One of the great tragedies of the Dallas music scene from the past decade was the death of Carter Albrecht, one of the scene's most promising artists from the early 2000's. This month, however, there's a chance to make a positive contribution in Albrecht's name, thanks to the organizers of the second-annual Open Carry Guitar Rally. As Barry Kooda and his crew of mocking, musical protesters prepare to march on the Continental Bridge Park once more, they're auctioning off one of Albrecht's Fender Telecaster guitars. As of Monday, the highest bid is at $950 with just over 12 days left to go in the auction.
Any longtime music fan or following of Dallas' music community doesn't need a recap of Albrecht's life and career, but here's one for those who maybe weren't around at the time. Albrecht was a pioneering member of the early 2000's music scene in Dallas the keyboardist and guitarist for rock bands such as Sorta and Sparrows who also toured and recorded with Edie Brickell & New Bohemians. He died on Sept. 3, 2007 from a gunshot wound fired by a neighbor of his girlfriend who thought someone was trying to break into their home.
No criminal charges were filed in connection with the shooting but Albrecht's family sued the drug giant Pfizer in federal court on the grounds that a smoking-cessation drug Albrecht was taking played a "direct and proximate" role in his behavior that night that lead to the fatal shooting.
Kooda, the Nervebreakers' guitarist and the masked man behind the Open Carry Guitar movement, said the Carter Albrecht Music Foundation graciously offered one of Carter's guitars to be auctioned to help fund the rally.
"When we asked the Albrecht Foundation if it would be OK to associate with the rally, Carter's parents were incredibly generous and supportive and offered the guitar to help us raise funds," Kooda says.
The rally, which started as a clear-minded satire of the open carry movement's belligerence, may just sound like a simple collection of guitar-clutching supporters gathering on a bridge, but there's always some kind of cost involved in staging such an event. Kooda said they also wanted to expand the rally this year to include some more amenities to attract and accommodate more people. Of course, that also means more costs and fees.
"When we started, we were expecting to have to provide police security, extra port-o-lets, permits, a $1 million insurance policy, back line rent, sound system and sound-man, generators, stage rentals, one paid act, plus the commemorative posters, rubber commemorative wristbands and other giveaways," Kooda says, listing off a breathless series of expenses. "Our original estimates were just under $15,000. Now that we've pared down a lot and cut back and borrowed what we can, our current estimates are closer to a little less than $4,000. So we should be in pretty good shape."
Kooda says every cent raised from the auction and related sales and donations will go to the rally. The remainder will be donated to the Carter Albrecht Music Foundation. He also says several people had asked about filing a 501c3 tax-exempt, non-profit status claim with the IRS. That, however, is only if the rally becomes popular enough to turn into an annual event for Dallas music fans and criticizers of open carrying gun nuts.
"That is a goal but there's no way to tell at this point how big it might grow or if it will just peter out," Kooda said. "I'd hate for it to turn into South By Southwest."
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