Earlier in 2013 I get an email from the USA enquiring about one of my guitars. Nothing Unusual you say, seeing as I get emails from all over the world asking about the Ali Katz, except three months later another email from the same people this time they were ready to order an Ali Kat.This was for the Dynamic frontman that is none other than Josh "The Pitbull of Blues" Rowand.
This High energy Florida Trio has been prowling across the Southern US for many years. The Pitbull of Blues band are regulars on the festival circuit, and very well known throughout the region for their fun-loving mix of traditional and original authentic blues. So When Josh's wife Marie contacted me and told me all this I was pretty excited as were they about having the first hand crafted aluminium Ali Kat Guitar in the USA. Yes an Ali Kat was heading to the states, and to a multi award winning blues guitarist.
There was a twist though, The red hot drummer in the band Ritchie Corricelli, had been given as a gift by Josh and Marie a Gretsch drum kit that was influenced by the 57 Chevrolet Belair, the colour was also based on the old 50s GM colours we love so much about those old cars.
Marie said, I would like to get in his hands by Christmas,a custom made 1957 Chevy Ali Kat to match the Drummers kit. Josh Hits hard with his stunning guitar work, leading crowds through a repertoire of ALL that is blues and more, Marie added.
When I caught up with Josh to talk Techy about his guitar, it was clear he knew exactly what he wanted and how it would sound. He sent me a set of Seymour Duncans with a Tele style Hot Rail middle pickup.He asked for a 5 way switch controlled by just one volume and one tone, and if that wasn't all, two tripple shot pick up surrounds that will switch between the phases on the neck and bridge set up, with of course a Bigsby. I said as this is a custom made signature kind of model, we will add his name to it.
From what Josh had asked for, I knew i was going to fall in love with it when it was done, so I decided to make two. After I made the second body, I changed my mind and decided to make another worlds first, the 57 Chevy Pitbull Bass.This also caught the eye of The Bass player in the band, Deny Rowand, Josh's Fatherr.
As it was getting very close to Christmas, both Chevy guitars were painted by my regular paint and airbrush genius, Troy Craddock owner of ND Refinishers here in Adelaide, but we were having some issues with wiring her up. Finally with only 2 days to Christmas I got the guitar into probably Adelaide's finest guitar tech, Peter Jenkins, aka Dr. Guitar. With in excess of 10,000 guitars under his belt he was obviously the man to get this guitar wired and set up ready to go. When I collected it Peter gladly gave a demonstration of its switches and knobs, and I was totally blown away. This baby had more tonal ranges than a dozen guitars, It had that original warm Gretsch sound, and yet the bite of a Fender, close your eyes it could of been a Gibson or anything you wanted it to be. Peter said he was gratefull to have had the chance to set it up,not as gratefull as I was that's for sure.
As I had missed the deadline, and Marie had said it's ok, better to be a bit late but know it is ready to rock, it gave me a bit of time to get the promo shots of it done.
First though on the way back from Peter's I popped in on our own living iconic American Blues Hall of FAme Inductee "Chris Finnen". Chris was a tad un easy at first as like all guitarists, it is someone elses baby.. I said I just wanted to know it played ok before it goes, so he had a quick play and loved it.
Next was to get the photos done, so for Two matching Pitbull Chevy guitars, I was going to require two matching sassy girlz. Easy ! having caught up recently with local Adelaide band Raunchy Sugar,after they played a couple of Ali Kat guitars,I asked if the two lead vocalists would be kind enough to do a photo shoot...
Raunchy Sugar formed in late 2012 as a fill in band for a few gigs Michael needed covered after a band he was in the "Jump daddy's" had to stop because of a illness the singer was facing.
Ian the guitarist had contacted Michael a few weeks before saying he'd like to start a band with him, Madz was having singing lessons from Jessica so Michael knew she would be great for the band and Andy the drummer was already working with Michael in other bands. Raunchy Sugar started as a 4 piece band - singer (Jessica Reed), bass player (Michael Winter), guitarist (Ian lehmann) & drummer (Andy) .
The singer Jess fell pregnant in late 2012, so my daughter Madz started filling in for gigs and learning all of Jess' rep so she could fill in whilst Jess was on maternity leave.
This then led to the two girls singing together - they were able to work in harmonies & moves which really entertained the audiences. Jess & Madz wear matching outfits and have the "bad girl vibe" complete with lots of attitude & a rockin' sound- which really puts a spin on our music and makes people come back for more.
Raunchy Sugar started off with some soul & rockabilly and a bit of blues. It took as a while to find our sound which now runs between the funky 70s, soulful 60s and the rockin' 50s.
One of the best parts about Raunchy Sugar is it pulls dancers, they have a jivin' rock & roll dancing crowd that follow us to gigs and tears up the dance floor with their wicked moves. Many of our fans just come to watch the dancers dance to our music. People love their Raucous sound.
One of the best photo shoots I have done, with the matching 57 Chevy Guitar courtey of Billy Peel, and thank you also to Aldinga Aerodrome for the use of their Tiger Moth Aircraft. Many people get rejected when they ask to use them for photographic shoots. So we were very privelaged. I also took advantage while we were there and took some shots of the Ali Kat Bat wing and The Lucky 13 Devil, which are both for sale and unique.
This Set up was the idea of Josh Rowand, so in his honour this will be our DELUXE model, not necessary the identical pickups, but with a 3 pick up set up and tripple shots. the Pitbull Deluxe, is out top of the range Chev Guitar. and is available to order.
The Story Behind The Deluxe Pitbull 57 Chevy Guitars
The Writing's on the wall!Josh The Pitbull of Blues Rowand, takes the Pitbull Signature Chev to Gracelands,
The most Deluxe Model 57 Chevy Ali Kat Guitar has now been sent to the USA. The First ever Ali Kat to the states. Josh The Pitbull of Blues Rowand has the top of the range Deluxe Ali Kat Chev... fitted with 3 Seymour Duncans, this sound will blow you away, SERIOUSLY ! There are around 17 totally different sounding guitars here in one.
Pitbull Chevy Photo Shoot with Raunchy Sugar Girls HERE
Josh "The Pitbull of Blues" Rowand on his Kustom Built Signature 57 Chevy Guitar, representing the state of Florida, competing in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis Tennessee.(pictures Mikel Samel)