by Eric McKenna
If there was one person in my life who has been truly instrumental in the creation and drive behind Boogie Street Guitars, it’s my friend Jim Stuart. Nobody else has come close.
While this story is documented in text and video, basically Jim and I grew up across the street from each other in a little town called Coraopolis. And while Jim and I were in the same grade in school – we did notsocialize much – initally.
The one thing Jim could do from way back in the 8th grade was play guitar! It literally amazed me. As much as a music fan as I was – it was mind boggling to me that he could play along with BlackSabbath, Ted Nugent, Styx, Led Zep and even laugh at how easy my KISS records were to play along with. This kid – had it!
As we graduated school, we went our separate ways except for a few meetings in the mid 80′s were I had bought a guitar and wanted the pickups changed and then a quick turn left to the drums! Where Jim, myself and another cat played some music as a trio. But that was very short lived.
Fast forward to Feb of 1998 and my decision to buy another guitar, look Jim up and see if he would be willing to give me lessons. And he was willing. Although, he admitted, he doubted I would stick with it.
Much to his amazement and to some of my amazement – I did stickwith it. And in 1999 my playing also included the buying and selling of various acoustic and electric guitars – just for my amusement. Basically so I could try out different makes and models. That early web activity truly sparked my interest to the point that I began to question my corporate career and considered going into the guitar business.
When I did make the ‘formal’ move in Jan of 2000, it was only Jim who was 100 percent behind me. Everyone else in my life at the time thought it was a terrible idea. And I can understand why. However, Jim somehow could see my drive as well as see the numbers and the growth of the web, etc. He could see my vision.
Armed with Jim’s sound advice and continued friendship, I began this incredible journey called Boogie Street Guitars. And I’m delighted to say that during each step of the way, Jim has been there. ‘Mentor’ is a heavy term. But when it comes to many avenues in both my personal life and business life, Jim has been an adviser, confidant and most importantly, friend. No, more than a friend to me. He is truly my brother.
BSG would not exist if it was not for Jim. And his continued support is part of the engine that makes Boogie Street go. He has been a critical adviser on every aspect of design work I’ve done with Washburn and Bernie Rico. He has been influential with my Major guitar design. He has helped me ‘mainstream’ BSG’s image over the past 2 years as well as provide me ideas on clothing and direction.
And what has he asked for this? Nothing. It’s just the way he is. As a person. Jim is a devoted husband, family man and a successful business executive. He is a man who other can only aspire to be and while he is certainly not perfect, he has that inner desire for perfection and excellence. He continues to contribute to BSG and is currently viewable in our DVD – ‘DECENNIAL’.
Oh – did I mention this guy can downright PLAY? I remember Nick Catanese hearing a ‘looped’ 60 secondtrack that Jim had recorded for me back in 2004 and Nick saying – “Who the hell is that?? He is ‘On’!” And I remember it took about 3 years later until Nick actually met Jim. What a cool experience that was! True mutual admiration.
I would wish a friendship like Jim and mine for everyone. If you are blessed by the good Lord above to have this kind of friendship – treasure it. Jim is a first class guy and I’m glad to continue our friendship as BSG takes more loops and turns in the future.