A few nights later I am at the Crocodile. Death Cab for Cutie bassist Nick Harmer and I are chatting and I mention the myth of the secret dressing room. He looks nervous for a minute, shifts his eyes left and right, then tells me to follow him.
We go through the door next to the stage, and Nick somehow MacGyvers the bench cushion and lifts it to reveal a staircase leading down. We descend into what is, sure enough, a secret, luxurious underground dressing room that runs the entire length of the cafe. The walls and floor are painted in the faux-crocodile diamond pattern of the Croc's outdoor sign, and the ceiling -- no joke -- is mirrored. Light- and dark-green velvet couches and chairs dot the room haphazardly, and lounging on them are the other members of Death Cab for Cutie, sipping grasshoppers. There's a live video feed to the upstairs, and they're watching Ruston Mire's set on a wide-screen television. Nick leads me over to the carved stone fountain in the middle of the room in which bottles of -- get this! -- pink champagne are chilling, and pours me a drink. The rest of the evening, I'm afraid, will have to be left to your imagination.
I asked Christine Wood, who books the Crocodile, about the secret room, and she admitted that it's been a well-kept secret for several years now. "But for the record, we discourage any hookers and/or cocaine in that room," she stated.