Guitar heroes battle over axe as Ronnie Montrose sues Gary Moore for '59 Les Paul
Oh man, talk about getting attached to an instrument! American rock guitarist Ronnie Montrose recently sued fellow fretburner Gary Moore for recovery of a Sunburst 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard that Montrose claims was stolen during an Edgar Winter Group concert in the early seventies.
According to the plaintiff, on October 10, 1972, he was in the middle of a set at Nichols College in Dudley, Massachussets, when he discovered that his prized Gibson—which he'd recently bought from guitarist J. Geils for $800—was missing from its stand. The show was immediately halted, the house lights turned on, and a search conducted, but to Montrose's shock and anger the guitar of his dreams had disappeared. It was the same one he'd used to record the EWG hits "Frankenstein" and "Free Ride", which would be released one month later on the multiplatinum They Only Come Out at Night album.
Although he would soon step out from Edgar Winter's shadow and garner success as the leader of the influential hard-rock band named after him—which also introduced the world to Sammy Hagar, who later found fame in Van Halen before forming questionable "supergroup" Chickenfoot in 2008—Montrose never gave up hope that he'd one day recover that vintage beauty with the killer tone.
The biggest breakthrough in tracking down the long-lost six-string came when England's Guitar Buyer magazine published a story in its November 2007 issue on Irish guitar great Gary Moore, the on-and-off member of Thin Lizzy whose solo career skyrocketed when he abandoned the hard rock he'd been known for in the '70s and '80s with a string of blues albums that started with 1990's Still Got the Blues. The multi-page spread showed Moore with some of his choicest guitars, including the one that Montrose says he wants back.
Not surprisingly, the defendant is not keen to relinquish the instrument—especially now that its current worth has been estimated at US$500,000. So Montrose filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, which you can read in PDF form here.
Considering it's been nearly 37 years since the guitar was first reported stolen, the chances seem slim that Montrose will ever reclaim it as his own. But it's our firm belief at Ear of Newt that Moore, decent chap that he is, should at least allow the long-suffering Montrose visiting rights with the sweet axe he's been pining for all this time. Who knows, maybe Moore will even consent to Montrose taking supervised custody for a night or two.
Wouldn't bet on it, though.
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