Want a chance to place a bid on an electric guitar that’s been signed by more than 60 popular rock musicians? Just bring a new, unwrapped toy, plus $7 to Mardi Gras Multi Club at 1500 Oaklawn Avenue in Cranston on Sunday for the Toys for Tots Guitar Auction and the 12 Bands of Christmas.
The guitar, a Dean Flying V, bears the autographs of rock stars including Geoff Tate of Queensryche; Josh Todd of Buckcherry; Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust; Vinnie Paul of Hellyeah, who formerly played drums for the metal group Pantera, as well as members of Godsmack, to name a handful.
Eric Tier, the owner of Tier Enterprise DJ Service and Black Wiing Productions, spearheaded the event and bought the guitar out of the goodness of his heart. He said he is happy to plan fundraisers; especially ones that benefit children, as the economy is rough and many people are unemployed.
“I was recently talking to someone who lost his job and he and his wife and kids lost their home,” said Tier, who has been putting together benefits since the Station Fire in 2003, the same year his parents passed away. “They were living out of someone’s garage and he said if it weren’t for the generosity of people, they would have had nothing. My mom always told me to always give when you can. It doesn’t take a lot of effort.”
Tier met the famous musicians and asked them to sign the guitar on a five-day cruise he went on in November called ShipRocked. Part of the proceeds of the event went to Cancer Sucks!, a non-profit organization that was established in 1998 by two brothers, Rick Horton of Oklahoma and Frank White of Kansas.
Tier, along with a group of his friends, cruised from Fort Lauderdale onboard the MSC Poesia and stopped in Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico.
During the cruise, they saw 15 bands perform, took part in meet and greets and rubbed shoulders with rock stars, who graciously signed the guitar.
“They were all very down to earth,” Tier said.
Tier is looking forward to the show at Mardi Gras, as are the performers. Chuck Pannone, the vocalist of Sidewalk Sally, said the event strikes a personal chord for him.
“I lost my dad on Christmas Eve so I know what its like for some of those children with one or even no parents at this time of year,” he said. “It brings pleasure knowing that this cause will touch many children that don't have very much.”
He plans to donate Lego toys, as he enjoyed them as a child. Further, he believes it’s awesome that everyone involved in the project is donating their time to a great cause and said his band will also be performing on Saturday night at Balls in Johnston at 198 Putnam Pike to benefit Wishes for Children.
“We want to bring together families and friends to help bring joy to them,” said Pannone.
Carlos Contreras, the vocalist for Voodoo, New England's Godsmack Tribute Band, feels the same. He said the band makes it a point to perform at benefits and have played gigs in honor of Make-A-Wish Foundation and The Station Family Benefit, among others. Like Pannone, he will donate a toy he loved in his youth.
“I was a huge Transformer geek when I was younger,” Contreras said.
Tier said their comments don’t surprise him.
“Rock bands and their fans don’t mind getting together and doing things for people,” he said. “They are all great bands and the fact that they are all willing to do this is great.”
The show kicks off at 4 p.m. and will feature other bands set to perform including Treasure Chest; Samurai Cab Co.; Gail Country; Archives; Tijuana Blues; Boneshaker; Tooth and Nail; Therapy; Dacoda; and Beast Over Boston.
They will play not only on the stage in JR’s Bourbon Street Rock House, but in Diamond Rodeo, as well. Of course, both are within Mardi Gras.
The final bid for the guitar will be at midnight on Dec. 18 at the
Rock Junction at 731 Centre of New England Boulevard in Coventry. For more information, contact Tier via erictier/facebook or blackwiingproductions/facebook.