STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN MUSEUM
Over a decade since his tragic death in a helicopter accident, historians acknowledge four-time Grammy® winner Stevie Ray Vaughan as one of the greatest electric guitar players of all time. Millennium-ending polls in both the United States and United Kingdom place Vaughan ("SRV") in the company of Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton.1 The public will next have access to the museum-quality collection of SRV personal effects, memorabilia and research material at the Dallas Guitar Show in 2009.
Craig Hopkins, president of Vaughan’s fan club and author of The Essential Stevie Ray Vaughan, has gathered many hundreds of items related to Vaughan’s life and career, and is exhibiting several hundred of the most important items. Asked why Vaughan’s star continues to rise, Hopkins replies, "Obviously one looks to the music first, but Stevie continues to be a personal inspiration to those who seek to overcome substance abuse problems." Vaughan recovered from his addictions to live the last four years of his life clean and sober.
The remarkable stage performances and life story have not been lost on Hollywood or Madison Avenue. Already the subject of television documentaries and retrospectives, a noted director is planning a movie about the guitarist from the Oak Cliff section of Dallas.2 Memorabilia continues to be gobbled up by collectors, from posters and apparel to diecast cars. Unfortunately, this has brought out the autograph forgers, counterfeiters and unauthorized merchandise, as well. "I spend a lot of time trying to protect fans from fraud," Hopkins reports.
The museum-quality collection assembled by Hopkins includes stage-worn clothing and jewelry, unpublished handwritten lyrics, concert posters dating back to Vaughan’s high school band, promotional material, music video props, guitar picks and virtually every kind of memorabilia one can imagine. The most conspicuous items? "The poncho and leather jacket he wore on the cover of the In Step CD, one of his trademark black hats, the gold jacket worn for the cover of Live Alive, the black and gold shirt he wore on MTV Unplugged, the blue kimono worn on the 1983 Austin City Limits TV show, the Native American squash blossom necklace worn in the concert video Live at the El Mocambo, and Stevie's favorite concho belt and hat band worn for many years. Of particular interest are a guitar Stevie purchased in 1986, his Marshall amplifier, a guitar wah-wah pedal and parts from his famous "Number One" guitar. The collection also includes unusual items such as a hand-decorated water bottle from his gym, Stevie's Alaska fishing license, his fingerprint card, and goggles used in the "Couldn’t Stand the Weather" video. Rare posters and candid photographs fill the walls and several dozen large display tables.
South Side on Lamar (lofts and artists' studios) and Texas Music Center sponsored a year-long exhibition through April 2007. "I hope that once tourism-minded civic and business leaders know of the collection’s existence, someone will step forward who can give the public access on a permanent basis." Hopkins says that Dallas and Austin receive thousands of visitors to SRV-related sights. "The most recent fan club convention brought together fans from all over the world, from as far as Japan and Australia."
More than just a museum, however, Hopkins envisions a foundation with services for low-income musicians and programs for area children interested in music as a hobby or career.
Despite the breadth of the collection, Hopkins says he is still collecting. "My want list is getting much shorter, but important artifacts pop up every once in a while." For more information about the museum, activities and publications of the SRV Fan Club, visit Hopkins’ website at www.StevieRay.com.
World (US) March 2000
(2nd behind Hendrix); Guitarist (UK) Jan. 2001
Portions of the
museum collection were displayed at: