by Robert Bell
HINDER, TRAPT, THE DREAMING
9 p.m. Juanita's. $25 adv., $30 d.o.s.
SEPT. 12, 2057, NORMAN, OKLA.: Despite multiple hip replacements, two-and-a-half liver transplants, full-scalp hair plugs and innumerable facelifts and paunch-abatements, Austin Winkler is as devastatingly studly as ever. The Hinder frontman still cuts an intimidating figure, even at age 81 and even though he is swathed in what can only be described as a huge-ass pile of scarves.
He sits at the bar of O'McFlannagin's Irish College Pub on a quiet weekday afternoon, stirring his drink with a bejeweled pinky finger. "You know these guys used to sponsor us," he says, referring to his Jägermeister and Kombucha spritzer. Winkler is feeling reflective, sharing anecdotes from his many decades as a rock 'n' roll wildman. "Our first album was called 'Extreme Behavior,' " he says. "But were we really that extreme?"
He pauses, lost in thought, as the fading afternoon light from the window glints off of one of his five pairs of sunglasses. A slow half-smile creeps across his unnaturally taut visage as he begins to answer that rhetorical query. "I once had a 43-way. It's like a three-way, only with 43 people instead of just three. It's like, 40 times more awesome." More tales of tour debauchery followed at some length, including an episode at a "Malaysian albino colony" that left this reporter both dumbfounded and deeply shaken.
But the fast times caught up with him eventually. There were the normal inner conflicts and ego clashes, sure, but there were also hang-gliding mishaps, boating disasters, international incidents of various sorts. So in the end, was it all worth it? Winkler takes a deep breath, a faraway look in his eye.
Suddenly the door swings open and a bleached-blonde, black-leather-clad crone walks in and sidles up to the bar, a few seats down from Winkler. He eyes her discreetly, then whispers to the bartender: "Skyler, hey, Skyler!" The barkeep looks up, Winkler nods to him and then he fiddles with the stereo. A moment later, the Hinder classic "Lips of an Angel," comes on over the speakers. The wizened old hag begins to sway, her lips mouthing the words to the bombastic power ballad hit: "I gotta whisper / 'cause I can't be too loud."
Winkler sees his opening. "Was it worth it?" he chortles, getting up to take a seat next to the geriatric enchantress. "You tell me."