In 1994 I attended the Lollapalooza Festival in Charlestown, West Virginia. At age 17, I was excited to see my favorite band “Smashing Pumpkins” perform at the end of the night, but would have to sit through the day long festival of bands including the opening band for the day— a band called “Green Day”.
“Okay”, I thought, “This should be a good show”. I knew that the cheesy cover band at my senior prom had sung one of Green Day’s songs about masturbation, so these guys must be cool.
Three guys, not much older than me, walked out on stage. One of them had blue hair, one of them had green hair, and one of them looked and acted like the hyper active kid that I always saw in class at school. There was no real introduction to them and they had no commanding stage presence about them. The one with blue hair had an old beat up blue guitar with stickers plastered haphazardly all over it and had the letters “BJ” in big bold red letters on the pickguard.
After pacing back and forth with long strides, the one with blue hair started pounding on his guitar in sort of a jackhammer style, producing chords that went right through me. As the drummer came in with his kick drum beats, the entire crowd—that I had just minutes before been sitting with while enjoying the smell of their joints—became a gigantic mosh pit. I watched as my girlfriend was bumped into and tossed around like a rag doll. I turned to see my other friends getting lost in the mix and when I turned back around to check on my girlfriend, she was gone. I turned back around to see my other two friends. They were gone. Here I was, ten feet away from the stage getting my ass kicked as this band, “Green Day”, was telling me to “Welcome to Paradise”. That’s where I truly was and I wasn’t going anywhere…
Soon after, I learned to play guitar and although I learned to play on an acoustic, I had visions of owning a blue electric guitar just like Billie Joe’s. In 2005, I bought a white electric guitar for $75 and decided I was going to turn it into a Billie Joe guitar.
I spray painted it light blue, and placed random stickers all over it. Then I carefully painted the letters “BJ” on the pickguard and I had completed my vision…I now owned a “Billie Joe” guitar. I’m sure my wife was questioning her marriage to me when she watched me emulate Billie Joe as I played on my new Blue guitar as I watched the Woodstock 94 concert. I had been playing air guitar to these songs for over ten years and now I finally had a real guitar to play along with. Thank God she loves me despite me acting like a twelve year old.
Just for fun, I decided to see if anyone else was interested in owning a BJ guitar so I put my guitar up on eBay to see if I could get any bids. The starting price was $100. When it sold for $450, I knew I was on to something. I sold more guitars on ebay, some going for over $1,000. I wanted to get BJ guitars to people all over the world, but didn’t want people to have to pay over $1,000 for them, and so BJGuitars.com was established.
I have been selling to people all over the world since 2005 and have been making people’s Green Day dreams come true, making Christmas mornings special, making birthdays unforgettable, and changing people’s lives the way Billie Joe changed my life in 1994.
I have always been dedicated to make each and every BJ guitar I make as precise as possible to the real thing (minus the dirt, sweat, mud, and spilled beer of course!) and have sold to Green Day tribute bands, beginner guitarists, and everyone in between! I even use one myself when playing live! (www.ReadDay.com)