ANTIPRODUCT TOUR DIARY
I write this to you on one of those rare days when the sun is actually shining on ?foggy London town,? reflecting on the past three weeks of AntiProduct Euro touring, travelling and rocking in some of the deepest, darkest parts of Europe and some not so deep and dark. The phrase ?Years later?? (Already known by the select few) will go on to resound in times eternal whenever the sound guy couldn?t control five minutes worth of ear drum piercing feedback, or the drunken promoter couldn?t keep his drunken hands off the girls DURING the set?and HE WAS the security, or body searches by EXTREMELY hot, made up and dressed up female German Border Guards. Fuck, I usually havta pay $100 for that kinda shit and this time it was required by law! Long live freedom! We played in a glorified stairwell in Croatia to 100 metal and hardcore punk friends like it was Madison Square Stairwell.
Y?see, they?ve only had the freedom you and I have taken for granted all our lives or the last 15 years since the wall came down and Communism fell, leaving us Westerners plenty of time to bitch about un-problems like our computer?s acting up or the car needs a new clutch, and, oddly enough, making good venues hasn?t been at the top of everyone?s list yet. I felt like a complete spoiled asshole (which is not to say that I?m not) like about 23 times over these three weeks of gigs in countries the last time I heard of ?em were shooting bullets at each other. The world is more than some place you don?t live. This is the account of the horrific events.
END OF MARCH (The Ascension)
So thus becameth the plot. Our heroes, AnitProduct-uth, hobblededeth byeth the lossesth of theirth (waith a minueth…PWEETUIE. That?s better, I had ribs for lunch and some were caught in my teeth. That?s why I did that.) The Gonk (AntiProduct drummer-Ed.) broke his RIGHT FOOT (for all you drummers out there) at a gig last May and not only played on it the next night at a sold-out London show (by bandaging his foot so tight it turned purple for three days!!!) and then continued to play on it for another foolish and heroic 100 shows through till March of 2005? on a still unhealed foot he played the power metal underbelly of the AntiProduct sound for 100+ shows?on a broken foot! What an idiot. So, the doctor says ?Keep it up, kid, and you won?t be walking without a cane let alone drumming in a year.? So six months of rest it is or Simon?s (same AP drummer-ED) done. Take the six months and get fuckin? better. We do a tape in London on which Simon plays better than he ever has on absolutely no sleep after driving all the way back from Cork in Ireland, ferry, drive to London, unload gear at 6 in the morning, go to work at 7 am get to studio at 1pm, kick ass for three hours, die. Start recuperation?
In cometh Gaff, who plays with such luminaries as his own punk ?n? rollabilly band the Grit as well as Vince and The Razorbacks, who feature not only Gaf but legendary artist Vince Ray and kick seriously heavy amounts of country swamp boogie ass. We?ve played with Gaf before when ?English drummer,? Simon, would take too many pills and wash it down with liquor and take more pills, etc, ad infinitum. He good. He real good. I wanna be on it. I wanna make friends with it. We do two Dutch shows with him that go amazingly well aside from the burn of all burns when we made totally new crew man Cwej, who would end up being our comedic Shakespearean relief and karma monitor, gather up the soup from the rider in the kitchen and watch him slice his finger open with a carving knife in a really clumsy attempt to create a funnel out of a plastic cup. At this point, no matter how hard me and Gaf were trying not to laugh or nearly choke on our own snot of suppressed laughter while the poor, with his back to us Cwej, would so valiantly attempt to put about one gallon of chunky vegetable soup through a home-made plastic cup funnel (that caught ALL the vegetable chunks, incidentally) into a God damn fuckin? plastic 500 ml Sprite bottle, we knew it had gone too far and needed to be ridden out. I ended up eating about half a gallon of it, starting the AntiProduct Spring European ?05 Tour?s soup trend, I would like to think no matter what they say. We got home safe from Holland, The Gaf had once again proven up to his meddle in filing in for the ailing Gonk, and the story went on?except for?
THREE WEEKS OF DATES IN EUROPE (Dun, dun, dun, dun, duhhhh), April-May
Yea, we gotta go play some AntiProduct Rock to Germany, Austria, Poland, The Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, Switzerland and Gaf all of a sudden is all like ?Alex, you moron, I told you specifically the Grit will be undergoing it?s very first tour of destruction through England then and everyone here heard it and it?s on this miniDVD that Clare keeps filming, about 50 times with you saying, ?Yes, Gaf, I understand you are unable to play the European dates we are doing in April because you and your band the Grit will be undergoing your first tour of destruction through England then,?? and shit, so I punched him in the teeth and mumbled something about his hygiene under my breath. Actually, that?s not true. It was his snoring I mumbled about. No, I lie. Usually a lot. What really happened was, I knew this going in and was able to convince one Greg Dangelo from LA out from under a mixing board and back onto the drum throne. You know him from starting Anthrax to jamming wyyth Zakk Wyldeth and most infamously and cool destroyingly, yet 10,000,000 album sellingly tellingly, White Lion. I?m kinda like ?cred,? whatever anyway, I don?t need to prove shit to anyone, but even so, WHAT WAS UP WITH THOSE OUTFITS AND THAT GOOFY GUITAR PLAYER?S OVERCOMPENSATORY ?HAIR SYLE?? Youch. Imagine lookin? at pictures of yourself dressed like THAT back then! You thought you had some embarrassing shots!?!?!?! Fogeddaboudid. So Greg?s coming over on March 31st and going straight into rehearsals after we get the drums the day he arrives. Three 10 hours rehearsals, one ferry and one loose accelerator peddle later we play our first gig with Greg and in Germany since we went there with the Murderdolls so many years ago that it feels like yesterday. Ha cha.
Giessen, Germany – Ulenspiegel, April 5
We pull into town as we would into any other town in the world. Yea, sure the people stare. ?Oh look, the circus is in town!? and ?Can you believe they let people like that breed,? shouted at us on a daily basis and sometimes more if we pay ?em. Yea, just a day at the office in the life of a travelling shoe salesman?oh wait, sorry?travelling rock ?n? roll band. Yep. Yersireebob. You betcha. So?uhhh, yea. Can I help you? You got some kinda problem or something? Oops. Sorry. A little MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder) there. It happens. Just ignore it, you filthy little pirate hooker. Right, you blast into town like an ill wind of harbengeringednessity and set up stakes for a few hours of being stationary before whisking off to your next glamorous destination in Poland. We?re staying in a youth hostel, which is the only place we can change before the gig let alone afford, luckily all in one room, before tonight?s big rock show. As we?re running way late I don?t have much time for the girl at the front desk and stop her talking in mid-sentence about some kinda vacuum-filling goofy bullshit and actually say, ?Yea, whatever. Just gimme the fuckin? keys?please.? And it felt good. So, she?s pretty pissed off until we reappear super hero like in the lobby minutes later to go back to the gig. All suited and booted and the pall of utter silence from our fellow hostelries (hostlerites?) was deafening. I always walk behind Lady Clare when we wander among the straights because they never see me coming they?re so busy and bug-eyed at the sight of Clare. Then I bound in with ?my face? on and it?s like watching a roomful of people getting slapped in the face at once by a giant invisible hand. Perks. The reason we?re so late is because of a three-hour sound check of the vocal PA we are using tonight. The sound guy was the guy who delivered the PA and I don?t think was yet ready to deal with all the audio, visual and visceral delights that is AntiProduct, let alone, no one told him. From his end, the gig was basically an hour and a half of feedback and low-end rumble, from our end it ruled because we didn?t have to listen to it. There were like maybe 25-30 people here but don?t get me wrong, we all went off and by the end, tonight mattered as much as any big show we?ve done. That?s just how we play. Judging by the utterly terrified and dazed look in Greg Dangelo?s face before the gig, this music is MUCH more complicated and involved than appearances would have you believe. There?s time changes, key changes, fucked up arrangements, billions and billions of parts that come like once in a song, plus the fuckin? thing is flying by at like 172 bpm and the whole bedlam and chaos factor of the intensity of the AntiProduct live experience?it?s just stupid, really. He?s plays good, not great, but with moments of what is to come. I end up totally connecting with these guys (the audience) and by the time the mosh pit (of like eight people) erupts-ish for Good Vibrations, there is a true spirit in the room. Never play for the people that didn?t show, say we here at AntiProduct Inc. I end up getting a ride around the room on this guy?s shoulders during the sing along for Bungee, so I knew we were gonna have a good time. It kinda sucked for him though because I was actually feeling a bit incontinent and let go of what I thought was a fart but had an ?extra letter in the mailbox? and it may have kinda smeared all over his back and shoulders a little bit but still noticeably if you looked close. Gigs done and everyone?s happy, even though Dangelo ends up breaking his kick drum peddle in like the third song (the first time that EVER happened to him at a gig in his career) and, unlike in most venues in the UK, the club then sits you down and gives you a round of good, warm food and whatever you want to drink. This is where the night begins.
About 10 of us (half the audience) go to this place called (censored), I think. It?s down the block, around the corner and under the stairs. You can only get in if you know the password. We did and it was off. I?m sitting there with these total strangers in a German town called Giessen where we just played a tune I wrote while living in Florida, etc, etc, etc, and aside from the fact that there is no pullable wool here already having had an eyeful of the girls in the dressing room (it still gets me horny, sorry), I?m thinking my life is pretty fuckin? kick ass, to quote the legendary Supersuckers. Then, one total stranger puts a HUGE glass of red wine in front of me (ahhhhhhh) and THEN the owner walks up and drops this lump of hash in my hand that would choke a child saying ?Welcome.? I?m like ?Welcome?!?!?! I live here. Get the fuck outta my living room!? So, I?m there till like 6 am when the homeless guy who lives here during the weekend wants to go to bed so everyone gets Das Boot. Me and this guy, my Booze Brother (you know the guy, your soul mate for the night that you promise each other you?ll keep in touch with but never do), who I?d spent the last three hours in the deepest conversations about the dumbest ass goofy bullshit are staggering out into the dewy morning, arms over shoulders and he says, ?I know you are American,? (which is sorta true but more on this later), ?but you must know, I am Iraqi.? Of course, I shot him on sight and swore plague on his young children.
Heibronn, Germany – Turbojugend, April 7
3pm. Things I?ve learned so far today?
1. The girls of AntiProduct are more ?liberal? than I?d imagined as I learn one has had affairs with several of our foxy merch babes and another one has had a crush on one of the other ones for a while now. Considering some of my own admittedly Hefneresque adventures, I?m beginning to think that behind the shiny walls of AntiProduct lies a monster more akin to Caligula, the movie.
2. Turbojugend is your friend. Turbojugend is the hardcore core of the Turbonegro militia. I knew forever that the Turbojugend would love, desire and patently just worship us as the wanna-be Gods we are. So tonight we play for the core fans in Heilbronn.
3. Life in the van absolutely sucks without a DVD player and something needs to be done, NOW!
4. I now know exactly how when and by what devices girls trim, prune, shave, etc., all the stuff they never let us see and just how bushy things could get otherwise. Fuckin? great. Thanks a shitload for that info.
Too much to absorb before breakfast. So, tonight Turbojugend Heilbronn has booked us to play. Franka, the promoteress, is awesome hot wool, and even awesomer hotter wool when she?s a bit tipsy after the big rock show! and kinda friendly and shit. The gig goes down a total storm and though I knocked a few tables over and broke the radiator during the gig (never mind the glasses of piss I collect from my pre-gig kidney getting spilled) no one seems to mind. This huge guy in one of those Turbojugend denim jackets you see, comes up to me and says ?You are the best party band in the world!? Hey, if I was Turbonegro, I?d be fuckin? pissed but I?m not so it don?t matter. This time, after Greg?s truly awesome drum solo and Cwej getting completely in the way (rhymes with Cwej, by the way) in my clumsy and ill fated attempt at PA jumping tonight, we get interviewed by a newspaper after the gig and she seems kinda pretty blown away, which is how we like it. More surprisingly though, she seems to gets the whole trip about ?hey, we just gotta get to know each other and talk face to face otherwise this shit’s all in the dumper. Me, I personally don?t care where you come from. How much money you got. What church you go to or who you sleep with or what color you are. Be an asshole and you suck, period,? which was nice. Mono, our Dutch tour manager/light man, gets so wasted on this, the second day of the tour, that he falls down a flight of stairs while trying to carry MY guitar cab. Then, he tries to become invisible from such a stupidity overload by hiding motionless behind an advertising billboard, like a little schoolgirl. Later, after he pukes in our ride?s car, me and Dangelo make gay porn with him as he?s vomiting into a pink plastic bowl at Franka (now kinda drunk, he he he) and Harrold?s place, where we?re staying. Too bad they make an awesome couple and have been going out happily for years. Boy, I?d love to fuck that relationship up. We stay up till daybreak smoking and drinking; talking about how fascists suck; impending global financial crises; how Iggy Pop would make a great world leader; how Kiss influenced punk rock. You know, all the usual shit. But nothing, and I mean NOTHING would prepare us for what was in store next…