Members of the Denver surf-jazz duo Whole Milk never anticipated that on a West Coast tour all their gear would be stolen.
The bandmates — guitarist and singer Alec Reid and bassist Mariah George — were set to perform at a house show in San Marcos, California, just north of San Diego on September 14. They had loaded their gear inside and were ready to play when cops showed up, responding to a noise complaint. Everybody was evacuated from the house.
“By the time we got back inside, all of our stuff was gone,” says Reid.
The items stolen include a Mexican Royal Blue Squire jazz bass, a gold Electromatic Gretsch guitar, an acoustic guitar, amplifiers, an assortment of pedals, the band’s merchandise, and the cash they had amassed over the tour. They've posted photos of the stolen gear on their Facebook page.
To help them recover, the bandmates have launched a GoFundMe page where fans can donate toward tour costs, legal fees and merchandise. They’ve also been working closely with the local police to figure out who was behind the crime.
A spokesperson for the San Marcos police department says a suspect has been identified but declined to share more information.
A DIY outfit that proudly supports other up-and-coming artists, Whole Milk considers San Diego a second home because of its supportive and eclectic music community.
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“Our largest following is in San Diego, so we’re out here all the time playing shows. We know a ton of locals who’ve been on the lookout,” Reid says.
Despite this incident, the band is continuing on its West Coast tour, including stops in Oakland and Portland. The musicians say they can't afford to quit touring, as music is their full-time job. Their friends in Flower Animals, the band they're on the road with, have loaned them gear.
"We’ve just been making it work, borrowing instruments until we can afford to replace everything,” Reid says. “We had one of those moments where you lose a lot of faith in the honesty and integrity of humanity, and twenty minutes later we had people helping us out in ways we couldn’t even imagine."
Donate to Whole Milk's GoFundMe page here.