INTERVIEW WITH Ken Haas and Joe Naylor
MGS - Ken can you start by telling us how you got involved with Reverend Guitars and how long you have been there , daily duties etc.
I happened to come across a Reverend guitar in a pawn shop in 1999, and I really liked it. I found out that it was a Detroit company, so I knocked on the door and introduced myself. I went to NAMM for the first time as Joe's guest and I sold a guitar to Will Ray at that show - who went on to post some Reverend reviews on Harmony Central. Joe decided to take me to every NAMM show from that day forward. I eventually became head of sales for Reverend, and now I am General Manager. I still handle all of the sales, but I also handle all of the day-to-day operations of the company, so Joe can be designing. MGS - How has the guitar business changed for you in the last 5 years?
All of my responsibilities increased, so I now have a better perspective of all sides of the MI business.
MGS - I know at one point you were direct sales only . How and when did that focus shift ? Only a dealer network can give us the exposure that we needed.
MGS - What is your best selling model these days ? What is new and hot?
The Rick Vito Signature is our best seller. Basses have made a triumphant return to the Reverend brand, and they are getting a lot of buzz.
We just sent a Thundergun to Eddie Spaghetti from the Supersuckers! That model seems to be growing in popularity. MGS - Anything new coming NAMM 2012 ?
We have two new models. The Eastsider is an homage to vintage guitars that pairs traditional features with Reverend innovation. A classic Korina body, satin finish, and a compound radius fretboard are paired with custom alnico pickups, stainless steel saddles, and a graphite nut for the perfect old-meets-new guitar. It is the latest guitar from the Pete Anderson signature series, and he will be performing with it throughout the weekend. We also have a new model in celebration of our fifteenth anniversary: a commemorative Flatroc guitar with a Flame Maple top, a Bigsby, and a 15th Anniversary LE logo on the back of the headstock. It comes in Transparent Turquoise with a maple fretboard or Transparent Tobacco with a rosewood fretboard. Lastly, we have freshened up the rest of the line by adding some new colors, including the 2012 color for the Rick Vito signature: Ocean Turquoise.
MGS - What have been some of your favorite artists to work with and why?
Mark Knopfler is my personal guitar hero, and it is a great honor to me that he regularly uses a Reverend Buckshot in his arsenal.
I was also fortunate to work with Ron Asheton in the last few years of his life. Not only was he a huge inspiration to me and many other guitar players, he was also a really great guy who I was lucky to know.
MGS - Tell us about your own musical endeavors.
I play guitar in a band called the Polka Floyd Show -- a Pink Floyd tribute band done Polka-style. We do have an accordion, and play the songs very fast! I also play guitar in a punk band called Intentional Object, and I play a '65 Double 8 Console-steel in an alt-country band called The Zimmerman Twins. MGS- What is your main live guitar ?
I play the Reverend Jetstream HB. I think it's the most versatile Humbucker-equipped solid body electric guitar on the market.
Ok Joe it is your turn ...
MGS - Joe it has been awhile what has kept you busy these days ?
Plenty of things happening. Besides designing a bunch of new Reverend stuff for 2012, I'm launching a new replacement pickup company in December called Railhammer. It's a radical new design aimed at the rock market, and you're gonna see it on some new Reverend models too.
MGS - Joe how do you see the future of guitars moving forward ?
Retro is still king. Lots of reliced looks on the market, as well as hybrid designs based on vintage classics. The real innovations will continue to take place in hardware and parts design.
MGS - What have been the most rewarding part of Reverend in the last few years ?
Seeing it grow. Seeing the acceptance by serious players of our philosophy of high level design at real world prices. Our endorser list is a good reflection of that.
MGS - What is your take on the current Michigan economy ?
It's a grim reflection of the national economy. Unfortunately, we're not as diversified as some other states, so we get hit harder.
Ok Joe hit us with a 2 word reaction to these current topics GO !
Occupy Michigan - Octopus Garden.
Reeves Gabrels - Space Anderson.
Illegal imported fingerboard wood - Maybe guilty.
Guitar Hero - Party's over.
Hardcore Pawn - Stop reality.