The Beatdown

All I need is the air that I breathe.

After the contest, I talked for a few minutes with Demon, who services video games on the East Coast when he's not rocking the free world. He spoke in such fragments that it was like having a conversation with Boomhauer from King of the Hill. I asked Demon his age, and he replied 39, then quickly changed his mind: "I'm actually forty. When you're born and you have your first birthday, you're actually entering into your second year of life -- so I'm forty."

"So from the looks of it, you're a bona fide guitarist, yeah?" I asked.

"I'm not a rock star," he replied. "So I don't do that. But people can see my ability. I lost by a tenth of a point in Chicago, because they pulled out some ŒBlack Betty' shit," he added with obvious exasperation, referring to the Leadbelly tune. "At least here they played some classic Van Halen. Who knows what they'll have me play in L.A.? Maybe Nelly or some shit like that."

Upbeats and beatdowns: Pacman. Mr. Pacman. Miles. Mr. Ron Miles. Please come to a white paging telephone -- or any phone, for that matter. Seriously, if you're one of the following artists or bands, I need to speak with you immediately: Dressy Bessy, Hemi Cuda, Ron Miles, Brad Upton Quartet, DJ Ty Tek, Mr. Pacman, Buckner Funken Jazz, String Cheese Incident, Two Ton Moxie, Yonder Mountain String Band and Zebra Junction. Call or send an e-mail to the address listed below. Thank you. You are now free to move about the country.

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