By Michael Raine
Glen Booth was born in Reading , England , and his family immigrated to Canada when he was six years old . An introverted only child , he was into fantasy and sci-fi , though it was through his mechanic father ’ s love of ‘ 50s and ‘ 60s music that he first got turned onto rock and roll . That passion has never left him , and he now fortuitously works for one of rock music ’ s classic brands , Fender Music Instruments Corporation ( FMIC ), as its Specialty Division ’ s business development manager for Eastern Canada . There , he oversees iconic name brands such as Gretsch , Jackson / Charvel , EVH , and now PreSonus .
“ When I was around 10 , my parents signed me up with the Royal Conservatory of Music on organ . I think I took six lessons and I hated it ! Then around 14 or 15 , I had some friends who were into music and one of them played drums and the other played bass , and I didn ’ t want to be left out . So , it ’ s like , ‘ guitar looks cool , why don ’ t I try that ?’ I went down to Reggie ’ s Music , a now-defunct music store in Hamilton , with my mom and bought my first electric guitar and amp off of a young guitar salesman named Colin Cripps ,” he recalls , naming the future Junkhouse and Blue Rodeo guitarist .
As a teenager , Booth got into the now-classic hard rock and heavy metal of the era , such as AC / DC , Judas Priest , and Iron Maiden . However , in high school he also joined stage band that opened his musical horizons to the notion of treating music as more than a hobby . That inspired him to enroll in the applied arts program at Mohawk College .
“ While I was there , I got a part-time job at a local music store teaching guitar . Occasionally , they ’ d ask for my help in the store and that turned into a part-time thing where I would help on the guitar floor and then that turned into full-time on the guitar floor . So , I was a guitar salesman for a few years , worked my way up to assistant manager at that store , and then I was out in Cambridge one day and I met a guy named Peter MacAulay , who owned MacAulay ’ s Music , which was an independent music store at the time , and we hit it off ,” Booth says .
To make a long story short , Booth later became the manager at MacAulay ’ s Music for five years . That job was instrumental in learning the industry , meeting sales reps , and also meeting people like Mike O ’ Leary , who ran B . C . -based rep firm MOL Marketing , which represented a lot of niche guitar product brands . At the same time , though , Booth was getting busier as a touring musician .
“ When I came back from tour , Pete basically said , ‘ Well , I got good news and bad news for you . The bad news is I ’ m letting you go because I can ’ t have an absentee manager ,’ which I understood . Then he said , ‘ The good news is Mike O ’ Leary is looking for someone to replace his guy in Ontario who just left . So , if you want a job , he ’ s definitely interested in talking to you .’ So , I did and that is what got me started off in the world of repping in 2003 ,” Booth explains . Eventually MOL folded , but a lot of the brands Booth represented kept him on , such as Ernie Ball Music Man and Garrison Guitars . Later , a friend who was the Quebec rep for Levy ’ s Leathers , the Canadian guitar strap manufacturer , told Booth they were looking for an Ontario sales rep . Booth got that job and worked for Levy ’ s for 12 years , eventually letting go of his other lines and becoming North American sales manager and then country manager and global product specialist for the manufacturer .
“ I took more flights at that point than at any other time in my life , probably 100 flights a year , for those five years in the pre-COVID days ,” he says of those years visiting Levy ’ s reps and dealers all over North America .
Booth stayed with Levy ’ s until 2019 , when an old friend , Gregg Peterson , called him out of the blue and said , “‘ I ’ m retiring , and my job is up for tender .’ By this time , he was the specialty rep for Fender . So , I just thought , why not ? At that point I ’ d gone as far as I could go in the Levy ’ s world , especially under the new American leadership [ of Gator Cases ].”
He applied and only two weeks later , Booth was the new Eastern Canada district sales manager for FMIC ’ s Specialty Division . These days , because of how COVID
changed the job , FMIC ’ s district sales managers are now titled business development managers . “ During COVID , our job description changed a lot , because we couldn ’ t get out there and visit stores , so all the traditional ways of doing things changed ,” Booth says . “ Now I ’ m looking at a lot more spreadsheets and I ’ m looking at dealers through a different lens . I ’ m scrutinizing a lot behind the scenes and helping them manage their inventory ; helping them make sure they have the right type of inventory for their market and just helping guide them on things , because there ’ s so much going on right now .”
Away from work now , well , Booth is still pretty connected to work . He gigs regularly , playing guitar in The Casino Brothers Band , which is one of Canada ’ s top tribute bands and often hired to back professional Elvis impersonators . As well , he also plays in the ‘ 80s tribute band called The McFlys with some old high-school friends .
“ I also have a little home studio where I work on some stuff and am just trying to get better at [ recording ], so it helps now that we have PreSonus under the Fender banner ,” Booth says . “ So , I ’ m just having fun with it .”
Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief of Canadian Music Trade .
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