Blair & Brandon | Eastside Music Supply | Behind The Counter

Name, age & location

Blair Whiteand & Brandon Highfill. Eastside Music Supply, Nashville, TN

Please tell us a little about yourselves, and how you came to work at the store.

BLAIR: I’m one of owners of Eastside Music Supply. I was born and raised here in Nashville, and I’ve been a gearhead for as long as I can remember! There’s a handful of reasons that my friend Brandon Highfill and I opened up the store. We both share a passion for the more “out there” gear, and we knew we weren’t alone. I feel that was one of the main reasons that we got going. Basically, we got tired of waiting for someone else to open up a rad shop; we finally just said, “Fuck it, let’s do it.”

BRANDON: Yeah, Blair and I were driving to pick up a $50 EQ pedal from a certain “big-box” retailer (cough cough), and we just so happened to make this trek at 4 o’clock in the afternoon which is the worst time to drive across town. It ended up taking us over 2 hours to get such a simple item and get back home. While in my car, we joked about how someone would open a proper music shop in East Nashville. After rooting for these fictional entrepreneurs, we both looked at each other, examined our lives, and both said “Let’s f*cking do it. Let’s be THE guys.” I think it was no more than a few days later, I went to get a business license to kind of get us motivated to take it seriously.

What instruments do you play?

BLAIR: Guitar, synths, drums, effects, drones, Theremins, machines that make feedback amd oscillation… Anything I can get my hands on!

BRANDON: Guitar, Rhodes, synth & the recording console. I’m a massive pro-audio nerd.

What’s the name of your band, and what kind of music do you play?

BLAIR: I’ve got my hands in few projects here in town. Kinhin is an instrumental band that I play in with Brandon, the co-owner of the store. I’ve also been able to play and record with Charlie Whitten recently, and that dude is phenomenal.

BRANDON: This is tricky because I’ve been so busy engineering and mixing for others that my own music has taken a back seat, but yeah, Blair and I have a band we sometimes have time for called Kinhin. I also have another thing called Fragments Of God that is much different. More of a super loud, dark, shoegaze type of thing. Both links below. They are both available on Spotify as well.

What’s your favorite pedal? Favorite pedal line?

BLAIR: The favorite constantly changes. Lately, it’s been the Meris Ottobit Jr. But I always have my Endangered Audio Research AD4096 Analog Delay and some sort of vintage Rat on the board. Favorite pedal line? Another tough one. Right now, I’m gonna have to say Chase Bliss Audio. Joel [Korte, Chase Bliss founder] is a freaking madman – not to mention the sweetest dude on the planet.

BRANDON: My all-time favorite is probably the old big box EHX Memory Man. I could get by with just that and an amp if I had to. My favorite pedal line might have to be the Lovetone stuff. Super hard to come by but they are amazing. They were only made for a while in the 90’s. I own a LoveTone Big Cheese and it’s always making appearances on things I’m recording. I love it on bass. For more modern stuff though, the ChaseBliss and Meris stuff are super-inspiring and well built. Those are probably my two favorite companies around right now.

The greatest song using the Big Muff pedal is . . . ?

BLAIR: “Hummer” by The Smashing Pumpkins.

What pedal do customers ask about the most?

BLAIR: Whatever’s new. Everyone comes to us and asks us what the newest, raddest shit out is.

Any sought-after pedals that have proven particularly hard to get?

BLAIR: Ibanez MT10 Mostortion is a hard one to come by.

What pedal do you sell the most? Has that changed since you began working?

BLAIR: The Greer Lightspeed, hands down. Hasn’t changed, probably won’t. That pedal is a modern classic.

Is there a pedal or company that’s currently under-the-radar that you think could be the next big thing?

BLAIR: Not sure if the Lightspeed is “under the radar” anymore, but I think in five years we will see those things everywhere, like a Tube Screamer. Gamechanger Audio is also doing some very cool stuff.

Tell us about your most famous/most memorable walk-in?

BLAIR: Being in Nashville, we get a lot of “famous” folks walking in all the time. One guy that stands out to me was Justin Meldal-Johnsen [esteemed producer and musician for the likes of Beck, Paramore, and M83]. That dude is incredibly talented, and was just super cool to chat with.

Tell us a favorite urban legend, that is, a store- or stompbox-related story that you’ve told and/or heard many times over the years?

BLAIR: I’ve heard people tell a story that Bill Finnegan builds an original Klon every so often and gifts it to a friend, who is a widow, so she can sell it for a couple grand to help make ends meet. Not sure where that one came from, but I love hearing people tell their Klon stories. Everyone has an opinion about Bill—I love the guy and love hearing people unknowingly talk about him in any context.

If you could have any pedal, regardless of price/availability, what would it be?

BLAIR: The Lovetone Cheese Source.

What is currently the most common song for customers to play when they’re trying out a guitar or pedal? Is there a “no play” list?

BLAIR: Fortunately for us, Nashville is loaded with unbelievable players. I don’t ever really recognize any of the shreddy chicken pickin’ that a lot of these guys play. As far as a “no list”, we don’t have one – but I would totally put “Sweet Child O’ Mine” on it. That is one of the worst things to hear incorrectly played ever.

Whose pedal would you like to see in Stompbox book?

BLAIR: Ya gotta put Morello’s Whammy in there – he really changed the game. (Ed. note: Done!) Also, Jonny Greenwood’s Shredmaster or DOD 440 would also be super rad.

Describe an imaginary, perfect, euphoric dream of a day at the store.

BLAIR: Open up the store, dude walks in and buys everything. Close for the week to travel and restock. Very euphoric, and completely unrealistic. Where you at, Eilon? Wanna learn how to play guitar?

When you’re not here, where are you and what are you doing?

BLAIR: I love to backpack, but usually I’m at home, hanging out with my wife and daughter.

How would your customers describe you?

BLAIR: Laid back, helpful.

What’s your comfort song – the one that always gets you back to the right place?

BLAIR: “There, There” by Radiohead

Favorite guitar player, and why?

BLAIR: Very hard question. I’d say it’s an equal toss up between Tom Morello and Dean DeLeo: Morello for breaking rules on how guitars are supposed to be played, and DeLeo for overall tasty shredding.

Most memorable concert you’ve been to?

BLAIR: Nine Inch Nails on the Lights In The Sky tour in Nashville. The David Bazan solo tour date we hosted at our old location will always be a special one as well.

Would you say your parents raised you well?

BLAIR: I’d say they did a damn fine job!

The best musical gift you’ve ever received?

BLAIR: I was recently gifted a Plasma Pedal from the guys at Gamechanger Audio. That was VERY cool of those guys! I’m getting a lot of use out of that thing!

East Side Music Supply

2915 Gallatin Pike, Nashville, TN 37216

(615) 480-7709

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