Guitar Mash: Friends, Family, and Musical Heroes Rock Out

In 2012, producer Rebecca Weller was introduced to Paul Simon’s longtime guitarist Mark Stewart after he had led a parade of trombones down a street in the East Village. Weller and Stewart shared a passion for the participatory–and the recognition of the portable, democratic guitar as the quickest catalyst for sharing stories and songs–which resulted in him leading the first Guitar Mash “campfire jam” in a NYC living room.

U.S.A. –

Chad Smith, Mark Stewart and Tom Colicchio, with special guest guitarists, to headline Inaugural Guitar Mash Concert + Jam on November 11, 2012 (City Winery, NYC)

“The guitar means so many things: the gregariousness of a campfire, the sex appeal of a rock star, the contemplative time alone with an instrument up against your heart,” reflects veteran arts instigator Rebecca Weller. “It’s portable, and it’s democratic in its appeal to those with collections of them, as well as to those with only the guitar on their backs.”

Guitar Mash, a multi-platform initiative to bring players of varying backgrounds together, shows the many sides of the ubiquitous instrument. By kicking off with a big, open jam, the star-studded project will get guitarists of all levels, ages, and backgrounds actively participating. From metal shredders to acoustic aficionados, from novices to pros, Guitar Mash aims to unite players online and off, including via Facebook and Twitter.

To spread the word and get perfect strangers making music together, Guitar Mash will hold its inaugural event at City Winery on Sunday November 11, 2012, 11:30am. The centerpiece will be a mass jam led by musical director Mark Stewart and a selection of “star guitarists” backed by a band of New York’s finest session players, featuring tunes participants can download and practice prior to the show. Guests will enjoy brunch, craft beers and cocktails.

 

Video by: Guitar Mash

 

Participants will also have a unique opportunity to play a selection of “Dream Guitars,” rare instruments from such esteemed makers as Martin, Gibson and Fender for a small fee. They will also get a chance to bid on signed instruments and guitar paraphernalia (such as an effects pedal signed by The Edge) as part of the Guitar Mash silent auction.

 

Guitar Mash – Mark Stewart & Chad Smith’ 

Spearheaded by Weller (who co-founded Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing, among other innovative projects), Guitar Mash is supported by a diverse group of allies including Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer and guitar fan Chad Smith and chef and guitar collector Tom Colicchio of Craft restaurants and Top Chef fame, who are co-chairing the benefit concert and jam. Mark Stewart, whose musical vision and guitar playing powers Paul Simon’s current projects, will serve as musical director. Among the featured guitarists will be Bob Dylan collaborator and multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell (who has played with everyone from Levon Helm to Rosanne Cash); downtown rock icon and music historian Lenny Kaye (guitarist for Patti Smith, and mastermind behind the Nuggets garage rock compilations); admired bluesman Stefan Grossman (protégé of the finger picking blues legend Rev. Gary Davis); avant-roots maverick Nels Cline (of Wilco); and preeminent, paradigm-shifting rocker Vernon Reid (of Living Colour).

 

‘Guitar Mash – Mark Stewart leading group playing guitar’

 

The resulting jam will stream online via Livestream, with lyrics and chords accompanying the stream, so that even those players not physically present can take part.

“It’s just a piece of wood with some strings on it,” Smith reflects. “But you start to play and everyone starts smiling. It’s a wonderful communicator.”

 

Guitar Mash – circle of guitars’

 

“The guitar is really friendly, and it rewards simple, honest effort,” says Stewart, who still remembers fondly the group jams around the fire at summer camp in rural Wisconsin that first fuelled his passion for the instrument. “It has a humble nature but extraordinary eloquence. “

“You can play a few chords and hum along,” notes Colicchio, who collects vintage guitars and plays for his own pleasure on a regular basis. “You can make music with something very simple.”

 

‘Guitar Mash – guy playing guitar’

 

Guitar Mash is proud to partner with Sam Ash Music and True Religion. Guitar Mash is a production of the non-profit Musiquarium, in association with Church Street School for Music and Art. Proceeds from the inaugural event at City Winery will go to the Guitar Mash and Church Street School for Music and Art, Lower Manhattan’s strongest voice in arts education.

 

 

Sunday November 11, 2012

11:30am-3:00pm

City Winery, NYC: 155 Varick Street

Live Stream: Begins at 12:00 Noon here.

Silent Auction: Begins October 22nd online at culminating live at the City Winery

 Guitar Mash is a production of the non-profit Musiquarium, in association with Church Street School for Music and ArtProceeds from the inaugural event at City Winery to benefit Guitar Mash and Church Street School for Music and Art, Lower Manhattan’s strongest voice in arts education.

 

Art & Culture Feature – Pictures by: Guitar Mash

 

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