Monday, December 15, 2003

Perhaps I should go into a little detail about tour now that it's been a couple of weeks and the dust has settled.

First of all, we got kicked off tour in Grand Rapids. Basically, one of our roadies, Jason "Boogie" Roman, and to a lesser degree our drummer Jamie, had a difficult time distinguishing between rock-n-roll as lifestyle and rock-n-roll as business (this may well be a LONG piece). Basically, there were three reasons that I believe were the foundations that got us booted from the Mindless Self Indulgence tour. The actual incident that was the catalyst was relatively minor.
The first pillar of our self-destruction was the drunken antics of Boogie, abeted by Jamie. Boogie's gotta be one of the funniest and charismatic guys I've ever met, a 25 year-old, Bronx-born Puerto Rican tattoo-covered skinhead who by his own admission has never left New York. "I think I been to Staten Island once and Queens maybe twice," was about the first thing he told me, as well as the fact that he'd been a Calvin Klein model when he was in his teens (that's him in the lower picture on the left in the pink "Angel" boxers, no he's not gay) and had been hit by cars twice ("Dat's why I'm not so smaht"). Boogie brought along dozens of cds of 80s metal and hard 70s country. One minute we were screaming along to Dio's "Shame on the Night", the next we had the David Alan Coe cranked up (my long hair can't cover up my redneck, motherfucker). Whenever the guy got bored, he'd get naked in the back of the van. Boogie slept with one eye open, when he slept at all (i have photographs of this). One night at a hotel in Minnesota, he got a hotel room full of drunks to jump in the pool, and when the punker with the green hair got naked and thought he was being a badfass, it was Boogie who laughed, pointed and yelled "Dude, you're hung like a Tic-tac." If someone needed a wingman, Boogie was there, right there. It was Boogie who got us free porn for the van.
On the other hand, Boog is living testimony to the bumper sticker, "Instant Asshole: Just Add Alcohol." Because with a few cans of the stuff (and Boog was never satsified with a few cans, typically polishing off more than a 12-pack each night) the charmer turned into a raging, frightening nuclear explosion. Screaming, belligerent, thinking he's funny, vomiting, passing out drunk. We played Sauget Illinois, a shitty ass slum across the river from east St. Louis, an even shittier-ass slum, at an entertainment complex called Pop's. Outside was a convenience store and two strip joints. There was no food, just Budweiser/Miller/Coors, some pretzels, and tits next door. We had an upstairs dressing room, where Boogie drank all of our beer, then drank all of the supporting band's beer (they were a band called Tub Ring, more on them later), then puked in a the ice bucket which he then across the room.

This was hot on the heels of the Utah incident. We played in Salt Lake City, as boring a fucking place as I have ever been. I think the SLC crosswalks said it all. Every day, people dash across the teeming streets and avenues of New York City, and a surprisingly small number of people actually get run over. Now, Salt Lake City's a burg with a population that is a fraction of Manhattan's, yet at every crosswalk are umbrella stands filled with orange flags like you put on the back of a third grader's bicycle. Pedestrians are encouraged to carry these flags as they cross the street to avoid getting hit by a car. I can't attribute this to anything other than vast stupidity in the population. It sure as hell isn't drunkenness: all the beer in Utah is half-strength, and the state makes it so hard to go to a regular bar that there's hardly any point in going out anyway.
Ah yes, that low alcohol beer.... We were done with our part of the show when we heard the news about the beer. To make up for the low alcohol content, Boogie began to drink twice as much beer as anyone else, following it with hard liquor, which is sold at full-strength in Utah. The result was that he hit Defcon 5, and was helped out the the van where he passed out in the front seat. It had begun to rain, and we had a long drive ahead of us: there is no straight shot from Salt Lake City to Denver, and it's a LONG drive that cuts through Utah's mountains northeast into Wyoming, crosses that flat state and then heads south through the Rickies into Colorado. "With this rain you better get a move on," said one of the guys helping us to load out. "If it's raining here, you can bet it's snow squalls in the mountains." I crawled into the back seat of the van to get some sleep. Jack was driving.
I guess it was about 1:00 AM when we pulled over to get gas and I heard Jack and Jamie yelling. "Jesus fucking Christ, what's wrong with you... put that away, put that away..." and something about pee. Great, I thought. Boogie fucking wet himself. With this thought in mind, I fell back asleep. Around 3:00 AM, Jamie gave me a poke. "Dude, get up. It's my turn to get some sleep." Reluctantly I traded places with him. Boogie was still passed out in the front seat, so I sat behind Jack, talking periodically to keep him awake. I peered out the window into the black, and all I could see was flatland. I smoked some more pot, dipping into a $60 bag of Mexican dirtweed my friend Phil had gotten me in Arizona. Jack pulled over and napped for twenty minutes or so, then began driving again. After an hour or two, the sky began to grow pale in the east. Watching a sunrise is a lot different than watching a sunset. Both are beautiful in their own way, but I usually prefer sunset. Usually when I'm seeing a sunrise, it's because I never went to bed to begin with, and there's something rock-bottom about that. I was able to see more out the windows: western Wyoming is flat and empty, great brown fields that stretch far and wide.

It must have been about 5:00 or 6:00 AM when the sun began to rise over the hills, and the sky changed from light purple to baby-blue, streaked with clouds that reflected the earliest of early morning light. I had developed a nice hemorrhoid on tour, and my asshole was itching like crazy. I was shifting in my seat when I noticed in this twilight hour that one of my CDs was sitting on the dashboard, out of its case. "Motherfucker," I muttered. "It's not enough that you fuckers broke the cd player I brought on tour, now you can't put my goddamn cd back in the case? What the fuckin' fuck?" I reached for the disk, "You fucking assh--- what's THAT?"
Both of the dashboard cupholders were filled with liquid.
"You didn't hear?" asked Jack.
All of a sudden, things clicked into place. "Ummm... did Boogie.. uhh?"
"Oh yes," Jack replied. "All over everything."
"Oh my God," I moaned. "I heard something but I tried to sleep through it. I thought he had just wet himself."
"No, not exactly," said Jack. What had happened, he related, was that Boogie had sort of awoken from his stupor at the gas station. "No that's not right... he AROSE," said Jack. In a complete blackout, Boogie had unzipped his pants, taken out his penis, and peed on the dashboard, in the cupholders, on the floor of the van, on Jamie's hats, and on Jack himself. The only reason the van didn't smell like piss was that Boog had drunk SO much beer that his urine was largely water. I dropped back in my seat, stunned and disgusted. The sun still hadn't quite crept over the horizon. We drove in silence for another 20 minutes before Jack pulled over behind a dozen tractor trailers along the highway and shut his eyes for a nap. Two crows perched themselves on a dumpster next to us and began eating garbage. I was the only one awake. I had to pee so I got out of the van, and hopped over the barbed wire fence into a field partially covered in snow. I'm a little on the modest side, so I walked out of view of the highway beginning to fill up with morning traffic. As I stood in the still, frigid air draining my bladder on the frozen dirt, I watched the first golden rays light up the east.
That's pillar one of our demise. Chapter 2 is on the way.