Steve Vai is donating his signature Ibanez Guitars JEM 77BRMR, shown below, to an auction that will help raise funds for guitarist Tony MacAlpine, who is fighting cancer.
The auction is part of an all-star benefit concert that will feature Vai with guitarists Zakk Wylde, John 5 and Nuno Bettencourt, along with drum powerhouse Mike Portnoy, bass icon Billy Sheehan and keyboard phenomenon Derek Sherinian. The Benefit for Tony MacAlpine will take place at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles on December 12, 2015, at 7:00 p.m.
Vai has autographed the back of the JEM’s headstock and christened it T-Mac, in honor of MacAlpine.
In addition John 5, Paul Gilbert, Joe Bonamassa, Steve Lukather, Steve Stevens, and Joe Satriani have all graciously donated personal guitars to be auctioned during the event. Rudy Sarzo has offered private lessons as an auction item, and Simon Phillips has donated a signature snare. Tony’s gear manufacturers Ibanez, Hughes & Kettner, EMG, Ernie Ball, Source Audio and Voodoo Lab have also generously donated equipment to be raffled.
We’ll share details on the auction as they become available.
Vai recently spoke with our sister publication Guitar World about his relationship with MacAlpine and how they met.
“Back in the ’80s when there was this emergence of virtuoso-style guitar players, there was this handful of guys that had extraordinary chops and were always raising the bar,” Vai says. “Tony was a part of that movement in a big way. He made some excellent records that really showcased his tremendous guitar finesse and virtuosity.
“So I had always known of him, but it wasn’t until years later that we actually met. I was putting a band together and needed a guitar player who could also play keyboards, and I had heard that Tony could play some keyboards. I also knew having someone like Tony in the band would bring everything to a whole different level. It worked out great and we had so much fun. Tony’s a lovely guy and it was such a pleasure to tour with him. Some people are just naturally gifted, and Tony’s one of them
“So when Mike Mesker [Tony’s manager] called me about the benefit, I was completely on board. It’s since snowballed into what's going to be an absolutely incredible event to raise money to help Tony. There’s a tragedy in it, but there’s also the divine shining through from all the love and support he’s getting from everyone he’s worked with and who’s supported him."
You can read the entire interview here.
MacAlpine was diagnosed with colon cancer in August. He had toured behind his most recent album, Concrete Gardens, in June but was forced to cancel tours of Asia, Australia, and Europe when his health deteriorated.
Tickets for The Benefit for Tony MacAlpine go on sale Saturday November 7 at 10 a.m. PT through LiveNation.com, with all proceeds going to help Tony and his family. A GoFundMe campaign will be set up for fans who can’t make the show, but still want to contribute.
Doors will be at 7 pm with the show set to begin at 8 pm. For tickets, visit LiveNation.com.