Kingston musician hopes for return of stolen gear

The Savage Family Band, featuring (L to R) Benji Savage (Tom’s son) on bass, Bonz Bowering on drums, and Tom Savage on guitar and vocals. Tom has long been an active and influential part of the Kingston music scene, and is now hoping his fans, friends, family, and fellow Kingstonians might be able to help reconnect him with his stolen instruments and equipment. Image courtesy of Tom Savage.

A near-daily walk on the K&P Trail came with a hefty price tag for local musician Tom Savage on Saturday.

On the morning of Saturday, May 13, 2023, the longtime Kingston-based singer-songwriter had his vehicle packed and ready to go for a gig at Sam’s Place in Prince Edward County, before parking on Unity Road to get on the K&P Trail for a short walk with his girlfriend.

“Obviously should have done that the other way around,” Savage laughed.

He said they left the car for only about 30 minutes and returned to see it had been ransacked, his two guitars and accompanying gear snatched. The handle of the vehicle was completely removed from the passenger side door and the thieves then pried the door open and taken all the contents. 

While the gear and guitars have value, Savage is at a bit of a loss as to what the thieves are going to do with his records and band merchandise.

“The guitars are one thing, but they took all the band merch,” he said. “I don’t know what they’re going to do with, like, 20 Dead Root Revival t-shirts.”

While the crime made for a much more difficult show day, Savage said he luckily has a couple of other guitars and he and the band were able to still proceed with the show.

He noted that, while it’s not apparent if he was targeted, given the fact that he is a public figure and often goes for walks around the same time each day, it’s hard not to feel a bit paranoid. Savage added that people, seeing the rough situation he’s now in, have been eager to try to help ensure he can still do his job.

“There’s been a big outpouring of support for me and for the situation and lots of offers of gear and things,” Savage said.

“Had to patch something together, but the show must go on.”

Most notably stolen from Savage was his longtime Gibson Nighthawk guitar, a model that didn’t catch on the way some other popular Gibsons have and was only made for five years. It’s a rare guitar and not common to find on the resale market, with Tom estimating the value at nearly $2,000.

He said the value in it is as a whole — stripping it for parts is not a wise choice — so he’d anticipate someone would look to sell it to a collector. Given its rarity, he hopes and expects it will be hard for a thief to get away with such a sale.

He also lost his Epiphone Wildkat, recently modified with vintage pickups, and his entire pedalboard. 

Overall Savage thinks about $5,000 worth of equipment has been stolen, not accounting for the sentimental value of certain items and the massive inconvenience. 

The theft has been reported to police and local pawn shops, and Savage said he’s pretty well known for using that guitar among musician peers all across Canada, so if it shows up somewhere, it’s likely to be recognized. 

With the way it’s already been spread around — a Facebook post by Savage has over 5,000 shares as of Monday, May 15, 2023 — he’s hopeful and optimistic he’ll get things back, but it’s a nuisance nonetheless.

“The word is out,” Savage said.

“It may take a while but I think it will come back to me at some time.”

Owen Fullerton is a Kingston-based reporter with the Local Journalism Initiative (LJI).

One thought on “Kingston musician hopes for return of stolen gear

  • Tom has been a long time friend and fellow musician of mine. Nobody deserves to have this happen to them, but least of all Tom, who would bend over backwards for any of his friends. To whoever did this, I hope your conscience wins out, and you can return Tom’s gear intact. Maybe it’s up to the police if charges are laid, but I’m sure that if it’s up to Tom, and he gets his gear back safe and sound, there will be no questions asked. Please do the right thing, and return his instruments!

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