Ten years ago this weekend, I set out on my Kawasaki Vulcan 750 to meet up with Lucky Boys Confusion in Cleveland in the midst of their Suburban Curse tour! The events of that weekend inspired me to write about Lucky Boys Confusion in an attempt to capture the excitement of their particular brand of sex, booze, and rock ‘n roll.
Returning home after that weekend and returning to work was like trying to sit still in church with a car battery clamped to your nipples. I was still awash in the sound and the fury of LBC’s rock n’ roll mayhem and the frenetic energy that seemed to attend every pre- and post-show engagement, where a host of characters plucked from some macabre central casting agency in the seventh ring of a burlesque hell governed by Barnum and Bailey’s circus turned every room and every conversation into a single, uninterrupted pageant of reckless youthful abandon.
Those experiences and the many more that would follow eventually became the book Medicine and Gasoline: On the Road in America with Lucky Boys Confusion, a collection of road stories, interviews, and LBC history that was my attempt to capture the unique madness of their rock n’ roll decadence and explore those features of their music that have made them perennial favorites among longtime fans and those who newly discover and soon champion their music.
That first story, simply titled “Cleveland,” became the genesis of the book that would follow. I would have to do a lot more touring, collecting, and firsthand witnessing before writing a book, and so in the spirit of rock n’ roll, I followed their midnight parade across the country on a Honda Shadow 1100 and catalogued what I saw and heard.
The book is obviously creative nonfiction, which is a polite way of confessing to its fictional elements, but there is truth in its pages, and all of its passages amount to the most accurate portrait I felt I could make of Lucky Boys Confusion’s particular legend, even if the book itself still falls short of a professional standard. Today the book’s overall failings don’t bother me—they’re a part of the tapestry of Medicine and Gasoline and a reflection of the young aspiring writer who spent several years doing the best I could to bring LBC’s story to life with the help of the band, who gave me permission to write this book and use their song for the title. And of course, Kaustubh Pandav kindly offered to write the book’s awesome foreword, which perfectly sets the tone for the accounts that follow.
Ten years later, I’m glad to know that I still feel the same passion and excitement when listening to Lucky Boys Confusion, and I still identify with that 24-year-old me who burned to tell their story.
Here at least is an excerpt from the Cleveland story that appears in the book, and it features Rosemary, perhaps my favorite LBC character and an amalgam of various groupie girls who defied their groupie status in clever and convincing ways:
Excerpt from Medicine and Gasoline …