It’s hard to tell. No lavender sweater. Chucks instead of tasseled loafers. Jet black hair underneath a unisex Vans hoodie. But he definitely has the Bill Gates slouch. I’m almost sure it’s him.
After our old drummer peaced-out, this dude was banging on the roll-up door of our practice space before we could even drop a classified in The Stranger. Like HE knew we needed him before WE knew. Jedi move. And he’s nerdy, and older, but we’re all pushing a certain age in the cover band industry. He does have the same normcore glasses as Bill Gates. But so do half the people in the dive joints we play. Still, it’s probably him, right?
His Prius is crammed with books, so there’s that, too. I don’t know if he’s sleeping in there or just reading that much, but I did see a Dopp kit on the dash. And for some reason, he’s preoccupied with how much water the nearest toilet uses. I wouldn’t know, but it’s right across from space 72. The key is hanging off the spatula.
And while he isn’t the best drummer we’ve seen, he absolutely WAILS on The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside,” our crowd-pleasing set-closer. He’s an emotional tidal wave when he crashes those cymbals. Hammers the toms like he’s coping with serious life shit. Told us his only previous experience was Rock Band on Xbox, so kudos to him. You know what? He probably dyed his hair now that I think about it. Halfway into that song, little Giuliani rivulets were trickling down his forehead. Yeah, that’s Bill Gates. For sure.
Another thing, when Randall asked who made chrome bass strings, our new guy told him to use Bing instead of Google. That was odd. Then, he had his Swiss hedge fund manager finesse our retirement accounts AND we rode his private plane to a show in Eureka. Also odd. But we slayed that night. Had thirty-five people singing along to Linkin Park’s “In The End.” Made $470 off the door. Half of it went to our bar tab, though. Wolfdog kept loading up trays of shots.
Wolfdog? Oh, yeah. That’s his nickname. We were calling him “Windows,” because of his glasses. But he requested we call him “Wolfdog” instead. Cloud Cover (that’s our band) usually rides with Jose Cuervo, but Wolfdog only goes for small-batch añejos.
Windows — I mean Wolfdog — isn’t beholden to any spousal partner either. He’s always up for partying. But Randall’s a dentist with three kids. I’ve got two. Our keyboardist is single, but I think he’s in the National Guard. We only stay out late when we take the jet to gigs, like in Eureka, or the one at Dónde Fidel in Cartegena. Now THAT was a wild night. The president of Columbia showed up. Wolfdog barely noticed. Between sets he holed up in a corner with these local bonitas hanging on his hoodie strings. That’s sooo Wolfdog. Or Bill Gates.
Whoever he is, he still takes his turn working the merch table. We usually fan out a dozen shrink-wrapped CDs of our songs, but Wolfdog instead sets out Zuni MP3 players loaded with all eleven covers. There’s just enough storage, apparently. Says he’s got boxes of them lying around. And he offered to match our sales. That seems like a clue.
And maybe the dude has big-time music connections, I don’t know, but we now have an actual album coming out. And we own the rights to every song we play. Even Nickleback’s “How You Remind Me.” It drops in two weeks. Whenever I log onto Spotify to learn the chorus to a Strokes’ tune, seems like I hear an ad for Cloud Cover. We’re recording the second album with Rick Rubin in October.
But I think the tell-tale moment was a week ago after Wolfdog had been in Europe or Africa or somewhere. We showed up to practice with six-packs of Space Dust IPA, and he showed up with six-packs of the AstraZeneca booster. It’s not even publicly available until 2022. Man, who do you have to be?
Bill Gates, that’s who.
Recently, he’s been talking up this other local musician, Jeff Bezos. Wolfdog says J-dog plays a mean Cümbüş. I guess we’ve already let one divorced multi-billionaire into the lineup, what’s one more? And imagine rocking Muse’s “Starlight” while circumventing the Earth 65 miles in orbit. Now that’s a perk.