Jakey Jakester (which is not his real name) told me about Electric Avenue, which is situated at 109 Whitegate Drive, Blackpool. The music shop has been established for 12 years and has an amazing array of top of the range musical equipment for beginners or Rock & Roll bands alike.
Electric Avenue sells Rock & Roll instruments and offers advice to all customers. They also make repairs to needy instruments. The types of instruments on sale are: bass guitars, electric guitars, drums, ukuleles, banjos, amplifiers, drum sticks, plectrums, and other musical accessories. I was entertained by an eclectic mix of interesting songs playing inside the shop, ranging from Miles Davis to more recent songs, when I went along to speak to Jake. These songs are on his iPod and show his interest in and love of music in general.
As I spoke to Jake, his enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, the instruments is great and fascinating. Electric Avenue is an independent shop, run by working, established musicians. The shop is run by Andy Guttridge who plays bass guitar and has himself been involved in the local music scene, playing local clubs and bars. Andy was also once the manager of A1 Music in Preston.
Inside Electric Avenue there are all sorts of instruments on display, ranging from a 1960s vintage drum kit (which looks attractive and probably sounds great) to the most modern guitars, alongside some of the older more vintage guitars for sale. Brands such as Ibanez, Fender, Vintage, Crafter, and Yamaha are available. The drum kits feature names such as Pearl, Sonor, Yamaha, and Dixon.
Electric Avenue specialises in drum kits and is considered one of the best outlets in Blackpool for drums and percussion, which have proven popular. It is not only local interest in the music scene which keeps the popularity of the shop on top form, it is visits from some top class local, and international musicians of all genres, which gives the shop its edge. Local singer/songwriter Karima Francis has bought instruments from here and so too has vocalist Rae Morris. Alvin Youngblood Hart has also made an appearance to make a purchase. Lots of other local musicians are acquainted with the specialist shop, which has great connections to the music scene in general and keeps up to date with the here and now of music.
Another, more famous name who has bought an instrument from the shop is Audley Freed, who plays with Cheryl Crow. On another occasion the entourage for Robbie Williams bought a pink acoustic guitar with a heart shape cut out which made an appearance in the music video and song ‘Advertising Space’, which was filmed at the Belle Vue pub, just down the road from the shop. Jake also tells me that when Rod Stewart played at Blackpool’s football stadium a flustered roadie came in to buy mandolin strings.
Jake, as well as offering music lessons at Electric Avenue, plays lead electric guitar for Smokin’ Monkey as well as two other local bands. His most popularly received band of the moment is Dirty Work who will be playing at The Belle Vue, on Saturday 14 March. Malady & Medicine, Jake’s other band, are a Rhythm & Blues band, with a mix of Reggae thrown in for good measure. Jake is an established musician, and has played many an established venue too. Amongst his accolades are playing at Alexander Theatre, Birmingham, Stoke Town Hall, and Blackpool’s Winter Gardens.
Jake’s band, Malady and Medicine will also be playing at Blackpool’s Cricket Club, at Beat Generation this year. This event headlines DJ Jerry Dammers, of The Specials fame, alongside Special AKA, and Don Letts (Ska Face, another local band will also be playing). The Beat Generation gigs will happen on Sunday 5 April. Tickets are available at Electric Avenue for £10 and from other outlets across Blackpool.
Jake’s teaching is generally on a one to one basis at Electric Avenue. If you require guitar lessons they are available with Jake Monday to Friday. Jake also has a slot on Cowbell Radio on Tuesdays at 9pm, featuring his band Malady & Medicine.
Electric Avenue opens 10am – 6pm weekdays and 10am until 5.30pm on weekends. You can find Electric Avenue on Facebook, or phone them on 01253 305559.
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