And now a story with a little bit of everything, including music, drug addiction, a hint of semi-local Florida news and a brief mention of Jack Black. Yesterday it was reported that Joseph Gaydos, best known for his portrayal as Zack, the buttoned-up and snooty guitar virtuoso from the Jack Black film “School of Rock”, was facing felony charges stemming from a spree of music-store thefts that spanned three Florida counties, including Sarasota, Charlotte and Manatee. The 27-year-old Punta Gorda resident was arrested at a Sam Ash music store in Manatee County on February 11th after admitting that he stole a Gibson Les Paul, an instrument valued at nearly $2,000. Gaydos surrendered to a Sheriff’s Deputy and has since blamed his drug addiction for the theft.
Before his final ill-fated caper, the self-described self-employed musician’s taste in gear proved a tad more pedestrian. His previous exploits included stealing an Epiphone Les Paul from North Port Music on January 31st and a $700 Fender Stratocaster from Troll Music on February 7th. Thirty Minutes before his final theft, he stole an amplifier from a store in Charlotte. Gaydos said he had been using “non-prescribed drugs” prior to his arrest. The School of Rock actor’s prior record indicates a long history with alcohol and drug addiction, including a 2009 arrest for drunk-driving and a 2016 arrest for drug possession.
As inclined as we may be to regard this story as colorful given Joseph Gaydos’ marginal celebrity, the reality is that many, many people who are ensnared by drug addiction have been in similarly desperate circumstances. Gaydos is simply another casualty of the Florida drug addiction epidemic that has forced many into illegal and undignified situations. Recovery Unplugged sends our support to Gaydos as he endeavors to recover from drug addiction, rebuild his life and get back to making music.