Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Parris Mayhew's Red Bich

Parris and Rob Buckley having a little fun with the Bich, Photo courtesy of: Parris Mayhew

Jon K. from Pittsburgh, a historian with a serious interest in vintage guitars, hooked us up with a great piece here. He asked Parris Mayhew about his classic BC Rich that he used throughout the Cro-Mags...and got this response from Parris. Big thanks to Jon! -Gordo DCXX

I bought that guitar in 1980. I was 16. I lined up every guitar in Sam Ash, when Sam Ash was a single store on 48th street in NYC and not a Wal-Mart of guitars. Well not every guitar, but I hand picked about 30 guitars and lined them up outside an isolation booth. Then I spent the better part of the day weeding the ones out that just didn't cut it. I was driving the salesmen crazy.

By the end of the day there were 2. Both Biches. One wood grain and one fire engine red. Not coincidentally, because Dr. Know played a woodgrain Eagle and I had recently seen a picture of Joe Perry on the cover of guitar player magazine with a red Bich. Which was uncharacteristic since Joe was a Les Paul man. So there I was and I just couldn't see myself with a red guitar, so I picked the woodgrain. I put down a $200 deposit on $1200, thinking I would get a job. But I was a kid and time ran away and after 3 months I had a week to pay it off. I enlisted my grandmother. I explained and she chipped in the significant balance. Thanks Mary.

Parris with the Cro-Mags at CBGB, NYC, Photo courtesy of: Parris Mayhew

I took it home and blasted for a few days, but noticed I was having trouble keeping it in tune. Initially I thought it must be me, my lack of experience, or new strings...after all this guitar costed $1200, there couldn't be anything wrong with it. But it was just a lemon. After all, these guitars are made of wood and wood changes and has its own character, and sometimes they just suck.

So 8 days later I went into Sam Ash with my grandmother and the woodgrain Bich and set it down in front of the salesman and said "It won't stay in tune." He picked it up, tuned it and strummed a chord very noncommittally and handed it back to me. "It seems ok to me." I said "I am returning this." He said "It's been 8 days, we have a 7 day return policy." I said "It won't stay in tune, I am not getting ripped off." He nastily said "Tough." My grandmother, white haired and dainty, blasted off "You're a real creep."

I had the guitar in my hands. I walked up to a rack of brand new Les Pauls and turned the Bich around and gripped it like a baseball bat. I looked at that asshole and said "You are gonna take this guitar back. Or I'm gonna start smashing guitars and we'll see how many I can destroy before you can stop me."

I left the store with a Red Bich, and I have had it ever since. "A guitar is for life." That is what my father told me when I was a kid. He was right.

A Parris Mayhew/Cro-Magnum/Bich collage, Photos courtesy of: Parris Mayhew


Ben Edge said...

FINALLY I know what kind of guitar Dr. Know played back in the day.

Funny story.

Tim said...

Great guitar and a great choice of subject to write about. I don't own a Bich, but a custom Eagle ala Dr Know.

innocent_savage said...

PPL cite that John Christ/Danzig video all the time....When I think Bich, I think CRO-MAGS

Anonymous said...

Cool post. Thanks.

Anonymous said...


Justin M. said...

There can never be too much Cro-Mags on this site, even though I'm not a guitar geek this was an interesting read.

jxw said...

Parris, what a shitbag.

Anonymous said...

Parris, what shitbag.

constanzapezetca said...

PARRIS (IS) A SHIT-BAG. He is nothing close to what he claims to be. Certainly not a loyal friend, Parris, I thought only disappointed me... but apparently, he has disappointed friends, fans, and lovers all over. Parris had his chance, but that window of opportunity is shut tight on that loser.

constanzapezetca said...

PARRIS MAYHEW is not a good friend, is a mediocre musician, and a really crappy lover. Hiis guitar just doesn't suit the twat that he is.

Jason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason said...

Hey constanzapezetca you look like a really dumb slut. You say Parris "is a mediocre musician"? What the hell are you talking about? To quote Harley himself in a 2010 interview:
"Regardless of whether we get along or not now, I gotta tell you that Parris is one nasty motherfucking guitarist. I still haven't seen ANYONE on the NYHC scene that can fuck with him at all. His rhythm playing is as nasty as James Hetfield or Scott Ian, if not better. There's a few guys out there on the HC scene that are decent, and I've played with some great guys: Doug Holland who I gotta say was one of if not the best lead guitarist to come out of NY during the 80's, Gabby Abularach, Joe Affe, Sean Kilkenny, Will Dahl, Jay Vento, even AJ...and so on. But Parris, I gotta say, he is really nasty and probably the best to come out of the NY scene."
"Best Wishes" is one of the top 10 metal albums with top 10 riffs of all-time in my opinion, and probably the tightest & best tone/crunch guitar ever recorded.