“I realize I’m not the life of the party, but I’m working on it,” Electro says, as one of his cats, Punky, pokes his head from around the corner of the trailer (his other cat is called Brewster). His prescribed morphine is taking a while to kick in.

Cooper has been preparing to celebrate a grand opening of her new retail store in Greensboro with live music and food trucks in the coming months. Duehring tells Electro they would be happy to come pick him up and bring him back if he wanted to be there.

“Be something to think about,” Electro ventures.

Cooper and Duehring discuss the many changes on Tate Street in an attempt to get Electro to talk about what it was like back in its heyday.

“The thrill’s about gone,” Electro says.

“There’s four different pizza places,” Duehring says with an air of incredulousness.

“Damn,” Electro says.

He tells Duehring and Cooper that he quit drinking two weeks earlier. A friend in the neighborhood regularly took him to the grocery. His chemo treatments had been discontinued, and he had a scheduled visit to the VA hospital coming up.

“I quit smoking for a while, but I started back,” Electro tells Duehring.

“Did you find yourself needing something to do with your hands?” Duehring asks.

Electro nodded.

“Who’s your friend — your boon companion?” he says, answering with a question.

They make small talk, Duehring discussing a recent solo trip to Asheville to play a gig when his bandmates couldn’t make it.

“Musicians, they piss me off,” Electro says. “I had a show booked at the Cave one time when the band backed out. But I had to rise to the occasion. I did the whole f***ing show by myself. The show must go on.”

As the hour drifts by, the conversation between Electro and his friends becomes more relaxed and affectionate.

“I think my pain medication is starting to kick in,” he says. “Feeling better.”

Then he asks, “You got a place I can crash?”

“Yeah,” Duehring responds. “You just got to make sure to bring enough oxygen. I don’t know if I can score that for you on Tate Street if you run out.”

Electro picks up a cordless phone and punches in some numbers.

“Hey Josh,” he says when Johnson’s answering machine picks up. “We all down here in ever-fabulous Roxboro. You want to pick up?”

If anyone has figured out an explanation for the enduring myth and legend of Electro, it’s probably David Little.

“He was a dose of wildness, and everywhere he went he was a reminder that we can be wild, unapologetically wild,” Little said. “That seems to be his role.

“Electro never bought into anything,” he added. “All he cared about was being wild and free. He was willing to pay whatever price had had to do that.”

Electro admitted to Duehring that he hadn’t felt like playing his guitar much in recent weeks.

“I’ve got to get back in the spirit of things,” he said. “It’s hard to do. If you’re not in the spirit, you can’t do nothing.”

Duehring and Cooper could tell that Electro was getting tired, and they each gave him a hug.

As they started walking back to the car while turning to wave, Electro rose unsteadily. When his body was fully erect, he raised both hands in the air, making twin peace signs with his fingers.

“Peace and love,” he said.

Electro Mike Pam
Electro with Mike Duehring and Pam Cooper

4 COMMENTS

  1. I used to Jam and Party with Electro…..I hit Tate Street back in 78/79 and ran straight into him jamming outside The Hong Kong House…..He was always hitting m up for Beer Money…..He told me several times that he lived with the Allman Brothers (Greg and Duane) in a house down in Climax, NC….(not sure if this is true: other folks have told me the same story) He had a picture, with them and him, sitting on their porch…..It was hard to see if it was actually them or not and it was singed around the edges from the house fire that sent Greg and Duane packing off into history. Electro played with Rich Lerner and I in Broken Ice for a while. We even recorded some songs with him on slide guitar at Tom Rowan’s Sound Lab….That ended when he showed up way to drunk to play a gig with us at Huck’s Deli…..He stumbled over to a table in front of the band and heckled us the rest of the night until he passed out…..Gotta love him….He was always a hoot…..I hope he makes it back to Greensboro and we can jam on a few more songs…..Love and Healing Light to you Electro

  2. I got to know Electro back in the late 80’s early 90’s. I was a regular at NY Pizza, later worked at Crocodile Cafe. I loved hanging out with my friends & Electro was one of my Faves. I so glad to have known him & hope to see him again.

  3. I got drunk with him many of times. He lived off and on my sofa for a while between 87 and 89. Bought him coffee outside Friers and hung out often. I have not seen him is 23 plus years I am sorry to hear this about one of the the good guys. Rock on Electro.

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