Dead at 57: Doug Fieger

Mr. Fieger and band, The Knack, blew the doors off the pop music world in the summer of 1979 with the longest running single of the year and possibly the cheapest. Recorded, mixed, and ready to ship in eleven days, the first album by The Knack “Get The Knack” was purported to have cost a mere $18,000. It went gold thirteen days after its June 11th, 1979 release, staying at the top of the charts for six weeks in a row.

Twenty-seven years later we received a telephone call from Mr. Fieger. He was curious to learn if we could PLEK & set-up thirteen guitars, which he would be willing to drive from his home in Los Angeles up to our shop in San Francisco. The only catch: we had to do it very quickly. We agreed and Mr. Fieger arrived in early April of 2006 in a small European station wagon completely stuffed with thirteen hardshell cases; each one containing a brand new, American made Gibson solid body electric guitar.

After getting the details for his instruments it came out in conversation that Gary And Mr. Fieger grew up in the same neighborhood, with Mr. Fieger preceeding Gary by a mere three years (a lot of time when you’re a teenager). They knew the same bands, the same pizza joints, and the same hangout areas. After a long and amiable discussion about the merits of a youth spent in Detroit’s Northern suburbs during the late Sixties and early Seventies, Mr. Fieger returned to his home in Los Angeles and we folded his array of instruments into our already full schedule.

Several days later, and running out of time, we brought to bear every resource we possessed to complete the thirteen instruments in time, even briefly shutting down the shop for all other projects.

Four years ago, in Spring, Mr Fieger pulled up with his station wagon and we loaded him up with his completed guitars. He expressed regret that he did not live closer to us, as he would’ve returned often. As it was, he left for his planned tour and we never saw him again. We mourn his passing.

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