'Hope they buy before I get old': The ultimate gift for fans of The Who
The ultimate gift for middle-aged rockers: a £2,000 scale-model of The Who’s stage set-up
Adam Sherwin is Media Correspondent at The Independent and an award-winning writer who specialises in covering the entertainment, broadcasting, music and popular culture industries. Previously Media writer and diarist at The Times, he was a co-founder of the Beehive City media and entertainment website. As regular contributor to BBC London 94.9 Radio station, he was named Music Business writer of the year at the awards of influential music industry site Record of the Day in 2006.
Friday 01 March 2013
You’ve got the remastered box set, the limited-edition vinyl and every abandoned demo recorded by your favourite band.
Now the ultimate gift for middle-aged rockers has arrived – a £2,000 scale model of the band’s exact stage set-up, reproduced from the classic 1960s gig where your love affair with their music began.
The Who in a Box is a painstaking re-creation of the Marquee club stage in 1964, featuring Pete Townshend’s guitar, his Marshall amplifiers and the double-bass-drum kit used by Keith Moon.
The scale model, one metre wide and 36 centimetres high, is the first in a series of limited edition models, produced in co-operation with the artists featured, which are designed to loosen the purse-strings of “Clarkson man”, a generation of wealthy, greying rock fans.
The models, which recreate the venue’s flashing stage lighting, are hand-made by Phil Wainman, 66, a drummer friend of Moon who toured with The Who, and shared Moon’s kit when he played with reggae star Jimmy Cliff.
Ten versions of The Who model have been created, priced at £1,950 each. One of the models, which are delivered inside a rocker’s flight case, sold for £7,000 to benefit the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Wainman has also created a model of the Beatles’ early stage set-up at The Cavern club. Queen’s 1975 Christmas concert at the Hammersmith Odeon will follow.
Future artists in line for the model treatment could include Nirvana and the Sex Pistols, recreating their infamous 1976 gig at London’s 100 Club, a show many ageing punks claim to have witnessed.
“They are aimed at rockers my age with disposable income,” said Wainman. “People who have got the complete collection, the vinyl, the CD, the downloads. But they haven’t been able to recreate the venue where these classic artists were discovered and played the shows which made them what they were.”
Wainman, who became a record producer, creating chart-topping hits for the Bay City Rollers and the Boomtown Rats, reproduced The Who model from his own memories (which are a little hazy, he admits, after partying with Moon), backed up by contemporaneous photographs. “I once had a ‘drum-off’ with Keith in Jim Marshall’s London music store,” he recalled. “It was very noisy and people gathered in the street to watch.”
Wainman has Led Zeppelin in his sights and has also created a prototype recreating Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon album sleeve, using a hologram to replicate the prism design.
The market is growing for ever-more exclusive music merchandise. “They can be placed in the boardroom or a reception room,” suggests Wainman. “We are talking to band managers about getting permission to do more. The quality has to be high because they are handmade and take a lot of man-hours.
“I’ll make them for any band as long as there’s enough people who want to buy them.”
Musical musts for modelling
The Sex Pistols at the 100 Club:
1976 Punk Festival showcased the Pistols, The Clash and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Model must incorporate flying phlegm.
Bob Dylan Manchester Free Trade Hall:
The troubadour’s 1966 decision to strap on a Fender Telecaster prompted an outraged cry of “Judas!” from a folk purist.
David Bowie Top of the Pops:
Draped around guitarist Mick Ronson during “Starman” in 1972, Bowie unveiled Ziggy Stardust and inspired a generation of teenagers.
Kurt Cobain’s grunge rockers showed their sensitive side at 1993 MTV performance six months before the singer’s suicide.
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