This is for Pat...a long, long overdue thank you to an underrated genius.
My name is Greg Douglass. I discovered the 4 x 10" Duck amplifier at a music store in Berkeley. At the time, I was a struggling bay Area guitarist who had just completed a tour with Van Morrison..
Anyway...I took my very abused SG to a small music store in Berkeley to get it fixed. Alas...it was deemed too trashed to be renovated. I ended up buying a 1965 Epiphone Riviera that was insanely great! It positively gushed air. Since I had a few extra bucks, and the buying lust was upon me, I tried a few amps. (My Twin was just too strident except at volume 10, especially with EV aftermarket 12" speakers. Ouch. I went through the usual "hip" stuff, them i was shown an odd rectangular 4 X10" amp that looked like the pillars from "2001" except it had...a little, cute, duck on it. I rolled my eyes, exuding a tsunami of doubt. I plugged the Epi into the Duck, and was...transformed into a new player. "Sounds great", I said, 'but there's a little 'bite' missing". The treble boost pedal was engaged, and...voila!...my new sound was born. I bought two ducks, ran 'em in tandem, and instantly became to the Tone king of the East bay.
A few years, and a few hundred gigs & sessions later, I met a fellow named Lonnie Turner who was Steve Miller's bass player. They were in the middle of the 3 month run that resulted in "Fly Like an eagle", "Book of Dreams", and various other bits & pieces used on Steve' albums. Lonnie had some words left over from an unsuccessful attempt to write a tune for Dave Mason: I had a great guitar hook that could never find its lyrical mate. Lonnie & I put our respective orphans together at a rehearsal for a band called Terry & the Pirates. "Book of Dreams" was ALMOST finished; they needed one more song. Lonnie walked in with his cassette of "Jungle Love" and Steve said, "OK, that's it! We need a John Lennon type rocker....and who the fuck is that guitar player? What's he doing? Can we get him down here?" I lived about 10 minutes from the studio. I was watching TV when the phone rang and it was...Steve Miller.
"Who is this REALLY?", I replied.
"Look, I'm down here with Lonnie and Gary (Mallaber, the drummmer). We want to cut your song; it's in some weird tuning (open A: I was very into delta blues) and that amp sound took the top of my head off. How soon can you be here?"
Twenty minutes later, i arrived: fifteen minutes later, I was set up and miked (the Duck sounded wonderful everywhere, anywhere), and two takes later, the song was done. We used the first part of take 1, and edited the part after the bridge from take two. In one hour, my life changed forever, thanks to a great song and my trusty Duck. (I NEVER used effects with the Duck).
The next 4 years were a blur of stadium tours, platinum records,(representing 12 million units sold) armadas of hot chicks....sigh.
Because the sound was so different from the rest of Steve's stuff, people are always asking....."How did ya DO that?"
1 Duck, 1 cord, 1 Epiphone Riviera. Simple.
Quilter became an obsession for me. My ducks, alas, were sold in a moment of desperation. But...who WAS this mystery man from Costa Mesa that changed everything about the way I played? Well...recently, i stopped by Steel Guitars of North County, where i sometimes teach when I'm not touring (I'm not with Steve anymore, but we remain good friends.) There was a row of beautifully designed...Quilter Amps. From Costa Mesa......
I had come home.
Pat, I plugged in, and...I hate to admit this....the new line sounds even better than The Duck. I'm saving my pennies; eventually, I will have one in my arsenal again. You, my friend, are a genius, and, like myself, ya don't know when to give up. Thank God.
I thought you'd like to know that a few years ago i got an award from BMI; "Jungle Love" has offically been played over one million time on the radio. In addition, it is played on "Everybody Loves Raymond" all over the world, every day (I was just touring the UK and....whoomp, there it was!)
Millions of unsuspecting ears have heard and loved The Duck. Imagine: two OCD geeks have, mysteriously and unknowingly, become part of popular culture. Someday soon, when i am a few bucks ahead, we will once again be working together again.
And who can even begin to guess what wonders will happen THIS time?
Congratulations on continuing to raise the bar. You are a rare bird, a man who strives for quality and never gives up until he reaches that pinnacle of perfection.
Thanks from the Escondido President of the Pat Quilter Fan Club.....
Lessons, Live Shows, Touring,
& Studio Work
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