Jennifer “Spags” Spingola and her blue violin have been around the world. The flying V, six-string electric violin was made for her nine years ago by Wood Violins of New York. “It’s one of a kind. There has never been one made with that finish.” She’s backed Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider and opera tenor Nick Palance on the road. She’s played Europe and Africa on USO-style tours backing country singer Brian Space. Locally, Spags plays with Dave Matthews tribute band Stepping Feet. She thought her band was messing with her when they played R.T.’s Longboard Grill in P.B. on May 21.
“I brought in my gear and set it to the side of the stage just like I do every night. I wait for the lead singer to set up his gear, then I set up. I looked down to where my gear was supposed to be, and it wasn’t there. For a good hour I thought the band was playing a joke on me. I pulled them all aside separately and asked them if they were playing a joke. They all said no, but I still wasn’t convinced. Then I asked the manager if the band was all in on the joke.”
It was no joke. Someone walked off with her violin that night. Total loss: $5000. “One of the bows is worth $1000.… It took me until the next day to accept that it actually happened. I looked in my trunk at home countless times as if it would magically reappear.… Whoever took it has no idea how devastating it was to me. It was like losing my only child. I couldn’t get out of bed for days, I was so depressed. After three months, I’m just now feeling normal.”
She says she has filed a police report. “Pawn shops aren’t very nice. They say there is not much they can do since it doesn’t have a serial number.… It’s so obviously a one-of-a-kind, I don’t know where anyone would go to try and sell it. This happened to someone else. Three years later the owner found someone trying to sell it on the internet. So, there’s still hope.”
Spags was able to borrow another instrument made by Wood Violins and has not missed any gigs. She’s currently backing country singer Danielle Tucker on a new project.
“When I went back [to Longboard’s] the next day to hang [missing violin] flyers, the manager said someone else’s vintage guitar just got stolen the week before. Our keyboard player, Jeremy Miller, had his keyboard stolen about a year ago from their parking lot. Some people think somebody is targeting the people who play at Longboard’s. It could be a random person. I’d hate to think that it would be someone I know.”
Anyone with info should contact SteppingFeet.com. Spags and Stepping Feet appear August 28 at Anthology.