Tommy Clarke is a native New Yorker and was a first-responder at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. His experience at the tragedy profoundly changed his life. Clarke felt a duty to keep alive the memory of those who died that day, as well as the survivors who still suffer effects from the attacks and the collapse of the towers.
Clarke enlisted his longtime friend and three-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Eric Clapton to create something to honor the three services of first responders – the New York Police Department, the Fire Department of New York and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Clapton brought in master luthier Todd Krause from the Fender Guitar Custom Shop and legendary graffiti artist Lee Quinones to design and build three guitars.
Quinones interviewed many 9/11 survivors to get their thoughts and impressions about the events. With their stories as inspiration, Quinones and Clarke conceptualized the renderings that Quinones then painted on the back of each guitar. Clarke secured authentic badges and commendation bars, and Krause installed them on the instruments he built himself. Clapton brought these guitars on tour with him in 2011 and played them onstage in Brazil.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will bring the guitars to the 2013 Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival as part of a special guitar exhibit from April 12-13 at Madison Square Garden. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will also bring Muddy Waters' 1958 Fender Telecaster, which is part of the Museum's permanent collection and featured in the Roots of Rock gallery. All four guitars will return to exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, after the Crossroads Festival.
New York Fire Department Fender Stratocaster
New York Police Department Fender Stratocaster
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Fender Stratocaster