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Monday, September 23, 2013

Towards Disastour Blog Vol. 12: Oh, Canada!

How come there are so many gorgeous people living in big cities? Do all of the attractive people in each part of the country just decide to live within the same 10 blocks of each other at all times? Do they do it just so they can be close enough to one another to share jeggings and hair care tips? I love the looks on everyone’s gorgeous and well-maintained faces when we pull up in our huge tour van and the door swings open to let loose a pile of degenerate Canadian degenerate slobs.

When we are driving through an area highly populated by the genetically advantaged, like all groups of men in each other’s company, we always start yelling the vilest shit. The kind of irredeemable comments that would make you lose your job mopping up a porno theatre. This is particularly so when the windows are rolled up and everyone is in a good mood. It’s kind of just what guys do, because deep down, all men are monsters. My favourite moment is when someone in the van sees a pair of nice legs further down the road and comments on them, only for them to turn out to be that of a man, or worse: it’s a girl that’s way too young.
That’s an awkward moment ain’t it?

“Dudes look at that girl all the way down the street at the cross walk. That chicks a 10!”
“Bro, I’m pretty sure she IS 10.”

Good from far, far from good.
Seattle is one of those places where all the people are beautiful, but the weather sucks, so no one gets to goddamn enjoy it! Maybe that’s why Kurt Cobain was so troubled: instead of the women of his era wearing yoga pants and tube tops, they all wore long johns, flannel shirts and jeans. They all looked like Al Borland from Home Improvement with tits. We played at a small bar called “the Kraken”. The stage was so small that when I leaned back during our performance, Mason's jittering crash cymbal would bite at me. At one point I remember getting too much momentum towards the end of the stage and my legs failed. I have the grace and balance of Bambi on a frozen pond. As I was careening towards the edge of the stage my stupid legs buckled and I clumsily went flying off the stage, hit the floor in a front roll and ended up flying out the front doors of the bar with my guitar around my neck!
I was so exited to hop across the border into Canada for 36 hours and a gig in Vancouver. I may have had to do 2 border crossings in 3 days, but hey, they know how to make coffee the way I like. Everyone split up all over the city except Mason, Adam and I ended up spending the night at my cousin Colin's place. He is endlessly interesting because he was a professional nightclub musician and comedian in the 70’s, travelling all across Canada as a one-man band. It goes without saying that he has a ton of great stories. I remember him asking me what the difference was between our first album Beers from the Grave and our new album Psychonaut. I told him, “the main difference is that as I get older I have a greater wealth of experience, therefore I have more to write about and wield more colours to paint with. My first album is full of songs that were basically written about my dick.” He looked at me, took a pull on his cigar and said, “Short songs, huh?”

Never too old for a dick joke.
The next day we went for a walk along the Seawall. Me and Mason took turns making fun of the corny boat names and punished each other for a few kilometers with potential cheesy boat monikers. “Hey, how about 'Yacht-zy…'” "Ugh. 'What are you talking a-boat?'" Just then, out of nowhere I felt a drip on the top of my head. In my heart of hearts, I knew that it was either bird shit or a drop of water from a leaf in a tree above me. Being a rare clear-skied sunny Vancouver day, the odds were against me. Trust me when I say that I have never prayed for rain so badly in all of my life. I ran my hand through my hair and looked at my hand, and it was definitely the excrement of another species. Birds really are a bunch of son-of-a-guns. Through millions of years of evolution they possess the power shit and piss a substance that looks like cum out of one hole. I pray for mankind to go through that kind of evolutionary progress, because it would save a lot of time in the morning and it would stimulate the economy. And they can fly! I had no idea how to react to getting shit on, as we were walking around in daytime public. I got about 10 strides in until I had to confess and subject myself to the laughter of my brother and bass player. “Hey guys, I just got shit on!” I incoherently yelled as I lumbered into the first business I could find, which turned out to be a very fancy seaside steakhouse. At the front desk there was a greeter, 2 beautiful waitresses and a couple of the bar tenders, all female, just hanging out, shooting the shit after the lunch rush. I needed to come clean, so to speak. I look at one of them very earnestly in the eyes and confessed as though I needed help hiding a body: “I just got shit on by a bird, do you have a washroom I can ruin?” One of the beautiful waitresses pointed me down the pristine hallway where I kicked the door open and took a whores bath in the sink.

What a way to start the day. After that encounter with the bird, the rest of my day seemed way more tolerable. I should start my days by getting pooped on more often. The rest of the day becomes far less shitty *rimshot!*. Be sure to tip your waitresses, folks!

Rough Approximation of Douchebag in Question
Our gig in Vancouver was at a place called the Astoria. An old joint on East Hastings Street, where our van was vandalized with yogurt 2 years ago. When we got there, for whatever reason the bands were all setting up on the floor in front of the stage. This made us susceptible to drunken buffoonery by the audience which would inevitably fuck with our set and equipment. One guy in particular was driving me up a wall. As we were performing, he kept bombing the "stage" and taking out my microphone. He cheekily unplugged Mason's fan like that guy in the movie Airplane. He then started walking through the stage to take a short cut to the washroom and "accidentally" kicked out our power (Jury's still out on that one). Finally he came charging towards me again near the end of the set and I grabbed him by the neck and threw him back into the darkened audience. After we played I asked someone who was working at the bar who the hell that dude was and why he was being such an insufferable prick. And he said “Dude, that guy is one of your biggest fans. He has been looking forward to seeing you for 2 years and has been promoting the shit out of this gig!”

After our set, we were just hanging out and relaxing by the bar when all of the sudden a fist fight broke out on the floor. I saw one gentleman out of nowhere start to absolutely sucker-punch a dude with a series of drunken haymakers. Then like all bar fights, friends of the brawlers and brave bystanders hopped in to try to pull them off each other. Before long, the fight resembled an aggressive rugby scrum as a cartoonish tornado of fists began shifting all over the room until it ended up on the floor space where our gear was sitting. The group began inadvertently stomping inadvertently all over Eytan’s music equipment in the process. Just as soon as everyone involved was finally thrown out, a second fight broke out near the bar. I couldn’t believe it. The rest of the Fatality guys and I stood there; feeling annoyed and we began anxiously singing “Oh, Canada.”

We couldn’t wait for the next day to get back to the USA where everyone had been so pleasant for the past 2 months.

Spencer “ A lover not a fighter, also not a lover” LeVon

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Towards Disastour Blog Vol. 11: Gettin’ Stupid in the Santas

I drove up to Santa Barbara with the girls from the police raid incident feeling silly, harebrained and bug-eyed. It was a nice change of pace to be in the company of women after being stuck in the pressure cooker of stink and testosterone that is the Fatality/Zombie Holocaust tour van night after night. Another fine facet about rolling with women is that I got the opportunity to go shopping for a brand new pair of used jeans because my only pair of forlorn trousers were torn into taco meat live on stage in Pomona. I hate shopping for clothing. Women seem to do it for sport but for the most part I can’t stand it. My whole goal is to spend as little fucking time in the store as possible: I find my size, grab a handful and glide purposefully to the change room for further analysis. I grabbed a comical stack of potential pants candidates and selected the one pair that fit my peculiar stubby legs. When we got back into the car and were pulling away I looked at my new denim dwellings and exclaimed, “Shit, I think I just bought girl jeans!” “How do you know?” the girls inquired. “Because the brand on the back tag says ‘The Flirt’ in fruity writing.”

The venue was among the most interesting places we have played on this tour. It was a hookah bar that was BYOB, littered with comfortable couches, black lights and had vintage posters plastered from wall to wall, which gave it that warm welcoming feeling that you would get from hangin’ in your stoner friend’s attic in high school. I was expecting a relaxed and chilled out crowd to match the serene setting but as soon as the show started, a ton of people came out and the crowd just exploded and went apeshit. Couches wrapped around the floor of furious mosh pitters and acted as the ropes of a wrestling ring as these crazy beach town party animals tore the place to shreds, pillow fighting, bouncing off the walls and carrying on in elation and positivity like brothers and sisters with huge smiles on their faces. Zombie Holocaust were electric as always and I could tell that everyone was blown away by the precision and proficiency of Exmortus, including yours truly.

The following night we played in the next big beach town north called Santa Cruz and I was accosted by assholes from start to finish. I am not dismissing the town of Santa Cruz; it is actually an awesome place to party. I am purely reacting to the individual weirdos I encountered that night who seemed to be sent from another dimension to pester me. We were performing at a huge concert hall on the downtown strip called The Catalyst, and I remember getting heckled by a big burly drunk fella right as I was in the middle of pandering from the stage about enjoying my time in Sunny California. He drunkenly misheard me, thinking I said “Southern California” and like a buffoon interrupts me to belch: “Whaaat?! Where exactly do you think you are right now?” Trying to call me out on my geography. It drives me up a wall when people shout at performers during a show. I find it inconsiderate and impolite, on par with someone drinking your last beer and then breaking the bottle against your temple. Nine times out of ten it is because the person is hammered drunk, trying to incoherently participate, but every once in a while you just get a real bona fide, genuine, know-nothing, mouth-breathing, certified, top shelf, dimwit, low watt, dumbfuck, blithering zero. This piece of merde qualified for both categories. I pleaded with him saying: “This might shock you sir, but I am not a geography major, I am just a drunk Canadian with a guitar and microphone.” He shouts, “Where are you from?” I snap back with “Toronto, you asshole. Any more geography questions? It’s not like I’m doing anything right now.” The crowd had a good laugh at his expense. For the duration of the set, just to fuck with him, after every song I would shout out something like “Thank you Chicago!” everyone in the audience got the joke but him. You would just hear a faint voice from the other end of the room: “Whaaat!?” like the oblivious ghost of distracting moron's past.

The downtown strip was just pandemonium that night. I went for a walk to clear my head and stretch out a little. I came to a nice street corner with some grass, a lamp and some bushes where I momentarily took sanctuary. Out of nowhere I saw a pretty blonde girl riding a bike veer off the sidewalk into traffic and get struck by an SUV. She got up and limped off the street while a man hopped out of the car to see if the girl was alright. “I’M FINE! I’M FINE. DRIVE ON,” I heard the girl say in some sort of drug-addled belligerence and biked off into the distance. I remained under my tree as I saw a peculiar looking man dressed in a white t-shirt, white shoes and white sweat pants pattering towards me. You know that feeling when you see a suspicious character walking towards you in public when you are trying to find your own space and you just think, “Oh no… This asshole is about to start talking to me.” He looked me with an arresting dullness and murmured “That’s Catherine for ye, I sometimes jus’ d’know what gets into her…” I just walked away mid-sentence like a jerk.
When I got back to the venue, Adam Zlotnik was engaged in an interminable conversation with a cracked-out gentleman asking him “When was the last time you got robbed?” We just stared him in the eyes and said, “Now what kind of fucking question is that?” Thank goodness Dr. Douche the geography expert came along and hit it off with the crackhead like peaches and stupid cream. They’re getting married next month and are registered at Hooked on Phonics.

Check please! Everyone get in the van now. With both of these deplorable dillweeds lost in conversation I felt like I was floating in a punchbowl with 2 turds. 3 if you count Adam.

Be well,

Spencer “the Flirt” LeVon

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Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Towards Disastour Blog Vol. 10: Sacrificial Pants

Southern California is a trip man! It also marks the halfway point and the farthest away from home we would be on our entire tour. One gig that sticks out in my mind was when we played a 2-stage festival at a club in Pomona called “Characters”. My confidence surely slunk from hero to zero as I approached the door of the club. The bouncer would not let me in because of my tank top. You know which one, the one that made people in San Antonio think I was homeless? Not gaining entry to establishments because of my physical demeanour seems to be an underlying theme of this godforsaken trip. It was a fun night all in all, and every band on the bill killed it. I only brought one pair of blue jeans with me on this expedition and the morning before the gig I noticed the stitching on the back pocket was coming loose and a hole was forming on my ass. It wasn’t that noticeable until I got on stage and began performing. With every jump, dance move or kick I felt the rip getting worse and worse. I made it remarkably close to the end of the set with my pants somewhat intact, but then as we approached our big finale something strange came over me. It all happened so fast: on the very last beat of our final song I turned from the audience, pointed my butt at them, grabbed ahold of the tear on my arse and with one powerful and swift pull, I tore my tour pants into confetti right there on stage in front of everyone. It was like Rip Taylor’s wet dream.  The place went ballistic. It was hysterical to those who saw it, but I imagine it would have been even funnier to those who were looking elsewhere, and were unclear as to why I was now wearing tattered clothing with my ass showing. J.P from Zombie Holocaust said that it was one of the funniest moments of performance he had ever seen. I sacrificed my favourite pair jeans for the fine patrons of Pomona, California. Looking back, I think I was just getting even with the bouncer at the door for making a big deal about inappropriate attire. How about now Biff, you fuckin’ dunderhead?

The next night we were in downtown L.A. and I must say, Los Angeles must be the most manic and bewildering place I have ever been. As soon as we got there, strange things began happening, and didn’t stop happening until we left for northern California. As soon as we pulled up to the venue we were greeted by one of the most aesthetically disjunct displays I have ever seen: a man dressed to the nines in an immaculate Tuxedo, standing outside a banquet hall, screaming at his wife who was dressed in a beautiful dressing gown and astonishingly pregnant. There they were, standing in the early evening luminosity yelling right in each other’s face. They were having one of those humiliating and utterly frustrating arguments that couples have, and this time it all blew up at a social event. It was such a potent moment. I have a feeling that this is a strongly evocative and poignant symbol for L.A. that I will always carry with me: a man having a dreadfully embarrassing screaming argument with the carrier of his child dressed in their Sunday best, make-up running down her glowing cheeks.

DSC_2387That night we played at the 5 Star Bar with Madrost, Premunition, Exmortus and of course our heterosexual life partners: Zombie Holocaust. What a fun night of music it was. Exmortus is one of the best metal bands in the world in my opinion. They have a way of executing complex synchronized arpeggios with fast intensity while maintaining groove and refined musicianship without sounding wanky or redundant. Do yourself a favour and make sure to check them out when they make it to your town.

We were performing in a venue next to a gay club that was hosting a drag show the same night. It was interesting seeing the patrons of the metal show and the gentlemen in wigs in the gay bar mingling. Imagine that: 2 groups that are so diverse and distinct. On one hand you had the men with silky long hair, wearing leather… and on the other hand you had all the cross dressers.

At one point in the night, Dan from ZH was sleeping in the front seat of the van when he heard a commotion from the outside between the van and trailer, but was convinced it was one of us going into the back to retrieve some of our belongings. The van continued to shake, and wiggle back and forth. Finally, annoyed, he got out of the van, walked around and to his chagrin found a small Mexican man engaging in sexual relations with a transvestite prostitute on the trailer hitch of the van. “Sorry fellas!”

That night we stayed with our friend Moe from Premunition and the weirdness continued. This was our second night of merriment and camping in his family’s backyard. As the second night was coming to an end, a choice group of us went to the park so as to not irritate the entire household and neighbourhood 2 nights in succession. Eytan, Nick Mamere, 2 girls and myself grabbed a case of Budweiser, hopped into a car and zipped down to a huge park in the outskirts of L.A. at around 4 in the morning. We set up shop on a row of benches in the dugout of a baseball diamond. It was great to just be relaxing under an open California sky, drinking cold American beer and enjoying some uproarious conversation. In the midst of our mirthful meandering, we spotted an LAPD police car circling around the paths of the park in the distance. I got the same feeling in my gut as when a bee is flying around my sandwich at a picnic, and it seemed in this situation that we were the sandwich. We timidly watched as the cop car started circling closer and closer to our location. Finally, in the blink of an eye we were surrounded by 2 police cruisers and were hit with big lights. “COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS ABOVE YOUR HEAD!” they bellowed. “Okie dokie,” I croaked, as we all pattered slowly out of the dugout towards 2 police officers approaching us with guns drawn and flashlights ablaze. “Do you guys have any weapons?” “No,” we said confidently. “Do you have any drugs?” “No,” we said a little less confidently. “Sit on this park bench now!” he forcefully instructed. One cop went into the dugout where we had been loitering and began searching frantically for something worth his time, while one cop remained with us at the picnic table, and a thick, awkward silence fell over us. Just then, with brilliant comical timing, he shined his flashlight at Nick and asked him if he was Steve-O from Jackass. This broke the tension and we all started laughing our asses off, only because all tour we have been ribbing him for looking and sounding like Steve-O, Otto from the Simpsons and Ernest P. Worrell combined. We weren’t out of this pickle just yet, because I saw Bad Cop approaching the group to address us. With another beautiful beat of comedic timing, he looks at us and says in a very serious tone: “Alright… Which one of you is Steve-O?”

Apparently we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, because the park we were hanging out at had been under surveillance for the last few weeks because of escalating gang and drug activity in the area. Swell. “Do me a favour and grab your beer and get the fuck out of here,” Bad Cop told us. We happily obliged. We found a curb on a nearby street and continued to goof around like children until the reluctant Los Angeles sun surely rose.
Spencer “Raped in Monopoly Jail” LeVon

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