Interview: Fender CEO Andy Mooney on Strats, guilty pleasures and good whisky

He shares his love for Disney pop sensations, good liquor, seeing guitar-playing icons in small venues and the importance of always having a Strat to hand…

fender ceo andy mooney

The moment it all started…

“I studied classical guitar as a kid and transitioned to electric guitar in high school when I first saw Deep Purple perform in a small venue in Edinburgh. From that moment on, I wanted to be Ritchie Blackmore.”

I couldn’t live without my…

“For 50 years, no matter where I worked or lived, I’ve had a Stratocaster within reach. I have to play something every day.”

The one that got away…

“When I moved to the US in 1984, I sold my ’62 Strat for $600. What was I thinking?”

My signature model would be…

“I’ve become a fan of the Telecaster. My signature guitar would be a blend of Jim Root’s and Chris Shiflett’s signature Teles. It would have a matte black ash body, matching headstock, two Tim Shaw humbuckers, ebony fretboard, 22 jumbo frets, one volume control, one tone control and a kill switch.”

The first thing I play when I pick up a guitar…

“That’d be the solo from Afterlife by Avenged Sevenfold.”

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The best advice that I’ve ever been given…

“My father, who was a coal miner, told me to leave whatever I worked on in better shape than when I found it. It was a maxim that guided him every day at the coal face. His advice has acted a North Star to me throughout my entire professional and personal life.”

My guilty pleasure…

“I like Miley Cyrus. She was a talent when I knew her as Hannah Montana when I worked at Disney, and I really like her latest albums.”

I wish I was there…

“Woodstock. Imagine seeing Hendrix, Santana, The Who and Ten Years After and so many more over the course of a few days. The movie still gives me goosebumps.”

The first thing that would be on my rider…

“A bottle of 25-year-old Macallan Whisky. Must have been matured in a sherry cask. No oak.”

What happens next?

“It’s a great time to be in the guitar industry. If we can reduce the 90 per cent abandonment rate of first-time players and make the retail and online shopping experience inviting to new players, particularly new female players, the future will look even brighter.”

Read our review of Fender’s newest electrics – the American Performer Strat and Tele – here.

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