Not everyone can pull off “Fire on the Mountain,” be it in sound or action. Peace Officer learned its lesson from real mountain cops.
Not long after the hip-hop/reggae/dub crew formed in 2007, the artists stretched beyond their socially conscious vocab by playing with fire.
After a gig in Estes Park with a guest trumpet player, the Fort Collins-based crew proceeded to its comped resort suite. Around 3 a.m., they noticed the trumpet player and his young, loud pal had disappeared, something that relieved more than worried them — until the fire alarm went off.
“The player and his friend ran into our room with terrified looks on their faces, which were also covered in a gray powder,” said MC, guitarist and self-proclaimed nice guy Andy Kromarek.
Seems they set off the fire extinguisher, not thinking it would trigger an alarm (and apparently not considering consequences of the thick powder that would cover the entire hallway, either).
“Not a good scene,” nice-and-innocent guy said. “It looked like smoke in the air, and with the alarm going off and it being 3:30 or so, the other guests in the place were starting to freak out.”
What exactly does a cozy mountain retreat scene gone bad look like?
One scared-out-of-his-wits, fire-extinguisher-curious pal who erupts into tears and admits he’s only 17, so please, no one tell his mother — to which the Peace Officers replied, “We won’t, if you won’t tell her where you got the beer”.
One pissed-off mom of said 17-year-old in her pajamas (that’s all the description you want on this one) screaming she’s suing the resort because she tweaked her ankle in the mad rush to fresh mountain air,
One Honda with a trumpet in the back, squealing outta Estes as fast as it could, and
Just about every cop in Estes on site. (They may not have seen this much action since Stephen King insisted the second and more true-to-his book version of “The Shining” be filmed at the Stanley Hotel).
“At this point, things looked dire for the band, and with a few policemen striding toward us, we didn’t know what to expect,” Kromarek said. “Turns out they were amused by the whole thing — I guess Estes Park is generally a pretty boring place for a cop.” Still, the stickler cops wanted the name of the trumpet player. When the musicians claimed they didn’t know (“it was 4 a.m., and we were drunk, so that seemed like a good idea,” the MC said), the cops threatened them with paying for every guests’ hotel room — as well as the by-now-decidedly broken ankle in PJs. So they ratted their horn player out (once, not twice, for the Mountain Gazette world to read).
It seems cops come pre-cut with the urge to always get the last word in before letting young people loose; they are the smart-ass sages of safety. For me, it started at age 16 when I raced my neighbor-boy home (launching my parent’s Oldsmobile over a huge bump in the middle of a bridge, which resulted in a very large dent in the bottom of the gas tank). The cop who pulled me over left me with the resounding words: “Remember, a car is not a toy.” About a decade later, a Dillon, Colo., police officer pulled me over after I rolled through a stop sign (after, uh, speeding). When I told him I didn’t have my driver’s license on me because I was going skiing, he said, “Do you have your ski pass?” — to which I enthusiastically replied affirmatively and whipped it out, hoping it would give him the necessary clue he needed to confirm my nice-girl identity.
“You need a ski pass to ski, right?” he asked, looking me deeply in the eyes. I nodded. “Well, you need a driver’s license to drive.”
Needless to say, I missed that powder morning.
So what did the Estes Park cops leave the Peace Officers with?
“You know, you guys aren’t Led Zeppelin. You probably shouldn’t go around trashing hotels just yet.”
Though Westword magazine just nominated the crew the best hip-hop in Denver and Peace Officer is playing larger festivals like Soul Rebel Festival in Denver and venues like Boulder’s Fox Theater these days, they’re not singing, or playing with, Fire on the Mountain.
To catch Peace Officers, sans alarms, in the next two months, check out Star Bar in Park City, Utah Aug. 18 or Snake River Saloon in Keystone, Colo., Sept. 9-10.
Kimberly Nicoletti is the entertainment editor for the Summit Daily News. She lives in Silverthorne, Colo.