Carvin Endorsement

Hello Everyone! Happy June! This starts off a brand new year for all of us June bugs born in the 6th month at the midway intersection of the year. To start my new year off right, I’m happy to announce my artist endorsement deal with Carvin. The Carvin company goes back along way with me and is like family in a sense as I am about to explain….

But before I explain, I need to express my heartfelt gratitude to friend and former business associate, Carvin artist, Craig Chaquico, for hooking me up by making a phone call and putting in a good word.

Most of you already know Craig as the former Jefferson Starship and Starship guitarist who later made an extraordinary career as a solo artist. I met him a couple of days after the last major Southern California Northridge earthquake at a NAMM convention. It was during his transition from the Starship into his solo career and I somehow ended up working behind the scenes for seven consecutive years helping to launch his new direction. In return I learned a lot about artist/fan relations at the top level, serving as VP of that department. Besides working together he’s been a wonderful friend and if you ever get a chance to see him and his band live, it is definitely worth the effort! His music is melodic and beautiful. The sound crisp and the entertainment spectacular! (I would think so with over 20 Gold albums) But don’t take my word for it, I’ve added a link so you can check it out for yourself…

I would also like to thank Bob Chini of the Carvin headquarters in San Diego for honoring the request. I also want to thank Manny at the Covina store for working out the details, and putting up with my pay phone call without hanging up… as in “Please deposit 30 cents more for the the next 3 minutes” click... temporary disconnect.. then repeat …“Please deposit 30 cents for the next 3 minutes” and I’m thinking “Oh God! Not now!” (blush) “he’s probably thinking I’m homeless” (my cell phone was on the charger when I decided to make the call while waiting for breakfast at a local restaurant.) It was kind of funny as I had forgotten how bad pay phones really are! But Manny was a real trooper for hanging in there! Thanks also to Mark Ricciardi at the Hollywood store for his bright and smiling salesmanship as well as superb FREE roadie assistance (meaning he gladly unboxed… so it would fit… and loaded my amp safely into my car without whining), and special thanks to Jeff Lortz at for the cool photo shoot and set design. Great job Jeff! I’ve posted 3 of the top picks from the Carvin endorsement shoot into the Promotional Photography section of the Photo Gallery.

Oh and I want to thank Katrina as well from “House of Windsor” in Monrovia for helping select the perfect set of Brighton shades to match my jacket for the photo shoot. It’s kind of hard to see which shades look the best when the lenses are tinted. We finally chose the Geneva style which I later read as Brighton quotes on their official web site at ”Generation next for Brighton - cutouts inspired by Victorian architecture enhance fresh, contemporary shapes” !

Okay now that I’m done with all of the thank you notes I will now explain what I promised in the first paragraph…

Over of a span of over 2 years now, I’ve been searching for THE keyboard amplifier endorsement. Back in my Alice’s Nightmare and Joey Richard’s Project touring days, I had two Carvin Monitors in my personal touring gear, one with a 12” speaker and the other with a 15, both angled at separate sides of my keyboard rig. The 15" one was slightly farther away from me because I also shared that one with the bassist, however it was strong enough to carry the sound through giving me a stereo effect. My keyboard rig consisted of two 61 key synthesizers stacked with one 61 key sampler and then one 88 key controller/ electric piano put at a 90 degree angle to create an L shape. It’s been a while since then but what I remember about Carvin monitors is that they are very reliable in sound and road durability as well as maintaining ultra fine quality craftsmanship at a fair price. As a matter of fact, through all the wear and tear, I never had one single problem with them. The only reason they are now parted from me was due to a major robbery at a nightclub where we were gigging. It wasn’t just me who lost everything, it was the whole entire band and the soundman who unfortunately lost an entire PA system. We believe it was an internal theft, but had no way of proving that. So life goes on…

As I said before, I’ve been searching for THE keyboard amp for quite some time now and ran into my friend and former Orlando guitarist from my Florida days, Carvin artist, Angelo Jannotti at another NAMM tradeshow convention. Angelo and I recorded an entire 12 song album “Pink Noise” in Florida back in the mid 90’s. He also made a special guest appearance on my “Tattooed in Skin” album featuring bassist Billy Sheehan and drummer Eddie Rogers both who have worked with Carvin artist and designer, Steve Vai, at one point or another.

Anyhow, Angelo was at the Carvin booth the day I was searching for an amp. I told him I was looking for a keyboard amp endorsement and told him that I really dug Carvin stuff from experience. He then informed me that Carvin didn’t build keyboard amps, which was correct information at that particular time. As I left the NAMM booth, I shot a thought form out into the center of the booth. It was very simple… I projected the words “Build a keyboard amp!” and saw keyboard amps in their lineup. Then I walked away and forgot about it searching for THE keyboard amp

Later that day I was offered a choice between two other keyboard amp endorsements. I decided to go home and think about it since I now had a choice. I pondered the offers trying to weigh the pros and cons of both. Honestly, after major contemplation, I decided to decline both offers because something just didn’t feel right about either one of them.

After that, I kind of went off into another direction for awhile. A few years before that I had landed a Kawai endorsement which was THE electric baby grand piano that I wanted for years. I tried out every electric piano at the trade shows for about 3 years and kept going back to that Kawai saying to myself “This is the one.” Finally one day, I asked for an endorsement and had it delivered to my door a few days later. With seven built in speakers, I felt that I really didn’t need a keyboard amp to play music at the time. But a little later down the road, I started getting that itch again for a keyboard amp. Try pulling off a Pink Floyd saxophone solo where it is silky smooth at one section of the song and then it gets that gritty grinding tone at the climax of the song, with all the note bending and stuff, to make it sound right, now that’s something you do not get on an electric baby grand piano. Another example is the Jon Lord organ. It’s takes a certain touch sensitivity which is different that standard piano keys to get that overdriven biting distorted sound in certain areas of the song while playing more smoothly in other areas. There is no way to get that on a baby grand piano. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my Kawai. The Kawai electric baby grand piano gets the fullest orchestrated sounds that I’ve ever heard coming out of an electric instrument and feels like a real stringed instrument. The reason being is not only due to the action of the keyboard, but also the precise placement of the seven speakers which makes the piano vibrate. It even vibrates more deeply at the low end and then kind of portomentos up in vibration while scaling the keyboard like a real stringed instrument would do without having to tune it every time you move it or when the weather conditions change. It is extremely easy to operate and you don’t have to punch a million gadgets to get into the sound banks to change the sounds which is a HUGE plus and that is ALSO one of the major things I like about Carvin as well.

One year later, I attended another NAMM convention. I stopped by the Carvin booth looking for my friend Craig Chaquico. As I was walking out, I noticed some Carvin DVD’s and decided to take one as they were given away as free promotional items. I am usually engrossed in my creative work and do not spend much time at all (maybe 4-6 hours per month at the most) at a TV set. Because of this fact, I had not yet updated my VHS to a DVD player. Last August, I finally decided to update since I had 3 tedious days of sorting through a chest full of receipts to meet my August 15th tax extension filing date. When I finally did update one of the first things I decided to watch was the Carvin DVD.

I was trying to watch the video while doing my taxes at the same time, a typical Gemini. I found it quite interesting, to the point that there were times I would find myself stopping my work completely to watch the presentation, an untypical Gemini, but I found myself absorbed in the presentation as it was quite amusing listening to the artists tell their stories.

Pretty soon, I looked up and saw Ozzie Ahlers (Craig Chaquico’s co-writer and keyboard player whom I had known from working with Craig) and thought to myself “What is Ozzie doing in this video?” and then I realized that Carvin finally built a keyboard amp! Wow! Way cool!

Then all of the sudden I see Steve Weingart in the video as well. Here we go again! I’ve seen Steve perform several times with co-songwriter and producer from my past, Marco Mendoza. I must admit that I’m very impressed with his work and exceptional keyboard skills.

So now you see why Carvin is family to me and I’m grateful to finally have the opportunity to work with them. For any of out there looking for really great quality crafted gear at a fair price check out Now, I’m looking into some new keyboards to update my current rig and will keep you posted.