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.
That 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?”
Spencer “Raped in Monopoly Jail” LeVon
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