A Hard Rock / Heavy Metal auction for the ages

Backstage Auctions gets ready for their annual Rock Gods and Metal Monsters auction, featuring over 1,200 individual lots of memorabilia of heavy rock music.
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Houston-based auctioneer Backstage Auctions will hold their annual Rock Gods & Metal Monsters auction starting this Saturday, November 5. The auction ends November 13. There is a wealth of hard and heavy memorabilia to be found, including KISS, Iron Maiden, Dream Theater, Led Zeppelin and Slayer. Any listener of hard rock or heavy metal should find something to their liking in this auction.

Goldmine spoke to Backstage Auctions owner Jacques Van Gool about an annual auction that has been very successful for the auctioneer over the years.

GOLDMINE: Tell us a little bit about this year's Rock God & Metal Monsters auction.
Jacques Van Gool: With over 1,200 individual lots, this is THE ultimate celebration of everything hard rock & heavy metal. No matter who your favorite band is, no matter what you collect, you will find it in this auction, which offers one highlight after the next. There are more than a dozen musicians who have consigned everything from instruments to gear and stage worn clothing. Additionally, there is a large number of managers, record label executives, road crew personnel, photographers and journalists, who have collectively contributed massive amounts of rare and collectible items to this unique event.

GM: And, as always, KISS memorabilia will be available for auction.
JVG: Yes, as always, KISS is strongly represented with more than 100 auction lots alone. There are signed pieces, record awards, costume pieces (Paul Stanley tour worn boots!), a stunning collection of exceptionally rare concert vinyl, an equally thrilling collection of mostly 1970s concert photos, crew shirts, toys and so on. A personal favorite is the massive cross necklace that Peter Criss wore pretty much for two years straight between 1975 and 1976. There's a 1,000 photos of him with that necklace and it is easily one of the single most recognizable pieces from that era.

Joe Stefko's drum kit from the 1977/1978 Meat Loaf "Bat Out of Hell" world tour. Photo courtesy of Backstage Auctions.

Joe Stefko's drum kit from the 1977/1978 Meat Loaf "Bat Out of Hell" world tour. Photo courtesy of Backstage Auctions.

GM: Regarding gear: drum kits stand out in the year's auction.
JVG: There are five (!) complete drum kits in this auction which is almost unheard of. And each and any of them are nothing short of impressive; a John Tempesta, The Cult, tour drum kit and two complete Slayer drum kits from the 1990s — one owned by Paul Bostaph, the other by Jon Dette. There is a massive Dream Theater tour and album used kit from Mike Portnoy, as well as the original Joe Stefko kit from the 1977/1978 Meat Loaf "Bat Out of Hell" world tour that in itself is a legitimate 'Hall of Fame' piece.

GM: And guitars?
JVG: The auction features a good number of great 4-string and 6-string guitars, all worthy of checking out, but I think it that visitors will be surprised by the depth and quality of the gear that is on display; cool looking road cases, unusual microphone stands, and impressive amplifiers and speaker cabinets...lots of them! Among my favorites is this 1983 Marshall 412 cabinet from Scott Ian, who personally changed the traditional front (grill) and gave it this camouflage look. This is the oldest Anthrax cabinet and can be seen in their earliest photos and videos. Another personal favorite are the many 100 watts speakers that all the Slayer band members signed, exclusively for this auction. These speakers came from their old line of tour and studio used cabinets and date back to the (guitarist) Jeff Hanneman years.

Dimebag Darrell amp. Photo courtesy of Backstage Auctions.

Dimebag Darrell amp. Photo courtesy of Backstage Auctions.

One last piece of gear that needs to be mentioned is the "crappy old" Yamaha G100 amp that is the oldest known-to-exist, stage and studio used Dimebag Darrell amplifier. This is really a piece of heavy-metal history and something that wouldn't look out of place at the Rock Hall or even the Smithsonian.

GM: And proceeds of specific auction lots will go to charity, correct?
JVG: We have a couple consigner who are donating (a portion of) the auction proceeds to charitable organizations and I would like to highlight two of them. The first is a close associate to the Alice Cooper camp who is donating two great pieces, including Alice Cooper's famous stage used sword from the early 1970s. Without question one of the coolest stage props ever. The other consigner is a close associate to the Girlschool camp who has donated several pieces in support of the hospice in England that took care of Kelly Johnson in the final stage of her life. Among the items is a most exclusive art print that has been signed by all current Girlschool members.

GM: You had also mentioned awards.
JVG: There are many great awards in this auction but none better than the Guns N' Roses "Sweet Child O' Mine" MTV Moonman, which was owned by the band's manager. This is only the third GNR Moonman Award to ever be auctioned.

And speaking of MTV ... remember that infamous Moscow Peace Festival from 1986 with Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Ozzy and others? Each of the band members received this super high-end, all-leather festival jacket. Only a few dozen ever made, but we got one!

Moscow Peace Festival jacket. Photo courtesy of Backstage Auctions.

Moscow Peace Festival jacket. Photo courtesy of Backstage Auctions.

GM: Besides that there are other pieces of rock clothing up for auction, especially stage worn, right?
JVG: The auction will feature stage worn shoes, pants, shirts ... you name it. One that jumps out to me is a pair of worn-out, beat-up but uber-cool Klaus Meine (Scorpions) white Capezios shoes from the 1988 Savage Amusement tour. What leather is to Halford and striped pants to Steve Harris, are these white shoes to Klaus!

GM: Obviously, we have to ask about the vinyl records available, too.
JVG: Something close to my heart is the vinyl in this auction. It is the foundation of my love for music and the foundation of the passion for anything and everything 'memorabilia'. We are extremely fortunate to have what I consider to be one of the greatest vinyl offerings in any HR/HM auction ever! There are well over 200 lots of vinyl and the vast majority is all from the 1980s. A huge chunk is all European imports, mainly from the U.K., and one N.W.O.B.H.M. gem after the next. With releases from legendary labels such as Neat Records, Ebony Records, Heavy Metal Records, Mausoleum Records, Shrapnel Records, Metal Blade Records

Led Zeppelin 1969 "I" test pressing. Photo courtesy of Backstage Auctions.

Led Zeppelin 1969 "I" test pressing. Photo courtesy of Backstage Auctions.

and so on, this display of sonic assault needs to be seen and heard! There are impressive collections concentrating around Iron Maiden, Diamond Head, Metallica, KISS and Guns N' Roses, but you don't want to miss out on Witchfynde, Bitches Sin, Paralex, Satanic Rites, Demon, Shiva, Hawaii, Pali Gap, Holocaust, Axis or Crucifixion either. And then there are the illustrious compilation albums such as Rocksnax, Banzai, Metal Massacre, Metallic Storm, New Electric Warriors and Scene of the Crime. I honestly couldn't pick 'just one' to say that this is "the" highlight piece of vinyl but I know I can't mention them all either. The stand-outs are the one of less than a dozen known-to-exist Led Zeppelin 1969 "I" test pressings, the Iron Maiden 'Soundhouse Tapes' 7-inch EP and the true first pressing if Mike Varney's Metal Massacre featuring the album debut of Metallica...or Mettallica as they were erroneously introduced.

AC/DC interview cassette. Photo courtesy of Backstage Auctions.

AC/DC interview cassette. Photo courtesy of Backstage Auctions.

GM: Anything else you'd like to point out to music memorabilia collectors?

JVG: Lastly I would like to point out types of collectibles that deserve to be mentioned. There are over 200 autographed pieces; from AC/DC to ZZ Top, including signed items from our fallen heroes such as Lemmy, Dimebag Darrell, Ronnie James Dio and Peter Steele.

The auction hosts a huge amount or rare and exclusive backstage passes, many owned and used by artists. Equally astounding are the almost 250 lots with tour itineraries from the past three decades. There are almost 2,000 individual itineraries alone in this auction, offering a wealth of tour dates and logistics that has never been seen before.

And last but not least, there are well over 200 original interview cassettes from the 1980s and 1990s. You can now listen to unedited conversations with the likes of Angus Young, Eddie Van Halen, Jeff Hanneman, Dimebag Darrell, Ozzy Osbourne, Kirk Hammett, Steve Harris, Ronnie James Dio, Zakk Wylde, Rob Halford, Jon Bon Jovi, Nikki Sixx, Rob Zombie and so on.

Either way and from every angle, this is truly an auction for the fans by the fans. I am proud of what we have been able to put together and I am excited to know that most — and hopefully all — of these great relics and mementos will soon find a new appreciative home.

The Rock Gods & Metal Monsters auction is already in preview mode and the bidding will start this Saturday, November 5. The auction will come to a close on Sunday, November 13. You can find all the details, descriptions, photos and information at www.backstageauctions.com.

Thanks again to Goldmine for carving out some space for 'Metal'. Horns Up!

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