The Hek-Atomic Cherries
The Rise And Fall Of The Hek-Atomic Cherries
Chapter 1: The Stage Is Set
The year was 1992. The stage was a small private high school in the countryside of south Louisiana. The music scene in Lafayette was thriving spurned by bands like Hand Bob The Spoon, Fountainhead, and the ubiquitous Meat Dingys. It was in this arena that three high school sophomores decided to bring their musical stylings.
In September 1991, Charles Barousse and Jay Burton began attending the Episcopal School of Acadiana, a private college preparatory high school. It was here that they met Wes Raine. They became fast friends mainly because of their similar interests in music. After being acquaintances for a few months, they made the bold decision to not only form a band, but also be successful. In early February 1992, Wes, Charles and Jay decided to create a somewhat comical band. The idea was to write songs without any serious message. The voice of this band was purely comedic. They made a long list of very interesting song titles and band names to which they still sometimes refer. They knew immediately when they had the right name. It fit in with everything they stood for: nothing. They had been studying Greek Mythology in English taught by Cabel Tutwiler, one of their greatest supporters. Hekatoncherries are mythical creatures that were banished to the underworld prior to the wars among the Titans. They each had one hundred arms and fifty heads. Eventually, they became Hephestos' blacksmiths. Wes thought it was a very funny concept. Funnier still was a picture he drew of a Hek-Atomic Cherry--that is a cherry with one hundred arms and a nuclear explosion coming from its head. When he presented this idea to Jay and Charles, they loved it. It was settled that this would be the band name.
The three members now began to talk seriously of writing songs. The next problem was to figure out who could and would play what. Charles had been playing guitar for a few years, so it only made sense that he would play the guitar. Jay had access to a bass and a keyboard and was fairly proficient at both instruments. His keyboard also had programmable drum sounds which would serve as the drum machine. They felt that there was no need for a drummer when a machine could do that work. This left Wes without any instrument or job per se. He was a well trained piano player but was very out of practice. It appeared that there might be no specific job for Wes he figured what better instrument to play but a kazoo. That would fit the band perfectly. With the lineup defined, they planned to practice on that fateful weekend in February. On February 13, 1992, the Hek-Atomic Cherries were born in full. After seeing Wayne's World they played what they could. Charles had a riff that he brought with him. Wes surprised both Jay and Charles when he played Charles' guitar as if he had done so for his whole life. He had been teaching himself the guitar for about a month and was a fast learner. The riff was expanded into a song that took on the name and sound that it would eventually be known for: "Trail of the Loathsome Kine". Although there was nothing else very productive about this meeting, it was a start. Jay, Charles and Wes would not let it stop there.
There were a few decisions made about the lineup in the band based on that first jam session. It was decided that Wes and Charles would both play guitar, Jay would play bass and a drummer was needed. The idea of a drum machine was no longer appealing to the three. The Meat Dingys were another band made up of students at ESA and their drummer, Stephen Miller was a good friend of all of the Hek-Atomic Cherries. Stephen approached Charles, Jay and Wes and asked if he could join the band, however the fledgling Cherries thought that they were not worthy of Stephen's skills. But Stephen saw potential and was very persistent in his request to which the Cherries finally succumbed. In his excitement, Stephen immediately began singing the spontaneous lyrics to the song "King Me, Bitch" into a Mountain Dew can. This demonstrated his incredible talent for extemporaneously creating a song out of thin air.
The stage was set for what would be a modern marvel and a triumph worthy of both a novelization by John Grisham and perhaps even a network television movie of the week. Only the forces of nature could prevent the Hek-Atomic Cherries from rising to the plateau for which they were destined.
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