In his poem Harlem, Langston Hughes famously asked, “What happens to a dream deferred?”
This is my answer to that question.
If you’re fan of hard rock or heavy metal music, then you’re obviously familiar with Iron Maiden.
And if you’re more than a casual fan, then you’re also familiar with their mascot Eddie. Eddie has been around from the start with those guys, appearing in and on albums, t-shirts, videos, and pretty much anything Iron Maiden related.
Well, Alice In Chains has a mascot. They may not know it or acknowledge it, but they do.
He hasn’t been around that long, he hasn’t appeared on anything, and pretty much no one knows who he is.
But if I have my way, that’s all about to change.
Here’s the history:
In 2012, as we were loading into the studio for the recording of The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, I had an idea that I presented to the band.
Surprisingly (and foolishly), they agreed, and I used their money to go online and purchase a full size male mannequin.
He arrived about a week later, I assembled him, and over the course of the recording of the album I proceeded to change his wardrobe on a weekly basis and display him throughout the studio.
It was a pointless exercise, but it was also another stupid way to keep the band entertained, which is why I did it in the first place.
These guys value stupidity, and I have a lot of it.
That was just Phase I of the plan.
Phase II was packing him up and bringing him on the road with us.
I don’t really remember how or why, but Phase II fell apart, and our mascot made his way to the back of the top shelf of the band’s storage facility in L.A., where he gathered dust for the last 6 years.
I haven’t been to the storage space in years, so when I arrived there for rehearsals a few weeks ago and saw him lying there disassembled, my heart broke a little, and I knew it was time to revisit the original plan.
Everyone from crew personnel to band members scoffed when they saw me in the hall shrouding him in bubble wrap and stuffing him in a road case, but I’m sure there were skeptics who scoffed at Jonas Salk as he was developing the polio vaccine.
(I’ll bet he told his doubters to suck it too, just like I did)
And I’m not kidding myself.
This has already cost me 75 dollars on wardrobe, and by the end of the tour I’ll have spent dozens of hours packing, unpacking, and dressing him.
(I even ironed his pants in Boston)
But dammit, attaining your dreams isn’t always easy, and I’m prepared for the hard work.
And it’s already paying off.
He’s scaring people.
He’s confusing people (including certain band memebers).
I sometimes I think our production manager is actually angry with him.
And a ton of local crew guys have been absolutely bewildered.
It’s off to a great start.
So as we go forward, you may see him pop up in an instagram photo from time to time.
Or if you’re really bored and feel like looking, he has his own instagram account.
You might see him on the side of the stage at a show.
The main point is that you’re gonna see him.
So, what happens to a dream deferred?
If it happens to be my particular dream, it gets deferred for 6 years before it eventually goes on tour with Alice In Chains in 2018, gets dressed up in surf shorts and a tank top, and confuses most people who see it.
Ladies and gentlemen, I proudly introduce you to Larry, the (un)official Alice In Chains mascot.