Phil Samson

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In my hometown of Lawton, Oklahoma, there was only one real music instrument store, Frontier Music. For me it was clear across town, which was about four or five miles away from my house. At age fifteen, after school I would ride my bike to there and play any guitar I wanted to. It was a shop that encouraged you to plug in to an amp and let loose.

The owner was Phil Samson. He wrote a country song in the early 80s that T.G. Sheppard made a hit. The song, “I loved ’em everyone”. Phil was about as nice of a gentleman as you could meet. He was a real big fan of putting instruments in the hands of anyone with the urge to play. He loved music and it really showed.

For a while, every day I would walk in and pick up a purple/blue pearl B.C. Rich electric guitar and play Cinderellas, “Nobody’s Fool.” At the time, learning this song seemed to be a good avenue to getting laid.

One day Phil walked in to the guitar room and said, “you really like that guitar don’t you? I see you pick that one up more than the rest”. I said, “Yes, I like it a lot”. He said, “Well take it”. I said, “I don’t have any money”. He said, “I don’t care. You like that guitar and I want you to have it. Pay me when you can, what you can over any amount of time it takes. Let’s also set you up with cables, an amp, guitar strap and anything else you need”. That day I walked out of Frontier with my dream guitar. I had just turned sixteen and was now sharing a car with my sister and step brother.

I was not working much at the time, but I would stop in with some allowance money every now and then, five or ten bucks a month. He never gave me a hard time about payment and did not even seem to care if I paid him anything.

I took a job at a lure company for a few hours a week after school and increased my monthly payments to maybe twenty dollars a month.

Then I got my girlfriend pregnant. I had to find more stable work as I was now moving out of my mom’s house and gearing up for a family. I took a job at a flooring factory. It was full-time job, but seeing as I had promised my mother I would finish school, I had to take a night shift from four in the afternoon to one in the morning. Between school, work, a wedding to plan and a daughter on the way, it left little time to play.

My soon to be wife and I sat down to figure out our budget. After we budgeted everything, I said there is one other thing we have to pay for, my guitar. She was adamant that I return the guitar, but I refused. After a long fight, she agreed that we would continue with twenty dollars a month if we could afford to. We stopped in every month and handed Phil twenty dollars or less. He still did not seem to care.

My marriage lasted about a year and a half. I still owed Phil on this guitar and I was now eighteen. I made my final payment before moving to Texas at age nineteen. It took me close to 4 years, but I paid it off. I loved this guitar and stiffing Phil was never an option. That was at the end of nineteen eighty-eight.

Flash forward nine years. I still owned the guitar and I was in a band in Dallas. We had a rehearsal space at a rehearsal studio. By this time I owned several guitars. I did not pick up the B.C. Rich very often, but it was in the rehearsal room. My friend was in the band and would often bring his nephew to come watch us, Justin. Justin was a shy kid, but very polite. I was really fond of him. He was probably in his early teens. Often when we would take a break from practicing, we would come back in the room to see Justin noodling around on the B.C. Rich. I asked him, “Do you like that guitar?” He said, “Yes”. I said, “Then it’s yours”. I figured that guitar belonged to anyone with the urge to play it. Just like that, the guitar that had been such a huge part of my life and got me through many really bad days was now in the hands of someone new. I never for a second have second guessed that decision.

That was nineteen ninety-seven. Right after I gave the guitar to Justin, I went back for the weekend to my hometown. My mother told me Phil was getting a lifetime achievement award that weekend, so I went to the ceremony. Phil got up and played a set of his songs and finished the set with his “hit” song. Afterwards I got a chance to talk to him. I told him who I was, he already knew. He knew which guitar he gave me and remembered it all very well. I told him I had recently given the guitar away, but that I owned many others and still played. He was happy to hear it. I asked him if he had given others away like that and if anyone had stiffed him. He said, “Well I never really cared one way or the other, I just wanted to get instruments in kids hands. I suppose I let hundreds of instruments walk out the door without payment and of all of those, only one person did not finish paying me. I figure that’s a pretty good track record”.

When Phil’s song became a hit, he was offered a lot of money to move to Nashville to write, but he liked what he was doing and did not want to move his family, so he passed on the offers. Phil still owns a music store in my hometown.

Phil also had a song that was on a Grammy Award winning album in the nineties. He still plays in bands in my hometown and still writes lots of songs and releases records.

A few days ago, photos showed up of the guitar on Justin’s facebook page with the words, “One of the coolest gifts I’ve ever received”. Me too, Justin. Me too.

B.C. Rich

Visit Phil’s Facebook page and music store site. Buy his music. He is the stuff heroes are made of.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PhilsMusic
His newest CD: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/philsampson
His store: https://www.facebook.com/PhilsGuitars

The Blue Door

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I played The Blue Door in Oklahoma City a while back. Doug and Telisha from Wild Ponies were gracious enough to have me open their show. It’s a venue I hold in high regards; a place I have always dreamed of earning the right to play. That stage has graced so many of my musical heroes, including Doug and Telisha.
My sister, a few of her friends and my step dad came to the show. My step dad had never seen me play other than on youtube. I was nervous to play in front of him. He doesn’t really get what I do, but he was there in support and shot this footage. He gave me a thumb drive with the files on it and I forgot about them, because I thought it was a bad set and didn’t want to see the video. I just found them while looking for something else.
Shortly after this night he died. I’m putting them online because I’ll probably lose them if I don’t and I kind of would like to hold on to them because it was the last time I saw him.
Enjoy.

Cigar package #3

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Last Thursday I fulfilled another cigar package before releasing WOLF. For those of you that are not aware of the cigar package, prior to releasing my new album people could buy two different levels of cigar packages. I would bring the cigars over and we’d smoke a cigar while listening to my new record together before it came out.

I got together with my good friend Phil at his absolutely amazing house over-looking Austin. We settled into two fine leather chairs with Cuban cigars, 18 year old scotch and a bottle of wine from his cellar. I laughed out loud when I walked into his wine cellar. He looked over his collection of a couple of hundred bottles and picked one out. There’s a spiral stair case from his cellar to his cigar room. His cigar room has its own AC system that pulls air from outside. “Tomorrow” he said, “You will not even know we smoked cigars in this room”. I said, “I bet, there was not a hint of odor when I walked in tonight”.

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His sound system is amazing and it’s the first time I really got to actually hear WOLF. It was the first time to sit and listen to it in its entirety on a real nice sound system. When making an album, especially working on one as long as I have worked on this one, you can sometimes lose sight of the beauty of music, working too close to the fine details. I finally took a step back and got to listen from a listeners standpoint.

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We recorded piano for one of the tracks at his house. He has an amazing piano that John Elliott graciously played on the album.

phil's house piano

Phil is one of the biggest fans of music I know. I did not know to what extent until this night. I came across something I’ve never seen in anyone but me. Phil is moved to tears often by music. I noticed all my standard moves out of the corner of my eye. The subtle moves to wipe away tears. I am moved to tears every single day by music. It’s such a beautiful and inspiring thing in my life. I have never come across another person that literally sheds tears often from the beauty of music. It was refreshing to see.

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After finishing WOLF, we talked about artists we love. We played songs for each other. He has an amazing collection of vinyl. He turned me on to some amazing things. We watched youtube videos of Richard Buckner, Amy Speace, John Fullbright, Danny Schmidt. We watched his personal videos that are not online of AJ Roach, Anthony Da Costa and Nels Andrews.

He stumped me a little with a question, “Who are artists you believe to be above everyone else? Who really, really moves you?” Up until now and with most anyone else this would be an easy question to answer. With Phil however, I wanted to come up with people that maybe he didn’t know, which is very tough. The only person I could come up with that he hadn’t listened to was Richard Buckner. We did however talk of Dayna Kurtz, Danny Schmidt, Raina Rose, Carrie Elkin, Rose Cousins, Sean Rowe and many others that have the ability to move us deeper than others.

This was one of the most enjoyable nights I have had in recent memory. Truly a night of inspiration. Thanks for buying the package and taking the ride Phil.

I want to say Amy

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In nineteen eight-five I went to my first heavy metal concert on June nineteenth. The band was Ratt. It was general admission at the Great Plains Coliseum in Lawton, Oklahoma. It is a real stretch to call this place a coliseum. It is more like a large warehouse, smaller than a Wal-Mart.

great plains coliseum

I worked really hard to create heavy metal attire. I got a pink bandana from my sister and tied it around my thigh. My sister also had a kind of netting tank top thingy that she gave me. I cut it into a half shirt. I had some work out gloves with the fingers cut out. I put on my grey stoned-washed jeans, teased my hair up with Aquanet hair spray and had my mom drop me off at the show.

Shortly before this concert experience, my father had died suddenly. I was still reeling from it.

Ratt

The concert was general admission, so I ended up down in front. After the opening band, Mama’s Boys, I met a girl named Amy Macel. She wasted no time being very flirty and it was not long before we started kissing. During the show, she began grinding on me and letting me feel her boobs. I was fifteen. It was awesome. After the show she gave me her phone number and told me to call her.

I wasted no time. I called the next day and she asked me if I could come over. She lived on the military base, which was far away when you did not have a car. It was about fifteen miles away. I needed a ride so I called around. My step brothers’ friend David offered to give me a ride for ten bucks. I gladly agreed. He drove me out to Amy’s and dropped me off.

When she answered the door she seemed very uninterested in me and getting any conversation going was difficult. Shortly after I arrived, another guy came to the door. She was excited to see him and they quickly retreated to her room as I sat in the living room by myself.

This was well before mobile phones, so from her home phone I kept calling David’s house over and over until he finally got home and answered. I told him what had happened and begged him to come get me. He felt sorry for me, so he turned around and came back. I was at her house for a little over an hour. I never saw Amy again, but I will never forget that bitches name, which is relevant, because she is the girl that inspired a song on my last album called, “I want to say Amy”. Although, I remember her name very well, there are several girls that I dated at that time whose names I cannot recall.

Here’s the song I wrote about it that appeared on my last album, The Calm Waters of Youth.

Me and the wife

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In a few days I will spend a great deal of time with my ex-wife. Our daughter is having her second child and we are both going to Colorado to be with our daughter and see our new grandchild into the world.

I only see my ex-wife at funerals, weddings and births. Seeing that we divorced 24 years ago or so, it doesn’t even feel like it happened in this lifetime.

Over the last few years there have been many deaths in my family. Although Rhonda (my ex-wife) did not get along with my family or even spend much time with them at all, she has come to all my families funerals. I find that very touching.

I only met her family twice while we were married. Once at the wedding and we took one trip to see them in Indiana immediately following my graduation. I mean immediate. We left from my graduation to Indiana.

In the mid-nineties I wrote a concept album about that time period in my life. From age 15-18 My father died, I got a girlfriend, got her pregnant, moved out of my moms, married my girlfriend, had a daughter, bought a four bedroom house, a new car, graduated high school and got divorced.

I hope to one day make that album. I’m not sure how well I can connect with it emotionally anymore, but that is not to say I would not. I just do not know.

Also a long time ago I wrote some lyrics down about the one thing that kept me from going insane and suicidal during my marriage. That one thing was my car speakers. My wife once accused me of cheating on her, when in fact I was spending time driving around and listening to heavy metal, mostly Queensryche (Operation: Mindcrime) , Iron Madien (Piece of Mind) and Dio (Last in Line). I finally finished that song and it is on the new album, WOLF.

You can pre-order the new album at:
http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/wolf

Here are the lyrics:
(FYI 6×9’s are the size of common car stereo speakers)

6x9s

I ran into the bathroom and slammed the door closed
Locked it behind me, then I climbed out the window
Unlocked my car, pushed it out into the road
So when I started it, they would not hear me go

I picked a cassette, loaded it into the stereo
Turned the knob as far as it will go
Feel the vibration coming out of the speaker cones
My rear view mirror shaking, my hands, my soul
But right now everything’s fine

‘Cause I’ve got my car, my six by nines
Mindcrime on the alpine
Everything’s fine as long as I have my six by nines

All hell is breaking loose back at my home
My mother and sister are at my fiancé’s throat
But Rhonda is tough as nails and holding her own
They’re fighting over me and they don’t even know
That I’m gone, so far away

‘Cause I’ve got my car, my six by nines
Piece of mind on the alpine
Everything’s fine as long as I have my six by nines

Flashback to a year before, I spent a week re-carpeting my car
And building a box for some new speakers to impress a girl
I thought she’d only like me if I had new carpet in my car
And speakers a foot behind her head
And we would go out every night and blast her favorite Whitesnake song
While fucking on fake sheepskin covers in the front seat of my car
Because we had no where else to go, because I lived at my mothers’ home
And now we have a baby on the way

‘Cause I’ve got my car, my six by nines
Mindcrime on the alpine
Everything’s fine as long as I have my six by nines
I’ve got my Jensen six by nines
Last in Line on the alpine
Everything’s fine as long as I have my six by nines

The Meakings Group

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When I turned sixteen I got a job working at a small, local lure company after school. It was owned and run by a retired sergeant from the Army. I was getting paid under the table, cash. It was enough to fill up my tank every week and buy a chocolate éclair and a coke. That is what I bought every Friday when I got paid and I was out of money that quick, but I had a full tank of gas. As a kid with a new license and a car, that was heaven.
My grandfather had gotten me the job and when I went in to work, there was one other employee working there and it turned out I knew him. He started making lots of small talk while training me how to pour hot lead into the molds to make the heads of spinner baits.
After about 15 minutes or so of being on the job our boss walks out, wads a five dollar bill into a ball in his fist and throws it in my face. “Get out of here, you talk too much” were his words and then he walked back into his office.
I was stunned. I walked out disgraced and confused. It bothered me all night and I did not tell my family I had gotten fired. The next day my confusion turned to anger. After school, I drove back to the lure company, walked in and said, “give me my job back. I didn’t do anything wrong”. He looked at me for a few seconds with a stunned look and said, “You got a lot of balls coming back in here and saying that to my face. Get back to work”. From then on we were totally cool. I worked for him for over a year. I was his only employee during most of that time as he wasn’t making much money at it. Towards the end he was just giving me busy work. He didn’t need me, but he liked me and wanted to give me a job. I was paving his driveway, running errands, doing his yard work. He paid me the same each week whether I did 5 hours of work or 25. He was good to me.
I had acquired a girlfriend during my time working there. I lived in a military town, she was older than me and was out of school and in her first year of the Army. It was a terrible relationship, but I was getting laid as much as I wanted and that was much better than a full tank of gas.
It was not long until I got her pregnant. I asked her to marry me and I went home to tell my family. My mom, rightfully so, freaked out and told me I couldn’t live at home anymore. She told me I would need a higher paying job. She got me an interview with a flooring factory. Her friend Lucinda was a supervisor there. I filled out an application and did a short interview and got the job. I would work from four in afternoon to one in the morning, six days a week. I think I made four or five dollars an hour.
My fiancé and I could not yet afford a place on our own so we moved in with a couple she knew from the Army. They were married and had just had a baby girl and had a three bedroom apartment. It was a bad scene there. That couple did not get along and my fiancé and I did not get along. There was constant drama and tension.
My fiancé decided we needed a place of our own, hoping that would help alleviate some of our troubles I agreed and we found a run down apartment that was furnished and all bills paid for either $250 or $350 a month. I cannot recall which.
The factory was a strange place to work. Our boss was an Australian fellow who was spending way above his means and was on his fourth or fifth wife. He was basically a con man that came to a small town to escape past shady business dealings. He drove cars he could not afford, bought houses he could not afford, wore expensive gold watches and jewelry.
One day he walked out to me on the factory floor and said, “You put on your application that you do graphic design”, I said, “Yes, I take a vocational class about it at school”. He asked me to come up with a logo for the company and one for the specific flooring we were doing, so I did several. This is one of the logos I came up with. He liked it. We got shirts, and tons of stuff with my logo on it. I also painted it by myself 30 feet by 40 feet on the side of the factory.
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I worked for the company for two years. During that time, I got married, had a daughter, bought a four bedroom house, graduated high school and got divorced.
After my divorced I decided I was moving to Dallas. The factory was starting to feel the strain of our boss’s extravagant lifestyle. We had gone from about forty employees, down to six. The way they let people go was so shitty; they would call us all on the floor in the factory and say, “If we don’t call your name, leave” and would start running down names. I was in that group of 6 that were left. Towards the end of my employment there some of our checks were bouncing. We had a running joke that we would all race to our banks to get our checks in because we knew some would bounce.
I walked in to my boss’s office and gave a two weeks notice and said I was promised a two week vacation a year that I had never taken and that I would like it to start immediately. He liked me. He let me walk out with a check for two extra weeks of pay and it didn’t bounce. That was the end of my time in Lawton, Oklahoma.

Goldie Roxx

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In 1985, I was in 9th grade. Me and my friend came up the the idea to start a glam metal band called Goldie Roxx. We’d all bleach our hair blonde and wear white and pink and have white and pink guitars. Though the band has yet to happen, I still have my flying V 28 years later.

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