Last week, we reported on the story of Prince Midnight, a Florida man who apparently made an electric guitar out of the bones of his deceased uncle. Now, local reporters have called into question the legitimacy of the story, noting that he bears a resemblance to a local performance artist with a history of fooling newspapers.
Prince Midnight, whose real name appears to be Yaago Anax, presented the story of the Skelecaster thusly: his uncle Filip died in a road accident (reported as both a motorcycle accident and a car accident by different sources) in 1996. His skeleton was donated to a college in Greece, and when it was no longer needed it was returned to the family. Filip was a proud metalhead, and so Anax decided to honour his memory by creating the Skelecaster.
There are numerous strange things about this story, beyond the obvious. The conflicting nature of the accident can be chalked up to different language being used to describe the same thing. However, Huffington Post’s story on the guitar notes: “friends familiar with making guitars from scratch warned him that a bone guitar wouldn’t sound as good as one made from wood, but Prince Midnight was undeterred” and quotes him as saying “I didn’t care” in relation to these concerns.
It’s perhaps hard to believe that the tonal quality of the guitar is the only concern his guitar-making friends had about the project. Was this a subtle joke about the guitar world’s obsession with tonewood? Or was it really the most notable thing his guitar-making friends said to him, upon hearing that he would make a telecaster out of a skeleton?
These odd details were maybe what gave reporters local to the Tampa Bay area some deja-vu. Two, in particular, have publicly questioned the story: editor in chief of Tampa Bay’s Creative Loafing, Ray Roa, and Christopher Spata of the Tampa Bay Times.
Spata acknowledges the effort that has been put into creating a backstory, if it is indeed created. Prince Midnight has an EP on Spotify, one consisting of unique vibraphone-based black metal. His social media has been active for months, and he’s appeared as Anax all the way back in September on an episode of the Grand National Championships podcast.
Notably, that’s where the trail for Yaago Anax runs cold. There is seemingly no trace of his presence on the internet before his first social media posts from last year or the podcast episode. That is, in a world driven by social media, rather hard to achieve.
To create such a backstory, Spata posits, you’d have to be some sort of “comedic savant.”
Odilon Ozare – the man who holds the Guinness World Records for the World’s Tallest Hat and Longest Acrylic Nails – also hails from Tampa, and Spata’s assertion is that he and Anax might be the creation of the same trickster. Roa also draws a lot of parallels between the two stories.
When the news broke of Ozare’s record-breaking hat, Spata noted that “there is no record of his existence,” and noted that, as is the case with the Skelecaster, Ozare’s backstory is as unbelievable as it watertight.
In the case of the Skelecaster, Prince Midnight has asserted that he came by the skeleton because the Greek Orthodox church looks down on cremation, and the cost of a grave in Greece was over $150,000. Both of these things are true. A cursory Google of either topic leads to a slew of news articles about the “Greek Burial Crisis.”
This echoes a detail of Spata’s reporting on Odilon Ozare and his eccentric personality and backstory. Ozare mentioned in an interview that he recounted “his time making hats for the sultan of Brunei — fleeing that nation only after wearing a Santa Claus hat became punishable with prison,” and details like this made him begin to question things. But in 2015, Brunei did indeed ban Santa hats.
Whether these eccentric details made more or less believable by the fact they’re easily verified, it’s hard to say. While the details are true, they could also be being used to add veracity to what is, when you step back, a rather unbelievable set of events. That’s not to say the Skelecaster story is false or that Prince Midnight/Yaago Anax is definitely a character. It is, however, almost impossible to verify without more details.
Guitar.com reached out to Prince Midnight for comment. He rebuked the claims of the Tampa Bay Times and Creative Loafing, and asserted that the Skelecaster and its origin story are very much real.
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