INTERVIEW: JIMMY LOVINGGOOD, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, D’ANGELICO GUITARS

by BRIAN BERK,

D’Angelico Guitars’ Jimmy Lovinggood has plenty of great MI memories, including when Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler walked into the company’s booth at The NAMM Show looking for cheeseburgers.

The Music & Sound Retailer: Who was your greatest influence or mentor and why?

Jimmy Lovinggood: My former CEO Lacy Edwards. He taught me so much about business and life. He was an example of how to treat people with respect, kindness and honesty. One valuable lesson I learned from him was how to motivate people. That a method of motivation that works for one person does not necessarily work for another. A good manager needs to know what motivates each of their co-workers and proceed accordingly.

The Retailer: What was the best advice you ever received?

Lovinggood: Never tell someone to hit you first.

The Retailer: What was your first experience with a musical instrument?

Lovinggood: My grandfather bought me my first guitar when I was about eight or nine years old. I wasn’t the best [at playing it], so I gave it to my friend and now brother-inlaw Gene Baker. Then I started playing bass.

The Retailer: What instrument do you most enjoy playing?

Lovinggood: Bass guitar; though I’m slowly adding to the number of songs I can play on guitar, as well.

The Retailer: Tell us something about yourself that others do not know or would be surprised to learn.

Lovinggood: When I was 17, I sold Kirby vacuums door-to-door. I was really bad. I think I sold one: to my mother.

The Retailer: What’s your favorite activity to do when you’re not at work?

Lovinggood: See live music, work out and hang with good friends.

The Retailer: What is the best concert you’ve ever been to?

Lovinggood: I’ve been to hundreds of concerts, so this is a really tough question. If I had to choose one it would be Iron Maiden, “Number of the Beast” tour.

The Retailer: If you could see any musician, alive or deceased, play a concert for one night, who would it be and why?

Lovinggood: The Beatles, because they’re responsible for some of the best rock and roll songs ever written.

The Retailer: What musician are you hoping to see play in the near future?

Lovinggood: Bruno Mars. Unbelievable performer.

The Retailer: What song was most memorable for you throughout your childhood and what do you remember about it the most?

Lovinggood: Led Zeppelin, “Houses of the Holy.” My friends and I would listen to the entire “Physical Graffiti” album over and over again. But that song just reminds me of being a teenager and hanging with great friends.

The Retailer: What are your favorite songs on your smartphone/iPod?

Lovinggood: “Lions in Cages” by Rae Garvey, “Let it Be” by The Beatles and “The Funky Nation” by Jordan John.

The Retailer: What’s the most fun thing you saw/did at a NAMM Show?

Lovinggood: It was the first year D’Angelico Guitars had a room upstairs. At the time, the room was shared with my former company, Premier Builders Guild. On day two of the show, Steven Tyler walked in. Being a huge Aerosmith fan, I became very excited. He looked around and realized our room was not where he could get cheeseburgers, so he left. That was most definitely one of the funniest moments I’ve had at The NAMM Show.

The Retailer: If you had to select three people, past or present, to have dinner with, who would they be and what would you ask them?

Lovinggood: Elvis Presley: How did he handle all the negativity from the moral majority when he first broke into the business? John F. Kennedy: I would ask him to explain the entire Cuban Missile Crisis. And were there really aliens at Area 51? My mother: No questions. Just one last dinner to talk and be together.

The Retailer: Tell us about your most memorable experience with an MI retailer (without naming them).

Lovinggood: This is an easy one. I was visiting a dealer (also a friend) in the Chicago area. We walked out of a restaurant/bar. I proceeded to trip on the curb and needed 27 stitches on my face to repair the damage. I won’t soon forget that one.

The Retailer: What is the best thing about the MI industry?

Lovinggood: The people. I know that sounds like a standard and safe answer, but it is true. I have met so many great people in this industry. Many are now lifelong friends.

The Retailer: Who do you admire most outside of the music industry and why?

Lovinggood: My big brother Bob. Growing up without a father wasn’t easy. He taught me how to be a man and a good human.

The Retailer: If you weren’t in the music industry, what would you be doing and why?

Lovinggood: That is a difficult question. I have been doing this for so long it is hard to imagine myself doing anything else. I think something in manufacturing. That is what I know and what I enjoy. Bringing great products to consumers is something I truly embrace.

The Retailer: Tell us about your hometown and why you enjoy living there.

Lovinggood: My hometown is Southgate, Mich., which is about 10 miles south of Detroit. It is a small town with a big-city feel since we were so close to Detroit. Like all of the metro Detroit area, Southgate is filled with sports nuts. Everyone loves the Red Wings, Lions, Pistons and Tigers. I believe it is a law to own a jersey from each team or you get kicked out and forced to move to Ohio. The weather was just a bit too much for me. I moved many years ago to Los Angeles. I prefer one season all year around … warm.

The Retailer: What are your most prized possession(s) and why?

Lovinggood: The American flag from my grandfather’s funeral. He was a WWII veteran, and I was chosen to receive the flag.

The Retailer: What’s your favorite book and why?

Lovinggood: I am not an avid reader. However, I do enjoy a good murder mystery. My favorite book would have to be “Along Came a Spider” by James Patterson. Really any of the Alex Cross books are among my favorites.

To learn more about D’Angelico Guitars, visit the company’s website.

Interview: Jimmy Lovinggood, Chief Operating Officer, D’Angelico Guitars