Protesters Outside NAMM Urge Attendees to Boycott Guitar Center

Categories: NAMM

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Brandon Ferguson
Exene standing up for the little guy

A small group of protestors including punk rock icon Exene Cervenka gathered outside the Anaheim convention center Saturday urging NAMM attendees to boycott Guitar Center and instrument company KMC Music Inc. The action stemmed from a claim by two local musicians, Michelle Mangione and Steve Soest, who say their idea for a percussive pedal was stolen by a former Guitar Center VP.

Speaking to the Weekly outside the convention center, Mangione, who recently worked on a song with Cervenka, said she and Soest approached Guitar Center with their prototype back in July 2011.

"We literally had a corporate meeting with them," Mangione said. She specifically named Guitar Center's then VP of Merchandise, Drums and Percussion Mark Nelson, who she said referred to the pedal as an innovative product.


After weeks of emailing back and forth with an interested Nelson, Mangione said they stopped hearing from him altogether. She and Soest claim Nelson then took their idea to a colleague at Gibraltar Hardware (owned by KMC), and in July of 2012, a product nearly identical to their prototype was released (without their knowledge) as the Gibraltar Cajon Pedal.

"We found out about it by seeing an ad in a Guitar Center Magazine photo," Mangione said.

She and Soest filed an intellectual property case against KMC, Guitar Center and Nelson in Orange County Superior Court in May of 2013. The 16-page complaint alleges trade secret misappropriation as well as breach of contract. Mangione said she hopes to take the case before a jury but explained that the defendants have been stalling in court.

"They're trying to squash the case before it goes to a jury. There's so much evidence, and they know it," Mangione said.

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32 comments
Ranman
Ranman

Artists need to learn how to copyright their own work before sharing it. It's not too difficult

mhip
mhip

Dang...

Exene looks like she's on her way to her 600 pound life.

GrimJimCrowley
GrimJimCrowley

Not to be like "So what?" but how much money were they even expecting to make from a cajon pedal? I'd venture a guess that half the people reading this article don't even know the product in question without having to google or bing it. 

steelgolf
steelgolf

Used to deal with Steve Soest back in the Main St. Music store days of the very early to mid 80s. The guy was always down to earth and very honest. If I ever needed any serious work on one of my guitars he was the only one I would go to. Angers me to think that these 2 are getting ripped off by some Guitar Center VP

rockyneidhardt
rockyneidhardt

Damn.. Both Exene and Guitar Center support my charity Rock The Autism.. I'm conflicted

Chris Bird
Chris Bird

It kinda blows 'cause I want one. Bad.

American Pancake
American Pancake

I hope this is true (wouldn't doubt it) - Guitar Center sucks. The whole music superstore mentality has squeezed out so many independent music stores.

johnny_libertine
johnny_libertine

People are terrible these days. I had the same thing happen with my art. The head of Black Market Art e-mailed me for weeks insisting that I needed to send more and more artwork to be considered for a position in design. One day I just stopped hearing from him. He covered his ass by taking my designs and tweeking them or switching things out with different designs of mine. It was my fault for being too happy to show my work. Now they have enough design material for the next year.


Patti Murphy
Patti Murphy

Michelle is a fantastic drummer...I hate it that Guitar Center VP stole her idea

Pat Tapley
Pat Tapley

Well I guess I am not going there, they should have protected themselves but ok so they failed doesn't give another person a green light to do the wrong thing. Sigh...people suck.

John Terby
John Terby

That sucks, the guitar center vp guy is an ass!

Marko Polo
Marko Polo

Who ever thought of "X" as being PUNK ROCK?

Alan Ray
Alan Ray

If Nelson is no longer employed by Guitar Center, why would should people boycott the company? It doesn't look like Guitar Center benefited from the product at all.

Christy Adam Moskovitz
Christy Adam Moskovitz

A corporate businessman did something underhanded and sleazy? That is so shocking.

gnarchild
gnarchild

sue the shit out of them. They knew exactly what they were doing when they copied it. I hope they make a statement that it's not ok to do unethical dealings. I hope they make $100m off of whack-ass guitar center. 

Tina Cano
Tina Cano

He just went with the whole, "you snooze, you lose" issue & it's sad what happened, but they should've patented their idea first. Now it's just a legal issue.

Greg Chavez
Greg Chavez

Finally a good story... Thanks for sharing it. Steve Soest is the man when it comes to guitars. I don't doubt for a minute that he's being honest about this.

GrimJimCrowley
GrimJimCrowley

Not to start a debate but what do you consider PUNK ROCK?

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