Musicians make the wrong pharmaceutical and relationship choices in this week’s Dudes in the News.
Rock musicians are a breed apart—intuitive, rebellious, sensitive and tuned in.
They are also, at times, alas, kind of dumb.
We are not saying this is true of Michael Todd, 30, bassist of the popular decade-old band Coheed and Cambria (two million records sold worldwide!). But we’re not saying it’s not, either.
On July 10 Mr. Todd walked into a Walgreens Pharmacy on the agreeably named Pleasant Street in Attleboro, Massachusetts (population 43,645) and allegedly demanded to be given pills after showing a pharmacist a text on his Blackberry noting that he had a bomb, according to a story the next day in the Attleboro Sun Chronicle.
Mr. Todd allegedly walked off with six bottles of oxycodone (brand name: OxyContin, aka “hillbilly heroin”) and took a taxi to the Coheed and Cambria tour bus, parked at the Comcast Center, in Mansfield (pop. 23,303), where the band was to open for the ‘90s grunge group Soundgarden.
It seems brainless to travel by taxi directly to one’s place of work after robbing a pharmacy. But then, what do we know? We have not (yet?) participated in a stickup. Humbly, therefore, we defer to the experts.
Attleboro police dispatchers traced the taxi based on witness reports and contacted Mansfield police. Simultaneously, an Attleboro detective sergeant with the near Mensa-member name of Arthur Brillon acquired surveillance video of Mr. Todd’s Walgreens visit.
He sent pictures from it to the cell phone of a Mansfield police sergeant at the arena who goes by the irritable name of Larry Crosman. Sgt. Crosman found and confronted Mr. Todd in the tour bus. Upon being shown photos from the pharmacy video, the bassist admitted having committed the crime. He is due in court August 9.
For the remainder of their tour, Coheed and Cambria have replaced Mr. Todd with a multi-instrumentalist—that is, someone versed in multiplicities of musical equipment and modes—who is aptly named Wes Styles.
Incidentally, the cross street of the Attleboro Walgreens is Starkey Avenue. Ringo Starr, the drummer in the massively influential band the Beatles, was born Richard Starkey. Either, this is an exceptionally eerie coincidence, or it is evidence of Mr. Todd’s guilt or innocence.
Only the spirits of the heavens—those with whom creative artists, including musicians, commune—know which.
Do the spirits of the heavens look kindly upon sadistic musicians?
Let’s ask Jason Bernard Banks, 29, of Ambridge, Pennsylvania (population 6,985).
A July 11 story in the Beaver County Times reported that at 1:15pm on June 30 Patricia Mixter (no age given), Mr. Banks’ girlfriend, expressed to him dismay that he wrote love songs about other women but not about her.
Mr. Banks’ chivalrous response? Allegedly to choke Ms. Mixter and hit her in the face.
Police noted red marks on her neck and swelling in one eye. Mr. Banks was charged with simple assault.
Certainly justice must be done in this case. But should Mr. Banks be found guilty, we hope that in addition to meting out appropriate legal punishments the judge will sentence Mr. Banks to write a love song to Ms. Mixter.
In doing so Mr. Banks may be hampered by writer’s block; creating these sorts of things can be delicate. Therefore, in the spirit of judicial and musical service, we offer lyrics for Mr. Banks’ use should he see fit:
I sure will miss ya
If I am stuck behind bars (‘hind bars!)
Oh, Ms. Mixter
I wish I could fix ya
I’d give you the moon and the stars (the stars!)
Cuz you’re my girl, my whole wide world
You’re my angel (not angle!)
You’re so fun, you’re the one
I smack in the face (and I strangle!)
You’re so delicious
Except when you bitch about songs (‘bout songs!)
But no use in dwelling
On red marks and swelling
You are the ding to my dong (beer pong!)
Perhaps Mr. Banks could serenade Ms. Mixter right there in the courtroom, before judge, jury, and God Almighty Himself.
Thus would he be able to argue that gallantry is not dead; it was only momentarily in abeyance, not unlike common sense in drug-dependent (and –addled) troubadours the world over.
Dave Ford is a San Francisco writer whose work has appeared in Spin, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, SF Weekly, The Advocate, and a host of other periodicals. He writes the blog Dave Ford, and is a certified yoga instructor who teaches at various venues in his home city.
Illustration by Bion Harrigan. Bion Harrigan keeps his head firmly planted in the clouds and has done so since the earliest days of a youth misspent idly daydreaming, reading Mad magazine, and drawing scary monsters and super creeps. He continues to spend an inordinate amount of time daydreaming and drawing at his home in Maplewood, New Jersey.
Other dudes, who, previously, have been “in the news”