Oral History Information
Earnie Bailey was mesmerized as a kid, sitting in the front row of an Earth, Wind & Fire concert and seeing all the instruments up close! This experience inspired him to go to the library to learn all he could about guitar building and repair. While in high school Earnie made a guitar in wood shop, which led to requests from his friends to repair their instruments. While working as a repairman for music stores by day, in his off hours Earnie provided his services for free to area rock bands in exchange for concert tickets. This creative strategy led to close relationships with several Seattle based bands before they hit it big, and in turn they brought Earnie along for the ride! From the beginning of Nirvana’s gigging career, Earnie was there checking the gear and making repairs. He often would bring the band new gear to try, including extensively modifying Kurt Cobain’s guitars that he would use on stage and in the studio. Earnie was able to do the same for the Foo Fighters, for whom he worked with for over five years repairing and even driving the tour van. In 2007 he formed Wire Instruments with a focus on guitar design and innovative effects pedals. The company has grown over the years but as Earnie likes to say “never outgrow your garage.” He manages the production at a level he can handle in order to keep the process fresh and rewarding and to still allow him time to make his own music!