The Scott Shaw Blog Be Positive

The Realness of What You Are

Every now and then I am contacted about the legacy of my friend Kris Derrig and the Les Paul’s that he created. In brief, back in the 1980s, Kris produced electric guitars in the exact style of the late 1950s Gibson Les Paul’s. There’s an article on this website if you wish to read a little deeper into the subject. He worked out of my friend Jim Foote’s Music Works, then located in Redondo Beach, California. During this era, a lot of rock star bands of the time rehearsed at Jim’s rehearsal studio behind the shop. One of the bands that was there was Guns n’ Roses prior to their rise to superstardom. Their manager saw one of Kris’ guitars and bought it for Slash who used it on some of the recordings on their debut album, Appetite for Destruction. Thus, the Kris Derrig Les Paul was set to infamy. Sadly, Kris passed away at the very young age of thirty-two in 1987 from lung cancer, most probably due to sucking in all the glues and the paint flumes of guitar production, as he never wore a mask, before the establishment of his fame was ever solidified.

Many people now seek out the very few Kris Derrig Les Paul’s that were created. In fact, some people even claim that they have one when they do not. There has become an entire cult surrounding these guitars.

As stated, I am sometimes contacted by someone wondering if what they have is a true Kris Derrig and/or if I know where they can buy one. They have become very-very valuable.

One of the things I remind people of, when they are contemplating buying one his guitars is that, though it is a good guitar, the only reason anybody knows about Kris or his Les Paul’s is because Slash played one for a time. Though that is certainly not the only guitar Slash has ever played or recorded with. And, if it were not for this fact, no one would even know who Kris was. His guitars would just be Gibson replicas as were and are still created by other advanced luthiers.

But, all of this sends us to the question, what is real? No, his guitars were not Gibson’s as stated on their headstocks. But yet, they have become much more valuable that true Gibson’s made in that same era. Is the only reason they are valuable because people like Slash, Lenny Kravitz, and Charlie Daniels played one? Thus, are they only valuable due to what people perceive them to be? But, the fact is, even if you own one, it is not going to transform you into Slash. You are not (necessary) going to record a seminal album like, Appetite for Destruction. And remember, that was not the only guitar Slash used while recording that album.

So, what does this leave us with? Answer: It leaves us with perception. A person’s perception of what is or is not real and/or what is or is not valuable; based solely upon what one is instructed to believe.

What do you believe is valuable? And, why do you believe it? Mostly, who told you to believe it?

What is real and what is fake? And, what sets the difference between their value?

Moreover, who are you? Are you truly what you are? Or, are you a fake hiding in your skin with the label and logo of something you are not?

Life is a strange conglomeration of presentations, acceptances, and beliefs. Just like the Kris Derrig Les Paul, many times what you see is not what it truly is but does that/should that assign a value to the perception of that thing or that person?

In life, it is always proclaimed that the best person is the person who does not lie or deceive people about who or what they truly are. How about you? How true are you to true? And, do you lie about who or what you truly are? Do you lie about who are what you truly are even to yourself?

You really need to think about these things as you walk through your life because truth or fake truly can come to define your entire life.

In closing, Kris was a close friend. It was so sad to see him leave this world. His girlfriend from high school, who he was in a band with, contacted me several years ago thanking me for the page I have on this site devoted to him. A lot of people did and still do care about him. He was really a good guy. This world is far less because of his passing.