• Tarantino's Hateful Eight Destroys Museum Martin

    Author Bradley Klein owns the production company Twangbox®, creating multimedia stories about music, musicians and musical Instruments.

    Tarantino's Hateful Eight Destroys Museum Martin
    The Hateful Eight is a violent movie, written and directed by a man who has made an art form out of reinterpreting violent cinematic genres.

    Quentin Tarantino debuted with 1992's Reservoir Dogs, exploded with Pulp Fiction a couple years later, and continues to experiment with westerns, martial arts flicks, and police dramas to the current day.

    A few years back he wrote and directed Django Unchained, which has been called, "the worst musician bio-pic ever!" (It's NOT about the gypsy jazz guitar pioneer.)

    Hateful Eight is set in Wyoming just after the civil war, and as in most Tarantino films, there's plenty of evil, deception and blood-letting. But there is a special horror in one scene.

    Kurt Russell, playing 'The Hangman' has taken refuge in a rustic lodge. Actress Jennifer Jason Leigh, 'The Prisoner' is playing a small guitar and singing, when Russell announces that "music time's over," grabs the guitar by the neck and smashes its body against a wooden column.

    The exact circumstances are still coming to light. But what IS known, is that, instead of a prop guitar, Russell smashed an irreplaceable Martin built around 1870. It was the property of the CF Martin Company's museum in Pennsylvania — and on loan to the filmmakers.

    According to a member of the film's crew a pair of duplicate, prop guitars were on hand for the smashing, but somehow the switch was bungled, and an irreplaceable museum piece ended up shattered in Kurt Russell's hands as Jennifer Jason Leigh reacts in all-too-realistic horror.

    However this happened, it was NOT the FIRST act of Guitar-Destruction-As-Art. Beginning in the 1960s, Jimi Hendrix and Pete Townsend both smashed their way into rock and roll history, leaving shattered electric guitars in their wake. Fans ate it up, but countless young musicians who wanted nothing so much as a Strat or Les Paul of their own have never fully forgiven those legends for their destructive showmanship.



    And we mandolin players have our own special story of violent destruction that horrifies us all. But we love to tell it. And to ponder that moment when iron met 62 year old spruce and maple. November 13, 1985 someone broke into Bill Monroe's Tennessee home and applied a fireplace poker forcefully to his two Loar-signed F-5 mandolins as well as a number of family portraits. Nothing was stolen and no one was charged, but the story is passed from hand to hand, a cautionary tale about the damage a spurned lover can do.

    And where do these disparate scenes all get their 'juice’, their power? I think it's that musical instruments are a class of object that transcends 'objectness'. From their anthropomorphic shapes to the way they are cradled in our arms, to the sounds they produce. They infiltrate our emotional lives.

    They can be objects of burning desire, and lifelong artistic companions. Closer to pets than possessions. And closer to 'alive' than inanimate. And there is the ever present knowledge that they can, and many will, outlive their owners. The best instruments, mandolins, guitars, violins will endure and move from hand to hand, musical immortals for whom a century is just middle age.

    I read a suggestion on social media that the Martin Museum "get Charlie Derrington" to fix their shattered 1870 guitar. After all, he sorted over a hundred pieces of Monroe's mandolins and reconstructed two playable instruments to return to Bill's hands.

    I sadly informed them that we lost Mr. Derrington almost a decade ago, killed by a drunk driver in 2006. It will have to be someone else to attempt rebuilding the 'Hateful Eight Martin', and maybe someday, someone will. In the meantime, the Martin museum has announced it will no longer loan instruments to filmmakers.

    NOTE: C.F. Martin has indicated the guitar is beyond repair.
    Comments 32 Comments
    1. stfiddler's Avatar
      stfiddler -
      I realise Mr Tarantino is well known for his titillation of the intelligentsia with such violent depictions but for me this is a bridge too far! There is something unforgivable about such a senseless and avoidable accident such as this.
    1. journeybear's Avatar
      journeybear -
      Perhaps the film should be now called "The Hateful Nine" to include the varmint responsible for bungling the replacement.

      In Hendrix' defense, he swapped out his Fender for a cheapie before sacrificing it to flames at Monterey. I'm not sure about Townshend's approach, though I believe he was bit less responsible. I recall reading an account of the trials the band had to endure because they had to keep putting their earnings toward buying more props - er, guitars.

      That said, he did take a stand for artistic integrity when approached by the filmmakers of "Blow-Up." He wasn't willing to do it their way, which would have meant multiple takes of doing it on cue, rather than in the heat of passion. So they hired The Yardbirds instead, which had two seasoned session men playing guitars. So while Jimmy Page looked in with bemused detachment, Jeff Beck smashed his guitar and threw the pieces into the audience. And the world never stopped spinning.

      Thanks for the heads-up. I'm planning to see this cinematic extravaganza on Monday. I feel better prepared for the shock, though no less dismayed.
    1. brunello97's Avatar
      brunello97 -


      Mick
    1. Charles Johnson's Avatar
      Charles Johnson -
      I have heard numerous stories that the guitars smashed were glued back together when possible. Jim Marshall has written about repairing the same speaker cabinent trashed by the Who several times.

      As for Hendrix, he was known to routinely use only three or four specific guitars. These were never smashed - the tech switched out the guitar before the last song.
    1. Billy Packard's Avatar
      Billy Packard -
      http://www.ssninsider.com/ssn-screen...hateful-eight/

      This is a link to the article that first mentioned the incident. See the 8th paragraph, it starts with the comment,"Ulano related one amusing story while shooting a scene..."
      AMUSING! That's how these people look at things. Disgusting (insert profanity)'s
    1. atsunrise's Avatar
      atsunrise -
      Did the museum take back the busted bits that were left over? It could make a great display -a good education for kids too?
    1. FrontRangeMando's Avatar
      FrontRangeMando -
      From the above linked article:

      Funny enough, the Martin Museum representatives only asked two questions after the incident. “‘Do you need another one and can we please have all the pieces to display in our museum?’”

      First thing my kids asked, too. I doubt either one would have wanted to go see the original guitar, but both immediately asked if they could go see shattered pieces.
    1. Graham McDonald's Avatar
      Graham McDonald -
      Curiously, there is a mandolin connection in this sad tale. The song that was being sung is an Australian folk song, 'Jim Jones at Botany Bay' (which has an intriguing history all of its own) which was spotted by someone on the film's production team being sung by two friends of mine, Jason and Chloe Roweth (www.rowethmusic.com.au). Chloe is a fine mandolin player, who plays one of Peter Coombe's mandolins and one of my mandolas. Shame about the guitar though.....
    1. David Lewis's Avatar
      David Lewis -
      Quote Originally Posted by Charles Johnson View Post
      I have heard numerous stories that the guitars smashed were glued back together when possible. Jim Marshall has written about repairing the same speaker cabinent trashed by the Who several times.

      As for Hendrix, he was known to routinely use only three or four specific guitars. These were never smashed - the tech switched out the guitar before the last song.
      Townshend admitted fixing his guitars after the show in his memoirs...
    1. BradKlein's Avatar
      BradKlein -
      Jennifer Jason Leigh 'Heartbroken'

      Billboard magazine has scored the first interview with cast or director about the incident, confirming that the story is pretty much what was initially reported by the crew member and Dick Boak of Martin. DETAILS HERE
    1. Perry's Avatar
      Perry -
      Disgusting to watch.

      Most moviegoers would not recognize the guitar's authenticity. Needless for it to be on set. Tough lesson learned.
    1. grandcanyonminstrel's Avatar
      grandcanyonminstrel -
      No different than when Hollywood smashes up beautiful vintage cars.....

      Back in the day when The Who was in full force of popularity, I probably smashed enough vintage instruments on stage in today's value to exceed the cost of my house! Maybe that is part of why I spend much of my days now restoring broken up old vintage beauties....

      j.
      www.condino.com
      www.kaybassrepair.com
    1. journeybear's Avatar
      journeybear -
      “Do you need another one and can we please have all the pieces to display in our museum?”

      I may barf. I seriously doubt that's ALL Martin reps had to say about this.

      I'm sure they want the pieces back, and they will probably put it on display - and why not, now that it's part of cinematic history as well as folklore. But I'm sure they are livid, and may be considering a lawsuit, despite receiving an insurance settlement. Something on loan is supposed to be returned in the same or perhaps better condition it was in.

      From the Billboard article:

      For all the violent deaths that occur in "The Hateful Eight," then, it turns out the movie is also an actual guitar snuff film.

      Ouch!
    1. Flattpicker's Avatar
      Flattpicker -
      journeybear, are you saying Hendrix did not burn a 60's Fender Strat at Monterrey? Because I don't recall there being exact knockoffs back then...and there weren't all the cheaper Fender models we have now.
    1. bohemianbiker's Avatar
      bohemianbiker -
      According to this article at reverb.com, Martin didn't initially know the circumstances of the destruction (quote below). Also, in the article Martin denies offering a replacement.

      “'We were informed that it was an accident on set,' Boak says. 'We assumed that a scaffolding or something fell on it. We understand that things happen, but at the same time we can’t take this lightly. All this about the guitar being smashed being written into the script and that somebody just didn’t tell the actor, this is all new information to us. We didn’t know anything about the script or Kurt Russell not being told that it was a priceless, irreplaceable artifact from the Martin Museum.'”

      https://reverb.com/blog/cf-martin-re...eful-eight-set

      bb
    1. mandolinfox's Avatar
      mandolinfox -
      I believe that when Hendrix destroyed a guitar, it was a Mustang (more like today's Squire). Not sure about Townsend. As for The Hateful Eight, this was painful to watch and I cannot bring myself to see the film. Do you think Tarantino did it on purpose to get that shocked reaction out of Jennifer Jason Leigh?
    1. brunello97's Avatar
      brunello97 -
      Quote Originally Posted by bohemianbiker View Post
      According to this article at reverb.com, Martin didn't initially know the circumstances of the destruction (quote below). Also, in the article Martin denies offering a replacement.

      “'We were informed that it was an accident on set,' Boak says. 'We assumed that a scaffolding or something fell on it. We understand that things happen, but at the same time we can’t take this lightly. All this about the guitar being smashed being written into the script and that somebody just didn’t tell the actor, this is all new information to us. We didn’t know anything about the script or Kurt Russell not being told that it was a priceless, irreplaceable artifact from the Martin Museum.'”

      https://reverb.com/blog/cf-martin-re...eful-eight-set

      bb

      Yeah, the story in the movie trouser press about Martin offering a replacement and wanting the shards is just too apocryphal (read BS) to be true. Pretty ridiculous behavior all the way around. Sounds like Martin had it insured, but my hunch is that somebody wrote (or will write) a big check. No need for an actor or director to come out of this looking like a complete maroon.

      Mick
    1. journeybear's Avatar
      journeybear -
      Quote Originally Posted by Flattpicker View Post
      journeybear, are you saying Hendrix did not burn a 60's Fender Strat at Monterrey? Because I don't recall there being exact knockoffs back then...and there weren't all the cheaper Fender models we have now.
      Why ask me? I'm no expert. I'm just gonna repeat what I've heard or read, something like this. Do what I do - ask the internet. If you want answers, that is. If you just want to chat, well, I can do that ...



      To that end, this guitar looks red, not black. I imagine a close inspection of the entire film might show the swap. Or if he left the stage and then came back for the encore and did this, then the swap could easily have been done backstage.



      BTW, everyone getting up on their high horses and refusing to see this movie because of this "issue" - you're missing out on a terrifically entertaining cinematic production. You're blowing off 167 minutes of movie magic because of a few seconds of screen time. You're having no effect on anyone but yourself. IMO, of course. But it does hammer home the notion that what we mandolinists say and do in our little corner of the universe represents a pretty goshdarned small fraction of what matters to anyone else. I'm not condoning what happened on the set - in fact, I'm appalled - I just don't think what we have to say about it is very meaningful. And it sure isn't going to bring that guitar back.



      And on a musical note, of sorts - this movie introduced a Roy Orbison song to my ears which I had not heard before, playing during the end credits. Perhaps not one of his greatest, but fitting thematically. And I am just a little tickled I recognized his voice. Maybe these ears ain't quite done yet. It's “There Weren’t Be Many Coming Home” which is from "The Fastest Guitar Alive," his only screen appearance.

    1. JPerkins's Avatar
      JPerkins -
      You know JB, you're exactly right. 18 posts, 3 yours yet an online word counter quickly points out over a third of the reply volume is coming from you alone. you're right, you don't have much to say meaningful. If only it was restricted to just this thread.
    1. JL277z's Avatar
      JL277z -
      Quote Originally Posted by JPerkins View Post
      You know JB, you're exactly right. 18 posts, 3 yours yet an online word counter quickly points out over a third of the reply volume is coming from you alone. you're right, you don't have much to say meaningful. If only it was restricted to just this thread.
      Ouch. I must have missed something.