Interview with Gary Guitar

What's the purpose of your project?

The purpose of the 1 Lucky Fan project with the Bob Marley Guitar Giveaway and the Billion Dollar Charity Challenge is to give back and to extend Bob Marley's humanitarian efforts when he was still alive.

How did you get the idea of this project?

During a business conversation, I heard about an individual who had a project where a person would submit a merit-based letter on why a 600 thousand dollar house be given to them. I think people had to pay five hundred dollars with their letter. A percentage of the funds received were donated to a charity. I decided this was a fantastic idea. I thought to myself on how could I use this idea and the type of project where I can give back like this person did. I thought of my rarest guitars and if I go to an auction with them, a private collector will most likely put the guitars in a basement as part of their collection. Then, the guitars will be lost from the pubic eye. Instead, they can go to a museum or do what I am doing now with this project where it will be passed on to the most deserving person and/or their charity. I want to see that the guitars from Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix and Michael Jackson be put to great use. Being able to help our fellowmen achieve their goals and dreams is what I believe in and I think resonates with what these legends believed in when they were still alive.

Where and how did you meet Bob Marley?

I first met him at Center Sportif in Montreal, Quebec back in May 4, 1976. It was his first concert in Canada called Rastaman Vibration. Due to a family friend who was in the music industry, Terry David Mulligan, I had access backstage for local major concerts. Anyway, I was backstage and somebody told me that Bob's guitar was not in tuned. I offered to fix it right before the show started. After I customized the sound of the guitar for Bob, he was going to put a 100 dollar bill in my shirt pocket and I said to Bob, "Keep it and buy yourself some personality." Bob started laughing and everybody else in the room was quiet and seemed shocked. From then on, him and I became good friends. Henceforth, the name Gary Guitar because of Bob.

What's the story of the Bob Marley's guitar? How did you end up with it?

I got to know Bob over a period of time. I met him about 5 to 6 times before his last gig on November 21, 1979 at the Vancouver Coliseum. There was this really cool guitar in his dressing room. It was the double cutaway custom Washburn Hawk in beautiful natural exotic woods. With this model I could play left-handed and right-handed as I am ambidextrous. Bob saw that I really took to the guitar. At this point, he had been calling me Gary Guitar. We became great friends ever since we first met few years before. He was fascinated how I could play on the guitar. I miss Bob till this day. We really hit it off from our first meeting. As a result, I ended up with his guitar of which at the time I didn't understand why as I never asked for it. Bob just looked at me and said, "You will understand some day." I only found out the answer many years after his death from Junior Marvin, the lead guitarist of Bob's band as you know. He was there in the same room when Bob gave me his guitar. He filled me in with what was kind of going on at the time before Bob died. He said that when Bob gave me the guitar he was actually diagnosed with some form of cancer. This was to be his last tour. And, I never saw him again. I heard, like everyone else, that he passed away. I was shocked and very saddened. That was the first time I received from someone who became a legend and most of all a true friend. I think he gave me the guitar out of the kindness of his heart, appreciated our friendship, and that we would never see each other again. Later on, I also found out that Bob's cancer started out as a form of melanoma. Over the years, I have had interesting talks with amazing people like Rudy Schlacher, the owner of Washburn Guitars, about the Bob Marley guitar that has put many smiles on my face.

What do people expect from you after this project?

I would like to accomplish my charitable endeavours with the Jimi Hendrix Foundation, which is run by Joe Rosignolo in San Diego, California. The foundation is a registered charity started by Jimi's dad. The goal is to better and rebuild the foundation in order to help more at-risk youths from guns, drugs, and gangs. I believe in music therapy and music programs will be provided to kids for free. As a former professional musician, band manager, and an entertainment agency owner, my knowledge and experience in the industry would benefit the foundation - that is why the Jimi Hendrix Family Foundation here in Canada as well.

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Selection Committee

( in Alphabetical Order )
Sir James Barlow, Bt.
Chairman of the Charles Darwin Official and the great great grandson of Charles Darwin
Leon Hendrix
Artist, musician, businessman, and the brother of the late American guitarist Jimi Hendrix
Peter S. Koemmerling
European businessman and philanthropist
Chuck Mack
‎Chairman of the North American Teamsters
Junior Marvin
Jamaican-born lead guitarist and singer for the band Bob Marley and The Wailers
Red Robinson
The first disc jockey to play rock and roll music in Vancouver and a Canadian Hall of Famer
Joe Rosignolo
The President and CEO of Jimi Hendrix Foundation
Peter Seitz
Manager and agent of The Jackson's family members
Ian Tostenson
President and CEO of BC Restaurant and Food Services Association and former President of the David Foster Foundation
Gerardo Velez
Best known for performing with Gypsy Suns and Rainbows and American psychedelic rock musician Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock Festival in August 1969; Spyro Gyra

List of organizations that will benefit with your support...

(In Alphabetical Order)

1Love Foundation | Abbotsford Police Foundation | Adventure Freedom Foundation | Africa is Home Global | Amnesty International | Baby's Breath Souffle de bébé | Britain's Got Reggae | Canadian Cancer Society | Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children | Centre for Addiction and Mental Health | Charitable Impact | Charles Darwin Foundation | Committee to Protect Journalists | Compassionate Resource Warehouse | Council of Europe | David Foster Foundation | Doctors Without Borders | Donors Choose | Downtown Eastside Women's Centre | Equal Justice Initiative | Elton John Foundation | Farmwork to Feed Canada | Firemen's Association of the State of New York | Food Bank Abbotsford | Food Banks Canada | Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation | Guitars for Vets Canada | HAVE Culinary Training Society | Happy Liver Society | Hell or High Water Concert and Telethon Fundraiser | Hogan's Alley Society | Homes for Heroes Foundation | Hope Air | Humane Canada | International Association of Fire Fighters | International Consortium of Investigative Journalists | International Federation of Journalists | Jack Ma Foundation | Jimi Hendrix Family Foundation | Jimi Hendrix Foundation | Journalists for Human Rights | Justice Institute of BC Foundation | Khalsa Aid Canada | Khalsa Aid International | Kicking The Stigma | Kids Up Front Foundation | King & Empire Foundation | Make A Wish Foundation | Melanoma Network of Canada | Music Heals | National Association of Federal Retirees | ONE | PIVOT Foundation | PPCLI Foundation | Ocean Unite | Operation Once in  a Lifetime | Prince's Trust | Ran Mission | Reporters Without Borders | Rita Marley Foundation | Roadie Care | Rocnation | Royal Canadian Air Cadets | S.H.A.U.N. Foundation for Girls | Sea Shepherd Conservation Society | Sentebale - The Princes' Foundation for Children in Africa | Shriners International | Stella McCartney Foundation | TGR Foundation - Tiger Woods Foundation | The Ed Coates Memorial Foundation | The Hospital for Sick Children | Tools for the World by KMS Tools | Triangle Community Resources | UNESCO | Variety - The Children's Charity | VS Sick Kids | War Child Canada | We are Family Foundation | Women Moving Millions | World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers | Wounded Warriors Canada | WWF

Acknowledgements

Interviewers

Charles Darwin Press Agency
Michelle Evans
Shannon Maguire

Red Robinson Productions
Red Robinson

 

Photo Credits

Dee Leepingwell Photography
www.deelippingwell.com

 

Video Credits

Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson
Website
Facebook

 

"The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively."

- Bob Marley

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