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Life On The Road

Discussion in 'Real Life Stories' started by clonemeister, Sep 2, 2004.

  1. I thought I'd start this thread to share some amusing, disturbing, and just plain fucked up *stories from my life on the road. First a little background.

    From 1988-93 I was on the road with a band. We were unique in that all of the guys, 3 crew and 4 **musicians, got equal shares of the profits........***nothing.:)...........and we all had an equal vote on band decisions. Three of the guys were my step brothers at one point in time, for reasons of anonymity we'll call the singer "Eel", the drummer "Man" ,and the guitarist "Old Mother Hubbard". The three others were the bassist, who we'll call "Sluggo", the soundman, "Hearing Loss Howard", and the lightman "Testestophilese", and lastly me(light-tech/stage-tech/ follow-spot/ security/ merchandising/ lyrics writer/ keeper/grower of the weed..etc....etc...).
    We traveled with a full production, meaning 40 1000w pars, 30 "ray lights" a multitude of "audience stun" lights and strobes, a 1000w follow-spot( modified to work almost like a "vari" light), a 30ft. long aluminum truss, and 4 "genie" lifts to get all the lights up in the air, backdrops to cover stage amps and the drum monitors, a 3ft. high drum riser, 2 EAW KF550's per side and 1 1000w EAW sub cabinet per side, 3 wedge monitors, and two large monitors for the drummer. All the sound equipment was hooked up to two 16 channel sound boards,(don't recall the brand), one for the drums alone(all miked), and one for everything else. The lights were controlled by a 14 channel mid-grade light board. Our "effects" rack had one "Alleisis"(sp?) midi-verb III for the drums, one for the vocals, and one for the whole "mix", along with an EQ for drums, and one for the "mix", as well as a "gate" for all the on-stage mics, and lastly the obligatory CD player/tape deck for "intros" and music during "breaks". Our drummer abused a Tama single kick, 5 tom kit. Our bassist used an Ampeg SVT head and amp, played a 5-string Ibanez, a 12 string Hamer, and an old "Rickenbacker" 4-string. Our guitarist used a Mesa-boogie head with a foot pedal controlled midi-verb III and various other effect boxes, he played two Ibanez "gem"s and used a Washburn for "D" tuned songs, his stage amps were old Carvin cabinets with new speakers in them. The singer mauled an old strat, a telecaster remake, and used an ancient "music man" amp for a head and stage amp. It took, on a good day, about 5 hours to set up for a show. If the club was a logistical nightmare it could take as many as 7-8 hours. All "band" members took part in "set-up" another thing that made us stand out from other touring bands. You are probably wondering what all this equipment has to do with "amusing, disturbing and just plain fucked up *stories ",........nothing.......really. It does however demonstrate that "life" on the road was a "real" job, and not just one long party. Imagine going into a different place every week and having to fit all this equipment onto and around what passes for a "stage", not to mention having to deal with stairs and any number of other obstacles. In some instances it meant a lot of creative thinking and finagling, and at times it simply meant just leaving some stuff in the truck. Which brings us to the inevitable "poultry connection".Our equipment truck was a 24ft. box truck that once belonged to an egg farm, it had a huge chicken and several eggs painted on the sides( more on the "poultry connection" later). The other " road" vehicle was a 1988 Dodge Ram pick-up with a "shell" on it, and benches built into the bed, three could sleep in the back while traveling, or open the "shell" and harass passing motorists, which we often did.

    Well, it's late, or early........gotta love insomnia.........so I'll be back with the first story entitled, "We Killed A Man In Memphis Once".

    *stories........I make no claims to being an effective storyteller, so please bear with my feeble attempts
    **4 musicians..........or 3 musicians and a..........drummer:).......(it's an old cliché, and drummer can be replaced with guitarist/bassist/singer.take your pick)
    ***nothing.......when I left the band in 93, right after they got signed by an independent label, we were at least $10,000 in debt
  2. .............it's midnight at a club in Memphis, and the band just opened the second set with "Stone Cold Bush". They then go to launch into the second song of the set. It's a tune by The Cult called "Sun King", which starts with drums, right before the guitar cuts in our singer says "this is where it all ends........"( just like in the studio version of the song). As soon as the word "ends" is uttered, all the electricity in the club goes out. After an initial squeak or two from some girls, the place goes dead quiet. Our singer makes "light" of the situation by grabbing a candle off a table,(kinda of a loungy club), and sings a rendition of silent night. We all hang out as most of the crowd filters out of the club. After an hour the club owner decides to call it a night and we head for the hotel. As we leave the parking lot ,we see, a block away, lots of flares in the street and a wrecker pulling a U-shaped car away from a broken electric pole. As we go past a reserve officer who is directing traffic, we slow to ask what happened. He informs us that about an hour ago, some drunk guy going 90mph had hit the pole and died on impact. It hits us then that right as Eel said "this is where it all ends" this guy hit the pole, knocking out power in a good sized section of Memphis, and ending his life.

    Ever hear the old phrase truth is stranger than fiction...........well, it is.

    We killed a man in Memphis once..........................

    next up............."You Boys Can't Do That In Tulsa, or, We're Not Your Mothers Tampon"
  3. ........we're Not Your Mothers tampon."

    A club we played in Tulsa was located in the back of a large "plaza", the huge theater type marquee for the club was at the entrance to the plaza parking lot. Bands are responsible for putting their names up on the marquee. Putting our name up was never enough for us, we always came up with something else, such as: Band Name.....And Why Not?, or Band Name.....Post Nasal Drip Tour 91.......etc....etc. On one occasion we based what we put on the marquee on a commercial that was on TV at the time, it in turn was based on another commercial. I believe it was a few years after Oldsmobile first stared selling cars with the Quad 4 engines, they ran an ad that said........It's not your fathers Oldsmobile. A few years later a company that sells feminine products came out with a product aimed at younger customers, it's slogan was "It's Not Your Mothers Tampon". Our idea was...............

    Band Name
    We're Not Your Mothers Tampon

    That's how the marquee read when we did it Monday evening. We played that night without incident. At about 9:15am the next morning the phone rings in the Hotel room. I answer it half awake and bleary eyed, the voice on the other end asks,"What were you boys thinkin?". I respond with "huh.......who the hell is this?" At the same instance, recognition hits me and I realize it's the club owner. He explains his morning to me. At 7:00am he gets woke up by the phone, but doesn't get to it in time. At 7:30am, same thing. He gives up and begins to stir. At 7:45am, the phone rings again. On the other end is an irate owner of an all night eating establishment,threatening possible litigation, and saying the police have been called. It appears that a group 20-30 senior citizens meet at his establishment every Tuesday morning for the breakfast buffet. On this morning they all left after complaining about the huge sign right outside with the word tampon on it. The owner wasn't informed exactly what the sign said, so I told him on the phone.After a fit of laughter, he tells me, "You Boys Can't Do That In Tulsa!". The sign was of course changed and from then on all signage had to have the approval of the owner. The moral of this story as we saw it is...............you can talk about your mothers tampon on TV all you want, but you can't put it on a sign in Tulsa.:)

    next up.............."Quick guys! Come in the bathroom! You GOTTA see this!"

    P.S. Feel free to comment. if it sucks or you feel I'm wasting bandwidth, let me know and I'll stop..............or not. Here's a pic from the back of the Cd we put out in 94.

    Attached Files:

  4. NAH DUDE these are cool stories. So did you grow in the trailer?
  5. fuckin' cool man. i'm in a band myself... we're not even totally set up right now (trouble with old members and such), but i'd definitely want to tour and stuff later on in life. keep the stories comin, cause they're damn cool.
  6. Keep going man, I'm enjoying reading these. THat guy who died because of hitting the post is pretty strange...
  7. Very interesting.. Don't come to my place and speak those words of the end..lol
  8. thanx guys, nice to know my abysmal storytelling isn't ruining it for ya.

    To answer your ?, Grim.I grew indoors at home for about the first 6 months, after that we were going out too often to mantain the garden so it was shut-down. If my grow "partner" hadn't gotten greedy in the flowering room, I would have continued, but I just wasn't around enough to police him.
  9. This story involves our bassist, Sluggo. he was so named by a girlfriend because he, as she so aptly put it.."leaves a trail of slime wherever he goes"......and he did. So, as we all sit around the "*band-house" in Riverton, Wyoming watching smart-bombs go through buildings in Iraq,( the first time), we were reluctant to heed his call of.."Quick guys! Come in the bathroom! You GOTTA see this!" We looked at each other and silently, but unanimously chose to ignore the invitation. He calls us a second time, and we respond the same way. Finally he comes into the living room and repeats his request, my answer was "uh.............NO!". After a full ten minutes of him convincing us it wasn't a ploy to display a spectacular bowel movement, or show us his "new wart", we decided to go for it. A minute later he is standing in front of the toilet, telling us all to stand on each side of him and look out the window directly above the toilet. To our shock and dismay, there is a face clearly visible in the window, staring right back at us. After a chorus of WFT's?, we realize that it's not just any face peering in the bathroom window...............it's......... believe it or not...................................Moe Howard.

    The window was reflecting the picture of Moe on the T-shirt he was wearing. Imagine standing in the restroom urinating away, only to look up and see Moe, eyeballin you.

    *band-house: some clubs offer a house or an apartment for the band to flop in rather that staying in a hotel.

    Next up another gem from our one-time gig in Riverton.

    "Are You Guys On Acid?".........or........"Old Mother Hubbard Slips Up"
  10. .........or......."Old Mother Hubbard Slips Up"

    Our guitarist,Old Mother Hubbard, never really had a nickname. I'm calling him"OMH", because he was the oldest, and the most straight-laced of the bunch. He rarely drank, and never tried any drugs in his life. Being the reserved and quiet sort that he was, he hardly ever said anything into his mic between songs. For whatever reason he finally got up the nerve to attempt a joke between songs. At that time we were all really into watching "The Making Of Pump" video. I recommend it to anyone in a band, it definitely conveys the "studio" experience accurately. Anyway........ in the video Steven Tyler mentions a discussion he had with female friends, the phrase that he used was, "If men bled, would Tampons be free?" Well this struck "OMH" as particularly funny. He tells us before we go to the club one night in Riverton that he is going to say, "Hi folks, we're _ _ _ _ _ _ _! The band that asks the musical question, If men bled, would tampons be free?"

    So an hour later, the band opens the first set with "Stop" by Jane's Addiction, and afterward Old Mother Hubbard strides confidently up to the mic and says...............................,( Sorry to drag it out, but keep in mind OMH is giddy about this and the rest of us are already amused. It's probably only the second time in his life that the word "tampon" has even crossed his lips, the first being when he told us what he was going to say. For us it's as if the butterfly has emerged from the cocoon and is about to spread it's newly formed wings, it's like watching a 30 something yr old baby about to take his first step),..................."Hi folks! We're _ _ _ _ _ _ _, the band that asks the musical question.........If tampons were free, would men have to pay for them?"

    He then slowly lowers his head and turns from his mic. The crowd has gone eerily silent, and my cackle breaks the silence like an UZI. Sluggo our bassist literally falls on his ass laughing, and the rest just loose themselves in uncontrollable laughter. the crowd is still dead silent , and the waitress standing beside me, leans over and whispers, "Are you guys on acid?" When I regain enough composure, I tell her no, and she just winks, smiles, and walks away. Old Mother Hubbard with his back still turned launches into the next song of the set, everyone else joins him when they can, and the song eventually falls together. He didn't turn to face the crowd for another two songs. The crowd probably left that night thinking we were all tripping, and for a brief moment I almost felt like I was, the laughter was so intense.

    About a month later OMH strolls into the hotel room in some forgotten city, and tells us he has bought a shirt to sum up his feelings toward our constantly bringing up the "Riverton Incident", because he can't bring himself to say it. The shirt was black, and on the front in big white letters is the phrase......"Fuck Yall".

    Up next........................" I CAN"T FIND THE SHOES!!!!......I CAN"T FIND THE SHOES!!!!! "
  11. haha... these stories are funny, keep 'em coming....peace
  12. I'll begin with a little background on our light man "Testistophilese". I'm calling him that because at the time he was a 26 year old virgin, just bursting at the seems to get laid. He also had almost no social skills known to man, especially not with women he found attractive.

    One night in Killeen TX, we went to the hotel room of our singers girlfriend ,who had just arrived with a friend of hers. The "friend", we'll call her "SBE",(Speed-Ball Express), for reasons soon to be apparent, was extremely intoxicated. After a few minutes of socializing she lurched off the bed, took "Testistophilese" by the hand, and said, "Letsh go for a walk". The two of them, her being practically held up by "Testi", depart.

    30 minutes later, I decide to return to one of our rooms, which was being shared by "Testi", Eel, Sluggo, and myself. When I get there, the door is locked. This being the room with the food and sundries, it should never be lock as a rule. I have since forgotten, due to large amounts of THC running rampant in my system, that "Testi" and SBE are "on the loose", and it never would have occurred to me that they might be in this room. So, I begin to knock, after hearing a bit of foot shuffling, I hear "Testistophilese" ranting something incomprehensible. As he approaches the door it becomes clear that he is repeating a single phrase over and over quite franticly. "I can't find the shoes, I can't find the shoes!!!!!". He opens the door and I am standing face to face with "Beavis" on sugar incarnate. Only he has a full beard, and it along with his mustache, nose and most of his face, are caked with bright red lipstick. He returns to his chant and frantic search for the shoes. I stand bewildered and try to figure out what this means, while at the same time holding back a tidal wave of laughter. It is at that moment that "Speed-Ball Express", walks casually out of the bathroom still buttoning up her pants, with a face equally smeared with lipstick and no shoes on. Recognition finally dawns on me and I begin to excuse myself, "Testistophilese" demands that I stay and help him find the shoes, meanwhile "SBE" melts into a chair. We find the shoes, which have to be placed on her, and she stumbles out of the room. I look at "Testi" and with a huge grin congratulate him. This sends him into a rage and he screams that he doesn't want to talk about it.

    For the next week "Testi" fends off all attempts to find out what happened, and remains in an agitated state. Finally as we are all sitting around the room watching TV, he decides to tell the story.

    As he and the "Speed-Ball express" walked along the hall outside her room, she looks at him and says, "Ya wanna fuck?". As you can guess this puts him in a state of glee, and terror, at the same time. They proceed to our room, and begin the process of deflowering him. Unfortunately for him, and her as well, the excitement is simply too much. In his words, spoken franticly and in a crackly, "Beavis" on sugar type voice he informs us: "I was this [ ] fucking close!!!!!..........this [ ].................................................... fucking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!........................close!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!......................................and I blew it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    To be more specific, without going all out porno about it, he was on the cusp, so to speak, of actual penetration, when he literally, and metaphorically, "Blew It". Hence me naming his cohort in this story the "Speed-Ball Express", a name which has dual meaning considering we later found out she was fond of shooting-up "Speed-Balls".

    Next, not so much a story as a laundry list of equipment rendered useless by our drummer. I think I'll call it: "One Flew Over The Drum Kit"
  13. ^^^

    LOL...just wow...I can't say anything else...lol....
  14. As stated before this isn't so much a story, as it is a chronicle of our drummer and his tendency to destroy equipment.

    "Man", our drummer, or more aptly,"Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan". is being given this name because whenever he got bent out of shape, he would hold his hands out in front of him, almost as if about to clasp them and pray. Then he would move them slowly down to his sides while flexing them to the point that you could see them trembling. This movement was almost always accompanied by him saying, "Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan, I don't believe this fuckin bullshit!", with his teeth clamped firmly shut. This guy could have been the poster-boy for anger management, or a lack there-of. I once witnessed him pouring a bowl of cereal, when he spilled 2-3 drops on the counter, he became enraged, and slammed his spoon down in the middle of the bowl. As a result he spent the next hour cleaning marshmallow's off the ceiling, quite entertaining.

    I saw many drummers in our 5 year odyssey across the U.S., and I can honestly say, even in a good mood this guy played his drums harder than anyone I've ever seen. When he got irritated while playing, things got broke, plain and simple. One night in particular, he got annoyed, and bashed a "china boy" symbol so hard that it cracked 3/4 of the way around, and the 4-legged "boom" stand it was on toppled off the drum-riser, taking out 2 keys on a keyboard and breaking the keyboard stand. Most of you may not know what a "ride" cymbal is, they are usually quite thick and are designed to be lightly tapped, producing high little "ringing" type notes. The thickness and their intended use means they hardly ever break. Not so with "Man" at the helm. He hit it so hard out of frustration once, that the entire thing from the "bell" outward, sheared off in one clean break. The outer "ring" then fell down on the base of the stand. On another occasion he knocked the mic on his snare drum askew, and then hit the mic so hard with his stick that the "business" end of it broke completely off. If he were a buzz-saw he couldn't have went through sticks any quicker than he already did, not to mention the rate of consumption of drum heads. Keeping him supplied with these two elements alone required weekly trips to the music store. The guys behind the counter loved to see him coming. One of his other habits when on his "angry chair",(drum stool), was to knock his boom mike away from his face, turn his head, and cuss at the top of his lungs. Despite his vocal, and all the drum mic's being "gated", his rants always seemed to come through the P.A. loud and clear.
    All this destruction and mayhem seems pretty one sided right?

    Not so. You can only abuse a drum kit so long before it strikes back. For instance, while changing a snare-drum head the spring-steel "rim" of the drum came flying up off the drum. The sharp edge of it caught him right under the chin and sliced clear to the bone. I've seen and experienced worse injuries, but I don't think I've ever seen anyone bleed as much as he did that day. One night he hit a "crash" cymbal, then reached out to "mute" it, and impaled his thumb on the edge. It went right between the tip of his thumb and the nail. This of course induced a mid-song string of expletives that would have sailors blushing, all broadcast through the P.A. for everyone to hear. I can't really fault him for that fit, the sight of someones thumb-nail jutting upwards at a 90deg. angle from the top of their thumb, excuses almost anything. He also was constantly cracking his knuckles open on the "rim" of his drums. One night when he knocked his "boom" mic away from his face, it got caught on it's own mic cord. This caused the "boom" to swing back around, smacking him square in the mouth with the mic, and splitting both his lips.

    These are only the incidents that stand out, there were many many more.

    The moral to all this, if there is one would be:"If you abuse your instruments enough...........they WILL somehow, someday, pay you back." Usually with searing pain and lots of blood.

    Ain't karma a bitch?

    Next up, who knows? I'll surprise ya.
  15. Owners were a curious breed. Many were almost certainly involved in "organized crime", or were at least financially backed by people who were. For instance, the owner of a club we played at in Wichita, Kansas, wore many hats. Like many other owners we encountered he also owned several "strip-clubs". What made him stand out,( besides being a 40 year old white man with a large afro, and a black cowboy hat), was his blatant support of NORML while running for sheriff, the "hemp" shop in the club, and the 7ft. "body-guard" who never left his side, to the point of sleeping on his couch even. The "doorman" at the club was busted with over an ounce of coke, he bonded out, and never received a court date.........hmmmmm?

    The owner from the club in "Tulsa" , had sold all his strip-clubs, before buying the rock club. He was in his mid fifties, wore short silk shorts all year round, leaving bare, seemingly shaved legs, had an immaculate tan, wore copious amounts of gold, and had a badly died comb-over that would make "Trump" blush. Amongst ourselves, we referred to him as "Disco-Dan". One night after hours, the owner's son was talking to him and our agent. Here's what I heard of the conversation. "Son": "Hey dad, remember the time you were pistol whippin that guy and you almost lost your finger?".........."Dad": " You tell it."..........."son: "Ok, so dad's pistol whippin this guy, and his pinky gets between the gun and the guy's skull! You should've heard Dad cuss! He almost completely severed his finger, had to rush him to the ER and everything! Now that was fuckin funny!"

    A club owner in Birmingham, Alabama, who was only 24, had just inherited $40 million. We never knew this guy was the owner until our singer stomped on his hand because he wouldn't stop holding down the button on our fogger control. The next night as we are leaving, "Sluggo",(our bassist), goes back inside to grab his jacket. He comes back out white as a sheet without his jacket, and says he just saw the most fucked up shit ever, that's a bold statement coming from him. We finally pry it out of him. As he entered the backstage area to get his jacket, he sees three of the owners buddy's engaged in an "unsettling" act. Read on at your own risk...........................................One of the guys is holding this kid,( maybe18, the youngest of the owners buddy's), with his head down between the guys knees and the kids arms pinned behind his back, while the other is going all "Deliverance" on the kid's ass. I warned you. Needless to say, "Sluggo" spun around and left. The next morning we got a call, saying we were fired, because we weren't drawing enough of a crowd. We were glad to move on, despite losing $1200.( Fri. and Sat. night pay the most)

    In Coos Bay, Oregon the club owner was a 5'2" Asian lady. the club was so small we only brought in 1 speaker for each side of the P.A. and less than half our light-rig. During sound-check she runs frantically over to our soundman shouting, "too roud! too roud!!!!", We figure it's because during the day there is a restaurant open at the front of the club, so he turns down quite a bit. We return that night and 10 seconds into the first song, she runs out from behind the bar waving her arms and yelling, "too roud!!!!! too roud". Our soundman drops the volume considerably, but to no avail. She still insists we turn down, so he turns the P.A all the way down.The only sound coming through it was the vocals, and effects. He has to walk her up to the P.A. to demonstrate this. She says the drums,( now acoustic), are still "too roud!!!!!!!!!!!". He informs her that the drums can't be turned down. Her response to this is was, " you tell him pray softer!!!!!". He finally convinced her it was as quiet as it gets, but we still went through the same thing every night we played there. Besides her aversion to loud music, unusual in a club owner, she was a very nice lady, and this story isn't a slam against Asian people. I just couldn't resist spelling things as she spoke them.

    Now on to agents. Agents are, as a rule..................slime. They have no sense of direction, time, scheduling, or routing. They also possess the innate ability to misrepresent bands to clubs. This usually leads to an unhappy owner who expected a glorified "jukebox" that would play "free-bird" and "stairway to heaven" on a nightly basis. One of their other favorite past-times, at least with us,( because of our big P.A. and light-show), was to book us as the opening act for "bigger", usually has-been, bands. The agent would then "pocket" the money the "bigger" band would usually have to pay to rent a "production" like ours. Some of the bands we opened for were simply eclectic: "Flock Of Seagulls", 'The Birds", "Steve Vai", " The Ozark Mountain Daredevils", "Every Mother's Nightmare", "Lizzie Borden", "Blue Oyster Cult", none of whose music was anything like the covers or originals done by us. We never knew before a gig that we were going to open for anyone. We would usually arrive, and see posters or flyers for the event. Our agent swore he never made any money off "renting" our P.A. Like I said, agents....................are [glow=green]slime[/glow].

    This is it for tonight, I'll get to "Other Noisome Creatures" later.

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