Rick Sell, the mastermind behind the one-of-a-kind custom-guitar purveyor PureSalem, hasn't always been an artisan. He spent 21 years with the Miami-Dade Police Department and then walked away to live his dream of creating custom axes for some of rock's most notable innovators.
"Since starting the company, we've attracted a lot of great professional touring musicians — particularly in the psych scene," Sell says. "Bands like the Flaming Lips, Slowdive, the Black Angels, Psychic Ills, and the Warlocks record and play with our guitars." A love for psych-rock might be the common thread, but Sell insists, "Our guitars and the bands who play them cover a wide range of musical styles, from Ricky Tillo and Tim Stewart of Lady Gaga, to Roy Kariok of Toni Braxton, to the punk legends in Screaming Weasel."
A showroom will soon open in South Miami-Dade, and Sell is excited. "The cool thing is we're located where Ed's Guitars used to be," he says fondly. "We're really happy to be here and carry on that tradition. It's great karma!" Sell is no stranger to the Miami music scene either. "It's always been close-knit. I've spent many a night at the old Washington Square, Kitchen Club, and Churchill's Pub, watching bands like Quit, the Holy Terrors, Snatch the Pebble, the Goods, Ho Chi Minh Trail, Psycho Daisies, Coral Gables, and more."
So it makes sense that Sell acknowledges the scene that helped shape his vision and clientele. "Our goal is to help and support the local scene in any way we can," he says. "Our shop has a real casual vibe, and I want it to be a fun place to hang and experiment with gear." Sell plans to do in-store sessions with local and national bands and create a YouTube series.
"It's rock 'n' roll, not rocket science" is the brand's slogan, he says. "I guess what's unique about us is that all of our guitars also come in a left-handed model," he notes. "I'm a lefty myself, so I understand the plight of the lefty player."
Part of the company's mission is to also host raucous rock shows — exactly what Sell is plotting for his grand opening, which will include food trucks, artists, and a ton of music.
"I reached out to bands that I'm a fan of. Lone Wolf OMB is amazing and is a throwback to another era. Pocket of Lollipops and Smut are insanely good, and Shroud Eater will melt your face off," Sell says giddily. "The School of Rock House Band (my young son attends the School of Rock) are the most talented kids you will ever see and will leave everyone speechless. Coral Canyons will bring the psych and take us all on a trip. Bitter Bluejays always deliver, and Bomboyash will bring a Latin-rock vibe with them. There will be something for everyone, and it's going to be awesome — a real fun day, and it's free."
PureSalem Guitars Showroom Grand-Opening Party. With performances by Pocket of Lollipops, Smut, Shroud Eater, Bomboyash, School of Rock House Band, Coral Canyons, LoneWolf OMB, and Bitter Bluejays. 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday, October 8, at PureSalem Guitars, 4045 SW 96th Ave., Miami; puresalemguitars.com. Admission is free.
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