Memories of Les Paul: Stan R. Kohn
Memories of Les: Stan R. Kohn
I owned a HVAC sales/ service company for 30 years in the State of NJ.
In November of 1999 we were called out for a residential no heat call and I was the service person to be dispatched. Upon arrival to the home I noticed many guitar cases and amplifiers neatly stacked all over. I naturally asked are you a musician? He had responded yes (I wish I remembered his name, lets call him ‘Terri’) well we spoke shop for a while and he was intrigued of my story of co-writing music videos with Bruce Zwelsky in 1989. These were produced at the then Courtesy Hotel in Hempstead, NY and posted to Youtube which at the time the public internet was in its infancy.
Terri had asked if I was interested in going to the Iridium Jazz Club in NYC that Les Paul with The Les Paul Trio performs every Monday night. He recommended that I bring my 1971 Les Paul guitar as he may meet you and sign it. Of course I was blown away at the prospect of this. I am an amateur musician and artist from the days when I attended middle school in Forest Hills , NY. I recall days cutting out of school with my friend and bass player and hanging out on 48th St. in Manhattan. We would go store to store and just try all the instruments. You see I grew up a poor kid from FHNY and couldn’t afford to own more than one guitar at a time.
So on Monday, November 1st, 1999 with extra sharpie pens, batteries for my camera and my Gibson Les Paul Guitar Terri drove us in his late model Cadillac into Manhattan. We shared some more interesting stories. Terri told of one experience where he waited in the rain outside of Johnny Winters tour bus until he was nice enough to come out and sign his guitar.
We had gotten a parking spot right across from The Iridium in front of Lincoln Center. How lucky was that? We entered The Iridium, pay our admission, get seated and now here is where the magic starts! I am sitting no more than ten feet from the man himself Les Paul. I tell you his hands were so ravaged by arthritis and being about 82 years old its amazing the music that came out of his guitar. During a break Terri introduced me to Lou and the band. After the show Terri and I somehow made our way to Les’s dressing room. Terri had met Les several times. I realize how hard it is to meet famous performers or industry icons. They are all concerned about personal safety and I cant blame them. So Terri introduced me. Les asked me “so whats in the case young man?” I am not one to be nervous or fall over myself in any situation. We must have spent about 40 minutes very comfortably in his dressing room talking about what i do for a living and life in general and him signing various items including my Les Paul guitar. The club manager did come in a couple of times to say “Les would you come on we have all these people waiting on the steps for you.”
So I feel honored and lucky to have met such a gracious man. I’m not sure if any famous musicians or industry icons would have spent so much time with me. He will surely be missed.
Stan R. Kohn