The Rescue Guitar Meets Fracking

The phone rang, as phones tend to do, or at least, as phones used to do before we got things in our pockets that aren’t phones at all.  Maybe I should say, the phone ring-toned.  Whatever.  On the other end was the great Dr John O’Connor, a good friend of this site, medic to the Northern Alberta First Nations and prominent anti-fracking activist.  Also a son of this little town from which I write.

Bock, he said, what would you cook for Daryl Hannah?

What?  How would I know?  I can barely cook for myself.

Seriously, Bock.  She’s a vegan.  What would you cook?

You’re a doctor, I said.  Look up your medical texts.  Chapter 49: Things to feed vegans.

Be serious, he chided me.

All right, John.  I’ll consider myself  chid.  Is this a joke?

A joke?  Would I joke about Daryl Hannah?

You might.  I don’t know.

All right then.   What will I cook for …

For who?

For a world-famous Canadian musician.

You invited Michael Bublé to your house?  Fredo, you’re nothing to me now.

Not Michael Bublé.  It’s —

The Barenaked Ladies?


Alanis Morisette?


Oh God.  Don’t tell me it’s Avril Lavigne?

No, Bock, it isn’t.

Oh Jesus.  It’s Justin Bieber, isn’t it?  You made friends with Justin Bieber.  Jesus Christ!

I didn’t, Bock.  I didn’t.  Relax.

I’m all right with Leslie Feist or kd Lang.  Tell me it’s one of them.

No, actually.  It’s someone else.

What does that leave?  There’s either Titanic Hero Number One or Titanic Hero Number Two and I’m not sure which is which.  Eh, is this a man?

Yes, Bock.

Is this an iconic symbol of human survival in the face of overwhelming odds?

Yes, Bock.

Is this somebody who might have defined everyone’s formative years with his wonderful song-writing?

It is, Bock.

We’re not much further along, are we?

Not really.

Oh. Kay.  So it’s either Him or Him, isn’t it?


One more question allowed?

Of course.

Has this iconic character ever worn a suit?

Highly unlikely.

Well, now.  What a boost for the fundraising project this is.

Neil Young Rescue Guitar


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John O Connor on fracking



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Music in Limerick and the Rescue Guitar

It was a busy day.

I wanted to get the old Rescue Guitar project back on track after a severe derailing so I got on my bike and tracked down a few good folk who might be willing to pose with it.

Here’s a decent bunch of lads, Hermitage Green, also known to some of my friends as Those Talented Chiselled Bastards.  They had no problem helping a good cause, bless them.

Hermitage Green Rescue Guitar



Hermitage Green





Hermitage Green


They were supporting this fine fellow, Josh Ritter, another thorough gentleman.  I met him about ten or eleven years ago, when he played to a crowd in a small bar in Limerick, and it’s good to see him doing so well these days.  A fine songwriter and an all-round decent guy.



Josh Ritter Rescue Guitar


Josh Ritter








Josh Ritter

You’d imagine that would be enough for one night, wouldn’t you?  But no.  I had one final call to make, this time a rendezvous with the living legend that is Johnny Fean, formerly lead guitarist with Horslips.  This guy still lashes out a filthy guitar lick or ten and just like the other gentlemen I met this evening, he was delighted to help out.

Johnny was playing with the terrific Cha Haran Band in Cobblestone’s.  A free gig and well worth the effort to drop in if you happen to be in Limerick.

Johnny Fean Rescue Guitar

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Cha Haran 004

Cha Haran 005


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Helping Cancer Research with the Rescue Guitar Project

Paul Brady has nerves of steel.

Confronted by a maniac waving a camera in one hand and an electric guitar in the other, he barely raises an eyebrow, and that’s when you realise he could kill you with one flick of his little finger if he so chose.

But instead, he listens patiently while you explain that this electric guitar was found in a skip, rescued, repaired and is now in perfect playing order.  He nods as you tell him that you’re  trying to associate it with as many well-known performers as possible to build up a provenance and increase its value.

He frowns thoughtfully when you outline the plan to eventually auction the thing off, complete with picture gallery, to the highest bidder and donate all proceeds to cancer research.

Come on up here, he says, so you scramble onto the stage, hand him the axe and snap a few shots, hoping they’ll be all right.  You know what a nuisance this is when a fella is trying to prepare for a show.

PAul Brady with the Rescue Guitar

People are good.  They don’t have to help with these things, yet they take a few minutes out because they know the cause is good.

Many thanks to Paul Brady and also to the ever-reliable Dolans for help and support.

Spread the word, folks and why not like this Facebook page while you’re at it?



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The Rescue Guitar

You’ll remember from a little while back that I found a guitar thrown away in the dump and rescued it, and you might also recall that I had a plan to raise money for cancer research using this rescued guitar.  Well, like all worthwhile plans, this one is coming together.

The idea is simple.  First we get it fixed up, fine-tuned and fit to play.  Then we get maybe a half dozen accomplished guitarists to put it through its paces, in different musical styles.  Luckily, here in this town we have no shortage of first-class musicians, so that part won’t be a problem.

After that, we get as many A-list celebs as we can to play it, get their pictures taken with it and generally associate themselves with the thing.  I’m hoping we can get very well-known performers to play this thing and because I think most people have a fundamentally decent core, I don’t expect to have much difficulty achieving this.

What next?  Simple.   As soon as we think it’s worth a significant amount, we auction it and give the proceeds to cancer research.

Now.  Phase One is finished.  Our finest guitar technician has worked his magic on the lowly Fender Squier Telecaster and last night it had its first outing since being so callously discarded.  Here I have to apologise, because I made a poor job of recording this gig.  My video camera, a Canon HG-10, has a nasty little built-in feature: it shuts down if it thinks the sound levels are too high, which happened here, and what’s more, the sound is saturated and distorted.  This video is not my finest work.  Sorry.  Now go away.

The problem is infuriating, but I’m hoping some tech-minded person will come up with a solution, free of charge, obviously, given the circumstances.

Here we go with a little cover of a Fun-Loving Criminals song.  The sound quality is shit and it cuts off at the end, but I’ll fix that as time goes on.

And now for something completely different.  Here’s a  Doc Watson song recorded earlier this evening.

I’ll keep adding to this as I manage to record people playing the guitar in their own unique styles.

Let’s keep in mind what this project is about: saving lives.  This guitar was rescued from destruction and with any luck it will go on to rescue others.  Get behind the idea, folks.  I want no negative vibes on this one.


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The Rescue Guitar Will Save Lives

I suppose I should explain to you what my plans are for the Rescue Guitar.  It took a few days of pondering and consulting with friends, but now I think I’m pretty clear on the objectives, which I’ll tell you in a minute.

First, though, let me just say what I’m trying to achieve.  This project is intended to raise as much money for cancer research as it possibly can and I’ll be as hard-headed as any businessman in trying to get there.

The background, for anyone who didn’t see the previous post, is this.  I found a Fender Squier telecaster thrown away, which in itself is a bizarre and incomprehensible thing, though of course, one can speculate.  Angry lover.  Exasperated parent.  Dejected musician.  Who can tell?

Whatever way it falls out, the guitar ended up in my loving hands and I wasn’t going to let it rot in the rain, so I took it home.  We tried it out, and it plays fine.  Not a damn thing wrong with this axe, so here’s the plan.

We’ll get as many well-known musicians as possible to play this thing.  We’ll take their picture wearing it.  We’ll get them to sign the conveniently white pick guard and then we’ll auction it for all it’s worth, with every penny going to cancer research.

Here’s your challenge.  Make connections with big names if you happen to know any.  Explain what we’re trying to achieve.  Ask them to strap it on for a picture and maybe play a song or two during a gig.  So if you happen to be friendly with Joe Satriani or the Edge or any other well-known players, maybe just mention this idea.  It won’t cost them anything except five minutes of their time, and it could make a huge difference to people suffering from cancer.

We already have a couple of well-known people but it would be great if this idea took legs and we raised a massive amount of cash for research.


Say yes.  You know it’s right.  They say music is therapeutic.  Here’s living proof.

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Rescuing a Fender Guitar From The Dump

You know all about rescue dogs, rescue cats and rescue horses, but did you ever hear of a rescue guitar?

Here’s one.



It’s a Fender Squier Telecaster.

How did I get hold of it?  Well, I was clearing out some unwanted old stuff and I took a trip to the recycling centre with my old plastic dustbins and the legs of the  gazebo that the storm wrecked last year, my heaps of old newspapers and a ton of assorted non-functioning electronic gizmos.  Stacks of cardboard.  Half-used paint tins.  You know yourself.

Now, the thing I like about the recycling centre is that you can take stuff away as well as leave what you don’t want.  You could paint your house for nothing, or pick up a decent stereo.   Maybe a computer case or a monitor.  That’s real recycling.

But it’s not often you’ll find an electric guitar sitting in one of those bins looking up at you.  Take me home, please, it twanged tunelessly.

And I did.  I took it home.  I’m looking at it now, hatching plans.

Who throws out a perfectly good guitar?  I want to know the back story to this.  Was it a disgruntled parent?  A jilted lover?  A disillusioned musician despondent at his lack of talent?

According to several working musicians I consulted, although the Squier is from the cheaper end of the Fender range, it’s not a bad instrument at all, and this one looks to be in reasonable condition.  So here’s my plan.  We’ll restore it to first-class condition and we’ll get two or three musicians with very different styles to play a full gig using it.  We’ll record some of those gigs and put all the videos together on a post with some high-quality pictures of the instrument.

Then, I’ll put it up for auction with all proceeds going to support Cancer Research.

I don’t know how much work it needs yet.  It might not need any, but I’d like to make sure it turns out as valuable as possible in a good cause.  What do you think? Musical geeks out there?  Who’d like to help turning this into the best guitar around?  Have you got spare pickups?  Pots?  Machine heads?  Suggestions?

Let’s give it a shot.