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Trooper's Paul Gogo appeals to Nanaimo thief for return of banjo

NANAIMO — Paul Gogo, a keyboardist for the Canadian rock band Trooper, has many instruments, but none as prized as a six-string banjo that was passed down to him from his family over a decade ago.
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Paul Gogo had this banjo for a good time, not a long (enough) time.

NANAIMO — Paul Gogo, a keyboardist for the Canadian rock band Trooper, has many instruments, but none as prized as a six-string banjo that was passed down to him from his family over a decade ago.

Which is why he was devastated to find the instrument missing after he turned his back momentarily to unload his truck outside his Nanaimo home last Friday.

The Framus six-string banjo is worth only a few hundred dollars, but is irreplaceable to Gogo.

It previously belonged to his late father, Ken, who also used the instrument for community work and campfire lessons.

Gogo has printed out flyers and made heartfelt pleas online, asking the perpetrator to return the missing banjo. He said he remembers his dad bringing the banjo home in 1974, when Gogo was nine.

“I remember when he opened the case, and the thing just shone,” he said. “It looked magical, and it still looks that way to me.”

Gogo is known to carry the instrument around everywhere as he does various charity gigs, teaches lessons and even when he goes grocery shopping. He said that when it went missing, he stayed up all night looking for it in the dark.

“Even my Trooper touring keyboard, if that thing goes missing, I can just get another one from the music store and plug my data card in and away I go,” he said.

“This banjo was given to me by my family when there was a time when there was turmoil in the family. It’s a very, very significant instrument. If I scoured the world I could find one like it, but it’s not the one my dad brought home that day.”

Gogo’s friend Kelly Matthews, who runs a local roofing business, said he hit every pawnshop in town looking for the instrument.

Gogo said he will pay for the banjo and even offer music lessons or his friendship in exchange for the instrument.

“This is not a trap. I hate to think that wherever this beautiful banjo is, that the people who have it are in fear or something,” he said. “They shouldn’t be scared. I’m friendly.’ ”

In the meantime, Gogo is playing what he calls a “dead, old Fender guitar” on his charity gigs.

He is asking whoever has the banjo to return it to his house or bring it to Arbutus Music. He can also be reached via email at: gogo@trooper.com.