This week we finally get to hear from the man, the myth, the legend: John Fromel himself.
The business started in 2008 when I started building pedals and mod kits in my garage. The business quickly grew and my wife wanted the garage back. In 2010 I found this awesome space just a few blocks from my house that was perfect for making the pedals and as a bonus has a retail front, perfect for a neighborhood music store. Way back in the day (late 80’s and early 90’s), I worked for Guitar Center in a number of roles ranging from computer geek to retail management and artist relations. Fast forward to 1999, I started a career in real estate; it was awesome until 2008. Most of our regulars know that owning Leading Tone is my fun job and being a realtor is my real job. I can say without hesitation that I have the best crew anyone could ask for and when I am out selling houses I never worry about the shop being run excellently. I hope to always have this shop and when I retire from real estate, this will be what I do.
What was your first musical instrument?
A 1972 Fender Telecaster all original with the case. I had no idea how cool that guitar was at the time. What I really wanted was a Charvel Model 5, but they were $700, and I got the Tele for $350, which I sold 3 years later for $350. My first amp was a silver face Princeton Reverb. Like an idiot, I got rid of that amp in a partial trade for a Charvel Model 5 and a KMD solid state 2×12 combo. For all reading this, I do know how much of an epic fail that move was.
Tell us about an album that has influenced you a lot.
The Beatles self-titled (White Album). I even like the songs that suck on that album. In my humble opinion, there is not much rock or pop music that does not have some influence (intentional or not) from the Beatles.
What album are you listening to on repeat these days?
Honestly, nothing. In the car, I listen to NPR. The iPod at the house is usually on random and consists of about 70% kids music. Here at the shop I relinquish control of the music to the crew (currently listening to some metal band that is fronted by Cookie Monster on Vocals), and Chris just switched to Skynard?
What album do you think more people should listen to?
It’s a tie between Everything from Tones on Tail and Etiquette of Violence by David J. I doubt many people are even aware of these two works. Tones on Tail was a spinoff/project band with Bauhaus members Daniel Ash (guitars, vocals), Kevin Haskins (drums), and Bauhaus roadie Glen Campling (bass). They never released any full length LP’s just singles and EP’s. Everything is a compilation of literally everything they recorded in Studio and one live track cover of Heartbreak Hotel. David J is the older brother of Kevin Haskins most noted as the bass player in Bauhaus and Love and Rockets, Etiquette of Violence recorded in 1983 is a mellow acoustic album with incredible lyrics. Daniel Ash, David J, and Kevin Haskins later formed Love and Rockets.
What is your preferred format (vinyl, CD, mp3, etc.)?
I remember as a young teen taking the bus down to Neil’s Records with my friends to spend our allowance on some new vinyl. Taking it back to the house and going through the ritual of opening the album, reading the lyrics, hoping for some bonus material (stickers/posters, etc), then listening with my friends as loud as possible before our parents got home from work. It was a beautiful ritual between friends that does not and cannot exist now.
How do you discover new albums?
Mostly here in the shop listening to what the guys bring in for the house music.
What’s the best flavor of ice cream?
Pistachio that is not died green and has lots of salty pistachios.
Finally, give us your top ten albums of all time.
Not in any order…..
Bauhaus – In the Flat Field
The Cult – Love
Jimi Hendrix – Axis Bold as Love
Jane’s Addiction – Nothing Shocking
Rush – Moving Pictures
Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Las Vegas
Led Zeppelin – IV
Neil Young – Unplugged
Pearl Jam – Ten
The Beatles – Self Titled (White Album)