The BEGINNINGS of TEYE-GUITARS
In 2004, I was touring and recording together with my flamenco dancer wife. My wife and I both came from the world of rock music, me as electric guitarist and she as a drummer. We than had an exciting and successful career in performing and recording Flamenco music, me playing the guitar, and my wife dancinc and playing the ‘Cajon’, the typical rectangular ‘flamenco drum’. We performed on average 3, 4 times a week in Texas, and many other states of the USA, as well as in Mexico, Canada, the Virgin Islands (where we had a yearly string of shows every January, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Turkey and Italy, and in 2004 we started a rock band ‘on the side’ just for fun’. My wife played her brand new electric drum kit and I played my trusty two Zemaitis guitars (Custom-built TONY ZEMAITIS, not the Japanese factory guitars!) a 1993 Pearl Front and a 1994 Engraved Metal Front) and our new bass player said “You know what these are worth now?!? When I found out the actual real prices (Tony had passed away in 2002 and prices had gone up considerably) I saw that I really should not play those guitars in smoky bars and long tours… So just then, the Japanese had started the ‘Zemaitis factory made authorized copies’ and now I had to pay more for a Jap than I had paid for the real thing?!? No, thank you!
I had just built a real tube overdrive, and a couped up souped up VOX AC-15-type combo amp and had gotten cocky: “I’ll just build one myself!” So I ordered wood, aluminum, well the works.
November 20, 2004. The first aluminum parts for my new project guitar come in.I was no stranger to ‘just making it myself’, so with good confidence I started this build. I was using a truckbed-trailer for a workshop, bought a drillpress and a Dremel tool (my first of many) and simply started. I started off with a Warmoth neck, saving myself a lot of time and headaches. Please note the start date: November 20, 2004 because THAT is the day that Teye-Guitars actually started, because EVERYTHING evolved from that ‘000’-guitar.
Many weeks/hours later, I put in the pickups and strung her up. I fired up my amp, plugged her in and could not believe my ears! Remember, I still had both my real Tont Zemaitis guitars there to compare, which both had compared favorably to my 1957 Les Paul Goldtop (so I had sold that one)
This is also the moment when I first developed my Mood-knob. This magnificent guitar, that I still today use on-stage and that we now refer to as the ‘000’ or ‘Triple-oh’ had her stage debut on Halloween of that year -well actually it was the Saturday just before, being a weekend night. So Saturday October 29th, 2004-, at the barn where the Texas Chainsaw Massacre was filmed. Our bass player said: “If you have that I cannot see you ever wanting another guitar again”.
Well he was wrong, of course! This guitar I had built as a copy of my Metal Front Zemaitis, and as ‘Hommage to Tony Zemaitis’, so with certain outlines and restrictions. Pretty much that same weekend I decided to build another one, without any restrictions, pretty much a ‘boy in the toy store’ guitar: EVERYTHING and ANYTHING I wanted or could dream of, I would incorporate in that second guitar, and I did. Lots of ‘designing’ and planning was done in the local Starbucks store where they had an outside area, that is where I let my dogs – and my imagination – run free over countless cups of espresso!
This is also where I started my infamous (and coffee-stained) list of Bitchings: summing up all flaws in all guitars I’d ever had or played, in order to NOT have those on my ‘boy-in-the-toystore-guitar!
THAT guitar became my very first ‘La India’ guitar. I started actual work on her on May 2, 2006. THAT guitar was finished on May 31st 2006, I’m going by the dates on the pictures I took of the making process, and made her stage debut during the ‘Willie-Warmup event on July 6, 2006, in Carl’s Corner, Texas USA, in a theater owned by Willie Nelson,
behind the gas station, near the site of the very first ‘Willie Nelson 4th of July picknick’. The making of these guitars’ was all me completely by myself in my ‘workshop’, alho I did most of the cutting in my yard, when the weather peritted, my truckbed-campertop was just a little too small, I had to do my drilling on my knees, there was no room for a convenient spot for the drill press…
This is also more or less when Evert ‘came on board’, bringing to the table absolutely nothing to the guitar design but more than anything organizational talent and contacts. Plus a great talent for bullshitting people, including myself, so it would turn out.
Evert insists to this day that ‘We started this together’ but that, is just more bullshit, as is visible from these photos. Altho it also depends on your point of view: Teye Guitars, are those GUITARS, or is it a CORPORATION?
And here it gets ugly: Evert, with evermore glorious visions of him as the big CEO of a real guitar company, started putting signatures under documents and pretty soon we were gobbled up by a team of very savvy investors from Dallas, from whom we were saved (rescued?) by a team of investors from the Netherlands.
So then I got weaseled out of my own company on October 29, 2019 at 10AM in a phone call from our ‘temporary CEO’ ‘the Irish investor’ Evert was all too eager to write a new ‘agreement’ for me, therewith making himself ‘#1 in Teye-guitars’ which from that moment on built guitars ‘according to Teye;s specs’ or perhaps more accurately to the designs stolen from an unsuspecting Teye.
It is heartwarming to read Evert’s WhatsApp on the subject:
Yes indeed, I thought Evert was my friend and business partner, so I shared my inventions, and my files with him. His comment on the matter is pretty much self-explanatory. So hence my new nick-name ‘Limp Dick’.
Very cleverly, my new contract prohibits me to give my opinion on the guitars made in Nashville that bear my name, neither in privare nor in public. So you can draw your own conclusions from this story.