio airplay, and has also been featured in at least twenty different online podcasts across the globe. In August 2010, the band released their follow-up recording, a 4-song EP titled “The Vandermint Sessions”. For booking or other info, contact JoeHero@nc.rr.com.
In summer 2011 Joe Hero created and began booking dates for “A Salute to the Foo Fighters”, a set of FF cover songs inspired by one of their favorite bands.
Endorsed with Clayton since 2011, check them out! www.reverbnation.com/joehero
Soulful music, strong entertainer, with a following that exceeds all expectations for a country music performer from Cincinnati, Ohio. Kenny Welch is a performer taking his music to the next level. Kenny Welch began singing at a very young age for his family and friends. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1973, he was raised in a small town south east of Cincinnati called Bethel. Kenny never saw himself as a performer or singer until nearly seven years ago, when he began to set his sights on a music career in Country Music. Kenny Welch has been recognized by the local news media in Cincinnati and surrounding areas The media continues to follow his progress and monitor his career. Kenny is very devoted to his music, friends, and children and is looking forward to a long and prosperous career in the music industry.
Check Kenny out on Facebook! He has been endorsed with us since 2010.
Daniel and Robert from the band Autumn Descent have been endorsed with Clayton since 2010, here is a little about their band:
The music is guitar-driven with strong melodic vocals, sprinkled with electronic elements and yet, very radio friendly. Autumn’s Descent has had several independent album and EP releases, and played club & college scenes all over the Midwest and New England. Breaking into the TV / Film/ Video Game industry in 2005, Autumn’s Descent has already had songs placed in MTV shows (NEXT, Pimp My Ride) and in Television Shows on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, WB, Disney, and A&E.
Visit their website: http://autumnsdescent.com
Recently, Clayton USA, Inc. has had the opportunity to contribute to a wonderful charity organization called Pick with Austin. Pick with Austin is a nonprofit corporation that operates in the memory of Texas teen guitarist, Alan Carter Villaruz-Curley. The purpose of the organization is to help elevate a community awareness and to educate the people about a growing epidemic of youth depression and suicide. They use Alan’s Gift of Music to enhance this awareness while providing donated guitars to kids and teens in hospitals, in youth groups and ministries, and/or those whom have been identified in some way of being potentially “at risk” of depression. On February 4th, Pick With Austin made a large presentation of donated guitars to the Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas, along with custom guitar picks made by Clayton. The media coverage of this event helped to support the charity, and the donations went to sick children, and kids undergoing chemo therapy. Shown below are some images of the picks and the event:
To find out more about Pick with Austin and how to donate, visit their site at http://www.PickWithAustin.com. It is truly an amazing organization that deserves our support!!
I found this amazing article on Guitar Pick collecting that was done by The Ottawa Citizen. It incredible how popular and lucrative pick collecting has become. I love how they mention a $1,000 Johnny Cash pick going for sale on ebay. I love that since we worked with Johnny Cash for several years making him custom Black Acetal Custom guitar picks with his signature on them a long long time ago…. Read more here at a past blog posting.
You can read the pick collecting article below (original source The Ottawa Citizen):
In 1986, Alex Golota picked up a Pat Travers pick from the stage at Barrymore’s. Today he has more than 700 picks from rock’s biggest names.
By Bruce Deachman, Ottawa Citizen January 16, 2011
Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/entertainment/Guitar+Pick+Collector/4116340/story.html#ixzz1BbYwO2AY
The first guitar pick that Alex Golota recalls picking up — off the stage at Barrymore’s Music Hall, back in the mid 1980s when he did lighting at the Bank Street club — belonged to Pat Travers. The picks were initially an accompaniment to the 8×10-inch promo photos of musicians Golota collected as reminders of the shows he’d attended or worked; he would glue the picks to the photos and then have them framed. If he could, he’d get one or both autographed.
As the years passed, Golota’s collection of picks grew. Some, like Travers’s, he picked up after a concert. Guitarists would sometimes give him one of their picks, or he would ask one of their technicians for one. Friends in the sound and lighting trades, aware of his hobby, would acquire picks on his behalf. He has picks from some of the biggest names: The Rolling Stones, with their trademark tongue and lips; ZZ Top (both); one from Prince, via Jon Bon Jovi’s guitar technician and instantly identifiable by the unpronounceable “Love Symbol” he adopted as his stage name in 1993; a metal guitar pick from Def Leppard; Eric Clapton; Stevie Ray Vaughan; Buddy Holly; The Edge; a yellow pick that bears Alice Cooper’s name and likeness; and Avril Lavigne and Steve Earle, who each have skulls adorning their picks (his in green, hers in pink).
“I recently got Jeff Beck,” says Golota, 51, “which is really hard to get because he doesn’t use a guitar pick. But I managed to catch up to his road manager on stage, and he has a bag of guitar picks that Jeff had 30 years ago, and he keeps them for real true fans. It actually says ‘This pick was stolen from Jeff Beck’ on it.
“I have that.”
He keeps his collection — 726 picks at last count, but growing all the time — in a pair of binders, one carrying the monogrammed and autographed picks, the other holding picks you’ll just have to take his word that they’re from who he says they are, like the Fender pick used by Bruce Springsteen.
“I found it right beside his guitar stand, and I know he uses a plain white Fender pick and I know it’s Bruce Springsteen’s pick.”
Curiously, perhaps, he doesn’t play guitar himself. But growing up in Old Ottawa South, his idols included Jimi Hendrix and Procol Harum’s Robin Trower.
“I started keening on guitar players,” he recalls. “They’re the heroes in the
rock ‘n’ roll field.”
The first show he attended was an April Wine concert at the Civic Centre when he was 16. As he watched the roadies and technicians set up the stage be-between acts, he decided that was what he wanted to do for a living. Currently a lighting designer with the Canadian Museum of Civilization, where he’s worked for the past 18 years, he started out with Wall Sound, then moved to Barrymore’s. In between, he toured for two years as Stompin’ Tom Connors’ stage manager, and spent six months on the road with Charlie Pride.
He takes his summer holidays during Bluesfest, where he does lighting and, with the help of the other techs, collects more picks. Last summer, he added 17 to his collection. The year before that, a record 48.
“That’s my vacation,” he says. “The museum is so corporate — I have to wear a suit there most of the time.
“And my roots are in rock ‘n’ roll, so I want to go back every year and make sure I can still do lights for rock ‘n’ roll.”
Some of the picks in his collection are definitely rarities. A pick used by Gene Simmons bears the KISS bassist’s thumbprint in theatrical blood. One that belonged to Jeff Smallwood — guitarist for Roch Voisine and Luba — is fashioned from a hotel room key card. He has a Spinal Tap pick used during a Canada Day show in St. John’s, as well one used recently by Crash Karma for a concert for Canadian troops in Afghanistan. Golota even has a pick used by NDP leader Jack Layton.
Then there are the ones missing from his collection. He’s resigned to the fact that he’ll never own a Hendrix pick, while an online search for one used by Johnny Cash uncovered a $1,000 price tag, too steep for Golota.
“These are actually rarer than stamps and coins,” he says, “because stamps and coins they produce hundreds of thousands or millions, but when a guitar player goes out on tour, he may only take 1,000 picks — a bagful. Over his career he may not buy another bag. So the rarity of these things is crazy.
“We had an insurance adjuster come in and look at the stuff, and he said ‘You’re sitting on a dream home here. There’s somebody out there who’s interested in buying it, somewhere, somehow.’”
But he’s not interested in selling. “It’s not about making money,” he says. “It’s just trying to get it all in one place. I’m a curator and trying to keep it all together, and if people can appreciate it, that’s great.”
Through profiles here and online, Bruce Deachman uncovers the people who bring Ottawa to life, people who exhibit and unusual passion or obsession. Do you know someone who is one in a million? E-mail the details to
Visit ottawacitizen.com/million to see more photos and listen to Alex Golota, or to see past stories.
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