It Honours the man who ‘introduced me to metal’
Now this is what you call a hollow-body guitar. The Tampa musician calling himself Prince Midnight built this conversation-starter (and ender?) from his uncle’s skeleton fused to the, erm, bones of a Fender Telecaster. And it works.Midnight’s Uncle Filip had died in a 1996 motorcycle accident in Greece, at the age of 26. “After 20 years, he ended up in a cemetery my family had to pay rent on. Like, literally in a wooden box,” Midnight told HuffPost. “It’s a big problem in Greece because the Orthodox religion doesn’t want people cremated.”
With Filip’s parents deceased, the bones — after a couple of decades of being used for research at a college — were sent to Midnight’s mother in Florida.“Uncle Filip was a super metal head,” he told CBC’s As It Happens. “He got me totally into metal when I was a little kid because he was my mother’s younger brother, so he was closer to my age, and took me under his wing.”
As his mother was not interested in paying a storage fee on the remains, nor in buying a burial plot, his nephew stepped in to take care of Filip. Mom was a bit reticent about her son’s project.“When this first started happening, she was really upset,” said Midnight, who is on Instagram as princemidnightx. “She said, ‘It’s sacrilegious. He needs to be laid to rest.’
“And as she was walking away, I was like, ‘You think Uncle Fil would rather be a guitar, or a box of bones?’ She threw her arms up. She goes, ‘Probably the guitar.’” And so his project began.
Knowing Filip had been a metal musician, Midnight wanted to honour him in an appropriate way. “It just popped into my head. I’m going to turn Uncle Fil into a guitar. And I was like, that is the best way to honour him. He would love that idea.”
He had to fuse a steel “spine” to the real spine in order to attach the neck, then he had to ensure it was perfectly straight so the strings would work. The spinal vertebrae gaps had to be filled in for stability, and the ribs were supported by connecting them back to the thoracic spine. Then he had to drill into the hip bone to attach the jack connection, and also connect the two ilium for more stability.
He wanted to use the skull, but it had been damaged over the years. Then he wired it up, using red and blue wires to imitate veins and arteries. Now, he says, “I feel like Uncle Fil is not just here figuratively; he’s here literally too,” he told As It Happens host Carol Off. “I’m literally giving my Uncle Fil hugs while he’s with me, creating, you know, heavy metal riffs.”
“It’s pretty metal to play a guitar made out of skeleton.”