New Heathens
24Dec/10Off

Christmas Eve and the Mercurial Kid

In early 2005 when I was putting the New Heathens together we auditioned a good-looking kid on drums who dressed in black, stovepipe jeans, a red, plaid shirt and sported an unruly mop of curly black hair. He showed up for the audition with two cutie-pie hipster girls in tow and they huddled in the corner of our dingy rehearsal studio and sipped Budweiser tallboys while we played songs.

My goal at that point was to put together a really good band, make a record and play our way up from the little clubs to the big clubs. The biggest of the big was the Mercury Lounge, a club renowned for its talent and selectiveness that has been a springboard for many a successful musician. Over the years I have begged, cajoled, schemed, angled and hustled to get a gig at the Mercury Lounge. It never happened.

Back to the kid. He was nice, but he played that straight, no-swing BAM-BAM-BAM-BAM ubiquitous indie rock beat that has just never moved me. We went with a different drummer.

About a year later I got a call from a police officer in Brooklyn saying he’d found the kid’s wallet and the only phone number inside it was mine. The officer asked if I could get in touch with the kid to let him know his wallet was at the precinct.

I sent a MySpace note to the kid (this was 2006, after all). He wrote back that he was in Wisconsin working on an organic farm and was afraid the cops laid a trap for him because he fled New York on his wedding night after he bashed a guy in the head with a wine bottle.

This year in the wee hours of Christmas Eve I finished playing a solo gig at Banjo Jim’s and went to the Lakeside Lounge for a nightcap. Who did I see? The kid.

He seemed really happy to see me and said that he’d gotten divorced and was living in upstate New York where he joined a militia. He also said he’s playing guitar in a new band called, “The Last Days.”

The foxy redheaded bartender who works Thursdays, was behind the taps and when the kid ordered a drink he lunged across the bar, reached around and slapped her on the ass. Immediately she told him to get the fuck out. The kid pitched a fuss and she called the cops. Before they arrived the kid and his entourage slinked out the door.

Before they left though, I chatted with a cutie-pie blonde, hipster chick who is also in the kid’s new band. She told me they have their very first gig coming up. It willl be at the Mercury Lounge.

“And the crazy thing is,” she said. “We’ve only ever gotten together to practice once!”

Some guys are just lucky, I guess.

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