Fourth Estate guitar wizard Dave Beegle is nuts about Max Webster



By Steve Newton

Once in a blue moon, I’ll come across an album by a band that I’d never heard of before and be blown right away. Such was the case when local promoter Brock Armstrong turned me on to Fourth Estate, an instrumental rock band he’s bringing to the Rock Cellar next Thursday (August 13). After one run-through of its independent CD, Finesse and Fury, I couldn’t believe that a major label hadn’t snapped up the Denver-based trio.

I mean, if I had a major label, I’d snap them up.

“Hopefully, something will happen soon,” says Fourth Estate guitar wizard Dave Beegle. “We’ve had some interest, and some things look real promising, then they don’t happen. But we’re not gonna just wait for something to happen, that’s why we’re pursuing distribution on our own right now.”

Currently, Finesse and Fury—a technically awesome and wonderfully musical display of progressive guitar-rock—is only available in New York City, Seattle, Hawaii, and the band’s home state of Colorado. But Beegle is confident that, once the disc finds full distribution, its fiery instrumental tunes will catch on.

“I think the fact that we don’t have vocals, in one respect, opens up a wider audience, ’cause usually what people don’t like about a particular band—like Guns N’ Roses, or whatever—is the vocal/lyrical content. A lot of older people like rock ’n’ roll, but they just don’t necessarily relate to the real offensive attitude.”

Beegle holds the distinction of being the first guitarist to record with the new Transperformance Self-Tuning Guitar System, which was designed by a Colorado-based inventor.

“It’s a computerized system on the guitar that picks up the frequency vibrations of the strings. Six servo-motors control the six strings; you can just hit a button and the guitar will automatically tune itself. But the really neat thing about it is that you can access 130,000 different altered tunings just by hitting a button.”

Beegle is the only player—besides Jimmy Page—who currently owns  one of the newfangled systems, but he only used it on one tune, “Routier”. He used regular old tune-’em-yourself guitars for the album’s other nine originals—and an electrified version of J.S. Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.

“That’s actually one of our stronger live songs,” Beegle says. “I think the melody is probably one of the most classic, perfect melodies of all time.”

You won’t have to be a classical buff or a tech-head to enjoy Fourth Estate’s Rock Cellar appearance, though. Beegle confides that the band’s set list covers a wide variety of rock styles.

“We do some Eric Johnson and Satriani and Dixie Dregs, and we do a real neat medley of Led Zeppelin—we do ‘Moby Dick’ and move that into some stuff outta ‘Dazed and Confused’, which is a real crowd-pleaser. We also do ‘Hocus Pocus’, by Focus, if you remember that.

“And we’re in the process of working on a Max Webster song—‘Rascal Howdy’, I think it’s called. Not many American people are familiar with them down here, but they’re one of my all-time favourite rock bands. I mean, Kim Mitchell is an incredible musician.”

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