“We Left Richard In North Dakota”: Belle & Sebastian Abandons Drummer At Walmart

Image courtesy of Daniel Oines

With a gig looming in Minnesota, Scottish band Belle & Sebastian found themselves without a drummer — because they accidentally left him one state away at a Walmart in North Dakota.

The band was passing through Dickinson, ND, on Monday night when they decided to stop at a Walmart to grab some water. That’s when, B&S frontman and founder Stuart Murdoch tells The Current, drummer Richard Colburn got off the bus, and — like a twee, Scottish version of Kevin McCallister from Home Alone — he was left behind on his own.

“When I woke up a few hours ago, we realized we left our drummer in North Dakota,” Murdoch said. “I was coming out of the Walmart, and he [drummer Richard Colburn] was coming into the Walmart, and he was waving very happily, in a good mood. And that was the last time that we saw him.”

Colburn didn’t have a phone, but he probably figured his bandmates would be back for him, Murdoch said… except no one realized he was gone, because they all went to bed.

“There used to be a system, but because we all have mobile phones these days, everybody’s got a little bit blasé about it,” Murdoch explains, adding that they used to leave a pass on the passenger seat to alert the driver that someone was off the bus.

After waiting for hours for his bandmates to return, Colburn gave up and checked into a hotel to catch some Zs. Meanwhile, his friends put out the word that he was stuck in North Dakota.

Luckily, someone responded to that Tweet and gave Colburn a lift to the Bismarck airport, where he boarded a flight to Minneapolis — dressed in his pajamas and with only a credit card as ID — and made it to the gig on time.

Thankfully, Colburn was spared the fate of so many British drummers — like Joe “Mama” Besser, Richard “Ric” Shrimpton, and Scott “Skippy” Scuffleton — who have gone missing over the years.

For a band the size of Belle & Sebastian — it currently has seven full-time members, and often tours with additional horn and string players — it’s perhaps not surprising that Colburn’s absence went unnoticed.

But that’s no excuse for leaving a mate behind, so the band is implementing a new system to make sure no one gets abandoned again.

It’s worth noting that this incident did not come up on Walmart’s quarterly earnings call this morning.

(h/t A.V. Club)