Chestertown, MD, September 17, 2003 — Washington College welcomes world-renowned guitar maker Paul Reed Smith and his band to the College's Town Hall, Friday, October 17, starting at 9 p.m. The concert is free to all Washington College students, staff and faculty. Born in Bowie, MD, Smith attended Bowie High School and St. Mary's College, where he hand-built his first guitar for extra credits from his music professor. In 1975, Smith opened The Guitar Shop on 33 West Street in downtown Annapolis and custom built guitars for area musicians, honing his craft and hoping for a break into the rock music industry.
“I remember hanging out at the local concert arenas for six, seven hours before a show to make friends with the roadies,” says Smith. “With a backstage pass in hand I'd peddle my guitars to the stars. One night in ten I'd make a sale. Carlos Santana, Al Dimeola, Howard Leese, and well-known others agreed to ‘check one out.' I made deals. If the big names didn't love the guitars they didn't have to pay me even when I knew I couldn't make my rent the next day. After getting some single orders and a small following, we built two prototypes. I popped them in the back seat of my truck and cranked it up, calling on guitar dealers up and down the East Coast. After a lot of miles I came back with enough orders to start a company.”
Now, after a quarter century—from lone craftsman to major manufacturer—Smith and his company, PRS Guitars, are recognized for building the world's premier electric guitars. Manufactured on the Eastern Shore in Stevensville, MD, the distinctive style and sound of PRS guitars are known to both musicians and music fans alike, and are seen in the hands of the world's finest players, from Carlos Santana, Dave Matthews, and Dave Navarro to Alex Lifeson of Rush and Brad Delson of Linkin Park.
In his spare time, Smith enjoys playing and making music with his two bands, the Paul Reed Smith Dragons, which records guitar-driven, original songs, and the Paul Reed Smith Band, which he describes as “a bar band whose main job is to have fun and to make sure that the people who come get to dance, have a good time and listen to songs they know and hear a few tunes they don't.”
The Paul Reed Smith Band performance is sponsored by Washington College's Student Events Board and Student Government Association.