When it comes to being gainfully employed in the music industry, there are so many paths down which one may wander. At Mojotone, we’re obviously miles down the manufacturing and supply path which puts us in close contact with techs, builders, rock stars, producers, and a slew of highly-competent hired guns. One hired gun who has continually impressed us with his dedication to the craft and knowledge of gear is Mr. Eddie Haddad.
You’ve probably seen Eddie featured in a number of videos on our YouTube channel, and perhaps you’ve even run into him at the Mojotone booth at a trade show or two. We wanted to take a closer look at how Eddie found himself standing right where he is, so we sat down to have a little chat and, as with any great story, we started at the beginning…
“I started fiddling around with guitar at age 10, but didn't really get serious til age 13. My first record was Mr. Big's "Lean Into It" that my mom randomly got for me at a garage sale since I needed cd's for my walkman (man I feel old!) That record changed my life. I never heard guitar work like that before. From there I dove into rock music, Texas blues, and metal through my younger years and was obsessed with being able to play like the people I listened to. My first amp was actually a Crate bass amp that was handed down to me from a friend. I ran a Squier strat into a BOSS Super Overdrive through that amp. Truly humble beginnings! My first "real" amp was a Peavey Valve King head and cab that I got a few years later, along with an Ibanez RG. Boy, have I come a long way (haha).”
Having spent plenty of time with Eddie over the years, I was aware that he was what one might call a “gear nerd.” Eddie has always had a great ear for tone and a zest for discovering new gear, so I wanted to know how he started down this particular path.
Eddie was quick to admit...
...that, like many of us, tone was not on his radar for the first few years of his guitar playing; he was much more focused on learning technique and becoming a well-rounded player. But eventually the tone demons find us all…
“...over the years I flipped the script and put much more focus on tone than anything else. I think of tone as the "voice" of my instrument and, by extension, the manifestation of the sound I hear in my head that I communicate to the outside world. Like a ton of guitar players, Eric Johnson's tone quest was a big gateway for me to start prioritizing tone. From there, it was pretty much every record ever recorded out of Nashville. The tone of those session players was something I truly identified with, because it revolved around finger tone and how to truly "speak" with sounds and textures. These days I think about tone like a producer, where it all revolves around the context of the band mix. That was actually a huge factor in what drew me to Mojotone. Literally everything I've played from y'all, pickups or amps, always sits beautifully in a mix.”
We’ll take the unsolicited flattery any day. That Eddie is one heck of a guy.
So where is Eddie now? Well…
“I guess you can say I offer all manner of services as a guitar player from session work, playing live/touring, writing songs, tone consulting, and teaching.”
But more specifically…
“I was blessed to play for and tour with the great Eddie Money during the last three years of his life, someone I grew up listening to. I've also done session work for artists like the late Erick Morillo, recorded for tv spots, performed live on MTV. These days I'm playing lots of country music and am touring with Martin McDaniel and Craig Campbell.”
It’s safe to say Eddie is a true working musician and is evidently a trusted and valued asset in the professional music community. But how did he get to this point in his career?
“When I was 26 I decided to move to LA to pursue a career in music because I tried being a working stiff and just couldn't accept that for the rest of my life. That nagging voice in my head convinced me to give it an honest shot and if it doesn't work out, I can always move back to Texas and get back into the corporate world. I didn't have a plan, really, and the first couple years were incredibly tough, but I was finally able to get into a groove of staying busy playing music in that scene. From there I made a conscious effort to spend every day working towards getting closer to my goal of making a decent living with music and nothing else.”
That’s a lot of drive, risk-taking, and networking; which I’m sure almost any successful musician would agree are the keys to actually getting somewhere in the music industry. And even though Eddie, as I’m sure we can all agree, is obviously some sort of alien-programmed robot genius guitarist machine, he must reach those frustrating moments of demotivation like the rest of us.
Here’s what he had to say about breaking down those walls…
“The struggle is always real, no matter what level you're at! All kinds of things can get in the way from personal responsibilities to time-wasting distractions. I think we live in the best (and worst) time for playing guitar. There are millions of free resources we can find on the internet to help us learn and get better, but at the same time there is so much content out there competing for our attention that it can often get the better of us. What helps me get out of that rut is to put my phone aside (sometimes even in another room), put on some music I like, and grab my guitar and play along with what I'm hearing. This is where fresh ideas really come out and it gets me excited to continue playing.”
Well said, Eddie. Well said.
This essentially concludes our time with Eddie, for now. But rest assured Eddie will be back very soon for another feature in our Warehouse Jams Series, to help us with gear demo videos, and to just hang out at the shop and be an all-around rad guy.
We feel privileged to have Eddie on our team as an ambassador of Mojotone products, and we’re all super proud to call this guy our friend. Keep an eye out for Eddie on tour with Martin McDaniel (martinmcdaniel.com) and Craig Campbell (craigcampbell.tv). Eddie also has a ton of course material on guitarmasterymethod.com already and will be publishing more content regularly. He’s a great player to learn from so we definitely recommend seeing what he has to offer.
As always, we appreciate you tuning in and we’ll catch you next time!