5 Weird Pieces Of Rock History (That Are Out There To Own)
If classical music fans want to feel closer to their idols, they have to visit a grandiose museum somewhere in, like, Austria and pay to gasp in awe at Beethoven's pristinely preserved tax receipts or something. Rock music fans, on the other hand, can easily go to eBay and purchase a half-eaten tuna sandwich with traces of meth and crack cocaine that once belonged to their favorite performer. This means that in the future, grandiose museums will be full of weird junk like ...
A Plaster Cast Of Jimi Hendrix's Erect Dingus
Recently, the Phallological Museum of Iceland announced with great pride that they'd gotten their hands on an accurate molded replica of Jimi Hendrix's engorged ding-dong, which raises the question: How does this exist? All of it. Including Iceland. But, most pressingly, the replica itself? Did a fan cover Jimi's Jimi with dental mold in between BJ sessions without him noticing?
As it turns out, that's pretty much what happened, except Hendrix definitely noticed because he was fully on board with being immortalized this way. This is the work of the late Cynthia Plaster Caster, who, as a college student in the late '60s, was given the assignment to "plaster cast something solid that could retain its shape" and immediately thought of dicks. Cynthia and a friend decided that creating molded replicas of famous dongs would be a good way to get laid with one of the Beatles or Rolling Stones, and while they never got to touch Ringo's mighty walrus, they did eventually talk other rock stars into it.
The first was Hendrix, with Cynthia herself being in charge of applying the mold and her friend Dianne of keeping Jimi "motivated" (with her mouth). Dianne retired from the world of penis-molding soon after that, but Cynthia kept at it for decades, along the way replicating other notable rock stars like ... uh ... well, Hendrix turned out to be by far the most famous one, actually, with all due respect to Led Zeppelin's tour manager and Frank Zappa's bodyguard. Still, she did manage to inspire the song "Plaster Caster" by Kiss, despite the fact that none of the band's "members" ever had the honor of being touched by Cynthia's mold (maybe this was their desperate attempt to get her attention?).
In 2000, Cynthia started casting female stars' breasts too, most notably those belonging to Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Cynthia Plaster Caster passed away in April 2022, but her work will be referenced by rock historians and Rule 34 artists for centuries, perhaps even millennia, to come.
Michael Jackson's Statue Of Himself ... As Batman
It's easy to forget that, before being catapulted from mega-stardom to hyper-mega-stardom by his death in 2009, Michael Jackson was in deep financial trouble. So deep, in fact, that in early 2009 he announced his intention to part with over 1,000 of his most prized possessions via an auction that included the mechanical head from that time he turned into a robot ...
A whole bunch of personally commissioned paintings where he apparently requested to be inserted in scenes from Peter Pan and the cover of some Jehovah's Witnesses pamphlets ...
And some life-size statues/oversized action figures of Spider-Man, Superman, Batman, and Jackson himself. Note: those last two are the same statue.
The auction listing for the 74-inch (including the base) statue noted that this was actually a molded rubber costume fitted over a run-of-the-mill Michael Jackson statue, which suggests that Jackson might have worn it himself at some point. Who knows, maybe Tim Burton gave him the suit as a consolation prize after MJ's previous commitments killed the idea of him singing as Batman (opposite Prince's Joker) in the 1989 movie's soundtrack, as originally intended.
This particular auction was called off before it could happen, so it's unclear where the Bat-Michael statue ended up. There have been many other Jackson-related auctions since then, but this particular item hasn't been in any of them as far as we can tell. Some lucky buyer, however, did walk away with a lot of erotic VHS tapes and a plastic strap-on "previously owned by members of the Jackson Family" for only $418, so there's that.
John Lennon's "Pee Letter"
In 1973, John Lennon recorded an album with Phil Spector, the famed music producer who had a tendency to point guns at his artists and ended up going to jail for murdering a woman -- but apparently, Spector wasn't even the biggest maniac in the studio, as evidenced by a letter Lennon (supposedly) sent Spector titled "A Matter of Pee":
In the letter, which was put up for auction in 2014 and was expected to fetch somewhere between $6,600 and $9,900, Lennon angrily makes it clear that he was definitely not the one who peed on the studio's console and threatens to "piss off" (not literally) to another studio. He blames the misplaced urine on Harry Nilsson and Keith Moon of The Who, with whom Lennon made another album around that time. He also mentions his then-current girlfriend, May Pang -- who seemed doubtful that the letter was real since she didn't remember Nilsson and Moon being around at that point, and the handwriting looked nothing like Lennon's to her. The small fact that the letter might be a fake did not stop it from selling for $88,000 to some superfan of Lennon, pee, or both.
Speaking of Beatles-related auctions that might or might not be based in reality, there's the rotten tooth that no one can verify belonged to Lennon but still fetched $31,000 ...
... and that time, an auction house announced fans would soon have the possibility to own and eventually occupy the grave where the woman who inspired the song "Eleanor Rigby" is buried ... despite the fact that Paul McCartney has consistently claimed she was inspired by no one, he just made her up. Still, it is a pretty big coincidence that a grave for a woman of that name happens to exist in the cemetery outside the Liverpool church where Lennon first met McCartney in 1957 -- a church that is also slowly being auctioned off to fans via a collection box here ($2,000), a floorboard there ($2,150), and lots of individual stained glass panes everywhere ($70 each).
Here's hoping there's still something left of that church by the time that dentist who bought the rotten tooth finally uses it to clone Lennon as he promised in 2013; otherwise it's gonna be even harder to recreate his career path.
Kurt Cobain's Pizza-Stained Paper Plate
If Kurt Cobain was still alive, seeing all of his useless junk being auctioned off for absurd prices might make him reconsider the "still alive" part. Other than the typical instruments and such, fans have paid good money for stuff like his burned, partly discolored sweater from Nirvana's Unplugged show, minus one button (sold for $140,800 in 2015, then re-sold for $334,000 in 2019) ...
... his cheerleading outfit from a photo shoot ($15,000), his United Airlines boarding pass from a Seattle/Chicago flight ($5,600), and his dirty shoes from-- wait, no, that last one was an NFT someone paid $10,240 for, for some unfathomable reason.
But the most ridiculous Nirvana auctions are probably the setlists. There's the one written on the back of an invoice ($8,750), the one on a tablecloth ($16,000), and, most famously, the one written on a "lightly-stained" paper pizza plate after Cobain finished eating from it. It ended up going for $22,400, although we should note that the price also gets you a Comics Sans-font letter from the plate's previous guardian, a former musician and radio DJ who snatched it after Nirvana's show.
We'd tell you how many pizzas you could buy with $22,400, but we'd all get even more depressed.
Elvis' Autopsy Tools
Elvis has also been the subject of a lot of bizarre auctions, from his prescription bottles to his medical records to his used undies. That last one failed to sell for the amount of money the auction house was hoping to get, despite the fact that there was absolutely no doubt that they were indeed "used."
There was also the jar full of hair carefully and creepily collected by Elvis' barber over the years, something he presumably did for all clients regardless of fame. They ended up fetching $72,500.
But the most disturbing Elvis-related auction was one that was ultimately called off: the time someone tried to sell the tools used in his autopsy. The tools were saved for decades by an embalmer, but the auction house pulled them at the last moment because 1) the funeral home, not the embalmer, owned them, and 2) it's possible someone sterilized them after they were used on the King. Come on, what kind of irresponsible jackhole sterilizes embalming tools?! You're literally washing rock n' roll history down the drain!
Top image: Polydor Records, Adam Jones/Wikimedia Commons