Hail, Hail, Rock ‘n’ Roll

Mitch with guitar at age 14

Me with a “Strat” at age 14

I often refer to music, especially composing and songwriting, as “my other love.” Like many musicians, I started out playing in bands. And, although I play keyboards a little (mostly when composing and recording), it all began with guitars. To me as a teenager, electric guitars were the most sacred of all objects in the temple of rock ‘n’ roll, and not far behind them were amplifiers–if guitars were the Ten Commandments, amplifiers were the Ark of the Covenant which (very loudly) carried forth their sacred message.

Interestingly, the first electric guitar was patented on this date in 1937. But more importantly, Leo Fender, founder of Fender Instruments, was born on the very same date 28 years earlier in 1909. Leo didn’t invent the electric guitar. But the moment he saw one, he knew it was his destiny. He and his team were the first to figure out how to take electric guitars beyond the limited edition novelty stage to that of affordable, mass produced musical instruments. By the 1960s, Fender guitars, especially the iconic Stratocasters (see photo) and amps had become the universal symbols of rock, the consecrated instruments favored by nearly every “guitar god” in the pop cosmos! (Gibson’s Les Pauls are a close second.)

Even more interestingly (to me), Leo Fender built his factory in Fullerton, California, just minutes away from where I grew up. As a teenager, I would drive by it in reverence. After all, it was my Mecca!

Nowadays, I’m up to my proverbial eyeballs in my other loves, writing and filmmaking. But I still find tremendous satisfaction in writing music and songs for my movies.

One final note: Something even more sacred to me than guitars was “made” in Fullerton, California, just a few years after the first Stratocasters came out:

My wife

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Hail, Hail, Rock ‘n’ Roll

  1. Invisibly Me says:

    I had no idea the electric was patented in ’37. I don’t know what I expected really. I used to have a few friends many years ago back in high school that were very into music and guitars in particular. A couple still play in bands now but we’re out of touch. The one, an amazing bassist, also has a Fender that he utterly adores. I imagine by now he’s got a pretty fancy collection. I think it’s fair to say that the love for music gets in your bones and stays forever, no matter what else changes in your life.

    Such a sweet end to your post! That gets you brownie points 😉

    Caz x

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s a great gift to be able to play and write music. It’s an even greater gift to find that one great person in your life.

    I’ve found that person, but gave up on the violin and piano at age 14 when I and my music teachers discovered that making music wasn’t one of my gifts. Since then I’ve been a solid member of the appreciative audience as I had enough music education to know how difficult it is to do well.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. trE says:

    Wow, Mitch! Look at you! That’s an awesome photo of you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    I look at being to play and write…limited as I am…a gift that will keep giving until I cannot play anymore. I told my son…the more you put into it and the more it will develop and it will never leave you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. How neat! Great photo. 🕊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Aww…such a sweet conclusion, Mitch!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You were very cool! I went to a guitar exhibit at a local museum before Corona hit. My favorite was the air guitar display (an empty hook).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. boromax says:

    As I was reading this post, my playlist brought up “So Into You” from the “Les Paul & Friends: American Made World Played” project. Nice soundtrack for this post. Then, right at the end, Third Day’s “Nothing at All” came on, which begins with an excellent electric guitar intro. Great post, Mitch!! Write on!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My dad played a Fender bass. I’ve played most guitar brands, but Fenders have been my favorite . They just have the right sound for my voice.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. revruss1220 says:

    As the proud owner of a cherry red American, double Humbucker Fender Strat myself, I resonate deeply with this post. Someday I would love to take my writing into the arena of music. It seems so daunting, yet it continues to exert a pull on my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. c.f. leach says:

    Mitch. We have more in common than you know. While reading your story I was reminded of one of the bands I used to sing lead vocals in. Wow thanks for memories. Didn’t play the guitar but thought they were some awesome instruments. For time constraints I won’t mention who my favs are. You look phenom in that pic. The two guitars that were predominant were the Gibsons and Fenders. One of my favs, Stevie Ray Vaughn, played a Stratocaster—so you were in good company. Blessings and Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Whatddya know, Claudia. Would have loved to hear you sing! Yep, Strats and Gibson Les Pauls are the two most iconic lead guitars. I mostly played a Rickenbacker, most famously associated with the Beatles and with the folk rock bands of the 60s and 70s.

      Like

  12. jeffrockwood says:

    Nice post Mitch. Was that photo taken at Allied Artist in La Mirada? I have one of me when I was 12 holding my first guitar which was an acoustic sunburst Gibson. Thanks for your recollections…

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Not sure, Jeff. Was that the place in the La Mirada Shopping Center that offered music lessons? If so, yeah.

      Like

      • jeffrockwood says:

        Yep, that’s the place. I took guitar lessons there. They also gave dance lessons as well.
        P.S.
        Looking forward to NOTZILLA debut on Amazon Prime tomorrow!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • mitchteemley says:

        Aha! I didn’t have the patience to stick with the lessons. They wanted to teach me to read sheet music, and I just wanted to play! So I quit and used the “make-it-up-as-you-go-along” method. But I got a nice photo out of it. Get your roar on, old buddy!

        Like

  13. Sherry says:

    Hi Cuz, Scott wants to know if you still have your Strat?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: Hail, Hail, Rock ‘n’ Roll – Karen O'Brien Country Music

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