Almost three decades after it was stolen, Smashing Pumpkins’ frontman Billy Corgan was reunited this week with his favorite guitar – a hand-painted Fender Stratocaster used to record the band’s debut studio album Gish.
The emotional reunion took place on Tuesday, Feb. 5 at the Sunset Marquis in Hollywood, all thanks to the well-connected Alex Heiche, CEO of music royalty finance firm Sound Royalties. After being contacted about a lead on the guitar by Will Carter at Music Starts Here, Heiche coordinated a meeting between Corgan and Michigan resident Beth James, who had unknowingly been in possession of the guitar for years after purchasing it at a yard sale.
“While I always thought the guitar would come back to me somehow, I wasn’t sure from the pictures that this would be the time. But, I had to try. It had become a piece of me as a musician and key part of our story as a band,” Corgan told Sound Royalties.
“I’m so grateful to Beth, Sound Royalties, Music Starts Here, and everyone else who helped make this reunion possible,” he continued. “This is awesome.”
In the past, Corgan has offered up to $20,000 as a reward for the guitar, but James was simply happy to have the guitar back in Billy’s hands. Not wanting her to leave empty handed, Sound Royalties presented James with a guitar signed by Corgan.
“I never would have imagined that the yard sale guitar on my wall was worth anything, let alone being sought after by a rock legend who unwillingly lost possession of it,” said James. “Of course, I was going to do the right thing. Getting to meet Billy and seeing how excited he was, was honestly the icing on the cake.”
A music lover and musician advocate, Heiche added: “It was an incredible feeling to see Billy’s face light up as he set his eyes on the long-lost guitar. We’re thrilled that Sound Royalties could play a role in bringing a happy ending to this remarkable story. It’s these kinds of stories that bring out the real magic in music. Turns out, we don’t just find uncollected royalties for music creatives – we find stolen guitars, too!”
For more information, visit soundroyalties.com.