Fifteen years ago, I received a letter (remember those?) from the folks at Ibanez Guitars in California, saying that they considered me as part of their artist endorsement roster. I had to make one simple phone call to verify that said letter was in my hands.

Made the call, and I asked “So this means…?” and I was told “You’re in!”

Those two words changed my life…

Now everyone asks me “How did you get this deal?” The story is long but I can condense it so you can go about watching Bird Box or whatever…here goes…

I met a certain guitarist back in 2002 when he was in a band called Jag Panzer. He played another brand at the time but on this particular night, he was playing an Ibanez RG7420MC…THE SAME GUITAR I HAVE! I told him that I knew people at Ibanez if he was interested and within a few days, he was given an endorsement.

That guitarist was Chris Broderick.

Because of this, the guys at Ibanez told me “You did a very selfless gesture so we want to help you. Pick a guitar you like.” So I picked the Universe 7-string and just like that, I was doing clinics and such. This was in 2003. It wasn’t until January 2004 when I received the news that I was endorsed with them. I asked “But I’m not known, not touring, nothing?!” and they said “For you, we are making an exception because you helped Chris. “

Chris has since moved to another guitar brand but I am still with Ibanez, 15 years running. Last time I saw Chris was in 2010 doing a clinic for the other guitar brand. So yes, I know him.

Like anything in life, you have to take the sour with the sweet. When I received my deal, I felt like Moses parting the Red Sea. I had MANY haters that day (and this was before social media) and few supporters. I had things happen to me that would have made anyone else return their endorsement and pretend nothing happened. But when you’re a winner, people either want to know you or the ugly green-eyed monster shows up.

And no I am not giving my endorsement back, so keep on hatin’ 🙂