Vinnie Vincecnt Interview from 1984

From: Bret C. Dennis

KF: On stage as well as in the studio you always exclusively play Charvel/Jackson guitars. Out of all the different guitar companies, what makes them the best?

VV: Because they feel the best. They're the state of the art guitars. I used to play vintage guitars. I loved those things. About 1980-81 a friend of mine called me and said that Eddie Van Halen and his brother were coming down to the studio. He said that Eddie wanted to know if he could borrow my Les Paul and Strat. I said, "Sure, I'll bring them right down." Eddie was playing, doing his usual thing and I thought, "God, this guy's really great'" I hung out for the day and watched him play. I noticed in the studio the guitars I was playing didn't sound as good as the guitars he was playing. The guitar he was playing was a Charvel, which was owned by Grover Jackson. Eddie had me try his guitar and I just fell in love with it. I said, "God, this is the greatest fuckin' guitar I've ever played!" From that day on, I was hooked. I called Grover Jackson and said, "You don't know me, but my name is Vinnie and I just played a guitar of yours that I'm absolutely crazy about. Can I come down and see you?" That's how it started. I met him and we just hit it off as real good friends. He's the kind of guy when he gets behind somebody he'll do anything for them. I told him how crazy I was about his guitars. I told him I wanted one so bad, but I didn't have any money at that time. I was really broke. I scrimped and saved and I bought the pieces individually at a store. I guess it impressed him that I loved his guitars so much that I bought it in pieces and put it together myself. That was just the start of our relationship. This guy's making the best fuckin' guitars in the business!.' They play great and feel great. I knew him for a year before I joined KISS. When I joined KISS, I said, "Look, I really want a cool guitar, something I can take to the fans and really show them it's a cool thing." He told me he had just the thing. He showed me the Randy Rhoads guitar body. He didn't even have one put together at that point because Randy unfortunately passed away and it never got into a big production stage. He told me to show that to Gene and Paul and see what they thought. They really loved it. I was just crazy about it so he put one together for me. He makes the best guitars. When I say the best, I literally mean the state of the art. Anywhere you look you're going to see Jackson guitars, and that means something. They're made for a musician. Grover is a guitar player himself and it takes a guitar player to know what another guitar player wants.

KF: What makes your Vinnie Vincent model Jackson guitar special?

VV: It was designed for me and my initials. For me that's special. But what makes it a special guitar is sonically it's designed to be a step above where guitars are now, and they're just killer. We really went through design stages and complete tests. We went through all kinds of sonic tests, wave form tests, and any electronic tests that could make the thing sound like the most desirable guitar any rock player's gonna want to play. It looks one of a kind. It's the next level from the Randy Rhoads guitar. It's a super instrument and it's got a magical quality about it.

KF: Does Jackson guitars have an advertising campaign planned?

VV: If you've ever noticed, you never see a picture in a magazine with any rock stars playing his guitars because he doesn't believe in that. People pay musicians to endorse their products and he doesn't believe in that. If I endorsed five or six guitars and every time you looked in a magazine you saw me playing a different guitar, that means I don't stand behind that instrument. People who do that are just whores to me. If I play something that I think is great, then I don't want someone to pay me to play something I personally think is a piece of junk. A lot of companies approached me on that sort of thing. I just said, "Look, I appreciate your wanting me to endorse them, but I can't do it. My loyalty is to a great guitar and the people who make that great guitar happen to be Jackson." To answer your question, yes, we are going to do a campaign to advertise it. That will be a proud moment for me because I know the guy doesn't usually do that kind of thing.