Friday, November 2, 2007
A Long Winded Run On.
As I sat in a loading dock beneath the Hard Rock Café Casino in Las Vegas, with $50 dollars in my pocket that wasn’t there when I woke up that morning, it all momentarily made sense. I sat Indian style on a road case and watched 9 men adorn their half naked bodies with mountains of latex and fiberglass. I know that might sound like an everyday activity for me, but this time it was a bit more special.
I was able to feel the camaraderie as grown men from Virginia …er…I mean, Antarctica by way of outerspace, changed into GWAR right in front of my eyes. This was always the step that I had missed. I had seen them during the day; I had seen them during their performance but I was normally too busy to see the actual transformation occur. For 20 plus years they have gotten to experience those 30 minutes together everyday, and it really meant something for me to be a part of it, even if it was for only one evening.
It brought back to mind the first time I saw Scott Vogel of Terror readying himself for a performance. He was shadowboxing in a dark New Jersey room, adjacent to the stage, with a boombox on the floor blaring classic NY hardcore and Hip Hop. The band’s intro hit, he immediately stopped, and was handed a mic. I remember thinking that this dude really is as intense offstage as he is on it. That show was stopped after three songs due to the 15 fights that occurred in those 6 minutes. Scott was definitely able to rile up a crowd. He was definitely able to rile me up as well. We both proved that a few days later as we almost got into our first of a few physical altercations with each other; but those are different stories that Kitzel would probably want me to post in some zine of his.
It also made me think of being in Europe with Hatebreed. Joking with everyone backstage, then walking onstage alongside them to face tens of thousands of people at a different European metal fest every day for 5 weeks. Laughing with Sean one minute, then watching him turn into an unbridled reverse head banging machine the next. Yes, walking onstage with Hatebreed is cool; but it is obviously cooler to do the same thing with New York’s Rider Man. (See Previous Entry).
I take so many things for granted, but it is moments like these that truly put it into perspective. I have stood on all corners of the earth with people who do nothing more than yell really loud into a microphone. Something so dumb has taken me so far. Something so dumb means so much.
I recently read a blog post by Blacklisted. Their roadie, Chucky, shares his thoughts about being on the road. He seemed so excited to be a part of something that it reminded me of the first tours that I was ever on. His enthusiasm is a stark contrast to the complete lack of excitement I currently carry with me. It wasn't always like this. His post made me think of that first Terror tour where I was bruised from stagediving every night over huge barricades, where we were stopping at a gas station every 4 hours, buying tons of candy, and eating pizza every night with 5 people who would become close friends. Although I was 23 at the time, I was living like a 12 year old and I couldn’t have been happier.
I dropped out of college to go on that tour with Terror. I only wanted to do the one tour, but other things kept getting added. I was having such a great time, I just kept coming back... coming back for 15 straight months on the road. We had played shows alongside Unearth, The Black Dahlia Murder, Hatebreed, Sick Of It All, The Warriors, Comeback Kid, Modern Life is War, Madball, Throwdown, Everytime I Die, Gwar, Chimaira, Murphy’s Law, 100 Demons, Shadows Fall, Converge, Turbonegro, Donnybrook!, Outbreak, Dio, and Iron Maiden. Yes, THE Iron Maiden. I was even able to appear in their video for, “Keep Your Mouth Shut,” which according to the program director at MTV2 is the “worst music video of all time.” Not many people can say that, except for Lil Wayne and Baby after they made “Leather So Soft.” Weezy should NOT play air guitar.
After 7 US tours, 1 Canadian tour, 1 Puerto Rican tour, and 1 European tour, I was completely burnt out and jaded. I was angry at everyone in the band and myself. I left Terror for what I assumed would be the greener pastures of Throwdown. We embarked on a 2 month tour, and although I liked everyone in the band personally, I never got that same indescribable feeling that I got on those early Terror tours. I got $8,000 in merch money stolen from me in Arizona, $2000 of which I had to pay back, and upon the conclusion of the tour, I went home with no intention on ever returning to the road. I figured I could find better things to do than overdose on sugar and sleep on the floor of a moving van.
I went back to my old job at The Mortgage Zone, Inc. (R.I.P.) and became a licensed loan officer in 13 states. It really was as exciting as it sounds. I started going to bed early and getting up during normal hours. I did things that normal people did and celebrated such activities as I hadn’t been able to do them for almost 2 years. No one at my new job could understand what I used to do, and the few that did couldn’t understand why I would ever leave it. Some Holy Roller lady once said, “So it would be like me working for Amy Grant? That would be an absolute dream.” I had described my experiences to everyone as a nightmare, but statements like these made me reconsider.
Throughout that summer, I had mended a lot of the relationships with Terror that I had burned. I went to see them when they played in Cleveland and realized how much I missed being around them. I saw a new guy selling the merch (Fat Jugs Hernandez), and it really left a strange feeling in my stomach. I realized how easily replaceable I was and how I had possibly pissed away a great opportunity that many people would truly love to have. The night of that show, I remember telling Nick that I wanted to do 1 last tour and go out on my own terms.
I was unsure how the dynamic of the band would be because they had some lineup changes as Carl had left to make First Blood a full time band and Frank had gone on to join Hatebreed. What a resume he has: Ringworm, Integrity, Terror, and Hatebreed. Wow. Frank was the person who brought me on my first tour, and I had trouble imagining touring without he and Carl, yet I knew I still wanted to be back out there one last time.
Even though Frank and Carl were gone, I was excited to hang out with Martin and Buske; Terror’s newest members.
Martin was the guitarist who took Frank’s spot and was someone that I always enjoyed being around. He was the brain behind Donnybrook! and I always loved when Terror would play shows with them, Some of the most memorable Terror shows were with Donnybrook! and included such events as: Martin being stabbed by a bottle by a soundman in Baltimore, a riot in Central Cali involving one of our friends beating people up while wearing a Los Angeles Dodgers Poncho, and Martin’s brother, Dre, getting Scott so wasted that they would sleep in the van every night, even when they weren’t on tour.
Buske was someone that I met in the early 00’s when I used to post on his former band’s messageboard. I could tell from his posts that we had many similar interests. Actually I remember him from before that because he stagedove once and ripped the hood clean off my sweatshirt. Prick.
I remember he was playing a show in Erie, Pa and I E-convinced him to burn me a copy of the then unreleased Meraduer – Bluetality album. I saw him at the show wearing the first pair of Nike Shox (which were horrible) and some boot cut jeans which had a real strange cut to them, topped off with a sparkling new tech vest. Buske has always been fashion forward. He wanted me to get him an Integrity hooded sweatshirt for him in exchange. I never got it for him and we fell out of touch. Buske felt that I was “dissing” him during the next 2 years, but I just didn’t think his memory was as good as mine. I assumed he meets tons of people and just wouldn’t remember me. I was wrong. Buske still brings up that goddamn hoodie when he is piss drunk.
I quit my Mortgage job two weeks after my meeting with Nick and Terror, and was back on tour after being home for 6 straight months. The first shows we played were with the Gorilla Biscuits and Comeback Kid. I had talked a lot of shit throughout the years about bands reuniting, but GB made me eat my words. I had every intention on hating on them, but they just blew me away. Every member of the band and crew had so much fun on those 5 days that it cemented in my head that I had made the correct decision.
Unfortunately Martin couldn’t make those shows. His father passed away the night before the first day. I never told Martin how sorry I was for his loss, a loss that I can’t truly comprehend and hopefully won’t have to for some time. I had a whole speech mapped out in my head to let him now that I was riding with him, but the words never came out. This has happened to me repeatedly in my life. If I could only be half the person I am in my daydreams… In my dreams, I am a soap star, I am in my own band, I’m famous, I’m not an idiot in relationships, etc. I always have grandiose visions of things to say to people, things I need to do, and things to become the person that I want to be; however most of them are left on the cutting room floor. Hopefully Martin was able to see by my actions how important he is to me, even though I wasn’t able to vocalize it in his time of need.
Buske and I laid it out on the first day as he confronted me about not talking to him for a few years. I told him my side of the story and we were inseparable from that day forward. I loved hearing him talk about his twisted and terrifying masturbation stories from his youth. I really miss Martin and Buske.
After the GB shows, Terror headlined for a few weeks then joined up with Unearth and Bleeding Through for a 3 week tour. Half way through the tour, Scott got really sick and flew home. The rest of us were stuck in a hotel room in Texas with no idea what our next move was to be. This wouldn’t be the last time we would be stuck in a hotel room not knowing if it was the end, but once again, that is a story that doesn’t fit here, and may never fit anywhere. We decided to drive to New York and stay at Buske’s. We drove straight through the night and had the best time together for the 5 days until Scott returned. I really felt part of something again.
After the Terror tour, Frank came through on his promise and got me a job with Hatebreed. I had only wanted to do 1 final tour, but I thought this was an opportunity that I couldn't pass up. He always said he was Cam and I was Jimmy and he would eventually get me out of 5-H. Years before he also told me, “I put you on and I can take you out whenever I please," so I guess you take the good with the bad.
I was touring with the biggest Hardcore band of all time and one of my best friends was actually in the band. It didn’t seem real. I juggled Hatebreed and Terror simultaneously for 6 months. It always seemed to work out that when one of them was on the road, the other wasn’t. I really got to have the best of both worlds. I got to hang out in shitty motels with my friends, then I got to go and be on some huge metal tour the next month and have great catering.
Earlier this year, I had to commit to Hatebreed due to their intense touring schedule that they had mapped out. The same thing that happened to me in 2005, started happening to me in 2007. I was getting aggravated by everyone and I just wanted to go home. This year alone, I have done 3 U.S tours (I am currently on my 4th), 1 UK Tour (w/ stops in Russia, Ukraine, and Israel), and 1 European festival tour. I figured that enough truly was enough.
After Ozzfest with Hatebreed, I wanted nothing but to lay in my brand new bed and not leave it for months; if ever. I had nothing lined up and wasn’t really concerned about it. I knew Terror would be touring in November and secretly hoped I would be free so I could go and eat shitty food and act ignorant with my friends. That dream died 2 and a half weeks into my stay at home when I got a phone call from Gwar. Gwar was going out for 12 weeks and needed somebody to accompany them.
This was the first time I ever went out with somebody that I didn’t know at all. It was a very intimidating thought, but I knew I had to do it. I am so thankful that I did and that brings me to the present. I'm in albany, Jizmak is my boss, and I hang out with slaves all day.
Although, this post was quite long, I really have only skimmed the surface. Writing this has triggered so many individual stories of people being passed out underneath the van in a dirty Florida street that it could end up being 30 more posts.
While on tour, I question my existence daily. I think I am wasting what’s left of my youth. I have no idea what I am going to do with my life. I feel old and young simultaneously. I have missed out on so many things by being gone. I haven’t had a relationship with a woman since 2004. I haven’t seen any episodes of Nip Tuck season 5. I can never keep up on Guiding Light or As the World Turns anymore because by the time I get home there are 10 new characters and 4 of my favorites have been replaced by even shittier daytime actors than the original ones that I had come to enjoy. I don’t know what the hell is going on in my life. I force myself to be in love with someone at all times. I am lonely. I want people to think that I hate everything. I do know that I wouldn’t trade any of these daily thoughts or situations for anything because sometimes you realize how lucky you are. Sometimes all it takes is a little peek of Antarctic alien ass to realize that you are really part of something special.