Following a string of rare concert cancelations (the result of an incident that took place following a February concert in Moscow), Local H returns to the stage this Saturday in Rosemont at The Montrose Room. Temporarily left unable to sing after being choked out and mugged, Local H frontman Scott Lucas checked in this week via email to discuss the perils of finding yourself the unwitting victim of random crime in Russia…
Touring in support of the September release of their seventh studio album Hallelujah! I’m a Bum, as well as the recent release of the Another February EP, Local H found themselves bound for Russia with a February 20th concert booked in Moscow.
Following that show, however, things went anything but smooth as Scott Lucas was assaulted and robbed. Here’s part of his Facebook post explaining the situation as well as the necessary cancelations that followed:
“Here’s what happened : A month ago, after a date in Moscow, I was assaulted and robbed. The attacker came up from behind and put me in a chokehold until I passed out. When I came to, I was in a stairwell with all of my pockets empty. No phone, no wallet, no cash, and (worst of all) no passport. Nothing. Even my hat and glasses were gone. It wasn’t until I found someone to ask for help that I realized something else was gone – my voice. When I opened my mouth to ask that person to call me a taxi, nothing but a scratchy croak would come out. I touched my throat and could feel that more damage had been done than I initially thought. A purple bruise began to form. I was having trouble swallowing. Russia………..”
But good news arrived this week when it was announced that Lucas would be able to avoid surgery and the band’s appearance this Saturday at The Montrose Room in Rosemont would go on as scheduled. Still trying to save his voice for this Saturday’s show, I checked in with Scott Lucas via email about his Russian ordeal and return to the stage this weekend…
Q. Well, first of all, how are you/your vocal chords feeling? Did you (or may you still have to) have surgery?
Scott Lucas: I’m feeling better. We’re going ahead with the show on Saturday. We just ruled out surgery.
Q. So Local H played Moscow in February… How did that gig come about and did you have any initial reservations about taking it?
SL: No reservations, at all. I was warned to be careful – and obviously those warnings were not without merit. But we were asked to play, and we jumped at the chance. Every band wants to play somewhere they’ve [never] been before.
Q. Following that show you were choked and robbed, ultimately waking up in a stairwell with nothing. What was going through your head at that point? I know it’s cliche but did you feel like you were lucky to be alive?
SL: I had no idea what the hell was going on. It was dark outside and I was dragged into that empty stairwell. My coat was ripped open. I had no idea where I was and Moscow is HUGE. No idea which direction to walk. I think there was a lot of denial going on at the time. Like, this can’t really be happening can it?
Q. How did you manage to get back to the U.S. with no money, no voice and no passport? That had to be brutal…
SL: Well, that’s the thing – at first, no one would help me because I probably sounded like a crazy man. Finally, some dude pointed me towards a metro station – but I had no money. I tried to sneak in but this woman started blowing a whistle and screaming at me. I was all, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” So I got in a cab and asked him to take me to my hotel (Scared sh-tless that he was going to ask for money up front). I figured I could get to the hotel and get money from [Local H drummer] Brian [St. Clair] to pay this guy. But the traffic is crazy in Moscow – by the time I got to the hotel, Brian and the promoter had already left for the airport. So I’ve got the cab driver – who was huge, by the way – looking for me and his fare in this hotel. I couldn’t hide in my room because the internet would only work in the lobby. I’m walking around this hotel with my laptop, looking over my shoulder, frantically e-mailing everyone for help. Kinda funny, actually.
Eventually, the promoter came back and was a huge help. Couldn’t have done it without that guy. He pretty much did all the talking. But that was weird too… To spend three days with people talking about me right in front my face – basically, deciding my fate – and I couldn’t understand a word. Pretty strange.
Q. Almost a month went by between Russia and the announcement on Facebook that some U.S. shows were being canceled. You had a pretty loaded South By Southwest schedule right before that announcement… Was it then that you realized that something was seriously, unavoidably wrong?
SL: I’d lost my voice before. I really wasn’t worried about it at first. SXSW was when I realized how much trouble I was in. And this was only 30 minute sets of Married Men songs. There was no way I could make it through 90 minute Local H sets. Every time I’d get to a higher register, everything would close off. Just really painful.
Q. MusiCares hooked you up with a doctor, right? How was that whole process?
SL: Great. I had no idea who to call. No insurance. They came in and took care of everything. Saved me, really.
Q. I know you said that surgery has been ruled out now… but initially there was concern that a vocal chord would have to be “popped” back into place and that permanent damage to your voice was a possibility. Did you ever start to think there was a chance you wouldn’t be able to sing again and if so, how horrifying of a prospect was that to think about?
SL: Thought about that, yeah. The idea of that being a reality really freaked me out. No matter how bad my voice sounded, I never really seriously entertained the notion that I’d never sing again. But after that first diagnosis – I was f-cking freaked.
Q. Is there still a potential that long term damage to your voice could be possible or are you out of the woods in that regard now so to speak?
SL: I’m very hopeful. If I’m careful – if I’m smart – I don’t think we’re looking at long time damage.
Q. So you return to the stage Saturday in Rosemont… How close to 100% would you put yourself at this point?
SL: I don’t know. Let’s not speculate. Let’s just get there and see how we are on the day.
Q. Where is your head at as you get ready for Saturday’s show – Are you looking forward to it, nervous about it, etc.?
SL: A little bit of both.
Q. If there’s been anything positive to come out of this, it certainly seems like it would be the fact that there’s been an incredible amount of support, understanding and good will from your fans. What has that meant to you during this whole ordeal?
SL: That’s been great. Really awesome. I can’t thank people enough.
Q. Playing music in Moscow has to be a pretty powerful experience… That said, given everything that happened following the show, would you go back?
SL: Sure. Why not? This could’ve happened anywhere. It certainly happens all the time here in Chicago.
*** This interview was conducted via email by Jim Ryan
(Details on Saturday’s Local H show after the jump)
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Live at The Montrose Room
InterContinental Chicago O’Hare
5300 North River Road
Rosemont, IL 60018
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Show starts at 8PM
Also performing: State & Madison
Click HERE to purchase tickets