And what’s happened now, I guess, is that some people, the avid Chappers fans, have started answering for me which is real nice. But I have had many a chat with my wife where she said, ‘’You gotta stop answering comments, man.’’ And many artists have said to me, ‘’I don’t know, you’re lowering yourself to talk to people. You don’t need to do that. You can be an artist and, you know, whatever an artist encompasses.’’ but that’s just bullshit, isn’t it? Because, like you say, I think a lot of the reason I’m so successful is because people feel like they can talk to me. I’m just like them, I just share the journey and everything I’m doing and I really enjoy being, involving with people. I love collaborating and taking people along and letting them see cool places and, you know, who the fuck wouldn’t? I don’t see people wouldn’t enjoy that.
Right now, on my forum, we are…again, this is exclusive but you can have it and tell people, because it doesn’t really matter. From now on, Chapman Guitars will only be hand-built in the UK. I found a luthier, a very good luthier, whose lineage stretches back to the 15th century in England. His family has always made wood for the French Court and all sorts of people and he’s ridiculously skilled. And we simply call him, ‘’The Carpenter’’, there’s a horror reference for you there [laughs]. And The Carpenter doesn’t sleep: he waits. And he sweats lemon oil. And he [laughs], he’s the Chuck Norris of guitar building, man. He’s just unbelievably skilled and a lovely guy. And we struck a deal where from now on, well, I collaboratively designed that a concept for a guitar, for example this one is going to be an Explorer, based upon my Ziggy. When we collaboratively design one, when we have a standard model, it will be built to order. So, every single guitar will be hand-built in the UK by The Carpenter for Chapman Guitars until a few years have passed and I’ve established a brand and then we’ll collaboratively build and have them made in Korea or Japan to have an affordable range. But, we’re gonna start off with the higher end stuff right now because we’ve got the affordable ML1.
But collaborative design is an absolute no-brainer. It’s win-win because the people enjoy it, they feel part of the whole process, and then because they’re part of it and they’re proud of what they’ve achieved, they want to buy it. And that’s really cool. The ML1, we made 500 guitars and before they landed in the UK, we’d sold 60 of them. You think, that’s a lot of guitars on pure faith. Blind faith they’re going to be good, you know? And it’s a lot of money. Sixty times 300 pounds is a lot of cash just to get from people to trust me, so I’m fucking honored. You know what I mean? It’s ridiculous. And now they’re in retail stops and they’re just flying out and people are loving it.
So anyway, the whole collaborative design process is something that I ABSOLUTELY stumbled upon by pure accident, just through the nature of loving involving people in what I do and liking to share and it’s just served me beyond any comprehension. Which leads up to a contract I’ve just signed with one of the biggest amplifier companies in the world to work on a project that will be launched in some point soon.
Because, the thing is, I love all guitars! I get a lot of heat on YouTube from people, who you’ve probably seen, saying, ‘’Oh, he should be playing his own guitar.’’ Here’s the thing: I don’t make PRS guitars, I don’t make Fender Strats or Gibson Les Pauls, and they’re all brilliant guitars. I make Chapman Guitars and what I really want is to have a Chapman Guitar one day that’ll make people go, if you go to a session, ‘’If you’ve got a Strat, a Tele, and a Chapman, you’ve got what you need.’’ See what I mean? So, like, working with people like Eddie Kramer, you cannot have the mindset of, ‘’I’m Chapman Guitars therefore I play Chapman and nothing else exists.’’ That’s bullshit. Gotta have a Les Paul, gotta have a PRS Custom 24 because that’s its own sound there.
It’s funny isn’t it? It’s funny that people feel that way. I can understand why they feel that way. I have to say, I think it’s more the Americans that have this real sense of loyalty to brand, the British people don’t have [laughs]. I noticed it’s just been a lot of the U.S. guys, lots of the German guys who have said, ‘’Well you ARE Chapman Guitars, you SHOULD just play Chapman.’’, and I’ve sorta said, ‘’Well, but I love all guitars! Why would I lie to you?’’ And I think it’s a very Buddhist mentality to say to people, ‘’I believe in Chapman Guitars so much that I will tell you to buy whatever you want. If you want to use a Strat, use a Strat. If you want to use a Tele, use a Tele. If you want to use a Chapman, use a Chapman.’’ I’m never going to tell anyone what to play, so don’t tell me what to play, right?
We are currently looking for a bass player. We had a bass player and unfortunately he had to go, purely because he was a session jazz player foremost, and I hadn’t realized that, and so his feel was very different from the way I would feel stuff. So he had to go. We are auditioning bass players actually weekend after next. Got a couple of guys, one guy I’m feeling very good about is a guy called Matt who is a 12-string acoustic playing genius…He sings, he’s played bass guitar in a bunch of heavy metal bands for years and he’s a dirty, low-down, drinking, scumbag, filth whore. So, I’m pretty sure he’ll fit in fine [laughs].
The plan originally was to release a single every month with a music video and have a competition in turn to promote the single. It took a backseat because of the whole sacking-the-bass-player fiasco, and I’ve since decided that what I really want is a rhythm guitar player as well so that when I sing, I don’t have to forsake the guitar. Because, I’m realizing that although I love singing, I’m so new to it. I am three times the guitar player then I am a singer but unfortunately the fans want me to sing. Now I’ve done it! They want me to sing on every fucking thing I do! So I’ve gotta sing so I need back-up. I can’t do it. I can’t play the riffs, they’re all syncopated, they throw me out mentally. So, I need a full band.
So, we’re waiting for a full band and then we’re off to tour at the end of the year. We’ll then be recording an album with Eddie Kramer in Los Angeles probably the year after this, depending on a few projects and how they pop along. I’m actually recording a new tune the weekend after next, called ‘’Holy Fire’’, which is an instrumental tune. Should be a lot of fun.
So, Monkey Lord the brand is launching a festival in 2011 called Monkey Fest, which will be the first Glastonbury for guitarists. It will be a real camp out festival in Wiltshire. It will be sponsored by Marshall amplifiers and Lick Library. It’s gonna be a big deal, big open stage, camping out, beer, meat, naked women, that kind of stuff. Lots of tuitionists, learning guitar from brilliant artists. Marshall are bringing a headlining act as are Lick Library, so it’s very exciting. That’s a Monkey Lord brand event.
Monkey Lord the band will be on tour with a promotions company that work a lot with Richie Kotzen and Vinnie Moore. I formed a partnership with them where, ironically, although they’re a promotions company, I’m gonna be promoting them [laughs] and in return they put me on tour. Which is great, because touring is very expensive and they’re paying for it which is very nice. So, band on tour, we’ll release an album.
And then, I guess that Chapman Guitars is a part of Monkey Lord in as far as it’s the same fans. So, we’re gonna be releasing these various different kinds of models. We’re gonna be doing Private Stock, Custom Shop, Limited Editions, that kind of thing.
And I think the last thing you’ll like is that the ultimate goal of Chappers is to make a movie! And I will make a movie. And it will be awesome. And I have some very strong contacts in the industry to make this a reality. For start, I have my own film crew: I have the wonderful Andy McCreath who’s been a professional lighting camera guy for years and years and years and he filmed my DVD and the DVD we’re shooting the weekend after next, called ‘’Shreducation’’, which is a live clinic that will be filmed and turned into a DVD. And Andy and I, well I have this idea for a movie that we’re going to create at some point, that’s all I’m going to say [laughs]. I can’t say anything else about that movie. But I want to make a movie and you know that my favorite movie of all time is ‘’Big Trouble in Little China’’, so you can take that, throw Monkey Lord on it and whatever happens, happens. It won’t be serious, I can tell you that [laughs].
Obviously, ‘’Big Trouble [in Little China]’’ is a comedy, action, kung-fu, horror so that has to be my horror film of all time. [John] Carpenter is a freaking legend. There’s not a lot he’s ever done that’s wrong. And something that I think he’s really underrated for is his music. His music, for me, is so atmospheric, so emotionally stirring, so simplistic. And it kinda sounds cheesy too, but I kinda like the cheese [laughs]. Nothing wrong with McDonalds music, it’s just got something to it that he really means when he plays it, and I like that. So, ‘’Big Trouble’’ is the ultimate horror film.
Something else Carpenter did was, fuck what’s it called, ‘’Dusk ‘Til Dawn’’, which is another massive one for me. Wait, was that Carpenter?