Innocent Words Blog Series – Celebrates 15 Years: Oh, Spit

The Chicago band Local H had a pretty good following where I am from, because they’d often make the two-plus hour trek down from the Windy City to play the college campus.

The band was on tour in 2002 supporting their new album, ‘Here Comes the Zoo.’ They were two years removed from their one hit single, “Bound for the Floor” from their 1996 album ‘As Good as Dead’ album. Local H was going through some changes at the time, as original drummer and co-founder, drummer Joe Daniels, had left the two-piece band and was replaced by Brian St. Clair. Still remaining was front man, guitarist and antagonist, Scott Lucas.

It was well known that Scott was a different breed of cat. Not only did he rig his guitar to play bass at the same time, but he earned a reputation of being one of the most sarcastic guys in music. Needless to say, he was a hard interview.

I had never interviewed him to this point, but I thought I’d give it a shot; I tend to give musicians the benefit of the doubt. Besides, it was just a phone interview.

A list of questions ready, I waited for Scott Lucas’ call, which was late, so I had to call Local H’s press rep to see if he was going to call. Sure enough, about 20 minutes later the phone rang; it was Scott. He apologized for being about an hour late, but it couldn’t be helped. He cracked wise about his tardiness, but I don’t remember what he said. I wasn’t mad anyway; I just wanted to get the interview.

Trying to get a straight answer from Scott was like pulling an infected tooth. If he didn’t have a one- or two-word answer he would just say random shit like he was making it up as he was going along. I tried my best, but halfway through I just got frustrated and didn’t even ask him the final few questions I had for him. I just wanted it to be over.

Nonetheless, I went to their show about a week later. It was at a place called the Canopy Club right in the middle of the campus of the University of Illinois. I was a regular there, so I got to roam pretty much anywhere I wanted. Hanging out backstage, I was watching the opening band Love Hog (a killer local band). Scott walked in and leaned against the brick wall. He was unmistakable doing his best Kurt Cobain imitation his flannel shirt, faded T, ripped jeans and Chuck Taylors.

After the opening band’s set was done I walked over and introduced myself to Scott, thanking him for taking the time to do the interview. I don’t even think he remembered who I was or remembered doing the interview. I asked him to sign my show poster and he said “sure” and just signed it real small with “Scott” and that was all. I asked him if it was okay to take pictures during the show, and he just gave me a nod and said “sure.”

Showtime came, and Local H took the stage. They were fucking loud. The venue held maybe 800 people, and it was half full, so the sound just echoed off the walls.

I took out my camera and started snapping pictures. Brian was playing drums at the front of the stage right in front of me, and he looked like Animal from the Muppets. His drumming was just insane. I started clicking shots and Scott tight-walked the edge of the stage to get to the side I was on. He hovered right above me, so I bent down to try to get a cool angle, and then I saw it. A big glob of white spit fell from his mouth as he tried to spit on my camera lens. It was like a slow-motion car accident with the spit slowly falling, and I jumped back and watched it hit the floor with a splatter.

I couldn’t believe what had just happened. Was he trying to be cool? Was he being a dick? Was I not supposed to take pictures, even though I asked? I had no idea. I wasn’t mad, but I wasn’t happy either. I just was. I put my camera away and said fuck it. I realized all the rumors were not just gossip, this dude was a dick.

As I told the story to other writer friends of mine, it seemed most of them all had their own Scott Lucas run-in story to tell. That made me feel better and that I didn’t do anything wrong. Like the others who had to deal with him, I have never covered Local H since the spitting incident of ’02. The sad thing here is, Local H were a really talented band. The ‘Here Comes the Zoo’ was one of the best of that year, it’s too bad Scott Lucas’ personality got in the way.