We Never Knew Father Luke
Sunday, January 29, 2006 at 3:36AM
Doug Stanhope

He's been our close friend for years. He moved down to the edge of the country with me here in Bisbee.

Father Luke


Luke lost his shit somewhere around the New Year. Maybe it was the girl or the isolation or perhaps he shouldn't have switched to decaf.

I couldn't give you the whole story if I wanted to - not succinctly. There are too many beats, too many layers.

He met a girl on Myspace and subsequently lost his shit on me, on his friends and ultimately on her.

Sad, ain't it?

Father Luke went tits-up in the head on whatever level.

High drama ensued and we were thrown into the role of gumshoes in a 'who's full of shit' mystery. Overwhelming circumstantial evidence fell on Papa Luke's head but not enough to file charges. All we knew is that regardless of who did what and who was to blame, the mental eco-structure here is too fragile to live under the threat of the unprovoked rage now present. This is the safehouse, our place to retreat from the recklessness of the road.

We don't know all of the details, but we know more than we'd like. Worst case - he was dangerous - and best case he is full of shit. Either way we realized, as we were trying to sleuth it out, that we dont't give a fuck either way. He is our friend. We realized that no, we really don't know who Father Luke is at all. But, he can be no more of a fraud than the one we made him out to be in our own heads.

Father Luke made the Red Sox win the World Series. Father Luke is a modern-day Bukowski. He is prescient and above reproach. I have said all that and more. Father Luke's bullshit couldn't possibly live up to the invention I've put on his shoulders. We see people how we want to see them. I saw father Luke as a shaman - and ultimately a Rasputin - when he's just a guy I don't really know. And then he turned ugly and became human and suddenly a liabilty.

We love you, Papa Louie. The rest is none of our business. The case will remain inconclusive.

"Nobody loves losers more than you, Stanhope" says Rogan on the phone, adding his wild rollercoaster scream-laugh.

That's because I am one of them. Losers have all the best stories.

We were on the street outside of Rogan's San Francisco gig a couple weeks back, drinking from Hagers' brown paper sack as she tells us stories of smuggling a meth pipe in her snatch thru airport security and other dark tales too fantastic to print here for fear of her family reading them. Hagers and her friend Dixie - we call them the Banger Sisters - are my age or a bit ahead and stumble into my shows here and there all over the country. Hagers has a laugh the would tear through plastic.


A Sympathetic Ear

Had Rogan been on the street with us instead of the stage, he surely would have put her in the same block of losers and none of us - including Hagers herself - would have cast off the title. She has a rich and filthy past and wears the gore and sin comfortably like a homeless man's trenchcoat. Hagers is fantastic.

There was a bang at the door yesterday which is always surprising in Bisbee. More suprised are we to see Hagars, her rasping laughter spilling into the living room before she even stepped a foot inside.

We are in the middle of the maudlin task of boxing up Father Luke's possessions to ship off to him in California and her presence takes the edge off.

She comes back last evening with a bottle of Banana Rum and we tell our stories. Her trips to jail and her days on the tweak. The lunatics and vultures who have decorated our lives. Violations and molestations and goddamned isn't it funny now. Hagers is looking for property down here. That was the reason for the visit. We don't really know Hagers except for her random appearances at shows - Peoria, Pheonix, St. Louis, San Francisco - but we know we love her company.

"We'll be on the road for a few months and Father Luke is gone so you're welcome to stay here while you look at houses." we tell her.

And she thanks us and laughs again and we give her the keys.

We'll get the Bootlegs back up soon and we are currently editing the footage from "The UnBookables Part 1" that Chaille shot over the fall. But right now we are heading to Costa Rica to put a sunburn over the accumulating ugly that life makes you wear. SuperBowl Sunday happens to be Election Day in Costa Rica and prevents them from serving alcohol. This could be very, very bad as their police are under-manned and ill-equipped to tend to the wrath of our contingent rioting thru delirium tremors and inevitable suicide seems just around the hairpin?

No, don't be yourself at all now that you mention it.

Bingo's family is not the gated community types. They are good people with good hearts and a warm and open home. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't probably take off your shoes.

New Years Eve was like a trailer to the desert party. The VIPs were there as well as some new folks that we hope will be mainstays, especially Bingo's commander-n-chief, J-Rob (www.jrobmusic.com) who, with his band, ripped holes into the night so well that even the neighbors had to wait till near 5am to call the cops.

We like to call it a compound but when you try to put 25 people in it, it becomes just a small house on a quiet street pretty quickly. But it all works out when you have friends like this. All things added up, these people are my only source of wealth.

Thanks for making the long journey down. Remember, we have plenty of road ahead to top ourselves.


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