Billy Corgan thought his stolen Fender Stratocaster used on the Smashing Pumpkins 1991 debut album, Gish, was long gone. However, the frontman was recently reunited with the guitar 27 years later.
Rolling Stone covered the long-awaited reunion and the crazy story of how the guitar got back in Corgan’s hands.
The Strat was stolen after a show in Detroit in June 1992. At the time, Corgan filed a police report and offered a $10,000 reward for the guitar. Corgan would later up the reward to $20,000.
A number of people reached out to him over the years saying they thought they had the guitar only to discover they didn’t.
Enter Beth James.
James said she bought the guitar at a yard sale in Detroit for $200. She thought the guitar’s unique paint job looked cool and would be “a cool conversation piece in her basement.”
So, how long has James had the guitar in her possession? Well over a decade! It wasn’t until a friend saw a photo of the Strat in an article online that James learned it originally belonged to Corgan.
Corgan made his way to Flushing, Mich. where James currently lives. The photos below of Corgan are absolutely priceless.
James declined Corgan’s $20,000 reward money, She said, “It wasn’t about the money. I was just grateful that this was the right one and it’s his.”
Corgan, however, did end up signing a guitar for her as part of the deal, which is certainly a pretty decent “reward.”
Erica Banas is rock/classic rock news blogger that loves the smell of old vinyl in the morning.