A rare instrument has been discovered in a lender on pledges after having disappeared for 40 years. The Internet has reunited him with his owner as someoneThese days.
The bass is back.
For a story it was 40 years in the making, the mystery of Smutty Smiff's stolen rockabilly bass got super-fast resolution this week.
To recap: on a freezing winter night in 1982, a touring van with all the instruments of The Rockats, the preeminent rockabilly group of the downtown New York music scene, was stolen in front of a restaurant near the Holland Tunnel. Among the missing gear was a very distinctive fiberglass bass with a giant "SMUTTY " imprinted on the body. This summer, a musician noticed him at a Jersey City pawnshop and posted a photo on Facebook. And then, after decades of peace - at least for Manny Vidal, the owner of H. Schoenberg Pawn Shop in Jersey City, NJ - hell breaks loose.is unleashed.
After the story of his discovery appeared in The Times, Mr Vidal faced a wave of criticism online and decided to return the instrument to its rightful owner, the tattooed Rockats legend, Smutty Smiff.
As Smutty lives in Iceland, band guitarist Barry Ryan planned to meet Mr. Vidal at the pawnshop on T on Thursday afternoon, sign a waiver and haul the bass to a storage facility that 'he keeps in Jersey City.
Mr. Vidal, who originally requested $ 500 compensation for the bass found, was baffled by the response online. Several angry people called his pawnshop, shouting for him to return the bass after the story appeared on the Hfrance.fr website on Monday.
" It was like being ata Yankees-Red Sox game, ”Vidal said. “All this hate. People would have to wait until the end of the game to see how it went. And enjoy the game. Everyone is so quick to judge. " Image Smutty Smiff at his home in Reykjavik with a replacement bass for the one stolen from a restaurant in Jersey City in 1982. Credit ... Kristin Bogadottir for Hfrance.fr
Not everyone was so negative. Dozens of Rockats readers and fans stepped forward to launch a campaign Go Fund Me, to donate or buy the bass for Smutty and have it shipped to Iceland, where he lives with his wife and family.e NFT contacted Smutty about the sale of autographed rock 'n ' roll memorabilia. Others have offered to bring Smutty from Iceland so that he can be personally reunited with the upright bass. Among those willing to pay for the bass was Paul Schindler, a disturbance lawyer who worked with rockats decades ago and now offers free legal advice to smutty to help publicize the new record. group tour.
"It kind of restored my faith in humanity and karma," said Smutty, who has since called the Reykjavik homeless shelter where he works. “I have heard from hundreds of people that I haven't seen or spoken to for 30 years. Even though I felt bad for Manny. I told him that I had no hard feelings with him. He's a good guy. "
The Rockats tThey are finalizing a new album for Cleopatra Records, featuring Blondie's Clem Burke on drums, due for release early next year. Because they are planning a tour and will be performing in New York, Smutty decided to keep the bass in the metro area, rather than lug it around Iceland.
"Whenever we played here, Smutty always had to scramble to find a bass to use," said Mr. Ryan, who lives in Hoboken, NJ. "It makes no sense to send him to Iceland.
Smutty plans to visit the pawnshop when he is in town and to shake hands with Mr Vidal, whom he called regularly over the past few weeks as the drama unfolded. On Monday, Smutty told Mr. Vidal not to hand the bass over to anyone other than Mr. Ryan. "So many people called him and told him they would come and get him for me," Smutty said. "But I do not trustance to no one. Next thing you know, someone will demand $ 5,000 or you don't get it back. We're talking about Jersey City here. "
Smutty has every reason to be suspicious. Tuesday, he said, someone un hacked into his Facebook account and encouraged a well-meaning former roadie of the band to set up a Go Fund Me page to raise $ 3,000 to send the bass to Iceland.
After the Rockats' equipment was stolen, Mr. Vidal, who was 19 at the time and not yet working in the pawn shop industry, came across a man with the bass, with its unusual pink and blue trims, in a garage in Hoboken. A bass player himself, Mr Vidal said he traded his own electric Fender Precision for it, not knowing it had been stolen. kept it for almost 40 years, but never tried to sell it.
Mr. Ryan, whose Gretsch Country Gentleman guitar was stolen along with the rest of the Rockats' gear in 1982, plans to tell Mr. Vidal to keep an eye on his instrument. “If you see my Gretsch, shout at me,” he said, “and we'll do this story again. "