It had been brought to my attention that Jehovah Witnesses believe there is only so much room in Heaven.  That baffles me.  Let’s supposed the zombie apocalypse goes down next week.  You were smart and built your anti-zombie sanctuary ahead of time.  But there is only so much room in it.  I like to think of myself as a somewhat good person.  When shit hits the fan I’m going to help as many people as I can.  I have precisely zero problem dying to help people.  In fact the notion of sacrificing my own life to save someone else’s life makes me giddy.

That being said, I still couldn’t fathom going door to door to try and recruit people to come to your sanctuary.  I think I would keep my mouth shut knowing that I already have a berth and get the ones I love to safety.  Not go around recruiting strangers who have the worst candy.

*     *     *

It’s been a hell of a week.  Hell.  It’s been a hell of six months.  Hell.  It’s been a hell of a year.  Hell.  It’s been a hell of a few years.  Yesterday something amazing happened though.  A dear old friend reached out to me.  Jimmy Vapid sent me a poster from our tour in 1998.  This was before the age of photoshop and it brings back memories.

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Touring is a fucked up endeavour.  Especially touring with two old-school friends who shun computer technology.  Also bear in mind this was in 1998, way before the internet was in 80% of households across the world.  But tour we did.

You’ll notice there are no nights off.  When you’re an indie band on tour in a foreign country (that’s right America, you go right ahead and build your wall), there is no fear more prominent than a night off, or a cancellation.  FUCK that.  You have to stay busy.  You need to keep working.  No working means no money.  No money means you’re broke-ass in the worst country in the world.

Touring is not fun.  It’s not glamorous.  It’s fucking exhausting.  It can destroy your band.  People think it’s one big party.  We wouldn’t have survived that tour without the leadership of Jimmy.  He ran a tight ship.  He controlled everything.  He managed and did all the driving, and he did so with efficiency and vigour.

Yeah.  It’s not one big party.  I wouldn’t ever do it again unless the conditions were better.  Jimmy did a great job taking care of us though.  We didn’t go hungry.  And it didn’t matter if we stayed in a hotel or someone’s house.  Jimmy ALWAYS slept in the van, protecting the gear.  When the transmission blew in Pennsylvania, his dad brought out another one from Canada.  Jimmy and his dad spend an afternoon putting it in, while Scotty and I drank outside waving to the Amish passing by in horse carriages.  It was all very surreal.

Jimmy didn’t take shit from anyone.  It wasn’t as though he was a scrapper or anything.  He was just very intimidating despite only being of average height.  When we played at the Continental in Buffalo (not to be confused with the Continental in NYC) there were black people intimidating patrons and the like into giving them change for them “watching their cars for them”.  Most people complied without a word.  When I brought some gear out from the club to the van Jimmy was out there chewing out the biggest dude.  Jimmy adamantly explained he needed change more than the extortionist and maybe he should get a job.

It was on the road we would play with legendary punk bands such as Dillinger Four, Anti-Flag, The Pee Wees, Chixdiggit, Groovie Ghoulies, Hellacopters, Marky Ramone And The Intruders, to name a few.

We played the legendary CBGBs.  I know what you’re thinking.  That is awesome.  It really wasn’t.  Standing where Dee Dee Ramone once stood as we kicked the asses of the other bands and staff couldn’t provide a thrill big enough to eclipse the insufferable heat and 5 dollar beers.  5 bucks?  That’s nothing.  Well it was a ripoff in 1998.  Especially in America where the beer was cheap as fuck.

Mentally I was pretty low.  I had yet to be diagnosed with my current diagnoses.  I was unmedicated and spent most of my time alone, disassociated.  I was paranoid that Jimmy was trying to shame me into suicide.  I was sexually reckless.  I had a two year old son at home I wasn’t positive was mine.  I was 25 with the mentality of a 14 year old.  I was extremely irresponsible.  I broke my amp out of carelessness opening for Anti-Flag at the in Connecticut.  I had to play the rest of the set through the PA making it impossible to hear.  I also got caught smoking backstage.  Smoking wasn’t outlawed yet, but since Anti-Flag were there they didn’t allow smoking for some gay reason.  I spat at their crew member who caught me and it strained relationships, to say the least.

In Cleveland I left the glove compartment open when I took the road journal out.  The light stayed on and burned the battery.  That was probably the worst of my shenanigans but I was just an ass in general.  I would avoid Jimmy and Scotty at all costs and disappear on them, only reappearing five minutes before we took the stage.

I have good and bad memories of the tour.  I have no regrets.  What an experience.  Jimmy and I are actually cool with each other today.  I have great respect for him as a human being and a musician.  Scotty too.  You would have a hard time finding a better drummer than Scotty in punk rock.

Thanks for tuning in guys.  It felt good to talk about something else other than spouting off bullshit about some other gay shit going on in my life.  May peace and honour be with you all.

Love Doug

 

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