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« Aguardiente: Success, Disgrace... Forgiveness? »

Reported by: Stefano Sera

Like John, Paul, George and Ringo everyone knows the names of the members of Aguardiente . Or do they? What many fans of the now wildly famous band don't realize is this: Before there were three... there were four.

Seemingly from nowhere, Aguardiente burst on to the scene in late 2005 with their smash hit "Who is Mas Macho than Me?". The anthem to manliness shot to the top of the charts, and the threemembers of the band enjoyed almost instantaneous wealth, fame and free coochie. But, as with so many stories these days, not everyone was happy for their success.

Sitting in a dark pub on the industry stained streets of Liverpool, Danny "Double Dutch" Dutchman cries into his beer. Literally. Dutchman's emotional display is a common one. According to the proprietor, "He's ?ere evry fokin' day. Orders a beer and starts his bawlin'. It's fokin' pathetic." Sympathy for Dutchman seems in short supply, these days. Much of that, can only be blamed on Dutchman himself.

In early 2002, Dutchman and lifelong friend Paulito Cebolla, decided to form a band. Realizing that they needed to fill out their sound, Cebolla and Dutchman did what most bands do... They bought an ad in the local paper. Only two people answered that ad, but that was all they needed. Aguardiente was born. As the self proclaimed "musical director" of Aguardiente, Dutchman set out to make a unique sound. That sound began with the talent that earned Dutchman his nickname "Double Dutch": he had the unusual ability to sing both bass and tenor parts at the same time. Dutchman claimed the ability came as the result of a freak farming accident. Although, he has never been able to prove that he had ever been on a farm.

ebersol.jpgThe earliest known appearance of Aguardiente was at the Ebersol wedding reception in November of 2002. To say that the performance was not well received would be an understatement. Dutchman himself admits that their rendition of "Cream" by Prince may have been a bit over the top.

"I'm not sure if it was the song or the fact that we all took turns grindin' on the mum of the bride." he says. "But what can I say? It's a fokin' show, right? Fokin' Protestants." While that first performance ended in fisticuffs and a rather hefty bill for alcohol and carpet cleaning, Dutchman learned something about the band. They were show men. Not show boys... Show men.

"We were hot, right. But we needed to take it the next level." says Dutchman. "Show the world we could play it hard, know what I mean? Show them we were fokin' artist." Agaurdiente began to make a name for themselves. But, never satisfied, Dutchman couldn't stop experimenting with new musical approaches. His band mates struggled to keep pace with his revolutionary vision.

Former Aguardiente roadie, Dude Keiler, recalls the beginning of the end. "Double D was crazy, man. I mean, that mother trucker was tryin' so hard to break new ground, he would like just start singin' another flippin' song in the middle of a song." he burps.

"You'd just see the other fellas just look like they were gonna drop their nut. I think he wanted to shake things up, you know?" Keiler postulates. "Either that or he just wanted to prove they weren't no Milli Vinilli. You know, show they were actually singin' live. I dunno."

suki.jpgBut these creative rifts occurring on stage were simply the public demonstrations of more serious problems backstage. By 2003 it became clear that Dutchman's girlfriend at the time, Suki Yama, was exerting an enormous amount of influence on the troubled singer. Her outlandish suggestions for staging and wardrobe, were beginning to cause other members of the band to consider breaking up the band. But the band's powerful manager at the time, Clive Pantaloon had another idea.

One night in August of 2003, Dutchman's fate was sealed. Scheduled to perform at the Telly Savalas Memorial Pool Party, the other members of Agauardiente waited nervously for Dutchman to arrive. Thirty minutes after they were supposed to go on, they received word that Dutchman and Yama were at an Ashram in Tibet meditating and receiving high colonics. Furious, the rest of the men went on without him. Amazingly, the set went perfectly and Agaurdiente officially became a trio.

Danny Dutchman's fall from grace does not end there. Two failed solo albums and three successful palimony suits followed in quick succession. Girlfriend Suki Yama soon left Dutchman to pursue a career in psychic prostitution, abandoning him to the bottom of a bottle.

As I sit in the dank pub across from the shell of a music pioneer, I ask him if he has any regrets. "Every day, mate. Every fokin' day." he sobs. "These were my mates, right? I learned everything I know about being a man from those lads. Well, except for the stuff I learned from the Jenna Jameson films."

"I do wish I could have another chance to play with the boys again. Tho' I think that's not likely."

jacaranda.jpgIt is not. Agauardiente's meteoric rise continues. Dutchman is never mentioned in interviews or biographies of the band. Even if they were to reach out to Dutchman, their efforts would fall on deaf ears. Danny "Double Dutch" Dutchman's phone is disconnected. But if they really want to find him, just look for the saddest pub in Liverpool, the Jacaranda... And listen for the sounds of a duet, coming from the lonely man in the corner.

Reporter Stefano Sera has written articles for Rolling Stone, Spin and American Horseman. He is currently working on a book about the history of the boy band called, Ephemera.

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