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Steve Bailey talking about warwick!

Discussion in 'Bands and Bass Players' started by flipper_gv, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. flipper_gv

    flipper_gv

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    Today is April the 9th, 2011. On Wednesday the 6th it was announced that I have signed with Warwick Basses and have a signature instrument. I am writing this because my website email has been deluged with all sorts of emails…. Some with the words “traitor”, “whore” (as in gear), and “finally”… and all sorts of stuff in between.
    Rather than responding individually I have opted to make a statement, of sorts.
    For some this may be educational, and for others it may not even matter, as many of us will only believe that which we want.

    After many years with ARIA, and with a signature bass there, the US distributor was disintegrating, and the time came to change ( after 10 years).
    Fender had always left the door open from way back (think Rippingtons, late 80’s) when I played the Heartfield 6 string, which was a wonderful instrument that, for reasons I still don’t understand, was simply dropped. It was made in Japan by wonderful people and very finely crafted.
    I subsequently went with Aria who incorporated many of the design dimensions etc.. into the ARIA AVB SB.

    Around 2004 I started talking with Fender again about introducing an historic instrument; A 6 string bass (not a 6 string “bass guitar” as they had in the 60’s).
    This began a LONG process spanning over 4 years of design, stalls, more design, and more stalls, for whatever reason.
    I could not have been prouder (until recently) on the day that bass was launched at NAMM 2009. ( I also got to jam with my old bandmateT Lavitz, RIP, on the Fender stage) I was so excited about what many called a momentous day for Fender, the company who “invented” the electric bass, was finally releasing something that it should have done years earlier (as an innovative company) and I was chosen to help bring it to market.
    Many wonderful folks at Fender helped make this happen, and regardless of how long it took, I considered it all “worth it”. As you probably know Fender is the largest guitar company in the world, and as do most large corporations, they move slowly, deliberately, and often in ways that do not make sense to even the endorsing artists. (and employees).
    Mind you, when I was with Fender back in the late 80’s I knew the president of company (hung out at trade shows, and even jammed), and dealt with ONE artist relations person. Things have changed a lot!! In my recent 6 year relationship with Fender never had any communication with the “suits”; never a “welcome aboard” from the Pres…Or a “goodbye”... Or anything. Which is cool, but leads me to my next point.. coming up in a second. There still are MANY wonderful folks at Fender, and their tireless efforts were what brought the Steve Bailey Jazz Bass VI bass to life. Here I will single out Jay Piccarillo, Tony Franklin, Michael Braun, and Richard McDonald… all stellar folks, and all dedicated to making things good for me at Fender.
    Despite that, there was never much or any promotion for the bass, never an ad, which is OK too… I just thought the instrument was much more important for Fender that it ultimately was for me. Legendary company steps up and creates a “first”. . that kind of thing. I was very disappointed that the marketing folks never pushed for revues, promotions, etc…
    And FINALLY.. to the point that I think may be of the educational variety.
    Life is about relationships. The older I get the more important this becomes. Fender has such a HUGE group of Artists (and most much more high profile than me), that even with 10-20 artist relations folks, there were times that I wondered if anyone was “there”. But heck, I don’t answer every email and phone call that I get, either.

    Back to relationships… I met the Warwick folks way back in 93, and got a streamer fretted and fretless because a genuinely liked the way they played.. no endorsement.. no strings attached. They also made me a 12 string (6x2) bass to use with Jethro Tull… no strings attached.
    Much later I got to know Hans Peter Wilfer, the president of the company. He always treated me wonderfully at Trade Shows, made sure that I had strings for my 12 string, and stayed in email contact, not asking about “what bass I play”, but things like “how are you?” , “ I hope life is good”!.. things like that.
    Later than that I started to notice how Warwick treats its artists… to hear about it from them, and see it up close and personal. It seemed to all start from the top, with Mr Wilfer (HP to many) always there, always motivated, and always excited with a strong passion for what he and his company is doing.

    In some ways I sort of felt like Dianna must have felt after marrying Prince Charles. Fender is the “royal family” in a sense, (although I am not as cute as DI…) but as we later discovered the marriage was not as wonderful as it seemed in the press.. but it was functional, as they produced kids ☺

    I have all the Basses and Amps that I will ever need in 5 lifetimes….. I do not “need” to be associated with a company.
    1. It is obvious that Fender has the capacity to sell 100 times as many SB basses as Warwick.
    2. The Fender SB VI is/was a wonderful instrument, with years of effort put into the design.. I STILL LOVE the bass, and always will.

    BUT, when over 6 months ago I made up my mind to not renew my Fender Signature Contract I was not even sure that I would settle with another company.

    Endorsements are interesting in that when we are young all we want is some free/reduced cost gear, maybe some exposure through an ad..
    Then, if we progress in our career, the possibility of a Signature (usually royalty producing) is very enticing. Alot of work goes with that.
    Then, when we have "enough", it really comes back to relationships. Do I dig the company? Do they dig me? Do they listen to my ideas, Do I listen to theirs?
    At any level and endorsement has to be a Two Way Street. What can I do for them, and what can they do for me? Can we help each other be successful? Sounds kinda like a marriage, huh?

    It was also mentioned in another thread about my having a "non exclusive" deal. Not So. I am either all in or all out, ESPECIALLY when we are talking about a Signature model. I have to believe that the product is "BEST for ME"... notice I don't say "the best". That insults a lot of great people/companies. Needs change, as do situations.. so I would even amend that to "Best for Me at this point in my journey".
    (Also, since I am on a roll, someone sent me a thread from TB (years ago, I think) where it was stated that I was given a Lakland bass and then sold it on Ebay. I just want to say that I have never been given a Lakland bass (wonderful instruments) and I have never sold anything on Ebay, much less a bass!!)
    I will only say this..
    1. Warwick did in a few days what took Fender years to bring to market.
    2. I am ending a trade show in Frankfurt where ALL of the Warwick artists are treated like royalty.


    I apologize for being so longwinded… but I even get tired of seeing Artists jump from company to company. It is not good for the company or the artist.
    I was a little reluctant to bring this bass out here in Frankfurt, and if they had not done such an Amazing Job incorporating my previous designs (and some cool new ideas) into the Warwick template (and reviving my beloved BassLines pickups) you CERTAINLY WOULD NOT be reading about the release of the bass.

    Bottom line..
    Fender is a great “big company”
    Warwick is a great “family company”

    I am not asking for your blessings or curses… just letting you know that I do care about my reputation enough to offer you some explanation.
    I reserve the right to amend this as things come to mind, but just wanted to get it out there ASAP. Steve Bailey





    ____________________________________________________________________
     
  2. flipper_gv

    flipper_gv

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    Just landed in Atlanta, but saw where this thread was going as I left Europe. Jotted down a few thoughts on the plane. I can only share with you what I have seen, and getting to know the folks there at Warwick, from the president of the company, the NYC artist relations folks, the factory workers, the new US and other worldwide distributors and even the security folks at the show (guarding Bootsy, not me!!)... I have never had such a great experience at a "guitar factory"... but in reality the Warwick facility is much much more.
    anyway here are my transatlantic thoughts...

    I once worked for a rather famous British group and was forwarned by a great musician who had worked with them previously to “make sure to get paid up front, and watchout for _______________ (the leader), he is an A-hole” Ultimately I had one of the greatest experiences of my career and ________________ and I are still good friends.

    Disgruntled employees are often vindictive, much like an “ex” can be….

    I have been to the Warwick factory. Amazing facility, amazing people, .. that simple. The only “slave” being driven that I saw is the owner, who is up at 4am, at the factory hours before everyone, and there until at least 8pm, after everyone leaves. Reminds me of my passion for the bass when I was 16… I wish I could get that back!!
    Aside from that, the factory is “green”, geo-thermal, and generates it’s own electricity through solar panels and wood waste... and a state of the art gym that is available to everyone. I think there is also free housing as new employees get settled, in apt. buildings that Warwick has renovated. There is a beautiful concert hall with a full on Jam Stage, and I even heard employees jamming away up there.
    Judging from the cleanliness, efficiency, and quality of product, I would imagine that employees are held to very high standards. (which can probably be a source of discontent from employees unwilling or unable to meet those standards) I have also witnessed an unprecedented level of support for an employee going through a tough time that is unbelievable. (not a company “veteran”, but a young, new worker) Yet another, among many things that attracted me to the company.

    As I said earlier, for me it is about relationships. Life is not long enough for bad ones, and I have learned to cherish the good ones. And by “bad” I do not necessarily mean evil, distrustful, or negative…. More like “unfulfilling”, and in some cases that is not anyone’s fault, just misguided or unfulfilled expectations that sometimes do not manifest themselves immediately. From both the endorser, and endorsee….

    Thanks to all of you for your support. In case it was not clear, I take every career decision very, very seriously and make the best choices for myself, and those I care for and about (that includes many of you). When I am playing music I try to be very spontaneous, often going for things just out of reach, with the intended result of making my “arms longer”. Probably the fodder for Intonation threads ;-). But when it comes to business I stay very near the center, weighing my decisions very carefully with long-term ramifications and their considerations at the top of my list. SB

    Oh, I will get back on the exact specs. I could try from memory, but that would not be very good at this point... stuck at the airport after a 10 hour flight..
     
  3. Eberbachl

    Eberbachl

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    Thanks Flipper ;)

    Wonderful words from Mr Bailey - a true gentleman.

    Welcome to the family Steve!

    :d
     
  4. noodles

    noodles

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    It's a shame someone as genuine and down to Earth as Mr. Bailey has to explain himself to a bunch of douchenozzles. Well done!
     
  5. flipper_gv

    flipper_gv

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    Just noticed the first part was already in the thread about the model. Sorry for the repost.
     
  6. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    NM, Steve's message deserves its own thread.
    Thanks for sharing!
     
  7. dazzla

    dazzla

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    Awesome find! Steve Bailey is a great addition to the warwick family. Now when can we see his new bass?!
     
  8. boebl

    boebl

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    like... now?... you just have to go to the basses section :)
     
  9. dazzla

    dazzla

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    ha ha thanks Bojan.....i should know to look next time!
     
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