Billy Corgan is Reunited with Stolen ‘Gish’-Era Stratocaster

(Image credit: Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Billy Corgan was recently reunited with the Seventies-era Fender Stratocaster he used to record the Smashing Pumpkins’ 1991 debut album, Gish. The guitar, essential to the band’s early sound and decorated by Corgan with a custom psychedelic design, was stolen in June 1992 after a Pumpkins gig at St. Andrew’s Hall in Detroit.

But according to a report on, a woman named Beth James living in Flushing, Michigan, had the beloved instrument in her basement for a decade or so, after purchasing it at a local yard sale for $200. After a friend notified her that the instrument might in fact belong to the Smashing Pumpkins frontman, she began attempting to contact the band via various channels. A meeting was eventually organized by music finance company Sound Royalties, a company that has worked with the likes of Lil Wayne and Rich Robinson, and the guitar was returned to Corgan.

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.