This guitar has done more tours and records than I can count: all the Mike Watt tours, the Geraldine Fibbers tours and Butch album, later records with the Fibbers' Carla Bozulich and Scarnella, dozens of recordings by various improvised projects, including all my solo records since The Inkling, tours with Wilco, and all three records I made with them. This guitar mostly lives in Chicago in the Wilco loft now, and I have a different '59 at home in Los Angeles so that I don't always have to fly back and forth with it. I have been extremely hard on it, as you can see -- it was in perfect shape when I got it.
I play hard. There is actually a very deep and ever-deepening gouge above where the strings stretch from the bridge to the tailpiece, where I play a lot and, apparently, with considerable vigor! Admittedly, the finish was delicate. It is easy to scratch the paint, revealing a purplish hue, much like eggplant. I used to wear my keys on my ant loop, and after hopping up and down on stage with Watt, I created an interesting and rather sizable stippling on the back of the guitar. In the Geraldine Fibbers, I would sometimes throw the guitar to our drummer Kevin Fitzgerald and play my effects pedals while he savaged it with drumsticks, sometimes ripping out the strings, which is difficult to do on a Fender guitar, and bleeding on it. I have bled on it plenty. The Geraldine Fibbers' "Dusted" caused some wounds, and these days Wilco's song "A Shot in the Arm" might be another danger, though I am much smarter now about things like fret wear. The body. . .well, I think it looks great. It's a work in progress, just like me.