Home Alumni Maxwell jams with blues legend

Maxwell jams with blues legend

During his celebrated musical career, John Paul Hammond has shared a stage with Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters, Tom Waits, and countless other legendary performers.

This month the Grammy Award-winning musician added a lesser-known (at least outside of certain musical circles) bluesman to his list of collaborators: Drake University President David Maxwell.

Maxwell celebrated his 70th birthday by jamming alongside Hammond during a free concert in Sheslow Auditorium on December 5. Immediately following the performance, Drake officials surprised their longtime president with a custom-designed guitar from Bilt Guitars in Des Moines.

The instrument—which Maxwell says he can’t stop playing—has the University seal inlaid into the pick guard, the initials ‘DEM’ inscribed on the fingerboard, Maxwell’s signature on the back of the head, and a blue-and-white starburst pattern on the body. Check out the video and photos below: