Photo by Dave Vann
A D’Angelico Premier SS guitar, played by Bob Weir and painted by contemporary artist & Grateful Dead poster collector favorite AJ Masthay, has hit a Herculean bid of $250,000 in part of an ongoing charity auction conducted in unison with Dead & Company’s ongoing summer tour. The funds raised in the auction are set to the benefit of the nonpartisan voter engagement organization HeadCount, environmental nonprofit REVERB and an array of other charities selected by the band.
Weir, who is a member of the board of directors of HeadCount and has long been an advocate of democratic participation and voter registration, played the guitar during their shows at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountainview, Calf. on June 13 and at Chicago’s Wrigley Field on June 25. Following each performance, the bid on the musical apparatus shot up to $74,000 and $250,000, respectively.
The guitar, along with several other auction items, have been displayed each evening of Dead & Company’s tour at the “Participation Row.” AJ Masthay also customized several other guitars designed and dedicated to specific cities along the tour’s path, which are also up for auction in support of the aforementioned organizations.
More recently, on July 4, Weir, Dead & Company drummer Mickey Hart and their families, took to the historic and famed steps of Faneuil Hall in Boston to raise awareness and engagement for HeadCount. Later that evening, Weir shared a poignant message on Facebook. He wrote, “We stand in front of the Cradle of Liberty today, at a time when our basic rights: the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – and to freedom from oppression – are under assault. These are the very rights our forefathers gave their lives for.”
He continued to address the issues the country must confront and the patterns of tyrannical control that have plagued every great civilization: “We are now facing a future where women no longer control their own reproductive health, where concealed weapons cannot be regulated, and where we can no longer address climate change through our federal laws. Here, where it all began, we stand to demand that our rights be restored. In America there has always been a segment of our culture who oppose the very principle of democracy and have always tried to push this country toward a tyrannical, theocratic autocracy. During the American Revolution, they were called the Tories. Times have become more complicated, and now they have many names and come in many shades, but you know them when you hear or see them. Everything our visionary founders fought and died for could be permanently wiped away *if everyone doesn’t vote* – it’s up to you.”
Midterm elections (Nov. 8) are fast approaching, and few would disagree that American voices need to be heard more now than ever. Go to HeadCount.org to make sure you’re registered and able to exercise your most sacred right.