BTGRecovery.org is proud to announce a very rare, 1 of 1, collector’s item, an autographed prototype Zacky Vengeance ZV 6661 Schecter Guitar, signed by Zacky, and all Members of Avenged Sevenfold. The guitar is being auctioned off to help BTGR in their quest to help recovering addicts rebuild their lives. With your bid you could secure a piece of rock history and help lift someone out of their darkest moments. This guitar has been generously donated to Bridging the Gap to Recovery by Chris Westfall who acquired it from the president of Schecter Guitars. Chris placed the winning bid on an Avenged Sevenfold autographed guitar that BTG previously auctioned off on Ebay. He then turned around and donated another incredibly rare guitar from his personal collection to BTGR that is about to be auctioned off.
The auction goes live the evening of March 1st and will be ten days long. You can search ebay for:
Zacky Vengeance ZV 6661 Avenged Sevenfold Autographed Schecter Guitar RARE A7X
Or go to the BTGR Facebook page events https://www.facebook.com/btgrecovery
In 2016 Zacky Vengeance was voted, along with bandmate Synyster Gates, Best Metal Guitarist in the World by Total Guitar. This guitar was built for Zacky by Schecter and was one of two prototypes sent to him. It is better than new since Zacky is the only one who has ever played it. Zacky is a lefty but this is a right handed guitar. At the bottom of the body of the guitar, 4 numbers are written out which read “6661” which is simply the year Avenged Sevenfold formed, 1999, upside down and backwards. Here’s your chance to get your hands one extremely rare Avenged Sevenfold Schecter guitar.
Westfall is a US Air Force Veteran who recently retired after 20 years of service. He currently sings and plays guitar with the Metallica tribute band ‘ONE’ who are getting ready to go on tour During his time in the military Chris experienced some truly horrifying situations, life or death injuries and unimaginable not to mention unspeakable things. These things take a terrible toll on a person and their emotional, mental and physical health. Chris says that music saved his life and specifically the music of Avenged Sevenfold.
For One band and tour info https://m.facebook.com/ONEMetallicaTribute
Sharon “MamaDuke” Gipson (CEO of BTGR) tells the story of how one guitar donated by Schecter and auctioned off led to the winning bidder donating another guitar and a wish being granted.
”In March of 2016, Bridging The Gap to Recovery was gifted an original guitar, autographed by Avenged SevenFold to auction. The guitar was secured by Jerry Montano of Death Division for BTG to auction. This guitar was auctioned in July and the winning bid was placed by Chris Westfall, a 20 year disabled USAF veteran. This was the beginning of a wonderful story! Chris, a musician himself is a dedicated fan of Avenged Sevenfold, and avid collector of Avenged SevenFold items and collects guitars. Chris, as a disabled veteran of USAF, along with injuries, suffered PTSD. Avenged Sevenfolds music and specifically one song, “Unbound”, was significantly and strongly instrumental in Chris’ survival thru his career and immediately following his retirement.
When I contacted Chris about his winning the bid on the original guitar, we talked quite a bit and he expressed to me how important it was for him to meet them (the band) and let them know what their music meant to him and his surviving the PTSD. At the time he had no idea I had decided that I would do my best to make this happen, but after hearing his whole story, I decided that this was like a “Make a Wish” and it became my obsession to see it thru and get him in front of Avenged Sevenfold to let them know just how important their music is to Chris, and many others. Don’t know how we pulled it off but we did!
I had contacted Jerry Montano and everyone else I thought might make it happen, including BTG Board members, Wes Geer, Sean Lenhoff , Darryl Cadiente,(they were probably amazed at how many people were trying to set this up , and thru Sean and Darryls efforts, we were connected to Avenged Sevenfold and honored with VIP passes to the Sonic Boom concert in Janesville Wisconsin on Oct 2, 2016. So Tim Willis, BTGR Board Member, and I drove out from Kansas City where we were welcomed by their Tour Manager Diony. We were welcomed back stage, onstage and in their dressing room to meet, talk and let Chris tell his story. The band even face-timed Chris’ son who is also military and deployed at this time and is also a huge fan. They were great and treated us all with the utmost courtesy and grace!! During the concert, Zacky came off to the stage, where we were, and gave Chris pics, and MShadow took him on stage and introduced him to the crowd!!
It was amazing and fulfilling spiritually to be a part of Chris’ healing and watch him meet these guys!
Chris in turn, has joined Bridging The Gap to Recovery, and gifted us back an amazing guitar and one of a kind , Metallica Autographed Hockey Jersey to offer up on for auction. Auction dates to be announced!” -MamaDuke
Here’s what Chris Westfall had to say when asked to tell his story and how music saved his life and why he decided to donate his unique Avenged Sevenfold original prototype guitar to BTGR.
“It’s a question that’s be written about and performed metaphorically so often. Can music save a life? Can an instrument still in its case having never been played, save a life? The answer to both is yes and while it may seem absurd, most truths are and this is my story.
I served my Country for 20yrs in the active duty Military. Using one’s mind’s eye you can imagine the graphic horror one sees, hears and smells and by its very nature, places the service members life in grave danger. My experience was no exception. Like anyone else who experiences the circumstance of an experience that could cause their absence from this earth, you don’t wake up that day knowing. I certainly didn’t and on this day the music of Avenged Sevenfold saved mine.
I found Avenged Sevenfold in 2004. I was instantly hooked. I was also alone in this as none of my friends felt the same way. That didn’t stop me from playing it the only way it should be played, loud! So like it or not, they got their dose of Avenged! Then in 2007, they released a self-titled album and I listened to it for the first time and when it was done playing, one song stood out for reasons I cannot explain, the song was “Unbound” I even have it tattooed across my abdomen it struck me that profoundly. All ability to track sense of time and day stopped when I heard this song. My friends knew this as I played it a lot so they knew they song whether or not they understood its impact on me then or what was to come.
My day came when God called me home. It was unexpected. I was not prepared and like most tragedies you don’t see them coming. This happened to me and that song saved my life. When I was at the cross road to live or die, that song was played and the scales instantly tipped in my favor and I woke up alive. It’s difficult to talk about and for my own health its best I don’t get into the details as to re live it to satisfy the need of a reader doesn’t outweigh my need to be healthy. I walked that line, I remember it well and why did I not die? Why? Simple, Avenged Sevenfold wrote a song that I could not live without. An unintended consequence of their creative process just as my situation was an unintended consequence of my service. I knew when I first heard the song it was unique and now I’m alive to tell this story because of it. I was fortunate enough to meet the band and privately tell them what happened and personally thank them and put closure to that part of my past. They were warm and gracious and I will forever be grateful to the band and to all those who helped make it happen. They know who they are. I’m living proof that music is more than just sound. It has the ability to save a life.
Earlier I asked if an un-played guitar could save a life and the answer is yes. I owned a one of a kind Zacky V Prototype guitar signed by Zacky. When I met the band as the photos will show, they all signed it. I met Sharon Gipson, CEO of Bridging the Gap which is dedicated to helping addicts get to treatment. I’ve never used drugs and we met by chance and became friends. After talking to her I decided to donate this guitar that was precious to me to her with not a moment’s hesitation. The guitar will soon be auctioned. The proceeds will get an addict to recovery, that recovery will save their life. The unintended consequence of acquiring a guitar, the unintended consequence of a song that was written consequence of what I thought was just going to be another normal day. What a beautiful way for a tragedy to end. Let’s face it, tragedies by their very nature, don’t have happy endings. My tragedy that should have caused my death, allowed me to live and allowed me to have the unintended consequence of meeting Sharon and what a perfect end. All these lives intersected by accident and as a result, many will be saved and given a new start, Unbound from the past tragedies that almost robbed an essence before it’s time. That’s the power of music.’’ -Chris Westfall
Bridging the Gap to Recovery is a nonprofit organization started by Sharon Gipson aka MamaDuke mother of musician Duke Collins who passed away in March of 2015. The first benefit was held in Santa Ana, CA in March of 2016 on the first anniversary of her son’s passing. The benefit was held to raise money to launch the nonprofit. The first event was followed by several other fundraising events including a benefit motorcycle ride, a dine and donate, raffles and an eBay auction for a Schecter guitar. Bridging the Gap is now a full-fledged 501c3 non-profit organization and is now getting ready to put their first person through the program. They have partnered with Mirrors Recovery Centers. The nonprofit was started in his honor to help addicts with their living expenses while in treatment for addiction. To learn more about BTGR go to https://www.facebook.com/btgrecovery Donations of any type or size are greatly appreciated. Contact BTGR if you would like to donate funds, time, goods to be auctioned or have a fundraising idea.
Here’s our original story and coverage of the Duke Collins Memorial Concert http://www.backstage360.com/?s=mamaduke
The next fundraiser is April 1st at the Tiki Bar in Costa Mesa featuring Core10. SkumLove and Anger the Giant tickets are just $5 at the door and all proceeds go to BTGR. https://www.facebook.com/events/105808326581542
If you live in Southern California be sure to go as this is going to be a killer show. Backstage 360 will be covering the show and posting interviews from the event in an upcoming issue. See last month’s interview with Core 10 https://youtu.be/gTgnb3L4MAI?t=9m45s
It’s great to see people caring, supporting and helping each other. BTGR is just about ready to assist their first few people with their recovery. We will keep you posted on their progress. I have no doubt everyone involved in this story will be blessed sevenfold for their kindness and generosity!
-Brenda Starr / BackStage360
_Images provided by MamaDuke / BTGR
Avenged Sevenfold is touring with Metallica this summer. Tour starts in May and tickets are on sale now.