You may have recently seen a post we did about a very cool original Charvel San Dimas Pink Star owned by Nitebob. Well, long time friend of The Music Zoo and Charvel enthusiast Craig Vaughn sure saw it, and he spotted something rather interesting in the above photo of our Pink Star in production: his very own Hot Rod Flame Star! Here in his own words and photos we present to you an exciting story of his guitar’s journey, re-connecting these long lost production-mates after all these years. We hope you enjoy!
Contributed By S.C. Vaughn:
I really enjoyed TMZ’s recent ‘Out of the Case’ segment on the Pink Charvel Star ‘Nitebob’ Guitar. That was a fantastic write-up and the history of the guitar is really interesting. I was also thrilled to see the photos as I actually own the Hot Rod Flame (HRF) Charvel Star that is pictured under the Pink Star body during production! It is my understanding that these guitars were made in late 1979 just as the Charvel business was transitioning to production and Grover was trying to find his way. Here you will find an early picture of Nitebob along with a very young Grover Jackson supposedly taken at a hotel in Chicago before an early 1980 NAMM show – you can see my HRF star along with a few other early ones you may recognize from the original Charvel graphics & guitars ‘dealer book’ getting ready for assembly right there in the hotel room!
The HRF Star actually has a very interesting story of its own. This one was delivered to a young rocker by the name of Don Dokken who was gearing up to tour Europe in the late 70’s / early 80’s – this was one of several Charvels he took with him. I’ve heard stories speculating Don’s use of Charvels in the early days is what may have sparked interest in some well-known guitarists in the European rock scene, along with early dealer interest by ‘No-1 Guitars’ in Hamburg Germany, which is said to be the first large scale import client of Grover’s overseas.
I was fortunate enough to acquire this guitar from a friend and fellow Charvel/Jackson enthusiast in Switzerland, who picked it up from the guy that actually purchased it directly from Don Dokken around Christmas 1980. The story he told was that, “Dokken were at that time touring through Germany and had to sell-off equipment in order to purchase their plane tickets to fly back to the US”. He said the buyer recalled very well the rainy night he drove out to a motel in Germany where Dokken were staying as well as, “being witness to a dispute between Don Dokken and George Lynch on how exactly the groupies were to be treated”…..kind of hard to imagine Don and George arguing about something, right! I have also attached an early photo where this HRF Star was pictured on the Dokken ‘Back in the Streets’ record, which was recorded in Hamburg Germany in 1979.
This guitar has certainly seen some action in its life and has miraculously managed to make it 35 years with very little modification; it lost the 21st fret marker at some point, now replaced with wood filler, and also had a toggle added for no apparent functionality I can find, except providing me a means to emulate the famous Ace Frehley’s intro to Cold Gin on the Alive album! Below you will find a few photos of the guitar as it sits with me today along with a couple photos of this one with a similar flame explorer I own from the same era.