YOU DID SAY “ THE LONGER THE STORY -THE BETTER “
Well here goes.
From 1985 till 2015 I was the owner of R&B Music , Aberdeen ,
alongside my partner Ross. R&B Music - Ross and Bill.
In about 1989/90 we became the sole importers to the U.K. of Valley
Arts guitars. How 2 numbskulls from the North of Scotland did this , I
still wonder about. We were young , bold and excited about the music
industry and worshipped the ground that Luke and Larry walked on. And
most importantly we were treated seriously and kindly by Martin Miranda,
Mike McGuire , Al Carness and later on Mike Replogle , their sales
manager and a lovely guy.
So after several visits to the Valley Arts facility in North Hollywood ,
we ordered our first batch of what were hard to come by guitars , went
back to Scotland and awaited their arrival. We were blown away when they
arrived and so went on to what was from then on a fantastic relationship
with what was really “ the Valley Arts Family “ more than anything.
Martin came to stay with us in Aberdeen several times, we had many
dinners with Martin , Mike and Al in Frankfurt , L.A. , and Scotland.
And Ross and I were treated to the 2 most memorable gigs of our lives by
the Valley Arts team , at the Baked Potato in North Hollywood. I will
add a couple of pics later. Ross and I were on another of our visits to
the V. A. facility. Martin knew of our near worship of Steve Lukather.
He just dropped into the conversation , “ hey guys , Luke is playing
tonight and tomorrow at the Baked Potato , do fancy going to see him ? “
WHAT !!!!!!!! Next minute he’s on the phone -“ hey , Luke , I’ve got my
2 guys from the UK over. Would you pop them on your guest list for
tonight and tomorrow ? “ And so , Ross and I sat 6 feet in front of Luke
, Jimmy Johnson , Mike Landau , Jeff Porcaro , Carlos Vega , David
Garfield and others , for 2 nights. The 2 best gigs of my life !!!
We spent time with Al and Mike , but a lot of time with Martin. One of
the biggest , kindest and most generous guys we ever met.
And so - at last - my Larry Carlton , 48/100. We received 8 Larry
Carltons ( I think it was 8 ) for the whole of the UK. ! Well 6 really
, after 1 for me and 1 for Ross !! The 6 sold easily and I still have
mine. But I’m not a guitar player ! So mine has never been played ,
ever, not even once. It still has the neat Valley Arts fret guard on the
neck , under the strings. I have taken it out of its case to photograph
and that’s it. Its pristine. It is currently waiting patiently for my
son to hit either 18 or 21 ( he is 14 , and a really good player ). He
doesn’t know it exists ( nor the Les Paul Gold Top hidden away as well.)
So , he may get it in a few years time but as I am retiring very soon I
am also realizing the potential of various valuable pieces for my later
years ( a lot of pretty good Lego investments too ). If I get the right
offer for what may be one of the very few NEW , never ever played Valley
Arts Guitars out there , I may sell it , and Sasha can have the Les Paul
and the proceeds of the sale towards his University costs or a van for
his first band.
I loved every minute of my time involved with Valley Arts , and have to
say especially the time we spent with Martin over dozens of dinners and
maybe hundreds of beers in Scotland , Frankfurt and especially LA. One
of the finest guys I ever met , generous to a fault.
Added more pics and story:
The pics I am adding are from the Baked Potato too. The late wonderful
Jeff Porcaro , Will Lee on Bass I seem to remember and a very young
looking Lenny Castro too. And 1 pic of the maestro himself , Mike
McGuire working on a guitar. Plus a couple of shots of the VA workshop.