First off, please join me in going here and wishing Victor a very happy birthday.
Second, I’ve gotten several emails asking me about how I ended up with Pandora’s Box and what is with the mustache on her. I decide to write this very long story to explain how we got to this point. I’m breaking it into two parts and editing out the typical drugs, sex, and rock and roll parts you might expect to find in a story with a title such as this one.
Part 1: An Awkward Photo of Kayla Riley
Fourteen months ago HURT was headlining Rock 4 Revival with Smile Empty Soul. The tour was getting ready to roll into Nashville and Kayla Riley was going to host the event. I couldn’t have come up with a better excuse to hang out with HURT before a show if I tried. It was a Tuesday night, I had to be at work in Chattanooga early in the morning, and I wanted to meet Kayla Riley. So the day before the show I sent J a message asking if he’d be interested in bringing Kayla with him for dinner before the show. He took my idea and ran with it, firing back a few quick witted texts about Kayla being engaged, but adding that he’d certainly play his part to introduce us. [Note: I didn’t know what Kayla looked like. There was nothing sexual motivating me.]
Honestly, his responses freaked me out. I’m introverted, typically pretty shy [and married]. For example, the first time I met J, he sat down beside me at an almost completely empty bar before a show, ordered his food, and then nodded at me as if to say, “Aren’t you going to say something?” I nodded back, then pretty much ignored him as I talked to their tour manager who was sitting a few spots over. J eventually got up and sat with some other group of fans when they arrived. It wasn’t until after the show that night that we had any real conversation at all.
The day of the Nashville show, J sent me a message telling me they were having mechanical issues and he was working on finding a shop. ‘Issues’ didn’t shock me too much. They had been having an electrical problem and he had said they weren’t in the greatest set up. This time it was the transmission. That’s a tour killing type of problem. He told me if I wanted to hang out before the show I’d need to pick him up at a repair shop. So I made my way to the shop. When I got there I walked in, he gave me hug, and introduced me to the lady that worked there. Minutes later a mechanic walked in and delivered the much anticipated, but still feared, bad news. He wasn’t sure what was wrong with the transmission but no matter what it was, there was simply no way to get the parts needed to fix it before the band needed to be in Louisville for the next show. Furthermore, he told us it wasn’t going to make it anywhere pulling their trailer.
Dinner plans were put on the back burner. Now it was time to get back to the band and form a plan. J went around to the garage to get their van and I returned to my car. I made a couple of phone calls to give him about a ten minute head start, because I didn’t think I needed to be there when serious discussions were taking place. When I finally left the shop I got on the interstate and immediately noticed traffic was moving unusually slow. I couldn’t figure out why, but proceeded to weave my way through traffic until I could see the problem. There was a white rusted old church van in the center lane doing about 35 in a 65. Cars were cutting each other off to get around the van, causing a domino effect of heavy braking that was the root of the traffic jam. As I accelerated towards the van I noticed the hand hanging out the driver’s side window and holding a cigarette was tattooed. It was J. I was a bit confused, but ended up passing him and getting to the venue long before him. When I got out at the venue, my plan was to find a bar, eat and have a drink or two, then go to the show. As I round a corner, I ran into the rest of the band as well as the guys from Smile Empty Soul. Rek asks me if I’ve seen J. I told him I passed him on the interstate coming in. The guys cracked a couple of jokes about him doing 35, and again I was puzzled. The guy makes his living as a rock star, certainly he couldn’t drive that slowly all the time. Before I could excuse myself, J came around the same corner and gave everyone the news, then led us all to a bar and grill across the street.
While conversations were mostly light hearted and funny [I’m pretty sure everyone in the band is known amongst their friends as a notoriously bad joke teller] things kept circling back to what their plan was for the van. J was also continuously texting Kayla to get updates on her arrival for dinner. That was making me increasingly nervous for no real reason at all. It didn’t help that he kept mentioning that since I wanted to meet her, he was going to make sure it happened. Seriously, it wasn’t that big of a deal, I had just made one comment about having her join us for dinner. Meanwhile, a rental was lined up but there just wasn’t a viable option for what to do with the van. Once it became apparent that there wasn’t going to be a good alternative, I offered to take it off their hands. Victor’s eyes seemingly turned to lasers as he scanned me from head to toe sizing me up. I understood exactly what he was thinking. We’d hung out a few times before, but you don’t just hand anyone the keys to your house and walk away for a month or two. He asked me what my plan was. I told him I knew a ton of good mechanics between Nashville and Memphis, so if it died on me I’d get it into a shop. If it made it back to Memphis, I’d get the repairs done there and they could pick it back up in two weeks when the tour was playing Memphis. It was really the only option that made sense, so that became the plan.
Moments later, Kayla walked in and sat down with us. She takes pride in taking care of herself so she wasn’t about to eat any of the bar food. We were all done eating at that point anyway so we made our way over to the venue.
As we approached the venue there was a line of people waiting to get in. Coach, the merch guy, told me to “look like a bad ass, walk tall beside J and don’t make direct eye contact with anyone.” I did as I was told, as Coach proceeded to yell instructions for the night to all the fans. They were going to immediately get out of our way, buy merch when they got inside, and then have a great time at the show. I walked in and sat down at the bar. J started to head to the dressing room then turned around and yelled for me to come with them. Once there everyone relaxed and had a few drinks. Michael and Rek began watching movies on their computers. Victor was sitting on a couch across from me talking to Kayla, and J was across the room getting ready for the show. I felt a little out of place at this point, but was stoked to be the only person in the room not part of the show. I grabbed my phone and sent a text to a friend of mine telling him what I was doing. Basically I was just doing it to look like I was occupied since everyone else in the room was doing their own thing. He responded back, “Send me a pic of Kayla, or it didn’t happen.” I mentioned earlier I’m shy and introverted… well, I’m also extremely weird about pictures. I like being in pictures. I don’t mind taking pictures. I just have a taboo about asking people to be in pictures with me. At this point in the night the only thing I’ve said to Kayla is “Hi, I’m Bo” and occasionally I’d jump into her and Victor’s conversation with a random comment. They were in pretty deep discussion, so rather than interrupt, I figured I’d just be sneaky and take a quick picture without even asking.
And then it happened.
My phone flashed repeatedly for what seemed like two minutes as it struggled to find the right light to capture the picture. I was embarrassed and Kayla immediately said, “Oh, I didn’t know we were doing pictures. I’m sure that one was terrible.” It was indeed an awkward photo. I mustered up a quick apology and then sent my proof to my buddy along with a long message explaining that I just made an ass of myself.
Minutes later Kayla and the band had their phones out taking pictures. While I was in a few, I didn’t ask for another. One awkward photo was plenty for me.
As always, THANK YOU FOR LISTENING