The Band’s Garth Hudson saw some of his belongings sold off this weekend by his landlord in a Kingston, New York, garage sale after failing to pay rent on his loft space for about seven years, the Times Herald-Record reports. The multi-instrumentalist, most-known for his organ and keyboard playing, kept the space for storage. He stored everything from personal possessions and household items to handwritten sheet music, and among the goodies are uncashed checks, including one issued from EMI in 1979 for $26,000.
Hudson originally moved into the 2,000-square-foot loft in 2002 after his house was foreclosed on, but later reduced his space and moved twice. Mike Piazza, owner of the loft Hudson occupied, said rent checks from Hudson stopped six months after he moved in. Though Piazza tracked down Hudson’s representatives in Canada and the U.S., managing to secure some installments from them and Hudson himself, the payments weren’t lasting. Piazza estimates the unpaid bill to be between $60,000 and $70,000 over the past 11 years.
Piazza had also attempted to partner with Hudson’s former bandmates Robbie Robertson and the late Levon Helm to sell the items as a fundraiser, but Piazza said neither showed interest. The History Channel program American Pickers also made offers to Piazza but Piazza and the show’s producers were unable to reach Hudson’s lawyers for clearance.
Hudson’s Facebook page had a note to fans encouraging them to attend the garage sale and purchase items to allow Hudson to buy them back. “We were told everything there was sold,” read the note. “We were not seeking funds, but were asking purchasers to allow us to reimburse them for what they bought as we were not on premises ourselves.”
Piazza maintains it’s either sell the items or lose out on a sizable chunk of rent. “My intent was just to get rid of it,” he said. “I’m a real estate person, not a collector.” He has already made an agreement with an online auction company to sell off the music-related items on April 1st. As for the fans, they’re already on it: one woman bought Hudson’s household items and personal belongings for a few thousand dollars with the apparent intention to return them to him.