Jerry Garcia's Iconic 'Wolf' Guitar Goes to Auction to Benefit SPLC
Tue, 14 Feb 2017 11:08:09
Jerry Garcia Photos
Jerry Garcia's famous guitar — his go-to axe for nearly two decades — "Wolf" is being sent to auction to raise funds for the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The guitar is as much of Grateful Dead folklore as any member of the legendary band. It was during a private concert he played for the Hells Angels in 1973 that Garcia first brandished the instrument. From that moment, the Doug Irwin crafted axe — with a cartoon wolf affixed to the bridge — was used in countless Dead performances before it was retired from action after a gig at the Oakland Coliseum in 1993.
Years after Garcia's death in 1995, Irwin reclaimed the "Wolf" and sold it at a Guernsey's auction, to it's current owner. At that time, in 2002, the price was $700,000 — a world record figure for the sale of a guitar. That anonymous owner will now sell the guitar at a May event held at Williamsburg's Brooklyn Bowl.
In a statement, the guitar's current owner said, "I've been a fan of the Dead since I was a kid, and playing this iconic guitar over the past 15 years has been a privilege… But the time is right for Wolf to do some good. My wife and I have long supported the efforts of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and if ever we needed the SPLC, we sure do need them now."
Irwin has provided a description of how he custom-made the guitar, over on the Guernsey's official website, in which he details the unique materials he used (amaranth, bookmatched curly western maple and African ivory) Also noted is Garcia's reaction upon receiving the guitar.
"When I finished and first delivered the Wolf to Jerry in May, 1973, I was anxious to see his reaction. He was immediately quite pleased, but after playing it for about five minutes, Jerry asked me if I would build him another guitar. I asked him what he would Iike in the next guitar; he told me that I already knew what he liked in a guitar, that I should make it the way I thought best, not to worry about how much it cost, just 'don't hold back.' Oh, yes! My kind of job! There is really something quite special about delivering your work, and getting this kind of reaction... it ain't really work!"
So, now all eager Dead Heads can hurry to the back of the sofa for any loose cash they have lying around… perhaps they stand a chance of securing a significant slice of music history.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff