The Lint Donkeys’ Very Bad Year

2009 November 12
by mockers


In 1995 the Lint Donkeys was a band on the cusp of greatness.  Having scored one of the biggest hits of the summer, the infectious “Love Kabob,” and with their debut album flying off store shelves, the group could seemingly do no wrong.  It appeared the sky was the limit for the young men from Hatchet Gash, Alabama.

Then everything came crashing down…

The following year was a very bad one indeed for the Lint Donkeys.  Possibly, in fact, the worst ever, for any band in history.  During a relatively condensed amount of time, the group was staggered by one rock ‘n’ roll tragedy after another.

Many bands have endured misfortune, but few, if any, have experienced so much of it, so quickly.

What follows is a partial recap of the Lint Donkeys’ Very Bad Year, an amazing series of events that ultimately derailed one of the most promising musical acts in modern times.

While planning the follow-up to their wildly successful debut album, a rift developed between singer Jud Fletcher and lead guitarist Johnny Paul Jason.  Fletcher wanted to take a more artistic, experimental approach to the music, while Jason felt strongly the band should stay true to its alterna-punk roots.

The feud came to a head following a night of heavy drinking, when Jason claimed he was awakened and found Fletcher standing over him “with a funnel and a bag of vomit.”

Jason believed Fletcher was going to kill him, and make it look like an accidental Bon Scott-style death.  But Fletcher claimed he was merely “tidying up.”

The pair never had a chance to reconcile, because Johnny Paul Jason was killed three weeks later by his own father, who suddenly burst into the room holding a gun and a Bible, screaming about God and “cross-dressing.”

When asked for a comment on Jason’s murder, Jud Fletcher said, simply, “It’s a drag, isn’t it?”

Warren Ferguson was hired to replace Johnny Paul Jason on lead guitar, but he also died under mysterious circumstances.  Only two months after joining the band, Ferguson was found “fully engorged,” wearing only an Indian headdress and purple legwarmers, and hanging off the back of a bathroom door with a belt around his neck.

It was ruled that the guitarist died of autoerotic asphyxiation, although many fans believe there’s more to the story.

It is widely rumored that Ferguson had been partying earlier in the evening with a certain well-known and controversial rock ‘n’ roll widow.  But there’s no indication that Courtney Hole was even questioned during the ensuing investigation.

Some fans also believe Ferguson got himself into trouble with a gangsta rap group, and was killed as retribution for defying “Biggie’s blacklist.”  But, again, there’s no evidence to support the rumor.

Roy Stoner was tapped to replace Warren Ferguson on lead guitar, only days before the band embarked on a four-week west coast tour of the United States.

After stopping for refueling in Clear Lake, Iowa, the band’s chartered Convair 240 crashed shortly after takeoff, killing Stoner and Jud Fletcher’s “swarthy and intimidating” Japanese girlfriend, and sheering off drummer Emmett Clark’s arms and legs.

The tour was canceled, of course, and the surviving members returned to Hatchet Gash to nurse their wounds and plan their future.

It was decided the band could not, and would not, continue without the beloved Emmett Clark.  So Clark, not wanting to be responsible for breaking up the Lint Donkeys, went to work on a system that would make it possible for him to continue as the band’s drummer.

Consisting of almost a quarter mile of line and two dozen pulleys, the complicated apparatus allowed the armless and legless Emmett Clark to make a triumphant return to the concert stage, at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Coliseum in late August.

The challenged drummer performed remarkably for most of the show, controlling the sticks with his face muscles, and even wowing the crowd with a three-minute solo during “Musical Fruit.”

Unfortunately, however, Clark suffered a massive stroke later in the evening.  He died onstage, fell from his stool, and rolled into the audience “like a bolt of carpeting.”  Fans, believing this was part of the show, began body-surfing the lifeless head ‘n’ torso all around the auditorium.

Upset by what was happening before him, bass player Asa Breeney pulled out a shotgun, put his toe on the trigger, and blew his own head off.

And Jud Fletcher, also unable to cope, fled the auditorium on a stage hand’s motorcycle, and died in a crash two days later, in Macon, GA.

It was a shocking end to a promising career.

But was it the end? The Donkeys’ recordings continue to sell, and interest in the band has never been higher.  There’s even talk of a reunion of sorts, featuring Rafe Hollister, who briefly replaced Roy Stoner on lead guitar, a couple of musician/fans, and Jud Fletcher’s morbidly obese brother on lead vocals.

You can’t keep a great band down, they say, and the Lint Donkeys are poised to prove that old adage in spades — at an ampitheater near you.

Very bad years, be damned!

8 Responses leave one →
  1. 2009 November 12
    JoJo permalink

    The only inaccuracy I can find in this report is that the name of the band was in fact “Def Leppard” and not the “Lint Donkeys”. Otherwise, excellent reporting as usual.

  2. 2009 November 12

    I could have sworn one of them had died in a tragic gardening accident.

  3. 2009 November 12
    JoJo permalink

    You can’t dust for vomit

  4. 2009 November 12
    Vicki permalink

    I’m pretty sure I saw Jud Fletcher on his motorcyle on Vineville Avenue or maybe it was on Forsyth Street after it changes from Vineville on the day he crashed.

  5. 2009 November 12

    Dammit! Now I can’t get “Love Kabob” out of my head.

  6. 2009 November 12

    They should have hired Keith Moon dammit!!! Oh wait, he was already dead. Never mind!

  7. 2009 November 13
    Tim permalink

    When did the band play in Mayberry?

  8. 2009 November 13
    hardoxdan permalink

    Yea, and that damn body surfing torso ended up in my back yard. The fucking dog almost choked on it when she ate it.

    I keep telling my wife we need to move away from the Civic Center, but I can’t keep the bitch out of there. Pain in the ass.

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