25TH ANNIVERSARY EVENT BENEFITING CROSSROADS CENTRE ANTIGUA FEATURES ROCK-AND-ROLL GEMS INCLUDING SIGNED AND STAGE-PLAYED, ONE-OF-A-KIND GUITARS
By Robert Wilonsky
In September, Eric Clapton and an all-star roster of guitar-slingers and songwriters returned to Los Angeles for his sixth Crossroads Guitar Festival, the first in four years. Three months later, here’s the encore: Heritage’s Eric Clapton Crossroads 25th Anniversary Signature® Auction, In Aid of Crossroads Centre Antigua, which is filled with one-of-a-kind guitars, once-in-a-lifetime experiences and other rock-and-roll treasures.
All proceeds from the December 8 event will go to the treatment center Clapton founded in the Caribbean in 1998.
“It is now 25 years since the Crossroads Centre in Antigua opened its doors, helping thousands of men and women needing help with their addictions, including numerous people from the Caribbean, where little help was previously available,” Clapton says. “Crossroads continues to flourish, but it always needs funds to subsidize help for those who could not otherwise afford it.”
Among the music treasures offered in the auction are signature models and other personal guitars from Clapton, John Mayer, Sheryl Crow, Carlos Santana, Joe Bonamassa, Gary Clark Jr., Vince Gill, John McLaughlin, Albert Lee, Steve Vai and others who have performed during Crossroads’ historic run, which began in 1999. Many others were donated by friends of Clapton’s who want to help continue the good work done by the Crossroads Centre.
December 8, 2023
Below are just a few of the highlights from the December 8 auction, including instruments owned by, played by, signed by and often designed by some of the brightest lights in rock and roll.
Fender Custom Shop Beauties Played by Eric Clapton
One of the auction’s top highlights is Clapton’s 2019 Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster, a singular instrument built by renowned Custom Shop luthier Todd Krause and hand-painted by Brooklyn graffiti artist John “Crash” Matos. Clapton played this guitar on stage at the American Airlines Center in Dallas during Crossroads 2019 while collaborating with John Mayer (on Derek and the Dominos’ “Layla”) and Peter Frampton (during the George Harrison tribute “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”) and honoring Prince with “Purple Rain.” Also available is another Fender Custom Shop beauty, the Metallic Blue Stratocaster that Clapton played throughout the 2023 Crossroads Guitar Festival at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. Signed and dated by Slowhand, this Fender was also built by Krause.
Guitars Signed by More Than Three Dozen Crossroads Artists
Additional centerpiece offerings include three instruments signed by Clapton and multiple artists who performed at this year’s fest, including the “Blackie” Stratocaster built by the Fender Custom Shop in December 2007 to commemorate that year’s festival in Chicago. This limited-edition guitar features the sunshine logo Clapton drew for Crossroads Centre Antigua. This coveted guitar trio also includes a Gibson 70th Anniversary Les Paul and a Martin LX1 Natural Acoustic. All three guitars are signed by Clapton and more than three dozen Crossroads 2023 artists, among them: Sheryl Crow, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Stephen Stills, John Mayer, Carlos Santana, Gary Clark Jr., Jakob Dylan, the Byrds’ Roger McGuinn, H.E.R., Jimmie Vaughan, Keb’ Mo’, Taj Mahal, Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas, Joe Bonamassa, Robert Randolph, Albert Lee, Sonny Landreth, Marcus King, Pedro Martins, Daniel Santiago and a cast of all-stars.
Signed Lyric Sheets, Albums and a Very Special Amp
Other highlights include a Marshall 1962 model Bluesbreakers replica amp re-screened with the Crossroads 2023 Crash graphics, signed by Clapton and fellow Bluesbreaker John Mayall. Additional items signed by Clapton include a Fender Stratocaster also signed by more than a dozen other performing artists at the Jeff Beck Tribute Concert earlier this year at the Royal Albert Hall; a one-of-one Fender Stratocaster “Crash” Prototype; lyric sheets including “Let It Rain,” “Change the World” and “Presence of the Lord”; vinyl box sets including the six-album collection from Crossroads 2019; and the 1966 album Blues Breakers also signed by Mayall.
Gems From Guitar Center Hollywood’s Vintage Room
And the hits just keep on coming, as there are also two guitars from the Vintage Room at Guitar Center’s Hollywood store, which were personally selected, played in-store, and signed by veteran mainstage artists – including a 1965 Gibson SG-Special Cherry Solid Body chosen by Gary Clark Jr. and a B.B. King Gibson “Live at The Regal” #1/100 ES-335 Semi-Hollow Body chosen by Joe Bonamassa.
Once-in-a-Lifetime Musical Experiences
The Gibson Garage, Custom Shop and Artist Showroom in Nashville will provide a tour for four. The Martin Museum & Original Workshop is offering a tour for two, including airfare and a hotel in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. And the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland has generously donated a private tour for six of its vaults, complete with a special merch package. Bluegrass legend Del McCoury pitched in, too, offering a pair of deluxe VIP tickets to DelFest 2024 in Cumberland, Maryland, while Sierra Hull is donating a VIP tour package that’s good for any stop along her 2024 tour and includes a meet-and-greet and signed merchandise.
ROBERT WILONSKY is a staff writer at Intelligent Collector.