The Four Kings played a local battle-of-the-bands show at the House of Blues last August.
“At the end of the show the four of us were taking different trips up and down the loading elevator,” says singer Drew Bent about their postshow equipment load-out. “Every band had all their gear stacked in this [one] pile. I ended up leaving early, and I left the other guys in the band to load up. No one was aware of what was accounted for. Nicky, our drummer, made the last trip down. He couldn’t find any more of our gear so they left.”
Bent’s Gibson Les Paul, a Marshall amp, and a Takamine acoustic – all of which belonged to his father, who’d passed away the year before – were left behind. Bent made calls to everyone connected with the show, filed a police report, and visited pawn shops.
“After seven months, I basically gave up hope. I thought some tweaker took it to L.A.”
Three weeks ago, Bent, who is a full-time student, says he was looking on craigslist for replacement gear.
“I was about to go to sleep, and all of a sudden I see this Gibson Les Paul for $750. I say, ‘That’s a pretty good deal,’ so I click on it.’ ”
What came up was his guitar.
“I look at the seller’s name and phone number. It struck a nerve, but I couldn’t remember who it was at first.”
It took Bent a while to make the connection: he says the guy selling his guitar was the organizer of the battle-of-the-bands event.
“I had tried to call the guy back after the show, but he never called me back. I never put two and two together. Then it all came together.… My friend Marco lent me his gear the whole time. He knew where this guy lived. He drove me to this dude’s house. I called the guy on Marco’s phone so he wouldn’t know it was me. I said, ‘What’s up, dude? This is Drew from the Four Kings, and I’m right outside your house.’ I told him that I wasn’t there to start any problems but that I was there to get my guitar back. He let me in, and I grabbed my guitar. He said, ‘Oh, man, are you sure this is your guitar?’ He said it was left behind.”
Bent says the night he got his Les Paul back, “All I could think of is ‘Where is my Marshall amp and my other guitar?’ I asked him where it was, and he was saying things like his partner put it in storage and that he would call me back when he checked to see if it was there. Of course, he didn’t call. The next day I shot him a text and I told him I didn’t want to get the law involved in this. I said, ‘Let’s keep it simple: You give me my gear back, we’ll wash our hands of it.’ He starts calling me a cop-calling kook. I told him, ‘Look, I promise if I get all my stuff back I will not publicly defame you and tell the world who you are and what was going down.’ I’m not a fighter, but I was about to do something crazy.”
Then Bent got some help from his friends.
“I called some common friends, and they gave him a little talking to. The guy calls me back a couple days later with a different tune. He said, ‘Hey, you must have an angel over your shoulder because I found your stuff.’ ”
The Four Kings appear June 10 at Humphrey’s Backstage.
– Ken Leighton