“It kind of restored me to my faith in humanity and karma,” said Smutty, who called from the Reykjavik homeless shelter where he works. “I’ve heard from hundreds of people I haven’t seen or spoken to for 30 years. Even though I felt bad for Manny. I told him that I had no hard feelings with him. He’s a good guy.
The Rockats are completing a new album for Cleopatra Records, featuring Blondie’s Clem Burke on drums, due out early next year. Because they are planning a tour and will be performing in New York City, Smutty decided to keep the bass in the metro area, rather than lug it around Iceland.
“Whenever we played here, Smutty always had to scramble to find a bass to use,” said Mr. Ryan, who lives in Hoboken, NJ. “It makes no sense to send him to Iceland.”
Smutty plans to visit the pawnshop when he is in town and shake hands with Mr Vidal, whom he has called regularly over the past few weeks as the drama unfolds. On Monday, Smutty told Mr. Vidal not to hand the bass over to anyone other than Mr. Ryan. “So many people called him and told him they would come and get him for me,” Smutty said. “But I don’t trust anyone. Next thing you know, someone will demand $ 5,000 or you don’t get it back. We’re talking about Jersey City here.
Smutty has every reason to be suspicious. On Tuesday, he said, someone hacked into his Facebook account and encouraged a well-meaning former roadie in the band to set up a Go Fund Me page to raise $ 3,000 to send the bass to Iceland.
After the Rockats’ equipment was stolen, Mr Vidal, who was 19 at the time and not yet working in the pawnshop industry, met a man with the bass, with his pink and blue trims unusual, in a garage in Hoboken. A bass player himself, Mr Vidal has said he traded in his own electric Fender Precision for it, not knowing it had been stolen. He kept it for almost 40 years, but never tried to sell it.
Mr. Ryan, whose Gretsch Country Gentleman guitar was stolen along with the rest of the Rockats gear in 1982, plans to tell Mr. Vidal to keep an eye on his instrument. “If you see my Gretsch, yell at me,” he said, “and we’ll start this story over again. “