After graduating from
college, with a degree in business, I hit the bricks looking for a job. By night,
I san in a hard rock cover band, but by day - unemployed. I found a job wearing
a suit and kissing ass a lot. I soon found I did not fit in, nor did I want
to. By chance, I found myself applying at St. Louis Music - home of Ampeg and
Crate. I got a job in the tolex application department for $5.30 per hour. Seven
years of college down the drain!! I worked in the factory for the next nine
years. I had eventually worked in every department, learning it all from the
bottom up. Woodshop, tolex, final, warehouse, and parts cage are a few departments
I haunted in the old SLM factory. There was a job opening in the R&D Department
for a prototype cabinet builder. I applied, and somehow got the job. I think
it had to do with the fact that I already built custom 412 cabs out of my garage.
Crate and Ampeg had new units constantly coming out so I was always busy. I
was approached by a new artist relations guy named "Doc" to build a leopard
skin amp for Kid Rock. "Doc" and I started in the factory on the same day; he
ended up in A/R. I pimped out a crate V-50 combo with leopard print fur, naked
lady trucker grill, and throwing dice on the knobs. The custom shop was born!
Over the next nine years, I continued building all prototypes for Crate and
Ampeg. The custom shop supporting artist relation is where my heart lies. I
eventually got to build custom rigs for my hero's, met some of them, and seen
a lot of rock shows. I took on the responsibility without being paid extra;
it was more a labor of love. It must be noted that I took a lot of heat from
management. To them, it was all a waste of time. We had an "ampshack" backstage
at the amphitheater in St. Louis. Between prototypes and customs, I worked the
backstage music store supporting "Doc" and Ted Kornbloom. I build all displays,
painted, cleaned, whatever was needed. This was a good time because we had a
P.A. and drums setup. We could always get a roadie jam or something cooking.
I met lots of big name artists back here. Some cool, some dicks. After Warp
Tour and Ozzfest, parties would rage until 3 a.m. with live
jams (some good, some not). St. Louis Music was sold to Loud Technology.
During this transition, my prototyping slowed down, yet customs picked up. I
was so busy, I didn't really notice the change. Eventually, I worked almost
full time for Artists Relations from R&D. At a meeting one day, we were informed
that the R&D Department was closing. I was given severance and let go. Artist
Relations soon found no one to do customs and tech support for "Doc". Once again,
I found myself doing custom cabinets and rigs. I was almost positive it was
the Home Depot for me!! I knew what I needed to start a shop, so I went and
bought it. Now, I work out of my own shop. Besides working for Ampeg, I have
other contacts from my St. Louis Music days. I build prototypes for about five
different companies, and still offer support for Ampeg Artist Relations. Ted
Kornbloom and Steve "Doc" Dachroden have since left Ampeg. I got to see and
do things people only dream about because of these guys and St. Louis Music.
The work was hard, but I thin we had fun? This company, Bob's Custom Amps, is
the next phase. I did all this cool stuff, it's what I like, so what the hell?!?
Hopefully, someday, I'll build a custom amp for you -----------