LOGAN SQUARE — Logan Square, prepare to be destroyed.
Musician and guitar pedal-maker John Wator has introduced his newest creation — the Logan Square Destroyer.
The 34-year-old native Chicagoan and Logan Square resident has been shredding for a decade with glam metal band The Last Vegas. But about a year ago he turned his passion for guitars into a profitable business making original, hand-built guitar pedals under his business Daredevil Pedals.
It started — as many great projects do — out of necessity.
"Cool stuff is really expensive, so I was like, well maybe I can just learn to do that for fun, and then I was really good at it, so I got just kind of obsessed," Wator said.
He started out with DIY pedal kits, which offer a more affordable option for guitarists willing to tinker around with circuit boards and solder wires, but soon enough he was building from scratch.
With the addition of the Logan Square Destroyer, his line of pedals is up to seven.
"It's cool to be creative in a different way, instead of just writing songs," he said of his newfound vocation.
Most of his pedals offer a variation of the fuzz effect, and the Logan Square Destroyer is no different.
The pedal creates "a perfect blend of raw '60s-type fuzz and heavy modern doom," according to his website, so it's no accident that the pedal's acronym is LSD.
"I've always been a big fan of kind of psychedelic doom kind of metal, so that was definitely kind of a subtle reference," he said. "I'm definitely geared to that kind of music."
As an homage to the neighborhood itself, the pedal features an eagle resembling the one atop the Illinois Centennial Monument in Logan Square.
"I live in Logan Square, so it was just kind of an idea I had to have the statue eagle on it and stuff," he said.
Wator delivered six freshly minted Logan Square Destroyers to the Chicago Music Exchange in Lakeview, where they went on sale Thursday.
Joel Bauman of the Chicago Music Exchange said he's been a fan of Wator's pedals from the get-go.
"His stuff is awesome," he said. "We'd never heard of [his pedals], obviously, until he walked in the door with a bunch of pedals. I played them, and I thought they were just awesome."
Hand-built or "boutique" pedals like Wator's are often $200 or $300, Bauman notes, so at $120 retail, they are much more affordable.
"So we jumped on it immediately because it's cool stuff," Bauman said.
Wator's pedals can also be purchased online at the Chicago Music Exchange website, or directly from the Daredevil Pedals website, in addition to a few stores on the East Coast and in St. Louis.