By Patrick Prince
It’s hard to single out one particular item from Backstage Auctions’ Summer Classic Auction, due to the sheer volume and diversity of quality memorabilia. Everything from a ton of collectible vinyl to the personal items of musicians — from Ted Nugent to Journey — can be obtained from the music memorabilia auction house for the right bid. However, there are certain areas that owner Jacques Van Gool thinks should be highlighted.
One standout is the amount of Recording Industry Association of America record awards available. In this auction alone there are approximately 40 RIAA record awards up for bid — artists like Ted Nugent, Rush, ELO, Pretenders, Van Halen, Boston, Jefferson Airplane, Steely Dan, Linda Ronstadt and Blackfoot. But a specific award to point out is for Journey’s 1978 breakthrough album “Infinity” (click here to check it out). This RIAA award is not issued to any band member but it is special for very good reasons.
“It is platinum and it is issued to Herbie Herbert, Journey’s manager,” explains Van Gool. “He was not just the manager. He’s really the founding father. I mean, he created Journey. It’s not like Journey was a band put together by musicians, then they started looking for a manager. Herbie decided to put his own band together and started pooling musicians from various bands. He took Neal Schon and Gregg Rolie from Santana, and then he pulled Ross Valory from a San Francisco psychedelic band named Frumious Bandersnatch. To me, Herbie Herbert is Journey. Add to it the fact that “Infinity” was the band's very first platinum achievement and you've got yourself a very special award.”
Out of the many bands featured in the Summer Classic Auction, KISS is worth mentioning. There is a great amount of KISS vinyl, which includes rare live recordings. There are unseen KISS concert photographs, unique concert shirts, artist signed items and rare concert-used guitar picks, drumheads and drumsticks.
Van Gool explains: “A unique piece that we have is a set of concert-used Peter Criss drumsticks from 1976. Those sticks by themselves are extremely hard to find. If you find them, you typically find one stick. And we also have a drumstick from Eric Carr. Eric was known to use white drumsticks, and they were signature drumsticks, and what Eric would do out of pure boredom — and I’ve actually seen him do it — is take out a marker and basically draw cartoons on them and write all over the drumsticks. He personalized each of his drumsticks, so if you got one, if you were lucky to catch one in concert, your stick is by definition different than the next stick. And he is a highly collectible KISS member.”
“And the KISS rare live recordings we have … very cool,” continues Van Gool. “Everything KISS does live is so much more intense than what they do in the studio. Onstage the tempo and rhythms are more up, and there are some mistakes, especially in those earlier years, when I think they were still getting used to being onstage in a somewhat constrained fashion, meaning their costumes, the makeup on their faces, blood and fire and all. That’s what makes these rare pieces of vintage vinyl so cool — they’re raw, pure and honest. These are truly 1970s collectibles.”
Rush is another legendary band that has a broad range of items in this auction, from concert memorabilia to rare vinyl. “One is fairly new, so it’s not particularly a vintage collectible but it’s really nice. Rush, through their fan club, issued these limited-edition lithographs. There’s one for Alex, one for Geddy (shown above), and one for Neil. It’s a beautiful collage of awesome live photos and in the very center they individually signed them. And you won’t find any of them for sale. They’re not on eBay or anywhere else.”
If any of these auction examples don’t interest a certain music collector, there are many other featured artists to choose from — and thousands of pieces of vinyl, hundreds of vintage concert T-shirts, hundreds of artist signed items and assorted posters, promo displays, books and magazines, CDs, DVDs, recording reels and video. The list goes on.
Get a sneak peek of the Summer Classic Auction now, during its preview. The SCA starts Saturday, Sept. 17 and runs until Sunday, Sept. 25.
To register for your all-access VIP pass for the SCA, or for additional information, go to the Backstage Auctions website at www.backstageauctions.com.