I often get asked why we have associated our business with rock and roller, environmentalist, and great guy, Chuck Leavell. You have to understand the culture here to see the connection. The offices and lobby here are covered in really good artwork. My wife, Susan, has an incredible eye for art, and we find it inspiring to work in a creative environment.
Then there is music. I love it — mostly 60s/70s rock, soul and blues. I played bass guitar in bands that I started from about 1968 until 1973. My first amplifier was a converted (by me) console record player. That’s how I met Susan — she hired our band. (I’m still working for her!) There is always music playing here at Sealevel.
I did NOT name the company after Chuck’s band SeaLevel, derived from his road cases (C.Leavell) when with the Allman Brothers Band. I was trying out names for the company and heard something similar on the radio, and the name “Sealevel” just evolved from that. I wanted something that didn’t sound like a computer company.
I’d forgotten about Chuck until 1992, when he played with Eric Clapton on Unplugged. Chuck’s piano solo on “Old Love” is some of the finest keyboard work ever done. Chuck said they were out of songs, and the audience wanted more, so Eric turned around and asked Chuck “what can we play?” Chuck had worked up that solo and you need to watch it. The rest is history.
I’m drifting. So, I finally got to meet Chuck in 2008. He thought it was so cool that a company had the name Sealevel. We became friends, and I asked him to be our celebrity spokesperson. He also represents Korg Keyboards and Stihl Corporation, so it made sense.
Recently I had the opportunity to see “Chuck Leavell and Friends” at the reopening of the Georgia Theatre in Athens, Georgia. Well, the “friends” were the Randall Bramblett Band. Randall and guitarist extraordinaire Davis Causey were members of SeaLevel. What a show. They did a lot of Stones, Allmans, but the best part was them doing older SeaLevel tunes such as “That’s Your Secret”, “King Grand”, and “Living in a Dream”. Seeing Chuck and Randall front a band that good was awesome. Randall’s band has some of the best musicians I’ve ever heard.
I think the creative boost works. Sealevel employs and retains extremely bright and creative people in all disciplines. We work, eat, party, care for, attend games and do lots of community service as a company. I’m extremely proud of all of our employees. We even hunt together! Chuck and his wife, RoseLane have a beautiful tree farm and quail plantation down in Macon, Georgia, visited often by us.
I invite you all to visit our beautiful facility sometime. If you’re lucky, I’ll show you my Hammond organs and Fender amps in the warehouse. My retirement plans are to restore old tube based instruments.