a Tom Anderson Pro Am - date stamp on neck plate is 2-14-90 - completed
on Valentine's Day 1990
was originally ordered with a natural wood finish with no pickguard. My
other Andersons all had pickguards and I missed that look...so I drew
one on this guitar - along with fake screws. I then started drawing a
little space alien crouching down in the lower corner by the "tone"
knob. I started to see little visions forming that I wanted painted onto
the guitar but I'm not a painter.
But one of
my best friends is an incredible artist. His name is Aaron Brown and he
used to be the drummer for my band Private Parts back in Wichita, Kansas
in 1986 - right before I joined the band CHICAGO.
I are both big Frank Zappa fans and we met at a club I was playing in
Wichita in 1984. We talked about Zappa albums we loved and he then told
me has was working for Steve Vai - doing the artwork for Vai solo records
like Flex-able, Flex-able Leftovers and later Passion & Warfare, The
Ultra Zone and numerous Vai guitar books.
So I called
Aaron and told him of my visions for this guitar in May 1990. I told him
I saw little aliens reaching out and turning the knobs and basically creating
havoc on the face of the guitar. I told him I saw a trio of aliens sitting
together and the guitar's 3 toggle switches would be their male penile
genitalia. Aaron agreed that would be a funny addition to the painting.
another alien sitting under the volume knob, which makes it look like
the alien is holding the knob in his hands - and of course the toggle
switch is also his metal male appendage
I then told
him there should be an alien squatting at the end of the pickguard - blowing
into it, which inflates the pickguard, causing the human female breast
at the other end of the pickguard to spray mother's milk - or the milk
of human kindness as I saw it. So he did it and it came out great.
As you can
see at the upper left hand corner, Aaron painted a mouth. That's because
my friend Roy Fought bit into the guitar - kind of like leaving his mark
on the guitar after it was completed. Roy used to work on my guitars when
I was still playing with Bob Seger in 1984. He later joined the Tom Anderson
team and is still there today. So Aaron painted a mouth around Roy's bite
One of the
most amazing things I found in the grain of the guitar was the grain itself.
If you look closely, you'll see that Aaron's painting is transparent and
you can still see the natural grain of the wood. If you look at the top
of the guitar at center left and right, there are images of a god pointing
his finger, and the finger transforms into a guy's nose.
all of that outlining the natural grain of the wood. The most amazing
part of it all is the alien head right next to the god creature. This
alien head, along with it's adam's apple in it's throat, is a part of
the natural grain of the wood, including it's forehead, cheekbones, ear,
jaw, neck - everything.
painted some lip and eye color, but that actual face is in the wood grain
itself. Pretty freaky stuff. Especially knowing it fit into the whole
"alien" concept of the painting. It's an amazing one of a kind
Now to top
it all off, what you can't see in this photo is the headstcok and the
back and sides of the guitar. They are covered in autographs from my friends,
fellow musicians and various celebrity autographs I collected on the road
through the years.
started when I first ordered the guitar from Tom. I told him since the
guitar started with a natural wood grain finish, I didn't want his usual
"Anderson Guitarworks" plastic decal logo on the headstock.
I wanted him to stamp the capitol "A" on the headstock, along
with his real signature next to it on the headstock.
the very first signature on the guitar and was followed by signatures
from many of the Anderson employees at the time in 1990 - Brett Gould,
Roy Fought, etc etc.
delivered the guitar to me with these autographs, I decided to use the
back and sides as a canvas to collect autographs from whoever seemed interesting
when I had the guitar with me on the road. I ended up not playing or abusing
this guitar on the road, so it's in pristine condition for a 15 year old
I only played
it twice onstage with CHICAGO and you can see me play it in the episode
of The Arsenio Hall Show when we perform "Does Anybody Really Know
What Time It Is" from 1991.
This is a
list of some of the autographs on the back and sides of the guitar:
Milton Berle, Danny Weiss (Milton's manager), Pat Boone, Paula Abdul,
bassist Stuart Hamm, Mike Keneally, Rick Musallam, Bela Fleck, Victor
Wooten, Howard Levy, Futureman (Roy Wooten), members of the band CHICAGO
at the time - Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane, James Pankow, Tris Imboden,
Bill Champlin, Jason Scheff, Dawayne Bailey, Kate Lamm, Steve Brumbach,
producer Peter Wolf, pianist David Benoit, my brother Daryl Bailey, producer
Jeff Weber, Drake Macy, Tom Anderson, Brett Gould, Roy Fought and various
other Anderson team/family members and others too numerous to mention.
Model - Pro
Body Finish - Natural
Body Wood - Basswood
Neck Wood - Hard Rock Maple, Pau Ferro Fretboard
Neck Finish - Satin Finish
Nutwidth - 1 11/16 in
Frets - Heavy
Hardware - Black
Bridge - Sunken Locking Floyd Rose
Pickguard - imaginary cartoon
Pickups - SK1R SK1 HN2+
and Aaron's one-of-a-kind masterpiece - from me to you,
Los Angeles, CA - Sept 16, 2005
Aaron Brown's artwork
Brown's Steve Vai album covers