This guy: Kevin Fennell. Photo by Eric Ott.
As many of you have probably not heard by now, Guided By Voices drummer Kevin Fennell is selling his old drumset on eBay. 15” rack tom, 24” kick, some classic Zildjian cymbals, and even a “like-new” kick pedal. (I will be the judge of the condition of your kick pedal, Kevin.) You are probably asking yourself why it’s considered newsworthy that a white, middle-aged man from the Midwest has decided to sell a few drums on the internet. The main reason, I’m guessing, is the starting bid is a mere $55,000!
Yes, Fennell did use the kit to record on classic albums such as Bee Thousand, Alien Lanes, Slanted and Enchanted, and Thriller, but frankly, he could have been banging on a few cardboard boxes and the results would have sufficed (except on “P.Y.T.”—the drums on that song sound AMAZING). Yes, Fennell will come to your house and set up the drums for you, though personally I’m not letting him anywhere near my house, even if I was buying his overpriced drumset. And he is generously including some “memorabilia”: a few posters, some vinyl, maybe some earwax. I think he’s missing out on the some easy money, as those could have all been separate auctions.
Unfortunately, I will not be bidding on Fennell’s more-famous-than-he-is drumset, and it’s not because I don’t actually play drums or because my eBay feedback isn’t so hot right now or because I don’t have space in my tiny Brooklyn bedroom. It’s not any of that. It’s because I’m saving up my hard-earning cash money for some much more valuable music memorabilia.
This guy: Isaac Brock. Some girl.
For example, Isaac Brock’s 25-Year-Old Leather Guitar Strap
Starting Bid: $18,000.
Brock has been wailing on his custom-made Wicks guitar for years now, doing his own version of whammy bar theatrics and sludgy, hypnotic riffs since before Cowboy Dan was old enough to tighten his own bootstraps. But long before Modest Mouse entered the playlists of frat boys across America, Isaac was a wee lad in a trailer park in Issaquah, Washington, figuring out what the hell a power chord was, just like the rest of us. And word on the street has it that this leather guitar strap—into which he supposedly carved “the heart’s a bitter buffalo”—was once used to save a kitten from drowning in Issaquah Creek! I always knew Isaac was a big softie. If I get outbid, there’s always…
This guy: Eno. Nerd.
Brian Eno’s Yamaha DX7 Manual
Starting Bid: $7,500
The consistently forward-thinking Brian Eno has been likened to a god in the music world for good reason: popularizing ambient music, producing records by bands like Talking Heads and Bowie, delving into the world of generative music, and much more. But one of the most notable things about Eno is his obsession with the famed 80s Yamaha DX7 digital synthesizer, a beast of a keyboard that’s only programmable with the fiddly buttons on its surface. BUT, have no fear, the path to FM synthesizer heaven is paved with riches, as you can now bid on Eno’s very own copy of the DX7 manual, made available with a starting bid well under $10k! I hear he scribbled the beginnings of his Oblique Strategy cards in the borders! RTFM, right? Now if that doesn’t work, I’ve got my eye on another little prize:
This guy: Jerry G.
Jerry Garcia’s Napkin Sketch of Wolf Starting Bid: $1,765
Sure, that doodle you made of Steve Carell while you were stuffing your face with wings at Applebee’s is great. Bring it home and show it to the kids and put it on the fridge till it gets thrown away in a month when you can’t remember if it was supposed to be a person or some kind of weird marmot. But not all napkin art is worthless! Oh, no. Grateful Dead guitarist and marijuana Hall-of-Fame inductee, Jerry Garcia, sketched out the first iteration of his now-iconic, custom-made “Wolf” guitar while sitting in a small cafe in The Haight, shortly before he ordered two more doughnuts and another mocha Frappuccino. The real prize though, and mark this down because my birthday is coming up after the winter, is…
Some guy: Neil.
Neil Young’s Whizzer Prototype Starting Bid: $57.25
Fellow gear-hound and tone-obsessive, Neil Young, is notorious for being picky. He once sent back a chicken parmesan dish three times simply because the plate “didn’t have the right proportions,” and then went and wrote a song about in the back of his Cadillac. That song? Just a little number called “They Messed Up My Parmesan, Again.” Sadly, it was relegated to a dusty vault and will probably never see the light of day. More importantly, Neil’s signature grungy guitar-playing theatrics are often accredited to his, um, Whizzer, a device he made to sit on top of his revered 1959 tweed Fender Deluxe that manually makes incremental knob changes. What most people don’t know is the first version of the Whizzer was actually a bamboo back-scratcher duct-taped to a broken-off broom handle. Neil apparently came up with the idea when Crosby, Stills, and Nash split town without him and the dudes from Crazy Horse wouldn’t return any of his calls. See the Lonely Boy indeed.
Apart from Kevin Fennell and his drumkit, all these eBay auctions came straight from Leo's brain which is, FYI, "fairly large," but fits in his skull. Just. He's on Twitter - @LeoMaymind.