Edinburgh, Scotland, August 26th 2006
It was our final night of performances in the La Gayola tent, at Spiegel Gardens, in Edinburgh, Scotland. We were all in high spirits because, earlier that morning, we had accepted a Herald Angels award for our performances at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. This award, presented on a weekly basis by the Edinburgh Herald newspaper throughout the 3 week festival, is a huge honor. Basically, we were picked as best band at a festival featuring about 2000 bands. In addition to that, we had a near sellout audience inside the antique La Gayola tent, who were just as excited as we were. We were approximately halfway into our performance, when Betse asked to do a solo. Nate, Ike and I were happy to oblige, and went backstage. We were joking around with members of the band following us, when the night turned from triumph to terror... That was the moment when Ike said, WADE, throw the WHIZZER!"
As some of you know, I was a wrestler in middle school and high school. Coach Elder, my middle school coach, used to yell that phrase at me while I was getting my head squeezed off by a more powerful opponent. He would wait for my foe to reach over my shoulder, at which point he would scream from the side of the mat, "WADE, throw the WHIZZER! THE WHIIIIIIZZZEER!”. I’ve told that story on countless occasions, and Ike loves it so much that he often asks me to throw the whizzer in non-wrestling situations. I might be having a hard time tuning my mandolin, or fishing my keys out of my pocket, and Ike will shout, “WADE, throw the WHIZZER!".
So, we were joking around with the other band, when the subject of band wrestling came up. We all laughed about how we often kill road boredom by spontaneous wrestling and Ike, of course, told them about my old coach- the way he would scream, “Throw the WHIZZER!". We all laughed amongst ourselves when the bass player from the other band asked, “Just what, exactly, IS the whizzer?
Ike dangled his arm over my shoulder. I reach up, grabbed it high on the bicep and bent over. That's when I heard a pop, and the sickening sound of splintering wood. I turned around, and Ike's guitar was completely smashed in on top. He was still wearing his guitar, and it had been between us when I demonstrated the move. We were both in total shock for a moment, and I thought I was going to throw up. It had happened so fast. Ike was pretty cool, and said, "It will be ok, we will call Mass Street Music and get it glued when we get back." His nonchalance was hardly calming to me, however, and were it not for a complete ban on handguns in the UK, I would have gone out right then in search of an instrument of my own demise, in retribution for my stupidity.
By this time, Betse had finished her solo, and we skulked back into the La Gayola tent. She turned around, looked at my pale face, and said, “Is everything ok?” I just shook my head, eyes fixed to the floor while Ike held the guitar up, like a dead rooster at a cock fight, for the wall-to-wall crowd's revulsion.
He finished the show on a baby grand piano that was luckily onstage, and we have been borrowing and renting guitars ever since. I still feel horrible about it, but I’m going to follow Ike’s lead and just try to keep positive thoughts about its possible repair.
Mike Horan, if you are reading this, we will see you first thing Wednesday morning. Get extra glue...