Mike Moore of Calgary is the owner of the guitar shown below. Many thanks to him for the photo and his article which follows:
Click on photo for large picture.
"Better Late Than
Never" ran the headline in the local paper.
"The group, minus their equipment, broke on stage in the early
morning and put on a wonderful show" was part of the review of The Who
concert in Kingston Ontario on July 15 1968.
I have spent many hours talking to radio stations, rink rats, former disc
jockeys and searching reams of microfiche files in an effort to track down the
guitar Townshend used in this concert.
Flying into Toronto from
Cleveland the band was detained by customs "because they couldn't put up
bond for their $20,000 worth of
equipment". The Memorial
Centre's manager lined up some local equipment for the showÖ..unfortunately he
didn't know of the bands peculiar method of wrapping up a concert.
Predictably the band destroyed the instruments, did their post concert
autograph stuff and disappeared into the night.
When their equipment eventually showed up there was a lien slapped on it
faster than you can say "he smashed my guitar".
One of the rink rats, who worked the concert, told me the confiscated
amps were used as a PA and were eventually sold at auction about ten years ago
(love to find who bought them ).
The guitar that Townshend
smashed at the concert started life as a 1958 Fender Stratocaster.
Someone had "upgraded" it in the sixties with new pots and a
rosewood fret board ( the original would have been maple).
A contest by the local radio station gave away what was left of the
guitar as a promotional gimmick. The
guitar was basically broken in half being held together by the neck plate. The neck was about a foot long, the headstock completely
missing. Bits and pieces of
hardware hung off it. All the
members of The Who signed it as well as the warm up band and the local disc
A good friend of mine won
the guitar and it was always around at parties in the late sixties and early
seventies. I have always played Strats and as a kid had wanted to take the neck
off my 1964 Strat, put it on the "Townshend Strat" and turn it back
into a playable guitar. I decided to see if the guitar was still around.
My friend joined the Navy in
1975 and the guitar sat in his closet for a number of years.
His Nephew thought it was cool, took it and in a confused drunken moment
gave it away. He was a dead end
because he couldn't remember who he gave it to.
Fortunately I was able to find someone who remembered who he had given it
to. He remembered the guy had
worked at a kid's shoe store. After
numerous phone calls I found him, he was now the manager of a shoe store. I inquired if he
would like to sell the guitar. He
said no, but we got talking about bands that we had played in from that era and
he invited me over for coffee. He
was an interesting character who's band was well know in Canada and had some
hits in the middle to late sixties. To
make a long story somewhat shorter I ended up with the guitar.
Since getting the Strat I
have replaced the missing hardware with
original 50s pieces and the neck and pickguard are off a 1957 reissue Strat.
Oddly enough it is a great playing and sounding Strat!
The guitar can easily be returned to its "original" state that
Townshend left it in 1968.
Following is from The Concert File by Joe McMichael and "Irish" Jack Lyons:
"The Who arrived at Kingston two hours late and eventually played this show before 1,300 fans in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Although the band were scheduled to be on stage at 10:00pm, three local support acts kept the audience entertained. Trouble started for The Who when they landed en route in Toronto. With Daltrey and Townshend now without passports, the customs officials demanded a $20,000 bond to release the band's equipment, among other formalities. James McCormick, the promoter, chartered two aircraft to fetch The Who and entourage from Toronto after the customs had been satisfied, but the equipment stayed behind. McCormick supplied instruments and equipment from a local source, although this didn't stop Pete smashing a 1958 vintage Fender Stratocaster. According to McCormick, The Who "put on a wonderful show". Incidentally, the restored guitar is now owned by Mike Moore of Calgary".
From Chris Munro
I stumbled onto your story about the july 15 1968 concert in Kingston, It was my Uncle James who was the promoter for that show and the manager Of the venue for many years, he would book dances with Bill Haley and acts of the time In the early sixties…
it was just fun to literally
trip across the story and realize “…I know that venue manager…” Unfortunatly Jim
passed away a while ago, but the memorial filled the Kingston areana, he knew
Take care, and it’s a great site you have…love the Who.
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