Metal Sludge Xtravaganza Sao Paulo Brazil re-cap!
By: Stevie Rachelle "From Hell" of TUFF
Steve Summers of Pretty Boy Floyd & Stevie Rachelle of TUFF invade Brazil.
I’m going to try and do this like a tour diary and tell you all about the events in order from Day 1 @ LAX to our return to LAX on Day 6!
First off I must say outloud – Wow! What a great time. The people treated us great, and I couldn’t have felt more pleased with the way things turned out. The only thing I would’ve wished for differently was 10 shows and 2 weeks, but I’m elated with the time I spent in Brazil.
After doing rock n’ roll for over 20 years and still having the opportunity to fly to another continent is awesome. Then to play for fans who’ve waited for years to experience this "Hollywood" style rock n’ roll – is a true blessing.
Myself, Metal Sludge, & Steve Summers extend a huge thanks to Carlos & all at Animal Records, the BASTARDZ, Club Manifesto and their staff, the London Othon Flats, Ricardo & Roadie Crew magazine, and everyone else involved.
You all rule! Abrigato!
Day 1: I arrived first at LAX early on Wednesday March 22nd and decided to call Steve Summers of Pretty Boy Floyd on his cell phone and tell him there was a change of plans. The call went like this: "Steve, you’re off the tour, Joe LeSte from Bang Tango is doing it instead. Go home!" Click! Why do that you ask? Why not. Besides this is Metal Sludge and I’m a pranksta. As in Gangsta Pranksta!
Eventually Steve arrived, we each had our own limo (not realy but that sounded cool) and finally hooked up near the gate. We had a few hours to kill after customs and check-in so we decided to go buy breakfast for about
$ 12.00 each. A drink, a sandwich & chips.
Our first flight was from LAX to Atlanta where we caught a connecting flight direct to Sao Paulo Brazil. The first leg in the air was un-eventful for about 4 hours. Basically we talked about things like Jizzy Pearl getting all the singer gigs, and why we only sold 100,000 records when people like White Lion & Slaughter sold 1 million plus. You know, typical bullshit. Upon our arrival we walked straight to our next gate and they were already boarding. Within a few minutes we were seated and awaitied take off for a 10+ hour flight south of the Equator. What’s that you ask? Was there a 3 year old screaming directly behind our row? Of course there was. But…by the time we got in the air, the kid was out cold and napping for most of the flight. Hooray for sanity!
Day 2: We arrived in Sao Paulo at around 7:am (local time) the following day and between driving to LAX (1 hour in morning traffic), flying to Atlanta (4+ hours) and now the 10 hours to Brazil we’ve put in about a solid 15 hours of planes, and automobiles. No trains yet!
We were met by band members (Nat the singer, Thomas lead guitars, and Danny on guitar – 3/5 of BASTARDZ) and the promoter Carlos from Animal Records. Most cars in BRAZIL are the size of our sub-compact vehilces, so 2 guys drove Steve Summers with his luggage and the other 2 drove me and mine. It was another solid hour plus to get to our hotel. We checked in and took advantage of the early morning breakfast. It was actually quite a spread, (fruits, cheeses, breads, eggs, fresh squeezed juices) and the room was even better. It cost 100 Raels in BRAZILIAN currency per night or about $ 43.00 (US). We each had our own room with a seperate bedroom, kitchenette, living area, TV, phone and mini bar partially stocked. Much better than I had envisioned. We slept til around 3PM when we were awoke to get ready for rehearsal.
Thomas (guitar), Steve Summers, Nat Reed (vocals) and Danny Boy (guitar)
outside the London Othon Flat, our hotel in Sao Paulo Brazil.
Stevie Rachelle of TUFF & Nat Reed of BASTARDZ at rehearsal in Sao Paulo.
We were picked up and went to eat lunch somewhere and got our first real glimpse at the size of Sao Paulo. I didn’t know this but it’s the 3rd largest city on the planet behind only Tokyo and Mexico City. There is 17 million in the inner city and 35 million plus in the surrounding sub-burbs. That’s roughly 3 times the size of Los Angeles. The promoter told us 1% are wealthy, about 10% have money and live a medium income lifestyle, the other 90% are basically poverty stricken. Very sad indeed.
Just like Europe, most cars, houses, roads and more are all much smaller then those in the United States. My 4 door Explorer XLT would be a monster on the roads here in Brazil. Carlos drove us as the band was already at rehearsal, at this point I’m wondering and guessing as to when we’ll be in an accident or see one unfold before our very eyes. Not that Carlos is a bad driver, but there are these little motorcycles and mo-peds zooming in between cars every few seconds. They’re going 40, 50 mph and give you a honk of their horn as a warning when they’re just coming into your blind spot. If they get hit – it’s over!
On our way Carlos told us about other bands who have played down here and who was cool, and who wasn’t. It was like a Sludge 20?s with Carlos. Who was a dick? I’ll give you one guess. Better yet: let’s do multiple choice!
A) Blackie Lawless
B) Jeff Scott Soto
C) Jeff Pilson
Well..A is for asshole right. Surprise. The word is that Blackie Lawless was an ass to tenth power. Gee, you think? The word was also that ALL the others in W.A.S.P. were super cool, and very appreciative to be there but Blackie was a super jackass. What else is new.
Carlos sadly enough for him is a HUGE KISS fan. I say this with all smiles and in fairness. Gene Simmons is a fucking rock n’ roll disease the world over. This guy is like God to a large portion of the rock n’ roll planet. Carlos said a lot of great things about KISS and I respect that. But I myself, have never been the biggest KISS fan but then again, who am I? I liked skateboards when KISS was in their prime and didn’t see them until the "Lick it up" tour. Which I still love that album more than any of the others.
Onto the others…Carlos talked very highly of the Jeff Scott Soto band, and just about every other metal band on the planet including Helloween, Foreigner, Sepultura, and Guns’ N’ Roses. Carlos is a great guy and very knowledgable about music, metal and the life style that goes with it.
We finally arrived as the band was touching up songs. It was just like many rehearsal rooms in Los Angeles. PA, monitors, and basic gear (back line & drums) were all in-house. You pay hourly, plug in and let it rip. And we did just that.
Once into rehearsal everything went smooth as the guys had a month to work out the tunes before we got there. We now met Mr. Lady on drums who spoke no English, and Drannath Kate on Bass. Drannath dresses like a transexual, was wearing lip gloss and kept looking at us like we were meat on a stick. And he (?) spoke no English either. I actually found it to be funny and interesting. Am I a fag? It’s safe to say no, I’m already 40 and if I was to be a fag I’d have done it long ago. Can’t speak for Summers though. Hey Steve, are you a fag? However if I was going to be a fag, I’m thinking I’d do it with a girly looking guy before someone who looked like Rob Halford or Elton John. More interesting news, Sao Paulo BRAZIL from what they told us was home to more transexuals than anywhere else on the planet other than Thailand. Great, I can’t wait to meet the groupies. (sarcasm mode turmed off) More on the trannies later.
Thomas (guitars) & the promoter Carlos spoke fluent English and would translate anything we had to say to the other band members during our rehearsal. We each went through our short sets twice and I felt the band did a great job. Again, better than I expected. You have to understand that I had never met them before, I didn’t know much about the band other than what I read on the internet, and 4 of the 5 spoke almost no English. However, this is proof that music is Universal. They played all of our songs pretty much note for note. A huge thanks to BASTARDZ for all of their input to make the event go off.
Afterwards we went out to some bbq style restaurant and ended up eating 2 tables over from the guys from Canibal Corpse! I talked to a few guys at the buffet and that was that. What does Pretty Boy Floyd or Tuff have in common with Canibal Corpse? Pretty much nothing. Once we got our fill of food, we went to the "area" where all the action was. It was dance clubs, prostitutes, rock bars, prosititutes, eatery type joints, strip clubs, and oh did I mention – prostitutes? Sex for money is legal in BRAZIL like many parts of Europe and to see this unfolding in front of you is wild. We went to a few different places and the nighlife goes off for sure. We were walking from our car to the club when Steve Summers spotted 4 chicks who were hooking. Or so we thought. No, I mean we thought they were chicks! It was clear that they were for sale, and Summers couldn’t stop looking at this one "chicks" overly inflated tits. So, they start making small talk with us, and I opened up and said: "How big is your hog?" The "chick" lifted up "her" skirt and it was clear there was more than pubic hair in those undies! So we bailed!
All in all we made sure to have fun on our short trip. After the clubs we got home at around 6:am! Most of these clubs don’t even open until midnight or later. So, for me it was a bit trying since I’m usually in bed by 11:PM pre-paring to be Mr. Mom the following morning with my kids. After several more Red Bulls I was ready to go well into the early hours of the day.
We finally left that club at around 5:am and here is where my trip changed. As I walked out of this club packed with roughly 500 or so people, and several dozen more outside in front I see 2 little kids sleeping on the steps in a doorway. They are maybe 5-6 years old tops. Both are lying their heads in their arms and trying to sleep. One has a broken arm with a makeshift looking cast on it. Their clothes are tattered, and they are basically homeless. No mom, no dad, no nothing. My stomach started turning, and I couldn’t get this out of my mind. These little boys were not much bigger than my daughter who is a tall 37 inches for only 2 years 3 months. I saw several more kids who were many years under the age of 10 walking around with no shoes, torn & dirty clothes and asking every person in sight for money. They were all ignored and people didn’t even notice them. I guess it’s so common that it didn’t affect anyone. For me it was different. I got to my room and cried for a long time. I cried like a baby thinking about my beautiful children back home and how these little kids will never have a fair shot in life. To see this first hand was devastating to me. I’ve seen homeless people all over, but I’ve never witnessed elementary aged children sleeping in doorways with no shoes on. The following night I called my older sister and mother back home in Wisconsin and told them what I had saw. To this day I cannot get that image out of mind. I was moved beyond words seeing this up close. I am so very fortunate and truly blessed to have the life that I live. I promised myself long ago to be thankful and happy for what I do have. I was reminded of this and re-asserted myself when Metal Sludge ran the Todd Arnold story. I have since re-asserted myself again when I saw this in Brazil.
Ricardo & Steve (PBF) reviews CDs. Stevie (TUFF) & Roger deep in thought!
Stevie, Claudia & Steve on the roof top of the London Othon Flats.
Day 3: Friday we slept in and once we awoke were greeted by a video crew who interviewed us for a Brazilian rock TV show. (Sorry I suck, I forgot their name.) Also, we did interviews for Roadie Crew which is the biggest hard rock music magazine in Brazil. Thanks to Ricardo, Roger & Claudia!
After our interviews were complete we were picked up and taken to the meet and greet in-store appearance at Animal Records. They told us they expected about 50-60 people. Turns out they were wrong and roughly 150 people showed up. As we walked up there was a line through the top floor of this mall, and they went crazy. Some of these people had Metal Edge, Hit Parader, and other magazine pictures and articles from the late 80s and early 90s. All of these people seemed to be elated to meet us, and I can say that we were elated the same. The age range was from young teenageers up to mid/late 30 somethings. All wearing Skid Row, Motley Crue, and Gn’R tee-shirts. Even a few Tuff & PBF shirts in the crowd.
After the instore we went to eat again, back to the hotel, and then off to enjoy some more night life.
What’s that old saying: "What happens in BRAZIL, stays in BRAZIL!"
Danny Boy, some girl, Steve (PBF) Veridiana an old friend of mine who now
after rehearsal at some club! works for MTV Brazil met us for dinner!
Stevie & Partricia (SOTM).Dancer on stage givin’ it all!Steve (PBF) & Drannath.
Day 4: Saturday arrived and just like clock work a huge thunder storm rolled over Sao Paulo and it poured buckets and continued to thunder and lightning all night long. This put a damper on the crowd attendance which they initially thought would be 300-400. After the success of the in-store, they mentioned it could be upwards of 500 or more. In the end there was a solid 300 people packed into a club that wouldn’t have held much more than that. The best part of this, was that nearly every single person in that club sang the words to all the Tuff & Pretty Boy Floyd songs start to finish! The fans were so into it, and I couldn’t have been happier. BASTARDZ went on first (at 2:AM) and played about 30 minutes. I’d compare them to Faster Pussycat, LA Guns and ironically enough Pretty Boy Floyd. A solid 5 piece who have been together for a few years now with this line-up. They have had some MTV Play in Brazil and are starting to create a good buzz in their homeland country. I want to personally thank them again. They are a great band and I ask you all to check them out.
Nat Reed & Danny Boy of BASTARDZ tearing up their set of Sleaze Rock!
Backstage pre-show w/ Mr. Lady (Drums), Danny Boy (Guitar) & Nat Reed.
Gutarists Thomas Butcher & Danny Boy. Steve Summers w/ backstage stuff.
Thomas is the Brazilian Butch Walker. These girls danced between sets!
Steve "Sex" Summers of Pretty Boy Floyd w/ some Brazilian fans!
Pretty Boy Floyd and Tuff rockin’ Brazil at 4:am!
After BASTARDZ set they took a quick five’r to catch their breath. Then they took the stage and started playing "God Bless This Mess" for the first TUFF tune. We then did "Good Guys Wear Black" and "Tied to the Bells." At this point I introduced Steve Summers who came out and the band launched into 3 Pretty Boy Floyd tunes that included "Leather Boys With Electric Toys." Steve then re-introduced me and we did "I Hate Kissing You Goodbye", "So Many Season" and "The All New Generation." Steve re-enters the stage to play 3 more tunes which started with the PBF rendition of Motley Crue’s "Toast of the Town." Steve is now a little (A LOT) more than tipsy and after his rambligs went into nowhereland I had to go help him get onto "I Wanna Be With you" and "Rock n’ Roll (Will set the night on fire)" before the sun came up! I re-enter the stage and we launched into "American Hair Band" and to my surprise it seemed to get the biggest re-action. The people were so into it. Steve, myself & Nat took turns trading off vocals as we ended the show with some covers. "Talk Dirty To Me", "Looks that Kill" and KISS’ "Rock n’ Roll all night." It was now roughly 4:am and the place was still hopping. The merchandise sales were brisk and again, the sales were better than I expected. I guess I just go into a lot of these gigs, trips and tours with a real open mind. I am grateful and honored to still be able to do this so far into my years with something that started so small in my basement with a few friends and a couple of Peavey amplifiers.
Clockwise: Thomas & Stevie. Thomas watches Stevie, Nat & Steve share lead!
Steve Summers reaches out to fans, and wears a fur coat in the tropical heat!
Clockwise: Stevie Rachelle Cathouse style, Drannath Kate & Stevie backstage!
Steve (PBF) w/ Mr, Lady, Drannath & Nat! Danny Boy and fans after the show!
Steve (PBF), Nat (BASTARDZ) & friends! Stevie w/ Brazilian crazy ass fans!
Day 5: Sunday afternoon (I woke up around 12:30PM after getting to bed around 7:am) I showered and went for a walk in Sao Paulo. I shopped and bought some gifts for my kids, ate lunch and took in the sights again for my last day light hours in Brazil.
The guys in BASTARDZ (Nat, Thomas & Danny) came to pick us up again in 2 seperate cars for our trip back to the airport. Even though our luggage was much lighter (due to massive sales of T-shirts, DVDs and CDs) we still needed both vehicles do to their size. I took the band & Steve out to eat at a nice Italian place at a up’scale mall. It was the equivelant of a Beverly Center. A lot of very nice looking woman too. The guys told us that there is a lot of plastic surgery going on in Sao Paulo as well. Fake boobs, real boobs! What’s the difference, they just sit there anyway. Unless you put them in your mouth.
It was now getting dark and the guys took us to the airport where we met up with the promoter Carlos. We started our check in when we were taken out of line and asked for permission to search our bags by security. Two guys, one tall and built, and the other looked like Barney Fife with a tan went thru our bags with rubber gloves. They asked questions, and 10 minutes later we were back in line for our final check in.
Off to the currency exchange where we stood in line for 20 minutes. Behind 2 people! Two fucking people and 20 minutes later, the guy tells us he can’t exchange any of our money unless we have a receipt to show we cashed in US dollars when we arrived. Of course we didn’t have that as we didn’t cash any US dollars in. Off to another exchange where they now tell us they’ll only exchange $ 500.00 (US) without a receipt. How much did we make? Not telling. But it was way more than $ 500.00. So, we left a good chunk of change with a trusted Brazilian friend who Pay Pal’d us the rest once we got home.
Of course we did this with both eyes wide open, and looking over our shouders every 3 seconds. Why? Because we’ve heard horror stories about airport theft rings, pic-pockets and a certain "someones" experience in Europe loosing a BIG ol’ wad of US cash! A number into the thousands ripped clean in less than a few seconds while that "someone" turned around to grab a newspaper.
Now with the money in hand, a boarding pass, a couple of goodbyes to our friends in BASTARDZ and Carlos the promoter, and we’re homeward bound.
Thomas, Drannath, Nat & BASTARDZ play their Mtv Video clip "Pills" as the
last song of the night with Stevie Rachelle of Tuff singing back grounds!
Day 6: Monday we landed in Atlanta around 8:am and it felt good to know that 3 of our 4 flights have landed safely. After watching the News and CNN for the last several years it seems that getting on a plane always makes you think. Especially since 9/11. At least a little more than when you just hop in your car and get on the freeway.
We had a short lay-over in Hot-Atlanta, and I thought to myself: "Self, how many times has Butch Walker, The B-52s or Dominque Wilkins walked thru these terminals?" I answered and said: "Self. Many!"
Onto another plane, another 4+ hours of flying, and low and behold we landed in Los Angeles around 12:30PM. Onto baggage, and onto the 405 North.
Do I need to tell the rest? Nope. Back to the daily grind. Life is great, Brazil was great, and being home is great too! But….I can’t wait to go back again!
To get more info. about the bands, make sure to visit their sites!
www.TuffCds.com & www.myspace.com/stevierachelle
Sao Paulo Sludge