Somerville Guitar Co. donating proceeds over next four years to human rights groups

In 1941, Woody Guthrie famously performed with a guitar armed with a pointed message: “This Machine Kills Fascists”. Seventy-five years later, Somerville’s Nick Murphy is making sure fellow musicians are still in tune.

Murphy, who plays in electronic-pop trio Pale Hands, also owns and operates Somerville Guitar Co., where he fixes and restores guitars and set-ups. It’s a part time gig for him, and now, faced with a Donald Trump presidency, he announced earlier this week that he is donating proceeds from his work over the next four years to “various institutions that need our help.” The human rights and advocacy groups to benefit from his gesture include the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, Center for Reproductive Rights, International Refugee Assistance Project, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and others.

Murphy came up with the idea last week while on his honeymoon in St. Lucia. Like many, he was started and shaken by Trump’s victory on Election Day.

“Right now I have a ‘real’ job I care about,” Murphy writes on Somerville Guitar Co.’s tumblr page. “I work with my family and great team of hardworking folks in Atlanta where we work with University Presses in order to increase outreach of their educational texts. Guitar work is not my primary source of income and probably never will be — I usually blow the money I make from SGC on beer or cycling kits. I enjoy working on guitars for friends, friends-of-friends and complete strangers. I like working with my hands, getting people’s music making tools back up to playing snuff so they can write songs about love, injustice, depression and anything else their heart tells them to write. Make the world shake with your music — I just want to make sure you can rely on your hammer and nails.”

If someone opposes his decision to donate to the groups cited above, Murphy says he will not turn that person away.

“If you feel so strongly that you do not want your money to go to these institutions, I will not refuse to serve you,” he writes. “Instead when you come over, I want you to bring a 6 pack of your favorite beer, some canned goods for a local food bank (I’m sure we can at least agree on that) and give 30 minutes of your time to talk.”

Murphy ends his message with another quote, from Pete Seeger and his iconic banjo, which was inspired by Guthrie’s: “This Machine Surrounds Hate.” Read it in full below.