STUFF THAT ROCKS

The Beatles Butcher Album: How raw meat created a rare vinyl.

The Beatles Butcher Album: How raw meat created a rare vinyl.

The Beatles Butcher album cover isn’t their most notorious scandal. It doesn’t hold a candle to the time they snub the Queen or dissed GOD. But the image of the lovable mops tops draped in raw meat while holding decapitated baby dolls did create a […]

Anarchy in a size 9 and a half.

Anarchy in a size 9 and a half.

Three years ago The Sex Pistols and Converse released a collab to celebrate the band’s 40th anniversary. This year, The Sex Pistols and Dr. Martens are putting out a Dr. Martens x Sex Pistols limited edition collection. It’s enough to make a UK punk fan drool. Or […]

George Gruhn knows your guitar.

George Gruhn knows your guitar.

You may have just bought it, owned it for years, or even if you don’t own it yet. Especially if you don’t own it yet. George Gruhn knows your guitar. And this is why Gruhn’s Guide to Vintage Guitars is the bible of identifying American string instruments.

If you are a seasoned collector, you know this already. You’ve probably used it. For casual enthusiast or newbies to the vintage guitar collector’s game, you need to know.

George Gruhn is a guitar hero.

While in university in 1963, George was looking for a guitar that would help him sound like the folk musicians he was in to. He went through a number of guitars before landing on a Gibson L-5.

And here is where George Gruhn fell into a hobby that would earn him a living for the rest of his life. While searching for his guitar, Gruhn came across quality instruments that he didn’t necessarily want, but he knew he could flip for a profit.

All this was before the Internet, e-bay or anyone was interested in vintage Stratocasters.

George Gruhn didn’t invent vintage guitar collecting, but for most of his adult life he has been the go to guy when someone wanted an elusive axe. Eventually he set up shop in Nashville opening Gruhn’s Guitars in 1970. For 49 years now, the shop has been servicing guitar enthusiast from all walks of life and musical tastes. Customers of the now famed instrument shop include Dylan, Clapton, McCartney and Swift. That would be T Swift as in Taylor.

The knowledge Gruhn amassed over the years is unsurpassed.

In 1991, George with the help of Walter Carter put together the 1st edition of Gruhn’s Guide to Vintage Guitars. The second edition was expanded by 25%. The current and 3rd edition was published in 2010. It was not only expanded once again, but the categorization of the information has change. The change has mixed reviews on the amazon’s listing, but overall this guide has excellent user reviews.

No Picture. No Prices.

This is not a catalogue, but a tool to help collectors identify what they are looking at. Don’t expect things to be served to you on a platter. Gruhn’s Guide is for those who love the thrill of the hunt.

Say your uncle from London, knew a guy who knew a guy, who shagged a girl who was a groupie for John Mayall and the Bluebreakers. Story has it that the girl got bored of waiting as the band rehearsed and left with a Gibson Les Paul which she traded for some heroin and a shag. Years later your uncle won the guitar in a poker game. At first, he tried to learn how to play, but couldn’t master an F bar chord and the Les Paul soon found itself under his bed collecting dust.

Could this be Eric Clapton’s long lost Beano Sunburst? Well no, the story I just told you is a fabrication. If the story was true could Gruhn’s Guide to Vintage Guitars identify this as a Clapton Les Paul. No again. The guide cannot trace DNA.

But Gruhn’s Guide to Vintage Guitars could help you identify if the guitar is a rare ’59 Les Paul. At which point ka-ching, you’ve got something worth $500,000+. The guide will also let you know if your uncle is full of crap and the guitar was built in Gibson’s lacklustre mid-70s.

Is Gruhn’s Guide to Vintage Guitars for you?

If you’re interested in investing in a vintage axe and don’t have a personal buyer, the answer is yes. If you like to sniff around garage sales the guide is a must. If you’ve got an Uncle with a great story and a dusty guitar, well that all depends on how well you know your uncle.

The most expensive piece of album memorabilia is White not Wu.

The most expensive piece of album memorabilia is White not Wu.

An original pressing of The Beatles White Album, number 0000001 to be exact, has the distinction of being the most expensive album ever sold. In December of 2015, it was auctioned off for $790, 000. Now some will point out that The Wu Tang Clan’s […]

The Clash’s 2nd album cover wasn’t always this un-American.

The Clash’s 2nd album cover wasn’t always this un-American.

Give ‘Em Enough Rope artwork print signed by Mick Jones and Paul Simonon If you’re lucky enough to have a first pressing of Give ‘Em Enough Rope, you’ll know that the cover is not exactly the same as the limited edition print featured above. The […]

The Edge’s 1972 Explorer. A failed guitar that made U2 huge.

The Edge’s 1972 Explorer. A failed guitar that made U2 huge.

The Edge’s stage-played, 1972 Explorer is up for grabs at Julien’s Auction

If you’ve seen U2, you seen the Edge’s Explorer. To be specific his 1976 Limited Edition Gibson Explorer.

The year is important, because this is when Gibson re-introduced the model to the public after a flop of a launch. In 1958, Gibson released two futuristic models: the Flying V and the Explorer. Both guitars from the launch are now some of the most expensive vintage guitars in the world.

The Gibson Explorer and Flying V where ahead of their time.

Gibson produced very few of each model. It is believed that only 50 Explorers were produced during the model’s first incarnation. It wasn’t until the 70s, when guitarists like Lynard Skynard’s Allen Collins started to plug them in, that Gibson decided to give the design a second go.

The story behind how the Edge bought his first Explorer is remarkably similar to how the Kink’s Dave Davis picked up his Flying V. Davis walked into a Manhattan music store with the intention of leaving with a Les Paul.

In 1978, Dave Evans was visiting New York City with his parents when the Irish teenager walk into Stuyvesant Music. The Edge recalls that he probably had a Les Paul in mind, but he left with the little known Explorer.

With punk morphing into the new angular sounding New Wave, it’s hard to imagine a better guitar for a guitarist in ’78. And, hello, body called himself the Edge, so of course he’d forgo the curves of a Les Paul.

Today it’s hard to image U2 without the Edge’s Explorer. He has used it on many of their first recordings and the guitar’s unique sound has as much to do with U2’s chime as Bono’s vox.

The original Explorer he bought that day in NYC sold for $240,000.

In 2008, the guitarist donated the hefty proceeds from an auction to Music Rising, a foundation he co-founded to help musicians in the New Orleans area affected by Hurricane Katrina. When you think about the sentimental value this axe must have had for the musician, it’s enough to forgive him for spamming our iTunes accounts.

This week another of the Edge’s Explorer is being auctioned off. I know, you’re saying how many of these things does Mr. Rock Star have? Are they any rarer to him than red Smarties?  I may not forgive spamming my iTunes after all.

But this is a 1976 Gibson Explorer. They are rarer than a street with no name. Love it or hate it, these models were put together like no other. An important distinction is the wider necks.

You can bid on the Edge’s Explorer November 9th and 10th here.

If you’re in the NYC vicinity you can now visit the Icons and Idols Public Exhibition at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square until November 9th, for free.

The Edge’s Explorer is not for free.

The guitar is expected to get between $60,000 and $80,000.

Gaslight Anthem Tour Posters. Signed on Springsteen holy ground.

Gaslight Anthem Tour Posters. Signed on Springsteen holy ground.

The ’59 Sound 10th Anniversary Autographed Tour Poster The Gaslight Anthem got back together this summer to celebrate their greatest moment. The ’59 Sound is the band at its best as can be heard on the 10th anniversary box set. The lucky few got to […]

The Joe you don’t know.

The Joe you don’t know.

Joe Strummer 001 Limited Edition Super Deluxe Boxset The Joe Strummer 001 compilation tells the story of Joe before (and after) The Clash. The Limited Edition Super Deluxe Boxset offers collectibles that are as diverse and random as the music that fills the 2 CDs, […]

Get in line for signed Sgt. Peppers

Get in line for signed Sgt. Peppers

Peter Blake signed Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band screen prints.

Hands down one of the most famous album covers of all time, Snap Studios has been promoting limited edition Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band screen prints signed by co-creator Sir Peter Blake.

The Beatles tapped the UK pop artist know for his popular culture infused collages to produce a cover for its alter ego. Beatles’ lore tells the story that Paul came up with the idea that the band should write as this new creation allowing members to head into territories that they would not naturally go as the fab four.

The album cover embraces the idea of breaking free from The Beatles taking it one step further, or maybe four, creating the funeral for the most popular band in the world.

At the time, Just as the Beatles were everything. rock and roll was the now music and Peter Blake was an artist in step with the rhythm of the times.

The album cover is timeless and brilliant distillation of a moment in 1967.

Sir Peter Blake went on to produce a number of other great album covers. None of which matched the notoriety of Sgt. Peppers, although 1984’s Do They Know It’s Christmas? Band Aid cover ain’t too shabby.

This is a door crasher for fans of album art. Before I hit publish, Snap Studios had quickly sold two copies of these limited edition Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band screen prints. They promise to get more and you can put your name down on a waiting list as more come in here.

Is this ska’s next big band?

Is this ska’s next big band?

The Interrupters release limited edition Fight The Good Fight bundle including a clear vinyl pressing and FTGT tour t-shirt. This is the Interrupters third and most successful album to date. The single She’s Kerosene has been featured on YouTube’s Artist on the Rise. The song is also tracking […]

Arctic Monkeys offer the keys to Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino

Arctic Monkeys offer the keys to Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino

Truth be told it’s a key ring. The Arctic Monkeys key ring is a novelty, a gaff, a frivolous accessory. It’s also perfect. The Arctic Monkeys latest creative leap is a sci-fi concept album about kicking back on an interstellar outpost in deep space. It’s […]

A brief and incomplete list of people who might want the Rolling Stones Studio Album Vinyl Collection 1971-2016

A brief and incomplete list of people who might want the Rolling Stones Studio Album Vinyl Collection 1971-2016

The first thing that came to mind when I heard about The Rolling Stones Studio Album Vinyl Collection 1971-2016 was who would need this? At $450 US, this is for the serious fan.

Few bands, maybe none, can offer a box set so phat with material.

15 albums, it spans from the sublime Sticky Fingers to Blue and Lonesome. The limited edition set boast original packaging, very cool for Some Girls and Sticky. Less so for more recent pieces like Bigger Bag. It just wasn’t conceived in a time when album art mattered.

But wouldn’t the real fan already have Sticky Fingers. Hell you probably even went for the remastered commemorative edition that came out last week. Well 3 years ago-ish, but you follow. And if you’re a real fan, you did the same for the Some Girls re-issue. You’ve gone deep and picked up Goats Head Soup and It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll. On the right night, you’ll stick on Black and Blue commemorating Ron Wood’s first as an official Stone. And let’s face it, all of us who bought Dirty Work the first time have lived to regret it.

Yes this is a bespoke limited edition. And I promise I will never use the word bespoke on this site again. There is the original sleeve art and inserts. Do you remember before the distractions of Insta+Face+LikeMe when you’d sit absorbing the album’s sleeve lyrics as the vinyl spun? And I get why you’d like to smell that freshly unpacked Some Girls all over again.

But just the same, I need to ask you, what self-respecting Rolling Stone fan needs the latest box set?

After some thought, I’ve come up with a list of some possible candidates.

The Regretter

After years of ignoring your wife’s demands to get rid of your old vinyls that were collecting dust in the basement, you sold your original version of Tatoo You at a garage sale. A year later, vinyls resurgence caused you and a your wife to sleep in separate beds and you are getting your collection back.

The Vinyl Virgin 

You never owned any vinyl and have always wondered what it would be like to fall asleep to the b-side of Steel Wheels. Only to be woken up by the needle knocking up against the label.

The Fanatic 

You’ve bought everything they have ever put out and to stop now would kill you.

The audiophile

You’re a connoisseur who understands the significance of half-speed remastering and heavyweight 180-gram black vinyl of The Rolling Stones Studio Album Collection 1971-2016.

To be honest I know little to nothing about the formats, but here is a guy who does. 

Fit the bill? You can find the collection here.

Where Green Day grew up.

Where Green Day grew up.

Turn it around: The Story of East Bay Punk gets a deluxe package release. One of the guidelines that Green Day set when entrusting a film about the roots of East Bay punk to first time director Corbett Redford was to not mystify nostalgia to […]

The ’59 Sound Sessions features a band about to burst.

The ’59 Sound Sessions features a band about to burst.

One look at this image from Gaslight Anthem’s ‘59 Sound Sessions Photobook and you can smell the beer. Sweat in the air. Cramped dance floor. The low suspended ceiling adds to the romance. The thrill of seeing a band about to step up fuelled by […]

The revolution is no accepting US funds.

The revolution is no accepting US funds.

The Joe Strummer Foundation has recently launched a new store to help raise money for its various causes. The JSF, ex-Strummervile, was created after the death of The Clash frontman in December 2002. Strummer, along with being one of the coolest punks to ever dawn a safety pin, was a huge proponent of live music to inspire young people. Today the JSF continues to fight for the importance of music and art in our lives with a focus on helping struggling musicians and young bands getting heard.

With the new Joe Strummer Foundation store, the organization has partnered with BSI MERCH. A good move with an added benefit for anyone living in the American colonies. The foundation’s old store only dealt in British pounds and if you ordered from outside of Europe you got hit with exchange rates and VATS. The extra fees put you in you in a Boston Tea Party frame of mind. Now while the JSF clearly has revolution in its DNA, they prefer you to focus your anger elsewhere. I suggest FM radio.

But now, with the new store, US/UK relations look bright again.

You can check out the new Joe Strummer Foundation shop and order your revolution here.