Smashing Pumpkins' William Corgan Gets Stolen Guitar Back 27 Years Later
Smashing Pumpkins frontman William Corgan has gotten back a Stratocaster guitar that was stolen from him 27 years ago in 1992. The Strat wasn't just any guitar: it was the one he used and got a distinctive sound with on the Pumpkins' classic 1991 debut Gish.
Corgan told Rolling Stone, "I’m literally gonna take it somewhere, and get it fixed up. And I’ll start using it. It’s a really valuable guitar to me. And I mean, the timing is sort of strange, and auspicious, and so I take it as a sign that it’s supposed to be part of what we’re doing." Corgan said he'll use it for the next Pumpkins LP, due out in late 2019.
The guitar vanished after a June 1992 show in Detroit, when someone walked out of the venue with the instrument five minutes after the band finished its show. For 27 years it remained missing, until this past Tuesday (February 5th), when a friend contacted Corgan with a picture of a guitar that looked like the stolen instrument.
Corgan verified that the guitar was his by certain distinguishing marks that only he knew about. The guitar made its way back to him via Beth James, a mother of three who doesn’t play guitar and lives about 80 minutes northwest of Detroit. She’d spotted the guitar at a Detroit yard sale and paid $200 for it because she thought it would look cool in her basement. It stayed down there for the last 12 years, until she decided to sell it to raise money to buy a hot tub.
Eventually word got back to Corgan, who James said was "pretty happy" when she showed it to him. Corgan said the guitar had a special meaning to him because, as he explained, "It instantly changed the way the band sounded . . . It was the guitar that affected the way I played and I was heavily identified with the guitar." He added, "I always felt the guitar would come back when it was time."