So, Ci3 closed up shop… and with it went A-Maze Mugs. Not sure that any were actually sold anyway? I know I have 2 prototypes and we did work up art for the box. I posted about them a few times. I also did a (very) poorly recorded jingle.
I feel like I just sit on all my maze art, while others are able to monetize their art projects. This is me reaching out for advice from my creative peeps.
I know there are no-money-up-front printing/fulfillment services. Does anyone have good (or really bad) experiences with any of those? I clicked a link on one, and 30 are showing up in my FB ad feeds. Are any more reputable/profitable/flexible than the others?
Even better, does anyone local do printing & fulfillment services, like Commonwealth Press?
Would it be worth it to save & invest some money into it?
I would like to put my mazes on all kinds of stuff. I get likes on my mazes on Instagram. Occasionally someone sends me a solution. Maybe T-shirts would be useless… unless you had one on the back and wanted someone to complete it as a sort of massage? Ha ha.
Tiles may be interesting. The socks that Mike worked up were super cool! Mugs seem to be out but those new stainless steel tumblers are in. Maybe a beer stein? Maybe just a book of mazes? My thing though, is most of my stuff has no theme. They’re just mazes. I have a TON drawn. They just need scanned & maybe cleaned up a bit.
I’m not looking to get rich, but creativity funding more creativity never hurts. Right?
These look like a fun product IMHO, anyway. Finding someone to ship a mug and a dry erase marker AND do the printing may be tough?
I’m open to any and all suggestions and solutions. I feel like I’m just sitting on these, have been for years, and should be doing something with them.
A while back, I had the opportunity to reach out to Jimmie Bruhn about the Indy Custom Flycaster, and way way back I did some research on the BB Stone. (I have to try to recover all the stuff that used to live on SquareGuitar.com, all those links are now dead.)
I thought it would be fun to try and track down Dewey Decibel(a.k.a. Joe Jerardi – or is it Joe Geradri? Stage names are fun.), and get some insight on the inception and production of one of my favorite axes!
After some emails exchanged, here’s the story from the man himself!
I’m awfully sorry there was a delay on getting back to you. I honestly have had my hands full this year, and it slipped my mind. Just for your patience, I can offer the most information I’ve shared about my FlipOut days to this point. And thanks for asking.
I was performing solo in NY back in the 90s, playing CBGBs and many of the NY clubs. My stage name was Dewey Decibel, and I always performed hooked up to an IV pole. Just a thing I did – never mentioned it on stage. Played electric guitar, with synth sequencers for backing, plus voice.
One day I thought of this backward guitar – Its just wood I thought – so it would play the same, just super unsettling, and deeply rock and roll to my mind. I found one shop out of all the NY guitar techs who would follow my instruction. It was Rick from Carmine Street Guitars. I love him because he didn’t even blink, just said “sure, I can do that”. I went on to form a band called… Dewey Decibel, and kept doing shows, and finished up my third album “Unnecessarily Beautiful” with those guys, great players Jon Howard, and Martin Miller. We did good work. I always played the original FlipOut, which started its life as a Fernandes brand Strat. I always had the IV drip by my side.
We did no real promotion for the album, for any of my albums, so they reside in resplendent obscurity, rarely to surface.
Here is what exists online, though there are 3+ albums and an EP somewhere:
At shows, my guitar got so much crazy attention I conceived of the nutty plan to use a release of these guitars to bring attention to my band. In 2003 I went to the NAMM show on the recommendation of a friend, to look for a manufacturer. There I approached many confused factory reps from Asia, and ended up having luck with a Korean group who were ready to please. I ordered some prototypes during that year, and tweaked things. Then at 2004 NAMM I introduced them to the unsuspecting earthlings, took orders, and started shipping out of San Francisco once the container ship arrived. That first NAMM show was funny funny stupid funny.
The stupid part was that Fender lawyers sent me a letter on the opening day of my NAMM launch that I was in breach of their trademarks. This is a much longer story but I ended up licensing with Fender later, which was great for name dropping and demonstrating to folks that it was a quality guitar.
I was living in a warehouse with boxes of these guitars and my drum set. It was a time of odd existence, taking orders, shipping, doing R&D, and lining up reviews with the big guitar magazines. The FlipOut got strong thumbs up reviews in Guitar Player as well as Guitar One. I did care about the feel of the neck and the pickups. It’s self evident I think when you handle one.
I was moving forward on the BottomOut bass, having received a few prototypes which worked nicely. Even took orders. The problem was that the whole business had me working in too many directions, and exhausted. I’d gone to Europe, and did a bunch of sales, there and in Australia too. I was overworking, and getting wiped out. This was all on my own, and I’d been living with some fantasy that these cool guitars would elevate the music, and demonstrate my sovereign rock and roll whimsy. But alas, the FlipOut project ended at around 500 guitars because I was exhausted, the R&D was too slow, and I couldn’t parlay the thing into working for another manufacturer. I was too much of a lone wolf for them. So I went back to graphic design and animation. I’m an animator today living in incredible San Antonio. I also continue writing and recording a new album, to be released secretly into thrift store bins.
The guitar colors were just my favorites at the time, the names were inspired by memories. Barry Leventhal was I think a kid I played in little league with. Austin really had cabs colored like the guitar.
I’ve seen the FlipOut rip-offs coming from Europe/China, and they look ridiculous, all backward and stuff. Just joking – I guess it was inevitable someone would cash in.
Hey thanks for your interest. Hoping it fills in some detail.
I tried to pick the most odd & attention grabbing of my herd. Do you think I missed the boat by not including some of my other notable oddballs? He didn’t even mention the amps or pedals. Ha ha.
Shout-out to my peeps at Actual Ugly Guitars! It’s a Facebook group focused on looking for guitars ranging from the weirdest of the weird to just pure abominations with strings and sometimes even frets. If you’re gonna join, answer the questions or you won’t get in.
Here’s a rundown of what’s pictured if you’re interested:
If not rocking the Spark for practice or jamming along to YouTube or the built-in drummers, I like to rock a guitar through the tuner then into the A/B/Y into both the Blues Jr. and the Micro Terror through the Laney. Sometimes I put the wah up front, or sometimes on just one amp. I had a Dunlop CryBaby for years, then once I heard the “tone-suck” even when it was off, I couldn’t un-hear it. Same with the Dirt & Ernie… sometimes I just use it as a boost. It will come in handy if I ever get back to live stuff. My “sound” is pretty much gain on 10 master volume on 2 through both amps because I love the sound of the overdriven amps, so I don’t really need to add much dirt. If I set up the Trio, I run the “band” out to the PA so drums & bass come out of that nice & clean instead of one of (or both of) my amps. I am terrible with the POCK LOOP looper. The Lil’ Smokey is also a ton of fun, and I have used to to drive a 4×12. I think I need simpler one or more patience. Maybe both.
So, that’s my setup. Yes, I do play these guitars. Yes, they’re all playable. (I have a go-to guitar guy that is like a guitar-whisperer.) Yes, I have gigged & even recorded with some of them and would gig with all of them.
Which ones do you dig or hate the most? Got any oddballs you want to share? Hit me up with some comments!
Hey, we talked about it before… No one, not two, but three times.
It’s finally here! Get an A-Maze Mug from Ci3!How cool is that? Each mug comes with a dry-erase marker so you can solve the maze, both in a nifty box covered in mazes!
More cool maze-related merch coming soon. What else would you like to see? Socks? Masks? T-shirts? Books? Puzzles? Mirrors? Tiles?
I haven’t ever done anything to make my mazes available for any kind of sale, so this is exciting to me. What do you think?
I am eternally grateful to Mike Copen for the nudge and the opportunity. It’s so cool for artists, designers, entrepreneurs, & creative types to support each other.
Of course, I think they’d make great gifts for friends, family, teachers, co-workers, or even anyone that may be hard to buy for. Who doesn’t like a nice warm beverage? Solving the maze with the dry erase marker is a good opportunity to kind of zone out in a zen-like state, to help you regain focus to start the day or even decompress at the end of a long day! I know that’s the drive behind drawing them.
These would be great for coffee, tea, hot cocoa, warm apple cider, ramen, or one of my soup recipes.
Please, share the link if you’re so inclined. I’d like to see how far these can go. Thanks in advance if you plan on making a purchase!
Back in the day, I used to go to websites, message boards, chat rooms, or forums, & blogs. Now it’s mostly Facebook groups.
I’m a simple man. When not enjoying real-life things like family time, noodling poorly on the guitar, drawing mazes, or watching some funny or sci-fi-ish stuff on the TV, I enjoy reading things on the internet. This would include subjects like guitars, gear, guitars, music, Star Wars, guitars, guitars, and surprisingly enough …Guitars.
Picking up a theme? I’m in some guitar groups of varying purpose, from celebrating the instrument in general, to celebrating ugly ones, celebrating cheap ones, celebrating unique ones, alternating between building camaraderie or trolling between fellow guitarists, and making fun off bass players & drummers. I may have G.A.S. – It’s gotta be a real thing.
After a while, you start to notice a repetitive pattern of seemingly-canned responses.
At first, I thought of a drinking game. But, I’m too old for that, and I’m currently on antibiotics. Ha ha.
It may seem light a slight, but it’s not. I’m in there. I have said the thigs. I have typed the things. I have read the things. I have heard the things. We all have a common interest. This is a celebration of you, & us. 🍻
How quickly could you get a line, or even fill up the card?
What responses have I missed?
Please, elaborate in the comments.
What would go on your Bingo card or cause you to take a drink?
What do I need to add to my pin boards?
I would love to hear what you have to add.
What are your favorite places to discuss and ogle guitars on Facebook or online in general? You can even share some of your favorite guitar photos or memes in the comments.
Since the bean house was a bit of a bust, maybe this will be a hit. It looks like it can get as complicated or remain as simple as you’d like. I have pinned a bunch of ideas. I’d like to include an area for construction vehicles… maybe tiny pebbles, not sand. I hate sand. I like the use of the tire in the one… and the dirt road, and tunnels.
I hope to snag a bunch of ideas online, specifically Pinterest I guess. Looks super fun for both kids, and me!
…and check out this incredible entire live show! Apparently all these cats ever left was one EP & a handful of performances. Their guitars have so many strings, it takes 12 parsecs for any non-force user to make their way across the fretboard.
I did download all I could form MySpace, but all I could get of some of the stuff was some snippets of songs. Their interpretations are proggy, masterful, eerie, and dark. I would love to get my hands on the EP.
Obviously, these scruffy-looking Nerf Herders rock too. The costumes and video production are all-out. The metal seems happier if that’s even a thing. They used kickstarter to fund their eventual takeover of the galaxy. Galactic credits go far with the Empire. I’m anxious for their full-length album, too.
It looks like of the two, these guys are the only ones currently in existence.
Vote for Your Favorite:
I would love to see a fan mix of the movies using either of these guys to score the entire thing. I don’t think Disney would go for it, unless like Darth Lucas they realize they can make more money by selling the movies again to the same people that already own all possible formats & variations.