Now that's an axe! A 24-foot guitar sculpture known as "Gigantar" was unveiled Saturday at the Stone Pony with Smithereen members, Jim Babjak and Dennis Diken present as requested by artist Shannon MacDonald

(Photo: Cindy Sivak)
Dennis Diken (left), Jim Babjak (right)- (Photo: Cindy Sivak)

The 24-foot guitar statue is making its way to its permanent home at the new Illinois Rock & Roll Museum, on Route 66 in Joliet, Illinois, where it will be met and unveiled by Rick Neilson of Cheap Trick.

"Gigantar" was created in Farmingdale by renowned artist Shannon McDonald, who has worked with several well-known rock establishments including The Cavern Club in Liverpool, Elvis Presley’s Graceland, The James Dean Foundation, and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Jim Babjak (left) Shannon MacDonald (middle) Dennis Diken (right) (Photo: Cindy Sivak)
Jim Babjak (left) Shannon MacDonald (middle) Dennis Diken (right)- (Photo: Cindy Sivak)

Shannon came on my New Jersey 101.5 show to explain "Gigantar:"

Ron Romero (founder and executive director of the Illinois Rock and Roll Museum on Route 66) had gotten in touch with me pre COVID, and he asked me to come out to  Joliet, Illinois, and check out the museum; which was awesome. Quite a place.

And he said he wanted to talk to me about doing something advertisement-wise for the building. Something striking, and he did send me, it was a diagram that basically has a guitar hanging from the building; but it was kind of like a Stratocaster-looking thing with a banana headstock- kind of like, the 5150 Eddie Van Halen style.

Jim Babjak (Photo: Cindy Sivak)
Jim Babjak (Photo: Cindy Sivak)

The whole thing about them was, it was Route 66. That is, you know, besides rock and blues and all that. Route 66 was an integral part of what they were trying to project with the museum, so their logo even has route 66 as a guitar; but just the bottom, the body.

It's kind of cartoony, very cut-and-paste looking basic logo, three or four colors, or whatever. So I said to him, give me some time, let me design some stuff. And so I put together an actual guitar for him that looked like a guitar.

Shannon not only plays guitar but has designed 8-foot and 10-foot guitars for the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame; but "Gigantar" is different.

The only thing that's different about it, if you measured all the frets, if you measured all the inlay, the dot inlay- it's projected to be like a real true-to-life, measurable guitar. So the only thing that's different is if you're on one side of the street coming up to the museum, it will be a lefty if you're on the other side it'll be a righty; so there are guitars on both sides. So that's the difficult part for the whole thing was that there's actually, it's not just a guitar, but it's actually two guitars in one."

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

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