Through @ 2: Thomas Hunter, The Guy With the Best Mustache in Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground

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THE SITUATION I'm at Capitol Hill's Bar 41 with the guitarist of Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground and Wild Orchid Children, the impossibly styling Thomas Hunter--not one but two colorful scarves are wrapped around his neck, a feather dangles from his left earlobe, his hair is neatly parted and slicked back, and his mustache loops upward like Snidely Whiplash's. ("It's mustache wax called Oregon Wild Hair," says Hunter. "Apparently it was developed by this guy who was a sculptor, so I trust him.") Hunter lives just two blocks away in the Biltmore with his wife and a cat named Mr. Baby.

INTOXICATION I'm having some red wine, but Hunter's sipping a cup of tea--he's been alcohol-, tobacco-, and a few-other-substances-free for a year and a half now (although he excusably had some champagne on his wedding night last summer). "I used to be a wreck," he tells me. "I couldn't even count how many drugs I had in my body on two hands."

HOW HE GOT HERE Hunter works three days a week as a server at Pazzo's on Eastlake, and spends the rest of his time practicing guitar at home--in the neighborhood of 10 hours a day, he claims. "I am very serious. There's this road, and I'm not about ready to sit down on any park bench."

SHOP TALK Hunter just recorded his very first solo album, entitled White China Gold, a collection of soul-funk-rock songs that he recently performed at an exclusive Canlis event. (His co-headliner was The Fray's Isaac Slade.)

"I'm up there singing these songs about smoking Oxycontin off tinfoil,"he says, "and I'm looking out there and Detlef Schrempf is there and he's got a tuxedo on, and there's all these old dudes."

As for Kay Kay, the band has finally finished their second full-length, Introducing, an album they started recording three years ago but temporarily shelved after the murder of the band's sound engineer, Tom Pfaeffle. "[Tom] had these most grandiose ideas about things that were going to happen with the stuff we were doing, and I think [eventually] we were all like, 'Let's do this. Let's get on this road, this is what he wants.' "

BTW This means there is new material, and Hunter promises it will be shared with the crowd at Neumos.

Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground will headline Neumos this Wednesday, January 12. Ravenna Woods, Exohxo, and Let's Get Lost will open. The show is 21+, starts at 7 p.m., and tickets are $8.

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