Last year – in advance of Dead & Company's 2021 tour – contemporary artist Mister E customized five D'Angelico Deluxe Bob Weir Bedford electric guitars.
The guitars were subsequently auctioned off during the John Mayer-fronted band's trek that summer and fall, raising over $160,000 for HeadCount, Reverb (an environmental sustainability-minded non-profit, not to be confused with Reverb.com), and a variety of other Dead & Company-endorsed charities.
Now, ahead of their 2022 summer tour, Dead & Company – in partnership with HeadCount, a non-profit that promotes voter registration and civic participation – have commissioned artist AJ Masthay to customize six Premier SS models for the same purpose.
Just as was the case last year, the guitars will be auctioned off throughout the tour, with fans able to place bids at the "Participation Row activism village" and "Loose Lucy’s VIP lounge" at each concert.
One of the guitars, a Premier SS in Ocean Turquoise, commemorates the entire tour, while others salute specific two-night stops on the trek – San Francisco, Chicago, New York City and Boulder. The city-specific guitars boast a “Vote” fretboard inlay, and HeadCount’s logo on the headstock.
“I'm a firm believer that if our democracy is going to function as intended, we all as citizens have an obligation to be informed and participate in said democracy, that’s why I am and will continue to be a supporter of HeadCount and their mission," Masthay – who's also done work for the likes of Black Sabbath, Foo Fighters, Widespread Panic, Umphrey’s McGee – said of his participation in the project in a statement.
"My relationship with HeadCount started over a decade ago and out of our partnership has come some of the most cherished pieces in my portfolio – including the Bridge Session edition for Bob Weir and the 'US Blues' piece from a few years ago, and of course this year's guitar series.”
Dead & Company's 2022 summer tour begins this weekend (June 11) at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, and runs through July 16, when it will conclude a show at Citi Field in New York City.
For tickets and more info on the tour, visit Dead & Company's website.