On June 30, 2012 the home of my good friend was robbed. His home is also our band rehearsal and recording space.
Thieves took ten instruments, computers, a television plus lots of personal items. Even including a box of granola bars. I guess ripping people off is hard work and you need to stop for a snack.
The truly sad part is that my friend is the kindest person you’ll ever meet. Even to the point that if you’d asked, he’d probably have given you the items that were stolen. In fact I’m sure that over the years he’s given more than ten instruments to various people. One story is of a singer that he gave a mandolin to. Saying, “I think you’d look real pretty playing this.”
And that’s the kind of benevolent person he is. So why would a bunch of thugs violate the home of such a nice guy. It’s just one of mysteries of our society. The kind of thing you can’t ever quite get your mind around. And it leaves you with that feeling of being violated and takes your faith in humanity to a very low place.
A good friend that has known people that have been involved in crime, says that in those circles there is a kind of code of honour. Thieves see televisions and stereos as fair game, but draw the line at musical instruments. Possibly because most musicians are dirt poor. Often the only thing of value they have is a beat up old guitar. Or possibly because musical instruments, unlike most inanimate objects, have a kind of soul. Or at least they help us connect with our own soul through the music we play. Apparently, these ‘people’ have no honour.
What’s even worse, and apparently part of the mind set, is that when you are invading another person’s privacy is that you should show disrespect in a way that you would never do to someone’s face. This involves basically trashing the home you are in.
In a way it makes you angry. But it also makes you sad. What has happened in the lives of these supposed sub humans that brings them to have so little regard for others. It can only be that they’ve suffered the same lack of respect and absence of love in their own lives and upbringing. So in that way, you must feel sorry for them. They only deserve our pity and forgiveness, not our anger.
Some of the items taken from the house were easily replaced. Things like a newer Fender bass and guitar. But others have long histories and much sentimental value.
Two guitars that were taken were gifts from my friend to our singer. One was a beautiful Larrivee acoustic guitar. Larrivees are high end professional guitars. But behind the price is the soul and the memories. A great number of our bands songs were written on that guitar and it has played at so many band performances. It’s loss brought a lot of tears.
One of the guitars taken was a 1941 Epiphone Zenith. My friend called it, ‘just and old guitar’. It wasn’t until I was searching eBay that I realized it’s real value. Today we think of Epiphone as a budget brand, but in the 1940’s Epiphone was stiff competition for Gibson.
Another was a 1962 Epiphone Granada. This guitar is highly modified from its original form and has piles of mojo. My friend has played it for many years. He has his own custom tuning that nobody else knows. So it’s always been the guitar you can’t play.
A Yamaha keyboard was taken. Our keyboard player had recently purchased it from a good friend that had had it for several years. We were only just getting to know it but it’s personality had made inroads into our recordings and pysche.
One of the most senseless losses was a notebook computer. The computer has little value and would probably be sold at a pub for fifty dollars. But the contents of the computer, the band’s recordings for the last year or so, is an immeasurable loss. I really don’t care about the physical computer, but the recordings represent so much time and effort and so many moments of music that will be impossible to duplicate. (See Third Album Masters)
On the day of the robbery the band was scheduled to play a Canada Day, but we just couldn’t put it all together.
Instead the band came together at the band house. After the police had done all their forensics we all cleaned the house, and in about an hour we were able to remove the aura of filth and disgust left by the criminals.
We ordered in food and ate and played music.
In a way it was like the ending of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. — The thieves didn’t steel the music, it happened anyway.
The positive side of all this and the reclamation of humanity, so to speak, is that so many people have come forward to help.
There may be a few bad people out there that ruin it for the rest of us. But for everyone of them there are a hundred good people. Our band and my friend found out through this just how many friends we have, and he has. You all know who you are. And it is through the help of all these people that there is a bit of happy ending to all this.
Through a number of connections and many friends we were able to recover four of the stolen instruments from a local music store.
And through a good Samaritan we were able to recover the two Epiphones and the Larrivee. The three guitars were noticed in a pile of construction debris. Soaking wet, two people took them home, dried them out then called the police. They also found our ad on Craigslist. The cases suffered damage, but the guitars and mostly in fine shape.
Some of the items have returned home. Some are in police lockups. And, some may have been recovered. Others may just be gone forever.
But starting this pass week, the band is recording again and life is returning, mostly, to normal.
We owe a huge thank you to all of you that helped in anyway, large or small. Some of you for returning our stuff. But especially to everyone one of our friends for returning our faith in the good of most people.
Our love and gratitude go out to you!