Fiction, Remixed

What follows is the “live album” version of a story from the COVER STORIES anthology.

SHT HAPPENED
By N. Pendleton

EXAMINE THE LORE:
In the beginning, the music group that would be known as SHTCinnamon was a quartet that went by the name Wayne Moist’s Good and Fine Audio Colostomy Bag Orchestra. Along with Darren and Gris was the group’s namesake and founder, Wayne C. Moist, and a man named Pete Moss. WMGAFACBO was a working band, playing the seedier side of the short-lived New England Bed & Breakfast scene of the mid 1990s. They were moderately popular on the circuit, their claim to fame being a John Cage-ish rocker called, “Hydrogen Peroxide in an Infected Ear (As Heard from Said Ear).”

It’s important to note that Darren, Gris, Wayne, and Pete Moss were intense artists all under the age of 25. Band rehearsals therefore were not serene. Fights broke out among the members daily over the most insignificant aspects of songs, instrumentation (or lack thereof), road accommodations, gig venues, payment splits, and food choices. Sometimes these tirades would end in violence. Hardcore SHTCinnamon fanatics have managed to collect some of Darren and Gris’ medical bill stubs from this period. One such collector, at the time of this writing, is in negotiations to acquire one of Gris’ statements that showed he owed $464.32 to the Tempest, New York, Bleeding Heart of Mary Walk-in Clinic for the, “removal of foreign object (guitar pick) from orifice (right sinus cavity) by forceps extraction via nasal passage.”

WMGAFACBO’s breakup has become legend in the upper echelons of SHTCinnamon fandom. The popular version is as follows: As the group was packing equipment post-gig (the location of which has been subject to wild speculation, some going so far as to claim, “I was there when the shit went down, man.”), there began a heated argument between Wayne and Darren. This was not uncommon. Even the casual observer could see that the two men despised each other, that in fact all four members of WMGAFACBO despised each other, but they nonetheless generated such a palpable artistic vibe that they had no choice but to write music together, perform together, sleep with the same teenage girls together, etc., ad infinitum. All to say, that it’s claimed a heated argument arose between Darren and Wayne over a note struck on the triangle during the bridge of the Manilow-esque face-melter, “Darwin Bites Coccyx.” Words flew. Then fists. Then chairs. Then fans awaiting autographs (“I was thrown, man. I was fucking there.”). Pete Moss and Gris, who’d had no stake in the argument, joined in the melee out of artistic principle. That night the entire group and five (or “seven” or “at least 20”) innocent bystanders were rushed to the ICU. WMGAFACBO spent two months in recovery from their wounds, and after discharge, the band split without a word.

NOW REVIEW THE FACTS:
Of course, the former is merely a story concocted mostly for and by fans of the quartet, by those with hidden agendas, by those who pine for the lost Wayne Moist days and those who may or may not have an axe to grind with the duo known today as SHTCinnamon.

The real reason for the band’s breakup is more complicated, and based on hard journalism. Wayne and Darren did argue after that fateful gig, as in the myth. But it was not over the bad triangle note struck during “Darwin.” It was instead over a misspoken lyric in the Tom Jonesian crowd pleaser singalong ditty, “Perry Dime.” Wayne had crooned, “Wapi ni cho?” which is Swahili for, “Where’s the bathroom?” Darren had flown into a rage because this was meant to be sung not as a question, but as a command, and Wayne bloody well knew it. Tempers exploded. Darren jumped Wayne, hissing and kicking and biting. Wayne struck back with his weapon of choice: a 15cm-long, 2.5mm-thick titanium steel rod that had been extracted from a seven-year-old Wayne C. Moist’s brain and that was believed to be part of the doomed Skylab space station. Then Pete Moss and Gris joined the fray.

The dissimilarities between truth and fantasy do not end there, though. The fight did not occur while packing equipment after a gig, but while they were in the van some 20 minutes after leaving the venue, the entire episode occurring at 85mph on I90 Eastbound. And Darren had been driving the van. The rest is Post-Rock history.

LOOSE ENDS MAKE BABY JESUS CRY:
WMGAFACBO’s founder Wayne C. Moist has since disappeared from public eye into the secluded wilds of Vermont, where he’s been “finishing” for the better part of 15 years a solo album titled, Bangladeshi Oligarchy.

Pete Moss was last spotted at the Aztec ruins of Mexico by mourning WMGAFACBO devotees. Their claims are in dispute, though, due to the large volume of peyote and mushrooms they had consumed, as well as their insistence that Pete Moss had ascended the ceremonial face of the pyramid with none other than Jesus Christ.

The whereabouts of Darren and Gris during this period are sketchy at best. It’s a veritable black hole in music history. They’re finally spotted again in 1996 at the opening of a SoHo art gallery/celebrity Laundromat dubbed the LAUNDRY BASQUIAT. The meeting of the two was an accident of fate, and at first sight they wrestled each other to the floor, injured spectators, and caused a cycle of delicates to be washed in hot water.

Martin Gore of Depeche Mode was present at the opening, and is quoted as saying, “I enjoyed the boisterous rabblerousing of Darren and Gris as much as the next bloke. Many of us believed it to be a performance art piece. The leg breaking seemed to be a dead giveaway. I had no idea that I was literally witnessing history in the making. All any of us could see were two American bastards brawling. One white and mantis-faced, the other smooth-shaven and black as Miles Davis. Each lusting after the other’s misery.”

Actor Johnny Depp, who had also witnessed the incident, stated in an interview two years later, “There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that they were trying to kill each other. Blood was on everything: my tux, Cindy Crawford’s dress, in the champagne, and on the paintings. And this is the strangest part, you know . . . the blood on the paintings created this miraculous effect. I mean, most of the pictures were horrible. Just doodles really, by the owner’s cousin or something. Guy was connected, not talented. But when Darren and Gris’ essence splattered onto the canvas, they took on meaning right before our eyes. They attained a new life.”

Gore confirms, “Those wastes of canvas and paint became during the dreadful debacle works of High Art.”

Depp continues, “I’d never seen anything like it before, and I haven’t see anything like it since. Except, of course, when I heard the first SHTCinnamon album Picking Knits & Flees. That record’s fucking genius.”

By yet other coincidence, both Darren and Gris ended up in full body casts, sharing the same hospital room. During the intervening months of healing and physical therapy, the two resolves their differences, realizing that Wayne C. Moist had been the true source and focus of their communal hate. It’s said they wrote over 40 songs during that time, composing all of Knits & Flees and their second album Bob & Ernest at the Cotillion on their body casts. Darren takes credit for the lyrics of this period, pointing to his newly-acquired injury-induced dyslexia as his wellspring of creativity. Gris envisioned a sound culled from samples taken at the zoo, a full orchestral sound created without a single instrument.

One month after their discharge from New York-Presbyterian Hospital, SHTCinnamon was born.

Story is Copyright N. Pendleton 2010.  No reproduction permitted without attribution and a link back to this page.

Cross posted at CoverStoriesBook.com

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