Blue Notes

Blues Band's Stolen Gear Highlights Instrument Thefts in Houston

Guitarist Mike Zito and his band had gear stolen in Houston after a gig last week.
Guitarist Mike Zito and his band had gear stolen in Houston after a gig last week. Album Cover
Last Thursday night, hardworking blues guitarist Mike Zito from Port Arthur had his SUV broken into after a show at the Heights Theater. According to posts on Facebook, the missing gear includes:

1 - Ampeg SVT 7-Pro Bass Amp
1 - Sansamp Bass Flyrig
Misc Cords, Cables, Tuner
1 - 22" Sabian HH Manhattan Ride Cymbal
1 - 16" Zildjian K Dark thin Crash Cymbal
1 - Pair 13" Zildjian New Beat Hi Hat Cymbals
1 - 22" Black Padded Cymbal Bag w/ Levy's Shoulder Strap
Zito Pedal Board - multiple effects pedals; including 2 Mike Zito Signature Cast Engineering Peace Drive Pedals;
1 - Vintage Sound 35w Guitar Amp

In a story by KPRC, Zito said, "They broke the passenger window in and climbed in the back and pulled a good portion of all of our gear out."

Unfortunately, this is all too common for musicians. Nearly everyone who has been involved in music for any length of time has suffered some sort of theft or had a friend or bandmate who did. It's sadly commonplace.

Music promoter Mark C. Austin posted this excellent advice to Houston musicians on his Facebook page:

-When loading in and loading out, don't leave doors unlocked or gear unattended. It only takes seconds to grab gear and walk away.
-ALWAYS unload your vehicle of all valuables. That means even though you are exhausted and its 1am, take your gear inside and lock it up. DO NOT LEAVE STUFF IN YOUR VEHICLE!
-If you absolutely have to leave gear: Back your vehicle against a wall where the back can't easily be opened. Park in a well lit area. Cover your items in blankets. Tint your windows. Sleep in the van.
-Invest in GPS tracking devices. Tons on Amazon. Read reviews and find which one works best for your needs.
-Insure your vehicles and gear.
Other musicians have added their own advice to the post, which is worth a read.

In fact, it is relatively inexpensive to insure your music equipment through homeowner's or renter's insurance or through companies like MusicPro, which quotes $150 per month year for $10,000 worth of gear insured. It's well worth the cost when you consider how much could be lost.

Anyone with any information on the stolen gear should contact the Houston Police Department.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke