As long as I have known Herbie Hinkle, I knew in the back of my head this would one day come. Folks... Herbie. Is. Dead.
As you may or may not know, Herbie had been sick for quite some time. Last week I got the call from Herb's caregivers that he had passed. Due to the nature of the subject and the reality of "What next?" it has taken some time for me to clearly collect my thoughts, thus resulting in the delay of this news.
From the moment I first met the guy, his pale skin reeked of death... actually, it was probably 90% b.o., 5% gangrene from his left hand, and 5% Old Spice. (That still don't make it right!) When I first set foot in his basement, the empty pill bottles, rubber bands, whisky crates, and piles of used gauze sprinkled with an occasional onion skin, clued me in to Herbie's dire situation, and my own cruel whore fate... months and months of tortuous, somewhat cryptic, musical information being crammed into my head, forcing me to ultimately become... A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN!
For over three years, The Herbie Hinkle Ensemble has been playing Herb's sung melodies. If you've had the honor of wittnessing the rare appearance of Herbie at a show, you are one of the lucky ones. As ill as he was, it was a wonder he ever made it out at all. (Hence our numerous excuses for his absences.)
The gradually worsening condition of the founder of the band left us confused and frustrated; we knew we were coming to a turning point and a very important decision. The time to make that decision came on Saturday, shortly after the death of Pope John Paul II (which was ironic, because the Pope WAS morally opposed to poisoning stray dogs in the park, unlike Herbie). We knew that Herbie would want us to continue in his absence, but ultimately we were too grief-stricken to move forward with the original band name. Together, we decided to honor Herb's memory by dutifully renaming the band The Hinkle Family Trust... or uh, The Trust.
See also http://cdbaby.com/cd/herbie