Peavey: Undercover Boss and Catastrophe

Zander's picture

So I've spent a little bit of time trying to find this episode of Undercover Boss for you to see. CBS makes you sign up for some membership. But then so does Hulu. Hulu seems to be the least objectionable from what I found. The best solution is if you have Tivo, or a DVR from your Internet/Cable/whatever company and can manage to record it on re-run. We used to have Verizon FIOS which was really good, until Verizon sold it to Frontier. Frontier sucks. But that's another story and another journal post (if ever). Admittedly, it's an episode from February of 2015. We've sat on it for a few months here, but seeing it in the DVR just became really infuriating again and we felt we had to post something about it... And post something if only so you might see what the hell went on at Peavey.

We have an older Peavey VTM-60, just like Soundgarden used in their early days. We think it's a great amp. We're also on the lookout for a single-channel Peavey 5150, original product line amp built for Eddie Van Halen.
Not a Peavey 6505.
Not a Fender EVH 5150 III.
The older Peavey 5150 is another great amp. And these amps come from the days when Peavey was a reputable builder of quality amplifiers. Peavey spent a lot of time and money and engineering trying to get transistors to sound like tubes. They couldn't do it. Gary Sunda and Randall did a far superior job for fantastic "tube-like" distortion using transistors. Out of that frustration, Peavey decided to start building high-gain tube amps and coaxed Eddie Van Halen to endorse the line. The 5150 a good amp. A really good amp...

How Peavey has fallen. Watch the Undercover Boss episode. What a piece of work Courtland Gray, Hartley Peavey's son-in-law, is. "Entitled" might just be an understatement. Courtland shares that he keeps bees while living on the corporate property and "wishes the workers would be more like a beehive." The whole episode is a fiasco. You actually think that Courtland Gray might be inspired enough to turn Peavey around. But it would seem that Peavey's long past that. Courtland is simply uninspired. He doesn't even bother looking into what it would take to fix the procedures for what went wrong at the "Flagship Store". He just UP AND LEAVES. Total WTF moment. Don't worry! Watch! There are more...

In the end, it's not hard to see that there are a number of things that could have at least been explored to fix the cost curve at Peavey. When I looked, I saw these ENORMOUS buildings where they're building and testing an electronics with five people. That makes Leo Fender's decision to own many smaller buildings (so he could sell them off and consolidate if there was a downturn in the company's fortunes) instead of big ones almost prescient. Peavey management sets ridiculous production goals - goals that make doing the job in a quality manner impossible, and in any kind of manner intended to build morale, not at all... And then the Coup-de-Grace: Courtland finds this guy on just having given his two-week notice, is inspired by this guy's pluck and hard-working ethic, and begs him to come back, GIVE UP A BETTER JOB, and stay at Peavey. I won't spoil it for you.

My primary (cynical) thoughts about "Undercover Boss" just being a show to shill for companies trying to get some good and easy PR on the cheap haven't changed. That having been said, the way that Undercover Boss showed how Peavey treats its employees was amazing.

Outside that VTM-60 that we have, and the other Peavey 5150 we want to get from the used market, we'll be done after that. The promises that were made by Courtland, the COO of Peavey, THAT WERE SEEMINGLY BACKED OUT ON are unbelievable.

Let's just say this - Go run a Google Search on Undercover Boss and Peavey and find out how others felt about the situation. Even the management of the Stephen Lambert company, who makes Undercover Boss, was shocked.