by Robert Bell
9 p.m. Juanita's. $25.
Editor's note: This is the third in an ongoing series profiling the groundbreaking early 21st century Oklahoma band Hinder and the mercurial genius at its fore, singer Austin Winkler. Read part one here and part two here
SEPT. 14, 2057, NORMAN, Okla. — The walls of Austin Winkler's retirement village apartment are lined with a simply mind-numbing amount of Hinder merchandise. This is a band whose laissez-faire approach to endorsements would make Krusty the Clown himself vomit with jealousy.
Winkler shares the apartment with Hinder drummer Cody Hanson, the only other original surviving member of the band. Hinder allowed its name to be emblazoned upon the usual litany of consumer items: Breakfast cereals, tequila, action figures, athletic wear, hot sauce, lawn and patio furniture, novelty prophylactics. But after-market auto parts? Drywall tools?
I ask Winkler why the band was so shockingly indiscriminate in its product endorsements. "You gotta get your name out there," he says. But does a band whose indescribably beautiful music altered the very course of humanity really need to lend its name to a line of adult diapers?
Hinder even endorsed a pharmaceutical drug, Proplaxidol QM. "Our backup percussionist Dutch had contracted Clodgington's Dermatitis. It's basically a rare, sexually-transmitted form of dandruff. Pretty sure he picked it up at Rocklahoma 2034. He was like patient zero. Anyway, they did all these tests on him and the trials went well, but once it hit the market there were some, uh, unfortunate side effects, and they pulled it."
Determined to make some sort of human connection with this enigmatic rock mastermind, I ask him once more if he has any regrets. "I got in a pissing contest with Axl Rose one time." "Two times," Hanson corrects him. "It was two times, remember?" "Oh yeah," Winkler says. "Yeah, I guess that first one ended in a draw so we had a rematch."
He pauses, a trace of remorse tightening the corner of his mouth. "That was sad, the way that thing ended. Me and Axl, we polluted that whole entire watershed and caused the endangered Midwestern Spotted Blind Cave Lizard to go extinct and for what? Bragging rights?" Winkler shakes his head slowly. "And $14 million," Hanson reminds him. "Oh yeah," Winkler says, "I guess that part was pretty cool."