Across from the Neon Sign Museum, in the basement of the Mercer Warehouse, (in what appears to be a modified storage unit at the end of the hall) is where local entrepreneur Patrick O’Brien keeps some of the most unique and intricate guitar pedals in the city.
After two years of hard work as an online business, Leprechaun FX finally has a brick and mortar location to call home.The pedals are beautiful, bizarre, and sometimes just plain ridiculous works of master craftsmenship.
Take for instance, the White Muffer by Tomkat, a company based out of Brooklyn, NY. It’s a white fuzzbox with three black knobs, and a pair of naked women laser etched into its facade. Kick it on, and a pair of LED nipples light up to let you know it’s working. The insides received just as much attention, with the pedal’s circuit board receiving its own artwork. There is a tastefully censored version of the pedal available as well, for those who would prefer their gear look less like a sailor’s bicep tattoo.
“It’s a big city,” says O’Brien. “I’m still going to try to remain as unique as I can, and you know try and get in the weird and crazy stuff that you can’t get anywhere else. Because that’s really what my niche area is, right? It’s carrying the stuff that no one else is carrying. What’s the point in competing if you don’t have to?”
The shop’s grand opening is May 27 and will feature live demos of the equipment and giveaways like boutique guitar pedals. He’s hoping that seeing the products in action will stir up the city’s musicians.
O’Brien wasn’t always in the business of selling rare guitar gear. He was a structural steel fitter, but after the economy turned on him, he turned his sights on his dream business. It was a hobby, then a passion, and now it’s his life. His wife, Irene, designed the shop’s leprechaun skull logo and he prefers working under the skull than his old hardhat.
“I hated my other job,” says O’Brien. “It was money, but money doesn’t make anyone happy. You can make all the money in the world but if you’re miserable, what’s that mean at the end of the day?”
The shop is small, but it’s a good fit for Leprechaun FX. It’s cozy and stands out from the big equipment chains. Between all the patch cables, the picks and the pedals, it’s personal.
“I just want this to be a place where guys feel they can come and talk about gear and we’re here to do it,” says O’Brien. “Hopefully it’s something that guys in Edmonton are ready for. I’ve already seen a lot of love, let’s just hope it’s enough to keep a place like this going. That’s the test now.”
Sat., May 27, (1 – 4 pm)
Mercer Warehouse, lower level