Mike Adams

Author’s note: This column is based on a metaphor I stole from Scott Klusendorf. As such, I owe him and Oliva V and a trip to the Texas Roadhouse.

Like most of you, I try to be financially responsible. For example, I pay my IRS estimated pre-payments well in advance. I also make conservative estimates of what I owe the IRS. Therefore, I usually end up getting a nice tax refund. When I get it back, I buy something I really don’t need. Two years ago, it was a Fender Telecaster. Last year, it was a Fender Stratocaster. I don’t mind splurging every year just as long as I wait until I actually have the IRS check in hand. Just last week, however, I did something I should not have done: I spent my tax refund before I actually received it.

But I had to have it. The Mesa Boogie Express 525 amplifier is one I’ve been eying for the last couple of years. When I finally got it home and plugged it in it did not disappoint. I’m already thinking of getting another Mesa Boogie – this time an Electrodyne 2x12. But before I take the big plunge, I’m going to drive out to California to tour the Mesa Boogie factory. When I get there, I’ll have an opportunity to see them put a Mesa Boogie amp together, piece by piece.

They’ll probably start by fastening four pieces of solid birch together. But when they finish fastening them together, they won’t yet have a Mesa Boogie amplifier. Next, the engineer will bolt in a 12-inch Celestion speaker. But it still won’t be a Mesa Boogie amplifier. Even after he fastens the tubes into the chassis, it still won’t be a Mesa Boogie amplifier. When they finally put the knobs on the outside of the amp, we’ll be pretty close to calling it a genuine Mesa Boogie. (For the record, if they ever build me a custom amp, the volume knob had better go to eleven. Ten just isn’t loud enough for this aging rock-and roller).

But after the input jack is installed (so I can actually plug in one of my guitars) I will concede that we finally have a Mesa Boogie amplifier. And that will be well worth driving across the country to see.

And so I’m off to Petaluma, California. Spring break is this week and I am about to head west on I-40. Just a couple of miles from my house, there is a sign that says “Barstow, California, 2,554 miles.” I’m not stopping for anything except gas until I get to California. On the way home, however, I plan to take a detour and stop by the Grand Canyon.

Mike Adams

Mike Adams is a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and author of Letters to a Young Progressive: How To Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting Things You Don't Understand.