Sometimes bad stories do have a happy ending.
Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan had a prize guitar stolen 27 years ago and unbelievably he has been reunited with his Fender Stratocaster from the band’s ‘Gish’ era after all these years.
Corgan originally acquired the guitar from Pumpkins bandmate Jimmy Chamberlin, but after their show at Detroit’s Saint Andrew’s Hall in 1992, the guitar was stolen. 27 years later, Corgan was finally reunited with the instrument yesterday.
Corgan told Rolling Stone how a fan had contacted him with a picture of a guitar that looked exactly like the one that was stolen.
He said: “Somebody sent me a picture a couple of weeks ago of another one of my guitars, and I wrote the guy back and said, ‘How did you get my guitar?’” The fan wrote back, “Oh, it’s a recreation.’ He’d literally gotten the same stickers, worn them down in the same way and scraped the paint so it looked worn. You could have fooled me.”
It gets even better. Corgan decided that he’d see the guitar in person, unbelievably, he discovered that it was his original.
So where had it been? The guitar was now owned by Beth James, who picked it up for a measly $200 at a yard sale in Michigan. A friend of hers noticed the similarity to Corgan’s stolen guitar, she connected with music royalties expert Alex Heiche, who then contacted Corgan.
Corgan said: “It instantly changed the way the band sounded and the way I played,” adding: “When it was stolen, it wasn’t like, ‘Oh, gee, my guitar just got stolen.’ It was the guitar that affected the way I played and I was heavily identified with the guitar.”
You can catch the Smashing Pumpkins on tour later this year and hey, maybe you’ll get to see Corgan on the said guitar in person.