In the days after local TV news reported on the death of David Hebert — a longtime drummer better known to everyone as “Bones” — it was clear that the New Orleans-style memorial procession (a nice nod to Hebert’s hometown) and gathering in Northside in the wake of his shooting at the hands of police was going to be the image most (especially those who didn’t know him personally) would remember. The large group of friends who came together amidst the deep hurt and shock showed how much Bones meant to the community and was a testament to his kind spirit. As the police investigation continues and those friends skeptical of the “official report” try to find justice, some local musicians moved by the sudden, violent death of Bones are using their skill set to express their feelings about the situation.
As someone scrawled on a clever parody of Shepard Fairey’s Andre the Giant imagery on Facebook, “Bones Has a Posse.” As news of his death and the unusual circumstances surrounding it has spread, Bones’ posse is getting bigger, encompassing his many friends, casual acquaintances and even those who never met him. And a lot of those people are musicians, so it makes sense that they would show support in their own unique way.
The recently formed Roots/Americana/AltCountry duo Terminal Union has recorded a song inspired by Bones and the sketchy circumstances surrounding the shooting. Members David Faul and Ian Mathieu weren’t best buddies with Bones, but the levity of the situation — and literal proximity to it — moved them to construct the song. With melancholic harmonica, percolating banjo and rich, expressive vocals, “Have Another Round” is an excellent, pure expression of the sadness, confusion and outrage that followed Bones way-too-early passing.
While Faul had never met Bones, Mathieu (a local music vet who recently relocated back to Cincinnati after some time in Nashville) had seen him perform when he was in bands during the ’90s and had a few drinks with him in the weeks leading up to his death. Mathieu was also living in Northside within a couple hundred feet of where the shooting occurred in early April. Faul says Mathieu woke up amidst the early morning commotion and looked down as paramedics drove up, checked the body and left in less than a minute.
Mathieu knew someone had died and the next morning he saw the reports that it was a police shooting. Faul says between that and the media retrospectives about the 10th anniversary of the police shooting of Timothy Thomas that sparked widespread unrest in Cincinnati had pushed Mathieu to begin writing a verse for a song. For more material and perspective, Mathieu attended the initial police press conference about the shooting. That’s when he found out it was Bones who had been killed.
“He was very put off that it just seemed like another day at the office for everyone attending the press conference,” Faul says. “This is what really got (Ian) worked up and inspired him that this was a song he needed to finish.”
Give “Have Another Round” a listen below and on Terminal Union’s ReverbNation page here.
And here is a video clip of the duo performing the song.
It’s hardly the only (and far from the last) instance in which a musician has been moved by what happened to Bones. As soon as they heard the news, local Punk legends SS-20 put together a special commemorative edition of their newest single, a remixed version of the song “Thrift Store,” selling them at shows for $2 and donating the money to help offset funeral or other costs. Singer Robert “Jughead” Sturdevant said they collected about $60 for Bones, but that was before SS-20’s opening slot at the T.S.O.L. show at The Mad Hatter in Covington a couple of weeks ago.
Bones was a fan of SS-20 — according to Jughead, he was present when the band played The Comet in Northside, just prior to his death. Bones joined the group onstage for some backing vocals. Jughead said they plan to post video footage online of the moment, believed to be his last time onstage.
“It’s safe to say that there will be more events in his honor,” Jughead wrote in an email to CityBeat.
Indeed, musicians in Cincinnati have a long history of supporting their own and stepping up in bad times. While that, of course, won’t bring Bones back and won’t bring him the justice those who loved him seek, it will help the memory of him resonate even more.
One has to think that, as a music fanatic, Bones would be thrilled to know that, despite the horrible circumstances, he has become a source of art and action from his musical brothers and sisters. And it’s not because of the way he left us — it’s because of the way he connected with people when he was here.