There is a kind of romanticism that occurs when fans wonder about the lives of their favorite celebrities. Whether we think of all of our pop culture heroes as Ferris Bueller, a guy who seemed to have everything fall right into his lap as though the powers that be always smiled upon him, or as James Bond in that all men want to be him and all women want to be with him, we invest a certain amount of faith in the idea that the people who write the music that inspires us, or who star in the films that entertain us have lives that go smoothly all the time. Maybe for some people life is like that. For underground metal bands, and specifically underground metal drummers I can assure you that is not always the case.
Occasionally weird things happen to aloof, distracted people and sometimes even the most poorly conceived plans go horribly awry. Confessor and Loincloth both have "less than perfect" stories to tell that will hopefully bring a smile, and a healthy dose of realism to those of you who assume that we, your metal providers, lived blessed lives every day. Some of you may say every one of us lives a blessed life every day, but aren't there levels of blessedness? It would seem that some levels produce rather funny or embarrassing moments that need to be shared with you, the ever faithful and devoted fans. From time to time I'll retell some of the small adventures that keep us in touch with our own inner Beavis and Butthead. They will run the gamut from tales of brazen stupidity to those precious moments when everything melts away and you are left to fend off disaster while frozen by the inability to decipher what is going on around you.
Do any of you remember being on a bicycle as a kid and realizing you were going far too fast to break out of a hard turn and avoid crashing into something? Instead of bailing or trying to change your fate you would freeze up, locking yourself and your bike into a clear trajectory of failure. Maybe someone called your name frantically trying to snap you out of your state of wide eyed, slack jawed surrender but you were too busy soaking in every detail of your certain demise to ever do anything but slam face first into the giant shrub that caught you in its lethal tractor beam. That moment, when the background slowly fades away and you are left staring failure right in the face is a perfect example of what these "Metal Moments" posts will explore. When high hopes are brought down to earth by overwhelming ineptitude and confusion.
Being in a band can be like walking through a minefield of potentially hilarious, meaningless disasters every day. You may think you and your lads are forging forward with fists of fury pumping towards the sky but then you look back and see that one of your bandmates is locked in some giant shrub's fatal tractor beam. To you it seems like a disaster that could be easily averted but to your bandmate, his world is slowly coming apart and no amount of blank looks or indecision could ever stop the devastation. It is hard to sell a crowd on the invincibility of your band when one of you is flopping around on the stage for no apparent reason. Well, being intoxicated actually is an apparent reason sometimes, but it still makes it difficult to kick ass collectively when one of you just fell over absolutely nothing. In these moments we are never completely sure of what is going on, and it is in these moments that we find ourselves accepting the absurd and the unbelievable until someone with an outside perspective can help you sort through the wreckage later.
Way back in the early 90's Confessor were doing well enough that we were able to quit our jobs and survive off the band. It was brief, but it was sweet. We were playing lots of shows to make that happen and one night we were playing in Greensboro about an hour or so from home. Once we were well into our set I noticed something suddenly went missing. When that happens you can't always tell what's different, but you can tell that something is wrong. I started looking around trying to figure out what had happened. As I searched for an explanation there was only one thing that I saw, but it was everywhere I looked. Chaos. Complete and utter Chaos. Ivan was looking towards Brian for help reestablishing his place in the song but Brian was barely able to hold his guitar, much less play anything. It was as though someone had sprayed the stage with anarchy dust. What the hell happened to knock my bandmates off their footing? I never could have guessed what was coming next.
When I looked out towards the audience I saw the cause of the mayhem, and it is something that I have never been able to "unsee". For a second or so, beneath layers of bleached blond hair, I was staring right at Scott's surprisingly small, zit covered rear end. He was bent over towards the crowd and a giant red pimple, like a beauty mark with an attitude, stared back at me as if to say "We have control now". I was at a complete loss. In a span of three seconds we had gone from badass metal masters bludgeoning the crowd with our set to a half undressed maniac grinding his butt in the air, flanked by two guitarists flailing away at their instruments as though they were on fire.
Had Scott completely lost his mind, right there on stage? Had I lost mine? How did I miss the build up to such an insane moment? Scott had unpleasant dealings with hecklers before so it wasn't completely unprecedented that he interact with the crowd in an emotional way, but how was grinding his bare butt in circles going to intimidate anyone? Brian was totally flummoxed and couldn't keep it together any longer. It was his guitar that went missing, which is what caused me to look around. That was how I was pulled into this surreal, metal nightmare. Why, oh why was I forced to see Scott's skinny, boil infested butt? Did he not know about the blemish? Had it not been throbbing for days?
In that moment I thought perhaps that yes, Scott had lost his mind and I had no idea what that would mean for the band. He was a strange guy, and whether he mooned everyone (mostly me, from what I could tell) out of anger or because he was so inspired by our performance that night that he had to disrobe immediately, the only thing I was sure of was that the butt exposing had to stop. But how would I approach the topic? Was anyone else freaked out or was I just being a puritan? Jeez, just please stop with the grinding already!!! All of those thoughts raced through my head in a split second while Scott seemed to get more and more into his newfound artistic expression. Before my own brain could explode I finally saw what I desperately needed to see... that neither the butt nor the enormous, reddish purple, angry pimple were Scott's! Turns out a stripper from the club next door had taken it upon herself to hijack the stage for a minute and completely wreck our poor, fragile guitarists while causing me to seriously doubt our future as a band.
In my own defense, there were columns on stage that kept me from seeing Scott very well. That he and an aging stripper appeared to have the same hair is an issue you guys will have to take up with him directly. When I saw Mad "Gluteus" Maxine's angry red beauty mark I also saw long, bleached hair but no face, and the owner of the butt was right where Scott should have been. I do wish I could have seen the band fall apart from the audience's perspective but I think that since I believed it to be Scott's cheeks on stage I may have the more interesting story to tell. Either way, this tale illustrates perfectly the type of "Metal Moment" where hard reality forces you to question just how cool you and your band really are.
That particular show happened to be the very first time our guitarist, Chris, had ever seen us. What a bargain for him, right? He was at least able to enjoy the chaotic scene for what it was without wondering how his band might pick up the pieces and move forward. At least when Chris' band, Perpetual Iniquity, played that night their singer was able to keep his pants on. Of course, since their singer was also their drummer it would have been quite a feat to slip them off mid-song. He would have to be one helluva drummer! I wonder if Chris thought that freaky strippers followed us everywhere we went and that weighed into his decision to try out for the band. Could be worth looking into.
I suppose if I had the moment to plan all over again I would screen the participants more thoroughly and I would make sure that no one, especially me, could ever confuse the stripper's rump with the rump of any member of the band. I honestly don't remember how the episode ended, which makes me think we managed to play our way through the interruption. Perhaps we should practice in a way that prepares us for those kinds of distracting strip teases. I'll ask Monica if she knows any sultry, curvaceous women who could writhe around at the space while we fix our gaze on our instruments and channel all of our energy into bringing precise, punishing metal to the needy. Sounds believable, right? I would just ask her to do it but she's always busy with work. I'll let you all know how that conversation turns out. She should be home soon. Ripp and Bella said they were cool with it so I might have an "in" if we need an unbiased opinion.
For now dear Pounderers, I will let you savor this fine moment in metal history. I will ask the guys for other tales of terror from our travels that I might not remember myself. I am sure Scott will be thrilled with me posting about this incident. Until last night Chris never knew I thought it was Scott who bared his butt on stage. Cary also remembered Brian and Ivan completely losing it when that happened. Weird because we both thought everyone had seen Scott's naked rear by then. Hmm... maybe Cary and I were special.
Good night, and try to wash that image out of your eyeballs before it affects your dreams. Good luck!