Sonic Youth Get Stolen Guitars Back, 13 Years Later

09.25.12 Andy Cush

Thirteen years ago, a van holding countless pieces of gear belonging NYC noise-rock legends Sonic Youth was stolen in Orange County. When it was found a few days later, all of the instruments, amplifiers, and pedals were gone. While a theft of this kind would do massive harm to any band, it hit Sonic Youth especially hard. The members of the band are well-known for customizing each of their instruments, swapping out electronics and modifying switches and knobs. The personalized instruments are so central to the band’s sound that many hardcore fans speculate 2000’s polarizing NYC Ghosts & Flowers sounded the way it did because they were missing.

Within a week of each other, two of the guitars were found and returned to the band. The first a Fender Jazzmaster, belonging to Thurston Moore, was noticed on eBay by a sharp-eyed Belgian SY fan. The second, another Jazzmaster belonging to Lee Ranaldo, turned up on “a forum of geeks for these kind of guitars” after being put up for sale at a pawn shop, according to Ranaldo.

Much of the missing gear remains missing, but for two of the stolen guitars to turn up one after another, after 13 years, is a pretty strange occurrence. Maybe, as Pitchfork and Spin have pointed out, its a sign from the fates that Thurston and Kim should resolve their marital disputes and get back to jamming together. Hey, we can dream.