Over the weekend, social networks were all a buzz with talks about Kirk Hammett, guitarist of Metallica. Kirk has started a new pedal company called KHDK where he partnered up with David Karon to “shake up the effects pedal world”
The controversy started with the Music Radar article – “Kirk Hammett and David Karon talk KHDK guitar pedals“, which discusses their new pedals and plans for the future. But what ruffled feathers was the following quote:
We’re all very inspired and very, very excited about this. I think it’s the first time you’ll see a pedal company actually being driven by an actual guitar player, like Tom Scholz and Rockman – I really don’t know of any other guitar players out there who are actually making pedals.
This quote was a pretty much idiotic quote. I would say about 99% of pedal builders out there play guitar. So the question to Kirk might be “What is an actual guitar player?” Pro musician? Shredder? Virtuoso? A player that can play Metallica riffs? What?
So this got people riled up. There are many fantastic builders out there that were personally and professionally offended by this, and then the memes came. One sentence to isolate and separate himself and his new company from an entire community of pedal builders out there.
But in the end, was this just another example of Trump-ification of a situation? Where a an obvious bad situation just turns into massive promotion and advertisements? I was thinking about the community of builders out there. It’s a fantastic community. A group of extremely hard working and passionate builders, scratching to make a living and working hard to create something that others can use artistically.
The difference, Kirk probably doesn’t give a sh*t about this community, and he doesn’t need this community. The community is there to help, encourage, reinforce each other. It’s a community. When you’re “nobody” in the world and just starting out as a pedal builder, that community is the most valuable thing you have. This community gives you inspiration and hope. It drives you to keep going.
Overnight, Kirk can sell a single Ghoul Screamer (yes another Tube Screamer clone) to a percentage of his ‘fans’ and would make a hefty profit. What he said was stupid. But in the end, he doesn’t care about the community… but does it even matter.
So, speaking of the Ghoul Screamer, that was somewhat disappointing as well. The idea of starting a new pedal business, and your first 3 pedals are a tube screamer clone, an overdrive and a clean boost? I’m mean that’s great, but really unoriginal. Especially when your competitors (who may or may not play actual guitar) are creating amazing things these days.
Here are some of the memes for your enjoyment: