I am one lucky bastard. I won a VIP ticket to the Warwick Open Day 2014, and it was waaay cool…and I am gonna tell you one thing: I dare to say there is no such event on the whole world.
Just to give you an impression about the atmposhere of this event, let me tell describe you some situations you won’t experience anywhere in the world: you are just amazed that Steve Bailey is chatting with Antonella Mazza just a few meters away and while you stare at them (sort of politely) you accidentally bump into Divinity Roxx. Okay, you get yourself together and want to get a drink and relax.. and T.M. Stevens is just sitting there at one of the tables. While you’re out of your mind, Rob Trujillo walks over to get to the Meet’n’Greet event, where Alphonso Johnson is just coming from. You’re freaked out and go to the toilet, where you briefly meet the Wooten brothers during handwashing (they will play a concert in like 5 minutes). During the Wooten brothers concert, you can see a few guys on the balcony. Andy Irvine is there, wasshappening, and just next to them Bobby Vega is rocking out in earplugs, and he’s having a chat with a tall guy… hm, yeah, it is Jerry Jemmott! Hm, i know that face as well… Chuck Rainey! Later, Chester Thompson joins them, never mind. Still getting your mind togeter, after the insane concert you go to the Warwick Music Hall, and suddenly Evan Brewer is there, playing some bass for BassTheWorld.
Get the vibe? The VIP party was even crazier. How often do you pick some salad between Gary Willis, Adam Nitti or Norwood Fisher? How often does Andy Irvine tell you about his sweet mule, Jenny? How often do you see Bobby Vega, Chuck Rainey, Jerry Jemmott, Alphonso Johnson and Chester Thompson sitting at one table? How often do Steve Bailey, Vic Wooten, Jonas Hellborg, Stu Hamm, Alphonso Johnson play music for your after your little dinner ?
You see, the atmosphere is just like that. Friendly, open and mindblowing. The open day is usually the final day of the Warwick Bass Camp, so most of the guys (artists, Warwick Crew) seemed a bit tired but they are still nice and kind with you, giving what they can …you can go over to anyone, have a chat, ask ANYTHING, make a selfie. I have to say, it is almost too much, too many good things happening at the same time and you are paralized for some time because you cannot really choose which great thing to do, which great person to talk to. 🙂
Andy Irvine Band, The Wooten brothers, Mass Mental with Rob Trujillo and Armand Sabal-Lecco, Nik West Band. We were lucky enough to arrive around the Wooten bros concert and when you listen to those guys, you are never dissapointed – Regi, Victor and Adam (Vic’s son!) were rocking everybody’s asses with their funk-rooted soul. Their freedom and playfulness still and always amazes me! Want so see a cool solo with a 10K bass thrown into the air? Go and see it. Mass Mental was just a serious rockout – luckily for us, it was a delayed, since Benji had a concert over on Isle of Wright – so we could check in in our neat hotel with a view on the beautiful German landscape. But that concert. It blew your face off, and even Bobby Vega rocked to it 😉 Rob Trujillo’s heavy sound and fingers made it rumble, Stevie Salas is guitar god and Armand Sabal-Lecco is a showmaster – for me, he stole the show – he was thumpin that Alembic to death and it sounded soo good. I definetely recommend his CD Positive Army, you can listen to what this guy is capable of – amazing musician and bassist. We missed the Nik West concert but the VIP jam was really fun – Gary Willis, Steve Bailey, Jonas Hellborg, Vic Wooten, Alphonso Johnson and Chester Thompson released their last energies to us and closed the amazing day.
The factory and the HQ is just from another world – it is high-tech and environmental friendly in the middle of a beautiful countryside area around the German -Czech border. They are really aiming at making the perfect bass by perfecting all the little details. As you may now, Warwick is the first factory in the music industry where the whole operation is absolutely carbon-neutral and self-sustaining. Basically there is no waste here: any wood that is not perfect for instrument making is either becoming heating material or floor-pank (mm, i could imagine bubinga floor at home). The Factory Tour was a bit hasty since there were really a lot of people but we were shown all the stages of the adventurous birth of an instrument – from the block of wood stage to the shipment stage 🙂 Warwick serious about quality a wood is dried for many years, sometimes even decades before it gets used for an instrument – to get the perfect humidity, there is a drying machine which will ensure the proper ratio before the wood can become an instrument. Then it will be cut to blocks and then glued together – the quality check is very strict, if there major imperfections in the wood it will go to the heating 🙂 The blocks of necks and bodies will go through a series modern high-precision machines (5 direction wood-carving machine, invisible fret machine) and then hand-refined and assembled later. When the neck is percetly matched with a body, it will go to the UV -lacquering machine which while being more environmentally friendly is finished and dried quicker than the usual methods. At the final stage, pickups, electronics are installed and the instuments are setup before shipping to one of their customers. Be sure to check the gallery below, you will see that during the production process, there is a balance of high-tech machinery and very careful and scrutinous handwork.
The Music Hall
Beside being a professional concert hall, that’s Bass Porn squared. Just what you can imagine in one of your (bass related) wet dreams – be sure to check the gallery below later. Think of a high-end brand and you’ll find it on the wall among the basses (okay, I did not find Laklands or Yamahas but they are my fetish and I am sure, next year I’ll find some :P) or among the amps. You’ll see Foderas (yep, three currently), Sadowskys, Custom Shop Fenders, Musicmans, Ibanez, Markbass, TC electronics, Ampeg, EBS etc…I think this initiaitve is also a unique and great gesture – sure Warwick builds great basses but they are not the only one company – acknowledging that and opening their minds and doors to any brand or player so people can try and compare well-made instruments and really find the one that is really speaking to them – that’s way beyond cool. And of course, as they say, if you can dream it, they can build it for you – so after you tried all basses and got all your favorite features, the factory is just around the corner 😉
So, did i make you excited about this great event? I guess, it is probably time for you to locate Markneukirchen on the map and get some holiday next September, dig?
Some pictures for you guys to enjoy!