Bought me a Stratocaster
put it in tune
Started singing with the “Devines”
the next afternoon.
Became “Shayne and The Rebel Raiders.”
a real rockin’ band
But when we morphed to the Phantoms
we had a lot more fans
Elvis turned me on to guitars, but Buddy Holly played the one I wanted. (pictured above) When Lowe’s Music in Winnipeg told me that it was called a Fender Stratocaster, and said that they could have one for me in about two weeks, my heart soared. When they told me though that it cost $473.00, that was the end of that magic moment. Man, I wanted that guitar, but where the hell was a kid like me gonna come up with that kinda dough?
However, Lowe’s saved the day by taking my trumpet in on trade and putting me on their $14 a month payment plan. You have no idea how excited I was when the music store called to say that my Fender Stratocaster was in. Before long, there I was at Lowe’s in front of a mirror strapping on my new Strat and staring back at me from that same mirror, was a “Rock Star.”
The next thing I did was buy a couple of guitar books and spend hours and hours down on my basement bedroom, trying to learn a few chords. However, I soon learned that dreaming about becoming a “guitar man” was a lot easier than learning how to be one because so far, all I had to show for my efforts were bleeding fingers.
While toiling in my bedroom struggling with my new guitar for hours at a time, out of the blue, I received a surprise phone call from a singer named Shayne, of Shayne and the Devines. He invited me to join his group, and within weeks of becoming one of the “Divines”, there I was on stage in a talent show and a Cam Winders dance, where even though I still couldn’t play my guitar, I became a professional musician, because they paid us.
I was unplugged at the beginning of my musical career as I was when it ended at the Winnipeg Convention Center some 30 years later. I had returned to Winnipeg for a reunion with my band The Jury along with The Guess Who, BTO, and Neil Young, but that is another story for another time.
When I bought my Fender Stratocaster in 1958, (pictured above) I had no idea that it would turn out to be one of my better investments. Upon hearing that you should rid yourself of anything you haven’t used in six months, I realized that I hadn’t even seen my guitar, let alone played it in ten years, so I sold it to Randy Bachman. (The Guess Who & BTO).
While putting the deal together with Randy, he mentioned that Neil Young had recently told him when they were touring together, “George had one of the first cool guitars in Winnipeg.” Seeing as the value of a ’58 “Strat” is all over the place, Randy and I settled on a price somewhere in the middle.
Unfortunately, though Randy is now pissed at me because when he bought my guitar he didn’t realize that I had it refurbished in 1965 which he claims diminishes the value. I guess like a car, you should never sell a guitar to a friend.