WHO I AM AND WHAT I DO
I have always marched to the beat of a different drummer, so I decided to electrify the drums. And guitars. And whatever else I could get my Rock n' Roll Rebel hands on. I built my own audio system when I was 16, and to the consternation of seismologists it's been evolving ever since. If I lived in California my subwoofer might just bring on “the big one!”
Oh, how I love that music! Been in two Rock bands, but that's really just a hobby. Electronics is my bread-n-butter - actually whole-grain bread and low-fat margarine, as I'm a health and fitness devotee too. This Rocker ain't gonna die at 27 like Janis, Jim, and Jimi did, because he's already well past that!
Some people put great faith in academic credentials, despite so many teachers and professors being total loons. In my youth I did not, being a whiz-kid prodigy that fixed TVs and radios for neighbors at age 10, before even going to High School. In High School you learn more about getting high than about hi-fi, but I took all the science and math courses I could, and tolerated all the useless crap I was forced to take, like a foreign language, revised history, and "music appreciation." I aced the science and math courses and won all sorts of awards, but being a freethinking hip dude does not endear one to academic tyrants. So I skipped a 4-year college and went to a 2-year technical school to get an Associate's degree and begin working in the electronics field ASAP.
I then held a series of boring, frustrating technician and junior engineering jobs, each worse than the last, but I did gain valuable experience in audio and other fields of electronics. I wanted to do electronic circuit design though, not technical scutwork, and I got tired of the snobbish, Scowling Stuffed Suits - "Cutcha hair, kid!" - that won't even talk to you about a real engineering gig if you don't have a BSEE and suck up to their corporate culture. I wound up at the Cooper Union School of Engineering and there earned my degree, Summa Cum Laude. Please don't ask me for any "Cum Laude" jokes!
The dream came true within two months of graduation - Design Engineer, then Manager of Analog Circuit Design for ELECTRO-HARMONIX. From 1976 to 1981 I was responsible for the design of most Electro-Harmonix products. Proud Papa! I'll list some that I created:
The Deluxe Memory Man
Deluxe Electric Mistress
Frequency Analyzer reissue
Deluxe Octave Multiplexer
Stereo Polychorus (redesigned reissue)
Deluxe Big Muff
Guitar Synth (rackmount version)
15W Freedom Amp (recent version)
Special projects for Pink Floyd and other artists.
I also performed some of
R&D, design work, and/or design upgrades on:
Hot Tubes (vintage solid-state)
Big Muff Pi
Creative, independent people that refuse to grovel to Krazy Korpserate Kulture must really work hard to prove themselves. Mike Matthews of Electro-Harmonix (not your typical conformity-coercing corpseration) provided me with the free-spirited environment for doing so. Gladly I rewarded him with the best work I was capable of, and happy I am to know that many musicians and music lovers enjoy the fruits of my labor to this day.
I met David Koltai of
in 2005, and we became immediate friends. An axe master, he plays
guitar like I
design electronics, yet he knows enough electronics and I enough
there exists a Lennon and McCartney-like creative symbiosis. I now
electronics for all Pigtronix products. This progressive company is
not so much to the mass market as to the musicians, often famous
want the very best. My work for Pigtronix is at the forefront of
state-of-the-art analog technology - with creations that include the Attack Sustain, Echolution, Disnortion,
Polysaturator and more
than I can list
here. I am the proud original inventor of the Mothership
Synthesizer and the Rototron Leslie
rotating speaker emulator.
A few years ago I was contacted by Fischer Mao of XVIVE, and have since designed or redesigned almost all of the analog pedals XVIVE has on the market. Most are small pedals that fit well on a pedalboard and deliver state-of-the-art effects. A few are larger pedals with multiple features. One, the Memory Analog Delay, is an upgraded state-of-the-art version of the Deluxe Memory Man with rotary effect modulation, not the simple vibrato found in other delay pedals..
As an independent engineering consultant I now do circuit and product design, and custom mods and repairs on guitar pedals and other audio gizmos - many of which I originally created. Want to be happy? Own your own business, but don’t let it own you. The spirit becomes trapped in unhappiness by unknowingly allowing itself to be enslaved by its own creations. Here's another secret to a happier life - if you love doing something there may be a market for, such as music, DO IT! - and keep doing it until you get so good that people will PAY YOU to do it. Then it's "money for nothing and chicks for free!"
I work my own hours, and dress and wear my hair however I please. If anyone attempted to violate my freedom and privacy by demanding a urine sample, I'd say, "Open your mouth!" Black leather and living in liberty are still cool, and they always will be. Some may disagree, but it truly is the original American way. America is less free than it once was, but the greatest freedom is internal - a free, independent state of mind. As I wrote in my song titled YOU CAN'T DO THAT: *
For Freedom is as Freedom does
And Freedom I embrace -
And if they try to take it
I'll ---- right in their face!
(Fill in an appropriate four-letter word. I usually use spit).
* (c)1991 Howard (Mick) Davis