Chiropractic quackery, power metal edition: The Hootsman laid low

I normally don’t post on weekends, but yesterday, I saw something that demanded at least a brief post. James Cartwright, otherwise known as the Hootsman, bassist of my favorite power metal band Gloryhammer, announced on Facebook and Instagram that he had been felled by a chiropractor:


Gloryhammer, for those of you not into epic power metal, just the sort of geeky music one might expect me to like. Power metal isn’t really much of a thing in the US, but it’s really popular in Europe, and Gloryhammer is a Scottish band that uses names of cities and locales in Scotland to put their stamp on their songs. They dress in costumes and sing about the sort of things common in the genre, such as epic battles, dragons, evil wizards, and the like.

One way that Gloryhammer stands out among power metal bands is that each Gloryhammer album tells a chapter in a multi-album story of the battle of Prince Angus McFife to free his kingdom of Dundee from enslavement by the evil wizard Zargothrax. (Lots of power metal bands tell stories over the course of an album, but not many tell one story over several albums.) Over the course of the story, the Hootsman was introduced as a mighty warrior and the King of California. By the mostost recently, became the god of an alternate dimension. The story is, amusingly enough, way more complicated and wild than that. For instance, Dundee was initially conquered by the evil wizard Zargothrax leading an army of undead unicorns in the first song of the first album. Zargothrax enslaved the kingdom and imprisoned its princess in ice, setting Angus off on his quest for mystical weapons (e.g., the Hammer of Glory) and a magic dragon to gain the power to defeat Zargothrax. By the third album, released in 2019, the story had grown to feature Death Knights riding undead eagles, flying submarines, a magic jetpack, missiles of nuclear justice, and Angus flying to the sun to recharge his hammer before battling Zargothrax again. (There’s more than even that, but I’m not going to write a full Orac-length post recounting the whole story.) Yes, it’s all rather silly, but it’s damned good fun and actually quite creative.

The Hootsman is on the far right.

In concert (I saw Gloryhammer in Chicago in June), as the Hootsman Cartwright dresses in furs and downs beer after beer that fans bring to him, sometimes by way of a fan crowdsurfing to the stage.

In any event, the Hootsman noticed some back pain, a very common complaint, and, because was about to embark on tour again, thought he should try to get it under control. So he went to a chiropractor. Right after the manipulation, he was in excruciating, spasming back pain, so much so that he spent the next two days on the floor. (This part of the story is a bit weird. Why didn’t he call for help? Why did it take two days for a paramedic to be called?)

Even though the Hootsman didn’t suffer the most serious complication of chiropractic, a stroke from neck manipulation, which can result in paralysis and death, back pain this severe is quite a setback. The Hootsman went from being able to function to not being able to get up because of the pain and to having to try to soldier on in concert on narcotics and sitting in a wheelchair. I’m assuming here that he was worked up and doesn’t have any physical injury requiring surgical intervention, but this sort of back pain is no joke. Here’s hoping Cartwright is back to being able to portray the Hootsman the way he always has in the past.