Tag Archives: guitar

Kurt Cobain’s ‘MTV Unplugged’ Guitar Sells For $6 Million At Auction

source: Blabbermouth    June 20, 2020

Julien’s Auctions’ marquee two-day music auction event Music Icons culminated today in a world-record-breaking sale of one of the most recognized and important guitars in rock ‘n’ roll history: the acoustic-electric guitar played by Kurt Cobain during Nirvana’s acclaimed MTV Unplugged performance.

The legendary instrument played by one of rock’s most influential musicians and icons in one of the greatest and most memorable live performances of all time sold for $6,010,000 million, far surpassing its original estimate of one million U.S. dollars. The sale set five new world records for world’s most expensive guitar, world’s most expensive acoustic guitar, world’s most expensive martin guitar, world’s most expensive piece of memorabilia and world’s most expensive nirvana memorabilia. This makes it one of the rarest and most valuable acoustic guitars in the world. The buyer was Peter Freedman, founder of RØDE Microphones, who attended the live auction in Beverly Hills and successfully won the guitar in a bidding war among collectors and bidders all across the globe who participated live on the floor, online and on the phone.

Freedman plans to display the guitar in a worldwide tour of exhibitions to be held in distinguished galleries and art spaces, with all proceeds (including the guitar) going to the performing arts.

“When I heard that this iconic guitar was up for auction,” says Freedman, “I immediately knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure it and use it as a vehicle to spotlight the struggles that those in the performing arts are facing and have always faced.”

He continues: “The global arts industry has been shattered by the impact of COVID-19, with musicians and artists being amongst the most affected. The last few months were the straw that broke the camel’s back, and for many in the arts brought forth the harsh reality that they work in an industry for which there is little support in times of need.

“For most, access to financial and health services — particularly mental health services — is very limited. While many industries are gradually returning to normal, it’s going to take a long time before this industry can begin functioning as it was. The toll this has taken and will continue to take is enormous and requires more than just lip service. It requires action now, and I am a man of action.”

In a live taping for the popular MTV Unplugged series on November 18, 1993, approximately five months before his death, Cobain chose this guitar to paint what Rolling Stone called “his last self-portrait.” Nirvana’s acoustic performance that night produced one of the greatest live albums of all time, “MTV Unplugged In New York”, with recordings of the most celebrated and defining versions of Nirvana’s songs. The multi-platinum “MTV Unplugged In New York” debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard charts and won the Grammy Award for “Best Alternative Music Album” in 1996.

“Nirvana’s ‘Unplugged’ is one of my favorite records of all time,” says Freedman, “and easily one of the best live performances ever captured on film. They were a huge influence on me; the early-90s were RØDE’s formative years, and Nirvana’s music was very much the soundtrack to that time in my life and that era of the company.”

The guitar was the seventh of only 302 D-18Es built by Martin and was customized by Cobain who added a Bartolini pickup to the soundhole. Accompanying the sale of the guitar is its original hard-shell case personalized by Cobain with a flyer from the punk rock band Poison Idea’s 1990 album “Feel The Darkness”, three baggage claim ticket stubs, an Alaska Airlines Fragile sticker affixed to the case, a partial set of Martin & Co. Phospher Bronze guitar strings, three Dunlop 60mm guitar picks, and a small black velvet pouch containing a miniature silvertone knife, fork, and spoon lapel pins each with pinbacks.

Julien’s Auctions has broken world records with the sale of Kurt Cobain’s memorabilia, including Cobain’s cardigan worn on “MTV Unplugged”, which sold for a record $334,000, his “In Utero” tour Fender Mustang guitar which sold for $340,000, his cardigan worn on his last photoshoot which sold for $75,000 and a Nirvana paper plate set list written in Cobain’s handwriting which sold for a record $22,400.

Video of the auction of the “MTV Unplugged” guitar can be seen below.

Other Nirvana items sold at the auction included a signed “Nevermind” poster ($56,250); the camera, original negatives and signed original prints, and the copyright from Nirvana’s 1992 Spin magazine photoshoot ($35,200); and Nirvana all-access passes ($512 each).

Alice In Chains: The Gospel According To Jerry Cantrell

An article from Metal Hammer

Alice In Chains: The Gospel According To Jerry Cantrell

The Alice In Chains guitarist and sometime singer on staying alive, Seattle, Elton John as an inspiration and wanting to be Ace Freshley

This article originally appeared in Metal Hammer #250.

IT WAS ELTON JOHN THAT GOT ME INTO MUSIC. I wish I could remember which song it was. He was the first artist I started listening to and he’s one of the greatest of all time. Great song writing, a lot of feeling, amazing lyrics… even before I understood what it was about.

RED CARPETS ARE ALWAYS WEIRD, IT’S ALWAYS UNCOMFORTABLE. It’s cool that your peers or your fans or the industry recognise you. As far as numbers and winning awards, that’s nice, but it ain’t why I do this. We’ve had a lot of success and I guess those achievements speak better than a hunk of plastic or metal that sits on your mantel.

IF YOU’VE FOLLOWED US OVER THE YEARS YOU’LL GET OUR SENSE OF HUMOUR. You’ve probably seen us making asses out of ourselves on Headbanger’s Ball, and I think any band can relate to that. We’re not the cornerstone on having a good time or being smart asses! I guess everybody took the music very seriously, even though we didn’t take ourselves as seriously as we took the music! That certainly came across with all of the bands of our era and it wasn’t just in Seattle, it was all over the world.

I DON’T EVEN REMEMBER THE FIRST GUITAR I BOUGHT. It was maybe a Korean-made Strat from a swap meet. I bought my first real guitar on payments when I was working in a music store in Texas – I was about 18. I still have it. It’s the one most people recognise me playing – a 1984 G&L Rampage.

WE STARTED DOING ACOUSTIC STUFF EARLY IN OUR CAREER WITH SAP AND JAR OF FLIES. That was a side of music we explored early on, and people accepted that. If you take away the amplification and the distortion, there’s some really strong, simple songs. Any band should ask if you take everything away, does it still work? And that tells you whether it’s a good song or not. Take away all the tricks and special effects, is it still a good song with just a voice and a guitar?

I USED TO JAM WITH GUYS WHO WERE FAR BETTER THAN ME. Probably because I was always interested in learning and getting better, so I’d try to learn from them, and it seemed to work out pretty good! They were a couple of years older than me, maybe had a band and had done gigs, and I’d hang out with them until I was on their level or surpassed them, just absorbing as much as I could. Then when I felt it was time to move on, I’d do that, until I met the guys in Alice.

GRUNGE WAS NEVER A POPULAR WORD FOR ANY OF US FROM SEATTLE. Before that word, it was referred to as the ‘Seattle Sound’, and I liked that because, although we were all unique, there was definitely a kind of ethos, a bunch of kids making noise and playing bars and parties. All the Seattle bands shared that, because it was such a small town and we all went to each other’s gigs and hung out with each other.

WHEN I WAS A KID I WANTED TO BE ANGUS YOUNG OR ACE FREHLEY. Kiss get a lot of flak, it’s very fashionable to slag them off, but I think they were a very important band in rock history. They certainly were for me, when I was younger. They had good, basic rock songs, and nobody had that larger than life persona. For a young kid that was an important period. Those old records have some amazing songs.

EVERYBODY’S GOT A LITTLE BIT OF A DRIVE TO BEAT MORTALITY. Whether it’s having kids to live on after you or whatever. I don’t know if our music’ll be around forever, but it’ll probably be around for longer than me! A lot of achievements are based on that primal urge I guess. I’m glad people still dig it, and I’m aware of how rare that is, especially to get second chances. It’s funny to think the thing that you did to avoid having a job became your life’s work… the thing you created with your friends all those years ago took on a life of its own. You continue to give it life by recording and touring, but it’s kind of its own thing. A good example of that is when our band was very inactive when Layne passed. We weren’t around, but the music was still out there.

Chris Cornell About Playing Guitar

chris cornell

“I’m completely self-taught on guitar- it limited me in some ways but was very helpful in others. My only goal to playing was to write songs.”

via Chris Cornell