They’re the Ones Talking About Me I’m Not the One Talking About Them

By Scott Shaw

Long ago I coined the statement, “You know you’re famous when people you’ve never met say things about you that aren’t true.” This came about when I read an article someone had written about me that was full of unsubstantiated falsehoods and flat out untruths. Yet, the person who wrote it had the appearance of being credentialed in his field and presented the paper in a very formulated format. Though the reading of it amused me to no end, I later began to contemplate how someone who didn’t know me and read it would believe the false words to be fact, not fiction. And, here is where the problem(s) begin…

Ever since I first began writing poetry, novels, articles, books, painting, and making music and movies, people began to draw conclusions about me. This is a fact of life, when you create, people who love, hate, or don’t care about what you create are going to come to their own conclusions about your work and yourself; be they true or false.

In times gone past, opinions were kept to one’s circle of friends. If you were going to send your opinion about a person or their creation to a magazine, more times than not, the magazine would fact-check the writing before it was ever published. This is the world I grew up in. Throughout my studies at the various universities I attended and later when I began to be published as a journalist and an author, what I wrote had to possess a verifiable factual essence. You had to prove what you said. Then came the age of the Internet and the publish-on-demand world of printing. Anybody could say anything and there is no one there to challenge what a person says. Sure, you can get into twitter wars with a person but what is the point? People believe what they choose to believe, whether it be true or not.

The fact is, in today’s world, when someone says something about somebody that is not based in fact, the lie simply continues to spread. I have seen one person say something about me that was completely untrue and then I have seen that same statement quoted by another and another. All false, yet it is presented as if it were the truth, when it is not.

This is the thing about the life of the creative… The creative, create. The others talk about those who create.

Whenever I teach a university class or a seminar I always pose the question to my students, “Who do you want to be? The creative or those who talk about the creative?”

In a world where you can say anything about anybody with little consequence, the only person you are beholden to is yourself and the karmic destiny you lay out that will unfold in front of you based upon your deeds, actions, and words. Therefore, it is you who must ask the question of yourself, “Are you a person who speaks of others, expounding your opinions about an individual based upon your own appraisal of their words and creations or are you a person who is the source of your own creations?” Yes, being the source point of your own creations will put you in the bull’s-eye but it will be something wholly you own. If, on the other hand, you spent your time focused upon analyzing the creations of others and the personage of who created them, all you are doing is further spreading the myth of that individual.

If you speak the truth that is the truth, then the truth will be known and the truth will embrace you. If you spread the lie, based upon your judgment(s), then all you will be known as is a liar once the truth is revealed and all you will be defined as is an individual who relished in the limelight of others.

Copyright © 2015 — All Rights Reserved.

They’re the Ones Talking About Me I’m Not the One Talking About Them

The Kris Derrig Les Paul

By Scott Shaw

I have noticed that there has been a lot of discussion about the evolution of the Kris Derrig Les Paul on the Internet. Much of this discussion is speculation and incorrect. As such, I thought I would write a few words on the subject as I was an actual friend of Kris.’ I knew him when he was happy and healthy and I sadly watched him fade away into sickness and death.

For the record, Kris’ name is sometimes spelled Chris in the media and on the Internet. But, this is incorrect.

The Kris Derrig Les Paul
The story of Kris’ Les Paul creations, (in California), occurred when he was hired in the mid 1980s by my long-time friend, Jim Foote, (who is every bit the luthier that Kris was). At that time, customizing and creating custom guitars was a common order of business. Jim, who was then working on guitars for many of the top rock stars of the era, hired Kris to help him refinish and customize guitars. In fact, many superstar bands of the era, such as Ratt, Great White, Dokken, and Guns and Roses, commonly rehearsed at Jim’s shop, the Music Works, which had a rehearsal studio set up in the back building. From this, many of the bands had much of their guitar work done at the Music Works in association with their rehearsals.

Kris’ Les Pauls have become somewhat legendary in the industry as he only made a few before his untimely passing, from lung cancer, at the age of thirty-two. Most notably, Slash plays one, as does Lenny Kravitz. There are only about six or seven other California made Kris Derrig Les Pauls out there that I am aware of. When he was making them at the Music Works, he had more than one client, who would further age the guitar, once it was created, and then sell it as an original 1958 Gibson Les Paul. So, some of his creation may never be found — as they are thought to be a true Gibson Les Paul. But, for the aficionado, if you look at the routing and the pickup cavities, Kris created them slightly different from the Gibsons of the late 1950s.

In addition to building a Les Paul for me, Kris also worked on and refinished a number of my guitars during this same period of time.

The 1960 Kris Derrig Les Paul
The history of the guitar he made for me began when Kris had some free time and began to create a new Les Paul to sell — as he was always in need of money. In association with making guitars and customizing others, he was busy converting a vintage Pontiac Tempest into a GTO. Each week he would go to the pick-a-part junk yard seeking parts for his automotive creation. One afternoon, at about four o’clock, he called me up. He had found a part he really needed. I forget what it was. But, he needed money fast. $950.00 to be exact. This is what he asked me to pay him for the Les Paul, though he normally charged in excess of $1,500.00. I went to the bank and gave him the money later that afternoon.

As it was still not complete, I wanted Kris to take the guitar in a slightly different direction from the other Les Pauls he had crated while at the Music Works. So, I brought him a set of, “Patent Applied For,” gold Grover tuning keys that I had laying around, a set of Gibson PAFs with gold posts and pickup covers, and a vintage gold Gibson ABR bridge. He finished the guitar the next week, grabbing some of the remaining needed parts from the wall of the Music Works, which annoyed Jim. “Someone has to pay me for those parts!” I guess it was Kris, because it wasn’t me.

Kris made the guitar with the inspiration of the 1960 Gibson Les Paul. The neck is thin like a 1960 Les Paul and the Serial Number reflects 1960 Gibson. All of Kris’ other Les Pauls are based on the late 1950s Les Pauls, which makes the one he created for me a very unique piece of Kris’ heritage.

When Kris created the guitar he tried to match the sunburst of the 1960 Les Paul that he saw in books, but the color was somewhat off. I knew this because I owned an actual 1960 Gibson Les Paul. In the early 1990s, long after Kris’ passing, I had Jim Foote refinish it for me. He did a great job and matched 1960 Gibson coloring perfectly. He then let it hang in his shop for a couple of years, as he was distracted by other projects. Though I would have preferred to have it put together, the time did sun-age the finish perfectly.

And, that is the story of the creation of the 1960 Kris Derrig Les Paul.

Mostly, Kris was a great guy and a close friend. He has been missed since his passing over twenty years ago. He was one of those unique individuals who left this place we call LIFE way too soon.

Copyright © 2006 — All Rights Reserved.

The Kris Derrig Les Paul

Scott Shaw: Fist of the Buddha


By Jasmine Lee

When the modern Angelino thinks about the martial arts, visions of Tae Bo, Cardio Kickboxing, The Ultimate Fighting Championships, or even Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan kicking butt on the silver screen is generally the first thought which comes to mind. Moving beyond kicking butt or firming one up comes Scott Shaw, who’s new book, Samurai Zen, published by Samuel Weiser, Inc., takes the reader beyond the self-defense aspects of the martial arts and into the refined realms of meditation inherent to these ancient systems of self-defense.

Shaw, a native of Los Angeles, began training in the martial arts as a young boy. He spent the first decade of his life in South Central and his adolescence in East Hollywood. From these gritty street environments he readily came to understand the level of unnecessary violence which is prevalent in the modern world. Whereas these unforgiving surroundings have sent many a youth down a road to destruction, Shaw saw it as a pathway for the development of inner strength and self-reliance. With martial arts as a central focus, Shaw rose above the limitations of his youthful atmosphere and additionally became deeply involved in the spiritual aspects of Eastern Mysticism. Martial arts in association with spirituality would eventually lead Shaw to spending many years in various geographic locations of Asia.

Shaw integrates the meditative wisdom he gained in Asia into his teaching of the Martial Arts. When asked why more modern martial art instructors don’t incorporate meditation into their self-defense classes, Shaw states, “I believe it’s because in the Western world we are so dominated by immediacy. Few people are willing to sit down and really learn how to focus their minds to the degree which is required in meditation. In American everybody wants recognition for their accomplishments. In meditation there’s no external reward for your advancement, so most martial artists blow it off, believing that it’s just not important to their overall development. They are wrong.”

In his first book, detailing the spiritual elements of the martial arts, The Warrior is Silent: Martial Arts and the Spiritual Path, published in 1998 by Inner Traditions International, Shaw began teaching the way of the Spiritual Warrior. In it he states, “Those who see the martial arts as solely a method to overpower somebody are really basing their life on the most animalistic level of existence. Martial arts trains your body to become acutely in tune with your mind. From this, you can raise your being to a much more refined level of consciousness not possessed by the average individual.”

Samurai Zen picks up where The Warrior is Silent left off and continues to instruct the reader in further techniques of ancient movement meditations and advanced breath control which lead to the harmonizing of the body and mind and the harnessing the universal energy known as Ki.

Not left solely to the martial arts, Shaw had a second book released in 1999, Zen O’clock: Time to Be, also published by Samuel Weiser, Inc. In this text no instructions for swinging a sword, punching, kicking, or even formalized movement meditation are discussed, all the teachings are mental and detailing how the modern individual can peacefully come to terms with the never ending passing of time. Scott writes, “How many time have you stepped outside and not even noticed what the weather was like? How many times have you traveled to some destination and, due to the fact that your mind was on another issue affecting your life, you didn’t even notice how you felt or what you saw? How much of life do you let pass by without a thought?”

When asked why he wrote a book like Zen O’clock, Shaw says, “Everybody is pressed up against the wall of time. Everybody is worried about getting older, not enough time complete whatever project must finished, and what will happen when they die. Everybody looks at time as it if were a thing, an object. But, what is time, does it really exist? Time can only be defined in terms of history, comparing where you were then to where you are now — even if that now was only a second ago.”

With this ideology as a foundation, in Zen O’clock, Shaw takes the reader through conscious methods of dealing with time in terms of life, death, aging, desire, and emotions — ultimately illustrating that human existence should be perceived in terms of an accepted cosmic perfection — that everything is as it should be. Once an individual can come to this realization, then cosmic consciousness is immediately embraced.

Although many of his beliefs are seemingly based in Buddhism, Shaw is reluctant to accept any labels. “I’m not formally religious in any regard,” he says. “Religion is a lot like school — the structure keeps people from seeing the truth.”

Veering between the physical, the spiritual, and the uniting of the two, Redondo Beach based Scott Shaw guides his readers on a path of illumination and self-discovery.

In the first year of the new millennium Shaw has two new books that will be released: Simple Bliss (Element Books) and the Tao of Self-Defense (Samuel Weiser, Inc.). In them, he again pushes the realms of human limitations and guides the reader to look at life from a new and more profound perspective. He says, “Most people falsely believe that enlightenment is some distant plateau, obtainable only be holy men who lives in caves or ashrams deep in the Himalayas. Enlightenment is Right Here and Right Now. All you have to do is open your eyes and embrace it.”

Copyright © 2000

Scott Shaw: Fist of the Buddha