DEATH BECOMES HIM
Sometimes the stuff that goes down at AP photo shoots is more entertaining than the stories. During the shoot for this month’s feature on the Used, the band and AP photographer Megan Thompson ascended to the 12th floor of the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles and found another kind of gathering taking place-namely police surrounding a corpse.
“There were cops all over the place,” remembers frontman Bert McCracken. “We were bummed because we wanted to smoke weed and we can’t. So we go into this little crappy room, do the photo shoot, and somebody [asked] ‘What’s going on?’ The cops were like, “Oh, there’s a dead body in here.’ They had been joking around, laughing and just standing outside this open room looking in on this dead body. It shows how rad and not jaded the cops in L.A. are. [Laughs.] As a joke, somebody asked, ‘Can we see it?’ And the cops were like, ‘Go ahead!’ So we all walked by, right when they were moving him.”
Looking at a corpse up close and personal is routine work for EMTs, forensic pathologists and members of the military, but not so much in the realm of a “gross-pop” band. But remember: this is McCracken we’re talking with. So when asked if h’s ever seen a dead body before, he was ready with the complete compare-and-contrast experience.
“We were driving from L.A. back to my parents’ house in Utah, and we came close to hitting a dead body in the middle of the road,” he recalls. “We called the police the next day and apparently it was a pedestrian incident. He was in the middle of the road and his head was completely twisted around. His head was looking at us. That was gnarly.
“This guy in the hotel, he had, like, bubble-wrap eyes, just like plastic eyes. You could tell he died face down, because his face was just green, gray and bloated. It was stinky-and it was full of rigor mortis, already.” Ryan J. Downey