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LSD, Night Rider and Mad Max: The Story Behind Denver's Own King Rat

LSD, Night Rider and Mad Max: The Story Behind Denver's Own King Rat
Karl Christian Krumpholz
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We’d been writing songs and practicing in a dingy basement for a few months but had no gig mojo yet. Drummer Tony Luke and I were getting ready to go to a party when he got a call. I took a hit of acid and continued assembling my Mad Max costume. Tony came back excited: A band had canceled, so our first gig was that night. This was our chance. I wondered if I should puke up the LSD...but the hell with it. Let’s do this!

LSD, Night Rider and Mad Max: The Story Behind Denver's Own King Rat
Karl Christian Krumpholz

I didn’t tell my bandmates that I was tripping my gourd off by the time we had our gear set up. I had no clue if I could even remember the songs, but I was determined to get through it all with Mad Max-like determination. I had a mission to accomplish! “I am the Night Rider, and I’m hotter than a rollin’ dice! The Toecutter — he knows who I am!,” I yelled at the costumed crowd.

LSD, Night Rider and Mad Max: The Story Behind Denver's Own King Rat
Karl Christian Krumpholz

“You! You can run, but you can’t hide!” I berated the crowd with the Mad Max banter. The only problem: The keg was in the other room. I grabbed it and moved it next to us. If anyone wanted a drink, they’d have to deal with King Rat. Soon we had a sizable group, no doubt tolerating the noise because of the beer. I looked back at Tony. He asked, “Are you tripping, dude?” Now, 22 years later, King Rat’s tenth CD, No Apologies No Regrets, will be released September 29, on Unable Records.

The Denver Bootleg is a series chronicling the history of local music by longtime Denver cartoonist Karl Christian Krumpholz. Visit Krumpholz's website to see more of his work.

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