Thursday, January 01, 2004

For chronological order, please start here, then go here, and then go here.

OK, so here's how the shit finally hit the fan.

We were playing in Grand Rapids. Since Ohio, the venues had gotten steadily larger and more prestigious. We played Bogarts in Cincinatti, the oldest rcok room in the country. We played the same stage Hendrix played on. The next night was the Newport Music Hall, in Columbus. The chaos after this show is legendary, and must never be told, so I won't. Each night we were playing to about 1500 people, and Grand Rapids was no exception.
Like any other rock band, UncleFucker did its share of writing on the band room walls, but at the Orbit Room in Grand Rapids, the band rooms had just been repainted, and the management had asked that no one write on the walls. Whether anyone told us that or not, I don't know, but at some point in the evening, Jason from Tub Ring saw Boogie and Jamie writing on the walls (to be fair to them, I would have been writing too but my magic marker had run out that morning). "hey guys," Jason began, "the management doesn't want anyone writing on the walls." I don't kn ow what Jamie and Boogie said, but it probably had something to do with "fuck off." This would have been all well and good, except Jason noticed that it wasn't UncleFucker's name going up on the wall. Jamie and Boogie were writing "Tub Ring wuz here" and similar bits of graffiti. So Jason, understandably enough in my opinion, went to Amy the tour manager and complained (or squealed, if you will). I can't blame the guy for trying to keep his band out of trouble they weren't even involved in.
Well, Amy got mad and started yelling at Izzy. "Blah blah blah, it's bad enough your guys don't care about listening to anyone else, but it's fucking un-fucking called for to try to get someone else in trouble blah blah blah." The bitch was pissed; I'd never heard her swear like that before. So Izzy came into the band room and lit into Jamie and Boogie. "Now I'm getting yelled at for your fuckups, AGAIN, and this has to stop." This is about when Jason walked in, and Izzy wheeled on him. "And you! Why the hell are you trying to get us in trouble? Why do you have to be a dick tattle tale?"
"Oh, I'm the dick? I'm the dick?"Jason responded, red faced and seething. His eyes were getting wider and wider, and his head was shaking. "Is that how it is, I'm the dick?"
That's when the swearing and accusations kicked in, and it was too much for Jason, who left the room, went back to Amy, and totally unloaded. "Not only are they writing my bands' names on the wall,s now they're yelling at me that I'm a tattle tale, the motherfuckers have been starting shit all tour, and they're sexually harassing my merchandise girl."
BANG. Unbeknownst to any of us, Jamie's sexual harassment rep had traveled beyond just Donna. Earlier on the tour, he had mentioned to Boogie that he thought Amy was hot (which she was: she had a great set of tits, and a cute, if inverted, ass), and Boogie had helpfully passed this comment along to Amy. Not only that, Jamie has a tendency to be touchy-feely, and not just with women. He's simply the kind of guy that puts his arm around you when he talks to you, or touches you as you pass by to say "hello." These were nonsexual touches, but Amy, who already held Jamie in suspicion, interpreted them as such. Making matters worse, Jamie would act chummy with Amy at the worst possible moments, like when she was talking to promoters or club managers. Rightly or wrongly, Amy perceived this as undermining her authority, and Jamie was high up on her shit list. It was the last straw, and Amy flipped her wig.
We were in the main room getting ready to pack up the last of our merchandise when Amy strode out of the back room with a couple of security guys following her. Her face was flushed, and her eyes were boiling. She went over to Izzy and began yelling at him in front of everyone: yelling about the graffiti, yelling about the antics, yelling about Jamie. A few of us were watching from the sidelines, including Jamie, who began to feel badly. "Dude, I gotta do somethign to calm her down," I heard him mutter, and he walked across the room, apologizing. "Amy," he said, putting his arm around her shoulders. "On behalf of the band, I want to apolo---"

She threw his arm off her with such force he almost fell over. "DON'T... YOU...TOUCH ME" she roared in a hiss that was as loud as it was icy. "DON'T YOU...EVER...TOUCH ME." Jamie recoiled, and I knew we were in deep shit.

The rest of the night is a blur. We went back to the hotel. People were partying between our two hotel rooms. A really drunk girl dressed in ablack taffeta prom dress kept trying to stick her tongue in my ear (and in everyone else's ear as well) until two of her large male friends dragged her away. I think someone got naked (other than Boogie). All I know is that Izzy had disappeared to work things out with Amy when Jamie staggered into my room beet-face drunk. "He's on the phone with Amy," he slurrred. "He's gonna fuck it all up. Fuck it man, I'm outta here. If he called her, I'm outta here. If she called him, maybe I'll stay. but if she called him... fuck it, I quit..."

The motherfucker went on like this for twenty minutes at least, and he just wouldn't shut up. I couldn't take it anymore, and left. I went down to the front desk, and asked where I could get a bite to eat. The only place that might be open was a Taco Bell, two miles up the road (road... right. It was more like a four lane highway with malls on either side. That's all Grand Rapids is: a series of highways that connect malls).

My face and ears were raw and red from the freezing wind by the time I got to Taco Bell, and the restaurnt was closed down except for the drive-through. "Please," I begged, "let me order something, anything..."
"We can't serve no walk-ups, only cars," yelled the obese black woman behind the counter.
My eyes welled up. "Please, you don't understand. My hotel room is filled with drunka nd fighting musicians. They're all crazy, I had to get away. Please, I've walked a mile from the Motel 6, and all I want is a seven layer burrito..."
"Just the burrito?"
"Yes, please please, just the burrito." My toes were getting numb.
"Jorge, make him his burrito!" she yelled to the kid in the back. I was too thankful to ask them to add on some quesadillas.

The rest of the evening isn't worth writing about. By the time I got back to the hotel, almost everyone was asleep or wound down. Jamie had thankfully passed out. Jack had avoided most of the nonsense by sleeping in the van.

Things didn't get really interesting until morning. When checkout time came, Izzy was waiting for Jamie and Boogie with two gallons of blue and cream colored paint. "I'm not discussing it," he said. "But you two are going over to that club and you are repainting those walls. I have been on the phone with Amy all night and we are going to make this right. Now go." For the next hour and a half, Jamie and Boogie were hard at work. Jack was gleefully taking photographs. "I got photos of them when they got told not to do it! How can I pass up getting some shots now?"

Walls repainted, we finally got on the road. We stopped at a Pilot for gas and junk food when Izzy's phone rang. It was James, MSI's manager back in New York. Something was wrong; Izzy's face went ash. He walked off behind the building looking grim, as we took sidelong glances in his direction before filing dutifully into the Subway (did I mention Subway? At one point, one of the band had hooked up with a girl who managed a Subway in.. God, I don't even remember which state, and she scammed him a whole roll of Subway Stamps and Customer Appreciation cards. For every 8 stamps, you got a free 6" sub. And brother, we had hundreds. We lived on Subway.)

We finished our subs and gassed up the van, and still he was on the phone. "This is it," said Jamie. "I bet they're kicking us off tour."
"You think so?"
"Yeah, I think so," he said. "hey Brendan... sorry I said I was gonna kill you last night."
"Huh? When did you say that?"
"I don't know, I think it was around.. oh wait, here he comes." Izzy opened the door and slid into the driver's seat. "Well, they kicked us off tour," he said. "We're going home."