It would have been the perfect time for Scott Lucas to close the door on Local H.
In February, he was mugged in Russia, an attack that left him with damage to his vocal chords - and they still aren't fully healed. In August, Local H announced that drummer Brian St. Clair was amicably leaving the guitar/drum duo after 14 years.
On the plus side, the band was coming off Hallelujah! I'm a Bum, which one PopMatters.com author dubbed the "best rock album of 2012," and which TinyMixTapes.com called a "watershed album ... . Not only is it the most intricately arranged and carefully structured of the band's 20-plus-year history, but it is also their first to delve so deeply into the polluted waters of partisan politics. ... Musically, Hallelujah! is on par with the best entries in the H catalogue. Lucas has a knack for crafting heavy rock with strong, distinctive hooks." As epitaphs go, a band could do much worse.
But when I asked guitarist/vocalist Lucas last week about shelving his Chicago-area band given the events of 2013, he said he never seriously considered it. "This would be the second time in my life where I would sort of think that," he said. But "at this point it's kind of hard to separate myself from the band. When I'm dead, you won't have to wonder what I thought and what was going through my mind. All you have to do is put on these records, and you'd know. ... This has never been a job for me. I honestly don't know what else I would do. It is part of me, and it always has been."