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Stick With It: Adventures of a Chapman Stick Player

In 1968 Emmett Chapman (1936-2021) finally finished experimenting with his ‘modified –guitar’, angled it on the vertical, began ‘tapping the strings’ with two hands independently and the Chapman Stick, later to be known world-wide as The Stick, was born.

 The sound produced was like little heard before, the range was vast, flexible, unique; each piece or song played was unique to the musician tapping the Stick. At this time in music the Moog synthesiser was available but expensive and bands worked largely with traditional instruments. That such sound variation could be created with one small instrument was considered remarkable; in some instances, frighteningly so!

Michael Kollwitz first heard the Stick being played in the summer of 1976 by Emmett Chapman. He was filled with awe at the wonderful sound being produced and the vast range achieved with only one small instrument and a range of amps. Right there, at the age of 19 years old, and a trumpet player at that, he made a firm commitment to buying one of these amazing instruments and learning to play it in Emmett Chapman style.

In Stick With It: Adventures of a Chapman Stick Player Kollwitz shares his interesting and often erratic journey through life with the Stick. When he first purchased his Stick, for the amount of $700, a considerable sum of money for the late 1970’s, as a young, eager and enthusiastic young musician in the making, he would never have considered the exciting journey the Stick was to take him on in the years to come was at all possible.

His story is full of fun, laughter, happiness and sadness mixed in with many shared memories. Woven throughout Kollwitz has also told a mini history of what still remains as one very unusual instrument, not all that well known, but produces a sound which once heard, is not easily forgotten.

There is much in the pages about life as a working musician and how to actually make money in a business that can be illusive and fickle, dependant on the whimsical nature of the buying public, that saw him traveling to some very exotic places, playing at some incredible venues and wondering if he really was up to it, particularly on the day he had to play on an outside ledge at a major brand Hotel re-launching.

Not only a Biography and a small personal history of the Chapman Stick, Stick With It: Adventures of a Chapman Stick Player is also a tribute to Emmett Chapman and the wondrous world of alternate, rich, sound that keeps on giving. If you are unsure of what The Stick sounds like, check out the Discography at the end of the book and take a listen.

Author Michael Kollwitz
Publisher Michael Kollwitz
ISBN 979-8370554445
Distributor Michael Kollwitz/ Amazon
Released Janaury 2023