Whoever stole "Swami" John Reis' guitar out of his vehicle in Kensington on Saturday made more trouble for themselves than they knew when they lifted the silver-sparkle early-'80s Gibson Les Paul Custom out of the back of Swami's van.
While the value of a Gibson guitar like it would be in the $3,000 range, to fans of his bands Rocket From the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu, Pitchfork, Hot Snakes and Night Marchers, the value is incalculable -- in fact, thousands of them saw Reis perform with the guitar over the weekend when he fronted RFTC at Oysterfest.
On Instagram on Monday, Reis posted a photo of the beloved guitar, which has an "NEU" sticker on the back, "My Little Pony" and swordfish stickers on the front, as well as considerable wear on the neck, and some figures on the back of the body that are fading. Reis also filed a police report on Monday, a department spokesman said.
"My guitar got nabbed outta my car while I was working on Hot Snakes stuff at Singing Serpent [recording studios]," Reis posted. "Any info would make this crushed dude very, very happy. Off to the pawn shops. Police Incident #19991."
"Whoever stole this guitar, they just didn't know what they're getting into," said Brandon Madrid, who had made guitars for Reis. "It's arguably the most famous guitar in San Diego. It's been featured in a few books about famous rock guitars"
Madrid said Reis used the guitar on virtually every album he has ever recorded, with the possible exception of some early Pitchfork material.
While Reis is understandably upset about the loss of the guitar, he said on Tuesday that he was moved by the outpouring of support he had received on social media and from friends. For now, he's just hoping somebody will try to sell the Les Paul, which is why he's checking area pawn shops and Craigslist, hoping to get lucky.
If a fan's reading this and thinks they've located the Gibson, they're urged to contact the police and not to try to recover it themselves.