Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan reunited with stolen ‘Gish’ guitar after 27 years

A belated happy ending..

Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan has been reunited with his Fender Stratocaster from the band’s ‘Gish’ era, some 27 years after the instrument was stolen.

The guitar, which Corgan originally purchased from bandmate Jimmy Chamberlin, was stolen by a man immediately after their show at Detroit’s Saint Andrew’s Hall in 1992.

But after 27 years of fake rumours and false hope for its return, Corgan was finally reunited with the instrument yesterday.

Speaking to Rolling Stone, Corgan described how a fan had contacted him several weeks ago with a picture of a guitar that bore a remarkable resemblance to his own.

“Somebody sent me a picture a couple of weeks ago of another one of my guitars, and I wrote the guy back and said, ‘How did you get my guitar?’” he explained.

“And he wrote back, ‘Oh, it’s a recreation.’ He’d literally gotten the same stickers, worn them down in the same way and scraped the paint so it looked worn. You could have fooled me.”

After deciding to check out the instrument in person, Corgan was stunned to discover that it was his original.

Before the belated reunion, the guitar was owned by Beth James, who purchased it for $200 at a yard sale in Michigan. After a friend noticed the striking similarity to Corgan’s instrument, she was connected to music royalties expert Alex Heiche – who in turn contacted the Smashing Pumpkins man.

“It instantly changed the way the band sounded and the way I played,” Corgan said of the guitar.

“When it was stolen, it wasn’t like, ‘Oh, gee, my guitar just got stolen.’ It was the guitar that affected the way I played and I was heavily identified with the guitar.”

Although it’s unclear whether Corgan intends to play the guitar once more, Smashing Pumpkins will head out on a European tour this summer.