Matt Blackett: Jim Dunlop’s 75th Birthday Bash


Of all the cool happenings over the 4th of July weekend, the highlight had to be Jim Dunlop’s 75th Birthday Bash. The swanky affair to honor the accessory icon was held at San Francisco’s famous Bimbo’s nightclub and featured great food, great entertainment, and a cool collection of 350-ish industry types that included players, dealers, builders, designers, and well connected admirers.

The festivities kicked off with a few words from the guest of honor, and Big Jim spoke eloquently and humbly about his career and what the assembled crowd meant to him. The Dunlop brand has become such a mainstay that it’s easy to forget that it started with a guy from Scotland who created indispensible products, practically out of thin air. It was seriously impressive to think about what Dunlop has become when listening to stories about the company’s humble beginnings. And, as if he weren’t already cool enough, Mr. Dunlop rocked a Scottish kilt for the occasion and sat in with the band towards the end of the night.

Dunlop’s son, Jimi, served as a part-time emcee and tried to explain to the crowd what it’s like to have a dad who is a legend and an icon, and did so with a great blend of humor and sincerity.

In attendance that night were Randy Smith of Mesa/Boogie fame (who had great Keith Richards stories), Richard Hoover of Santa Cruz Guitars, super-tech Gary Brawer, guitar slinger Stevie Salas, Tower of Power’s Jeff Tamelier, Way Huge stompbox guru Jeorge Tripps, the makers of the CryBaby documentary film, and many, many more.

Congrats to the Dunlop folks for putting together an amazing party and congrats and happy birthday to Jim Dunlop. I speak for everyone who has ever turned a peg winder, strummed with a Tortex pick, or hummed into a kazoo when I say, Jim—we’re glad you were born!