My favorite memory of Scotty was in 2005, the summer after my freshman year of college. I was 19 years old then, and there was a band I wanted to see that was playing at Rudy’s that night (I think it was the Plus Ones, but I’m not entirely sure). I was walking around downtown New Haven with a friend, and we decided to see if we could get into the bar to watch the show, even though neither one of us was of legal drinking age. We over-rationalized a complicated scheme, as you tend to do when you’re not yet 21 and trying to get into a bar: “I heard Rudy’s doesn’t really card anyway” “Plus it’s a week day, they definitely won’t be carding” “I bet they card at the bar, so let’s not buy any drinks and just watch the band instead” etc.
As we approach the patio in front of the bar, who else but Scotty Lucca bursts through the door, drunk as drunk can be and fumbling with a cigarette and lighter in his hand. Of course he sees me immediately. “Thom Dunn! Holy shit!” he shouts as he runs over to give me one of those great big Scotty bearhugs. I introduce him to my friend, whom he embraces with just as much enthusiasm. In turn, he introduces us to the doorman at the bar — because it’s New Haven, and Scotty may as well be the mayor of this town with all the people that he knows. The doorman lets us follow us follow Scotty back onto the patio, no questions asked.
We stand there chatting for a bit, catching up while Scotty has a smoke. He finishes the cigarette, stomps it out, then turns to me and says (at a delightfully drunken volume), “So what are you up to tonight, man? You’re not 21!”
…at which point my friend and I look at one another and try mumble an excuse about, oh, well, we’re just hangin’ out, just kinda walking around…
And almost immediately, Scotty realizes what he’d done. “Oh. Fuck. I just totally blew your cover didn’t I?” My other friend and I (I don’t even remember who I was with) look back to the bouncer, with that awkward-nervous smile and wave that never covers anything up, and abruptly leave the bar.
Thanks for that, man.
A year and a half later, it’s my first night home in New Haven since turning 21, and I end up hanging out at Rudy’s with some friends. I start to tell them this very same story, when sure enough, Scotty shows up. He brings me a beer and apologizes profusely for that night, but we just laugh it off and catch up on each others’ lives. I think pretty much every time I saw him after that, he’d apologize for that night as well. We never saw each other all the often, but it become our kind of running joke whenever we did.
Rest In Peace, Scott Lucca
11/10/78 – 10/18/12