Stories from the road are always fascinating, and Lou Brutus has his fair share of them in his new memoir, Sonic Warrior: My Life as a Rock N Roll Reprobate (Rare Bird Books). Lou tells incredible stories from his time as a radio personality and music interviewer.
One of these is about the time Lou got to meet his idol, Hunter S. Thompson, at a live show in Somerville, MA.
Here is an excerpt from the book on the first moments Lou had with his idol.
Heavy, uneven footsteps came closer down the staircase. Then there was stumbling on the narrow steps, a guttural shout, and a body tumbled onto the floor next to me.
Everyone in the room froze and went silent like a herd of wildebeest that had just seen a cheetah in a pair of Ray Bans fall out of a nearby tree.
It was Hunter S. Thompson.
He was down on his hands and knees, cursing under his breath. His well-chewed cigarette holder, a smoldering Dunhill still lit inside of it, on the floor beneath him. I steadied his arm as he picked himself up, wedged his cigarette holder back between his teeth and dusted himself off. We then stood face to face.
Hunter Thompson was tall. Taller than I had imagined he would be, standing half a head higher than me. His complexion told of a life spent outdoors in fresh mountain air and away from dark bars, regardless of his tales of debauchery. He had the physical build of a man of action and movement. He wore a windbreaker, blue Polo by Ralph Lauren shirt with red logo, a baseball cap, and amber shades.
I held out my hand to shake his and began to introduce myself.
“Hello, Dr. Thompson. It’s a pleasure to me you. My name is … GAAAHHHHH!!!”
Hunter shoved his left forearm under my chin and into my neck. He jacked me up against the wall, where I had to stay on the tips of my toes to keep from being choked. Through the tint of his shades, I saw that the pupils in his eyes were as big as ostrich eggs. His breath stank of booze, cigarettes and madness. He shouted at me through clenched teeth that caused his cigarette holder to jut straight up toward the plastered ceiling.
“WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?!?! WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT?!?!”
His voice quivered with rage. I tried to speak but couldn’t, as he had worked his elbow up near my Adam’s apple. I looked at him in terror, the blood draining from my face and the air from my lungs. My eyes darted downward to see his right hand reach into his windbreaker pocket and take out what looked to be an umbrella handle. His thumb hovered over its small release button.
My fading consciousness wondered, “What the hell is he doing with an umbrella?”
In a last, desperate attempt to forestall my untimely demise, I wrenched sideways and managed to hiss a few words from my air-deprived lungs.
“Doc, my name is Brutus. I’m here with Stanky. I’m a friend.” His left arm now eased a bit on my neck and I was able to stand flat-footed. My breath came in gasps but at least now I didn’t feel I was going to black out. His right hand still held the umbrella handle close to my chest.
I steadied myself and continued, “It’s nice to meet you. I’ve read all your work.” I held out my hand again to shake his, leaning in a bit, my chest almost touching the umbrella.
The tenseness left his body as he stood back and returned the umbrella to his pocket. “Your name is Brutus,” he said. It was a statement, not a question.
I nodded my head and forced a smile. Hunter grasped my proffered hand and used it to again pull me close. We were almost cheek to cheek.
“Brutus. You’re a man. You are brave. You and I are brothers!”
Quick as a cat, Thompson spun around and put his arm over my shoulder, squeezing me in a crushing embrace as he shouted to the still, shell-shocked room.
“THIS IS BRUTUS. HE IS A FUCKING WARRIOR. HE’S HERE WITH ME. FUCK WITH HIM AT YOUR OWN PERIL!!!”
His voice dropped back down as he turned to me, “Do you drink? Of course you drink! We must drink together like men!”