9.10.2010 Lansing, MI 11:18
I’ve been on the Wormrot tour for a little less than a week. Despite poor planning and generally bad intel, we’re managing to stay on course. There are still a lot of holes in the operations, but I’m working through it. It feels strange being out on tour without playing, there’s no climax to the evening, I just collect the money at the end of the night and we leave. It feels strange being out here without the band either. I see those guys more than anyone else in my life. We rehearse at least three times a week, and when I’m out on the road, I’m with them every day.
Today we start heading west again. The tour has been pretty much a trip back and forth along the Ohio Turnpike, eating up gas and funds. It feel like we’re running in circles. Tonight is Mishiwaka, IN then we’re on to Indianapolis. It’ll be good to see the Indy crew tomorrow.
The Wormrot crew pretty much sleeps all day during the drives; I listen to music and drive. I got in a lot of quality music over the last few days. I’ve been really into the Rowland S Howard record “Pop Crimes” that came out late last year. The record sounds so heavy and sad, it’ll be good for this time of year. I’m having a hard time with the fact that he’s dead and I never had a chance to see him play live.
Summer feels like it’s finally gone, the days are cooler and there’s the beginnings of the autumn bite in the air. Soon the leaves on the trees will be changing color and winter, the mightiest season, will be upon us.
I remember stopping for fuel somewhere on the road and the song “Drive” by the cars was playing on the sound system by the pumps. That was a great song; brings back memories of my high school years, topless young girls sitting by a pool and watching “Psycho” as the sun went down.
22:02 Mishiwaka, IN
I’ve never been to this town before. We rolled in at around 19:30 and happy hour was still in full swing. It’s the kind of place where guys go to after work to have a few beers, shoot pool and eat chicken wings. Somehow, the promoter books metal shows here. It’s a typical Indiana town, small and quiet.
Tonight’s the last night with Mobile Deathcamp. They’ve been with us since Cleveland. Todd and Bo are really cool guys and can play their asses off. I hope I run into them again at some point.
After the show, we’re driving to Indianapolis to crash at Clark’s pad. Apparently, Jared is staying there as well. He told me that we’re the first band ever to crash with Clark.
9.11.2010 Indianapolis, IN 11:18
After the show last night, we drove to Indianapolis; we rolled into Clark’s place close to 04:00 and those guys were hanging out on the porch as the van pulled up. I woke up a while ago and caught up on the accounting; the tour is doing well despite the obstacles that have been placed in our way. The Dream is Dead is on the bill tonight, it’s their first show in almost a year, so I’m pretty stoked to see them rock along with Wormrot. Last night was Mobile Death Camp’s last show with us on the tour. Really cool guys and seriously killer players. They rip and they’re really entertaining but what’s most impressive about them is how hard they work. They’re going to be pretty much on the road until January. After this they’re home for a couple of weeks then they go out with Gwar.
I’m listening to the Tombs practice recordings of the new songs; I’m really looking forward to getting back into rehearsal. I still have a lot of work to do before he hit the studio.
Over the last two weeks I witnessed two women urinating in public. In both cases a public bathroom was available but they both decided to just pull their pants down and go for it. One was in Valparaiso. I was sitting in the van during the show and this young lady got out of a parked vehicle, dropped her skirt and underwear and just did her thing. The other was in Lansing right at the bottom of the steps leading up to Mac’s Bar. There was a group of guys standing around and this drunk girl squatted down beside the van and went for it. It’s a strange phenomenon.
A few days ago, somewhere on the Ohio Turnpike I was on line at a Starbucks at one of the rest stops. The overweight woman approached the counter clutching one of those 1400 calories coffee drinks in her hand and was complaining that there wasn’t enough chocolate sauce on top of her drink. When the barista indicated that the drink had the allotted amount of chocolate sauce on it, she became really agitated and demanded a “corporate” number so she can complain. She glanced up and down the line of people looking for support but no one really seemed to care. I observed that she had copious amounts of flesh spilling out of her too-small jeans and wondered if more chocolate sauce was what she really needed.
I’m kicking back at the venue, sitting in the van. I have been here a couple of weeks ago with Tombs. I took a walk with Clark to get coffee. He just recently returned from a trip to India and had some really intense stuff to talk about. He told me about seeing this young kid die in the street floating in raw sewage; he said ever since he got back, he’s been in a great mood because as bad as it gets here, he most likely won’t be dying face down in raw sewage.
I took that to heart. We have options here; the kid that died in the street has no potential anymore, his time passed and now he’s gone. He lived and died in the streets. Most of us will never have to deal with something as intense as that. It made my situation feel trivial.
9.12.2010 St. Louis, MO 19:45
It was a pretty short, uneventful drive to day across Indiana and Illinois, into Missouri. I checked into a Red Roof Inn on the way to the venue so tonight will be showers and free coffee in the morning. I’ve got the Lurker of Chalice record playing in my headphones and I’m sitting in the van outside of the venue. I haven’t been in St. Louis in a long, long time. I’m having a hard time recalling what it was like here.
I remember playing here on one of the first Anodyne tours back in like 1998. We were running late and rolled in after the show had started. We were playing with some “Nu Metal” bands; that was the big thing back then. The headlining band featured a founding member of Slipknot apparently, later, we ate at this diner that was filled with tranny hookers.
These landlocked cities have a slow, desolate vibe. People like Chuck Liddell are from places like this. The streets are deserted and lonely, I don’t know how the show is going to do tonight. Wormrot kick it every night no matter what, but this is their first US tour and it would be cool for them to get in front of some people.
I saw this strange, white caterpillar in the parking lot of a rest stop. It was crawling along the tarmac under the van, impossibly vulnerable. We picked it up and put it on the sidewalk so that I wouldn’t crush it when I backed the van out.
9.13.2010 Troy, IL 10:12
I’m sitting in the lobby of the hotel, drinking the mediocre complementary coffee and catching up on the accounting for the tour. The show last night was kind of weak as far as attendance went. At some point during the evening, this girl rolled up to the merchandise table and asked Azean who booked the show because she didn’t see any promotion. This is the thing that comes up more times than I care to admit; why do the show if you don’t care about it? It seems like common sense to me if you’re going to guarantee someone cash to show up and play then you should get the word out with people so you don’t have to go out of pocket to pay them. The guy didn’t even show up to manage the show, that’s how low of a priority this was to him. The whole place had that bad rock club vibe.
A few days ago I watched the “The Serbian Movie” on my laptop. A friend of mine sent me a link to download the movie. I’ve read a lot about it on the internet and there’s a lot of discussion regarding this film and how extreme it is. One of the podcasts that I listen to painted this picture of the film as the most twisted film ever made so I went into it with some really high expectations.
The movie definitely goes places that other films haven’t. The violence is brutal and disturbing; more so because of the relationship that is built with the main character. There is about 20 to 30 minutes of exposition setting up the characters as flawed but likeable people that are manipulated into this situation as a result of a series of bad decisions. All of the violence is sex-related. My criticism is that the film maker seemed to shy away from showing actual penetration which strikes me as odd. The level of violence and the subject matter will stand in the way of the film ever getting a legit release. The film is definitely relegated to the sketchy mailorder and download world so why not go all the way and make it a hardcore film?
The film is well-written, well-acted and well-shot. I get the film: it has a vaguely political message about exploitation and consumerism and how people are willing to sell their flesh and blood to survive, not even due to greed, but simply to survive. It also speaks about the “reality” based media world we live in where the search for “reality” creates this warped version of reality that requires a more and more extreme experience to make an impact.
It’s almost check out time. The Wormrot kids are probably still sleeping. Breakfast time is over, I pretty much drained the entire urn of coffee. It’s time to move on.
9.16.2010 Albuquerque, NM 07:41
It’s back to back 8 and 10 hour drives: Des Moines to Denver, Denver to Albuquerque and now Albuquerque to Oklahoma City. After that it’s down to San Antonio. There’s nothing like brutal drives to drain the funds of the tour. There are a lot of issues: bad intel, poor routing, in some cases we’re not getting the compensation that was agreed on, no signed contracts, it goes on and on. Despite all of this the band keeps ripping it every night.
The show was small and there were issues with getting paid. The promoter offered me cocaine; initially I didn’t know what he was talking about because since I’m not a drug addict, I don’t know all of the secret code words. He asked me if I “partied”. It took me a minute to figure out what he was asking; his logic was that it would help me on the long drives.
I figured it would be meth down here. Apparently it’s a real problem in this part of the country because every 60 miles or so on the highway you see these huge anti-meth billboards. Meth isn’t big in the tri-state area, it cocaine. A lot of people I know either do coke or have had eras in their lives where they’ve done coke. I can’t understand it. Why not do meth? It’s cheaper. Maybe it’s some sort of perceived status, but the reality is that it’s a bunch of people in a men’s room sniffing powder and getting the shits.
We’ve been crossing time zones. Heading West seems to warp my perspective of time; it’s like the day gets stretched out and you relive an hour. The day seems longer and more brutal. When you head east, suddenly you lose an hour.
This local band played last night that had one of the best drummers I’ve ever seen; totally mind-blowing double kick. He could play in Morbid Angel if they ever needed a fill-in for Pete Sandovahl. One of the guys in Wormrot picked up their demo last night, I want to check it out.
Driving across the desert reminds me of crossing the ocean. The land stretches on for miles and miles, in the distance you can see the mountains, distant. It’s a little overwhelming sometimes. The sun shines eternally out here and the sky is blue like I haven’t seen in a long time.
It’s pleasant here in Albuquerque, but I’m sure I would find something I don’t like here. Walking down the street, pretty girls smile at you. It’s unusual, especially living in a city of money-hungry psychopaths like in New York.
I want to go home so I can rehearse and get back on the road again. Home is bills, paranoia and depression. It can get hard out here but the movement makes me feel like I’m actually living instead of doing my number in a box.
9.19.2010 Dallas, TX 02:46
We’re crashing at the promoter’s place; the show went really late tonight and everyone is really wiped out. We joined up with Phobia yesterday in San Antonio. I ran into a few people that had seen Tombs play down here last year. The fact that anyone at all digs the band means a lot to me. Once again, I was offered cocaine.
A few days ago, while driving up to Oklahoma City, we got caught in the aftermath of a flood in Amarillo, TX. I was cruising along the highway and all in the horizon I saw these black clouds. As we approached, the van was pelted with these gigantic drops of rain. It rained hard and cars began backing up on the highway. When we reached Amarillo, I saw cars submerged on the surface streets next to the highway. A portion of I-40 was completely underwater and traffic was being detoured to the service road. It was intense.
I went to a truck stop that had an on-site chapel. There are some God-fearing folk down here in the Great State of Texas.
I’m beat, all of the days are running into each other, into an endless grind of driving, loading gear and dealing with the daily tour issues. The tour is a mess.. Wormrot are killing it every night; despite all of the brutal miles and stress they play an excellent set every night.
I’ve got Lurker of Chalice playing in the headphones.
Things that are true:
Taco Cabana is a reasonably price, quality place to eat
Starbucks has the best public restrooms in this country
Houston, TX 18:39
We’re hanging at this house that this dude named Neil lives at. Phobia and Wormrot will be staying here tonight.
Stephan’s place in Dallas was comfortable. I slept deeply and was able to shower this morning. His parents made everyone breakfast; I had real grits for the first time in my life, until now I’ve only had the kind of grits that they serve at places like Denny’s. His parents were old hippies and had this really cool, welcoming vibe. There were pictures of his Dad hanging on the wall playing horn in a band. It had one of the most comfortable vibes of any place I’ve stayed all year.
I was looking through a book titled “Hippy” that attempted to detail the late 60’s/early 70’s Hippy scene. A print of the cover of Nico’s “Chelsea Girl” was on one of the pages, that record has been the soundtrack to many late nights in my room. I studied the cover for about an hour, looking into her cold, dead eyes. She was a beautiful woman that lived a very tortured life and it is all manifested in her cold, dark eyes. You can hear it in her voice when she sings “Femme Fatale”. A few years ago, I saw this documentary about her that chronicled her rise and fall; there was this footage of her on tour in Europe towards the end of her life performing in these cold, poorly-lit German venues. Heroin had all but destroyed her beauty, her eyes were dark and I imagined that she was staring into the abyss that she most likely sensed was in her future.
Tonight’s the last show in Texas; we head out to New Orleans tomorrow. PLF drops off tonight; they’ve been on since San Antonio. I’ve heard their records but never seen them live; totally crushing two-man grind.
Some slashed all four tires on the Phobia van. The reason is unknown: initially Shane told me that someone had something against their driver, there was also some faulty intel that one of the San Antonio gangs had beef with Shane. Earlier today, the theory was that some band that was bumped off of the bill wanted to get some payback. Phobia played as a three-piece last night because their bassist stayed behind to deal with the van. He’s back in the saddle tonight.
Phobia is a killer band and Shane is a sick frontman. I’ve seen them play many times; the best being is when I watched them completely humiliate Extreme Noise Terror at Europa a few years ago. Brian from Kill the Client is playing drums on this tour and frankly, he’s one of the top extreme music drummers in my opinion so the set is lethal.
Tonight is going to be a late night.
9.23.2010 Tampa, FL 10:17
I just woke up a while ago; both bands stayed with this dude from one of the local bands on last night’s bill. A few people live here and they all seem really cool; the kid told us that we’re the first people they’ve had stay over so they wanted to make sure everyone was comfortable. That was a nice touch. We’ve been lucking out with places to stay.
Last night in Tallahassee turned out surprisingly well. The original show was supposed to be at some bar called Big Daddy’s but the place changed owner’s and the promoter went m.i.a. Shane tried to contact him but he never got back. I remember sitting at Check Point Charlie’s in New Orleans and everyone thought the show was canceled. Arif did some research online and discovered that the show wasn’t listed anywhere. As a result, I sent an email to Dan Thunderdome asking if he knew anyone that did house shows in Tallahassee; that’s his old hometown and though at this point, he operates on a different level, I was hoping he would know someone in that scene. The next day, I got an email back from him with forwarded information about the show being put together at this d.i.y venue called The Farside. The kids really came through.
The Farside was on the same street that the old Thunderdome was on. It’s all different now. I remember playing there with Suppression almost ten years ago. The same coffee shop is there, which is comforting.
Later that night we stayed at this dude’s place. Once again, it was really cool of him to let a bunch of strangers crash on his floor. At some point of the evening, this cockroach-like bug was spotted crawling across the floor. The glaciers didn’t make it down to Florida during the Ice Age to kill off a lot of the flora and fauna so pre-historic creatures like manatees and alligators populate this country. Florida roaches beat the hell out of New York roaches any day. The lady of the house didn’t want us to kill it so in an attempt to deport the roach back outside she pulled off one of it’s antennae and broke it’s back basically crippling it, so instead of killing it outright, the bug was placed back in the wild crippled, defenseless and unable to navigate.
Today we head down to Miami, a place that I’ve never been to so that’s exciting. It’s about a 4 and a half hour drive, not bad for this tour.
Phobia are really cool. Last night was their best set on the tour so far. Their driver/merch-person is this girl named C.C. that plays guitar in a band called So Unloved. The tour van is black with a thick pink stripe painted down the side and the words “So Unloved” stenciled on it. Steve has been telling me that at rest stops they’ve been getting really tripped-out looks from people when they get out fo the van.
The Wormrot kids love Denny’s and Walmart.
One of the headlights went out in Albuquerque but the schedule has been too tight to get it fixed. The solution has been to drive with my high beams on at night.
9.25.2010 Atlanta, GA 21:46
Tonight was supposed to be the second day of a three day fest, but a lot of the bands dropped off so it’s just sort of a big show. The promoter was a little too ambitious; doing a fest is a real pain in the ass and takes a lot of experience to pull off and thought the promoter did his best, it was a little overwhelming.
The tour hit Gainesville last night, one of the most un-metal cities in the Florida. A handful of people showed up and the night was kind of quiet. Us and Phobia were offered a place to stay but the party scene was too intense so we bailed out to a Red Roof Inn. Everyone that lived at the house was doing coke and cranking music; everyone on the tour was just interested in getting some sleep.
I ate at this place called Boca Fiesta with the Phobia crew. While we were eating there, Steve said that he thinks the restaurant used to be a venue. We realized that Boca Fiesta used to be a club called the Hardback Café, one of the spots that all the shows in Gainesville happened. I remember playing there with V. Card and Hot Water Music back in the 90’s when I was in Otis. That seems like lifetimes ago. It was real trippy sitting in this Mexican restaurant that used to be a venue that I played in almost 20 years ago. I can remember the night clearly; we also played a house show at this place called the Utility House. We ended up kicking it in town for a few days because Tim knew the dude that ran No Idea and had all these hook-ups in town. A “metal dude” lived at the house and I remember that he had the Emperor / Enslaved split on vinyl.
The venue in Miami was in a real sketchy part of town. There were a lot of people lurking in the shadows, I didn’t want to wander too far away. I noticed this woman wandering around the vans with the crotch of her silver lame slacks cut away for “easy access”. It was depressing. This guy was pressing me for money so hard that I thought I was going to have to het violent with him.
I woke up to the sound of smoker’s cough. The Wormrot crew love to smoke.
9.26.2010 Somewhere in Georgia 16:06
We’re killing time at a Starbucks in some town north of Atlanta. The show last night was a drag; apparently some scene politics was happening and some kinds were upset that the show wasn’t at a certain venue. What people don’t understand is that the bands are the ones that get the brunt of it. No one remembers the names or faces, they just remember that the shows suck and that the “scene” doesn’t come out to support touring bands. I heard from the promoter that there were a few local bands that were bummed out that they weren’t asked to play so they booked a free house show to run interference to the Phobia, Maruta, Wormrot show. That is the weakest shit that I’ve ever heard; it makes me think that those bands have never been on the road before, if they had, they would know better.
There was this weird, trippy “circus show” going on in the parking lot outside of the show last night. They had dancing girls and magic while cranking the “Taker as Needed for Pain” record by Eyehategod. It reminded me how great that band used to be. They’ve been riding out this spike of activity over the past year or so, but frankly, it’s not the same. It’s like watching a cover band that coincidentally has some of the original members playing in it.
We crashed at a Red Roof Inn outside of the city. I read a little and fell out. I’m sick; I’ve been trying to deny the fact that but now, I’m full on: sore throat, runny nose, headache.
There’s no Phobia tonight; our last show with them is tomorrow in Lexington. I’ll be a drag to see those guys go.
The Wormrot crew is outside smoking. It’s raining today and the drive is short so it’s good to be inside drinking coffee. The only thing getting in the way of me having a really relaxing time is the two young women talking about all of the guys they’ve made out with. Everyone else is quite here, the Coldplay jams are pumping on the house system and I’m learning about the love lives of these two really mediocre-looking women.
9.29.2010 Raleigh, NC 01:21
I just took a hot shower and now I’m settling in at the hotel room. It’s Red Roof Inn again, our home-away-from-home. It was an 8-hour drive across West Virginia, into Virginia and down to North Carolina through mostly overcast weather.
Tonight was rough. The door deal that the agent arranged was working against us. At the end of the night there was no money because the break-even amount was too high. If the show was at a different type of venue, there would have been some cash to go around. Wormrot have been delivering every night despite the hard conditions that we’ve been enduring. It’s been a long tour and everyone is tired at this point, there aren’t a lot of dates left.
Last night in Lexington was the last night with Phobia, I miss those guys already.
The days are bleeding into one another.
9.29.2010 Richmond, VA 18:22
I’m kicking back at the Witte/McFadden Estate, drinking a cup of coffee and relaxing. It’s raining out and we don’t have to be at the venue until 21:30, so there’s a lot of downtime.
It was an easy ride up from Raleigh, it poured rain the entire way. I listened to the entire self-titled Flock of Seagulls record on the way up and followed it up with “Garlands” by Cocteau Twins. It’s easy to feel uncomfortable about listening to A Flock of Seagulls in this day and age, but I have to admit that they wrote great songs. It kicks the hell out of Interpol or any of those new jack bands that rip off the 80’s. The lyrics are good, there’s a lot of cool guitar layers and there’s that cold, sterile electronic drum track under it all. Like most of the pop music of the time, it sounds completely synthetic, like it was manufactured instead of being recorded in a studio.
I first heard this record when I was in High School at a movie theater in my hometown. On Friday nights, they played “Midnight Movies” and from time to time I would check them out with my friend Roger. It was either “Pink Floyd: The Wall” or “Led Zeppelin: The Song Remains the Same” that was playing that night. The last regular movie wrapped up between 23:00 and 23:15. We were hanging out in the theater waiting for the movie to start and they were cranking Flock of Seagulls over the sound system. “I Ran” was the hit, but “Space Age Love Song” was the one that got it’s hooks into me. The guitar work is amazing on that song. Lately, I haven’t been able to stop listening to this record. Maybe it reminds me of the last time life felt okay to me and that’s why I’m so into it.
9.30.2010 Richmond, VA 11:29
I’ve got A Flock of Seagulls “Wishing (If I had a Photograph of You)” playing in the headset. Everyone is still sleeping, it’s good to be on my own for a while as the cold synths washes over me. I don’t know much about the guys in the band except that they had funny haircuts, I wonder if they did other bands or if this was it for them.
I walked over to the mighty Ellwood’s Café earlier for coffee. It’s still raining. I ordered my cup of black coffee, sat outside at a table under the awning and read for about an hour. This really nice looking lady was sitting outside at the table across from me. She asked me if we could switch tables; she was probably in her late thirties or early forties, in great physical shape and just had this really good energy. I wonder what her life is like down here in Richmond, it’s an easy life down here compared to New York. I reflected on this for a while, almost everyone I know that lives in New York, including myself is a complete neurotic mess, filled with anxiety about their jobs, paying rent, worrying about people stealing from them and just carrying the weight of living there. There’s got be be a better way to live and I’m wondering why I continue to live there.
10.3.2010 Bethlehem, PA 19:41
Tour feels like it’s winding down; there’s only a handful of shows to go. Last night in Delaware seems like it happened last week. After the show, we drove up to Philly and crashed with Wohlberg at his new pad. Dave from Relapse was randomly at the show and he told me to check out the new Cephalic Carnage video; apparently, it’s so brutal that none of the normal video streams are showing it. The only site that agreed to post it is Bloody-Disgusting.com a horror site/podcast network.
It’s autumn now; I feel like this year flew by. Life has just become an endurance test for me. I’m trying to make it to the next thing. I feel distant and remote from everyone.
Wohlberg is going to check out the show tonight and we’re going to go back to Philly for another night. Tomorrow the tour goes to Brooklyn.
On the way out to Bethlehem, we hit the Walmart/Best Buy scene by request from the Wormrot camp. I suppose they trip out on the cheap products and wanton consumerism of the entire experience. A lot of this stuff is really expensive in their country.
10.05.2010 Somewhere in Connecticut 00:23
The tour is winding down, there’s only tomorrow night in Philly and another date in Brooklyn. I don’t follow the logic of doing two shows in the same town less than a week apart, but my job is to get the band from town to town. I’m looking forward to getting back to rehearsal and training.
There were a lot of familiar faces at the show last night. It’s a good thing that I spend a lot of time away from home, because there is a faction of people that have grown into disappointments to me.
10.07.2010 Brooklyn, NY 06:20
Tour is over. The last show was out at this place that I’ve never been to called The Party Expo, under the overhead rails of the JMZ. We showed up when at the indicated time and the dude at the venue seemed to be surprised that we were so early. We loaded in and bailed back to my place, rented the “Nightmare on elm Street” remake and posted up until 21:15. For the record, I enjoyed the “Nightmare” remake despite all of the negative feedback I’ve been reading about it.
Wormrot played hard and then the tour was over. In a couple of hours we’ll be shipping out to get coffee, return the rental gear and head out to the airport. I hate saying goodbye, I’m not very good at those types of things. It was a real pleasure being on the road with them and I look forward to doing it again next year.