Everyone always asks me where I got name the for our band, Productive Cough. Here is the story once and for all. One April in 1995 I was touring the rust belt with Riders on the Storm, a Doors cover band, and I came down with a case of pneumonia so severe that I was hospitalized for a week. We had to cancel our show at the Al Rosa Villa. My band mates were so pissed. Our show had rocked Detroit and Cleveland, mainly due to my sudden and freakish resemblance to the real Jim Morrison due to the worsening of my condition. I began to stagger more convincingly, I stopped bathing, my screams were more gurgly. I was very convincing, especially for a girl. I had even written some Doors inspired tunes that sounded like the ramblings of what Jim Morrison might produce in 1995. Here is a sample:
Justice in the Sky
Who can say when or why?
Why'd their mother have to die?
Justice in the Sky
Pretty good, no? And I hate the Doors.
The band was riding the tide of my illness and had high hopes for Columbus. I think they might have been hoping that I would collapse and die right on stage. Well, they almost got their wish. As we were doing a sound and light check, we were rockin' out on "Walk this Way," and I started in the on the RunDMC rap line about swingin like they just don't care. As soon as I hit "Hey diddle diddle with the kitty in the middle," I swear to you: I saw Jim Morrison himself appear in the purple lights, using their light beam like a flying fox and landing his size 10's right in the middle of my chest.
I woke up in the hospital full of tubes and drugs. I remember being released from OSU Hospital with an armload of medications to sustain me until I completely recovered. I don't really believe that I ever did recover from that jam session with my lungs. The hacking cough still lingers ten years later.
Once I was able to rejoin the Riders at the hotel, I discovered they had booked and left me a message at the front desk. Here is what they said:
We found a new Jim, yo. Wasn't really working with a girl out front, but your cold helped. Good luck in Columbus. It was fun while it lasted. Break on through to the other side! Love, Jimmy, Trip, Fiona and Herb.
I was able to find work and a place to stay while I was searching for inspiration. I was taking service calls from Xerox repairmen and still struggling with the aftermath of my pneumonia. Once the good stuff ran out, I had to venture out to find some OTC cough medicine. I went to the local CVS, straight back to the pharmacy. No way was I trying to find cough medicine in a store that is more reminicent of a warehouse than a friendly apothecary. To this day, I refuse to find things for myself.
But I digress. When I approached the pharmacy I looked up and saw a blue-haired wonder. Not blue-haired as in "poor elderly woman with a bad dye job" but punk rock, cobalt blue-haired. The pharmacist was a blue-haired, young lady with a nose ring and Buddy Holly glasses. As I approached the counter, I read her name badge: Betty Hail. We greeted each other and talked about our obvious fascination with hair color occuring outside the natural world.
Eventually, she told me that she rocked a mean lead guitar and her boyfriend, Skippy McImplement, walked the bass like Geddy Lee. We agreed to hook up later with her manager, Holmes, and this drummer I met who used to play with the Crusty Elbows, Gen-Knee. Then I remembered my cough syrup. Betty walked me over and showed me her favorite: Robutussin. She pointed out that I was in need of an expectorant so that I could start having a more productive cough. As she said that, we looked into each other's eyes and knew. That would be the name of our band. Our first album Throat Oyster dropped in the fall of 96 and the rest is history.