I’ve always wanted a Les Paul Junior.  Single P-90 pickup in a mahogany slab body.  It’s the Telecaster of the Gibson world.  Or, the Esquire, I suppose.  Anyway, it’s a bad-ass rock and roll instrument, and I wanted one.  So when an Internet forum member that I knew lived nearby put a cheapie sunburst Epiphone Junior up for sale I jumped on it pretty quick.

It probably wasn’t the smartest purchase I’ve ever made — body and headstock beat to hell, cheap electronics and tuners that make me extremely nervous.  I probably could’ve found one on Craigslist for a few bucks less, but this was an fast, cheap and easy transaction from a guy I know and trust, so I went ahead and brought it home.

The previous owner had swapped out the original cheap plastic nut with a Graph Tech TUSQ replacement.  It was certainly an upgrade, but the nut itself required a bit of sanding and filing that hadn’t been done.  (In fact, noodling around on this guitar with the unsanded nut for a week gave me a nasty case of tendinitis that didn’t go away for a few months.  Man, I hate being old.)  Luckily, the nut came out with just a few taps of a hammer and a flathead screwdriver, and, after a couple rounds of sanding, a tiny dollop of glue, a tweak on the truss rod and a new set of strings, Junior was ready to go!

Just in time, too.  Los Padres are scheduled to play the KIP fundraiser this March.  I gave Junior a spin at last week’s rehearsal and I think I like it.  If it holds up over the next few weeks I might just keep the tele tuned to Open G and only bring it out for select numbers.  We’ll see.


This September I had the opportunity to play out again with my old friends from the the KIP Dad Band at the St. Francis of Assisi Fall Festival.  At first I begged out, since Simon had an out-of-town soccer tournament scheduled for that weekend, but it occurred to me that I really only get to play guitar and use all of my home-made effects pedals once or twice a year max.  This would be worth making a three-hour round trip.

Our pal Butch is still recovering from back surgery and was not available to play drums, so Adam invited his friend Brad to sit in, and he was a delight to play with.  Here are Vichan and I rocking out at Adam’s house.


One of my favorite parts of playing out is putting together a pedal board.  Mine was a full two-thirds DIY this year, only because I hadn’t had time to finish my JMK Super Phaser.


From front to back that’s a Madbean Sparklehorn (delay and overdrive for leads), an MXR Phase 90, a Madbean Pork Barrel chorus (Boss CE-2 clone), a Madbean Lavache (Lovepedal Les Lius derivative for Cinnamon Girl), a Madbean Ego Driver (Fulltone OCD derivative for my normal “dirt channel”) and a Boss TU-2 tuner.

And here is the whole band, Los Padres del Rock, on stage in the St. Francis courtyard.  It was a perfect night — great weather and a fantastic crowd!


Want proof?  Here’s a little bit of Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl”.  My low D string is a bit flat, but do you think something like that would bother Neil?

Oh, and Tim is using SHO-TIME!, my Z.Vex SHO booster clone for his solo.  I think it sounds pretty sweet.

I got to strap on the telecaster (and haul out the pedalboard) for the annual Keneseth Israel Preschool fundraiser party last weekend.  This year’s theme was “Sock Hop”, so the Dad Band put together a set of 14 rock’n’roll oldies.  My personal highlights were playing the harmonica on “Not Fade Away”, singing lead on “La Bamba”, and faking my way through the guitar solos on “Slow Down” and “Rock Around the Clock”.  As usual, I had a fantastic time rocking with the Dads.

KIP Sock Hop Band

Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On

Everything went great until I went to take a solo on “Johnny B. Goode”, stomped on my boost pedal, dug in and heard…nothing.  My first assumption was that the booster had stopped working, so I clicked it off, but still nothing.  I turned around to check the amp (a rental Blues Jr.) and the lamp was flickering wildly on and off.  Imagining a grounding fault or a short, I started to panic — I don’t want to die playing a Blues Jr.!   I switched it off and back on again.  Still nothing.  Luckily there were three other guitarists picking up the slack, so I just killed the amp, mimed along and tried to look cool for the remainder of the tune.



So ever since I pushed the new matthewwhitworth.com site into production Jessica has been bugging me about whether or not it was getting any hits. Although I kept telling her that I was giving it time and didn’t expect anything for quite a while, I was actually checking the web server logs much more frequently than I care to admit.

A few days ago I had done the old “google yourself” trick and was shocked at how much my sabbatical had caused me to drop off the Internet radar. I haven’t posted to Usenet or the Debian mailing lists for years.  My old web page had been down for months during the crash, and the content had been dormant for over a year. Really, what did I expect?

Anyway, about 10 minutes after Jessica checked in last night, I went to give my email one last perusal before bed (I wasn’t watching the logs — I promise) and sure enough, there was the first mail from my new Contact page, from old middle/high school associate Jay V. So that was cool — I hadn’t heard from him in almost 20 years. And since he was the first person to get in touch with me via the new site, he won an MP3 of “Barbed Wire”, a song by my first band, Sacrilegious Toejam. More on that later….