I finally uploaded some shots to photo bucket, so I can share a visual story of the Tribute. If you want to see all the shots in the album, go here:http://s1070.photobucket.com/user/elroy2288/library/?sort=2&page=1
I was a fan starting in 1986 when I went to boarding school in CT, where I grew up, and was introduced to the band's bootlegs. I saw over 78 shows from Hartford in April of 88 to Vegas in May of 1995. I moved to the Bay Area in 1992 after graduating from college, so I also saw about 25 JGB shows, mostly at the Warfield. I was an avid fan, but not a musician. After Jer died, I learned to play the drums, as I was afraid I couldn't play the guitar. It seemed too difficult. After having kids, I decided that was lame, so picked up trying to learn the guitar in 2006 and have been collecting guitars as I go ever since. My first GD-style guitar was a Thomas Lieber, American Beauty classic from 2008. I bought a Moriarty Wolf in 2012. I also have some off the shelf ones that were influenced by JG, like the SG, Les Paul, Strat and a vintage Bean, though none of these have an OBEL. I also have worked on putting together a JG rig, which is now complete, with the gracious help of Mike Wald.
The Cripe backstory is that I was surfing the net over Xmas in 2012 and looking at photos and information on Steve Cripe. On Steve Armato's great Cripe website, I saw an ad for the sale of the guitar. I figured it would be too costly, but gave it a shot and inquired. It was priced very fairly and so I spoke to Steve and then the seller, Adam Palow. Adam was to be Cripe's apprentice when he suddenly passed in 1996 and had the guitar mostly in its case since. He was looking for the right buyer and loved the idea that I would do my best to get it played on stage by Jerry-inspired players. With the support of Steve Armato, Mike Wald, photographer's Bob Minkin and Suzy Perler and Jerry Day creator Tom Murphy, getting it out there has become a reality. As a fan, it always bothered me that Tiger was on some wall and never to be seen by Deadheads. I also adore the Cripe story, as it is the ultimate fan story. From doing lots of research, I have learned how particular Garcia was about his sound and his tools and it simply blows me away that he would put down his trusted Irwin axe for an unknown and unproven fan's creation. That must have been so validating for Steve! I recognize that the Tribute was never touched by Jerry, but I love that it was intended for him in the lineage of Lightning Bolt and Top Hat and especially that it was finished as a tribute to him. It seems really right that it should be played by Jerry-inspired players that have "kept the conversation going," as these players and us fans are also a tribute to Jerry and his lasting legacy. I also have thought about the idea of the Grateful Dead and how it's about fulfilling destinies of those who have passed on, so if getting Cripe's guitar played does that at all, it really pumps me up. I also know that Jerry was not a material guy and would want it to be ripped on the way it was intended versus hanging on a wall.
So, if you know of a player that is visiting the Bay Area, have them contact me. I will buy a ticket to their show and bring it along!
All the best,