I’m not much of a country music fan. The closest I get is Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton. Yet I’ve found that country musicians are among the best autograph signers (according to my friends and fellow collectors that meet them). One example is Garth Brooks.
There were a few years in a row, where he’d play with the San Diego Padres during their pre-season workouts in Arizona. Brooks would sign hundreds of autographs for the fans waiting; baseballs, photos, albums, CDs, everything handed to him.
He’s also the singer that’s given away more guitars than anyone else I’ve ever heard of. For years, I’ve heard stories about him giving fans guitars. And I always think about this story Joe Walsh (The Eagles, James Gang) told me during an interview. He said people always come up to him and ask if they can have his guitar. It always shocks him, and he responds with, “No. No you can’t.” (side note: at the Joe Walsh/Bad Company shows this year, they were selling guitars signed by both bands at the merch booth, for $500; pretty good deal, especially since it had the Bad Co logo on it, which makes it a must have for any Paul Rodgers/Bad Company fans).
A man named Bob Brown (no relation to Whitney’s ex) had worked at the San Diego Sports Arena (Valley View Casino Center) for 40 years, working the box office. He’s retiring. The arena operator told Brown he needed to wear black overalls, and shoot confetti into the audience during the concert. He did that, but what he didn’t realize is that Brooks’ was going to hand him a guitar as a retirement gift. Brooks took his guitar off, signed it “Good luck, God Bless,” and added a smiley face (don’t you love how Chuck Berry always adds smiley faces to his signatures?). Brown was stunned, and almost collapsed.
He had been working the box office in 1996 when over 42,000 tickets sold in two hours, for a few Brooks’ shows. It’s a record that still stands.
Well, there was a woman in the front row freaking out by this. Brooks, noticing her reaction, handed one of his guitars to her. That got his crew scrambling, to find him another guitar he could perform with.
Someone in the audience approached that woman, offering her $500 for the guitar (which wasn’t signed). She wouldn’t part with it, though. That also reminds me of a time when I saw Joe Walsh do a benefit concert for a local school. Tickets were $100, and they had a guitar signed by the Eagles they were auctioning off. I think the winning bidder got it for $4,000. As I was looking at it outside the venue, a guy came up begging him for it. He offered a few hundred bucks, and a Joe Walsh guitar pick. The guy looked at me, then at the person wanting it, and said, “Dude, I just paid a few grand for this. I’m not giving it up for a guitar pick!”
But, back to Brooks.
So, if you have the money and do the VIP package...or you see Garth playing baseball -- you’re in luck.