Gearlust: KAPA Continental

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

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One of the more iconic guitars available for studio users would be the KAPA Continental, or “Falcon” guitar, permanently emblazoned in the minds of Dub Narcotic Sound System fans everywhere.  A guitar so quintessentially Dub Narcotic Studio – Olympia, Wash 98501, perhaps more than any other piece of equipment in the studio.  This fixture has been in house for over 25 years, and recently underwent a fresh tune up.

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Calvin says:

This is what they call a house-brand for Veneman’s music which is a music store in the D.C. Area.  It’s a KAPA Continental, KAPA is the brand that is made specifically for Veneman’s music, in Edmonston, MD.  It’s an unusual guitar in that it’s very regional.  Only people in the D.C. area would have this guitar. The reason I have this guitar is in September of 1989, the Go Team were playing a show at a place called D.C. Space, and another guitar of mine, the Kay guitar, broke.  There was a guy at the show named Mitch Parker from the band Crippled Pilgrims, and he said “Hey! I’ve got a guitar you can have!” because I was in the middle of a tour and the [Kay] guitar had broken in half.  While we were packing up the drums he went home because he just lived a couple of blocks away and got this guitar, and brought it for me.

That tour ended prematurely when the van –  it was the first automobile I had owned, a red Ford Falcon van (‘65);  threw a rod, as they say.  So we realized it wasn’t going to be practical for the band to continue in the van.  What seemed more practical was to strip the van of anything useful, including license plates and anything  that might identify us, and just leave it on the side of the freeway.  So that’s what we did, or what I did; and in stripping the van I stripped off this Falcon logo, and when I got back to where we were staying (in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. with the band Love Child) I slammed it on the guitar.  People often refer to this guitar as “the Falcon”.

Everyone’s played it.  When I first acquired it I played it for the rest of that tour, which was about a week before the van died. And then it came back to Olympia and it wasn’t used as much for a few years.  I had Paul Schuster, who was in a few different bands on K including Some Velvet Sidewalk, P.E.Z., Internal/External, and also worked at the guitar shop, Moon Music, down the street fix it up.  He altered it considerably to make it playable, the neck was a little bit warped and a few other things that he was able to straighten out.  So then after that it was more useful, I played it a lot in Dub Narcotic Sound System and then lots of people have used it in sessions.  I know that Adam Forkner played it many times and he was on everyone’s record. He played with Little Wings, Dub Narcotic Sound System, The Microphones, Mirah, I don’t even know.  Yume Bitsu was his band that he originally recorded on K, then White Rainbow and [[VVRSSNN]].

Oh, and Beat Happening played this guitar.  In ‘89, at the end of that year just 3 months after I got this guitar we played a show at the Paramount Theater sponsored by the Rocket magazine called Nine for the ’90s.  It was nine bands that were going to make the’90s the decade and we were for some reason chosen. Bret liked this guitar so he played it, and at one point, I don’t remember what song it was, but in playing he hit the switches and turned off the pickups.  Heather and I  just kept going so it was like a capella with drums, and he was like “What’s wrong?” but he didn’t know because he’d never played this guitar before. Eventually he figured it out and he turned it on.  He just happened to turn it on at a very dramatic moment, it seemed like he did it on purpose, like as far as the audience knew it was just a part of the song. It was like the guitar drops out, and then it came right in right at this part that seemed like it was where the guitar would come back in. So the audience was just like ‘YEAHHHH!” It was crazy, because I’d never played a show so big and I hadn’t experienced the crowd mentality that you get at a larger show. The response was funny, but it was exciting.  There’s a photo of him playing that guitar inside the album cover of Music to Climb the Apple Trees by [KLP109].

That’s where this guitar came from. We’ve had it for 25 years and it’s still going.

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Get in touch and come play it: studio@krecs.com

-Mike

 



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