About a year after Smashing Pumpkins issued their fuzzy, trippy debut, Gish, a thief stole Billy Corgan’s favorite guitar. The band had just finished a gig at Detroit’s Saint Andrew’s Hall in June 1992 when a friend who was acting as a roadie told him, “Somebody just walked out the back door with your guitar.” It hadn’t even been five minutes since the band finished the show, as Corgan recalls. “I was like, ‘How is that even possible? Where’s security? Where were you?’” He filed a police report and offered a $10,000, no-questions-asked reward for its return.
Fast forward 27 years…
L-R Billy Corgan, Alex Heiche, Beth James
The guitar made its way back to him via Beth James, a mother of three who doesn’t play guitar and lives in Flushing, Michigan, about 80 minutes northwest of Detroit. She’d spotted the guitar at a Detroit yard sale and plonked down $200 for it because she thought it would be a cool conversation piece in her basement. “I thought it was painted cool,” she says. “I literally don’t know anything about the guitar. I actually told my husband I only paid $100 for it because he would have killed me if he found out I paid more.” And there it stayed for the last 10 to 12 years.
This past December, her friend’s brother connected her to Alex Heiche, who founded Sound Royalties, a company that offers royalty financing to artists in need of quick money.
Alex reached out to Billy Corgan and after exchanging some photographs, he reunited the Smashing Pumpkins founder with his long lost stolen guitar. It really is a great story, read the article in its entirety below.
Billy Corgan Reunited With Stolen Guitar