Saturday, August 22, 2009

For Mikey

Five years ago today a horrific highway accident took the lives of my dear friends Mike Shelton, Carrie Lindsey, and their daughter Emily. In a town full of rock and roll characters down through the years, Mike Shelton was one of St. Louis’ most memorable. He was an old school friend of the stars and star to his friends, and was the living embodiment of that line You wanna be there when they count up the dudes… from (his beloved) David Bowie’s "Rebel Rebel".

Mike was a really great older brother to me as well as an out of control 13 year old younger brother all at once. A sex, drugs, & rock and roll Gilbert Bates if you will, always ready to lead us gullible little Beaver Cleavers in his universe into yet another crazy adventure. An evening out with Mikey was usually filled with all sorts of mischief and narrow escapes, and certainly never dull.

Through all of our fun together I learned a whole lot about life from the guy, and there was a great big heart and a lot of soul and wisdom underneath his Jerry Lewis-like exterior. He always had my back no matter what, and no one gave more encouragement and support to me in my so called career in rock than Mike. Whether in person or on the phone, at some point in every conversation I ever had with Mikey, he would ask, “When you playin’ again?” Before I was ever in a band and still unsure of ever being in one, Mikey kept pushing me to go for it. Like a scene from a cheesy movie, one day Mikey said to me, “Kid, you HAVE to do this. You got what it takes. Trust me, I know about these things…” And that was all the confidence I ever needed. Next thing you know I was in my first band, and I’ve never looked back…

So tonight I play another rock show, and like every rock show I’ve played with all of my various combos over the last five years, Mikey will be there with me once again---sitting on my shoulder and yelling in my ear: “TURN YOUR DAMN AMP UP, LAMEASS! PLAY FASTER! LOUDER! JUMP! MOOOOOOVE! C’MON, MOTHERFUCKER! GIMME SOMETHIN’ TO LOOK AT---THIS IS ROCK AND ROLL!"

Hang on to yourself Mikey, I promise to bring it hard tonight.


(left to right) Tony Fafoglia, Mike Shelton, and me rocking at Off Broadway, Jerry Durwachter Xmas Show, 1988.


The evening was supposed to be a celebration of the holiday season, but sure enough we wound up with some typical Shelton chaos. Seems a very drunk member of the audience didn’t approve of some of my & Mike’s stage antics (don't ask), so after the show he was in my face in the middle of the dance floor all hot and ready to kick my ass. As I tried to talk the guy down, Shelton of course egged the guy on, doing all he could to get a fracas going. Things started to get a little scary, so Mike and I resorted to a move that had saved us from harm a couple times prior in our travels, the old act-crazier-than-the-guy-who’s-about-to-kick-your-ass move. We escaped yet again with no blood shed, and Shelton wound up getting a hug from the guy’s girlfriend. So very Mikey...

(Snapshot from a video by Chris Ballew, original photo by Carrie Lindsey)

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

you put it beautifully and got it so right, steve. he was the great one-man support system for his friends, he was ever-ready to see some kind of action and he always ended up with the girl.

thanks,
- d.

James said...

Wish I was there tonight, Steve. I owe you a phone call for serious. I better feel that bass rig out here on the coast...

euclid joe said...

Five years. Wow, it's like it was yesterday. Sweet post Steve, glad you reminded us. I'll hug my kids a little harder tonight.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Steve. I miss Michael tremendously. God bless them. I know when I'm seeing Mott come October it will be almost unthinkable that Mike won't be there. Jody.

Jody Worth said...

Thank you Steve. I miss Michael tremendously. When I'm seeing Mott come October I know I'll be in disbelief that Mike isn't there with me. God bless him and Carrie and Emily. Love to all his friends. X Jody Worth

Tom G said...

Didn't know you, didn't know Mike. But now I feel like I know both of you, or at least the dynamics of your friendship.

A truly moving post. If our paths should every cross, the first round's on me.

steve scariano said...

Jody:
So excited to hear you're going over for the Mott shows. And I know you know too well that round about now is when Mike would have begun daily calls to you with the demand, "YOU BETTER BRING ME BACK A PROGRAM!!!" :)

Lisa said...

Never take anything for granted. What I wouldn't give to see you all on stage together again. Your reminisense is lovely, I can't believe it's been five years. Mike'll be at those Mott shows sitting with his mate Mick!

xoxo, Lisa