What do Chet Atkins, Duane Allman, Jerry Garcia, Chuck Berry, Charlie Christian, Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan, Al di Meola, The Edge, the Everly Brothers, Billy Gibbons,Dave Grohl, George Harrison, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Joan Jett, John Lennon, Alex Lifeson, Lenny Kravitz, Bob Marley, Albert Collins, John McLaughlin, Pat Metheny, Wes Montgomery, Carl Perkins, Mick Ronson, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Carlos Santana, Eddie van Halen, Neil Young, Frank Zappa and AC/DC’s Angus Young have in common?
Answer: They all play (or played) a Gibson guitar. A beautiful thing. The quintessence of Americana.
So how appropriate then that from the United Police States of today’s America, we hear of a “bizarre and disturbing story of a US government witch hunt that threatens to to drive them either out of business, or out of the US.” [Hat tip Jazz on the Tube]
Last week, heavily armed federal agents raided two guitar manufacturing facilities in Tennessee owned by Gibson — one in Nashville, another in Memphis. The feds were not acting on a tip that an al Qaeda cell was holed up in the buildings; or that Mexican drug cartel gangs were lurking inside. It was actually something far more serious; far more serious, that is, to a bunch of federal bureaucrats with nothing better to do.
The raids were carried out because the Department of Justice and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service claim that parts of the iconic guitars manufactured in the plants contained the wrong kind of imported wood…
In recent days, Gibson’s CEO has gone on a counterattack, telling various talk radio and TV news programs that the raids are an “outrageous abuse of federal power” that have unfairly singled out his company, perhaps for political reasons.
“There’s no doubt we’re being persecuted,” Juszkiewicz said. “But while I was sitting in my conference room, while agents blocked the door to my office, I decided two things. One, we were going to try and fight this in court. Secondly, we were going to give this issue visibility.”
Meanwhile, a guitar gently weeps.