Mike Triplett has long been an integral part of the Triangle music community, both as guitarist for rock trio Fin Fang Foom, and manager of Go! Studios; an upbeat, kind-hearted soul amidst the grind of the rock club biz.
After being stricken with complications from spinal meningitis earlier this year, a vast support network went up with benefit shows from New York and Chicago to Jacksonville, Fla. Triplett beat the illness, moving back to his home state of Florida for further recovery. He has since returned to Chapel Hill, irrepressible humor and familiar smile intact. Triplett and Fin Fang Foom just completed a regional tour and played Chapel Hill this month.
INDEPENDENT: How has your experience affected making music?
MIKE TRIPLETT: The last tour marked almost a year since our last show. It took me a while before I felt strong enough to stand through a whole practice. I have a little bit of paranoia of falling down on stage ... but not because of too many drinks. I am still suffering from the neuropathy (nerve damage). As you might imagine, we are just appreciating being able to play in the same room together.
What was it like to have so many people banding together for you?
I have to say the most amazing thing about the job and the band is the community that supported me locally, nationally and internationally. I cannot express how much gratitude and love I have for everyone that reached out to me. It was a beautiful moment of humanity. After three weeks of being pretty much unconscious, I awoke with the hardest physical and mental challenge of my life. I had to completely relearn how to walk. I got donations from people in Japan, and invites from all around Europe to come stay to recover. I received hundreds of e-mails from all around the country.
Could you describe how Go! Studios closing affected you and the band?
I really don't feel Go! closing had much effect on our band besides losing a great place to play and a great practice space. Of course, we will miss Go! but, as always, something else always comes along. Independent music will always find a place, whether it is in a basement, storefront or some other local venue. As manager for four years, I did everything possible to keep it alive as an honest, intimate setting for challenging bands of different political beliefs and aesthetic styles.
And this from the Fin Fang Foom Web site: "I recently stopped walking with a cane. So, keep this in mind when you see me gimping around the club or falling over my pedals, cords, or bumping into you.... I really didn't mean to spill your beer."