By Pat Prince
Backstage Auction’s “Summer Classic” auction, September 17-25, will be unique for a rock ‘n’ roll auction house that typically handles consignments from only those involved in the recording industry. The sole collection for the “Summer Classic” auction is that of a private collector.
“This is the first, and likely only, exception we are making to our standard model,” says Backstage Auctions owner Jacques Van Gool. “We pretty much knew where these items in this auction came from. This is a collection that came from a private collector who has been a buyer from Backstage Auctions, literally, from the very first auction. And he never skipped a beat — every single auction we put up, he bought. So the one thing that I did know is that a lot of the things still have the original certificate of authenticity. I know where they came from, so I’m very comfortable. And items that we found that didn’t come from us, we had the signatures verified by a third party to make sure the signatures are authentic.”
He continues: “When you have an individual who has been so incredibly loyal to you, literally from the first day you been in business, you build a personal relationship with them— which is what we had. And he sadly passed away and his family did not know where to go. And we just felt — and it’s hard to put into exact words — but if he knows that we are taking care of this, then I would like to believe that that would make him happy.”
Also, this may be one of Backstage Auction’s most eclectic auctions yet. “The fact that he was so diverse and eclectic of a collector means that you’re probably going to find something from anyone who was somebody in rock ‘n’ roll. He wasn’t discriminating towards either a particular artist or a particular musical genre or a particular type of item — from ticket stubs to videos — everything you can think of. But he did have a couple favorites.”
One of those favorites is Ted Nugent. According to Van Gool, twenty-five percent of the entire collection is made up of Nugent-abilia. “There’s a tremendous amount of Ted Nugent stuff,” says Van Gool. “I mean, it’s impressive. The rarest vinyl you can think of. A CD collection that is just over-the-top. Then there’s also the personal stuff, like one of Ted’s most favorite outfits that actually used to hang in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which is a pair of his Indian boots that he used to wear for years and years. There has to be over a thousand photos where you can find Ted wearing those particular boots. And there are Gold and Platinum record awards (RIAA) that were all issued to Ted Nugent. These were his personal record awards, including one issued to his mother.”
He goes on: “One of the things I thought was so cool is that we came across a 7” of Pandora & the Males’ “Kiddie A Go Go” from 1965. We had set it aside because no one here had recognized what it was. Finally, when we started doing research on it, we found that Kiddie A Go Go (aka, Mulqueens Kiddie A Go Go) was a pre-teen dance show from 1965, Chicago — which was basically a cross between American Bandstand and the Mouseketeers. They had some pretty interesting artists on the show, but they also had their own house band which was Pandora (Elaine Mulqueen) and a backup band, The Males. And the soundtrack for the
show was “Kiddie A Go Go.” Well, Ted Nugent was the guitar player of The Males. And this little 7” is the very first recording that includes Ted Nugent. To me, something like that, is super awesome. Yeah, it’s great to have a “Double Live Gonzo” signed album hanging on your wall, and, yeah, we have that, and it’s cool to have, but then you have something like Pandora & The Males 7” from 1965 … I get excited about that kind of stuff.”
For many, it may be hard to imagine the Motor City Madman, who is about as polarizing a personality as one can ever imagine, as the guitar player for a pre-teen dance show’s house band. Whether it has to do with his opinions or his politics, controversy attaches itself easily to Ted Nugent. But Van Gool makes it clear that it isn’t his job to be the judge of such issues. “As an auctioneer we have never looked at which artist we like for their life views or their political views because it is irrelevant. You only can look at what their contributions are to the history of music, and how relevant they are to collectors. Nugent, without question, is very relevant. But I think that, as opposed to a lot of artists, there’s no denying that the world of Nugent is a little more black and white. You either really really like him or you really really don’t.”
But, as stated above, you don’t have to be a Nugent fan to be attracted to this auction. There will be plenty of other artists — over 1000 auction lots to chose from and the foundation of it is probably the vinyl record collection. “I mean, we’re talking about thousands and thousands of records here,” says Van Gool. “But what makes this so interesting is that just about every vinyl lot will include some really unusual, special releases. We found a very solid number of import vinyl — British pressings, German pressings, Japanese pressings. Then we found a significant number of broadcast vinyl. Back in the ‘70s, companies like Westwood One would make these broadcast specials, print them on vinyl and distribute them to radio stations around the nation. Westwood One had their Superstar Concert Series and those were legitimate live recordings. Westwood One also had a DJ named Mary Turner and a series called Off The Record. Mostly interviews, there are also some studio sessions and live sessions.”
Also included in this record collection is much sought after bootleg vinyl. “Usually in vinyl collections you’ll come across these releases,” says Van Gool. “They’re mostly from the ‘70s. And back in those days they would press like a 1000 copies, and yeah, you know, the audio quality is probably not the greatest but 30-40 years later these albums have become real collectible. It’s almost more fun to complete a bootleg collection of your favorite artist.”
Apart from the vinyl, it doesn’t stop there. There are hundreds of signed items, over 300 concert t-shirts (mostly officially licensed), ticket stubs, backstage passes, guitar picks, drum sticks, photos, posters, promo items, reels, CDs, DVDs and videos, books and over 1000 magazines (first assorted by artist, then by genre and then by title). There is even an entire lot of Goldmine magazines.
It may all seem a bit overwhelming but one thing’s for sure, rock ‘n’ roll collectors, this is one auction not to miss.
Go to www.backstageauctions.com to find out more.