Many years ago, I discovered the music of Olde English Spelling Bee. I was drunk and it was around 4:30 in the morning and I had downloaded Rangers’ Suburban Tours. I couldn’t believe the sound. I huddled over my computer screen and blasted this mutant chunk of desert-scorched plasma. The thud of bass drum crashing over those computer-fucked electric guitars. This was the shit. This record label tore up my skull!
I started buying a bunch of the stuff: Julian Lynch, Pigeons, Ferraro, Ducktails, Alice Cohen, Big Troubles, even the weird-as-all-shit headtrip Flashback Repository. I was spinning all of these discs at strange hours, really feeling that I had crawled through multiple dimensions, emerging with my ears ringing, covered in the sludge of a thousand dead horse whisperers (Robert Redford-like and blonde). A few of the records were lost because I was spinning them so fast on the turn tables. I think the Grippers record shattered after I tried to see how it would play at 98 RPM’s!!! Anyways, I was having a time with this music. Hell of a time.
I realized that I had to be a part of the OESB team. I needed to make a record that would get label guru Todd Ledford’s attention. So I quickly recorded an album called Double Exposure with the hope that Todd might sign me to a record deal. It worked! Todd was in, and pretty soon he was flying me all around the world to do promo for the record as his latest signing. We had an autograph event in Thailand, a meet and greet at a community center in Malta, followed by three days of plastic surgery in Dubai–Todd likes all of his artists to have “the look” … you know what I mean?
Anyways, with my new cheek implants and hair plugs I was ready for the big stage. David Letterman.
Todd and Dave were old friends in college, and he owed him a favor. Something about a bet on football, horses, or some combination of the two. No matter, we were set to play Letterman that coming Thursday. Todd hired an all star cast of session aces to back me and we rehearsed really hard for this.
We were ready to make it big. I even got a phone call from Scott Stapp wishing me luck. Unfortunately, it turned out that we had never been booked for the show and Todd had been lying to me from day one.
He wasn’t even really friends with David Letterman.
Back in New York City, I went to Todd’s house to confront him about his falsifications. I found him slumped over in his chair with three televisions blasting the music video for Mandy Moore’s “Candy”. I put my hand on Todd’s neck to see if he was still breathing, his cool skin felt like that of a mutant rabbit.
Suddenly, Todd lurched at me and plunged a Swiss army knife into my upper thigh. Oozing blood, I smashed his head with a piccolo that he had been trying to learn for the past five years, and was actually getting quite good at. Todd grabbed me and told me something I’ll never forget: “You could be a star Kivel. You just hit like a bitch.” That made me really mad, so I went looking for a rolling pin to hit him with. But then I realized: Todd doesn’t like to bake! He’s on a gluten free diet!!!
Just as I had this profound realization, Todd broke my spine by throwing all of his TV’s onto my back.
Last year I reconnected with Todd. He came to my hospital room, where I had been for six months, and fed me grapes and strawberries. He’s such a good label manager and friend.
Matt Kivel’s Days Of Being Wild is out now on Woodsist.