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The "Reality Hits You Hard, Bro" Guy Hopes Fortune Follows His Fame

George Lindell never seems to stop talking. Loquacious doesn't begin to describe the 46-year-old motormouth, who appears to be stuck at warp speed.

When asked, the Valley resident will gladly (and energetically) inform you of his feelings about the state of the nation or the virtues of Prince versus Michael Jackson ("Prince is a bad motherfucker"), punctuated with spastic gestures of his arms and hands.

Given his manic energy, jags of hyperactivity, and tendency to flail his limbs, it should come as no surprise that Lindell plays drums. Hard. He's practically a percussion instrument unto himself, making his own sound effects in abundance. His ebullient dialogue and stories are peppered liberally with guttural onomatopoeia like whomp, foom, and, of course, bam.

Lindell's garrulousness has served him well over the past month and has plucked him from the anonymity of a journeyman house painter and thrust him into the national spotlight. It ain't because of his substantial talents on the drums, but rather his penchant for over-the-top verbal theatrics.

After being caught up in a gnarly car accident in late September, video footage of Lindell's bizarre description of the mishap to a FOX 10 reporter went viral and nabbed him more notoriety than he ever earned from banging wooden sticks to skins.

Lindell was painting a house in North Phoenix on September 26 when he left to get an extension cord for a paint sprayer and some lunch. The 1986 Chevy Astro van he was driving was hit from behind by an SUV, which flipped over and ran into a power pole, causing the downed power lines to emit electrical sparks.

Both Lindell and the other driver were unhurt, and the resulting chaos of the accident's aftermath is when FOX 10 and other news stations interviewed Lindell. That's when the magic happened, as Lindell said the following:

"Well, I was driving down Northern Avenue, getting ready to pull into Albertson's, and all of a sudden, I was just minding my own business — bam! [It] hit me hard, right from the back! I was glued to the seat and I was like 'Wuuughghghghgh!'"

Moments later, Lindell coined what would become his catchphrase: "Bam! Reality hits you hard, bro."

He quickly became a YouTube flavor of the nanosecond and was featured on both Comedy Central's Tosh.0 (natch) and The Daily Show. A few folks on the Internet even called Lindell "the second coming of Chris Farley." Like many other Internet oddities, he was the perfect fodder for a "Songify This!" Auto-Tune remix video created by the notorious Gregory Brothers.

As for the fortune to go along with all the fame? He and his musician buddies are working on that part. Josh Irino, a longtime friend of Lindell's and drummer for local rap-rock band Property Six, has been working on getting his buddy some endorsement deals.

"George could do commercials for accident-injury lawyers, for insurance companies, collision and auto repair [places]," he says. He's even willing to star in the over-the-top commercials for local accident lawyers Lerner and Rowe, who Irino says would be a good fit for him.

"That would totally work, his personality and their commercials," he says. "'Reality hits you hard, bro' even rhymes with Lerner and Rowe."

Irino and local concert promoter Guido Ottesen, who's now serving as Lindell's manager, claim they've gotten also him a publicist in Los Angeles. At the very least, Irino promises, his friend would be entertaining.

"That's just how he is naturally. He describes everything energetically," Irino says. "His arms go up in the air and he'll try to mimic sound effects constantly. Sound effects are very big with George when he explains things."

If it were up to Lindell, he'd be making sound effects alongside Ashton Kutcher and Jon Cryer on Two and Half Men or an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! (which occasionally features YouTube celebrities on the talk show.)

"Comedy shows, talk shows, anything would be cool. Anything that's more fun than painting houses," Lindell says. "And if I can make as much money doing something else as I can painting houses then I'd rather do that."

He'd even be willing to play the drums if need be, especially since he's a savant on the kit. Lindell got his first drum set at age 14 and grew up idolizing Black Sabbath's Bill Ward and Rush's Neil Peart ("He was my favorite for seven years," Lindell says. "2112 was baaad!"), much to the chagrin of his conservative Christian father. The way Lindell tells it, his dad rivaled the rage-aholic paterfamilias in Twisted Sister's video for "We're Not Gonna Take It" in terms of abhorring rock.

"My dad was a really religious guy and would yell, 'You will not play that goddamned rock 'n' roll in this house!'" Lindell says. "My sister brought home a Ted Nugent album one day, and he ripped that thing into shreds. He'd say, 'Godammit, Black Sabbath is not gonna play on Easter Sunday, motherfucker.'"

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.

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