What would happen if you crossed Heath Ledger’s Joker from Dark Knight, with Bozo the clown, threw in some Robert Dinero, gave him a Picasso-esq guitar, added a sprinkling of provocation and just a little bit of sparkle? You’d get BUCKWHEAT CATAPILLAR (his spelling, not mine), JewHatin’ Clown (direct from the school bus sticker on the back of his business card). A fun-loving, creepy as all hell when he’s just staring straight ahead, lives in a green and yellow house that matches his outfit and has a driver named “J. Sumothergill”, open-mic connoisseur, and all around nice guy.
We first saw Buckwheat when driving to an open mic in Seattle’s Capitol Hill district. Hunched a bit at the shoulders and carrying his painted guitar, case-free, “Buckwheat” stood about 5’9″ tall and was covered in green and yellow. One lime green shoe, one yellow. Canary yellow gloves covered his neatly manicured hands, and bright yellow and black diamond print pants billowed around his legs. He looked tired behind the white-faced, red-lipped, rosy-cheeked, one pink glitter eye, one green glitter eye. I immediately said, “Yes. I hope he’s going to the same open mic as us.”
Sure enough, when we walked into the Hopvine Pub there were only TWO— I kid you not, TWO— stools open at the bar. And guess who was sitting right next to the two vacant seats, yep, Mr. Catapillar. We sat and knew our lives would be forever changed.
What struck me as we struck up a conversation with the clown, was how NORMAL he was. No silly jokes (although he claimed to be a comedian), no outrageous claims, no boasting about his musicianship or life choices, nothing. He quietly sipped his beer, something he had the bartender recommend, and was very polite. He chatted about how he used to be an auto mechanic and had been in several bands. When I questioned him about his stage persona, he somehow managed 3 times to easily sway the talk in some other direction, or act like he didn’t hear. It was such an effortless technique that I didn’t even realize my inquiry had been averted until after the man had left. All this amount of normal, squished under a kelly-green watch cap and two, shoulder-length, green spray painted, curly pony tails, sitting atop a shoulder-padded, white Bolero jacket with black, beaded adornments on his shoulders and the word, “Catapillar” on black, sequenced felt on the back. Yet, he had to put small, black-rimmed glasses on to read. NORMAL…
So, we couldn’t wait to hear him perform. We thought the answers to our unspoken questions would be cracked wide open when he got on stage. He got the crowd going with a Stones tune, “Play With Fire”, and sounded completely NORMAL. Then, he did an original called “Kennedy’s Head”, where he ranted and raved about the government conspiracy cover-up of the Kennedy assassination. Actually, pretty good. Funny, solid beat, great stage presence, coherent, relevant and…NORMAL!
I am dying at this point. Why does this man dress like this? What is his deal? How does one who looks this way seem so well-adjusted?
Then, Jared and I were at the gym on Thursday and Jared saw him in the floor mat area.
“Buckwheat?”, Jared asked.
“Kevin.”, replied Buckwheat.
Now I’m totally confused.
To see this man and decide for yourself, we urge you to check him out here.