Skip to comments.Guitar Frets: Environmental Enforcement Leaves Musicians in Fear
Posted on 08/26/2011 9:26:29 AM PDT by yoe
Federal agents swooped in on Gibson Guitar Wednesday, raiding factories and offices in Memphis and Nashville, seizing several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. The Feds are keeping mum, but in a statement yesterday Gibson's chairman and CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, defended his company's manufacturing policies, accusing the Justice Department of bullying the company. "The wood the government seized Wednesday is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier," he said, suggesting the Feds are using the aggressive enforcement of overly broad laws to make the company cry uncle.
It isn't the first time that agents of the Fish and Wildlife Service have come knocking at the storied maker of such iconic instruments as the Les Paul electric guitar, the J-160E acoustic-electric John Lennon played, and essential jazz-boxes such as Charlie Christian's ES-150. In 2009 the Feds seized several guitars and pallets of wood from a Gibson factory, and both sides have been wrangling over the goods in a case with the delightful name "United States of America v. Ebony Wood in Various Forms."
[snip] It isn't just Gibson that is sweating. Musicians who play vintage guitars and other instruments made of environmentally protected materials are worried the authorities may be coming for them next.
[snip] If you are the lucky owner of a 1920s Martin guitar, it may well be made, in part, of Brazilian rosewood.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
They’ll take my 60’s D-18 from my cold, dead hands.
Yeah, this is kooky
If you see an old timey piano with ivory and ebony keys in someone’s house, especially if they are a liberal, who do you call to sic the feds on them?
Interesting article. I don’t travel with my vintage Guild bowback. However, my son-in-law frequently travels with one of his guitars, some of which have some age on them. I will send him a copy of the article. I feel about my Guild the way Charleton Heston felt about his guns: from my cold, dead hands.
This is what happens when you continue to manufacture a quality American product in the NON-UNION South.
If my next Les Paul is built overseas I’m going to put my foot so far up Holder’s a** he’s going to cough shoe laces!
Or...maybe Gibson forgot to pay up their protection money to the DNC?
First they came for the guitar makers, but I wasn’t a guitar maker so I did nothing . . .
And if you happen to have a 1958-1960 Gibson Sunburst Les Paul made with now restricted wood, this could be the loss of an instrument worth close to a half a million dollars.
It seems a disproportionate number of musicians are liberals, and it might be entertaining (pun intended) to see how they put themselves into a self-contradictory pickle, however a stalwart few use their axes for conservative purposes. (Shameless plug: see my "Redneck Revolution".)
And I would disagree on principle with the imperious, draconian way in which even the most well meant of scarce material regulations are carried out. It doesn't matter whether it's my political friend or enemy who suffers the most from it, it's just plain wrong. Paperwork errors, in particular, ought to be granted an ample chance to be corrected before deeming an otherwise permissible imported item verboten. And if an insignificant portion of a composite item can't be documented as compliant and can be removed without damage, that should be the only part that is barred from completing the import process.
” If you see an old timey piano with ivory and ebony keys in someones house, especially if they are a liberal, who do you call to sic the feds on them? “
Alright, DFU now has to write an Envirowacked parody of “Ebony and Ivory”. Somebody let me know when it’s up.
This looks like a battle in which both contenders are dug in, not a case where someone “forgot” to pay a bribe.
This makes no sense. I am a woodworker and I can go down to the hardwood dealer right now and buy Ebony. It costs about the same thing as gold per ounce but I can buy it. I don’t use any tropical woods because a lot of them are harvested illegally but come on. This is ridiculous.
“When those who produce need permission from those who produce nothing, you know your country is doomed” Paraphrased from Atlas Shrugged.
Hey Dou-oug! They’re playing your song!
Sounds like they were acting as their own importer and skipping the middle man. Whatever agency was certifying the wood at the source end, and it sure looks like it was being done in good faith, must not have met every fiddly little regulation.
I bet your dealer pays la mordida to somebody.
That is true. I remember watching part of a concert by John Denver on PBS (don’t judge) and he was using a guitar made of curly Koa wood. Koa is a rare timber that only grows on the Hawaiian islands, IN THE RAIN FOREST.
Why would they confiscate old guitars from before the wood was illegal?
The trees are long dead man, that makes no sense.
And yes, also cold dead hands, et al...
This applies to instruments of all ages. I have a “Coodercaster” Strat, with an Ebony fretboard. Ebony And Ivory!
They won't if you can prove that it is pre-ban. However, if your paperwork is not accepted by the customs man you're screwed.
In the world of government regulatory agencies, the accused is guilty until proven innocent.
I guess I should read the whole article.
And the administration wonders why there are no jobs in this “recovery”.
Next they go after gun manufactures that use Cocobolo (Rosewood). Admin flat out nutz. Wish Holder lived in Irene path. He’d get a taste of wood alright.
And we actually pay people to do this? No wonder the government is drowning in debt. Gad! This country is most certainly insane if we continue to put up with this sort of thing.
The gummit has bloated itself to the point of being well nigh unwatchable. Too much stuff going on.
Why are these enviro laws being used retroactively???
More harassment from NObama & Holder???
“If my next Les Paul is built overseas”
The Feds won’t allow it to be imported. No LP for you!
This isn’t a _resident. This is an emperor!
They’re just going to yawn and wave through anything that comes on a Chinese ship. Fellow travelers respect one another, after all.
Did they shoot any dogs and flashbang the assembly line workers on the way in? I know those ... wood violators ... can be a shifty sort.
Technically, they're not. However, the law can be enforced so heavy-handedly that it will be up to the owners of vintage guitars to prove that their guitars are vintage.
This means if grandpa wills me his beloved 1959 Gibson Les Paul (thanks gramps!) and I left the country with it, in order to not lose this priceless instruments to customs upon returning, I would need to have documentation attesting to it being vintage. Would grandpa's receipt be good enough? Who knows. Would I need George Gruhn to provide me with a detailed appraisal (that he charges hundreds of dollars for)? Who knows.
Well Good God man!
They weren’t simply threatening and intimidating voters at a polling place, they were working and paying taxes and employing people and fostering the arts! And thought they could get away with it ... not on Holder’s watch
Kind of off topic:
Why does it take 6 bluegrass musicians to screw in a light bulb?
One to hold it and 5 to complain because its electric (~).
You’re probably right. Sure hate to “loose” my ‘63 Sho Bud with the Rosewood aprons if I had to play a gig in Canada though! That would make me mute and irrevalunt!
keyboard spew alert
Likewise for my 1950 Gibson C-1.
And during the Bush administration, let it not be forgotten.
“All your fretboards are belong to us!”
Right. And look what happened to him. He angered our mother earth and he paid the ultimate price!
I was going to blame this on Bush but...
He vetoed the Farm Bill that this expansion was attached to. Twice! (Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008.)
Bush's veto was overridden by congress.
Yep. Guitar players can truly blame the democrats for this mess.
I host a monthly Bluegrass show and there was some criticism of one of the bands because the Bass player had an P-Bass.
Ebony... and Ivory...
Used to sit together on my piano keys
Till the EPA came and set them free!
The Feds are silent, but in a statement yesterday Gibson’s chairman and CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, defended his company’s manufacturing policies, accusing the Justice Department of bullying the company. “The wood the government seized Wednesday is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier,” he said, suggesting the Feds are using the aggressive enforcement of overly broad laws to make the company cry uncle. This time the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service assholes claim Gibson violated an India law covering wood exports. WTF??? We enforce other country’s laws??? This raid was pure U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service theft. Juszkiewicz claims the shut down of the factories cost Gibson $1 million in lost production on top of whatever was seized.
Juszkiewicz and Berryman bought the failing Michagan company in 1986 for $5 million. It had sales that year of $5 million. Over the years the company has expanded its product lines by purchasing other companies. For example: Gibson owns Baldwin. Current sales are near $500 million and half of those sales are exports. Obama and his Marxist buddies must be pissed over this Capitalist success.
There is something else that is very fishy too. Last year Gibson was rated by Glassdoor.com as the #1 worst employer in the nation. ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/21/worst-companies-to-work-f_n_397565.html?&slideshow#comments ) This is BS. No CEO in his right mind would want to piss off the experienced artisan instrument makers the company needs. Auto Zone was #4. I’m a Auto Zone customer and I’m certain the very helpful employees here are not unhappy. In addition, Juszkiewicz has raved about the help and cooperation he got from employees after the Nashville plant was flooded last year.
In 2009 the Feds seized several guitars and pallets of wood from a Gibson factory, and both sides have been wrangling over the goods in the case “United States of America v. Ebony Wood in Various Forms.” Juszkiewicz says the wood is worth a million dollars. There has been NO civil or criminal case filed by the Justice Dept.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service picked a fight with the wrong guy. He won’t roll over and play dead... He enrolled at the General Motors Institute in Flint, MI, a five year co-op engineering college. Sponsored by GM’s Delco division, he gained experience in a variety of different jobs at Delco’s 6,000-employee electronic components plant in Rochester. Putting his musical skills to work, he worked his way through school playing guitar - a Gibson, of course - in various rock bands playing for parties and weddings.
After graduating with honors, he worked at Delco Products for two years as product manager while studying for an MBA in night school at the University of Rochester. He completed his MBA at Harvard University on a General Motors Fellowship.
Juszkiewicz then joined the New York firm of Neiderhoffer, Cross and Zeckhauser, Inc., a pioneer in the area of middle-market deals, where he rose to the position of executive vice president of mergers and acquisitions. He left the firm in 1981 and, with two former Harvard classmates (David Berryman and Gary Zebrowski), acquired Phi Technologies of Oklahoma City. Within one month he turned the struggling technology firm into a highly profitable company.
You can sleep good tonight knowing the feds are on the J-O-B making sure America is protected from evil guitar manufacturers. I wouldn’t be surprised if Gibson just said screw this and moved their operation to China.
Obama, no job is safe.
I work in the environmental cleanup field and have seen how ridiculous the original laws were (and expensively wasteful of taxpayers money). They were finally revised to some degree of sanity.
However, the laws the USF&WL people are operating under are totally nuts and so are the people who enforce them to the 99th dot of the text of the law.
These people are on legal drugs and nothing except a new Republican-controlled Congress and president will change it.
The nuts are running the asylum (and the good people who work under them are afraid to speak up for fear of losing their jobs - the typical Obama regime response to whistle-blowers and honest investigators).
We need a complete overhaul of all our environmental laws, from NEPA/EPA to the Endangers Species List and importing of endangered woods. A grandfather clause with teeth must be included in any revision in order to protect innocent guitar/instruments owners.
I loved my old $15.00 Stella guitar. You could knock a house down with it (we tried too and nearly succeeded), but it still sounded good afterwards.
When is this environmental extremism going to end? How many Americans are going to be put out of work by the environmental fascists before this issue is fixed?
Nov. 2012 can’t come soon enough for me.
“It seems a disproportionate number of musicians are liberals, and it might be entertaining (pun intended) to see how they put themselves into a self-contradictory pickle, however a stalwart few use their axes for conservative purposes. “
Music is an abstract in many ways and that is how libs think. Most conservatives are “black and white” type of thinkers who take a “just the facts” approach to things. Great for politics and issues of right and wrong. Not so great for creativity.
That is NOT to say that Conservatives aren’t creative. Far from the case. Just that the lib mindset is geared more to thinking in a less structured ‘outside the box’ way. Then there’s the drugs and groupies...
And yes, I know some will misinterpret what I meant ;)
Conservative wannabee musician.
Job killing POS in the Oval Office and all of his administration. Here is your change America.
Time to shed some weight.