Swan song for a Gibson

Karla Hayward
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Andrew LeDrew and his brother Chris are well-known figures on the St. John's music scene. Andrew was doing a solo gig at the Attic on George Street May 5. It was a night just like any other … until it wasn't.

"I played the whole show and was done at 2:30. I sat down to get paid and have a chat with the bartender before I left. I had my guitar all packed up and laid behind me on a table. Then, I turned around and it was gone."

Take note - LeDrew's guitar was no everyday guitar; it was a $2,500 Gibson J-45.

Frantic, Andrew checked the bar, then headed out to scour George Street amid the mayhem of post-club-close people. Then, he went to The Dock and told his brother what had happened.

"Then I filled a report and I went home. About an hour later, Blair Harvey found an acoustic smashed to pieces up on Duckworth Street right across from Paddy's Pub on the corner of Barrett's Hill. There were eyewitnesses who said (they'd seen) some guys just completely beating it to shit against the stop sign."

LeDrew believes he knows who the culprit(s) is, but in his words, "I've just got to let the police handle it now."

Most musicians can imagine the heartbreak of losing such a fine instrument, but, for LeDrew, the guitar meant even more than that.

"I'm just completely devastated. In a couple of weeks, I'd have had it 10 years. It's a Gibson guitar, one of the finest guitars in the world. Its sound just gets better with age. When I bought it 10 years ago, it was out of the money left behind by my grandmother when she died. Chris bought his Gibson with the same money. I can't even begin to fathom how somebody could do this … Every single song I've got was written on that guitar."

Thankfully, there's a bright spot in this sad tale. Chris LeDrew has organized a benefit concert in honour of the stolen and smashed instrument and darn near the entire city has banded together in support.

"I had about 300 e-mails in the last three days from musicians and non-musicians. I've even had an e-mail from Jim Valence from out in Vancouver - the guy who wrote Summer of '69. It's amazing support, even support from Gibson themselves. It's been great."

And he adds, "It's not even about me anymore. It's about a moral issue and public awareness that musicians are just out there to entertain people and there's no reason in the world to do something like this. Our instruments are just as important to us as our voices."

Dubbed a "Rock and Roll Retaliation for a Senseless Act of Violence," Brothers In Stereo, the 8-Track Favourites and the Novaks will perform Wednesday at The Dock, 17 George St. at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door.


Geographic location: George Street, St. John's, Duckworth Street Vancouver

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