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New Squier Bass for Fire-Stricken Texas Teen

Published: Thu August 28, 2008  News Feed

Surprise Squier gift for fan whose family lost all in blaze …

Alison Wimberly (center) with the new Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass she received from Blue October bassist Matt Noveskey (second from right). Also shown are Wimberly's mother and stepfather, Melanie and Carl, and a couple from her church group.
Photo courtesy Melanie Wimberly

Alison “Ali” Wimberly and her family were lucky to escape with their lives when their Smithville, Texas, home was destroyed in a June 19 fire that left the family with nothing. All their belongings were consumed in the blaze, including Ali’s most prized possession—her bass guitar.

Enter nearby Austin resident Matt Noveskey, bassist for popular Houston-based rockers Blue October. Shortly after the fire, Noveskey happened to see an online notice from Wimberly’s church youth group about the family’s loss and Ali’s beloved bass, and wondered if he could help in some small way. He contacted a couple with the church group and learned an interesting detail about Ali, who was about to turn 13 on July 3.

“It turned out she was a huge Blue October fan,” Noveskey said.

Noveskey promptly contacted Fender’s artist relations department in Scottsdale, Ariz., and quickly procured a surprise gift for Wimberly—a brand-new Squier® Vintage Modified Jazz Bass® guitar.

“That blew me away, man,” he said. “I thought, ‘She’s not gonna believe it when we give this to her.’”

Working with the girl’s parents and church group, Noveskey organized a surprise presentation at which Wimberly would be given the new Squier bass and some autographed Blue October merchandise, hopefully without embarrassing her. Practically everybody in Smithville knew the plan, but managed to keep it a secret.

When Ali stopped by her church on the afternoon of Saturday, June 28, with her mother, Melanie, and stepfather, Carl Wright, Noveskey and several church group members were there to give her the surprise bass guitar. Noveskey introduced himself, expressed his condolences about the fire to the family and explained to her, “We don’t want to see you quit playing because of something like that.” Then he opened the instrument’s case.

“She flipped out,” Noveskey said. “She was shaking and crying. Her dad even teared up a little—he got kind of choked up and he was very thankful.”

The Wimberlys—all of them—were clearly moved, and Ali herself was overwhelmed and at something of a loss for words.

“It was awesome,” she said. “I can’t really explain it. I was pretty happy, especially since I’m obsessed with Blue October.”

Noveskey, for his part, was also moved. “It was pretty powerful, honestly,” he said. “It might sound corny, but it really was. It made me feel great. The music business is so crazy all the time, and this kind of brought me back to reality a little bit. I got to see how music affected this girl’s life and how much this means to them.”

Wimberly later attended a Blue October performance in Austin as a guest of Noveskey, who even offered to throw in a few bass lessons to go along with the new bass.

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