The Bear Jew Posted November 27, 2002 Share Posted November 27, 2002 Let me know when you guys are sick of reading these. I have about a zillion of them in the laptop I recently uncovered. This one is long, but it's interesting. ********************************************* [b]Summer 2001[/b] [b]Day 1[/b] I left work early to make it to the repair shop in time to get the van for this tour. Last-minute bullshit. Six hundred bucks to the mechanic, and it isn't even legally inspected. Oh well. We're gonna just cross our fingers. Dave the mechanic did our repairs on credit and swears it's safe to drive all the way to Florida and back. It better be, or he's not getting paid. He's a good guy and all, but I don't know… he's kind of shady. I picked up Drew (drums) and Tim (bass) and tried to finish the van's loft. Bobby (Tim's brother) had the new loft ready to go, but Bobby (sweet moron that he is) built the loft like it was meant to be a porch or a house, not something just meant to cover our gear and act as a sleeping platform. It's way too big, and it won't fit. We decided to just tour without the loft since we were already an hour behind. I don't like having the gear all exposed like this, but we don't have a choice right now. Flying through the hills of northeastern PA, we were making good time until the van started bucking like a mechanical bronco. I don't know what this is, but I've been told by people I guess I trust that this is not really anything too bad, and it should even out pretty well after a bit. It's pretty hot out (like 98 degrees), so that probably has a lot to do with this. A fairly packed house awaited us in Wilkes-Barre. I love these kids. They never fail us, so we try not to fail them. We met up with Devour, a band from Boston we got to play with us for this gig, and fooled around like morons before our set. They're headed south as we're headed north. Nice, huh? Watching the Devour boys make a mess of the sidewalk with whipped cream was fun. They were drawing crap all over the sidewalk. We've been making fun of their "Baaasstun" accents. Drew (our drummer)asked Booger (Devour's singer) for a "Fahk" (fork) and, Booger called him a "frickin' dahkie." That was funny as shit. I love these guys. They get it. While Bill (vocals) ran around corrupting young minds with a video camera, Tim talked some girls into odd behavior like licking whipped cream from his fingers. He loves being a rock star. Although this is entertaining (and kinda hot!) I've been wandering from group to group, trying to get settled. Now I'm in the van so I can write on the laptop. Oh great, some local yokel is screaming at one of the kids. I'm gonna try to break this up before the cops show and cancel the gig. LATER: I broke up the fight, but I got punched in the ribs. No good deed goes unpunished. I shoulda let that kid get cracked in the face. Ungrateful fuck. His girlfriend is glad he's not going to jail, though. LATER: Devour went over pretty well. I think the kids around here will like having them around again. They're a cross between Pantera and Soundgarden, with some wacky industrial elements. I like em. We eventually got to play, and the kids went bugshit. This place rocks. We did about 120 peeps. I love that. Bill was manic… I love when he gets the whole room to bounce at once. Looks like it's gonna fall apart when he does that. I even got Booger to sing "Deuce" with us. That was for us and the club owner. The kids don't even know Kiss, but fuck 'em. They need to learn. Nice paycheck tonight, too. Looks like we're starting this tour in the black. After the set, Timmy left with a young lady (Krystyn, Christine? I dunno). He's going to her place. I guess we'll get the details tomorrow. We are allowed to sleep at the club tonight. Wooo! Free food and air conditioning, even if the whole joint smells like smoke, balls and sweat. We're getting nachos, root beer and salty snacks. I'm gonna sleep on six padded chairs pulled together. Ah… comfort. [b]Day 2[/b] OK, Tim is supposed to be here. Or, rather, he was supposed to be here three hours ago. Some time around nine or 10 am we awakened and started getting ready to leave. We're still waiting, and it's around 1pm. I am really regretting not having gotten the phone number where Timmy said he'd be staying. I knew he'd fuck this up somehow. I love that kid and all, but he sleeps like a log, and I'm sure he was up all night with that little goth chick. Fuck. We're gonna be late. LATER: Timmy finally showed, wearing a sheepish grin and a telling a story of a turned-off alarm clock. I was kind of pissed, but at least we got to leave. Eventually, we hit the road, and the van now demands to be driven with one foot on the brakes and one on the gas, since it stalls otherwise. I don't like this. Lucky we only had to do a short drive. Now I'm in Syracuse, NY, at Rob and Kathy's place. She's a mess, but she offered us freshly grilled snacks, showers and digital cable. The show tonight is at a college bar. Should be interesting. Gonna go watch “Dude, Where's My Car?” now. LATER: Summertime sucks for touring college towns. The place was virtually deserted tonight. Right off the bat, the promoter at Planet 505 wanted to lower our guarantee, the fucker. We hedged, but eventually we had to agree, since even a lesser amount of cash is still cash, and we need it. It was so hot and humid that condensation formed on my guitar case. We were already covered with sweat just from loading in. To quote Drew: “We started out crispy and clean, but now we're the soggy bottom boys.” We set up our gear and found out the official sound guy for the club was notably absent and unreachable. Nice, huh? This doesn't happen in big cities. Luckily, Timmy had some idea of how to run the system, and we played as hard as we could for the 30 or so people there. We had to play two sets. I don't know why we bothered with the second one, but it seems the crowd swelled to about 60 during the last one. The place still looked empty. We sold some shit, but I wasn't happy. The promoter was excited and impressed, but he still didn't give us the original guarantee. Good thing he let the boys have free beers. He promised to get us on better bills in the future, plus better pay. That's always a good thing to hear. Syracuse has a bad-ass radio station. I don't know what it's called, but it plays hardcore all day and night. I totally nailed Timmy with an ice cube “surprise,” which is a glass full of ice cubes poured down the back of your shirt when you're sitting at a bar. He “frozen honky” dance will go down in history. That was for being late this morning, you tool. Bill somehow found the only attractive woman in the bar and hassled her until she bought a t-shirt, then hassled her till she went and changed into it. Ah, the power of being an annoying rock star. I'm fucking exhausted. Rob won't leave me alone. [b]Day 3[/b] It took us ages to get off of our asses this morning. Rob and Kathy just party too fucking hard. We got out the door late (around 3pm) and spent the remainder of the day driving south, we're hoping to hit Virginia eventually. The van is running fairly well, and it's finally cooler outside, so we're having a pleasant ride. Bill and Drew are doing some driving now. I'm definitely wishing for a tour bus and a driver right now, since I'm all pooped out from partying. I'm about to take over the driving. It's around 11pm. LATER: We made it to a truck stop in Emporia, VA. It's 3am. We're going to sleep in the van. Man, you should see what goes on at truck stops at this hour. My skin is crawling. LATER: Timmy is wedged in the back amongst the gear, Drew is on the bench seat and Bill and I are reclining in the front captain's chairs. Lucky for us it's cool enough to sleep. Timmy bought the best trucker tape ever – “Big Ed's Funny Songs.” I'm listening to “Red Neck Rap” right now. Best line: “See that sign/It makes me nervous/No shoes/No Shirt/No service.” Big Ed rules. Truckers are scary people. There's enough speed and hookers in this parking lot to keep the entire city of Philadelphia awake, fucking and diseased for years. I'm locking the door. [b]Day 4[/b] We awakened to the sounds of diesel trucks passing by on the expressway and had breakfast at the truck stop. The waitresses were flirting with me. I guess I must not look too bad right now. Getting to North Carolina is gonna be a relatively short drive. LATER: We drove through the kind of alternating swelter and pouring rain you only find this far south of the Mason/Dixon line in the summertime. Wilmington, NC, is a beach town type of place, and Chris from Dead Is Dead (who set up the show) is a nice guy. He did a good job promoting: there were flyers in the little record store where we met him, not to mention up and down the small “hip” street in that town. Chris and his band are being incredibly nice to us. He even took Timmy to buy videotapes for the video camera. We're playing at a skate park tonight. LATER: Turns out we were not exactly perfectly matched for this particular show – the other bands are way more noisy and trashy than us. Total grindcore. Dead Is Dead are pretty cool, but they're not like us at all. Oh, and their gear was fallign apart as they played. They acted like it was normal for the drums to be falling apart after every song. They're cool, but I think the crowd was ready for some kind of comprehensible songwriting by the time we went on. Bill managed to find a 50-foot mic cable and climb up one of the skate ramps while he was singing. He almost got hit when some kid tried to do a trick of some kind off of the ramp. Dumbass. I like Southern crowds. They show us love the way we like to see it -- with a lot of hooting and hollering. We even sold some stuff. There's a party going on now, but I'm tired of drunken questions about my dreadlocks. Plus, there's incessant smoke in the Chris' apartment, so now I'm out in the van for the quiet and peace. Oh, here comes Timmy. Looks like I'll have company in here tonight. That's cool. [b]Day 5[/b] Good thing I slept in the van last night… there was a fight during the party. Drew and Bill said there was some kinda “white power” overtone to the whole thing. Yick. Must have been fun to be the only asian and negro in the room. LATER: The weather has been shitty -- pouring rain and then blazing heat. The only road out of Wilmington to the south runs through all the beach towns along the coast into South Carolina, including Myrtle Beach and all the other tourist towns. Since it's a holiday, the traffic has been hellish -- all stop-and-go for at least 60 miles or so. The van was running poorly. It was heating up so much that I was sweating like a man working in a blast furnace, and I had to stand on the gas and brakes simultaneously to keep it running. I don't know what this is, but we don't have any money to fix this right now. Besides, it seems OK for now. It was probably the stop-and-go bulshit. We finally made it to I-95, and we fairly flew along after the bumper-to-bumper action on those tourist roads. I'm eating a burrito at a truck stop. I think we're in Georgia. LATER: Don't book any shows at 2424 in Savannah, GA. That scumbag said we were booked, offered us a guarantee, and then never showed to open up the house or put on the show. Our flyers weren't even up. Nobody was there, and nobody was at the contact number we have. We hung out until 10pm, and nothing… The joint looks abandoned... like nobody's been here for years. I know it's punk rock to ignore your watch, but JEEZ, we're kinda stuck here. Fuckers. See if you get a show in Philly now, ya punk rock dickhead. LATER: We decided to stop for the night at a motel oddly named “The Plantation Inn.” We booked the room with some trepidation, but it turns out the place is a lot nicer than we expected, although the pool's water is practically black with bullfrogs and algae. It's cheap enough -- $19 for a double. Drew says he feels a lynchin' comin' on. I'm getting a rope. The joint is pretty shady, and there were signs that the door to our room has been kicked in at least once. Yikes. Time to eat tacos and look at rednecks. Hope we don't get shot or stabbed. Timmy says he's not gonna wear a shirt to the restaurant. He'd fit in if he had a few less tattoos and fewer piercings. Oh yeah... his hair is now blue. Cute kid. Way to blend in. He's been singing Hank Williams with different words all day, "My eyes are still curly and my hair is still blue/So tell why you don't love me like ya used ta do?" What a moron. [b]Day 6[/b] After a night of good sleep and showers, we've headed on through Georgia's smelly swamps and drenching downpours. I had a weird feeling, so I called ahead to the club in Gainesville, Fla., to check on our booking. The guy at Eddie C's just told me the joint was busted last night because a bouncer was caught selling drugs. So now there's no show. I guess we're gonna enjoy another night of fun in a shitty motel room. Yay. Drew is wearing a cowboy hat that he found in a rest stop. He's a black cowboy. I think this means he's a "Buffalo Soldier." LATER: Since we had plenty of time to kill and no show until tomorrow in Tampa, our goal was just to hang out somewhere. Driving along in the northern reaches of The Sunshine State, we came across a roadside souvenir shop in a town called Lawley advertising a “Live Gator” and “Mini-Zoo.” We all agreed that we'd be really STUPID if we didn't stop and check it out. The store had fairly typical tourist crap and was run by a super redneck named Gene, who was willing to be videotaped in all his hick glory while he explained the nature of Florida's cottonmouth snakes. That's good stuff for our home video. Gene was sharing a watermelon with a buddy during the whole conversation. I just looked at the video, and I noticed that Gene was also using a swiss army knife to cut the slivers of watermelon. Considering the way he stared at us, I'm pretty sure he would have been happy to sink that knife into Bill's neck. Tim bought some t-shirts and crap for his family, and Bill got himself some kooky plastic sandals. I refrained from purchases at this establishment. I'm trying to save money for something “really good.” I don't know what this really means. The aforementioned gator was outside in a caged pond. This feller could have been a log with strategically placed eye lumps for all of his movement. Tim even tried to entice the reptile by showing a little leg, smacking himself in the ass and yelping something about “fresh white meat,” but the sedate creature couldn't be bothered. Timmy's not as hot as he thinks. Right now, we're at a motel in Gainesville. The pool at this place was much nicer than last night's lodgings, and Tim took this opportunity to swim a little. I had fun videotaping his cannonball dives for posterity. MUCH LATER: As it turns out, the only place for food in this area is a place called “Café Risque,” which is an alcohol-free strip club specializing in bar food like burgers and ribs. Needless to say, we had to check it out. After presenting our IDs and paying a $7. cover, we walked past a overly lit area where some bored-looking dancers were half-heartedly gyrating for grim-faced truckers and sat at a counter. I guess we felt a little weird about sitting down right in front of the dancers, so we chose a spot where the stage was empty. We got our menus and gave our orders to an overly friendly waitress, who eventually brought out our meals. As we sat and contently chowed down, a few of the dancers, smelling potential cash, started making their way to our stage area. Tim's new alter-ego is named "Mr. White Chocolate," who is an effiminate pimp with a lisp. I love it. He stayed in character all night. Timmy managed to surprise one of the girls by proving he is indeed an Eagle Scout with credentials, an act inspiring the exclamation of “Shit the bed!” from the dancer in question. Truly a quotable quote. Another great quote from a dancer: “Ah'd love to go to Chicago, but ahm a'scairt ta fly.” You may rest assured that we still think that's funny. A'scairt. Woo. I bet these women are totally disgusted by men at this point… most dancers only have to deal with drunk guys… these chicks have to deal with greasy-fingered guys who can't even buy beer. They were sweet to us, though. Three in particular spent a lot of time with us. Ashley, Samantha and Rain. I'm sure these are their real names, too. RIGHT. Rain offered me a free “couch dance” in a private room, but I declined because I didn't want her to lose out on any potential income she might have made from someone else. Also, I don't need that kind of info getting back to my old lady. I'll get a couch dance at home. [b]Day 7[/b] This morning we rolled serenely into Tampa and located the restaurant/bar we are playing tonight. Upon our arrival at “Joey's Lounge” (nice, huh? huh?) the restaurant's owner, a little Italian man named Sal, sat down and regaled us with stories of his construction contracting business years in Philadelphia. I understand only about every third word this guy says. His english is bad. He's a sweetheart, though. Walking in here was a little like walking into a tropical version of [i]The Godfather[/i]. It's about 99 degrees and humid as hell outside. Don Corleone is wearing bermuda shorts and a v-neck t-shirt. "You come to me with water ice, and your enemies become my enemies." Yes, Godfather. LATER: Oh my fucking God. We just met Joey (the guy for whom the bar is named.) Joey is very, very happy that we are from Philly. Joey is a total stereotype. He actually says things like "bada-bing” and “fuggedabodit.” He just spent about an hour asking how things were back in Philly – especially South Philly. Like I would know. I'm getting a distict mafia vibe from Joey. He was also surprised that Bill (our Korean vocalist) could speak and understand Italian. That cracked him up. LATER: Since we had a few hours before our set, we decided to check out the area flea market to kill the hours until show time. Bill found an older Cuban man selling switchblades and bought one while Timmy bought a fake designer watch. I think the “Nolex” (as we like to call it) is already broken. LATER: We just ate. Joey brought us out a huge meal, which we wolfed down like animals. Timmy, the skinniest member of the band, had some trouble finishing his linguine, and Joey made him eat it all before he'd take the plate back to the kitchen. “You gonna make my ma cry if you send it back like dat,” he said. Timmy finished it. He looks like he's gonna puke or shit. Wonder which he'll actually do? LATER: Tampa rocks like all fuck. We got to play. After two nights off, we needed it. That stage got FUCKED UP tonight. The kids seemed to really enjoy us – we got a load of compliments, and many bought t-shirts. None of the crowd was older than 19. That's the way I like it. I met a girl from Colorado who wanted me to “sign” her. Um… let's not go there. Joey says we're “family.” Apparently, we are welcome there any time at all. We'd be happy to come back… but I'm afraid Joey will try to give me the “kiss of death” or something. He definitely hugged the crap out of me. I think that means I'm gonna get a urinary infection or something. As the bar closed later night, and we said our goodbyes, we knew we had a real trek ahead of us -- we're supposed to be in Richmond, VA, tomorrow (or today, depending on the how you see things at this hour.) Yes, I know I'm insane to book shows like that. By the way, we have a headlight out. Not a big deal, but not very encouraging, either. Rolling along the silent Florida highways, it's a little weird to think we're more than 1,000 miles from home. Bill's driving is scary. I'm gonna try to nap. LATER: We're somewhere near Orlando, another car just passed us, honking and pointing at the rear of the van. We pulled over into a gas station to see what's up. As it turns out, our tail-lights are out, which means we have to drive with our flashers on. This makes me a little nervous -- now we have a Yankee license plate, an uninspected vehicle, one headlight and we're riding along with nothing but flashers. This should be fun. [b]Day 8[/b] We were only pulled over once so far. The cop recommended that we stay in the right lane while we drive at night, “…'cause when them lights is out, you ain't got shit.” We are somewhere in Georgia. I needed to take a break – it's 5am. Everyone promptly fell asleep when I pulled over into this gas station. Now I'm gonna try it. LATER: Bill generously offered to take over behind the wheel. I don't know if that's bad or good. Bye, Georgia. You smell bad. LATER: Life sucks. About 30 miles into South Carolina, Bill said the van made a weird “clunk” noise, so we got off I-95 to check it out. At the bottom of the off-ramp for a little hamlet called St. George, the van stalled and wouldn't start again. Needless to say, we weren't happy about this turn of events. We pushed the big yellow machine to a nearby gas station (a BP). Simply put, the van is not interested in starting again at all. I guess mechanical failure is God's way of telling you that you're not taking things seriously enough. Either that, or Dave the mechanic is an asshole. LATER: One of the women working at the BP called a giant-sized local mechanic who Timmy has immediately dubbed “Green Mile.” He's about eight feet tall. Green Mile (whose real name is Jim Love) diagnosed our van's engine as seized, and thus a worthless piece of junk. Now we're fucked. Since repairing or replacing the engine is prohibitively expensive (Green Mile said it'd probably cost us about $1,500 to fix, and that it would take a week), the only thing we can do is seek an alternate means of transportation. We're not happy. LATER: The comic book-sized Yellow Pages for this town is useless. There's no way to find a rental vehicle for 60 miles. The area merchants are not willing to let four black-clad city boys who look like rejects from a U.N. meeting camp out in their establishments and use their phones to make phone calls. We are stuck in our immobile van with our cell phones attached to our ears in this 95 degree heat. I am not amused. I just called Fireballz in Richmond, VA, where we're supposed to play tonight and let them know we were broken down. They were sympathetic. They and told us we'd be welcome back there another time. We're going to rent a motel room at the Southern Inn and eat some Waffle House. [b]Day 9[/b] When we checked out this morning at 11am, we were sure we'd be out of St. George today. Wrong again. There are still no U-Hauls available, and nobody will rent us a van for out-of-state travel. Our van is unfixable. In desperation we have contacted Green Mile about buying a van. We realize the foolishness of buying a vehicle from a mechanic we don't know and who lives about 900 miles from us, but I don't know what else to do. I'm calling Verona's in Manassas, Va, where we are supposed to play tonight and letting them know about our situation. LATER: Depressed and frustrated about being stuck and missing another show, we have rented another room, and Tim and Drew are now drowning their sorrows in King Cobra malt liquor. Man, Drew has got a real sermon going. Timmy's got this all on video. These delays are good for something. Some day we'll look back on this and laugh. Hysterically. [b]Day 10[/b] We're getting out of St. George. Thank you, God. I thought I'd stare at that BP sign forever. Today dawned just as hot as ever, and our frustration levels are high. Luckily for us, Chad, the body-building guy who runs the fruit/vegetable stand right here, next to our broken-down van, was able to help us out by driving Bill and Timmy to rent a boxy u-haul in North Charleston, a town about 60 miles from here. So that's how, after three days stuck in Hell, South Carolina, we are finally going home, minus one big yellow van. We're presently flying along I-95 at amazing speeds. Timmy and I are sitting in the back compartment with the gear. It's dark. My ass hurts. These things don't bother me. Thank heaven for a functioning internal combustion engine. I need to get clean and sleep someplace where I know all the crackheads by name. ***************************************** That's all I wrote for that tour. \m/ Erik "To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting." --Sun Tzu Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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