In 1979, record collector John Brennan started collecting autographs as a way to make his record collection more appealing. Many of his record sleeves became the place for him to acquire autographs. Soon his posters, photo prints, guitars and other memorabilia became autographed, too. And, of course, Brennan took photographs at the site of the signings to authenticate the autographs.
After years and years of collecting, much of John Brennan's collection is now available for auction via Boston-based RR Auction (rrauction.com). Bidding on the 500 lots began May 10 and will conclude Thursday, May 17 — with subsequent items to be featured in the coming months
This month's podcast focuses on Brennan's desire to collect and the stories behind his autographs. A few examples are covered below.
A cherry red Rolling Stones guitar signed by six members of the band. The Fender Squier Stratocaster electric guitar is signed on the body in black felt tip by Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood, Mick Taylor and Charlie Watts, and on the pickguard by Keith Richards and Bill Wyman.
John Brennan recalled of the Stones, “They’d be in the studio until dawn. We’d be waiting outside.” In 1986, during the Dirty Work era; on 48th St., NYC, the Stones were recording in the studio and Mick Jagger came out. “We saw him frequently so he wasn’t uptight around us. He tried but couldn’t hail a cab, so we offered him a ride home in my white IROC Camaro. I drove; he sat in the front seat.” Brennan also revealed his diehard devotion, “I once waited outside Mick’s apartment for 18 hours in 1984.” The steadfast autograph seeker “met Keith at least 150 times,” and possesses dozens of candid pictures as momentos.
Paul, George, and Ringo signed an Abbey Road album cover (above). Reflecting solemnly on George Harrison’s reluctance to sign following John Lennon’s 1980 murder at the hands of one-time autograph seeker Mark David Chapman, Brennan says, “He was extremely reclusive. I saw him at Heathrow airport in 1988 (image shown), and near a HandMade Films set; I saw him in NYC at the studio with Clapton in the late 1980s.” And chillingly, when Brennan asked for his autograph Harrison remarked, 'Sure — as long as you’re not going to kill me.'’’
An incredibly rare, oversized Nirvana photograph (above) was signed by iconic frontman Kurt Cobain, bassist Krist Novoselic and drummer Dave Grohl. Grohl signed “If there’s one thing that would put me on the brink of total insanity, it would definitely be signing autographs all [expletive] day long. David.”
Brennan first met Nirvana in January 1992, in the lobby of NBC when they were at the Thursday music rehearsal for a “Saturday Night Live” performance. After that, he followed them everywhere, before they were famous. “I just knew.” He met them a total of 8-12 times. “In just under two years, it was all over.” He followed them all of 1992 and 1993. Drummer Dave Grohl is seen wearing a “Secret Sounds” T-shirt on the album cover for Muddy Banks of Wishkah, which Brennan gave him. “Dave was always difficult to deal with; Kurt was the easy one.”
More details can be found online at www.rrauction.com.
Listen to the podcast below.