Friday the 13th
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All right class, here’s today’s new word: paraskedidekatriphobics.
Huh…? What the heck is that? A small village in Pakistan?
Something you eat with a lot of sauce? A new social itch curable only
by a large dose of penicillin?
Nope. It refers to people who are afflicted with morbid, consuming,
irrational fear of Friday the 13th and everything associated with
However, all fears and superstitions aside, the local band known as
Friday the 13th goes out of its way to embrace what most would shun
regarding this date. (More about the phenomena of
Matt Lauer, lead vocalist, explains it this way. “It’s one of those
things where we’re kind of making fun of the fact that you can’t
overcome Murphy’s Law or whatever else.”
Ah, so the name has nothing to do with teen slasher flicks, either?
“No,” Matt said. “You never know what’s gonna happen. Something bad
always screws something up at the last minute. Every time the band
seemed like it was going to get somewhere, something always happened.
Somebody quit, something would come up…”
In spite of all these guys have been through during their seven-year
history, they’ve developed an attitude that combines a love for down
and dirty rock, a hard partying aesthetic and just plain bulldog
Besides Lauer (who goes by the moniker Thelonius O’Malley on the
13th), the current lineup includes drummer Scott Early (who also
plays for the band Shunned), and guitarist Jimbo Lyshus, formerly of
The Scary Tweezers. They are getting a helping hand in the bass spot
for their CD release show on Friday the 13th at Legends, (4104 North
Clinton in Fort Wayne). They will be joined on stage by the band
Their debut CD, Too Fast For Luck, was recorded locally at
Digitracks Studio and produced by the band. Matt Carbone, who played
bass on the project, is no longer with the band. According to their
press materials, “…the band is looking for a new bass player after
a bizarre drinking accident.”
Their first gig seven years ago was on the Friday the 13th, right
before Valentine’s Day. “When the band was first formed,” Lauer
said, “we originally were only going to play on Friday the 13th. It
was just something to do for fun, but it’s still something to do for
Of course it’s kind of a stretch to think that any musician does
this “just for fun,” especially a group of guys whose name is
synonymous with perennial bad luck.
“I’ve had enough bad luck going in my life,” Early remarked. “I
don’t really welcome it, but it happens. I’ve been in bands around
the area for a long time. I’ve had a lot of set backs, but I’ve also
achieved things I’ve set out to do. Basically, I’ve had every reason
to quit doing this, but this is a good band to be in.”
It’s apparent this isn’t just a line. Early’s drum work on Too
Fast For Luck is incredibly tight. The guitar work of Jimbo
Lyshus is pure, unadulterated, balls-to-the-wall garage rock, but he
does it well, very well.
Lauer … er, Thelonius, rather, is one of those deep throated
growlers who sounds like he’s getting ready to hack up his spleen.
Unlike a lot of the so-so talented guys who sing this way, Thelonius
has an understanding and sense of range and dynamics rare for this
Friday the 13th are known for playing a short set. Lauer describes
it as “… a 35-minute temper tantrum.” and this might be why the
first recorded offering contains just six tunes. Short, definitely
not sweet, and to the point.
These aforementioned short sets are also known for a degree of
insanity and total unpredictability that has, according to Lauer,
“… gotten us thrown out of almost every bar in this town at one
point or another. Not because we’re a**holes, but because we have a
lot of fun on stage.” A bar owner once commented that the band “…
acts like animals and drinks like fiends, but when they’re on stage,
every eye in the place is watching them.”
They already have another project in the can, tentatively titled
Do The Wrong Thing, which will have a limited release in late
spring or early summer. “It’s a very limited run for fans and people
who come to the shows,” Lauer said. “We’ll probably only charge $5
for it. We want to make it affordable; that’s what everybody
These guys definitely make no apologies for what they do and what
“You hear people talking about bands being pigeon holed,” Lauer
said. “To hell with that. I want people to know what we’re about. I
want people to always know what to expect from us.
“That doesn’t mean that we’re staid, or that we’re going to be
writing the same song over and over. What I mean is, you know where
we’re coming from.”
Basically, the place they come from loves what is often described as
roots rock, or sometimes garage band rock. It’s the type and style of
music that seems to come and go with no scheduled regularity. But, it
is the type of music that survives all the mindlessness of whatever
the flavor of the month happens to be – everything from Disco to
“I hate the idea that rock n’ roll is unfashionable again,” Lauer
said. “Sure, there’s a lot of guitar bands, but you can have a guitar
band and not play rock n’ roll. We are stripped down, 3 chord, 1-4-5.
We like that, simple, old rock n’ roll. People should never lose
sight of that.”
“Roots are roots,” Early added. “They’re never going to go away.
Roots are the basis, whether it be a tree or music. At some point,
and this is just my opinion, it doesn’t matter what genre of music
you’re doing. Roots are always going to be there. I think people are
now starting to go back to the roots and are starting to embrace the
basic, simple beginnings.”
Friday the 13th are also about supporting the local music community
and working towards a sense of camaraderie with not only the
audience, but with other bands as well as bar owners and promoters.
“One of the things that makes me happy about being in a band in this
town is to further the scene,” Lauer said. “That’s a big deal,
because the scene here dries out, then gets better, then dries out,
then gets better. Fort Wayne is a big enough town that it could have
a lot more going for it than it does.”
Well, on Friday the 13th of February, this band (not to be confused
with the date or the movie), will prove how serious they are. The
show/release party for Too Fast For Luck will be at Legends.
If you haven’t already seen these guys, their “35-minute temper
tantrum” is open to the public. Also, check out their web site at
Writer’s note: I mentioned earlier a bit more information on the
word paraskevidekatriaphobia, or with the suffix “phobics” if you’re
talking about individuals. Dr. Donald Dossey is a therapist credited
with coining this mouthful. He specializes in the study of phobias
and claims that as many as 21 million people in this country alone
may be afflicted. There is a correlative study released by the
British Medical Journal in which is was found that falls, car
accidents, animal bites and even poisonings were more numerous on
Friday the 13th. No conclusion could be drawn as to whether or not
“bad luck” on this date caused these problems, or it was just the
psychological susceptibility of certain people who shouldn’t be
allowed outside without an accompanying caregiver to get themselves
in trouble. At any rate, enjoy the show on Friday the 13th, by Friday