New Heathens

Chip Robinson Text Message Theatre

I wanted to share a story I told at last night's really fun benefit show for Chip Robinson at the Lakeside Lounge.

The reason we held the benefit was because Chip had a couple nasty spills on his bicycle. About a year and a half ago, when Chip and I were ostensibly squatting together in a Stuyvesant Town apartment, Chip wrecked on Avenue B not far from Lakeside and busted his shoulder. It seemed like no sooner had his wing healed that he tried to hang a turn off Avenue B near East 3rd Street over a patch of pavement that someone threw restaurant grease on. That wreck broke his hip.

Because it took him a while to heal, Chip lost his job at the Brooklyn bicycle shop where he worked. So he decided he was through with New York and was going to move down to Austin. Problem was he had a bunch of stuff he wanted to drop in his hometown of Raleigh, N.C. with his buddy Van, and he didn't have a way to do it. He tried to rent a car, but for some reason no rental car agency would rent to Chip Robinson.

So Chip did exactly what I'd do. He asked my sweetheart, Smurfette, to help him rent a car. She rocks, so of course she said yes. Later when we talked about it we both agreed that we'd do anything we could to help out our buddy Chip.

I did ask, "You're getting the full insurance, right?" We discussed the wisdom of renting a car for a guy leaving town because he wrecked so much on his bicycle. But we thought, Chip only wrecks on his bike. Here he'd be driving a car. What could happen?

We met Chip in the East Village one sunny Sunday and he and Smurfette went into National Car Rental and got a Chevy Impala together. With full insurance.

The next day I woke up to this message on my cell phone, Chip Robinson Text Message Theatre.

"Robinson, Chip 8:48 a.m.: Nate, i got rear ended by 3 mexicans in an Audi 3 miles from Vans house. Wtf? Could you get Kristen to call me b4 i call National? Jeez"

As Roscoe said last night, "Can't make this stuff up."

The gig was great. Boo and Elena from the Demolition String Band played a handful of terrific songs ("Misfortune" dedicated to Chip). Spanking Charlene crechendoed from their "Sad Bastard" guise, an acoustic duo rendition of Chip's song "Closer To The Light," into a raucous, full-band, electric rave-up. The Roscoe Trio kicked out a cool set that included Chip's songs, "Beesting Lips" and "Psychic Friend" plus Roscoe's tune "Forever Came Today," which Chip recorded with the Backsliders.

I felt like I'd been handed the keys to a Ferrari fronting a band comprised of Roscoe and Boo on guitar, Phil Cimino on drums and Alison Jones on bass. We did "Elemental," "Don't Think I Can't Stop (Just Because I Don't) - a song that could be about Chip's transportation woes, "Halo of Blue," "Proud Highway" and Chip's "Abe Lincoln." Later I joined the Roscoe Trio plus Jahn Xavier to play Neil Young's "Powderfinger," a tune that Chip loves to play.

Best of all we raised a good chunk of change, which Roscoe said he will send to Caitlin Cary to dole out to Chip in increments. Call it good insurance.

The impaled Impala.

If you'd like to donate to Chip's fund online, please visit Chip Robinson Ate Pavement here:

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