What’s The Best Souvenir You Have Taken From A Gig?

“Souvenirs, Novelties, Party Tricks……..”

Grabbing a souvenir from a gig is one of life’s rare pleasures.

Oh sure – you can go to the merchandise stall at the back of the hall and pick up a Black Sabbath tea towel or Iron Maiden cutlery set or whatever they sell nowadays, but getting something for nothing is where it’s at.

Wouldn’t it be nice if bands showed a little more imagination with what they sold? Arctic Monkeys would make a fortune selling cuddly toy Arctic Monkeys carrying guitars and wearing little leather jackets.

We could have The New York (Barbie) Dolls or a Guns n Roses Florist. The Black Keys could make a spare set of black door keys while you watch the gig. And going to a John Lee Hooker show would take on a whole new dimension.

But I have grabbed a few things over the years, so here’s a list of the booty – let me know what you have picked up:

Guitar picks:

Guitar picks are great souvenirs. Especially when they have the name of the band on them.

The first two came from Def Leppard, (Rick Savage, bass) and Tesla, (Brian Wheat, bass): both from the same gig – Tesla supporting Def Leppard at Hammersmith Odeon. This was one of Leppard’s earliest shows after having a hit with “Animal” in 1987. I had a front row seat and thought Tesla blew them away…which I didn’t mention to Leppard bassist Rick Savage (great name) when he threw me his pick…

 Rick Savage Brian Wheat

Paul Weller (standard Fender pick) it’s exciting when you get a souvenir: but less great when you realise you have ten of them at home…

Anthrax (two: Scott Ian and Frank Bello): Again from the Hammersmith Odeon – 3rd row back. Anthrax were very generous and showered the crowd with picks like they were confetti. Why the name of a brand of drinking cup is on the pick is something of a mystery to me. Good of Scott Ian to ask after my parents though. He’s obviously been brought up the right way.

Scott Not Ian Frank Bello

A Harmonica (Hohner: key of A) from Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes (actually my friend caught it, but I diverted it his way so it counts) at Brixton Academy. Like with the fender pick, I had a harmonica just like it at home, which I bought because Steven Tyler played one and I wanted to see if I could too. Twenty years later I still can’t get a note out of it that doesn’t sound like either a) a cow passing wind on a cold winter’s morning or b) a stuck pig.

Rush T-shirt. I cannot describe the excitement I felt as Geddy (or was it Alex?) fired a t-shirt cannon and the projectile formed a glorious arc heading towards my seat about fifty rows back. I stretched out a hopeful hand and plucked the t-shirt out of the air as gracefully as Joe Hart wearing an evening dress. A Rush t-shirt! This would save me twenty quid at the merchandise stall!

Imagine my disappointment when I opened up the t-shirt to find this (below) printed on it with not a mention of Rush anywhere. For some reason Geddy Lee disguised his bass speaker cabinets to resemble rotisserie ovens on stage during that Snakes and Ladders tour*. No-one knows why. Let’s call it Canadian Humour. I have still to find a suitable occasion to wear the t-shirt…presumably a BBQ?

Snakes and Ladders Geddy Lee

I’d rather it had been one of those kimonos from 2112…

Fifty fake dollar bills with the face of AC/DC’s Angus Young on them. This was during their Razor’s Edge tour. I went two nights running. On the first night, during the song Money Talks the band released loads of fake bills over the crowd. I wasn’t expecting it and was in the wrong bit of Wembley Arena. On the second night I was with a friend and better prepared. Without telling him why, when the song began, I positioned us as carefully as Buster Keaton when that house fell on him in Steamboat Bill jnr to ensure we were underneath the nets tied to the ceiling.

Very trusting of him. It rained money. We filled our boots.

In Angus We Trust

The best thing I ever caught from the stage however, was Scott Ian from Anthrax. It wasn’t even an Anthrax show. It was at a Kings X gig at The Marquee in Charing Cross Road. Two members of Anthrax were watching in the crowd and got so into it that they joined in the mosh pit and the stage diving. I don’t think I will ever forget seeing one of my favourite musicians landing on top of me (and the rest of the crowd) with a massive grin on his face. Needless to say I didn’t take this particular souvenir home…

Caught in a Mosh Live Hammersmith Odeon

Caught In A Mosh(pit): Anthrax’s Scott Ian

Sadly I have never caught a drum stick – so this remains the holy grail for me. I was a foot away a couple of weekends ago at the end of Biffy Clyro’s set, but it was not to be…

Ever caught anything at a gig? (no stories about diseases please…)

Record #67: Anthrax – Caught In A Mosh

* Yes, I know it’s Snakes and Arrows. I can’t stop myself though…



Categories: Hard Rock, Rock Music

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

34 replies

  1. This is a great post, I’m quite envious of all that you have walked away with! Er, one of Neil Finn’s plectrums… But much like the Paul Weller thing, it was just a standard pick. Poor show. Have had a few band members crowd surf but that usually irritates me, lol. Oh yeah, and the Cancer Bats’ front man, was soaked by his sweat as he got over zealous on stage (I was very close to the front) and then as he grabbed onto me… (eww).

    On that Rotisserie Chicken thing. Was staying with my bro in Canada this time last year (we picked up an awesome gig: Sloan, Our Lady Peace and Stone Temple Pilots – wow!) and he showed me the television channel which is just 24 hours of Swiss Chalet chicken… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpS4wmqdYqk
    It must be that Canadian humour after all! 😉

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  2. I have a few guitar picks. In a couple of cases the one actually used during the show, sometimes some extra picks. Saturday, I saw B.B. King. A roadie kept giving him handfuls of picks and he threw them out into the audience.

    Can anything top a sweat-soaked Elvis scarf from his Aloha from Hawaii (no, I don’t have one)?

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  3. I once saw …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead with my kid sister, at the end of the set their guitarist kicked the shit out of their bass drum and broke it! He picked up a chunk of it and tossed it out into the crowd–she picked it up and took it home.

    I’ve caught a few guitar picks over the years, but nothing tops a piece of the drums.

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  4. Wow… now those are cool. I have a few pieces of confetti. LOL!! seriously, I used to pick up pieces of confetti from gigs. Why? No clue, thought I was cool. lol.

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  5. Your souvenir haul has been a lot better than mine. In 1993, when Big Country toured the US for the first time in 7 years (and would end up being their final tour here), I took Stuart Adamson’s set list (including gaffer tape and plastic covering…to prevent the abundance of sweat from smudging the ink, I suppose) from the stage. When I met the band backstage afterward, I decided not to mention this, even though it would’ve been a cool thing to have autographed (I opted for photos with each band member instead).

    I’m a big fan of the vastly underrated Zebra, and at an early-90s show in New Jersey I scored a pair of sunglasses from their sax player (who joined them for a couple of songs). He had his stage name, Chilly Willy, printed on the side of the shades. I was sort-of friendly with the band at the time, so I also hung out with them backstage, but decided not to get the shades autographed, nor did I get a photo of the occasion.

    Still, as long as I have functioning brain cells, my memories of every gig are probably my most cherished souvenirs.

    Rich
    P.S. I think I got one of the AC/DC dollar bills when I was working at Atlantic Records in the early 90s. I think they included it with the special edition of the “Live” album. It’s probably at the bottom of a drawer in my house.

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    • Sunglasses is pretty impressive. If I had heard of Zebra I’d be even more impressed. Are they someone I should know about?
      I wonder if Bono’s sunglasses have ever sold on eBay. I think I read James Hetfield has just endorsed some too…

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      • Zebra was a fairly successful hard rock band with some minor prog leanings on Atlantic Records in the early to mid 80s. At the time of their debut album in ’83, theirs was the fastest selling debut in Atlantic history (or something like that). They had minor radio hits with the Zeppelin & Yes-sounding “Who’s Behind The Door” and the straight-ahead rocker “Tell Me What You Want.” They were huge in New York and New Orleans, and still have a following (they continue to gig, but only released one new studio album in the last 20 years). I still love their music, and would highly recommend their self-titled debut and their 1986 album, “3.V”. FYI, the sunglasses were really cheap plastic, and I’ve never worn them (except possibly at one of their shows).

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      • So you definitely wore them at their shows, then…

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  6. Alas have no stories of souvenirs I’ve gathered at gigs. However my gran once went to see Max Bygraves – on her way out she picked up the life size cut out of Max that was in the foyer, stuck it under her arm and waltzed home with it. She kept it for years! Does that count?!!!!!!!

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  7. Would being covered in fake blood count as a souvenir? That’s what happened to me when I saw GWAR at Bloodstock in 2010. I have my share of t-shirts and programmes over the years but no guitar picks. The first time I saw Anthrax, the drummer from the opening band, King Flux chucked his sticks out to the audience and one was heading right for my outstretched hand only for it to be snatched away before it got there.
    One thing I would have loved to have gotten was when I saw Loudness supporting Motley Crue in 85. There was this guy wearing a kamikaze scarf with Loudness on it. I thought that was really cool, but alas, they weren’t on sale. Loudness could have made a mint if they sold those as merchandise.

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  8. If you are interested in guitar picks, I just wrote a piece about a woman who collects them. She has a hard time getting them straight from musicians. http://jayjayemgee.wordpress.com/2012/07/07/picky-picky-picky/

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  9. Fun article that’ll have me wracking my brains all night. Off the top of my head: an ‘Iron Maiden Catering’ poster, a Vigilante setlist (who?), a Roger Glover plectrum, and a ‘Bank of Loony’ pound note from Screaming Lord Sutch. (Actually, thinking about it, I got the last of those in a pub rather than a gig.) I also got Saxon to sign an old pound note … so it’s probably worth about £1.05 now … and Maiden to sign my mate’s plastercast … which he threw away as soon as it came off! My daughter got a set of John Miceli’s drum sticks (Meat Loaf).

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  10. I have a rose petal (embossed in plastic) thrown by Mick Jagger at Kings Hall Manchester, during the Stones ’73, European tour.
    My late brother once had a paper plate signed and spat on by Johnny Rotten
    from a gig at a small club called Quaintways in Chester.

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  11. Rat Scabies drumstick and an empty bottle of orange juice from Capt Sensible at a Damned club gig , UB40, Members , Tenpole Tudor set lists from the same club
    Many,many autographs from the same club where my mate was the DJ 🙂

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  12. have got a drumstick – one of ‘Danger’s Destroyers’ from Steve ‘Danger’ Elliott of Wolfsbane back in about 1991 (all drummers names sound better with Danger as a middle name).
    also have an Anthrax setlist from 2009 – they played a 20-min set on a boat going down to the 02 for an award ceremony, and i grabbed the setlist at the end: Madhouse, Only, Fight em, I am the law, New noise? Amazing to see them that close up!

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  13. I play rhythm guitar but some how or other i have a thing for drumsticks.the drummers i meet dont want to give up any though.envy you guys’ collections

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  14. Great article man. I too saw Deff Leppard/Tesla back in the day, and like you got some Tesla plecs. It started off me off on a passion for collecting picks that still remains to this day!

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