On the seventh day after Stagecoach, a man went to brunch wondering why he still felt like he’d been hit by a bus.
That man was me, celebrating Mother’s Day at the pop-up Emo Brunch in LA. The menu and décor evoked the early-2000’s pop punk/emo rock era. And my body and mind evoked the all-too-familiar “I’m too old for this shit” feeling that somehow stuck with me ever since the gates closed behind me at Stagecoach two weekends ago.
As I pushed my tater tots around my jet-black plate and watched old music videos from My Chemical Romance, Taking Back Sunday, and AFI, I experienced an epiphany about Koe Wetzel, the face of Sad Boi Cowboi.
Like me this week, Koe must be hungover all the time.
It all makes sense now. Koe has a legendary reputation for partying hard. To many of his fellow Texas country artists, a night out with Koe was the drunkest they’d ever been, as reported to the Whiskey Riff Raff podcast.
I always wondered, if Koe is living this hard, when does he find time to write his soul-searching, sad boi lyrics? And if he’s having this much fun, how could he be so sad?
The answer lies in the pit of despair and ibuprofen waiting for us the morning after a big night out. And look no further than Koe’s most recent music video for April Showers to see where the Sad Boi Cowboi finds his source material.
In the video, our hero starts his day reluctantly rolling out of bed long after the sun is up. In the background, a radio plays an announcement that the end of the world is upon us. After dropping a little hair of the dog into his coffee from a near-empty bottle of whiskey, Koe settles onto his couch to write. He does some chores, checks the mail, and tries to sweat out the booze in the gym. Finally, a meteorite strikes the Earth while Koe watches from his front porch.
Why do I get the impression that Koe feels like he’s been hit by a meteorite every morning?
I resembled those scenes this past week while my late-thirties body readjusted to life outside of a country music festival. The sun was too bright when I stumbled out of bed. I drank some coffee and tried to write. I worked up a reluctant sweat and considered whether the world might end before my hangover did. As a 40-something Toby Keith once said, “I ain’t as good as I once was.”
But I did get some writing done. And it’s safe to say that Koe fights through the morning-after fog and does the same. Perhaps the headaches and nausea help fuel the introspection and self-loathing in his music.
If you’re hungover and fueled by Taco Bell all the time, it’s easy to be a little sad and pessimistic about the world. Perhaps, under the veneer of his good times and drunken hijinks, the real Koe Wetzel is yet another tortured artist.
It’s tough to say whether his emo lyrics are born out of the hangovers or if they’d still flow from a toxin-free, well-rested Sad Boi Cowboi. Either way, for the sake of his health and longevity, I hope Koe can channel my favorite emo/hardcore punk front man, Davey Havok of AFI, every once in a while.
Havok is a famous proponent of the “straight edge” lifestyle that rejects drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, a worldview that is diametrically opposed to the world that Koe chugs 24 oz Joose’s in.
A few straight edge weeks are probably good for Koe, because we need him to stay healthy. His music helps us feel our feelings.
And more importantly, his lifestyle reminds me that I am, indeed, too old for that shit.
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