Editor's note: If you haven't read self-proclaimed Mayor of Ponce J. Winter's latest Nightcrawler columns, click here and here. And check out one of his older columns below. Even without photos, we think you'll get the picture.
Fri., Jan. 11
It's 6:30 p.m. and the text reads, "Louis goes on at 7:45." It's from Butch Walker. I'd better hustle if we're going to make it to Buckhead.
"I'll be upstairs," his next text reads. Funny, because it conjures up an image of him waiting for my arrival above his Ruby Red Studios with candles and suggestive music playing. He buzzes me in, and thankfully, it's just Butch. No candles or Keith Sweat. As a matter of fact, there's not much of anything.
Butch is back in town taking care of a few things after the Malibu beach house he was renting from Flea burned to the ground along with ALL his possessions. His Midtown pad is empty except for a couch, a baby grand, and now, a mayor.
We hop in his rental and bounce to Buckhead. It's a fairly anticipated show at the Roxy with San Diego's Louis XIV, Canadians Hot Hot Heat, and Britian's Editors. It's like the U.N. of corporate rock.
Backstage we head up an extremely tight spiral staircase into a tree house of sorts that overlooks the stage. Paul, the Hot Hot Heat drummer, is looking out a window into the crowd and notices someone, "It's that dude! He's at every one of our shows."
I already know before I look. Sure enough, front and center, it's former Creative Loafing cover boy and current Atlanta mystery Kenny Crucial. I explain to Paul that it's an honor to have him at your show, and the only reason Kenny is so weird is because he's Canadian. Awkward silence.
Louis XIV absolutely kills its set. Onstage, lead singer Jase Hill is drinking wine of out of the bottle. You can't take your eyes off him. He's half wizard, half Jim Morrison.
Free backstage Budweiser is great, but we need drinks. The front bar is definitely "Cougarville," and rock star Butch isn't the only one getting recognized. A cute little blonde whom I've seen around starts chatting me up. Butch buys us a handful of drinks and we set up shop to watch his boys Hot Hot Heat. Aside from having to follow Louis XIV, the sound isn't right and Steve Bay's disheveled vocal pattern is definitely an acquired taste.
Plus, he kind of reminds me of Sideshow Bob.
After the set, people keep asking me if I'm in a band and if Butch is producing my record. I finally say, "Yes." The only band name I can come up with on the spot is Hand Jobs & Sandwiches. Heat's guitar player assumes it's a punk band. "More power ballads than anything," I say.
Meanwhile, Butch and "Sideshow Steve" are trying to come up with the worst title for the band's just finished, yet to be titled third record. O'Brother, We're Out There seems bad enough.
Editors are holed up in their dressing room and never make a social appearance. Butch and I have a full night's adventure ahead of us. As a surprise present to Paul, I give my backstage pass to Crucial and we bounce south to the Loft to catch Butch's drummer's side project, Georgia. We get there and I begin to realize that the headlining band, Roomtobreathe, is Christian rock. So I slide downstairs to Vinyl where a buddy bartender always takes care of me. I meet a couple of cute tomatoes who happen to be Butch Walker fans. Like I always say, âIâm talentless ... yet well-connected." One is absolutely dynamite and wearing a dress that looks like the rest of it is still on layaway.
Back upstairs, its 10:45 p.m. and I believe we've caught our buzz. More shots at the bar and it seems our crew has doubled. And we're still taking applications. The cute little blonde from the Roxy rings me and wants to join us, so I sneak her and her more blonde friend in downstairs. I notice Vinyl is completely empty, and being the opportunist and gracious host I am, I decide I might as well play bartender for our new guest. Drinks in hand, we're back upstairs at the bar partying it up while the bartender with the Magnum P.I. Detroit cap is turning water into wine for all our religious friends.
We decide to keep the party going and head a tad bit south to Midtown's best kept secret, Halo. In a parking garage on Sixth Street, about 20 or so people are hanging out and socializing. As I walk past, I make eye contact with a girl and ask what's shaking.
"Uh, don't worry about it," she quips. "Thanks. Goodnight."
The crew is rolling deep now. It's myself, Butch, Cute Blonde, her More Blonde friend, and the half-dressed, dynamite tomatoes have rejoined us. I love Halo. It's just swank enough without trying too hard. And the L.A.-style speakeasy door underneath the Biltmore makes you feel like you've got something figured out. The girls there are always pretty approachable, but with Butch being a married man, it seems I might have my hands full at the moment.
Back at Butch's furniture-less pad, one of the blondes and I decide to head back to her new condo. I end the night in another unfurnished place getting fresh on the floor while listening to Hank Williams Jr. records.
I couldn't make this shit up if I tried.
So, no drugs, a hint of sex, and too much Christian rock â I've had one hell of a night. Mr. Walker, I'm indebted to you, sir. If only every wingman had your style and grace.
Your bank and celebrity don't hurt, either.
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