Helsinki police searching for R.E.M. guitar stolen from concert
Promoter: "Finnish music fraternity is livid over theft"
An official criminal complaint was filed with the Helsinki Police Department on Thursday over the theft last Tuesday of a Rickenbacker guitar belonging to Peter Buck of R.E.M., who played the Finnair Stadium that evening.
The concert promoters Live Nation and Eastway waited for two days before fomally notifying police of the disappearance, on the off-chance that the guitar might have been inadvertently packed up with the gear belonging to the two warm-up bands at the gig, and that it would turn up when their equipment was checked.
The guitar was apparently lifted directly from the stage right after the show.
Mirkka Rautala, Marketing Coordinator for Live Nation Finland, said that the company had called around through Finnish rock music circles and that if anyone were to attempt to offload the guitar locally, they would be informed of it.
Buck had used the signature Rickenbacker ever since the band came together, a total of some 26 years.
"Any musician knows what sort of loss this is. This gives Finland such a bad press and a bad name that everyone in the music business here is livid about it”, said Rautala.
The American band’s website has a prominent announcement of the loss of the guitar, in which “a generous reward, no questions asked” is offered for information leading to its recovery.
There has also been much discussion of the theft on the unofficial fans’ message-board Murmurs.
According to instrument repairer Erkki Tola, who has specialised in electric guitars, Buck’s Rickenbacker would be extremely hard to resell in Finland: “It quite simply could not be passed on on the legal market.”
Aside from the sentimental value of the instrument to its owner, the guitar’s long history adds to its significance, for it is so strongly identifiable with the distinctive R.E.M. sound.
Peter Buck’s guitar is a black Rickenbacker 360 JetGlo, and has an instantly-recognisable decal of a "trucker's playmate" on the body (see pictures in third link).
R.E.M. Official Site
Peter Buck´s Rickenbacker 360 JetGlo