MARIN COUNTY — The Banjo Man is missing his banjo.
Stacy Samuels, the beanie-wearing Banjo Man who fires up crowds at San Francisco 49ers and Oakland A's home games by picking a lively "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," has been searching for his favorite banjo since he absent-mindedly left it on a sidewalk in Fairfax. So far, no luck.
"I miss it like an old friend," he said of the Gibson Mastertone banjo he's played at Candlestick Park and the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum for 25 years.
"It has a lot of sentimental value," he said. "It's witnessed some exciting times in sports, including a couple of Super Bowls."
The bearded, ponytail-sporting Samuels, aka "Super Niner," said he left his banjo behind after a Sunday afternoon Irish music session at the Sleeping Lady Cafe in Fairfax last month. The banjo was in its case when he put it down on the sidewalk while he adjusted some boxes of his signature beanie caps to make room for it in the back seat of his car.
He was parked across the street from the Barefoot Cafe, 1900 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
"I slammed the car door and drove away not knowing I'd left it on the sidewalk," he explained.
Because he often leaves his banjo in his car overnight, he didn't realize it was missing until the next day. He went back on the off chance it would be where he left it. He wasn't surprised it wasn't.
"I learned my lesson about not getting distracted," he said, sighing. "But how can you remember that?"
Samuels put some "Lost Banjo" fliers up around Fairfax, where he lives, but hasn't had any response. A week later, he filed a missing banjo report at the Fairfax Police Department.
Not wanting to appear foolish, he was reticent about going public with this but ultimately decided the beloved instrument was worth any embarrassment.
He said the banjo can be identified by some missing inlay on the headstock. And there may be a photo or two of the Banjo Man in the case.
Anyone with information on its whereabouts may contact Samuels' Interstellar Beanie Company at 800-232-6963. No questions will be asked on its return. There is a reward.
Samuels has been using a backup banjo, but it would be a nice Christmas present for him to get his trusty old friend back in time for the San Francisco 49ers-Detroit Lions game Sunday.
"Each instrument has its own character, and this one had a special character to it," he said. "It was a particularly good-sounding banjo. I played it at many significant football and baseball games, and it's held up to a lot of mistreatment."