jl_breadFebruary 2012 kicked off the 10th anniversary of Innocent Words Magazine. With that in mind, we have decided to write one retrospective feature each issue documenting our biggest moments, good, bad or otherwise.

Sometimes it’s not all fun and games at Innocent Words.

On one particular evening, I don’t remember the date, I went out to a show to support a local band and I also had a radio interview to do at 10:30. The local independent radio station WEFT was a regular supporter of everything Innocent Words and they would have me in from time to time to see what was going on.

After watching one band and hanging out with some friends I walked down to the station for the interview. It went well I thought and I always appreciated the people at WEFT and everything they did. I love radio stations in general and have always wanted to be a DJ.

After the interview it was around midnight and I decided to make the half hour drive home instead of going back to the club to see the final band. Big mistake. As I headed down the road, almost to the highway, there was one car out at this hour. It was in front of me and slowed to make a right hand turn, so I sinnaled left to drive around the turning car and as soon as I did I saw another car on the side road which the car in front of me was turning on to. Then it happened. It was like super slow motion, I remember starting to slide into the second lane I thought to myself “don’t you pull out there” and as soon as I thought the the oncoming car from the side road ran the stop sign and plowed into me.

The crash was loud and pushed my car across three lanes on the road totally my passangers side door to the front end of my car. I remember my car sliding, again it was like slow motion, and it hit the opposite curb and came to a rest. I sat there dazed, hurt and paniced. I fumbled for my cell phone and dialed 911/ Luckily the ambulance and hospital was just a couple blocks away. I sat in my broken car, glass all over the place, I felt something under my arm. I was worried it was a bone, but I felt whatever it was and come to find out it was a Payday candy bar that flew from the passangers seat and got trapped in my arm pit. Needless to say I wouldn’t be eating that.

As I waited, it seemed to take foever for anyone to show up, I was right across the street from the local bus garage and a bus pulled passed the accident, driving through the glass and didn’t even stop to check on =anyone. I couldn’t believe that. I guess they really wanted to get off their shift and go home.

Eventually the cops roll up make me stay in my seat and not move as he went over to check the other driver who had hit me. The ambulance came and gently got me out of the car on to a stretcher and we headed to the emergency room. I was awake the whole time so I knew that was good, but I still was hurting. I was cohearent enough to tell them about my transplant and give them a list of my medications so they knew my risks.

In the ER I was diagnosed with a mild concussion, since my head hit the side window and cracked it, a lot of bruises and the majo problem was a partially dislocated left shoulder from the seatbelt. Luckily it went back in place on it’s own from getting beaten around in the carl, which ended up to be a total loss.Lucikly, I wasn’t.

I got to leave the hiospital that night and early the next morning I got a call from a couple friends asking about the accident. I had no idea how they found out but word spread like wildfire. I was doing ok but my left shoulder to my sternum had bruised over night and was black and blue.

As for the accident itself, it was determined by the cops on the spot that it wasn’t my fault because the driver was drunk, had no license, no insurance and had a 16-year-0old drunk girl in the car with him. In addition this was his second DUI.

The downside was he had no insurance so he couldn’t/wouldn’t pay for my medical bills. My car was covered under my insurance but didn’t cover the hospital.

Rallying the Troops.

A local musician and show promoter named David Domal stepped up and organized a Troy Michael Benefit to pay for the medical bills. I was blown away by the generoscity. It turned out to be a huge production with 5-6 bands playing and ended up more about a celebration of life than anything.

One of the bands that was to play was a great local college band called  Everybody Uh-Oh. However they had one stipulation if they were to play….they wanted me to join them and play on a couple songs. This wouldn’t be a problem…or so I thought. We decided to play one of their originals of my choice and play a cover of Temple of the Dog “Hunger strike.” I thought this would be awesome since everyone knew I was a Pearl Jam fanatic. The only rule was, I would sing lead with Everybody Uh-Oh’s lead singer Jeremy Keller doing back up.

I can play guitar, but I can’t sing…let alone do both at the same time. We had a few weeks to practice, which I knew was a must. But it turns out we only practiced twice in their dorm.

The night of the show aas amazing, mind blowing experience. Everyone was having so much fun and I got more hugs than I could ever count. Then it was time to play. I had never played in front of a crowd before, I just played guitar in my room for fun.

I was called up to the stage and given a Fender Telecaster to use. I was so nervous my voice was trembling as I thanked everyone for coming out then told a lame joke or two. And then it begin…”I don’t mind stealing Bbread…” I sang in a hushed tone and stared at no one in particular. When Jeremy sang his parts I felt a lot better and just went with it did the best I could. It was a lot of fun and I was very thankful for not only having that opportunity, but for all the friends who came out to help.

Sadly I don’t see or talk to many of ty hose people anymore.  Most have moved on, graduated college, moved away, got married and had kids. I miss those times, I miss those people, but I am just lucky to have experienced such a wonderful night of music and friends.

Courtesy of Tory Michael & Innocent Words