It’s been a few days since a post straight from behind the merch booth; so why the hell not deliver a fresh, hot, live post straight from my gut to your brain? I already have a couple on my computer, ready for publishing, so I’m going to skip ahead a few days and go straight to last night.
We had pulled up next to the venue in Charlotte, NC sometime hours before dawn, having driven straight from Atlanta. I was the first one awake, which has been happening lately and I don’t know why. My internal clock has been completely unwound and built anew on this damn tour, it will be hell getting back on my normal routine, but no matter.
When you’re on the road in a van or RV with 6 other guys, you learn to live out of gas stations. First, they are everywhere. Second, they always have coffee and horrible, food-like processed substances that fill the hunger. Third, there’s always a bathroom and dear Lord, is that a sweet, sweet thing.
After a few days, the gas station routine becomes so regular they turn into a personal kitchen. You just roll out of bed, throw on your flip-flops and stumble your way towards the heavenly caffeine. Nevermind the 50 year old Southern man behind the counter casting a suspicious eye in your direction. Ignore the nice, Christian family staring at your tattoos and bedhead while you wipe the sleep from your eyes, cursing the sun and asking yourself just where in the hell you’re at. Just another morning in America, thanks Ronnie.
Only on this particular morning, the gas station was out of coffee and didn’t have a public restroom, but the lady was kind enough to point me in the direction of a Bojangle’s Chicken restaurant a quarter of a mile up. The air was crisp and quickly brought my senses back into reality. By the time I was at Bojangle’s, my gut was growling for biscuits and coleslaw, which I promptly ordered. With food in hand I made my way back to the RV, stopping for 20 minutes to hangout on a brick building stoop to watch the pedestrians and crackheads walk by.
Gronk! And Jesse were the next to make their way out of the RV. I grabbed my computer and went inside The Tremont Music Hall to charge my electronics and do the journalistic work for the morning.
The Tremont looks like an old warehouse, complete with loading docks, separated into two rooms with the largest holding somewhere around 900 people. The floors are spray painted with “attack lines” and “safe zones” and the walls are adorned with a couple decades worth of pictures of the various acts who have graced the stage.
Gwar was up several times along with Iggy Pop, Green day, Rancid, Hank 3, Death Angel and many, many more. Painted above the front, bay door it read, “Enter At Your Own Risk”. Ominous foreshadowing, indeed.
As the hours progressed, more and more people began piling in and soon everyone on the tour was hanging out, getting ready for the Halloween festivities.
“Since nobody is dressing up tonight, we’re gonna have to get weird,” explained Iron Reagan bassist, Rob.
“Yeah,” chimed in Tony, the singer. “We’re gonna get (Cretos) so wasted he’ll wake up with another teardrop tattoo!”
And weird it got, but more on that later.
I have to mentioned the Tremont’s catering. We’ve been eating amazing food throughout this tour, with most venues catering dinner for us. But the Tremont takes the cake. There was hot brisket for the omnivores and mashed potatoes, lentils with jicima root, salad, grilled veggies, rolls & brownies for everyone else. It might’ve been the first time I got all my servings of nutrients and protein in one meal, so I had seconds. I thanked our chef and she told me about all of the various events she’s worked.
“Yesterday was Alicia Keyes, today is Gwar and tomorrow I’m cooking for the WWE” she said with glee. “It’s only for 300 people but I’m making enough for 600 ’cause those guys can eat!” Well said, kindly grandma figure.
The club stashed our per diem beers in the green room & Jesse skated up the street to grab a bottle of Jameson for the bands. After all, what’s Halloween without Jameson? That’s right, a crappy one.
Doors opened and the costumes began pouring in. The usual suspects were there in full force, from store bought Mario & Luigi’s to slutty kitty, slutty cop and slutty ghosts. But Charlotte has a lot of character & too much down time, so we also saw a guy dressed as a tampon, a rad version of the Scooby Doo Mystery Gang, contestants from the 90’s Nickelodeon show “Legends of the Hidden Temple” and even a damn good replica of Oderus Urungus.
As soon as A Band of Orcs hit the stage, the audience was already in a tipsy state with the sound of bottles breaking against the concrete floor. The merch tables were in the smaller room, but I could hear Gogog riling up the already rowdy bunch as more glass exploded around me. This time, a pint.
By the time Whitechapel made their way onto the stage, the floors were drenched in beer, there were a few stumbling, blacked out girls (more like zombies, really. all because of the booze and not the holiday) and the men’s toilet was clogged with two Pabst Blue Ribbon tallboys, which made the urnial flood out. The night was 1/2 way over.
Three songs into Gwar, I saw Jesse leaving the main hall, so I thought it was a good moment to grab some video of the mighty scumdogs.
“Dude, I wouldn’t do that. It’s nuts in there,” he said with a stunned gaze. “I’m not even going back in for the rest of the night.”
Even though he’s not in the business of selling wolf tickets, I had to go see for myself but couldn’t make it past the entrance. 900 sweaty, drunk, blood covered minions were in full rabid mode, raging to the metal and all pressed up against a tetering barricade. The Tremont’s security are all a bunch of biker-built guys but even I could read the fear on their face.
Within moments shouts to cut the power began ringing out as the metal barricade gave way.
“Hey you Motherfuckers!” screamed Oderus. “Calm your fucking shit or we won’t play. I know you all want to fuck us that badly, but we don’t need anyone dying before they can suck my dick!” They’re the Scumdogs of the Universe for a reason, and their brand of raunch was just what the audience needed to hold back and rebuild the wall.
After their set, Dave Brockie walked through the audience, covered in Gwar blood and cum, wearing nothing but a pair of Gronks! tighty-whiteys. Brockie had talked about being Heisenburg for Halloween all tour, but when it came down to it, he had no time for a costume. So the underpant served as part of his “Walter White goes crazy in the supermarket” costume. He ran around screaming “Where’s Jesse? Let’s cook!” so I made sure to grab our Jesse for a candid shot with Crazy Walt (or drunk Brockie. When it comes to Gwar, it’s hard to tell what’s what sometimes.)
“Walt” & Jesse
As we packed up the trailer, it was clear that Iron Regan had succeeded in getting Cretos trashed. But the truth is we all had a hand in bringing that poor bastard to puke. And puke he did, all over our RV bathroom ending with a snot rocket on the window curtain.
All of the bands were hanging out in the parking lot, taking pics and chatting it up with the old school Gwar fans while Gwar switched buses yet again. This was the 4th time for them, each one breaking down in their own way. Jesse, Gogog and I found a guy named Todd who was willing to smoke us out as we talked about metal, white people destroying the government and everything in-between.
As people started to disperse, we saw a very drunk, slutty Predator hitting on Balzac before she stumbled back to the car with her boyfriend and friends. Half-way there she tripped over her platform boots and face planted into the gravel.
Slutty Predator & Dirks with Ben from Whitechapel & Jesse photo bombing
“That’s spousal abuse!” screamed Jesse, loud enough for her to hear.
Immediately the embarrassment hit her and instead of composing herself like an adult Predator, she began wailing on her boyfriend, punching him in the face, chest and crotch. We all stood there, watching and adding ESPN commentary until a security guard joined our group.
“Man,” he said very matter-of-factly. “I’d try to stop it, but that’s what she does. I’ve seen her with at least 4 dudes and she’s beat every one of them. If THAT’S not a red flag, what is? You go for the low-hanging fruit and it’ll punch you in the nuts.”
By now, the bus switch was almost complete and the Gwar guys invited us to raid their beer, fridge and random packs of new socks, boxers and shirts. Jesse and Hulg came back 3 times, each with pillow cases full of comandeered goods. As I write this, we have beer stashed in the fridge, cupboards, under the bed and somewhere in the trailer.
Jesse went back outside to hangout on the new Gwar bus, while Gogog and I put the loot away. When out of nowhere, BAM! the entire RV shook with the hand of God. Or the old Gwar bus, which had hit our trailer and was now stuck on. Hulg watched the whole thing and woke up Oog, who owned the trailer. With some tricky manuevering the driver was able to unlodge the bus and gave Oog $40 for the damages. The passenger side fender was ripped like a sardine can, but remained over the wheels and the hanging metal wasn’t in danger of popping the tires, so Oog chalked it up as a win.
With the old bus gone, the drunk fan goers retired and our ripped up fender, there was nothing left to do but kick it in the parking lot longer, drink beer, smoke some hash oil, and recount the night’s events with sleep deprived laughs.
It was a helluva night. I’m still trying to figure out how the hell all of that happened in less than 24 hours. What a difference a day makes.