NewsJanuary 29, 2024 7:54 PM ET3,007 views

Russian Circles' stolen guitars returned after drug bust

Russian Circles Stolen Guitars

Russian Circles recently saw the return of a few guitars, including guitarist Mike Sullivan's Gibson Les Paul and bassist Brian Cook's First Act custom "bearitone" (with custom bear inlays), as well as an Electric Guitar Company Series 2 bass, which was stolen in 2021 during a tour in California with Korn and System of a Down

The Series 2 bass was found at Gottschalk Music Center whose employees recognized it when someone was trying to sell it to their store. The Les Paul and First Act "Bearitone" were recovered during a drug bust in California and had to be held as evidence before being returned to the band.

The band explained:

As some of you may remember, Russian Circles were robbed back in October 2021 while we were on tour in California. In addition to the band and crew losing the majority of our equipment, we lost a bunch of personal items and a costly amount of rented and borrowed gear. We were hit with another potentially devastating loss when the tour was canceled after the next show due to the headlining band having a COVID case in their ranks. 

It was a difficult and unfortunate moment for the band, but the overwhelming kindness of the public helped restore our faith in humanity. Through the generosity of friends, fans, and gear companies, we were able to recover from the material and financial loss of losing everything in the immediate aftermath of the already difficult stretch of 2020 and 2021. Just in case it hasn't said enough already, thank you so much to everyone that helped us get back on our feet. 

An enormous thank you is due to the everyone that shared the news and stolen gear list on social media. The news traveled quickly and broadly. Whether we were buying replacement cables at Guitar Center or ordering a pedal from a shop in the Midwest, if we mentioned the robbery, folks had heard about the incident and shared their condolences. It meant the world to us to know that people felt our pain and were on the lookout. 

The most devastating losses were the guitars. These were vintage guitars and custom shop builds that had been our primary instruments for years. They were both deeply personal tools and extremely difficult (if not impossible) items to replace.

We are beyond thrilled to announce that we have been reunited with several of these instruments in recent months. The Electric Guitar Company bass would never have come back into our possession if not for folks spreading the news about the theft. A huge shoutout is due to Jon Abelton and his coworkers at Gottschalk Music Center for recognizing the bass when someone was trying to sell it to their store. 

Mike's Gibson Les Paul and Brian's First Act "bearitone" were recovered in a drug bust somewhere in California. All three instruments had to be held as evidence. And even after they were cleared by the police, it took time to coordinate getting these guitars back into our hands. It's been a long process, but we're simply thrilled to be reunited with these guitars. 

It can be said enough: thank you to everyone for their help in this recovery. Whether you re-posted the gear list, sent a donation our way, picked up a shirt at the merch table, kept an eye out on craigslist, or even just shared your sympathies, it all meant a lot to us and helped us get back to business. Aside from some microphones recovered in a car chase and some pedals spotted in a pawn shop (which, by CA law, had to be purchased back), nothing else has turned up. But these guitars were easily the most cherished and/or irreplaceable items, and we can't understate the joy felt in having them back. Thank you so much.


At the time, the band had reported the following gear missing:

Electrical Guitar Company Series 2 bass
First Act custom baritone guitar (with custom bear inlays)
Gibson Les Paul Custom '85
Gibson Les Paul Custom '87
Two Quilter Overdrive 202 amps
Two Darkglass 2x12 bass cabinets
Emperor 4x12 guitar cabinet 
Peavey 4x12 guitar cabinet
Moog Minitaur
Keith McMillan 12 Step midi controller
Pedaltrain Pro 3 pedalboard and case
Radial JDX DI

Cry Baby bass wah
AKAI Headrush E2
Digitech Bass Whammy
Electroharmonix POG2 
Darkglass Alpha Omega Ultra
TSVG Hard Stuff
Fuzzrocious 420 Fuzz
Fuzzrocious Rat Tail
Earthquakes Devices Afterneath
Boss TU-2
Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2

sE 4400a X2
Senheiser md421 X2
Senheiser e609
Senheiser e904 X2
Senheiser e604
Heil PR40
Telefunken M-82
Audio Technica AE3000
AKG c451 E
Beyer TGD71
Shure Beta57a

4-24" Istanbul xist ride cymbal
2-22" Istanbul Mel Lewis ride
1-15" Istanbul mixed hi hats 
3-Ludwig atlas boom stands
1-9000 dw hi hat stand
2-9000 dw snare stands 
1- Ludwig throne 
1-trick kick pedal
1-tune bot

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