I have the trumpet played by the bandleader (my friend’s father) in the opening of “Elmer Gantry”

What to do with all this (Good) stuff?

Thomas Balzac
3 min readMay 24, 2020


I’m old and have a few great objects that I can’t even give-away, because nobody’s convinced of their authenticity. Anyone else “out there” with interesting things that you can’t convince people of their story? Like the trumpet that Spanky (of “Our Gang”) played in an episode with the children performing as a ragtag band. Or a WWII ‘munition box filled with trumpet and cornet mouthpieces…many used by Satchmo, himself….

…Ah, “Matilda Gould!” What a beautiful antique painting-on-stitchwork depicting the lady at the well, which was rescued from a rubbish pile on Beach Drive just minutes before a thunderstorm hit…by my friend, a passenger on our way to the beach, who is studying to become a nun….

Hmm, should I dare show the public my ancient Chinese bronze urn with the contents of the late-great jazzman Pud Brown’s cremation, inside….

Wait, wait, I know! This one, this one! Anybody almost can relate to this one; well, anybody who was ever “into” Kurt Cobain and his band, Metallica:

I have this electric guitar Cobain tried to bust-up on stage during a show in New Orleans. If you’re into Kurt — and guitars — you’ll know he loved-most the Fender Mustang but played other models and other guitars too because good (and inexpensive) left-handed instruments are hard to find.

Unfortunately, Cobain had a habit of busting-up guitars on stage, causing havoc for his managers who had to run around shopping every pawn store in every town they played, looking for left-handed Fender Mustangs and such.

At the time I acquired this gem, my friend Andy was managing a music club on Bourbon Street. On Sunday mornings we’d get together at my place around the corner or his, down the street just off Bourbon, and share each-other’s cannabis stash; for a few months I was also teaching him how to play the guitar. He didn’t have one so he used an extra I had loaned.

One Sunday morning in 1993, I learned Andy’s sister had attended Saturday night’s Metallica concert at the UNO university arena on the Lakefront. She told him her boyfriend caught a guitar that Cobain had tossed into the middle of a moshing pit. The boyfriend gave it to the sister, who gave it to her brother, and — about three months later — Andy sold it to me.

By then Andy had abandoned his guitar lessons, it took too much time out of his busy schedule to practice and wanted to give me the instrument, but I insisted on paying $100 (a good price for a pawnshop Mustang at the time), plus a Hohner blues harmonica.

Years went by. I remember from time to time I’d joke with Andy that I didn’t even know who Kurt Cobain or Metallica were….

[Author’s Note: The foregoing is a fragment from a series of stories I’ve been working on for a number of …decades. “My Kingdom for an Editor!”] (: