From The Desk Of Don Fleming: Vox (It’s What’s Happening)

Even if you don’t know Don Fleming by name, chances are you own a ton of records he’s helped make. As a producer, he’s collaborated with the likes of Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, Teenage Fanclub, Screaming Trees, the Posies and Hole, to name just a handful. He works for the Alan Lomax Archive and has done archival work for the estates of Hunter S. Thompson, Ken Kesey and others. He’s fronted such groups as the Velvet Monkeys, B.A.L.L. and Gumball and was a member of the band that provided the music to 1994 Beatles biopic Backbeat. Fleming also runs the Instant Mayhem label, which recently reissued the Velvet Monkeys’ 1982 debut Everything Is Right and is about to release the solo Don Fleming 4, which features Kim Gordon, Julie Cafritz and R. Stevie Moore. If all that weren’t enough, Fleming is guest editing all week. Read our brand new Q&A with him.

Fleming: Vox had a fantastic run and was the amp of choice for everyone from the Beatles to the Velvet Underground. I played through a Vox Viscount for many years and loved the sound and look. They branched out into super-cool guitars and effects and had a lot of luck with the Vox Wah-Wah, which was promoted in an amazing radio ad by the Electric Prunes. The wah-wah was the trademark song on songs like “White Room,” “25 Or 6 To 4” and hundreds more, but it was Jimi Hendrix who did it best, especially on “Voodoo Child.” The Vox Tonebender was a mainstay to the Led Zepplein sound. By the late ’60s, the company started making crazy instruments like the Vox V251 Guitar Organ and a wild double turntable device called the Discotape Unit. They were just too ahead of their time with a lot of the equipment that they started to create and sell, and when Marshall took over the big amp sales in the late ’60s, Vox folded.

Video after the jump.

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