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Good Poop: Joe Edwin Holland

Legendary drummer Joseph “Joe” Holland has a unique and colorful origin and story, to the say the least. His career has been a string of interesting stories, celebrity encounters and time spent with Paul W. Klipsch (PWK). Let’s start from the beginning…

Joe was born November 2, 1927 in Shreveport, Louisiana. He attended Centenary College in Shreveport, as well as Louisiana Tech in Ruston, LA, and Texas Western in El Paso, TX (now UT El Paso).

Joe began drumming all the way back in grade school. In those days, the Shreveport schools did not have a junior high. Elementary graduates went directly to high school. There was a push to prepare these elementary students for high school music programs. Joe’s first music teacher was a type of “circuit teacher” – one that makes the rounds. He had just graduated from college and he admitted to Joe “I don’t know anything about drums at all, about how to play, but I know how to teach it.” He gave Joe a book and told him: “Do what it says here and I’ll be back next week and check on you.”

Joe practiced from the book’s instructions the whole week, and when the teacher came back, Joe had learned a great deal. Joe continued the year in this manner very successfully. There were three levels of bands in high school. Joe was admitted to the A level.

Joe’s first brush with celebrity occurred when he was only 10 years old. His father was a builder and built their family home on Scoville Court. Across the street, on Dalzell, lived “Bubba” Broyles, owner of a profitable music store. It was the gathering place for local and transient musicians. He had a fine home and also owned the house next door, which he would occasionally offer to hard-up musicians who needed a place to stay.

Pud Brown, a tenor sax man of some repute, was there at the time, and he was a close friend of Louis Armstrong. Louis was having trouble dealing with threats from the owner of a Chicago nightclub. It seems that Louis had received a better offer from another club and gave the owner his two-week’s notice. He called his old buddy, Pud Brown, and was invited to Shreveport to use the “sleepin’ porch” until things cooled down. Bubba gave his OK and Louis felt safe there.

Joe said, “I awoke to the sound of Louis’ trumpet and followed the sound to the sleepin’ porch. There sat Satchmo’ himself, smiling and playing his horn.” Of course “Jim Crow” was the order of the day in the Deep South, but Louis felt safe there because Bubba and Pud were his friends. Joe continued, “I had recently seen him in a movie short featuring Louis and his band, and I was fascinated by the man. He played for me and soon there were half-a-dozen other kids lined up at the door, equally wide-eyed. Bubba came over to get Louis and take him down to his store in the entrance of the Inn Hotel. I spent the afternoon listening and talking to Louis. I kept calling him Lou-ee until he corrected me, saying, “Joe, mah name, spelled L-O-U-I-S, not L-O-U-E-E! Say it: Lou-ISS.”

I have forever after called him LouISS. The last time I saw Louis, he and his band were featured in a performance at Shreveport’s Municipal Auditorium. He had “Big Sid” Catlett, one of our finest, playing drums. Sid played a fabulous drum solo and dedicated it to me, a 14-year-old kid with tears in his eyes.”

World War II was only months away when Joe got a job in Shreveport playing in a “low-down honky-tonk band.” His parents never paid much attention to his musical activities and knew nothing of his job, which paid $100.00 a week. At the time, this was more than many executives in Shreveport made. Joe saved his money and opened a bank account, which soon grew into the thousands.

Riding home on a city bus one afternoon, Joe noticed a new Packard in front of a house with a sign on the windshield: “Buy this car for $300.00, I have been drafted into the army, Must Sell.” Joe hopped off the bus, rang the doorbell, looked at the car, drove it around the block and paid $300 cash.

His parents were astonished when he drove the car home and they asked him where the money came from. They both drove “mere Dodges.” This also prompted his mother to find a good, tough military academy. Schools with a military mission were becoming popular because of the looming certainty of war.

They decided on a military school in Gulfport, MS. When the family car arrived, a sign greeted them: “Send us the boy and we will return you the man.” It proved to be the low point in Joe’s life. He said it was like being in jail with a bunch of little boys from Mississippi, all being treated like prisoners. It even involved hazing from upper classmen that escalated. Joe credits the presence of his drums for “saving his life” and sanity. After a year or so, around 16 years of age, he “escaped in broad daylight” by taking a bus about 60 miles to New Orleans. He went straight to the musician’s union, signed up and had a job offer in a matter of hours. They kept him busy with good jobs that paid well and put him in association with a variety of celebrities.

These celebrities included Rosemary Clooney, Earl “Fatha” Hines and Candy Candido. The latter was a comic personality who had done many voice-overs, including work in the movie “The Wizard of Oz.” After this months-long tour concluded, the union recommended Joe to an all-girl band that had lost its drummer.

Mickey Stevens was the leader of the ten-member group. In order to maintain its all-girl status, the press releases said “All girl band. Featuring Joe Holland on drums.” “We worked well together,” said Joe, “We had a great time playing fancy resort hotels in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida before Mickey found a fine female drummer.”

After their tearful goodbyes, Joe moved on to a luxury hotel in Kansas City for the drum spot in a Mickey Mouse Band. Translation: very corny music but even higher pay scales, plus room and board were on the house! Just for kicks, he dropped in on some of Kansas City’s top jazz clubs.

Joe got to sit in with the likes of Count Basie, Earl Hines and many other greats of the day. However, he would not be able to work with black musicians again until his army days. That would come in 1957, the night after the 101st Airborne’s occupation of Central High School in Little Rock. It was the night he met the great Art Porter Sr. at a club in downtown Little Rock.

Joe Holland v01Joe will never forget the feeling of working with such a great jazz personality. “Art should have been an internationally known pianist, but he did not want to leave Little Rock and his children,” said Joe. His son, Art Porter, Jr. became known internationally for his skill with the alto saxophone.

One of his early jobs in 1944 was in a “hillbilly band” for Jimmie Davis’ run for Louisiana governor. Joe says it was just by luck that Davis secured the “world’s greatest guitarist,” Snoozer Quinn. Joe and Snoozer became personal friends and worked together several times. Snoozer taught Joe one of his greatest lessons, how to integrate his skills with other band members. They continued playing Davis’ rallies right up to a successful election.

As soon as he was ensconced in office, Governor Davis left his advisors in charge while he made a beeline to Hollywood, where he starred in some of the worst movies ever made. There were two other notable musicians in the Jimmie Davis Band: brothers Hoke and Paul Rice. They wrote one of the greatest country music songs of all time, “You Are My Sunshine.” This beautiful, sentimental ballad was shopped around to top country singers of the day, but no one recorded it. The boys needed money so badly that they sold the song to Jimmie Davis for a mere twenty-five dollars!

The rest, as they say, is history.

Davis recorded the tune and both he and the song became instant hits, selling in the hundreds of thousands. Davis listed himself as the composer of the song and wouldn’t pay anything more to the Rice brothers.

“In 1946, just before I left New Orleans I got to spend five days working with The Three Stooges when they were booked into the St. Charles Theatre. Curly had had a stroke, Moe was worn out and Larry Fine had been cheated out of most of the money he was due from the movie company they worked for.

They did very little hitting and spent most of their time on stage singing! They were very good at that. I was on stage with them, using the bass drum pedal to enliven their stomping around on stage and providing sound effects with Korean temple blocks to provide sound for what little hitting they did do. Just a few months later I saw Curly’s obit in the paper,” Joe said.

In 1960, Joe found himself working in another “colorful” Louisiana governor’s race. This time it was with Earl Long. Earl had carried on an embarrassing tryst with a stripper named Blaze Starr. The band didn’t see much of Ol’ Earl. The routine was to get to the dusty towns first, set up on the rail freight platform, play and draw a crowd.  As soon as they saw the white Chevy sedan they’d load up and move on to the next town. Joe said, “These things started mid-morning and continued until around 5 pm. The old boy was a trooper, as long as he had his glass of “amber colored liquid.”

In 1967, Joe broke with his tradition of Louisiana governor’s races and worked with the future governor of Arkansas, Winthrop Rockefeller. This was Rockefeller’ third and most difficult run. Joe provided the musical background for all of his commercials and 33 rallies around the state. Johnny Cash and Cal Perkins appeared at many of those rallies. On several occasions when Johnny’s drummer failed to show up, guess who sat in? Much later, in 1980, Joe worked with Frank White in his campaign that unseated Bill Clinton as governor of Arkansas. Initially, Frank was still wearing his tired plaid “country boy” suits and work shoes. Joe ended up being Frank’s advisor on how to dress for success.

The music business has been a central part of Joe’s life for over 70 years. However, Joe has held several “day jobs,” mostly in sales positions. According to Joe, “Music was always been something I was trying to escape from. The minute I’d escape, I couldn’t stand it. I had to go back and play. As a young musician, I received a lot of advice from older, experienced musicians. They always said to have a back-up plan.” Joe explained that the dependency of the music business on the liquor business must be recognized. “Once a club starts to fail…the first thing they do is lay off musicians.”

Joe’s first day job was with Revlon, representing the Louisiana area and continuing over to Dallas, Texas. This put him in contact with Neiman-Marcus, a company Joe paid careful attention to, learning a lot of the fundamentals. At the time there were many popular quiz shows, one of which was sponsored by Revlon. There was some cheating involved in the show, and it really hurt Revlon.

Joe’s next job was with Playtex covering a bigger area for two to three years. The pressure for greater sales was intense so Joe moved to Yardley of London. This was a great job, including trips to Great Britain and Europe. Yardley’s head executive in London had a daughter who married a businessman in Little Rock. Through this connection, Joe managed to meet him and escorted him on a visit to Little Rock. When Joe took him to the airport the man asked, “Is there anything I can do for you?” Joe asked him for a job in London.

Unfortunately, the British did not look kindly on giving their jobs to foreigners. However after some consideration, it was worked out that Joe would come over as a consultant, for which Joe admits he was not qualified. The British stint included trips to Paris, Belgium, and a several-week-long trip in 1970 to Russia. He returned to the U.S., continuing to work for Yardley, until they closed their U.S. operations. Prior to this, Yardley had a practice of rewarding employees with a Cadillac. Joe got one.

Joe was an early Hi-Fi buff and had naturally heard of Paul Wilbur Klipsch. Joe built his own speakers but is quick to say that they were nothing compared to what PWK was doing. In early 1955, he drove from Shreveport to Hope on the off chance that he might meet Paul. He was amazed that PWK invited him in, and later took him to lunch.

Paul was “easy to meet, easy to talk to, and easy to get along with, just a great guy. I could sense that he was going to be a fun guy because I never knew what he was going to do or say.”

When Paul discovered that Joe had his drums in the car, he asked Joe to play them in a live versus recorded scenario during their first encounter. PWK said he wanted to play some records and asked Joe to bring his drums inside. He pointed a speaker right at Joe. He wanted Joe to play along with his Glen Miller music. Fortunately, Joe had just gotten out of the Army Band and knew all of the arrangements by heart!

Joe played along with the recorded drummer exactly, which fascinated PWK. This exercise was conducted in the hallway of what is now Klipsch’s Hope office building, with Joe not being able to see whether the source materials were records or tapes (dammit). The result was the beginning of a serious dialog on possible collaborations.

Shortly after, they were doing a live versus recorded demo for a large audience in an auditorium at Centenary College. Dealers and the public were invited. Curtains hid a speaker on one side and a drum set on the other. Joe would play and then a recording of Joe would be alternated. The audience was asked to identify the live performance. Several more of these demonstrations were staged.

Soon Paul suggested a recording session. On the morning of June 19, 1955, Joe and the short-lived Joe Holland Quartet entered KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana. At the same time, Elvis Presley was exiting the studio. He and his band recorded all night due to Elvis’ proclivity to put five notes in a four-note bar. The band members were afraid to call him out, so they just kept telling him that they had made a mistake and needed another take. [Do not irritate Elvis!] Elvis’ drummer, D.J. Fontana was a good friend of Joe’s and related the events of the previous night.

The recording session lasted most of the day, but included no pictures or other documentation – just the music. All songs were recorded straight through without mixing. Playback at the studio was via a pair of Klipsch Rebels as they were small enough to fit in the back of Paul’s airplane. If there were a serious mistake or flaw noted in the initial playback, the whole number would be repeated. Only a few required retakes. Extraneous noises were left in some of the recordings. One noise that was thought to be the drummer’s chair squeaking was actually a pedal. Joe used a Ludwig Speed King, which has also been referred to as a “Squeak King.” Unfortunately, it is not known if any of the band members ever heard their finished product on Klipschorns. [Joe has not, but I plan to remedy that!] Joe had Rebels………………

In 1957, a second recording session was arranged with a reunited Joe Holland Quartet. Paul explained to Joe that during his demos at frequent dealer visits, many people would request a copy of the material. At the time, the KlipschTape division had just been created with the help of John Eargle. Joe recalls that John represented himself as an A&R man from RCA. As with the earlier recording session in 1955, PWK utilized a Berlant tape recorder and two widely spaced, omnidirectional Stephens microphones. The second session did not seem to impress the band like the first. A “been there, done that” mentality could have been at play.

PWK and Joe remained in contact for many years. Joe knew some generals at Barksdale Air Force base. He arranged to take a General Westmoreland (the “lesser” Westmoreland) up to Hope to visit with PWK. The General was a huge Klipsch fan, so it was somewhat amusing to see his “subservient posture” in Paul’s presence. Joe gave at least another general the same “audience with King Klipsch.” Much later, PWK orchestrated, pun intended, an invitation from Arthur Fiedler for Joe to play with the Boston Pops. Unfortunately, this never materialized due at least in part to the pressure of Joe’s day job.

In the 1980’s PWK ran into Joe at Cajun’s Wharf in Little Rock. It had been 20 years since they had seen each other but Paul instantly recognized Joe. At 88, Joe lives on the west side of Little Rock, and is still getting paid to play his drums.

 

70th Anniversary Edition Klipschorn Speaker

Paul W. Klipsch sold his first Klipschorn back in 1946 and we haven’t stopped making them since then. In fact, the Klipschorn is the only speaker that has been in continuous production for over 70 years.

Think about that for a second. It’s an absolute testament to the quality and perfection of his design, standing the test of time against all newcomers. We would put this up against any speaker, past or present.

Known to many as the original corner-horn loudspeaker, its patented low-frequency horn boasts a unique design that utilizes the floor and walls of the listening room to complete the horn, increasing the low frequency extension and efficiency. The folded low frequency enclosure offers the most efficient use of space possible.

The design is so efficient that you can run Klipschorns with just one watt of power. ONE WATT!

Simply put, this is fundamental design that cannot be improved because the law of physics says so. Case closed.

The 70th Anniversary Klipschorn speaker is a soul-stirring tribute to Paul W. Klipsch’s iconic design. We made only 70 pairs of these speakers – all by hand in the humble town of Hope, Arkansas, where Paul W. Klipsch always made them.

With such a limited production run, each of these speakers will hold a special place in American audio history, as well as in our hearts. We take great pride in saying that these speakers will not only be for you, but for each generation of your family that you pass them onto.

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Limited Edition Australian Walnut

This show-stopping veneer is a unique feature to the 70th Anniversary Klipsch Heritage speakers. While it looks terrific in photos, be ready for your jaw to drop when you see it in person.

We sourced this limited veneer from the costal tablelands of North Queensland, Australia. The Australian Walnut veneer varies in color, but is usually a pale-golden hue highly contrasted with darker streaks of chocolate brown, grey, black or even pink.

Please note that each pair of 70th Anniversary Klipschorn speakers will have a slightly different finish to it, giving your set it’s own personality. These speakers will be uniquely yours.

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Book-Matched Wood Veneer and Speaker Pairs

What the heck is book-matched veneer, you ask? Well, it’s a process that is treasured more than any other cut of wood veneer. The veneer leaves are kept in order as they are delicately sliced from the timber and precisely arranged to provide a mirror image at the splice joint – like turning the pages of a book. Not only is this aesthetically pleasing, it allows for a consistent appearance.

Each 70th Anniversary Klipschorn is carefully inspected and labeled with sequential serial numbers, ensuring that the Heritage series speakers leave the factory as a meticulously crafted set. These speakers are legitimate heirloom items. They can stay in your family for generations to come.

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Special Plaque

With the 70th Anniversary Klipschorn, you aren’t just buying a speaker; you’re buying a piece of American audio history. Each speaker features a small plaque identifying its numbered sequence in the series and has been signed by its craftsman.

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New Nameplate

It was an extremely tough decision to remove the iconic PWK badge from the top left/right corner of the Klipschorn; however, we believe that this new Klipschorn badge is the perfect fit for the limited edition model. The cursive font had actually been used in years past, so it’s a nice tribute to Paul W. Klipsch’s original decision.

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Silver Luster Grille Cloth

The new, cursive Klipschorn logo is attached to a breathtaking silver luster grille cloth that we have never used before except on the 70th Anniversary Klipsch Heritage speakers. It has the appearance of chain-link armor, giving these limited edition speakers a rather bold and contrasting appearance. It’s simultaneously tough and elegant.

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New Low-Frequency Horn

While it’s darn-near impossible to improve upon Paul W. Klipsch’s timeless Klipschorn design, we have tweaked it to get even more performance versatility. The rear low-frequency horn has been enhanced and is fully enclosed, offering more placement versatility in the listening room. While we still recommend placing the 70th Anniversary Klipschorn in a corner, we’re sure that many Klipschorn owners will appreciate the added flexibility.

What do you think of the 70th Anniversary Klipschorn speaker? Post your thoughts in the comments below!

Paul W. Klipsch Story: A Life of a Genius and his Pursuit of Audio Perfection

You know that passion you can hear in a trumpeter’s brassy solo or the finale of an epic anthem played by a full symphony at the height of their talents?

Paul W. Klipsch heard it. He heard it clearly, and it kindled a passion of his own.

His drive to give these soul-stirring sounds the best presentation possible—better than anything yet available to listeners of his day—led him to develop new speaker technology that presented each key change, crescendo, chorus and choir with unparalleled clarity.

The result of his passion was game changing then, and it continues to set the bar for audio excellence now, even as music interests have changed with the times. Klipsch speakers consistently deliver what modern audiences are searching for without even realizing it, from the goose bump-raising high note of the national anthem before the big game to the rousing pre-final-battle speech delivered by the leader of a ragtag group of warriors fighting to defend Earth from invading alien forces.

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Inventor, Geophysicist, Pilot, Colonel

Paul W. Klipsch’s auditory marvel didn’t move straight from his mad-genius mind into listeners’ living rooms. He started in a rather unglamorous setting—a ramshackle tin shed—dripping sweat and drafting plans to translate his vision into physical, ear-dazzling reality. And dazzle he did.

But he didn’t stop there. Not only did Klipsch build a high-end audio speaker unlike anything the world had yet seen (or heard), he ensured these speakers would be built according to his exact standards. Since that beginning, his company has never waivered in its production of his speaker, as well as successive generations of models that include modern innovations, while retaining the soul of the Klipsch original.

Somewhere among all of that inventing and entrepreneurialism, he also found time to flex his geophysicist and pilot muscles, along with earning the rank of lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. You know, like you do.

The people who knew him best said even their exhaustive lists of his achievements don’t tell a sliver of his story. Longtime Klipsch engineer Gary Gillum said the founder had an uncanny ability to provide answers to any question with speed and authority—never needing to reference a book, chart or table. He was, in Gillum’s words, “a meticulous genius.”

Another long-time employee and friend jokingly speculated that Klipsch must have invented a time machine and is simply waiting for the future to catch up to the patent office so he can step out of the past and officially register it in the present. A time traveler? Well, he never proved that he wasn’t.

In the meantime, there are still dozens of patents in his name, ranging from loudspeakers to logarithmic converters and even firearms. Imagination, meet execution.

Despite Klipsch’s talent for turning mere ideas and flickers of thought into stuff you can actually hold, he is equally remembered for something impossible to touch—even as it touches the lives of so many people: his legacy. Every box that bears his name indicates that what’s inside carries his spark and spirit, as well as his uncompromising push to never settle for anything less than the best. He demanded quality of himself and the world around him for 98 long years. Where he didn’t find it, he cultivated it.

Jim Hunter understands the impact of the Klipsch legacy better than most people. He met the man in 1978 and then went to work for him. Hunter respected him and eventually named Mr. and Mrs. Klipsch godparents to his two children.

Hunter explained that the mix of humor, passion and “just general spark mixed with good-naturedness” that defined Klipsch is hard to boil down into a simple character description. However, if this Renaissance man’s career could be summed up in one sentiment, it would be that while nothing ages worse than technology, nothing is as ageless as technology well-executed.

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Klipschorn®

The pinnacle of this idea has to be the Klipschorn®, the only audio speaker that has been in continuous production for seven decades.

Still ahead of its time today, the Klipschorn® features expanding chambers ingeniously folded to allow your entire room to participate in creating a wall of sound. Audiophiles believe this method is the truest way to experience sound in its purest form—and nobody argues with audiophiles. You could try, but we wouldn’t recommend it.

Even people with less than a passing interest in the mechanics behind their speakers recognize the difference. The typical person’s response to their ears intimately meeting a Klipsch product, according to Hunter: “That sounds so clear.”

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Inducted into Engineering & Science Hall of Fame

As no surprise to anyone who knew him (or you, if you’ve made it this far in the bio), Klipsch was inducted into the Engineering and Science Hall of Fame in 2004—an achievement that would likely be the most glittering jewel in anyone’s career crown. In fact, he and Thomas Edison are the only two people from the audio industry to be inducted into the Engineering and Science Hall of Fame since 1946. In Paul’s case, it served as just one more milestone for the man who never stopped forging ahead. He had already written the rulebook of sound, then tore it to shreds, then wrote it again. Like modern musicians who destroy and rebuild what audiences expect to hear, Klipsch did the same with how they hear it.

When a colleague advised him not to release a more portable speaker because it would undermine his own Klipschorn®, basically committing heresy against Klipsch’s best-known and celebrated creation, he thumbed his nose at the world—including himself. His response: “The hell I can’t!” He dubbed his new speaker creation the Heresy.

A sense of humor, sometimes despite slim odds of success. A larger-than-life personality tempered by humility. Integrity shaping grand ideas. These are the character strengths that, coupled with a lifelong thirst for learning, gave Klipsch’s ideas staying power. Conversely, in regard to “ideas of dubious credibility”, he adopted an unofficial moto: “Bullshit”. He wore a yellow button with that single sentiment written on it, flashing it from behind his lapel at anyone he thought was trying a little too hard to impress him.

Klipsch embraced the ordinary to reveal the unexpected. He lived life as it came—never allowing it to carry him along, helpless in the current. In the times he didn’t know what was around the next bend, he sped forward, eager to see what was to come.

So pop in a movie, fire up a new single, or settle in to listen to a favorite album. Hear that? It’s more than just a smooth saxophone lick or a bone-shaking explosion. It’s the Klipsch legacy.

Good Poop: Arkansas Longhorn

On October 2, 2014 we started the Good Poop series with “Meet Jim Hunter – Klipsch Historian”. The photo included with that initial blog was of a large plywood and foam horn.

It took nearly a year, but finally someone (Jon in Mpls) had to ask: “What the Hell is that?!”

Well, the photo was taken in February of 1986 when our anechoic chamber was only about 6 years old. We wanted to explore the effects of folding in the Klipschorn woofer cabinet.

The pictured monstrosity is basically an “un-folded” Klipschorn woofer .

Yes, the Klipschorn really is a compact speaker for its performance level. Obviously this was too large to measure inside the chamber, so we pointed it skyward and mic’d it from 20-30 feet up.

Admittedly, this was a “low-budget production”, but the goofy structure did allow us to get a good idea of what our driver would do, particularly at the higher frequencies, without folding.

No changes were implemented to the Klipschorn, but this could be considered the first step leading up to the Jubilee (better folding) some 14 years later.

Do you have your own Paul W. Klipsch story that would be good for “Good Poop”? Post it in the comments below.

What is “Good Poop”?

Learn more about Paul W. Klipsch 

Good Poop: Dining with a Legend

During the late 1970’s and early 80’s, it was a fairly regular Friday night event for Klipsch engineers to “eat fish” with Paul W. Klipsch (PWK) and his wife, Valerie, at the Hope Holiday Inn (now a Super 8).

It was the typical southern buffet, including cat fish, frog legs, shrimp, oysters and much more. At the time, Klipsch had four engineers, and usually three or more were eagerly present at these informal events. Other employees from sales, purchasing, and manufacturing were welcome, as were their spouses.

While speaker design and manufacturing was an unavoidable topic for a geek-centric gathering, the conversation roamed from current events to the history of loudspeakers. It was here that PWK convinced me to try slurping a raw oyster from the shell. I haven’t stopped.

I learned later that Paul was introduced to the practice while in the oil prospecting business. He was on a small exploration boat in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico just to insure functioning of the electronic equipment. The “captain” of the boat reached over the side and brought up an oyster. He quickly shucked it open, added salt from a shaker kept warm by the engine, and slurped it down.

PWK followed suit. He couldn’t be outdone, of course.

Do you have your own Paul W. Klipsch story that would be good for “Good Poop”? Post it in the comments below.

What is “Good Poop”?

 

 

Good Poop: Why Me?

In 1978, Paul W. Klipsch’s interest in building his own drivers resulted in my invitation to Hope for an interview that summer. I was working at Rola, one of the oldest OEM driver suppliers, having commenced operations in 1926. 

Klipsch was courting Rola as a second supplier to the established Eminence products, and I was the Rola engineer assigned to the Klipsch account. The interview was a tag-team affair with PWK in the last round.

While I entered his office “properly intimidated” in the presence of “A Legend in Sound”, he quickly put me at ease. 

One question I remember was to the effect: “What have you learned while employed at Rola?” My answer was: “I’ve learned how much I didn’t learn in college.” 

This seemed to please him.

His demeanor, and that of the rest of the staff, were “like waving a bull in front of a red flag” for me (his cracked quote). I was hired & reported to work on October 2, 1978.

Ironically, after a few months of study I convinced everyone that Klipsch did not yet have the volume to economically support in-house driver manufacturing!  Paul reviewed the numbers, and had to agree that his intentions were financially premature. 

Fortunately a new lab with anechoic chamber was under development, which kept me gainfully employed.

Do you have your own Paul W. Klipsch story that would be good for “Good Poop”? Post it in the comments below.

What is “Good Poop”?

Mini Klipsch La Scala Speakers

Klipsch engineers are always up to something crazy. Most of the time, we cannot tell you about it – top secret stuff and all – but this time we’ll share a cool project from the desk of Jay Lawyer.

Mini Klipsch La Scala desktop computer speakers.

One could consider them a love child between the original PWK-designed Klipsch La Scala II and the award-winning ProMedia computer speakers.

The original Klipsch La Scala was unveiled in 1963 and designed as an alternative to the Klipschorn for applications in the theater, recording studio, nightclub, etc. It boasted a smaller cabinet than the Klipschorn and a design that did not require a corner location. The Klipsch La Scala II is still made today in Hope, Arkansas with only cosmetic changes from the original.

Having been at Klipsch for just under 15 years, Lawyer is currently the Associate Development Engineer. He has been one of the main engineering minds behind the signature Klipsch sound during this time period, working on speakers, soundbars and subwoofers.

Lawyer created the Mini La Scalas simply because he was bored one day. The La Scala is one of his favorite speakers and he figured a Mini La Scala at his desk would be a cool homage to Paul W. Klipsch.

After running through just a few prototypes, the final design for the Mini La Scala speaker was set. Measuring 9” x 6” x 6”, it’s a quarter-scale replica of the La Scala, but made in a 2-way design.

Mini Klipsch La Scala Speaker

Unlike the original La Scala, they are ported out the top. The horn-loaded woofer’s “dog house” is opened at the top, which allows extra air space from behind the tweeter horn. To create the low-end output that Lawyer desired, he needed the woofer to have a larger enclosure volume to compensate for the speaker’s small horn.

The speakers are constructed from Masonite and hot metal glue, while featuring woofers and tweeters from the well-regarded Quintet 4 speakers. These mini La Scala speakers may appear rudimentary and plain; however, the speakers certainly pack quite a punch.

Lawyer modestly says that they sound “pretty good.” He would even stack them up against award-winning Klipsch Promedia desktop computer speakers.

Before you even ask, no, these aren’t going to be going into mass-production – sorry! Just Klipsch engineers doing Klipsch engineering things.

Mini Klipsch La Scala speaker

Mini Klipsch La Scala Speaker

Mini Klipsch La Scala Speaker

Mini Klipsch La Scala Speakers

Have a question or comment about the Mini La Scala speakers? Post in the comments below!

 

Good Poop: The Orr Auction

J. Herbert Orr of Opelika, Alabama started the Orradio manufacturing company after WWII. According to Wikipedia, he produced “the first commercially available audio tape, video tape and computer tape in the world.”

Orr had been one of three soldiers that “captured” the Magnetophones in Germany after the war, which essentially started the modern tape recording business in the USA.

Paul Klipsch was a friend of Mr. Orr, and used Orr tape for his short-lived KlipschTape venture in the late 1950’s.

After Orr’s death in 1984 there was an auction of his vast radio paraphernalia collection. Naturally, Paul and I found ourselves there with a bidding card. The crown jewel of the sale was one of the original Magnetophones. I probably could have been arrested for my jabbing at Paul to bid!

Unfortunately the minimum bid was set at $10,000, and while he could afford it, he abstained (dammit!).

Some dozen or so of the items acquired at this sale can be found in the Klipsch Museum of Audio History. They include test equipment, radios, horns, and tape players.

Do you have your own Paul W. Klipsch story that would be good for “Good Poop“? Post it in the comments below.