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Interview With Barb Page Part 3 Peavey EVH 5150

Greg: What did exploring your other options look like? Your phone must have been ringing off the hook once word got out that Ed was looking for a company to make him a signature amp.

Barb: Well for me it was most important to understand what Edward wanted and then I would search for the company that I thought would be the best match for him. As it turned out, he really only had two requests. The amp was to be of high quality and affordable for other musicians and he didn’t care what company we went to. For me it was important that his amps be made only in the USA and that the company could handle the demand and I needed one person who I could call that could make decisions on the spot and not need to get approval from some board members or lawyers. It was also important to me that Edward was the only significant artist they had so that he would get their full-fledged attention.

Greg: How many companies did you find that checked all of these boxes?

Barb: Just one really…Peavey. So I called Hartley Peavey to see if he would be interested in helping Edward make his amp and he was so honored that we would consider his company. Although Peavey had a reputation of making cheap products and were judged unjustly because they were located in the South, I knew that none of that would matter to Edward because he preferred to take an unconventional route and always sided with the underdog.

Greg: So what was the next step?

Barb: On June 7, 1990, Hartley flew Edward, Val and I out to meet with him and his wife Melia in Meridian, Mississippi. They took us to dinner at an old southern mansion for some authentic southern food and they reserved the whole restaurant for privacy purposes so we were able to talk without any distractions. Hartley and Melia were down to earth and they both had a great sense of humor along with a whole lot of southern charm. We didn’t utter one word of business the entire evening and instead just got to know each other on a personal level and it was a very successful first get together.

Greg: That must have been a relief because first impressions are pretty important and can sometimes make or break a deal. So when did you guys finally get down to discussing business?

Barb: Hartley and I had spoken several times before meeting up so we were already discussing what a “win win” situation would look like. For Edward it would be all about having a team to help him to design a quality amp that would characterize his sound and sell for less. For Hartley, I suppose he could get some serious street cred and the reputation of his company could improve quite a bit if he came out with a high end quality amplifier with Edward and that would boost his brand recognition for all of his other products. So with all of this on the line it was probably a real motivator for Hartley to go all in and make certain that this collaboration would be successful.

Greg: That really is a “win win’ for the both of them. When did you guys go see the factory?

Barb: The next day. Both Hartley and Melia took Edward and I on a tour of the factory. The whole Peavey operation was massive and very impressive and it was obvious that Hartley did everything on a big scale. He was so innovative and creative and had well over a 100 patents. He was very hands on and just like Edward enjoyed tinkering around with stuff (laughs). Edward also met the team of engineers and I’ll never forget the look on their faces when he walked into the room…absolute admiration.

Greg: The flight home must have been interesting.

Barb: It was and that’s when we decided that we would team up with Peavey. About a year and a half later the EVH 5150 made its debut and it was a huge success and I’m not sure that either Hartley or Edward could have predicted the way that the amp would change the sound and tone of a lot of music.

Greg: It sure did. The 5150 was requested in recording studios everywhere and it became a staple of the metal sound and it became one of the best selling amps of all time.

Barb: And in addition to the metal sound, Hartley told us that a lot of country players were using the 5150’s for the clean tone.

Greg: That’s what you call a versatile amp.

Ed’s letter to Barb concerning Peavey’s Combo Amp