New book looks at the 20-year career of Columbusâ€™ hardest-working rockers
It seems that every band worth listening to has its own wild stories to tell, from trashing hotel rooms to getting trashed backstage. For longtime Columbus rockers Watershed, theirs is a tale of chasing big dreams in an old van with no AC, of inking a major record deal only to have the rug pulled out from under them, and of pressing on even as the bandmates began to settle down and start families.
“Hitless Wonder: A Life in Minor League Rock and Roll,” penned by bassist and co-founder Joe Oestreich, recounts Watershed’s recent tour along with detailed memories of Oestreich’s childhood (how he and co-founder Colin Gawel decided to start a band while riding a COTA bus up High Street following a Cheap Trick concert), his college days (meeting his future wife at a campus house party), and the heartbreak of realizing that, even with agonizing hard work and dedication, sometimes things just don’t work out in the music biz.
The memoir hits bookstores on June 5. Among the highlights:
*A grueling, daylong studio session with Willie Phoenix, who had the band perform a single song dozens of different ways, only to decide the first version was best. “A record needs to be good enough to last forever,” Oestreich recalls Phoenix telling them.
*Driving from Toledo to New Orleans for a show they hoped would get them noticed by a hotshot manager. Their engine died 100 miles shy of the Big Easy, and the band was rescued by a tow truck driver who let them hide in the van while he pulled them the rest of the way. They made it with five minutes to spare, but the manager never showed.
*Opening for the Insane Clown Posse, whose fans—known as “Juggalos”—routinely booed them and hurled items onstage. “On the upside,” Oestreich recalls, “the Juggalo median age was probably 14; those kids had weak arms and spotty aim.”