Much to the chagrin of Scene managing editor Jack Silverman, we here on the Cream admittedly don't spend a whole lot of time covering jam bands. That probably explains why we missed this news item from last year. If you're a fan of the local jam band Moon Taxi, don't count on noodle dancing to their sweet melodies and groovy grooves at 12th & Porter anytime soon. Apparently there is some bad blood (literally) between the club and the band, spawned by an incident in which guitarist Spencer Thomson slipped, fell and badly cut up his hand on the remnants of a lava lamp the band used to illuminate their merch table, which had broken on the floor. (Yes, a lava lamp. Keep in mind, we're talking about a local band who posts their setlists on their MySpace page after shows.) The result was a war of words and an out-of-court settlement between Thompson and the club.
At the moment, fellow-creamer D. Patrick Rodgers and I are fielding responses for the Scene's upcoming year-end Rock 'n' Roll Poll. When asked what band he's sick of seeing/hearing about, 12 & Porter proprietor Justin Roddick responded:
Moon Taxi for sure. Who hurts themselves on their own merchandise and then blames the venue for negligence? This band does.
Since I had no idea what he was talking about, I asked Roddick to elaborate, to which he responded:
Moon Taxi brought in a lava lamp for their merch table and it got broken after we closed when they were packing up. The venue staff started cleaning up broken lamp glass and a moon taxi band member slipped and cut his hand. The family hired an attorney in an attempt to get a big settlement from the club. The band refused to talk to us during the "investigation."...I probably should let it go but it got to me. I care a lot about these bands and thought we were all working together...I'm not sure how it all ends... I guess they are going at it with our insurance company. We were not found to be negligent so no case to get more than medical which our insurance company paid without question.
When asked to comment, Thomson responded with a different account of the incident, claiming:
I sliced my hand open on a pile of broken glass the club left lying unattended in poor visibility in the middle of a walking path. I almost lost the use of my left hand and suffered severe nerve damage. It was only after half a year of intense rehab and physical therapy that I regained partial sensation in my hand. My hand will never be able to operate like it could before the incident which is painfully frustrating as I make my living playing guitar. This could have all been avoided had 12th and Porter been more responsible in dealing with a dangerous pile of broken glass. I consulted a family-friend
attorney. We worked with 12th and Porter's insurance company to help pay some of my medical bills, cover lost work, and the huge rise in my health insurance. A settlement was agreed on and no suit was ever filed.
The moral of the story: A lava lamp is not a toy. Regardless of which camp you might side with in this little dispute, I think we can all agree that lava lamps are evil and lame. Seriously, I had one when I was a kid and it was more boring than having a goldfish. You turn the damn thing on and then you have to watch the lava just sit there looking like a psychedelic putty cock while you wait for it to get hot enough to move around, then you drop the damn thing and it ruins your life. Just ask Moon Taxi. I'm calling for a petition banning lava lamps in rock clubs. Who's with me?