Nut Zipper Cole Lives Double Life
Ever since the first
times he saw Easy Rider, Squirrel Nut Zipper Bassist Stu Cole knew
where his heart lay- on the open road with Dennis Hopper, Peter
Fonda, his chopper and his stand-up bass strapped to his sissy bar.
Stu himself will tell you that there were endless nights he lay
awake as he cursed himself for every picking up a bass guitar(let
alone that unwieldly standup acoustic bass that barely fits in a
bus). "Why couldn't I have picked up a hamonica?", he
asked me rhetorically. The best I could do was mumble something
unaudible back at him, as I'm not used to being on the other side
of the question.
said to me, as he wrapped his arm around my shoulder in a brotherly
manner. "For the last 20 years, I've been on stage playing
to screaming pubescent girls whose fathers would kill me if they
knew what their daughters wanted from me. I would have gladly been
an obliging participant, but the truth is... my dream was the road!
When I looked out from the stage, I saw hundreds of $1 bills, standing
there, swaying to the music and helping me reach my goal-The Chopper!"
I was amazed! A rock
star dreaming of being a biker? I've heard of bikers dreaming of
being rock stars and rock stars dreaming of being baseball players,
but never rock stars dreaming of being bikers. I decided to press
on and find out what made this Squirrel Nut tick.
"Let me get this
straight. You've reached the pinacle of success in the world of
Rock & Roll. You've played Shea Stadium, the Filmore East and
The Cave, you have a wife and a loving family and you still want
He looked me in the eye
and said "You know, I've tried to shake it, but I can't. I
had a chance before I got married and started my family, but I blew
it.....man, I really blew it". When he said those words, I
knew it came directly from Dennis Hopper's mouth and like Dennis
Hopper, he failed to elaborate, leaving both The Carrboro News and
it's readers(as Dennis Hopper did his cinema audience)all of eternity
to figure out what they blew.
I could sense the desperation
in his voice and recognized that he was going to expose to me something
that I may not have wanted to hear. My common sense told me to stop
him before he started, but my newspaper told me to get as much of
a story as I could. I felt myself in conflict, but then I saw him
as one of MY $1 bill so in my most empathetic, caring voice in the
hope that I might turn him into a $5 bill, I gently asked,"What
is it you wanted to say....Stu?"
"David, please don't
let my wife find out, but..... I'm living my dream! I finally got
that chopper and I'm riding it to my hearts desire. I've never felt
so alive, so ....real..... I cruise Main Street, Franklin Street,
Weaver Street..... I see people looking at me with admiration and
respect. I'm finally somebody that someone wishes that they were.
Having to keeping this from my wife is a terrible burden, but I've
been very discreet. Promise you won't tell my wife!"
"Sure Stu, I promise.
I promise that if I ever see your wife, I won't tell her about your
words we parted, both feeling that we had accomplished our goals.
Stu had relieved a tremendous amount of guilt by confessing his
sins to someone who would keep his inner secrets well protected
and I- had a story which I could turn into one more $1 bill.
Stu Cole and his chopper
(but don't tell his wife!)