We Are All Disabled - Part 6


Grant Wyatt and the Teenage Rock Gods... 



The guy in the picture with the blond hair looking off into space is Grant Wyatt.  Maybe Grant is just posing for the camera knowing somehow I would use his picture to tell a story. Grant was like that, he thought a lot about the future and didn't always like what he saw. I suppose that's why he lived so much in moment.

I'm the guy with the guitar, next to him wondering about what he is looking at. Grant was a cameraman who travelled the world telling stories you never forget. On this day, we were part of the crew shooting Heart of a Dragon.

It was August and really hot. Everybody was exhausted but for Grant it was an opportunity to have some fun - first take your shirt off and then tan in the oppressive heat that radiated out of the stone on the Great Wall. The Chinese crew loved him. The rest of us did too. He always made us laugh.

Back in Canada after the movie, Grant helped me put pictures to my music and then he disappeared. He fought and lost a difficult battle that robbed him of the optimism and beauty he so often saw through the lens.  

I admired the showman in Grant. I tried it once a long time ago in a band called Arsus Myth. There we were, bare-chested kids with black leather vests, rehearsing in a basement, trying so hard to figure out how a fog machine, a strobe light, fire, confetti, ping pong balls and shot guns could become our signature and a ticket to rock and roll fame.

Living in a small northern town, we had access to shot guns for hunting and the rest of the props were easy to come by.  We prepared our new act by replacing pellets in the shot gun shells with with confetti, then by soaking the ends of drum sticks in butane and adding ping pong balls and big hair. where required.

We didn't rehearse the act, figuring we needed an audience to see it right away. That was the first mistake.

The police arrived quickly, no one got hurt but that night was the end of the band and our chance to be rock gods while still teenagers.  We should have known confetti packed into the shells would catch fire from the gunpowder when we pulled the shot gun trigger and its impact on our fellow band members would not be pretty - when the flaming explosion blew them off the stage and left them smoking and mad.

Seeing Grant Wyatt without his shirt, basking in the scorching sun on the Great Wall was an act of an great talent and showman who lived and loved and laughed his way through life. And his storied career reminds me that before you take a show on the road, you need to rehearse and rehearse again and always have a fire extinguisher close by.  

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