The 40-year-old mystery of Smoothie Smiff and the missing Rockabilly bus

Mr. A few hours after seeing the Ulrich bus, H.P. The phone rang at the Schweinberg pancake it was Smoothie, a long distance call from Iceland, where he now lives. At age 62, she is married to a family man, 10- and 14-year-old boys, 23-year-old model daughters and mortgages. He works in a homeless shelter with a fourth drug addict and hosts a radio show called Devil’s Jukebox. Occasionally, he would play a gig.

When a panshop employee replies, Smoothie, trying to quell his anger, names their birth, Stephen Dennis Smith, for fear that Mr. Vidal will not pick up his phone.

But Mr. Vidal picked up the phone.

Smoothie told him the story of the stolen bash, and how he wanted to get it back.

But Mr. Vidal has his own story.

He was 19 when Smoothie’s bus was stolen, and he himself was a buzz player. One day he was going to his girlfriend’s house in Hoboken with his Fender Precision Electric playing with a church band. “Here was this garage where all these guys used to hang out,” he recalled. “So one of them stopped me and said, ‘Hey, check it out.'”

Smoothie lived in the garage. Mr. Vid Vidal has never seen the Rockets and never heard the name Smoothie. And even though it was only a 10 minute PATH train ride away, the Manhattan music scene Vidal was not part of the world. He lived near Hudson County, including the town around Jersey City where he grew up, and the storefront church where he and his bandmates played Spanish gospel music every Sunday. They once took chords and bass lines from Kiss’s disco hit “I Was Made for Lovein ‘U” and reconfigured it for church services. “The man in charge continues to reduce our volume,” he recalls.

Mr. Vid Vidal didn’t have much money, but he wanted to learn stand-up lightning, so he traded his fairness for stand-up. The new bus moved from place to place with him over the years, first to Elizabeth and then to Roseley. In 1986, Mr. Vidal was working in a toy store in Jersey City when the owner of a nearby panshop offered him a job there. Mr. Vid Vidal learned the trade, and eventually bought the business.

Because ponshop can be a magnet for stolen things, Mr. Vidal said he works closely with the Jersey City Police Department, reporting every item purchased, asking each seller for a photo ID and social security number, everything recorded in a nationwide database. When a hot object comes up, the police are involved. “Nowadays, only a stupid thief would come to a pawn shop,” Mr. Vidal said. “They will be caught immediately.”

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