Eugene demonstrates "The Eye of the Mongoose."
Last night I had the pleasure to see our old pal Eugene Hutz and his band of Gypsy nogoodniks Gogol Bordello on Late Night with David Letterman. They rocked with mad world-punk energy, but Hutz looked even grubbier than usual. I guess Madonna likes her Ukrainian rockers dirty.
Gogol’s appearance reminded me of a little anecdote I’ve not told anyone except the wife. But why not reveal it here?
The last time I ran into Eugene was at a certain B-town bar on a wintry midweek eve. I think it was ’06. We chatted for a while about this and that, and he once again chided me for having not yet left Vermont.
Then he made a startling confession.
When Gogol first started taking off, Eugene said, he began to get all sorts of requests from newspapers and TV stations back in Mother Russia. One media institution in particular was hungry for anything he’d done pre-GB. He of course gave them some stuff by The Fags. But a rumor persisted that he’d also played in a metal band when he first came to the States. They really wanted to get their hands on that.
Eugene was embarrassed at the quality of those nascent efforts, so he slipped them a surrogate. Which happened to be my old metal band.
When he told me, I laughed so hard that my fancy cocktail nearly shot out of my nose. But I’m sure that Jason Cooley kid has even funnier Eugene stories.
For more on Hutz’s early exploits, check out this post at Bradley’s Almanac. Here’s a fun YouTube interview with Eugene at England’s Glastonbury Festival. And an older, "official" chat I had with him a few years back.
PS: ProgBlog has been updated.