"Maaaaan, I'm doing OK," says Grandfather Child's Lucas Gorham over the phone. "A lot better than I was a couple of weeks ago, that's for sure."
On Martin Luther King Day, the popular Houston roots/R&B band's vocalist/steel guitarist was riding his bicycle to his mom's house about ten miles away. Almost there, he rode over something on the railroad tracks he was crossing that stopped him abruptly. Gorham flipped over the handlebars and landed on his shoulder.
"I broke my collarbone," he says.
His mom took him to the emergency room, and doctors prescribed some pain pills and sent him to an orthopedist. The next day, that doctor told Gorham he needed surgery.
"I was like, 'Oh great, how am I going to pay for that?'" he says.
Gorham set up an appointment the next week at the Ben Taub Hospital ER, where another doctor took some X-rays and said he didn't think surgery was necessary. Since then his arm has become a little more mobile, he says.
"He showed me how the break is getting closer together on its own," adds Gorham. "So that's about where I'm at. It's healing, but it's broken. I can't pick anything up with my right hand above about five pounds."
Gorham admits he wasn't wearing a helmet (naughty naughty) but says, "thankfully I didn't land on my head." He was hoping to be back at work this week -- he teaches workshops for younger children at Houston music-education/performance-art nonprofit Nameless Sound, a 2011 Houston Press Mastermind winner -- but his job involves a lot of lifting and carrying equipment in the course of his eight or nine classes per week.
"That's like eight or nine classes I have to lug all these instruments to," he says. "I can't do it, man. I'm not going to do it until my arm feels better."
Gorham is a contract employee, which means he has no health insurance. Luckily, a host of his local-musician brethren including GFC bandmate Geoffrey Muller, Buxton's Sergio Trevino, Second Lovers, Featherface, the Suffers, Dwight Taylor Lee, Kelly Doyle Trio, Black Congress and a few others will play a fundraiser at Fitzgerald's this Sunday. Doors open at 5 p.m., and a $10 minimum donation is requested; those unable to attend can donate at this link.
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"I don't have the mental patience and energy to sit in front of the computer all day and book a show," he says. "Book it, promote it, worry about the payout, all this stuff that I normally do I just don't wanna do. I mean, who does a benefit show for themselves? It's very unheard of."
Gorham's fall has likewise prevented him from performing, but he expects to be ready to play again by SXSW. (Nothing official has been announced yet, but a spokeswoman for GFC's record label, New West Records, says, "they will be in Austin, I can tell you that.")
"They said the recovery time was about six to eight weeks. It happened two weeks ago, and I have maybe another four to five weeks before South by. It should be OK, but until then my working is limited. I can't really fuckin' live my life."
Besides the fall, Gorham says things are going well for Grandfather Child. He says he may be close to landing a booking agent, and hopes to have the band on tour again in April. His unfortunate accident has left him with at least one unexpected blessing.
"Things are going good for us, man," he says. "I've been using this opportunity to write some new tunes. Since I'm not having to work, I'm just at home playing video games and chillin'. I'm like, "Hey, let me write some new tunes," and I already have.
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"I'm pretty jazzed up about it," he adds. "It's just one of those things where my life is kind of on hold until my arm gets better."