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Peavey Electronics on Undercover Boss – A PR Nightmare

I’m sure when Peavey COO, Courtland Gray and company founder, Hartley Peavey were thinking of doing the show Undercover Boss, they didn’t imagine such a train wreck could happen with their Facebook and Twitter accounts being hammered by negative comments. Usually Undercover Boss is a light, feel good TV show with the boss learning about his awesome employees and giving them vacations and paying off debt in exchange for hugs and great PR for the company.

This episode started off just fine with Courtland donning a wig for an old school rocker appearance, even showing up dressed almost identical to a store employee. Then, as usual we heard the hard luck stories, one from Teresa, 24 year employee of the company with five children who tells about cutbacks and no raises in 8 years with Courtland responding defensively, “I was discouraged that she really didn’t understand the big picture”. Is it her job to know or care about the big picture? She was also complaining about lack of communication and surely the big picture is something that should be clearly communicated.

The last employee Michael was another loyal worker who loves the company but lets Courtland know that he just gave his 2 weeks notice because he can’t afford to feed his family on his current salary. At this point it’s clear that the Peavey brass thought factory conditions were better than they were and weren’t prepared to address any of the complaints or even follow up with at least a comment about the tough state of the current economy.

In the final reveal scene, Courtland does the usual deal where he gives money to the workers to help them out and promises to work to keep Michael at the factory. This show completely crashes and burns when the ending is them closing the plant and putting these loyal workers out of business, and reducing Michael’s hours after he passed on another job to stay loyal to Peavey.

In defense of Peavey, the musical instrument business is rough for most manufacturers now but their decision to outsource out of the country isn’t sitting well with current customers who loved their old “Made in the USA” reputation. Courtland really needed to show some emotion and to let the viewers know that this wasn’t a decision they made lightly. The abrupt ending made a lot of people think and feel the worst about them.

The best defense of this episode comes from an employee not featured on the show. He stated that plant shut down isn’t the only one in town and many were moved to other positions.

From TalkBass member BbbyBld: After so many years of that, the cost to keep plant 3 open was going to increase by an additional 50% in 2015 due to new government regulations. Why don’t they put that on TV?

The show makes it look like tons of dedicated employees lost their jobs. The fact is, the best people were moved to other parts of the company and were given new jobs. Many moved from manufacturing positions to better office jobs including working along side me in engineering. Why don’t they put that on TV?

Only the brass at Peavey know the real truth about their finances but since this was so poorly handled there are people threatening a boycott. Of course, this would endanger the rest of the employees so a boycott would hurt everyone including consumers who love their products. I think this is just a reflection on the sad state of the economy for the music industry but Peavey should’ve been ready to spin this better when the episode aired. This following Facebook post is all we get.

If I were Courtland or Hartley, I would’ve been at the plant to give the news myself and thank them for all the years of hard work and apologize for the decision. After the fact, I would release a video apologizing for such a hard decision but explaining why it had to be done to save the company, closing with a thank you to the workers and loyal customers throughout the years. I wish Peavey the best of luck in surviving because their instruments were affordable and indestructible and gave so many musicians, including myself, great guitars, basses, amps and more since the 70’s.

Will Guitar Center Finally Fold in 2015?


For most of my life, Guitar Center has been an important place for me and other musicians to buy our gear. Before GC, musicians had to go to small mom & pop stores that usually had a poor selection and high prices. Then along came Guitar Center. It had that Walmart effect on music instrument sales. Most of those small stores couldn’t compete and for good reason. GC had the buying power to sell instruments at an all time low price driving even other giants like Mars Music into obscurity. They quickly became the number one brick & mortar retailer of musical instruments on the planet. So where did they go wrong? I’ve heard many theories and have heard stories from people who worked in local stores to friends who work for companies that sell their products to GC but this article by Eric Garland wraps up the history and possible demise very succinctly.

The fact is, the die is cast. In a couple of weeks, Guitar Center will need to report its Christmas performance to its bondholders. If things do not look good, its bonds will be ripped apart like Radio Shack’s. Moreover, if I had to guess, the $10 million in Guitar Center’s coffers will not be enough to make the payment to their bondholders due in April 2015.

If Guitar Center does close, what does this mean for the musician? I’m not sure. Right now, many of us use online stores but then where do we actually go to touch, examine and listen to the newest musical gear? Sam Ash? There aren’t that many around? With Fender now offering direct sales, this further puts a nail in the retail store coffin. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how this all shakes out but I for one would love to see small retail stores come back but we know that just won’t be happening.

Click here to read the full article at Eric Garland’s website

Update: Eric Garland talks about Eric Garland on the TalkBass website? In the following quote, he facetiously addresses the article with the most used arguments against him. Hilarious!


He’s been a GC H8R for several decades, maybe a millennium or more, and nobody should listen to him!!!!111

This article comes up every year, and GC iz STILL HERE, which means he’s wrong, and also debt is totally awesome, and even if your earnings are falling below the level of your interest payment WHO CAREZ LOL becuz I talked to this one guy who was a manager at GC one times and he said

1. We heard on the Company Internetz that Garland is a known H8R and member of Boko Haram.
2. If you make 7% margin on a Boss DS-1 pedal, then you can totally take out whatever level of high-yield bond debt forever and it doesn’t matter.
3. WE OPENED UP A STORE IN NNYC THIS YEAR, LOSER, and that means GC is big and will never die, ever, even though everyone got fired this week.
4. The author of those stupid articles has been writing them for OVER 24 years and GC is still here.
5. Numbers and facts are just opinions, and nobody knows the future, so this is all stupid.

Like I said, the author of the articlez somebody linked to here is TOTALLY WITHOUT CREDIBILITY and not even a sweet guitar player or popular DJ or former executive at JoAnn Fabrics or Best Buy Canada and is an IDIOT you should ignore.

Seriously, if I meet that guy, I’m gonna laugh and be like SHUT UP I heard that you used to TOUR WITH BAGPIPERS!!!!

Also, seriously, f*** that guy.