Slayer have had a long-standing relationship with blood. Of course Reign in Blood is the gold (red?) standard of classic metal albums. “Seasons in the Abyss” came in a limited edition blood pack, and their last album before Repentless was World Painted Blood. And guitarist Gary Holt is embracing it via new guitar he’ll be bringing out on tour. Instead of showing up with a lame blood-splattered guitar however, he’ll be playing a signature ESP guitar decorated in his own blood.
Artist Vincent Castiglia drew 18 vials of blood from Holt after Slayer played in Long Island last year and decorated the guitar, which he gave to Holt last week at the NAMM convention. While Castiglia has used blood in his art before, he’s never decorated a guitar. Holt is excited about it:
“It was very exciting to finally be able to reveal the “blood guitar” painted with 18 vials of my own blood at this year’s NAMM! This Vincent Castiglia original is the first of its kind. This weekend was also my first look at it in the flesh so to say I was stoked is an understatement! Looking forward to taking this one of a kind piece of dark art out on tour in February!”
Castiglia spoke about the inception of the idea and his thoughts on it:
“While working on his torso piece, my client and friend Brian Werner (vocalist of Vital Remains) suggested the possibility to me. I thought about the logistics, whether it would be possible or not, and figured hey, if I’ve been able to take my paintings and medium as far as I have already on canvas, why not do it on a guitar body? After some trial, and some extra preparation, it all worked out perfectly, and this guitar actually became what I’d cite to be one of my favorite, most detailed works to date. I pushed it as far as was physically possible in terms of detail. The subject matter, look and feel, and functionality of the piece are all in perfect line with my work.The piece is historical in that, to my knowledge (or the knowledge of Google) this is the first functional guitar in human history to have been created entirely in the musician’s blood. That puts it in a unique position, as it’s a functional piece of fine art that memorializes Gary Holt’s life’s work with his lifeblood, my mind and hands having been the vessel for its creation. It was an honor to work so intimately with Gary Holt and ESP on this project, which was literally, “Bonded By Blood”.”