BAD RONALD "PENSIVE EXPENGUIN" GUITAR
was my first electric guitar, after I was playing for 2 years in 1978.
It was an imitation Les Paul, by a company called "Pace" -
I've never seen anything else by the company. It was the cheapest guitar
at the music store I was taking guitar lessons at.
(photo taken 1978)
The guitar went through many changes - my friend John had shiny "prism
tape" that made colorful reflections - I cut out the shape of the
pickguard, forward and reverse, and made a pickguard and reverse-pickguard
shape with the tape on the guitar.
Years later I cut away the wood to a strange shape and painted the guitar red. There was a sharp edge in the shape that would bother me when I played. My mom had an old coat with fake fur. I cut up her coat and covered the guitar in fur.
(photo taken August 19, 1986)
A few years after this, the fur was destroyed and had shed all over,
and it was time for another change...
As a young child, I would create potions, combining anything I could find. Me and my psychopath friends referred to them as "concoctions." In my backyard, there was a crack in the cement steps near the grass, and there were always ants crawling in and out of the crack. These two key elements in my youth led to my goal in life - to find a way to relocate these ants with one of my special "concoctions." I tried any combination of ingredients that seemed logical - ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, bleach, milk and piss. I'd pour it in the cement cracks and wait. 3 days later, the ants would be crawling in and out, unaffected by my concoction. They obviously had superior strength. I had to try harder - orange juice, spit, baking soda, glass cleaner, glue, shoe polish, and melted crayons. Ya see, the key to knowing a good concoction is the Smell Test. If you smell the concoction in a cup from 4 inches away, you should gag 2 or three times, and then another 2 times from the memory of what you just smelled. If not, you didn't make the shit strong enough. The puke reaction was definitely relative to the amount of onion and garlic powder - mix that with Coca-Cola, some sulfur and other shit from the chemistry set I had (birthday gift), and you're guaranteed 6-and-a-half good dry-heaves - 3 from the actual smell, the third making a genuine hacking sound, another 2 from thinking of the ingredients, and the last one-and-a-half as an instant flashback to the smell, and the hacking sound ya just made replaying in your head. Anyway, back to my story. I had to try harder and I did. I emptied a little bit of everything I could find in the refrigerator, kitchen cabinets, cleaners under the kitchen sink, bathroom sink, and anything I can add from my own person. Yo - who the fuck says "my person" - that's asking for a fight. "The shoehorn is on my person." If you regularly use the term "on my person", hit yourself for me. Anyway again, I combined all that stuff and came up with the greatest batch of concoction I could ever invent. I *knew* this shit was gonna work. I was gagging from 2 feet away. I held that shit far away from me and held my breath and brought it out to the yard, trying not to think of the ingredients so I don't gag another 2 times, and poured it in the cracks.
The ants never came back.
My only mistake was that I never wrote down the ingredients. After that, I reached my height of success and retired from the concoction business. It was time to find a new goal.
I forgot why I was mentioning this story - it had something to do with the guitar. Oh yeah - around 1988 I was forced to come out of concoction retirement, in a quest to find the perfect substance to use when building guitars. I came up with this shit that was perfect - the only side effect was that some of the ingredients would travel up your skin and you'd itch for hours, just from touching your finger to the can of it. The main ingredients were sawdust, fiberglass dust, and epoxy resin. Combine that together and it'll outlive your grandkid's roach collection. I put a layer of the stuff onto the guitar neck after I removed the frets, and then stuck a bunch of coins onto the neck. After it hardened, I filed down the sides of the coins that stuck out, and had $4.63 on the neck. I cut away the body some more, and put the Les Paul-style tailpiece at an angle sticking out of the edge of the body, and wired 1 DiMarzio super-distortion pickup and 1 volume knob onto the body. Then I took an old magazine and put pictures of penguins all over the body, and painted over them with polyurethane. I use a thin rope attached to a tuning peg as the guitar strap, because of the light body that makes the guitar "neck heavy". I then typed on a little piece of paper with my Commodore64 computer's dot-matrix printer, and made a label that said "Bad Ronald - The Pensive Expenguin" and polyurethaned it onto the guitar's head. That's the name of this guitar.