It was 1993. I was working at
Starstruck vintage clothing in the West Village.NYC I had been
playing bass for a rock band called "groovepusher". We had
just changed our name to the Turbo A.C.'s.
This young cat comes into the shop. Slicked back hair and a
blazer, looking sharp. He had a paper bag that was literally bursting
at the seams with LP's. I automatically asked him what his
new acquistions were. He opened the bag and flipped through
each disc with excitement and glee commenting on each record
how much of a steal it was, how cool the band was, etc. That
is how I met Nikola Acin. We hit it off. Instantly. We
were playing our debut show at Maxwell's (of all
places) with Mojo Nixon (of all people). Nikola didn't object
to a trek to Jersey for some rock and roll and was at our
first show. He was an important figure for years to come.
I'd like to call him the first Turbo A.C.'s fan.
Nikola was living in Paris; Son of the great filmmaker Jovan Acin.
He was refined. Charming. Electric. He could trace the rock and roll
family tree from Robert Johnson to the present without
batting an eye. He was writing for a French magazine called
Rock & Folk the equivalent of Rolling Stone. The
magazine would fly him back and forth to The States to cover
different acts. Nikola was no average music journalist. With
his Tiger Beat good looks and his passion and drive for all
things rocknroll. He was the music. He was the lifestyle. He
was the personification of it all. He was like James Bond.
This globe trotting smooth talking lady killer. With every
hair in place and dressed to the nines 24 -7. What a perfect
career for a music fan! How is that a job!?
He got on stage with the 4 piece AC's and we had a harmonica freak out
Pre-Internet era Nikola and I wrote to each other back and
forth. I wrote a long letter to him describing a
backbreaking US tour and all the drama that ensued. Nikola
took the letter to the magazine. He was such a friend he had
Rock and Folk translate it to french and it became a full
spread article. Here was my dinky greaser punk band in this
huge magazine with stadium filling artists on the cover. I
was so thrilled. That was an impressive piece to have in our
press kit when we were trying to get going.
Nikola eventually started his own band "The Hellboys"
after the comic book character of the same name. The
Turbo's/Hellboys wound up doing a split seven inch on bubble
gum pink vinyl.
I eventually made it to Paris in 1996 .
Nikola was at our show. Got us the most amazing place to
stay with his bandmate Adan. His Dad is Alejandro Jodorowsky so
the "apartment" was immense , with a live in maid.
I guess these film kids stick together.
Nikola took us out sight seeing and for dinner.
He was a gracious host indeed.
I saw that Nikola had a tiny room cluttered with Lp's
books and comics. There were tacky exotica records all over the
walls. Eventually he started getting tiny tattoos that he
could easily cover for fear of his mothers judging eye. I
would see him from time to time. Sometimes we wouldn't be
close enough for him to catch us in France.
We finally got a chance to play together a few years ago.
It was a threadbare little show that Nikola put together
himself. Much to the chagrin of our German tour manager who
was quick to point out all the flaws in the whole set up. It
didn't matter to Nikola. Not one bit. He just wanted to
play. At one point in his set he was on his knees channeling
Rob Tyner. Local sideshow girls were breathing fire. Nikola
was smiling. He was happy. It was epic. Pure joy.
There would be a phone call from time to time, postcards.
Then emails. He dropped a line on myspace to me about
visiting NYC. That was 2 years ago.
I guess with me quitting
the AC's in 2005 I wasn't in Europe every year. We lost touch.
Well, I was scanning pictures. I saw one of the two of us
on the Arc de Triomphe. I thought I would
check up on him on facebook.
I stumbled on a memorial site. I couldn't believe it. At
first I thought it was a site to remember his band,like they
broke up. Nope. I started seeing Nikola RIP, over and over.
I was in complete disbelief. I did some investigating. I
found out he OD'd. What a waste. I don't even remember
anything about drugs at all . Ever. We went out to the bar
one night and he was drinking a fucking gimlet fer Christ's
I read a lot of testimonials from people who knew him. His
passion was relentless. He would go off a mile a minute on
the things that he loved. He supported so many bands;
befriended so many musicians. I was impressed when he told
me he got in tight with some influential people. I
can't believe he is dead. I have met lots of people and
don't get me wrong, some rock and roll types, you expect them
to crash their car , get stabbed , etc etc. Not this kid. No
way. I spent a lot of my day mourning. Sad. In shock. Trying
to dig up more pictures out of my boxes. Shutting off any
youtube or music player that would play his band as I tried
to dig up more info. I just can't hear his voice right now.
It's too overwhemling. I don't know what else to say. I'm