During 2005 Greg puts in motion the plan to start an amp company of his own (with encouragement from Oz and other fellow amp builders). While still on the Green Day tour, Greg hashes out ideas with amp repair guru Kevin Silva on a prototype 6V6 amp similar to the Fender Super Champ, called The Contender. Design of the proto extends into 2006, and is finally delivered in the Spring. It sounds great, but Greg is still touring and has no time to produce any amps.
Greg is back touring with Brad and Aerosmith for almost all of 2006. During this time Greg and Oz had started talking about the possibility of working together on a new amp company. When the tour has a couple of extra days in Boston, Greg, Oz, and Brad go to dinner where the new amp venture is mentioned to Brad, he immediately responds “I want in on that”. Thus 3 Monkeys Amps is born (well, maybe not born, but at least conceived).
Later in the tour Oz comes up with an idea for an amp he wants to build specifically for Brad. The amp is delivered to the Camden, NJ show sans head box, mounted on a piece of plywood (hey, it’s a proto!!). Brad uses it for the show, really digs the tone, and wants to use it for the rest of the tour. Oz whips up a custom suede covered cabinet in a few days and the first 3 Monkeys amp is born. The amp has now been a permanent fixture in Brad’s rig for the last several years.
Back to touring with Aerosmith into 2007, Greg and Oz keep refining their ideas for the new amp company. While on tour in South America, Brad and Greg agree that to get the company going, Greg must leave touring behind and concentrate on their new amp venture. With Brad touring in Europe, Oz moves down to NC (where Greg lives) to start the company. Bouncing tons of ideas off each other, from the look, to the sound of the amps (and many sleepless nights later) a working prototype is built and rebuilt over the next 6 months. During this time Aerosmith is asked to open the VH1 Fashion Awards at Radio City Music Hall, Oz, Greg, and Brad quickly design an eye-catching amp to use on the nationally televised event.
More prototypes are built and eventually sent out to pro players in Nashville, Austin, and Los Angeles. With reviews and evaluations from these players, more refinements are done to the protos until a final design is decided upon. This final design is tried and tested by many of the touring acts that pass through Raleigh in the summer of 2008, many placing orders for a 3 Monkeys amp of their very own.
THE TEAM HERE AT 3 MONKEYS IS:
GREG HOWARD (IDEA MONKEY)
Touring guitar tech for the last 20 years. Has worked with such artists as Aerosmith, AC/DC, Steely Dan, Green Day, Linkin Park, Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes, Daryl Hall & John Oates, The Verve Pipe, Cry of Love and many others. On the road experience in gear selection, setup and onstage troubleshooting of guitar rigs. Responsible for the daily restringing, tuning, intonation and maintenance of touring guitars. Greg is a self-professed gearhead and tone seeker.
OSSIE AHSEN (DESIGN MONKEY)
Experienced amp tech, designer and builder for over 20 years. Has designed and built amps under the Blockhead brand name for bands such as Goo Goo Dolls, Blind Melon, Aerosmith, Green Day, etc. Oz builds guitars in his off time and is a seeker of the Les Paul grail.
BRAD WHITFORD (ROCK STAR MONKEY)
Guitarist for Aerosmith since 1971. A rock icon according to MTV and an inductee of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The guy whose albums you listened to in your formative years, or whose face adorned posters on your wall when you were a teenager. Brad is a racing fan and driver, gearhead and a rabid music fan.
Check out our interview link below and visit 3 Monkeys Amps and Solderless Cables
LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW