My conversation with John Lennon


photo by Bob Gruen 1974

     Yes you read that right. Let me explain further.

     Some musicians become prophets and there are very poignant messages in their words. I often times find  myself “conversing” with them.

     Given the state of the world lately I found myself wondering what John would have to say. I thought of how John might view the world and was first reminded of my favorite photo of John which was taken by one of my photographic idols, Bob Gruen. To me it shows the playful, whimsical side of John and at the same time I feel it shows that John looked at the world in many different ways.

    I suffer from an overactive mind that leaves me fighting hard to try to sleep. On one of those evenings I found myself thinking of John and heard “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night” in my head. The answer was music and my love of it, that was usually what got me through the nights.  I continued to think about what John would think of how people were constantly thinking only of themselves with little regard to others and bam, “Instant Karma” was there.

     Even when nothing was seeming to go right one day I heard “Nobody Told Me” and I had to stop and smile at it. Yes John was talking to me beyond the grave. I could keep going on and on with examples that had relevance to situations, “Mind Games”, “Imagine”, “Woman”, there’s so many if you open your mind and ears.

     What kind of man could have written these songs that remain so pertinent? Someone who wrote from the heart and not for monetary gain. When someone writes from within and with feeling magic happens.

     I am lucky to be a part of several musicians who are going back to roots and making musical magic again, and I thank them.

     One of his songs that means the world to me is “Love”. The world needs more of it, I revel in it with my wife and family, and I share it with all of you.

     John you have been a good friend to me for so many years and I miss the light you shared with the world. I’ll talk to you soon.

     -the Hellion

Fargen Amplification Introduces Second John Lennon Signature Guitar Amplifier


Fargen Amplification Introduces Second John Lennon Signature Guitar Amplifier

jpeg (1)Sacramento, CA February 28, 2013 – Fargen Amplification has introduced the second guitar amplifier in its line that honors and pays tribute to John Lennon.   The JL-15 combines John Lennon’s signature tone from the 60’s and 70’s with his world-renowned self-portrait … in a unique offering for guitarists and Lennon fans.
The JL-15 is the production version modeled after the limited edition Artist Series announced last December.  The JL-15 is built with the same circuit, featuring a two-way Decade Switch that switches between distinctive John Lennon tones across the 60’s and 70’s – providing the guitarist with two amps in one.  The amp also features a proprietary WGS ceramic speaker and a special acoustically transparent and UV-protected grill cloth that serves as the canvas for John Lennon’s iconic self-portrait.
jpeg (2)
“I’ve taken the design and features from the original limited edition Lennon Artist Series and built them into the JL-15, which is more accessible by players at-large, priced as the market would expect in a boutique combo,” says Ben Fargen, founder. “ The tones produced by this amp are extremely accurate and based on years of knowledge and experience, not available like this elsewhere in the market.”
Fargen has licensed the rights to produce this line, from Bag One Enterprises and Live Nation Merchandise, and is distributing this on its website, and through it’s network of authorized dealers including music instrument stores and art galleries.  Details are available on the website and dealer inquiries are welcome.
The JL-15 is now available through Fargen’s authorized dealers, priced at $2,700 MSRP.
For more information, please visit
jpeg (3)
About Fargen Amplification/Sonic Edge
Ben Fargen founded Fargen Amplification in 1998 as a boutique amp manufacturer, and introduced the Sonic Edge brand in 2010. Ben has developed a reputation as one of the top engineers and visionaries in the amplifier space and has shipped custom-built and production model amplifiers to discerning players.



     John Winston Lennon October 9th 1940 – December 8th 1980

     John Lennon will always be a part of my life. As a small child I  loved his music, as a young man I learned to appreciate his style of writing, as an adult I learned to appreciate the man and his craft. Thank you John for sharing with us and giving up so much for the world. I will do my best to keep your music in the ears of those I can reach.


Darrell Lance Abbott August 20th, 1966 – December 8th, 2004

     Dime gave me new hope in Rock N’ Roll. He cam and kicked our asses and made us feel good about it. The people who were fortunate to be close to him spoke of his kindness and willingness to give. His guitar playing was innovative and carried on (and, dare I say, improved  upon somewhat) the legacy of his mentors before him. His life was short but impacted the music world and he was taken from us doing what he loved. I will always miss you Dime.

     We remember John, Dime, and all of the fallen people who have given up their lives doing what they love or in protecting others. We humbly thank, and respect you all.

the Hellion



My first memory of the Beatles was of the song “Yellow Submarine”. Myself and several cousins used to run around singing this song at the top of our lungs, subsequently annoying various moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandmas, and most anyone else within earshot.

I have continued to love the music of the Beatles throughout the years. It was only as an adult that I learned to appreciate them as artists. I have read many books and articles over the years regarding them and their music. These are my feelings on how they changed the world of music forever.


The Beatles were always trying to push the envelope of music. They understood how imagery was critical to the success of a band. They had to constantly evolve their image to stay ahead of the imitators than soon came to follow.  I feel that this imitation, and the subsequent changes, set the groundwork for the over the top imagery of bands that we have seen throughout the years and even today: David Bowie, T-Rex, Slade, The Sweet, Alice Cooper, Kiss, Slipknot, Gwar, etc, etc. I feel we owe the Beatles thanks for the image of these and countless other bands. I, for one, appreciate a great show to go along with my music.


As for the music, I feel the same thing occurred but with some interesting twists. When the success of the Beatles was fully realized, the recording industry (even those who had previously turned down the Beatles) clamored to find their own “version” of the Beatles. Catchy, poppy songs were everywhere trying to catch that “Beatles sound”. I feel that this forced the Beatles to evolve their music to stand apart from the masses. This led to studio wizardry that is used today. Tape looping, back masking, multi-tracking, it goes on and on. Also the attempt to out do each other by John and Paul led to to some iconic songs. George in his attempt to be taken serious as a musician wrote some of the greatest music to ever be recorded. Ringo, well he was the drummer……


Sadly, it became to much to hold it all together and rather than forcing the issue and giving sub-par music and performances, they walked away from it all. Love them or not, the Beatles, in my opinion changed the face of music and will continue to do so forever. Do yourself a favor and take a listen to the Beatles  music and see if you can hear some of your favorite bands in their music.

Here’s a nod to those I annoyed with this song:

Thank you John, Paul, George, and Ringo, thank you from my heart and ears.

the Hellion