How I helped Meshuggah get their Ibanez endorsement

It was roughly 1996 or ’97. I was living in San Jose, California, and I was getting ready to move to Melbourne, Australia. I was deeply entreched into the album Destroy Erase Improve. I hadn’t had a favourite band in years, and these guys came along and I was totally hooked.

Anyway, fast forward a few months. I was living in Melbourne (Greensborough, to be exact) Australia, I had just acquired my first free email account (, and I was teaching guitar and doing Ibanez clinics for Australis, who was (and still is) the importer for Ibanez out here in Oz.

arty gayness in Long hair pics by John Sanders

Pic of myself around the time I was trying to help the guys, that Jem right there was a loner. Bummer!!

By this stage I had emailed Marten (Meshuggah rhythm guitarist) a few times to kiss his ass (as well as the band’s), and I figured since I’m doing Ibanez clinics and they’re playing the Ibanez 7 strings, why not try to get them an endorsement? Surely it can’t be that hard.

Through Marten I received Fredrik’s email address and started contacting him. I also emailed him questions for a website I used to run called, and asked him some technical questions about the production of DEI. I told him I was doing Ibanez clinics and I was going to try and get them an endorsement, but that I needed CD’s of all their material to give to Ibanez. I think I said I wanted two copies of each album, ha ha; one for myself, one for Ibanez. I think that’s pretty fair. Fredrik gave me the email address to his manager, and I emailed him. (Note: at this time I was known to these guys as John Sanders; I hadn’t done radio yet. That’s a whole other blog)


And then, nothing happened. At least that’s where the momentum stopped, pretty much completely. I can’t remember why I couldn’t get the CD’s. I was fairly annoyed, because finding a complete Meshuggah catalogue in a cd store was not an easy thing. Well, it was easier at JB Hi Fi , but I don’t think I knew that then.

In the end I thought, what’s more important, getting free CD’s from my favourite band, or trying to help starving musicians maybe get a break on some guitars? So I emailed Ibanez . I don’t remember exactly what I wrote, but it was to the effect of, “Hey, I do clinics for you guys out here in Oz, and there’s a metal band out of Sweden that pretty much kick the shit out of everyone, and if you want to do the right thing (and you should, because they’re already using the 7 strings), you had best snap them up.” Or something like that. Probably a lot shorter and a lot nicer, ha ha.

A few weeks later, I got a call insanely early in the morning (Australia’s 17 hours ahead of the US). It was Rob Nishida from Ibanez, who was running the custom shop at the time. He wanted Fredrik’s phone number, which I had. We did small talk, I told him Ibanez were stupid for not mass producing the BSB Jem as a 7 string. The conversation was roughly no more than two minutes.

bsb jem

So that’s it. I stopped emailing both Marten and Fredrik. I figured they were busy and they probably had lots of people befriending them, etc etc. I wasn’t gonna be a thorn in their sides. I was happy to listen to the music, buy the CD’s and shirts, and support my favourite band. I mean, I sure wouldn’t have turned down a 7 string BSB Jem as a thank you from both the band and Ibanez, but that’s fucking fantasyland style shit. Ha ha, still, one can dream.

And yeah, I sent an email to Ibanez and a dude from there called me and I gave him another dude’s phone number, I’m not stupid; Meshuggah were gonna get a guitar endorsement regardless. I just facilitated the speed a touch.

Never dismiss the power of an email. I emailed Line 6 regarding Meshuggah with the same Spiel. Twice, bitch, twice!! (And the funny thing is I ended up doing clinics for those guys as well. Another blog, yeah?)

Now that I’m in a signed band, I should probably hit Ibanez up.