Neutral Milk Hotel’s 1998 album, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, is considered to be one of the greatest records of all-time by hipsters across the globe, so it’s no surprise that the banjo used by band member Julian Koster on the classic LP went for a sky-high price during a Kickstarter fund drive.
The instrument (packaged with a wide of array of other fan-friendly prizes) went for $3,000 and will help fund a tour by The Music Tapes, one of Koster’s other musical outfits. That hefty amount is a pretty big chunk of the $5,000 desired by the band, who plan on literally bringing a circus to each performance. The Music Tapes’ ambitious fall tour will include “music, games, stories, films and amusements,” according to the group’s Kickstarter page.
The uniquely-shaped banjo is built on a series of wooden blocks and features an elephant painted on it. As part of the deal, Koster will also paint a custom picture on the instrument for the buyer.
If Koster was hoping to hang on to the banjo, which he played on several other records and used at every Neutral Milk Hotel concert and most Music Tapes gigs, he probably could’ve waited awhile to offer it as a prize. The pledge drive passed $5,000 in donations long ago, having raised over $10,500 by late last week. After all, Spin calls $3,000 for the banjo “a pretty paltry amount considering its place in psych-rock lore.”