It took a man assigned to guard President Reagan to come to the rescue of a Dead Kennedy.
Actually, a Dead Kennedys' bass guitar. As in punk band from the 1980s and bass player Klaus Flouride.
Apparently, Flouride's 41-year-old Lake Placid Blue Fender Jazz Bass vanished after a March concert this year in Brazil.
Stolen? Maybe. Lost by the airlines? Likely, believes Flouride.
Whatever the reason, Vallejo guitar maker -- or "luthier" -- Tony Schroom is creating a replica of Flouride's coveted bass with the noted Dead Kennedy showing up to see the work-in-progress last week.
Both Schroom and Flouride are ecstatic that mutual friend Dot Hoadley connected the two after she inspired a once-downtrodden Schroom to attend a certified guitar-making school in Southern California last year.
"I'm humbled," said a grateful Flouride. "I've never had a tailor-made guitar."
These days, Flouride figured the guitar is more recognizable to fans than he is.
"It's sort of iconic," he said. "I change looks over the years. If someone saw a picture of me on the web page and it's not a 'Kennedys' page and they hadn't seen me since the '80s, they might not recognize me. But they'd recognize the bass, for sure."
Only Schroom and perhaps Hoadley could be as thrilled about the pending new-but-looking-vintage bass as Flouride.
"I'm stoked to do it. It (the bass) is iconic," Schroom said, happy about the pending credit for his new Shroom Custom Guitar Works.
As luck -- or coincidence, irony or alignment of the planets -- would have it, Schroom was a huge Dead Kennedys fan working as an elite Marine stationed in Washington, D.C. in 1983 when the DK's played at a community center near by.
Though Schroom said he "doesn't like to fight," he was, he said, "trained to kill by the FBI."
So when a trouble-maker picked on a petite female Dead Kennedy fan, Schroom came to her side and flattened the bad guy. The band noticed.
"Jello Biafra runs up on stage, gets behind the microphone and says, 'He goes back stage!'" to Schroom.
"So I go backstage with my Marine buddy and we hung out with the Dead Kennedys," said Schroom.
Fast forward decades later. Hoadley's known Schroom for years, watching him zombie through an ugly divorce and having no answers for his future.
"He didn't know which way to put his energy," Hoadley said, calling her mild-mannered friend "a heart on two legs."
"I just decided to do this tough love thing with him," Hoadley said. "I sat down with him and talked about what he would like to do and he couldn't stop talking about guitars for three hours."
Hoadley's father worked for the Veterans Administration and found G.I. Bill funding was there for those who fit the requirements. And Schroom did.
"Everything fell into place," Hoadley said. "All of a sudden, things started happening."
Hoadley said that matching Flouride and Schroom was "a paying it forward type stuff,"
"They're great people, both of them," Hoadley said.
Schroom has been on a natural high since Hoadley presented the job of replicating the missing bass. Here's a guy who wore black leather, studded belts and black boots while on liberty from the Marines.
Odd for the presidential security, sure. But that's who Schroom was, he said. And he wasn't alone.
"Three of us were really into punk rock," Schroom said. "This was a highly elite unit of straight-edge punks with the highest security clearance for military."
After the intense training at the guitar school 14 hours a day, six days a week, Schroom believes he's ready to recreate Flouride's trusty blue bass.
Schroom was going to surprise Flouride with the replacement of the bass made of maple, rosewood
"But instruments are so personal," Schroom said. "So I called him and said I'd really like to get some input."
Flouride, an Albany resident, may not have his noted Fender back, but he gets one that looks -- and, hopefully plays -- like the original.
"I'm just a little overwhelmed by this whole project," he said, recalling one other time his bass went AWOL -- but was retured.
"The bass was sent to Ethiopia when I was going to Milan," said Flouride. "But I got it back a day after a gig, so I borrowed someone else's."
While the missing instrument does have a long history with Flouride, the musician said he was never to the point of leaping off the Bay Bridge, new one or old one. A 19-year-old daughter helps keep everything in perspective.
"I'd like to get the bass back, but (more importantly) my kid's healthy," Flouride said.
Still, the instrument he bought for $200 -- getting the seller to reduce the $250 asking price -- is probably worth about $18,000 today.
Don't expect to see it on a "Pawn Stars" episode.
"That's not going to happen," Flouride said. "The guys on Pawn Stars would recognize something like that and call the cops."
The San Francisco based Dead Kennedys toured from 1978-'86, reuniting sans Biafra in 2001. It's said the band never intended to insult the Kennedy family, only to "bring attention to the end of the American Dream," according to Biafra
But the subsequent collision of fools...
Well versed in the subtle art of slavery.