Last night, Joe Russo of the Benevento/Russo Duo (who played drums with former Grateful Dead members Bob Weir and Phil Lesh in the rock group Furthur) teamed up with Neal Casal of Ryan Adams’s backing band The Cardinals as well as Billy Martin of Medeski Martin & Wood, Cass McCombs, Dave Dreiwitz of Ween, Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith, Scott Metzger and others for a show at the Brooklyn Bowl, where one of Jerry Garcia most legendary guitars, “Wolf,” was auctioned off.
The guitar, custom designed by Doug Irwin, was featured prominently in the 1977 film The Grateful Dead Movie, and became an icon in and of itself over the years. Much to the chagrin of the other Dead members, it was inherited by Irwin in 1995. He sold it to Daniel Pritzker, heir of the Hyatt hotel fortune and founder of the band Sonia Dada, for upward of $700,000 dollars, at the time the priciest guitar sale ever recorded.
Last night, Brian Halligan, the co-founder and CEO of HubSpot and the co-author of the book Marketing Lessons From the Grateful Dead, purchased the guitar for $1.9 million, with an anonymous charity matching the pre-premium bid of $1.6 million to make for a total sale of $3.2 million. This makes “Wolf” the most expensive Garcia guitar ever sold, and, according to Guitar Player, the third most expensive guitar ever auctioned.
All proceeds from the event and the auction were donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil-rights advocacy group whose platform has evolved to include fighting hate groups in the United States, ensuring the rights of immigrants, the LBTQ community, and children, promoting socioeconomic justice and campaigning for criminal-justice reform.
Check out a video from the Paste vault of Garcia and the rest of The Grateful Dead playing “Friend of the Devil” circa 1978 below.