Welcome to the first Squire newsletter of 2024! Where we reveal a new record release and a new member of the Squire family!
Yes, we’ve been away… but managed to squeeze in a gig, the postponed Secret affair and Squire date in Gillingham on 3rd Feb. It was a great finale to the tour, as we said at the end of last year, our relationship with Ian & Dave goes back all the way to 1979 - 45 years!
And later this year we celebrate another 45 years - of the Mods Mayday! We play at the 229 Club in Great Portland Street, London W1 and headline in Cambridge the following day.
The reason why we say Back In Black is two fold - The first announcement is a re-release of the final single in seven inch series 'The Place I Used To Live' - in black! Now in the store, we only have a few so grab one quick!
That means all the 7 inch re-releases from 'My Mind Goes Round In Circles' onwards have now been released in the original back variation. Just to remind you, after releasing ‘Eight Miles High' / 'Rain', and 'Get Ready To Go', we then launched the single series, and worked its way through from ‘Circles' to 'The Place I Used To Live'. There are still some previous releases in stock, and they will never be repressed on 7-inch, so now is the time. Indeed, we've recently sold our last ever yellow Get Ready To Go! LP. My Mind Goes Round In Circleds in black is down to the last five, so don't delay! Because just when you think you want one, they're gone!
The other ‘we’re back - in black’ is a new member of the Squire family! A DeArmond Jetstar guitar! Its always fun to debut a new guitar, and although it may at first seem an odd choice for a ‘mod’ silhouette, the shape has a pop and power pop pedigree!
First spotted with The Monkees, with Davy Jones playing the bass guitar version,and known as the Guild T-Bird S200, it was also a feature of Zal Yanovsky , the guitarist in The Lovin’ Spoonful in the 1960s.
Originally designed by Guild and inspired by Muddy Waters, he was sponsored to play one.
Indeed Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac also bought one, specifically because of that Muddy Waters blues connection, and played it during his time with Splinter.
Also in the 1970s it could be seen in the hands of Peter Holsapple of The New York Power Pop band, The dBs, - the ultimate power pop connection.
Here he is, still using a newer version at The Mercury Lounge, supporting Dream Syndicate in 1999.
Indeed the dB’s formed around the same time as Squire, and had similar influences from 1960s pop, psychedelia and( and the bass player had also played with Alex Chilton!) Holsapple later played with R.E.M as they auxiliary guitarist.
Here’s a pic of Jeff McDonald of Red Kross with one - another Californian punk to Power pop band.
Nowadays, the guitar shape has found a revival with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys!
- and it caught my eye again when I spotted a white version in the hands of Sandy Michie from Chords UK, who’d borrowed one in California, and bought one when he got back to UK!
Although they are very rare shaped guitar, like car spotting, once you see one, you start recognising them everywhere! So when I was offered a black version, I had to have it! This is a slightly different model to the Guild version because it is made by DeArmond (owned by Guild), so has the Thunderbird on the headstock like a Guild, but there are subtle differences.
Basically, same shape and manufacture but different pick ups. DeArmond are full-size ‘Goldtone’ hum-buckers and have more of a surf twang, wheres the Guild has LB1 mini hum-buckers, and is more jangly aggressive punk sound.
DeArmond pickups sound close to the Jazzmaster used on the Passengers On Trains album, a guitar which was later sold, and long missed, so it was a quick decision!
What is unique and perhaps bizarre about the guitar body shape, is that it allows it to stand up on its own, against a wall or an amp, without it sliding sideways and falling over! - if you’re a guitarist you may know the pain of seeing your guitar keel over when you prop it against something, and are too far away to save it smashing to the floor- indeed the original 1960s guitar actually had a built in stand!
Very ‘60s. It may not make a live debut in Squire - we’ll see, but its sound will certainly be recognisable in new recordings. More soon!
Of course, we already have a black guitar - the black 12-string Rickenbacker! It has been the main onstage guitar since Mods Mayday 2022, after the blue one was retired. And since then the live Squire sound has been exclusively 12-string driven! The blue Rickenbacker 6-string 620 seen on stage, sits at the side in case of technical problems or string breaks etc.
Nevertheless, this new Guitar inspires new sounds, and because of its early 60s connections and the special pick ups it has a particular surf sound.
So although the shape is distinctive, so is the sound and the feel of the Guitar, and these are the characteristics that bring its unique place in to the Squire collection of instruments.
For example, the long gone Fender Jazzmaster is the first guitar you hear on the opening track on the Passengers On Trains album. Its recognisable twangy open sound is really distinctive.
By comparison, the the opening guitar on the first Squire single ‘Get Ready To Go’ is the baby Rickenbacker 325. It plays the frenetic riff.
The opening chords on Get Smart’s ‘You’re The One’ is the blue 12-string Rickenbacker. Total jangle!
The opening chords on. ‘I Know A Girl is the Rose Morris 330 red Rickenbacker, seen below on stage in California. And so it goes on, each guitar has its own distinctive personality, and so the DeArmond will have its day!
Lastly, we wanted to remind you, wherever you are, that Squire records and merch is not only available from the Hilo website, but also from Bandcamp
and eBay as well.
In fact, the international shipping programme offered by eBay has been used by a few Squire fans in Europe since customs duty and excess handling fees were added to European orders, and they seem to be satisfied with the service! Please let us know your experiences and preferred method. We often get enquiries from our old friends in Spain, Germany, Ireland etc. who then get scared off by the greedy import duty and post handling charges! We are always looking for ways to reconnect with our fans overseas, because then we can come and play live there too!
All the best from Squire!