I don’t know if it was really all that funny, at least the writing aspect of it. The real humor was in the pictures, which speak volumes in and of themselves. Who doesn’t want to look at our venerable drummer sporting a hideous Super Mario type mustache and laugh at his stylish misfortune? And what about the pseudo update? Genius. We will probably never be able to find a better picture of crazy hair than Rob’s driver’s license pic.
But one of them got away from us. One that was seemingly kosher and sanctioned by the then wearer of the ‘do. I’m referring to the Rattail. To look at the picture is to stare into your youth, when all you wanted to wear was those fake bicycle shorts that were black with a neon yellow stripe up the side but your mom wouldn’t hear of it. Most kids were sporting a burr or a chili-bowl, but the really cool kids, the ones who made the jokes in class and did the impossibly acrobatic jumps out of the swings during recess, they had a rattail. It was a given. They also seemed to have the best selection of Nintendo games, but totally didn’t seem to care, and would shrug it off when you pointed it out. Secretly, we envied them.
Which is what made that particular picture so perfect. A rattail on none other than Matt Thiessen, the lead singer of Relient K, was about as perfect as it gets outside of the eighties. They, as a band, are known for copious amounts of wit and not a small appreciation for all things from the long lost (and missed) decade. When he came to the particular event with that hair, no one batted an eye. That’s how well it worked. Who would bring into question someone who wore it so confidently and with such humor, but with such a level of respect of the by-gone era? Certainly not I, who saw it as the perfect finale for that particular piece. Not only did it look good, but also he had the star power to really bring it home. I even asked him if I could take the picture. It was all good. Or so I thought.
Fast-forward nearly a year later. People still say how much they enjoyed that article, and I happily went on thinking it was one of my better moments. That is, until Crowder and Solley had a curious run-in with the little punk band while they were working on their new record in a studio in Nashville. My two band mates were just looking around, not intending to bother anyone, when a producer pulled them in to “say Hi to the guys.” They really and truly did not want to interrupt, but found themselves face to face with Relient K in their entirety. Crowder later recollected that he got the feeling right then and there that “they wondered why the heck we were there, and were none to pleased that we barged in on their work.” Already he felt bad.
But it doesn’t end there. Small talk was made, and Solley, trying to alleviate the negative vibe that was, admittedly, his and David’s fault, thanked Matt for his contribution to our most popular news article ever. Matt was not aware. Within minutes he had found the website and was checking it all out. The mullet, the Landon, so on and so forth, until this: “you spelled our name wrong.”
Ohhhhhhhh, crud. Here we go.
“Yeah, let me check. Yup, you spelled it wrong.”
Another one of the band members: “hey, check it out. The rattail. Cool.”
“You spelled our name wrong. Don’t worry. I’m not mad.”
The producer steps in to what has now become something of an awkward moment, saying, “Hey man, it took your label four years to get the name right! Cut ‘em some slack! Ha ha.”
Turning to David, Matt says “so, are you guys going to be at any festivals this summer?”
David: “Yeah, we’re doing a few here and there. Why?”
“Well, we got to pay you back now.”
Great. We, the band who, as a rule, does not play practical jokes on anyone, has just managed to incur the wrath of the current practical jokers of the Christian music industry. Well done, Hogan. It wasn’t the picture of the rattail. As far as we know, he is still proud of it. No, the mistake was in thinking that the spell check on the computer was sufficient. Who needs to fact check when it comes to a band name? Everybody. The answer is everybody, all the time, every time.
So what now? Well, truthfully, we don’t know if he was joking or not. If so, then we feel bad and it will never happen again (go ahead… check for their named misspelled in this one). If not, we may have made a new archenemy, which is sort of cool in a literary, comic book sort of way. Eventually, one will not be able to exist without the other, and we can carry on epic battles that people will speak of reverently for years to come. Sweet.