Thursday, May 17, 2007

Destroy Everything - April 29th & 30th

Tel Aviv, Israel

The above isn’t a typo. We really went and played a show in Tel Aviv.

After Groezrock, we quickly went to a hotel and showered. The water that was building up in the shower was black and disgusting from all the dirt that had settled on our bodies throughout the day. We then immediately drove to Germany to board a plane to Israel.

It was 6 am and none of us had slept yet. What should you do in this situation? FIND A MCDONALDS! The golden arches had never shined brighter than they did on this fine morning. What is a good thing to eat at this hour? A fucking Mc-Rib. It’s back my friends. I normally hate McDonalds but nothing makes you feel more at home (for better or worse) than a microwaved artificial pork sandwich. God Bless America. Shame on Germany for their constant need to charge you for dipping sauces, though…

Touching down in Israel was a surreal experience. Applause rifled throughout the plane. You could tell that many passengers had been waiting their whole lives for this moment. There hadn’t been one day on this tour that Israel had not been mentioned and playing this show had really split the band. Some were excited and some were very upset but one thing that united us all was that NO ONE knew exactly what to expect.

We were greeted by the promoters of the show and they picked us up in 2 mini-vans. They were definitely younger than expected one of them was wearing a Terror shirt. I was scared to wear my “Peace in the Middle East” shirt, but a local was wearing a shirt that said TERROR on it? Amazing. Sitting in the back of the van, I saw palm trees, sunshine, and a beautiful cityscape. This is Israel?

We got to the hotel and I turned the TV on and they had American Vh1 and MTV. It was wonderful to be watching trash TV in a war torn country. Who doesn’t need to know about the 100 Sexiest Celebrity Hook-Ups?

I roomed with Wayne and we contemplated going to sleep (since we still hadn’t) for the 2 hours we had before load in, but we decided against it. I normally never venture outside of the club, but I realized that today was special and I really needed to take part in what was going on.

Our hotel was one block away from the Mediterranean Sea. It was gorgeous outside and the scenery was equally impressive. One thing we noticed was that people were just living their lives. A guy walking his dog, a fat girl with a Mohawk, people hanging out on the beach, it showed us how normal these people were. It was Sunday and we just imagined people being pissed that they had to go to work the next day. It was so far removed from what I had envisioned. By the beach there were memorials that detailed the history and struggles of the country’s people. That is when it really started to hit us. These people have been through so much. Not just what went on during the last one hundred years ago, but what they are going through now.

After my 2nd McDonalds visit of the day, We met the promoter to take us to the club. I told him how impressed I was with the country. I explained that all we see in America are bombings and war. He told us that is why it is so important for him to do this Hatebreed show, because people truly have to live each day as if it is their last. He said he never knows when it will all literally all explode.

The promoter explained to us that everyone has to enter the military for 2-3 years (depending on sex) upon their 18th birthday. He told us that in a time of crisis ANY former member of the military may be called to active duty. Meaning, if Israel goes to war this summer, there is a good chance that the promoter of the show and many people attending it would be called upon to serve and probably die for their homeland. This show really was important and it meant something to these people that we cared enough about them to be there.

The club was dirty, dangerous, and amazing. It had multiple levels to it and looked like it would be in a movie. This was the kind of place Hollywood would have you believe all shows took place at. A huge cross section of people came to the show. Punks, Skinheads, Metalheads, Hardcore kids…you name it, they were there. No one here was too spoiled to miss the show. This was an event. This was a celebration of life.

All night kids would come up to me and just ask me questions. They wanted to know my thoughts about their country, they wanted to hear about America, they wanted to know about George Bush, American hardcore, my thoughts on Metallica’s “Load”, and anything else you could imagine. I never felt more honored to share my opinions and experiences with anyone.

The show was an afterthought at this point, but it was a fucking RAGER! Kids knew the words to every song and sang them until their voices gave out. I met some great people, and no one in the band or crew left that club the same way we entered it. We might have needed Israel more than it needed us.

We went back to the hotel and ate some great hummus before going to sleep for a few hours.
We were in Israel for 12 short hours before we were back in the familiar customs line at the airport. We once again got interrogated, but after 4 security checkpoints, we made it through.

The plane ride to NYC was just your typical 12 hour fare. So, it fucking sucked! I was in the middle seat and the woman next to me puts her seat all the way back before we even take off. The couple behind us were none too pleased. The man got up and reached over the woman sitting next to me and put her seat up. Then the woman next to me put it all the way back again. This brought the flight attendant over and he put her seat back up. This led to all 4 individuals standing up and screaming at each other in Hebrew. We hadn’t even taken off yet!

The band and I were definitely the only Americans on the flight. Everyone on the plane appeared to have never flown before. The fasten seat belt sign meant nothing to these people. The restrooms said OCCUPIED during takeoff. Sure enough, once we were coasting in the sky, someone exited the toilet. Takeoff is probably pretty interesting when you are sitting on an airplane shitter.

I couldn’t fall asleep with the woman next to me speaking jibberish and constantly elbowing me, so I watched 4 movies, including The Queen, The Pursuit of Happiness, Eragon (unwatchable), and Hollywoodland. The Kosher meal was disgusting and getting off the plane couldn’t come soon enough. During landing, someone got up just to throw something away. Lord knows you can’t land when someone is holding a piece of paper.

The strange behavior of the passengers on the airline spilled over to the baggage claim. This was easily one of the best parts of the entire tour. The customs line was so long that people’s bags kept continually going around the carousel. They started to pile up and bags began sticking out and clipping people standing close to them. They bags would then tumble off to the ground. We would run over and pick them up and just heave them on top of the already high piles. People noticed our aggressiveness and asked us to retrieve their bags for them. We were jumping on top of the carousel and grabbing people’s bags. When we would get our own we would throw them on the ground just to make a scene. Hey, it was a 12 hour plane ride; we needed something to get excited about. We were being loud; cheering on people who were getting their bags and yelling at others for grabbing the wrong ones. People were bumping into us and running our feet over with their luggage. Well, they were running over our feet until Beattie started kicking their bags. I guess nobody understands his humor.

At this time I looked over to notice Wayne was still carrying a strange looking object with a garbage bag wrapped around it. Wayne carried this Dimebag Darryl guitar for the entire tour. Jamey gave it to him at the airport on the first day to hold for him. Jamey needed to paint it for an auction, so he brought it with him to paint in his free time on the tour. Needless to say he never once touched the thing and Wayne was stuck with it for over 2 weeks. Wayne always gets the short end of the stick, but he is quitting to work for Rihanna, so fuck him anyways.

After a successful 17 day tour in multiple foreign countries, that included so many moments that will stick with us all for the remainder of our lives, we walked away into the sunset. Well, Frank and I actually just walked a mile to a different terminal with our luggage, re-checked it in and waited 3 hours, only to board another flight to reach our final destination of Cleveland...but it seemed like sunset nonetheless.