Can't Lose What's Lost: An Interview with Cello

So, the bar’s been closed for two weeks now, and the way things are going, it might be a while before it opens back up. Money’s short, everyone’s bored and lonely, and the Lost Well is a second home for a lot of people. How are you and the gang coping?

If I had anymore hair to lose, I would have lost it. Mostly just trying to figure a way for the bar and staff to stay alive. We're selling shirts and have a staff fund on the website to make some revenue for now, but at over 10k a month for rent it's just tickling the landlord’s balls. People are really kicking ass and coming together, though - Killian Ivy started a virtual bartender group that's been really amazing. John and Diego from Ungrieved teamed up with Pallbearer Press and made shirts for us to sell. We just are about to start a live stream thing and have bands play and people can donate to them or the bar or both or neither. That starts this Friday at 8. Aside from that, it’s lots of practicing our drinking and drug abuse. Is that a good answer?

Haha, they’re all good answers. Speaking of the shirts - that was artwork by Diego Garza (who has also done artwork for Hexist and Hanged Man), John Petri of Ungrieved and the late Blood Royale covering printing costs, and Craig Merrit of Pallbearer Press doing the printing. Tell me how that came about.

They did that all on their own and surprised me with it. How fucking cool is that?!

That’s really awesome! So, just like our busy season got squashed in New Orleans, you guys shut down just after SXSW was called off. Looking at numbers in NoLa post Mardi Gras, I’d say you guys dodged the biggest bullet possible. What was it like having to cancel all of those shows and how big of an impact do you think it will have/has it had already?

I think you're right. In retrospect I'm really glad they didn't go through with it. It's gonna be a giant hole to climb out of that's gonna take months to recover from. The result would have been the same if everyone was sick or dead now. It's consoling to know that EVERYONE is in the same boat. We're all pretty fucked.

True. Just like every individual has to worry about paying rent in a broken economy, so do the businesses that we love. Are you still responsible for your rent payments currently?

He said we could pay what we can, but he wants the difference when things open back up. Not ideal but at least we'll be able to stay around. My neck already hurts trying to look up from the hole we'll be in.

That’s very identifiable. Rent suspension doesn’t mean rent isn’t owed, and that’s something a lot of people haven’t realized or come to terms with yet.

Yeah. They want their money and they're gonna get it.

On the staff end of things, talk to me about this “virtual bartending”. Lost Well was one of the first bars that I saw do something like that and it was a pretty ingenious way to adapt on the spot.

That was all Killian. It's amazing. I think it surprised her how much it exploded. She's done more for bartenders than any government official has. Just another example of how rad our community of people is.

Do you have any info on when and where we can catch the usual cast of Lost Well Characters tending virtual bar? 

I'm not sure who's next. Andy, Deb, and RayRay already did theirs. I don't expect Andrew will do one because he's still got metal work.

Alright, this Rock for Rent business... I’ve been using the Lost Well as an example when I talk to other musicians and bartenders and promoters and bar owners when it comes to virtual tip jars and live streaming. You guys have been a great example. Explain the concept.

Tonight's the first one so we'll see how it goes. Sabbath Crow and Julia are the main ones to thank for this. We started off thinking of doing it at the bar, but I started to feel that maybe it was a little irresponsible. Julia reached to John Petri who was gonna do sound at the bar for it anyway and he offered up his studio. It'll be easier to clean up afterwards, plus its fully backlined so all you need is your mic, guitars, and sticks. We’ll see how it goes... they wanted it to be a way for the bar to make rent money, but I figure it's a good way for out of work band folks to make some scratch too. I'd feel too guilty asking anyone to just do it for the bar.

That’s really awesome! I tuned in for a bit last night and saw there were some technical difficulties, but this is new to everyone so that’s to be expected. What’s the new virtual calendar looking like? I’ll hit you back up after a few more of these virtual shows, I want to see how that pans out.

Ok cool. Gonna try another Rock for Rent on Friday. Hopefully it goes better


How has that gone so far?

It's killer now. The sound is squared away. That was the only issue. The Pleasure Tide one didn't happen because the band dropped off the day of. Which is cool. I didn't want anyone to be uncomfortable doing it. We have WE Are the Asteroid this Friday. Doom Siren coming up and a few that I'm waiting to hear back from.

Nice, Doom Siren’s coming back! So, what shows have you had to cancel so far that you are the most bummed about? I’m sure there were some really great bills lined up between SXSW and all the great metal tours that just had to cancel.

Luckily most got postponed like Rose Tattoo and The Obsessed, but I'm bummed because we started working with Christian Larson that books Hells Heroes Fest in Houston. He books a bunch of cool stuff that had to get cancelled. Hopefully we'll get to work together again. 

Yeah, Hell’s Heroes was supposed to happen just last week. That’s a bummer. Do you have any plans for how you’re going to celebrate the bar opening back up?

Ha! It's gonna be fucking crazy across the country when it happens. I can't wait to see the drunk in everyone's eyes! We have a local show booked on standby and a free keg of beer from Compadre Brewing ready to go. 

What’s the bill for the show?

Bridge Farmers, WE Are The Asteroid, Ungrieved, Sabbath Crow, and All Monsters Attack.

Right on. Well hopefully it will be sooner than later. I’m sure the books will fill up fast and there will be no shortage of amazing shows once it does happen. In the meantime, it’s really cool seeing how the community has adapted and keeps working together to keep the dream alive. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me Cello, I appreciate it.

Cheers man! Thank you.

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