1951 - 1996
"Rex burned brightly for a little while," says Bill Hoting, "and
influenced a lot of people," California luthier Larel Rexford Bogue was
associated with one of the most distinctive guitars of recent decades, John
McLaughlin's Double Rainbow 6/12 doubleneck. Rex died last February 8.
Hoting was Bogue's best friend. "We went to school in San Gabriel and
played in bands," Bill says. "We played with the Mothers of Invention.
Zappa was a big influence on Rex," While enrolled at the California
Institute of the Arts in Valencia, Bill explains,"Rex started messing with
lasers. We did laser shows before anyone really got into it. He was way
ahead of the mainstream electronically, but he wanted to build guitars. He
put in op-amps with battery power supplies before anyone else. He
approached John McLaughlin in about 1972 and said,"You're the greatest
player I've ever heard. Let me make you a guitar."
McLaughlin proposed a doubleneck. At the time Rex was apprenticing in Ren
Ferguson's Venice Beach shop. "I built that guitar," explains Ferguson.
"Rex did the electronics. He would dream up fantasy stuff he made with
parts from aerospace suppliers. He opened a shop, selling gadgets and
pickups that would do everything but fly across the room. He had many
ideas, but the business side was lost on him. He'd get excited about
manufacturing something, get investors, then get bored and move on."
Santa Monica repairman/builder Larry Brown shared a shop with Ferguson
and also worked on the Double Rainbow. "That thing weighed about 35 pounds
and took two years to complete," he remembers. "I fretted the necks. When
Rex got paid for it, he bought a lot rum; he was a connoisseur." In a 1975
GP story, McLaughlin himself called Bogue's workmanship "impeccable,
flawless." Rex also did electronic work for Alphonso Johnson and Jorge
Strunz, sold preamps under the Balz Deluxe and Balz Galore names, and built
instruments for Frank Zappa and Miroslav Vitous. In recent years he was
something of a recluse. "He had many health problems related to his
diabetes," says Hoting. "They finally got the better of him. He's at peace
now, in a better place.