HP Newquist on Launching the National Guitar Museum

By: Rick Landers

HP Newquist’s latest brainstorm may be the most challenging of his life. After a friend claimed that his house looked like a guitar museum, he began to kick the idea around until it transformed into a plan, resulting in the foundation of his National Guitar Museum, the first museum dedicated to the evolution and cultural impact of the guitar.

HP Newquist
Newquist has authored several books that have explored a wide range of subjects, including Legends of Rock Guitar (with Peter Prown), The Way They Play series (including Blues Masters, Hard Rock Masters, Metal Masters, and Acoustic Masters), with Richard Maloof and the award winning The Great Brain Book: An Inside Look At The Inside Of Your Head. HP is the former Editor-in-Chief of Guitar Magazine as well as writing Going Home, a Disney Channel documentary, featuring Robbie Robertson, and directing the film documentary, John Denver – A Portrait.
HP has gathered up sponsorships and inspiration for the National GUITAR Museum from Guitar Center, Guitar Player Magazine, Mojo Musical Supply, Truefire and others. An advisory group comprised of top guitarists includes, Ritchie Blackmore, Johnny Winter, Steve Vai, Pat Kirtley, Liona Boyd and Steve Howe.
In 2011, Newquist plans on kicking off a National GUITAR Museum promotional and educational tour which will begin in Orlando, Florida, and travel around the country, before a permanent site is selected for the museum’s home.

Background

Rick Landers: Looking through your background, it seems that you write about the full spectrum of life: guitars, the brain, books for children, race cars. The list goes on. Are you more of a dabbler or do you typically dig deeper into life’s experiences?
HP Newquist: I typically dig fairly deep when I go into any particular area. There’s some that pervade my life from beginning to end, certainly playing the guitar being one of those. And interest in the brain and computers that can think, but other things as well. For instance, a book I just wrote about the giant squid and the myth of sea serpents, I went to New Zealand to see some people there who are researching the giant squid. I went and saw a frozen giant squid in Australia, so I tend to dig deep quickly and then whatever the next thing is, move to that over time.
Rick: So it’s not really a shotgun approach. It’s more tangential, or as you discover something else you start exploring that?
HP:Yeah. I just finished two books. One book is actually on the history of magic. It’s a kids’ book and it’s about how individuals, primarily in Europe, came up with the ideas of how to levitate someone on a stage or how to saw a woman in half. The research on that was just fascinating.
I spent a year looking into magic and talking to magicians and now that that’s done, I’m getting ready to do a book on the mythology of blood. It all kind of adds up to life experiences and the experiential value of each endeavor, but then I always have them, put them aside and go to look for something new.
Rick: No doubt, you’ve given some thought to what sparks your curiosity and that tends to be followed up with actions. Something in your life history or some personality trait, maybe some quirks that are in your personality; have you thought about what actually drives you to be that type of a person? Because not everybody’s like that. Some people lead very pedestrian lives.
HP: Of course. And now that you have me on the spot, I can’t remember. It might have been Tolstoy that said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” It really comes from both my parents being very interested in a great deal of things. My dad was a very big sports fan and a movie lover. My mother was a big movie fan and taught English. They were both great travelers.
As a kid, we spent a lot of time going to a lot of places and really exploring, primarily the United States, but exploring interesting places and discovering new things. Having that as a background was really interesting and it’s continued, in that my wife likes to travel a great deal, as do I. Just when I stumble upon things I want to be able to learn more.
Actually, I hate to say this in public, but I think that one of the things that people forget is that learning doesn’t have to stop when you graduate from either high school or college. I think most people do forget that. I think that I’ve probably learned more since college than I ever did learn in college, just by exploring those sort of highways and byways that you stumble upon while you’re living your life.
Click to buy the Blues Rock Masters from Amazon.com
Rick: Your books on guitars, they’re sort of very eclectic. How does all this stuff get connected inside the brain of HP Newquist? What are the neural links there that make up who you are?
HP: It’s not so much any one particular thing. It has to be something that immediately presents itself as fascinating. For me, the guitar has always been something fascinating and I’ve been playing since I was 15-years old. It’s something that I’ve always enjoyed.
One of the things that most guitar players find is that the more you learn, the more you don’t know. So the pursuit of the guitar, and all of its various and sundry iterations in the various genres, really is almost limitless.
As you get older and realize that not everything has to be heavy metal or hard rock and you find out there are some incredible flamenco guitarists or jazz guitarists, you can see where the guitar has come from and where it’s gone.
The same thing, I think, applies to a lot of other ideas and issues that you stumble upon. They don’t have to be political and they don’t have to be pop cultural. You can find them by reading an article in The New Yorker or by some interesting or bizarre story that you see on CNN.
All of those, if they strike the right chord, I believe they’re fully worth reading a little bit more about or, learning a little bit more about, then actually going out and pursue them, finding out more about them.
Rick: In some respects, the world is within your house. You can look at something like a guitar and really break it down and the whole world kind of comes together in that guitar. The wood, where the steel is from etcetera.
HP: What you’re saying is actually a great segue into one of the reasons that we’ve created this guitar tour. For many people, perhaps for most people, the guitar is a very cool looking instrument that creates sounds which end up as rock songs and pop songs.
For those who are interested in country and jazz, certainly the heart of those forms of music is the guitar. Once you begin to actually dig into the guitar and realize what kind of wood it’s constructed of, what sort of technology, if we can use that term. The actual science of it, beyond the history and the luthiery and the technology that built it, the science of how a thin, thin wooden box can withstand 200 pounds of pressure and tension from steel strings pulling at it, and yet still be something that weighs less than 6 pounds.
Or the way that the sound vibrates off of the sound board and projects into the air. Or even the way magnets wound in the pickup pick up the vibrations of the string and create electrical signals. The guitar itself has not only the history and the music and the cultural elements, but science and even physics. We’re working with a guy over in Wales who’s looking at the vibration of strings in multi-dimensions, as a way to explain advanced physics concepts like string theory.
And there’s an amazing amount of things you can point out that ties back into guitars, let alone the pure joy that comes from being able to play it.
Rick: Of course. Have you been at the kind of the point of the spear and actually performed in public or are you more at the point of the pencil, kind of vicariously preferring to document musicians you’ve covered, rather than being in the spotlight yourself?
HP: No, I really wanted to be a rock star and had been in bands up until I realized that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in a van with three other guys. [Rick Laughing] So I’ve played sporadically with friends since then, but actually about 4 years ago, I joined a bunch of guys in a local band and we gig regularly.
We play out every week, or we get together every week, but we play at least once a month out, generally charities benefits. I’m fully committed to being somebody who, if I’m gonna look at what the guitar’s all about, then I’m gonna make sure that I’m still as much a part of the guitar as I can be and that means playing every day in my office or going out and doing a show with the guys in my band.
HP Newquist Moves into the World of Rock Journalism
Click to Buy Hard Rock Masters from Amazon.com
Rick: From playing guitar, you ended up at some point, I guess, becoming a journalist and then an editor. How did you wind up at Guitar Magazine? Isn’t that based in London?
HP: No. There were two different magazines. There is a UK Guitar which is not affiliated with the American Guitar. The American guitar magazine began life as a magazine called Guitar for the Practicing Musician, which was founded in the mid ’80s as a way to provide guitar tabs to people who couldn’t read music.
Out of college I’d been writing for advertising firms and had written a lot of technology articles and ad copy for computer companies. This was back in the ’80s and I managed to write, because it was my passion, a lot about midi at the time.
Midi was just being implemented across synthesizers and effects pedals and recording gear, and wrote a book on that which attracted some attention from the guitar community, who were brand new to midi and really didn’t understand it. Guitarists were kind of the last in line to get all the cool technology.
A few things led to a few other things and I started writing for Guitar, and after writing for them for two years I continued to write books and write for other guitar publications.
Rick: So Guitar Magazine isn’t around anymore. What happened to it?
HP: What happened was Future Media, which owns Guitar World, bought several guitar magazines at the time, including a group from Cherry Lane, which was the publisher and holding company of Guitar.
It bought Guitar One, Acoustic Classics, Guitar Magazine itself. That moved into Guitar World’s fold and kept them in various iterations, but eventually sort of shut them down until the only two primary ones, I think, are still published.
They don’t do Guitar One anymore. That’s the one they held on to the longest. But, I think they’re sticking with their flagship, which is Guitar World and they’ve got Guitar Aficionado, an interesting sideline.
Rick: Yeah, I’ve had a look at that a few times. We have just released or reissued a series of your interviews. As much as you appear to be kind of a fly on the wall in some of them, it’s pretty obvious that you connected with a lot of the artists. Which guitarist did you find the most fascinating, as well as the most challenging to really capture who they were, so people felt like they were in the room with you?
HP: They were all interesting and because I was editor-in-chief, I always made sure to pick the interesting ones.
I would say for me, personally, the most fascinating was Jimmy Page because the reason I picked up the guitar was listening to Page. I’d say that one of the artists that I don’t think people are aware of, and also was an incredibly interesting individual, is Ritchie Blackmore. I think most people think of him as the dark side or the dark lord of guitar playing when it comes to his history. He’s not only an incredibly engaging gentleman, but funny and knows his guitar history almost like no one else I’ve ever met.
As far as other guitarists, they generally kind of run the spectrum from interesting to introspective to being surprised that they’re even asked to talk about their career. I found Eddie Van Halen, time and time again, to be somebody who still knew how good he was, but never put on any sort of pretense that it was making him any different than he had ever been. My feeling was that, in talking with Eddie, he was probably the same guy I was talking to in that room and he would have acted and behaved that way if he had been hanging drywall, a very incredibly normal person.
I think most guitarists, as long as you talk to them about the guitar itself and what it means to them and what they’ve gotten out of it, respond very well. I think perhaps on the other side of the coin there are people, for instance, Robert Fripp comes to mind as somebody who views the guitar as not something necessarily to be enjoyed, but something to be mastered, conquered and then presented to the world.
That makes him perhaps the most “unique” individual, because it didn’t appear to me in speaking to him that the guitar was something he picked up for fun and just tried to see what kind of joy he would get out of it. I believe that he thinks the guitar is an instrument for releasing inner parts of your being and therefore it can’t be treated lightly.
Personally, I think the guitar should be treated both seriously and lightly. If you can’t take it lightly, you’re never gonna explore and find those kind of silly pathways that may lead to really interesting avenues of exploration.
Rick: You’ve got to enjoy the yin and yang of the guitar.
HP: I think a lot of people know about doing scales and it’s a pain in the ass and they hurt your fingers when you first learn them. But there’s nothing wrong with years later playing a silly three chord blues progression and trying to do a Steve Howe solo over it, just to see how it sounds. There’s got to be that sort of spontaneity and creative element that comes from just having fun with the instrument.
HP Newquist Talks to Celebrity Guitarists, As a Guitarist
Click to Buy Acoustic Rock Masters from Amazon.com
Rick: A casual reading of your interviews, it almost makes the interviews look like they’re easy to do and that you just got up to your typewriter, I guess back then, and sort of clanked them out.
HP:Actually, I never had to do it on a typewriter. I’m not that old. [Laughing]
Rick: Well, I’m that old. [Both Laughing] On closer observation it’s pretty obvious that you really understood the artists. I assume that you had to do some research before you actually met with them and this wasn’t a matter of you just sitting down banging it out.
HP: The thing that amazed me most about the interviews I did as a guitarist, as a guitarist interviewing guitarists, that I found most unusual, and this ran the gamut of most everybody I spoke with, that they were shocked to learn that I actually played the guitar, knew the guitar. I think that I would usually say 90% of the artists that I talked to were taken aback. I guess is the appropriate term, by the fact that I knew how to play the guitar.
I could sit with them and play and they could show me things and I could play them back and say, “Well, does that mean you did this?” whereas they were used to hearing from some journalist. This is especially true of the people who were more high profile in their guitar playing, like Steve Vai, for instance or Eddie Van Halen.
They’d be interviewed by pop culture magazines, even in a lot of cases by guitar magazines where the staff didn’t play guitar. There oftentimes when I went in wary of, “Okay, how much are you gonna get?” and by that time I’d been playing guitar for almost 20 years and I’m fine with it. We can talk about everything from alternate DADGAD tuning to the kinds of scales boxes when you play.
That really made almost every interview I did with a guitarist, made guitar conversations very easy because they could talk about the problems they were having with a locking trim system or when vintage guitar really didn’t live up to its fame, because the humbucker really didn’t perform like the one they used to have in the ’60s. That part of it made my job much easier.
So what you do read is typically taken from a much longer interview, but also is pretty much what you’re seeing, because of a guitarist speaking to another guitarist. You always find common ground, and that’s true whether you’re talking to a famous guitarist or just the guy who lives next door or in the apartment below you.
When you play the guitar and you know somebody else who does, there’s a common bond whether you like the person or not, whether you know them or not, you have this common language of the six strings and your 20-plus frets that you can share or have in common.
Rick: Yeah, that kind of reminds me, when I interviewed Roger McGuinn from The Byrds, and the first thing he did was open up his case and hand me his guitar and says, “Tune it.” So I tuned it and handed it back to him, but I didn’t know what to do with the last string because it was a seven string and he said, “You tune it the same as the high E,” so I did. I figured that was a test.
HP: I never experienced that. That’s actually pretty good. The first time, maybe it was Steve Vai, as we were talking about something, he and I were just sitting around with a guitar and I had asked him about a riff in a particular song. He said, “Which riff are you talking about?” I said, “You know, the second turnaround.” He goes, “How do you know that’s a part of that song?” I said, “Well, I can play it for you.” He says, “You know how to play the guitar?” And I said, “Of course I know how to play the guitar.” He goes, “Well, let’s bring them out.”
To me it was almost naivete in that I thought every guitar journalist should know how to play the guitar, or why else would they be interested? Then you realize that it transcends that. A lot of people are interested because of the music and the individual. From a musician’s standpoint, but also in many cases from a celebrity standpoint, so I think the guitarist to guitarist link really made my life.
Rick: Yeah, nearly everybody who writes for our magazine actually plays guitar, which sounds like it might be a little unusual.
HP: Actually it is. I will not name names. But, there are plenty of guitar editors and writers out there who are faking it and you can tell they’re faking it if you’re a guitarist and you’re really interested, because you’ll find that a lot of magazines, the guitarist as celebrity becomes more important than the guitarist as musician and perhaps even teacher. And the articles will be more about their antics offstage or onstage, as well as the things that happen to them in their personal and private life.
I think that most guitarists are always interested in what other people are doing, especially famous people, but you’re reading a guitar magazine, you want to get something that’s of value to you as a guitarist. If you like to play this kind of stuff influenced by this guy. Sure, there are groupies and “no red M&Ms in the contract” riders, but that stuff is People magazine and USA Today.

The National GUITAR Museum: An Idea Takes Shape

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Rick: Exactly. Now you’re working with your National GUITAR Museum. How did you arrive at the idea to even initiate this project?
HP: Through a confluence of events and I’ll try to make it as simple as possible. My only real vice in terms of where I spend my money is on books and guitars. And they don’t have to be vintage guitars and they don’t necessarily have to be rare. But, there have been guitars I wanted to own and that I liked and I had a reason for buying them. They remind me of guitars I’ve played when I was a kid or there were guitars I was lusting after. And there’s also a variety of them.
I’ve always wanted a certain kind of 12-string and I’ve always wanted a double-neck Gibson and so I began to accumulate those things. I’m a firm believer that if you’re not playing them, you should be playing them. You should at least be looking at them. So I put some on the wall of my house. There’s, I don’t know how many at the time, 30 some odd instruments. Again, some worth a couple of hundred bucks at best, like an old Sears Silvertone and some worth several thousand dollars like a Taylor 12-string.
But, people began to remark, “Your house looks like a museum,” and I had an experience locally here with a group. A museum was going up for sale and I thought it would be interesting to try and turn that museum around because, as I said earlier in the interview, traveling and finding all kinds of interesting things tends to lead to me into being deep into them.
Museums are always an interesting way to find out a lot about a particular thing. So sort of these two events of thinking, a museum is a great place to learn about stuff and it’s too bad this museum locally is in danger of shutting down. And then having people saying your house looks like a museum. I eventually thought, “Where do people who really want to find out more about the guitar go?”
I mean, I’ve written books and plenty of people have written books, but to go and see and experience them, the answer is, the guitar shop, a Guitar Center, the local mom and pop store. And those places are very intimidating not only for guitarists, but also for the average person. The average person is not going to go into a Guitar Center and just go check out the guitars on the wall.
Rick: Right.
HP: There’s nothing to attract them to that. So I began looking around and found out that there’s no place in the world, anywhere in the world, that is dedicated to the history, the evolution and the cultural impact of the guitar. There are plenty of manufacturer-sponsored museums: the Martin Museum in particular, which is really more part of a factory tour, but beautifully done.
Fender has done the same thing. The Zemaitis Museum has one in Japan. They’re all beautiful, but they all have to do with a particular brand. In addition to that, there are some little galleries of small collections. There’s an American Guitar Museum that’s in a house out on Long Island. There’s an Acoustic Guitar Gallery at the University of South Dakota. The Smithsonian has a decent collection. In addition to that, there’s been maybe a half a dozen total touring exhibitions in the world about the guitar.
So all of this stuff combined is less than 10, really, places where people can go and see the guitar and each one is very niche oriented. It’s not very wide in terms of any other particular scope. So it struck me that the most popular instrument in the history of the world, the instrument that sells more in a year than all other instruments combined should have a place. And you can call it a museum.
You can call it a shrine. You can call it a vacation destination. You can call it an altar, but it should have a place where people can go and just experience and enjoy the instrument, especially if they’re a guitarist. Some place you can go that’s almost a Mecca or if you’re somebody who’s interested in pop culture or you’re interested in American history or even world history, to find out more about the instrument that has affected all of us in some way, shape or form.
That’s been a little over two years, I’d say, or about a year and a half, that the idea struck me. Then I started meeting with people who supported the idea and were willing to work with me to try and make it a reality. Over the course of the past year and a half we’ve met with just about every manufacturer. We’ve met with tons of museums and there was no one who said, “Boy, that’s a bad idea. Who’d want to go see that?” In the United States, we have a teacup museum in this country. We have string museum. We have barbed wire museum and yet the guitar remains underrepresented and not necessarily underrepresented, completely unrepresented.
Rick: Yeah, it seems to me it’d be nice to be able to get some guitars on loan and put it consolidated into one site.
HP: And we’ve been working very closely with Guitar Center, because they realize that the history of guitars is important. It’s important to their business now, but the older people get, especially those of us who really grew up on guitar in the late ’60s, ’70s or ’80s, the environment has changed so much that you don’t get that sort of immediate guitar impact that you got back then when you were either opening up a gate-fold album cover and seeing the band in full living color, or the posters that used to come in vinyl albums. Or even the early days of MTV, where you had a ton of hard rock and metal players, where you would see the guitarist front and center, those kinds of things that are part of our musical DNA, or perhaps generational DNA right now.
Rick: I think the closest thing we have is probably YouTube.
HP: Yeah, exactly. And classic rock is hugely popular in large part due to Guitar Hero and Rock Band. For kids to actually see and be exposed to the people, the instruments and the music that created that, I think is important, not only from an educational and entertainment perspective, but also sort of as we preserve the guitar in all its glory, and I do mean all its glory.
The guitar, in my mind, is still the finest thing ever crafted by human hands, at least in terms, I’m not gonna say better than medicine and stuff, but I think in terms of music and entertainment. I think the guitar has not only changed the world for our generation, but it’s been changing the world for the last 100 some odd years.
Rick: I think with the opening up of China we’ll see it expand even more.
HP:Like Japan before it, China has a huge appreciation for American culture and one of the things I realized when I first started looking into the possibility of creating a museum was how many companies ranging from Coca Cola to AT&T to the U.S. Olympics integrated an electric guitar somewhere into their advertising or marketing campaigns, whether it was through a television ad or a logo or seeing a print ad of somebody playing a guitar and drinking a Coke or whatever.
The guitar has just been insinuated into so much of what our culture presents, and especially the electric guitar, that other countries, or other cultures like China and Japan, because they sort of adopt many American, the best and worst of American culture, the guitar is almost unavoidable for them.
Rick: It reminds me of the Coors beer commercials with Les Paul. Do you remember those?
HP:Yeah. And you know, before that Michelob did Eric Clapton. You listen to any car commercial and it’s got a searing, unless it’s something classical, it’s got some searing, shredding solo as you’re seeing the car bounce off road and cut through the mud and tear through sleet and snow, this soundtrack is one that’s driven by guitars. It’s not pianos and cellos. It’s hard, heavy guitar and the guitar’s up front.
I think, was it the Winter Olympics that was the past one? If you went to the AT&T site, I think AT&T was the sponsor, the logo for the Olympic Village to find out all the updates on the athletes performances and stuff showed snowy mountains with a guitar that was in there along with the skyline, sort of a Strat-shaped body, to show kind of the hip, youth-oriented, here’s what’s goin’ on behind the scenes. They’re gonna party. They’re gonna train. They’re gonna get together.
Having the guitar right in the logo was a shocking thing to me in that it no longer meant that the guitar was ever something you were like adding on. It’s something you’re integrating and especially with corporate America and the Olympics. The guitar resonates with so many people at so many different levels that you almost can’t go wrong talking about or showing a guitar. Anything could probably be sold with a good guitar soundtrack and a good-looking guy or girl playing a guitar in a commercial.
Rick: Yeah, that’s probably true. As you were speaking, I was remembering that Neil Young had a song out. I think it was called “This Bud’s For You.”
HP: Oh, yeah. That was when he did the Flaming Pinks and it was his whole thing about American rock bands selling out and how Budweiser or Anheuser-Busch, rather, were appropriating the trappings of American culture, especially rock ‘n’ roll and guitars, which Neil was certainly the generation where he expected that that should be sacrosanct and not used for such purposes.
Rick: Except for Frank Zappa who said, “We’re only in it for the money.”
HP: Yeah, and you’ve got people like Gene Simmons who say, “Yeah, we’re a sell out. We sell out every night at Boston Garden and Madison Square Gardens.”
Rick: Yeah, and buy this Gene Simmons doll.
HP: And the Gene Simmons axe and the KISS coffin and everything else.
The Business Side of The National GUITAR Museum
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Rick: With the National GUITAR Museum, there’s got to be a director and you must be the guy. What experiences give you that background to get everybody of strategically aligned for a long period of time?
HP: Let’s see, I started out as the oldest of eight kids. I guess that’s a good start.
Rick: There you go.
HP: A number of things, not only being the editor-in-chief of Guitar Magazine, which got me ready for the culture, the musical instrument culture. By that I mean both the people who are creating the music and getting to know the musicians, but also getting to know the manufacturers and sort of finding out how the industry works.
We’re a very small industry as you well know. Everybody either knows of or knows everyone else personally. It’s almost like this huge, small town when you talk about PRS and Gibson and Fender and Ibanez and Martin and Yamaha and the small luthiers, or smaller luthiers. Everybody seems to know everyone else, so I understand how the industry goes with that.
When I left Guitar, I went to work for a company called United News, which is a multinational company headquartered in London, and was brought in to publish their magazines. One of the magazines that they owned at the time was Guitar Player, even though I didn’t oversee Guitar Player, I oversaw part of that same group.
When I to work for United Business, the division I worked for, I was hired as an executive in the division that included Guitar Player. I knew all those guys there, but the person who oversaw it was one of my peers. I continued my relationship with guitars, but from a higher vantage point, or higher corporate standpoint, meaning I was working for a company that had several thousand people. We had international businesses. We had several hundred magazines, but beyond that what we had was conferences, exhibitions, festivals and trade shows.
Part of my duties there was working with those people internationally to get a sense of how the company as a whole could integrate magazines and events. I easily, I shouldn’t say easily, I eventually moved from the publishing side to the events side where I was working on hosting everything from concerts and business conferences to guest speakers and satellite broadcasts. In doing all that, it really was a good separation on how to put together an event, or a series of events, because our touring exhibitions were a series of events.
Rick: Sure.
HP: How to put those together in a way that made them really an exciting experience for anybody who’s attending. That went from everybody from, in my experience, business leaders in the fashion industry on to teenagers who wanted to come hear some local band in concert. We were putting those kinds of events on back and forth.
Over the course of four, I guess six years, I really got a lot of exposure to how to put together an exciting experience for a wide group of people. Putting that experience together with the knowledge of the guitar industry and having worked in the guitar industry, they lent themselves very well to taking the guitar and building elements around it that would be exciting for everyone involved.
I mean visitors, sponsors, patrons, attendees, anybody who wanted to be part of it and we’re experiencing that right now in our online community on Facebook. Our first official announcement was August 17. Before August 17, without ever making an announcement on the museum, we had over 13,000 Facebook fans.
Rick: Amazing.
HP: Yeah, so it’s something, as I said earlier, that resonates with a lot of people and as long as you give them something that keeps them thinking, “This is really interesting to me and I want to be part of it.” Whether it’s to check it every day on Facebook, or get in their car and go drive to see it at a local museum or local venue, or at some point in the future they decide they want to take a vacation to see the permanent museum, spend a day or two wandering around that, which is the core. That’s at the heart of our design of the National Guitar Museum, to really create an engaging experience.
2011 National GUITAR Museum Nation-wide Tour
Rick: For the national tour that you’re looking at next year, 2011, are you expecting or looking to have well-known celebrities at every maybe major town, who actually may be local to there?
HP: As we begin to schedule the tour, and we start with Orlando in the summer of 2011, we’ll be working with not only our board of advisors, who include people like Steve Vai, Ritchie Blackmore, Steve Howe, Johnny Winter and Leona Boyd, not only working with those people, but also working with other guitarists who we know to either have them come in and give clinics and solo performances. And I’m talking about people from as diverse a background as George Lynch in his heavy metal shred years to Pete Hutlinger, who’s got the great finger style.
Those are the kinds of events we want to have in every city, so that not only are people coming to the location, to the venue to experience our exhibition, learn about the guitar, experience the guitar and enjoy the guitar over the course of their stay, but also to make each stop that we make in every city be something of a guitar event so that we can rope in local talent. We can rope in national talent and have at least, over the course of a couple of months, some really interesting guitar, I want to call them events, but they’re more than that. They would be everything from performances to talks.
Rick: Sort of an experience, like Paul Reed Smith has his annual Experience PRS trade show.
HP: Right, exactly. You do that and you have people who are knowledgeable talk. You have collectors come in and show their collection. You have nights where you can bring in the weekend warriors who just want to come in and talk about the guitars they’ve loved and lost perhaps, and have an evening gathering where people can really just get together to appreciate the guitar.
Those kinds of events will be built up around each venue in a way that we think extends not only the actual exhibition itself, but makes it kind of this ongoing guitar mini-festival. Festival’s kind of a big word, but if we bring in enough interesting guitar things so that when we come through town, people will know that there are guitar happenings going on.
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    you know all about the Giant Squid and thus will be quite intrigued by HP Newquist’s Here There Be Monsters: The Legendary Kraken and the Giant Squid. .