‘Feeling Returns’ {Deja Vu?}: The Grabber bass & destiny of JESVS WEPT

     How can a mere instrument come to symbolize a band or an entire type of music? Let’s hear from the ‘Ghost of Weptmass Past’ on why this is possible. For those who believe in something they tend to come across proofs of itself as a result of their enthusiasm, noticing parallels and serendipitous synchronically whenever it may be detectable.

1978-G3-1 1978-G3-12

     It would appear in the winter of ’86/’87 in it’s devil horned glory then all black w/ a maple neck: The Grabber by Gibson. Not even to 3 digits in price, purchased with a quick funds via shoveling snow from the blizzard that passed through. Perfect timing as Jesvs Wept’s guitarist then jh0st knew of a bassist selling a Gibson bass, a big upgrade over my white Kramer Striker at the the time. We drove over to their practice spot in his green Pinto wagon and went back to ours with my new old bass. Threw some semi-flat Rotosound strings on it with the red ends and it looked appropriately ‘evil’. Cut the Star Ball Contribution {Wake III} and Exit {Wake IV} albums with it and all the live shows to promote from ’87 > ’89. J*Wept became inactive (not for the 1st or last time!) and I had written a double album called  Spiral Web: Puritan Death Ethic my last release on Carrier Communications Cassettes. Painted some second rate cable tv show host’s house named Lame Silly Cheat. She didn’t like the paint quality of the closeout 1$ a gallon Kmart garbage flat latex she had chosen, required and supplied so stiffed me on the project. Only following through with giving me the Tascam 234 3 3/4″ i.p.s. Four Track  now payment for painting whole inside of house?!? My friend Magic Genie pitied this story and gifted me a silver Gemeinhardt flute the same afternoon (which will appear on new J*Wept Wake VI album). Not only got stiffed on the payout for job, the recorder was broke! Before my songs were forgotten I needed to self produce this 2xLP stat, so I sold the Grabber to a high school jazz band player for less then double what I paid for it (which was still more then a hundred less for market value then). Used a self-defretted Japan Squier Fender 80’s P-bass to get my Jaco on for rest of Spiral Web album. Ended up removing the ‘thickskin’ poly~finish w/ a hammer and throwing some EMG actives wired direct out and  jamming on that  Precision Bass also in Siddal (Bedazzled Records), A Picture of Madagascar, Juke (future Pelt bandleader), Sultans u.v. the Vortex & Dynamic Truths (Merge Records).

ACDC_4

     Lacking a fretted bass, I found a Kramer (to replace the OG Wept bass?) aluminum neck model at a pawn shop where I met  Will Ray from the Hellecasters. Also rocked that fretted Kramer in DT’s & S.u.v.t.V. The Kramer got sweated on at too many gigs so the electronics fritzzed out. Replaced that with another pawn shop special, this time a black Guild Pilot, which I later found out was used in some of my fave local bands like Brainflower and Breadwinner {a tight provenance & pedigree}. Guild Pilot became main axe during Looking Glasses {North Pole} a 2 year recording project till it to succumbed to the active EMG pickups no longer working well dur to preamp being worn out w/ “blood, sweat & beers” ahaha. Along with all these basses coming and going being bought and sold to replace eachother amps would get fried including a Music~Man hd-130, also used possibly in Sliang Laos first, or maybe Bread ‘n’ Butter bands? The point being that none of these other instruments had the sublime anomaly among basses that’s a Gibson Grabber neck. So from 1990 till near 2015 J*Wept was Grabber-less, and during those years J*Wept only achieved the ’93 and ’05 sessions w/ 5 songs total 2 of the being different versions of ‘Ikon’. Fast forward to 21c: starting to crave the tone and playability of a maple necked, skinny nut width, shallow neck depth, glued on separate maple fingerboard and ‘fretless wonder’ ultra low frets {as well as cool ‘Flying V’ type peghead shape} that only Grabber’s combine, I began pricing used Grabber/ Ripper/ G3’s. They had gone up 5x in price by 2005 and over next decade would double again to 10x what I paid in late 80s. So it seemed a distant dream not meant to be? Which was a problem as Jesvs Wept IMHO had to have The Grabber played by me to have our band’s signature sound. And w/o J*Wept, our label Xarrier Infrastarwerx Recordings we had worked so much on building a webpage and social media outlet (read: fans new & old) for could not thrive, as the earlier incarnation Carrier Commvnications label rose and fell with the fortunes of Jesvs Wept as well. Every once in blue moons I’d scan Fleabay or Kraigzlost for any bargain Grabbers, yet never saw one priced lower than market value. Eventually, after having given up for years, a few months before Xmass ’14 I saw a couple ‘project’ Gibson basses, which were priced accordingly (read: nearly affordable).

Ripper_prototyp

     The first a {seemingly rare} sunburst finished Grabber w/ no parts included just the neck & body. The other being also a “less hardware & pickups” black Ripper (the top-of-line dual humbucker set-neck/ ebony fretboard version) with the negative caveat of a broken truss-rod. The seller said the neck was not bowed, and Stew~Mak sells a tool that can rethread the broken end so it will function IF the break is not too far down into wood… but how far is too far? Being discouraged by the overwhelming doom of dropping off a bass to a luthier only to find neck was irreparable put me off on that one, so bailed again on idea of trying to get Grabber. That was until realizing I still had the bridge cover, trussrod cover nameplate, pickup and original case, figuring maybe I could build one? So later the same sunburst version came back up for sale the week before Xmass. It was lower in price so a no-brainer; I would build my own ‘bionic’ Grabber tracking down the missing parts over time. The seller could not lower his buy-it-now price, so he expedited some top rate shipping in compensation. It got here a good 3 days before Xmass, in fact 12 hours after jh0st announced publicly he will be retiring from guitar in Jesvs Wept, instead focusing on his Magnetic Resonance and in-the-werx Statik Bossa Nova jamz. Of course I knew that before the public, so I returned his pre-notification favor by sending him 1st pic of my new vintage ’75 Grabber, to which he replied the word ex-skaters say or hear as ultimate thumbs up: “SICK!”

     I knew then I’d scored an Xtra~tight axe, in fact there are no shipping records of a sunburst Grabber so was it a G3 single coiled version, a  tradeshow bass, or maybe custom ordered? It has ‘The Grabber’ written on truss rod cover and sticker serial number under clear coat; either Gibson themselves or George Gruhn the expert of Gruhn Guitars in Nashville can answer these questions? There wasn’t a doubt that Grabber’s magic worked almost instantly. After exchanging a few c0nv0s about working on a $tar$hyp Vortyx space*rock*star jamz w/ K.K. Vorticez, we ended up IM’ing about Jimmy Smith and also Larry Young‘s Blue Note jazz organ albums which led to another call. The timing was right: he agreed he wanted to join as the new guitarist (having impressed me and other Coral fans w/ his work on Altamont in Dub LP) for Jesvs Wept. Which means officially we were only guitar-less for 3 days! It was actually closer to 30 days as jh0st retired from the band shortly after my birthday. Which brought us full circle, as we did the arrangement on Serpent Exile‘s 1st completed ready-to record tune Wolftriniti’ (incidentally also the promo/remix Xingle from album w/ ‘radio’ & ‘full-on’ versions) the day after my birthday in 2010. Which was 5 calender years to the season exactly after the last official Jesvs Wept recording. So time is not in fact linear it is parabolic in nature just as Einstein predicted w/ his theory of General Relativity! And now the mythical post-punk post-bebop deathrockers Jesvs Wept may rise again in a crescent phoniex into the music atmospheres again, with the great horned beast aka The Grabber leading the way through the valleys of musical darkness into shadows of jeweled thrones. How’s that for Tolkienesque metaphors on the week the final Hobbit film’s released!?!   

One Bass to rule them all, One Bass to find them, One Bass to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien, paraphrased {L.0.+.R}

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