Gibson CEO Cesar Gueikian: I love Armenian traditions and the sense of community - Mediamax.am

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Gibson CEO Cesar Gueikian: I love Armenian traditions and the sense of community

Cesar Guekian
Cesar Guekian

Photo: Gibson Brands

Photo:


Exclusive interview by Mediamax with Gibson Brands’ President and CEO Cesar Gueikian

 

Cesar Gueikian has been appointed President and CEO of Gibson Brands in July 2023. He joined Gibson team in 2018 and has contributed greatly to the growth of the company in 5 years.

 

In December 2023, the launch of  Gibson Band project was announced, with the first composition being “Deconstruction” – co-authored by Cesar Gueikian, Serj Tankian and Tony Iommi.

 

Do you speak or understand Armenian?

 

I don’t unfortunately. I only know a few bad words. My parents spoke fluent Armenian but we didn’t get the benefit of learning it. They used it as the language they used when they didn’t want my siblings and me to understand what they were talking about. I grew up in Argentina and my parents made sure I learned English.

 

Can you say that your Armenian roots influenced your career?

 

Absolutely. My family is 100% Armenian from both my mother’s and father’s sides. I love Armenian traditions and the sense of community. When I meet an Armenian descendant I am immediately interested in that person, in his or her background and there is usually an immediate connection. That’s what happened when I met Serj Tankian. I felt immediately connected to him - although it’s so easy to love Serj, he is such a wonderful human being. There was an understanding of what our families went through and what Armenians are going through today, that connected us.

 

I also learned very important values from my family that I have always applied in business, such as hard work without complaining, reliability, accountability, trustworthiness, empathy, and always being part of the solution (and not the problem).

 

How do you follow what is happening in Armenia?

 

I read the news, mostly what the Financial Times reports, and read/watch Armenian media, such as yours, Zartonk, Armenia News and organizations like ANCA and Armenia Fund. In addition I am connected with large group of Armenians that are active in supporting Armenia, like Serj, which helps me stay connected.

 

Many people claim that Armenian Diaspora is endangered and is slowly disappearing. Do you agree with that?

 

I don’t feel this way and certainly hope that’s not the case.

 

Do you plan to visit Armenia? Or maybe somehow continue to support Armenian artists?

 

Yes, I am hoping to visit Armenia soon together with Serj and hopefully with the Eurnekian family. At Gibson we continue to find ways to support Armenians and Armenian artists. We have also done auctions benefiting Orran through guitars I get to play live with artists that invite me.

 

When and how you met Serj Tankian?

 

We met in Los Angeles several years ago and developed a brotherhood that I cherish. I am very grateful for his friendship and partnership. There aren’t that many friends that I call “hermano” and Serj is certainly an “hermano” for me. And I love Angela and the family.

 

How did the idea of “Deconstruction” emerge and who decided to approach Tony Iommi?

 

“Deconstruction” started with a few riffs that I had written a long time ago. In October of 2022 I was in Buenos Aires at a studio called La Roca Power Studio, which my partner Jorge Rodriguez (JR) and I built, designed by producer Eddie Kramer and architect John Storyk (together they built the studio Electric Lady back in the day). I was hosting Slash, Duff McKagan and the GNR team and had time to track the song as an instrumental. JR and I produced it. Once I was done with the track, I sent it to the engineer Greg Gordon, who is a wizard and one of the most talented engineers I know, to mix it. I immediately thought Serj would be the perfect partner to co-write as the song is complex and needed a vocalist who would write something extraordinary, with a wide vocal range, and who could tackle the time signature changes.

 

I ran it by Serj he very quickly replied that he loved it and went straight into writing and recording. What Serj came up with was beyond anything I could have imagined and blew me away. He transformed a collection of riffs into a song. And that gave me the courage to reach out to Tony Iommi. I consider Tony the godfather of heavy metal (and I call him my adopted godfather) so I thought to myself, what an honor it would be if Tony did the solo. Tony knows he’s the reason I play guitar. Plus had been active with Armenia with Rock Aid Armenia and Armenia Grateful 2 Rock, and Serj and Tony are friends, so it all came together when Tony agreed to do the solo.

 

All proceeds from “Deconstruction” will be donated to Armenia Fund’s Artsakh Refugee Initiative. Is there any particular goal/sum that should be reached, or it is a cause with open end?

 

Yes all proceeds have been and will continue to be donated to the to Armenia Fund’s Artsakh Refugee Initiative. In addition to the song streaming proceeds, we auctioned the artwork created by Serj and a guitar with the artwork, which the Eurnekian family matched.

Cesar Guekian Cesar Guekian

Photo: Gibson Brands

The Eurnekian family will double all the proceeds gathered via the Corporación America Foundation. I was introduced to Martin Eurnekian by my partner Jorge Rodriguez given the connection to Argentina and Armenia. The timing was perfect and Martin and his team got really excited about the collaboration between Gibson, Corporacion America, Serj Tankian, Tony Iommi and me, to raise awareness and funds Armenia Fund’s Artsakh Refugee Initiative.

 

Ara Tadevosyan talked to Cesar Gueikian

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