Welcome to the third installment of CREEM’s cocktail column, Born to Booze, where we deal in all matters linked to libation. This issue our resident bartender/musician, Kirk Podell (Subversive Rite, Anti-Machine, Neo Cons), takes to the streets with fellow stage denizen Drew Owen to discuss how, when it comes to such expressions of freedom as melting down during a gig and pissing one’s pants, all good things come in 40s.

Anyone who’s been to Baltimore knows what kind of trouble you can get into just passing through—let alone growing up there. Even though Drew Owen no longer lives in Baltimore, the rocker behind bands like Sick Thoughts and Total Hell embodies Charm City in all of its debauched glory. “I blame King Cobra for all of this,” Owen tells me, pointing at himself up and down as we stroll down Wyckoff Avenue in Brooklyn. Total Hell had just finished playing at TV Eye, so we decided to get a few brown-bagged KCs from the gas station and catch up.

“Drinking these always reminds me of the first Sick Thoughts record release show,” Owen says, taking a long pull from his already-almost-empty tallboy. “This band of BMX dirtbags named Hard Dads was playing and bought us three 40s of King Cobra. I drank them all before I ‘played,’ and my drummer walked off the stage. The city hated me for a while after that night.”

If anyone knows anything about recording in a 14-day blackout, it would be this man

Well, then, let’s get a bit more current. The new Sick Thoughts record (aptly named Heaven Is No Fun) was recorded in 2021, right in the thick of Hurricane Ida. “The record took a total of five days,” Owen says. “We finished the drums, the guitar, and the bass the first three days. Then the hurricane hit and we didn’t have power for 14 days. Once it came back we finished in another two.” Owen plays everything on Heaven Is No Fun. If anyone knows anything about recording in a 14-day blackout, it would be this man.

Going out on the town with Drew Owen is no easy feat—he’s practically a hurricane himself. Prepare for chaos and the long haul till sunup, but also look out for that smirk only a party pirate could give; it’s irresistible. Whether in Baltimore, NYC, New Orleans, or even Europe, he’s been conditioning himself for infectious lifestyle shit for some time, just passing along party lessons he himself learned the hard way. “When I moved to Helsinki,” he recalls, “I really got roped in with some true Finnish alcoholics. They all played hardcore and drank hot vodka. I had found my people.”

Our Drew still hasn’t learned his lesson fully about the dangers of malt liquor, though. “I stuck around this party for a little too long the other night trying to, let’s say, ‘score,’ and by 9 a.m. I realized it was far from happening so I decided to walk home. Along the way I popped in the store for a ceremonial 40-ounce for a lovely morning stroll,” he says, cracking open his second can of our short walk in order to drive home his point.

“Somehow I walked three miles out of the way and for the life of me could not find a bathroom anywhere. I ended up pissing myself so hard my pants went from gray to black. Anyone I asked for directions kept running away from me because they thought this piss-soaked man in a Celtic Frost shirt was chasing them.” I realize halfway through the story that it was not “the other night,” but two weeks ago in New York City at a party he dragged me to.

“If you can piss your pants here, you can piss your pants anywhere,” Owen tells me before strolling off into the night. Two days later I wake up to find in my vest pocket—written in blood that had caused the paper to stick to the denim—this drink recipe: a True New Orleans Hurricane from a True New Orleans Hurricane. (JK, Owen texted it to me. But my phone was pretty sticky.)

A photo of a New Orleans Hurricane drink.

TRUE NEW ORLEANS HURRICANE
(With special “fizz”)

2 oz. cheap dark rum
2 oz. REALLY cheap light rum
1⁄2 oz. overproof rum (dear God)
Grenadine
Orange juice
1 40-ounce bottle of malt liquor

1. Pour all of the rum into a Boston shaker with ice.

2. Top with equal parts grenadine and orange juice to taste.

3. Shake like a hangover from hell.

4. Pour into a hurricane glass.

5. Top with malt liquor 40-ounce of your choice.

6. Feel fucking invincible, confident in the knowledge that any pair of pants is a diaper if you’re real enough.


Thanks for reading CREEM. This article originally appeared in our Spring 2023 issue. If you prefer to read in print, grab a copy here and subscribe to never miss another one.

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