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Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit's Equipment Stolen in Dallas

Former Drive-By Trucker says band will have to become a 'barbershop quartet'

November 18, 2011 6:15 PM ET
jason isbell
Jason Isbell of Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit performs in Nashville.
Erika Goldring/Getty Images

Last weekend, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit had their gear stolen in Dallas, Texas. Their van and a trailer containing all of their equipment was parked outside their hotel near Love Field airport when, in broad daylight, someone smashed one of the windows and hot-wired the van. At one point in the following week, it appeared as though police had recovered their equipment, but that was not the case: they had recovered the van and the trailer itself was empty, with the locks knocked off.

"They had ditched it about a mile away from where it was taken, so they didn't keep the van for very long," Isbell tells Rolling Stone. "But I would've been much happier if they had taken the van and left the gear."

Throughout the ordeal, Isbell has managed to keep a sense of humor about the loss, posting on his Facebook page, "Theft is the lowest form of flattery" and "Dallas to Nashville. Travelin' light but not by choice."

Isbell says that by now, the Dallas Police Department doesn't seem very hopeful about finding the stolen gear. The band has spread their equipment list online using social media. "If they try and put it in pawn shops or take it to Guitar Center or something, it might be located," says the former Drive-By Trucker. "But I doubt that will happen."

Isbell says that this isn't the first time the band's instruments have been stolen, citing a similar incident in San Francisco a few years ago. That time, they had about $20,000 worth of equipment lifted from their parked trailer. "You can't take things that are sentimentally valuable to you on the road," he says. "But at the same time, other than family instruments – other than things that belonged to my grandfather – I don't really feel like I have too much of a sentimental connection to any guitars. They're tools. You're supposed to use them. And anytime you can laugh, it makes the situation a little bit easier on everybody."

The 400 Unit are currently off the road, counting their losses and securing brand new equipment. In the meantime, Isbell jokes, "We'll have to do barbershop quartet."

A full list of the stolen gear can be found here.

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