APRIL 2006


by Kelly

House of Guitars in Rochester, NY is actually one hell of a cool place. Every musician worth his weight in guitar picks (and many who aren't) has visited this landmark since it's inception so many years ago. We have visited this Mecca of Cool several times over the years. There is so much jam-packed into this little building that there is always something new to see. We will have to go back again to take some proper pictures. For now, here are some pictures we took when Project Absurd was nary a twinkle in our eyes... 

If you enter through the front of the store you'll find heaps and heaps of guitars and other musical instruments for sale. If you make your way through here without injury and find yourself at a set of stairs heading downward - wander down them. Immediately you are confronted with the holy-grail mother-load of a signature wall. Every musician - apparently, famous or not - has signed one enormous wall in the back of what amounts to be a music-collector's dream of a record store. You can also get to this wall by entering directly into the record store from the back of the building. Entering this way - the signature wall is in the back of the room. I have posted some photos of the signature wall so you all may peruse them at your pleasure. I've circled in purple some of the highlights. Feel free to study and find more of your own! In the photo above, along with a member of Foghat signing in what seems to be red paint (or perhaps his own blood) we see: 1. Nancy Sinatra just above Sacred Reich, who signed in 1993 2. P.O.D. and 3. metal band Killer Dwarfs.


Here we find that "Weird Al" Yankovic both Sucks and <--- RULES  or maybe it's something else that sucks, as evidenced by the other writing in black marker that got cut out of the picture. When we visit again we'll try to remember to let you know (I know you're on the edge of your seats). Also, note that THIS STORE IS THE BEST IN THE UNIVERSE (bottom left/center).

1. Poison signed in 1987 (the year between their debut and sophomore albums - the period just before the height of their fame). All four members - Bret, Bobby, Rikki and C.C. signed the wall, as you can see.
2. Adrian Vandenberg signed in 1988 - when he was in Whitesnake.
3. Share and Jan from the band Vixen.
4. Kelly Keeling (and possibly others) from the band Baton Rouge
5. Marc Ferrari of the band Keel (and later, Metal Edge column-writer). Some members of Keel also signed above this, in black marker in 1987, which may or may not be the year Marc signed the wall (he didn't specify).
6. Members of Atlantic Starr, best known for their hit ballad, "Always." Note band P.O.D. signed the wall in 2000 again under Atlantic Starr.

1. Bass ace Billy Sheehan signed on June 21, 1989, during his years with the band Mr. Big.
2. "KEEP ROCKIN" wrote Ozzy Osbourne - date unknown.

And finally, the following is a picture of only a few of what must be several hundred autographed photos and posters that hang framed and unframed all over every wall of House Of Guitars. Notable below - signature from dearly departed drummer Eric Carr from KISS.

What makes this store so absurd? You may be asking. If you visit, you will know. It's absurdity is also it's greatness. For in this store are what can only be described as positive heaps of CDs, records, cassettes, t-shirts, posters, videos, DVDs, magazines, and other assorted memorabilia. The heaps appear to have at one time (perhaps mid-to-late 1987) had a discernable organizational pattern to them. But the store is organized no longer. Well, only very, very vaguely. If you are a  music fan and are planning a visit, carve out a large chunk of your day for sorting through the piles in this store. Don't wear your Sunday-best, either (and make sure to take your allergy meds if you're allergic to dust!), because you need to get right down on the floor (most likely last-vacuumed when last-organized) to really get into some of the piles. It can be kind of annoying, but also a great adventure! What I wouldn't give to organize that store. What I wouldn't give! I would do it for free as long as I could keep any memorabilia I found and wanted. House Of Guitars...are you listening?!

(Posted 11/2006)