Future lead singer Jesse Hammock drove into a telephone pole on Broadway. That same telephone pole would fall onto a nearby transformer, which would in turn explode and shatter numerous nearby storefront windows, ultimately causing $25,000 worth of damage.
Tonight, Jesse returns to Cape Girardeau fronting his band Shady Deal to kick off their summer tour at Buckner Brewing Co. There will be no drunken driving accidents this time, but that doesn't mean he's not going to rock.
In the interim from then to now, Hammock found himself over his head in debt and trouble.
He picked up an office job, cut his hair and left the party lifestyle. Boredom led him to pick up an old guitar in his parents' house and he started practicing, already a year into college but inspired heavily by the likes of Neil Young and Hammock's grandfather.
Today, he is positive that he never would have gotten into music without that car accident. He soon started playing with future Shady Deal lead guitarist Jake Curtis after a year with acoustic sets on local open mic nights. Eager to infuse some rock into the act, the duo picked up their rhythm section through high school friends, bassist Mason Watkins and drummer Austin Marshall.
Despite the added noise, something was still missing, so Shady Deal got some style from the fiery keyboarding of Louisiana native James Pendley to fill the cracks.
Even after fully rounding out their sound, Shady Deal still encountered trouble in finding gigs, until running into Bob Camp, who was then booking shows at the Main Street Bar under the name "The Camp."
As a venue notorious for lending stage time to the more alternative local acts, The Camp is where Shady Deal honed their early sound.
Camp immediately noticed in Shady Deal, and especially Hammock, a sense of professionalism and showmanship that he had previously spotted in such big time acts as Widespread Panic and Spin Doctors.
Still, any small level of success did not come easily.
"There would be some nights where Bob would give away beer, and we would give away music," Jesse recalls, "and none of us would make any sort of money."
So when members of the band left for college at Oxford, Miss., in 2002, the entire band followed to try out a new scene. They immediately noticed a larger and more diverse presence of music in Mississippi and, inversely, less police officers; so naturally, it was a perfect mix for Shady Deal.
After hitting several key venues in the South and playing out Oxford for a while, Camp got back in touch and introduced them to legendary producer Jim Dickinson, who had previously worked with such acts as Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan. From this interaction came Shady Deal's first album, "The Lift," with their second due out in 2007, also produced by Jim Dickinson.
Now, before their biggest summer tour yet stretching all across the country, Shady Deal is excited to start things off in Cape Girardeau.
"I love Missouri," says Hammock. "When people ask where I'm from, I say Southeast Missouri."
Camp agrees that Shady Deal is a bunch of Missouri boys at heart, "who have emerged as the greatest rock 'n' roll band on the circuit.
Greatest or not, they have established themselves as a premiere regional act. Now they hope to take the next step up with a country sweeping tour, featuring a new light show to show their seriousness.
* What: Shady Deal
* When: Today (Jun. 9) at 9 p.m.
* Where: Buckner Brewing Co.
* Info: 334-4677