On the road with T.F.W

On the road with T.F.W

Occupy Wall Street, mechanical failures and death in New Orleans

By VCR Staff 11/10/2011

Note: The Fucking Wrath just wrapped up a tour in support of their debut full-length for Tee Pee Records, Valley of the Serpent’s Soul. We thought it would be fun to read a firsthand account of their triumphs and tribulations. Last week we published the first installment by drummer John Crerar — we edited out the damning parts.


Day 12: Pittsburgh, Pa.
Chill in the woods day north of Pittsburgh. We didn’t do much today but hang out at  [Jon] Shimer’s friends Dave and Linda’s house. They were really good people. They lived in the middle of a Blair Witch-style forest.  We all just drank, laughed and had a great time. I passed out early, knowing we have to get up early and drive to Albany N.Y.

Day 13: Albany, N.Y.
We got up and were on the road by about 8:30. The van started making some weird noises when we pulled off to get some gas. It sounded like something was grinding in there, but we powered through and made it to Albany. The belts started squeaking hard when we got to town. We made it to the venue and got rock star parking right in the front. The dudes in Planet Eater set up the show at Valentines. They made an amazing commercial for the show so we were pretty amped on meeting them and the Hull guys. The PE dudes got us some pitchers of beer and brought us a bunch of delicious baked ziti; they know how to treat a band on tour. The show was cool, not too many peeps but we still had fun. Everyone in Hull seemed pretty cool, too, which was a relief, seeing how we will be with them for the next two weeks.  After the show we went to Dustin’s (singer of PE) house, and once again they hooked it up. They bought a few pizzas, tons of beer and whiskey.


Day 14: Day off in New York City
Last night we had one of the PE dudes check out the van, and he told us one of the bearings had broken so that’s why we were squeaking so bad. The belt was getting shredded.  Nick has an aunt and uncle in Albany, whom he hadn’t seen in, like, 20 years, and lucky for us, his uncle is a mechanic. So we got up and drove to his shop very, very hung over. The belts by that point stopped working, we lost power steering and the van started to overheat. We barely made it to the shop. Looks like it won’t be that big a deal according to Tim (Nick’s uncle). That’s a relief for me, I don’t know if it’s because the van is in my name, or all the times M23 broke down on tour, but I kind of stress on van problems. We’re now just waiting on the auto supply delivery guy to bring us a new belt and, hopefully, we will be on our way. Got the belt and were back in business! (Big thanks to Tim for hooking it up!) Even though I’m tired and hung over, I’m super-stoked to be headed to NYC! We got to our friend James’ house in Brooklyn, dropped off our stuff, then headed straight to Occupy Wall Street. It was super windy and kind of cold. Everyone was well-behaved and there wasn’t any problem with the cops. I like that people are pissed enough to stand out there in the cold 24/7. I do hope something will come of these protests. We hung out for a while, then made our way back to Brooklyn and met up with Matty and Emily at some watering hole. Shimer and I were super-tired from the party the night before so we went back to James’ and passed out while everyone else raged.

Day 15:  New York Tee Pee showcase
Hung out around James’ most of the day. We showed up to Union Pool around 5 p.m. or so. It was a pretty sweet space. We loaded our gear into the tiniest spot I’ve ever seen for equipment. They had a backline provided, which is always weird for me. Most of the time it’s a shitty kit and tonight was no exception. This was our label’s showcase so it was mostly bands on the label. Unstoppable Death Machine played first. They were like Lighting Bolt, crazy spastic stuff with weird microphones and all. Pretty cool. Mirror Queen was next, and they were . . . um, OK, I guess. Elks were after them, and they were good. We went on next and proceeded to rip Brooklyn a new one. This was by far the best we have played on this tour. I felt something tickling my leg by about our fifth song and realized the bass drum head was busted. I made it through the rest of the set but on our last song the head was done; it broke right in half. I felt bad at first for the bands after us, but Jeff (Hull drummer) told me that it already had a little hole in it. Obviously, whoever let us use it had never seen us, or they would have known not to bring me a busted head, ha ha! Hull went on next and ruled it pretty hard.  Naam played last. I was busy trying to score free drinks so I missed most of their set, but they sounded pretty good. The rest of the band headed back to James’ house while Shimer, James and I stayed and partied some more. We stumbled back to the subway around 4 a.m. and made it home.

Day 16: New York True Till Def
Woke up slightly hung over, but I ate a bagel sandwich across the street and quickly  was cured. We were all stoked on the show tonight. I never in a million years would have thought The Fucking Wrath would be playing with Youth of Today. Trash Talk, Kylesa, Elks and Mouthpiece played too. It was at Andrew WK’s bar Santos Party House. There were an upstairs and downstairs, with speakers everywhere. Today was the typical hurry-up-and-wait day. Good thing this place was in Chinatown; we went walking around checking out bootlegged products on the street. The guys selling stuff say some funny shit trying to get you to buy something. Kylesa’s sound check was taking a little longer than expected. It must be hard with two drummers. We were playing first in the main room and we had to get our stuff set up and do a quick line check before doors at 5. It was 4:30 and Kylesa was still sound checking and Youth of Today was supposed to do one too. The drummer of YOT called off their sound check because of the time, and we set up our stuff.  I watched Elks in the downstairs room for a few songs then came upstairs and got ready. Talked it up with Porcel from YOT for a bit before we played, he was super-nice. This place sounded good, and I always play better when I can hear everything. We were hanging in the green room drinking some beers when Andrew WK came in. He noticed my Dystopia shirt and started talking to me about how his old band played a show with them back in Detroit. We then went on to talk about powerviolence bands and metal. He and Brent had a good discussion about Judas Priest records, too.  He was really cool. He brought us more beer, cleaned up the water on the ground, and had a safety meeting with us. It was pretty surprising, not that I knew what he would be like, but I would never have thought he listened to Crossed Out and Los Crudos.  When we found out he was from Ann Arbor we had to show him our CD. It’s Brent, dressed just like Bob Seger from Stranger in Town. He liked it and said he’ll try and get it to Seger.  Kylesa played an awesome set, as did Youth of Today. Unfortunately, Brent’s pedals came up missing so that’s a bummer. We left the party house and made our way back to Brooklyn, got some food and crashed out.

Day 17: Baltimore, Md.
We woke up around 10 a.m., and were on the road by 11. New York is not a cheap town, so we all just wanted to get out of there. Three days is a lot of N.Y. while on tour. We headed off to Baltimore to meet up with my friends Matt and Shelly. I love that we are on the East Coast! The drives are way shorter. So after a quick three hours in the van we were in Baltimore. It was fun to finally go to Matt and Shelly’s. I’ve been friends with Matt for more than 10 years, yet I’ve never been to his house. I guess they call them Baltimore row houses, a nice two-story, two-bedroom duplex. We did laundry, drank some beers and chilled. We got to the Golden West Café around 8. After figuring out the gear sitch we loaded in. We haven’t played a show in Baltimore in more than four years, and the band that set up our show then, A Warm Gun, has a new band, Sour Mash Survival, and they are playing first tonight. It was great to see their drummer Jason. They came out and played a few shows with us in California and stayed at my house. Jason and I kept contact over the years, but when my old phone died, I lost his info and lost touch. He bought some property north of Baltimore and is raising two kids with one on the way! It was really good to catch up. His band played first and they were good. He’s a really good drummer. Elks played second and sounded really good tonight. We went on next. I feel like we are coming into our own now. The songs are easier to play and we’re all having a lot of fun. We played a bunch of old songs tonight for our old friends. It was fun. After our sets, we took some shots with a Ventura-to-D.C. transplant, Jessica, and her friend. Hull went on and blew the doors off the place. There weren’t too many people here but it was fun to hang with old friends. We went back to Matt and Shelly’s, drank some more beer and passed out.

Day 18: Richmond, Va.
We all had good sleeping accommodations so we slept until around 11. I didn’t really want to wake up. Matt went to the store and bought some fixings to make breakfast. We watched the new #Walking Dead# and ate. Now we’re on the road to Richmond, playing with Thrones and Danava tonight — should be good. Got to my friends Gath and Lucy’s house around 5 or so. Drank some beers and caught up. They had just bought the house we were in, a big four-bedroom with good-sized yards. Garth took us to this Mexican place that had $1 tacos, so we all grubbed hard. The show was a bit of a disappointment crowdwise. The last two times we played Richmond it was packed and super-fun. Not so much this time. We were hoping playing with Thrones and Danava would have brought some people out, but we were wrong. Played a short and sweet set first, then I spent the remainder of the night at the bar next door with Garth, Josh, Lucy and Mark. It was fun hanging with the dudes. Haven’t seen them since Shimer’s B-day party, and it’s been a few years since I’ve crossed paths with Josh. After the show was done we got paid our $30 and went back to Garth’s. Last night was the worst show, as far as pay, of the tour until tonight. We didn’t even sell any merch. I really hope tomorrow goes better or this is going to be a long two weeks.

Day 19:  Charlotte, N.C.
We got up and met up with the Hull dudes at City Dogs. They had all kinds of crazy hotdogs. We grubbed hard, then made our way to Charlotte. The show is at the Milestone, an old club that’s been around since ’69, and you could tell. Rumor is, Bad Brains, Black Flag and a million other bands had been through here. The place was covered in graffiti and stickers from the floor to the ceiling. It’s in the bad part of town. It is the perfect punk club. We showed up before the club people did, so we had a quick Nerf football party, until we noticed black smoke billowing up across the street. After we heard the sirens, we walked over to check it out. I was waiting for my cousin Liz, who I haven’t seen in 10 years, to show up, so I headed back. We unloaded our shit and I quickly set up my drums. Liz got there right when I was done, so I jumped in her car and headed to her grandpa’s house to pick up some T.F.W. shirts that were shipped there. The last time I was in Charlotte was with my grandparents in 1987. After a brief chat, we headed back to the club. Liz seems to be doing really well. We got back to the club to another empty night. Liz’s mom, Francine, showed up right before we played. She was out in California visiting with my mom and flew in tonight about an hour before we played. She also did more work promoting the show than the promoter did — a few of her neighbors showed up to support. Another old friend from “the Nard,”Albert, showed up. He tours with bands, and moved out here with his wife and 2-year-old daughter so they would be close to her family. He brought us some beer, too. We played a short set, then got drunk. The bartender gave us a huge magnum marker so we all tagged up the place good. I put about five NARDCORE signs plus tons of T.F.W.’s.  After the graffiti sesh we all, Hull included, went back to Francine’s house. She was super-sweet and got us more beer. This is my favorite part of tour, meeting up with family and friends that you don’t get to see all the time. Good times.

Day 20: Atlanta, Ga.
Woke up around 10 and hopped in the shower. Francine cooked us all breakfast, set up our cooler with some beer and sent us on our way south. Atlanta was pretty cool, we walked around checking out the sites. We went over to the Drunken Unicorn around 7. The club was split in two rooms — one a venue, the other a dance club. After playing the last three shows to no one, we all decided to get night zooed so if no one were there it wouldn’t matter. Most of the night is a blur, but there were definitely a circle pit, a dance party, breakdancers, Craig kicking things and spitting knowledge, a lot of booze consumption and a late-night Burger King stop. We all had a good time except for maybe Nick, since he had to drive all of our drunk asses around.

Day 21: Savannah, Ga.
We are playing the Wormhole tonight. Not so psyched to play. We found out yesterday that Circle Takes a Square are playing at the other club in Savannah tonight. They are from Savannah and haven’t played here in four years, so I’m sure no one will be at our show. I hope I’m wrong. We called up our friend Burke, who we met in New York — he was selling merch for Kylesa. He had our first record and we quickly bro’ed down. He told us to hit him up in Savannah so we did. We got to his house and the sound of two guitars jamming, blaring out the window, let us know we were in the right place. After about 10 minutes, he heard us and came down. He has a super-sweet pad. After a while he took us on a tour of beautiful Savannah. I like this city a lot. It has super-old buildings with tons of history. Burke had a fairly large knowledge of the town history for only living here four years. We got a slice and headed over to the Jinx for a drink. The Jinx is a really cool punk bar that has cheap drinks. We waited as long as we could to go to our show. The Hull guys had already loaded into the club by the time we got there. No one was there, so the outcome of the show was looking grim. Since we weren’t guaranteed any money and had only a percentage deal, we decided not to play. It’s just not worth setting up your stuff to play to the other band and not get any money. We’ve had three shows in a row like that, so fuck it. We headed back to the Jinx to catch the Circle Takes a Square show. I had a talk with the bartender, who told me that they wanted us to play, but couldn’t because of the Circle show, but we could have played the next night. He said the booking agent never got back to them. It pisses me off that the agent, knowing of the other show, still booked us in Savannah. Oh, well, gotta keep that P.M.A.! You can drink on the streets in Savannah so we hung out at the park across from the Jinx and drank. It was such a nice night, just chilling in shorts and a T-shirt at 2 a.m. Circle was good but I was kind of tired, so I didn’t really enjoy it too much. We made it back to Burke’s and went to sleep.

Day 22:  Gainesville, Fla. Fest 10, Day 1
For some reason, I’ve been getting up before everyone else. Maybe it’s all the beer I’ve been drinking? Getting up first means first shower, and a shower is tour gold! We were supposed to play in West Palm Beach today but decided not to. First, we didn’t know if we were on the show until a few days ago, and the agent didn’t work out any money for us. We could have split the $150 guarantee that Hull had, but driving 500 extra miles for maybe $75 didn’t seem so appealing when we could just go to the Fest and party with friends. The show just seemed sketchy for us so we bailed. We’re now headed south on the 95, all the windows open, glorious Southern day, ready to let go of the past four days and fuck shit up at the Fest!
So we get to Gainesville around 4, Craig  and Shimer pick up our band packet while the rest of us go to the motel room. We head down to the Fest early in the night and go to the Double Down. Holy Mountain was the first band we saw and they ruled it! We played with them last time we were at Fest, five years ago. Asshole Parade was up next and they blasted through a great set. We met up with Lindsey shortly after and got a brew. Lindsey was an official Fest photographer so she, Shimer and I left the Double Down and headed to the Florida State Theater (I think that was the name, it used to be called the Venue). She distracted the door guy with her photo pass as we walked in (venue was at capacity). Kid Dynamite was playing and the show ruled. The place was packed and kids were going ape shit. M23 played with Kid Dynamite more than 10 years ago at the Living Room up in Goleta. There were maybe 100 people at that show. Tonight there were more than 1000!!! I really like KD, so it ruled. Shimer left after KD, but I stayed because I wanted to see Hot Water Music. Bouncing Souls played after Kid Dynamite. I really liked the first two BS LP’s. Sadly, they only played two songs that I recognized. Hot Water was up next and it was great seeing them in their hometown. I hung with some Australians who flew out to the Fest. Nick sent me a text saying they were all headed back to the room, so I left halfway through their set. When we got back to the room, it was a whirlwind of craziness. Beds getting flipped, people getting pissed, remotes getting thrown and shattered. It was straight chaos for about 30 minutes, then we all settled down and went to sleep.

Day 23: Fest 10 Day 2
We all slept in as long as we could. We headed down to the Laboratory around 12 for load-in. Shimer and I went to the Reggae Shack and got some delicious Jerk tofu sandwiches. We met up with the Capsule dudes and headed over to 8 Seconds to catch RVIVR. They were really good! After a few beers we headed back to the Laboratory. When I got there I ran into an old friend from Chicago, Jeff. His band was playing at the same time as we were, so it was good to at least hang for a bit. He told me about his new hardcore super group with Joe from Rise Against, Derek from Alkaline Trio and Vic Bondi., can’t wait to hear it! He left and we got ready to play. It was good to finally play again, the place filled up and kids went off. As soon as our set was done, we loaded out as fast as we could and headed over to where Youth Brigade was playing. This was the first time we got to see YB with Mike Carter. Mike snuck us in the back door and we watched form the stage. Youth Brigade was fun; it was really cool seeing Carter up there with them. After YB, was Dillinger Four. I never got into D4, not that I don’t like them; I just never got into it. That wasn’t the case for the rest of the people here, D4, is one of the essential Fest bands for many. The place was packed, the stage was packed and as soon as they started playing, the beer went flying. Everyone knew every word to every song and sang them very loudly. So not knowing their music, I had a great time watching the entire room get stoked out. I happened to score a few beers from some nice friends before Ted Leo went on. It was cool to finally see him play; I really like his last record. His band was cool, but the sound on stage kind of sucked. Ran into an old tour buddy from Fifth Hour Hero backstage, he was bummed about missing the T.F.W. set. I had no idea he knew I was in a new band or would even recognize me, so it’s cool T.F.W.’s name is getting out there. Brent jumped over the barrier and made it backstage again. We went down into the ridiculously packed back room and scored some more beer. Against Me! was about to go on. It was cool seeing those dudes in their hometown. Talked with Andrew a bit before they played, he seems to be doing good. AM! played a great set. They hold it down live, say what you will about their politics, but they kill it live. There’s something magical about being in a room with that many people feeling it, singing along, going off!! It’s a high like none other.  Their new drummer is really fucking good, so much energy! The stage got rushed as they went into their last song Sink Florida Sink, and like that it was over. The streets were flooded with stoked out drunks! Shimer & Craig went back to the room during the D4 set so Nick, Brent, & I were on an adventure to get back. We got a few pizzas and started calling cabs. Every line was busy. We walked back down to the Holiday Inn hoping we would find a cab dropping someone off. One finally pulled up with 3 Canadians who were Festing too, so we jumped in with them and finally made it back. Today was a good day!

Day 24:  Fest 10 Day 3
I’m glad this is the last day of the Fest, not sure my body could hang with this for too much longer. We had to be out of the room by 11:30 so we got our shit together, headed to get an oil change then went down to the Fest. Watched half of the No Friends set — they did a good Dag Nasty cover. While walking down the street we ran into the dudes from Worn in Red who we played with a few times in the past. They invited us up to their room where we drank beers and talked music and life. Those guys are super nice. We went over to the Atlantic to check out Pygmy Lush, Capsule and Punch. There was a huge line, PL rolled up right when we did. It was cool seeing my buddy Eric who plays in PL. I wasn’t planning on getting drunk today but seriously failed on that. All the bands ruled!! The Hull dudes met up with us at the restaurant across from the Atlantic. After the show was done, we drove about three hours toward New Orleans and got a room. I passed out quickly

Day 25: Halloween in New Orleans, La.
Woke up early and did a load of laundry before heading over to the good ol’ Waffle House. This was our first stop at WH and Brent’s first time ever. I don’t mind WF as do others in the group. Maybe because I don’t eat meat so it’s not too bad. We drove straight to our hotel witch was in the French Quarter. It was a really nice hotel for being the cheapest one on Priceline that we found. We walked down Decatur and got some grub, then went back to the room. No one in our crew had been to New Orleans except for Brent and I. Last time I was here was 10 years ago with M23. We had a fun night then, but someone broke into the van and stole Kopavis’ (M23 merch guy at the time) bag, so I was pretty cautious in coming back. As the sun was going down we made our way to Bourbon  Street. There were jazz bands playing in the street, crazy costumes and tons of expensive stupid flashy drinks we had to buy. I usually do a cover band on Halloween when I’m home so I always miss it a bit when I don’t (it’s been going on 11 years now). So since I was a bit homesick, it was a good substitute for home. This place went, off, thousands of people everywhere. It was literally insane!! We walked up and down Bourbon Street for a bit, then the parade happened. Very stoked to see the NOLA Halloween parade! Craig and Nick headed back to the room while Shimer, Brent and I raged! We were walking down the street and noticed a good sized fight that was quickly broken up by the cops. On our way back up the street, Brent and I went into a bar to use the restroom and get more booze. Shimer was waiting outside when he heard what he thought were firecrackers until he saw all the people running. The fight we saw early turned into a gunfight in the middle of Bourbon Street with thousands of people everywhere, and he saw the whole thing. He went and tried to help people but realized the guy he tried to help looked dead. Undercover cops and horse cops quickly secured the area by the time we got outside. The guys shot more than 30 rounds and ended up shooting eight people, killing the one. It’s crazy to think what would have happened if we didn’t go into the bar to use the restroom, where would we have been and would we have been shot? Needless to say, that was a buzzkill like none other to Shimer, so he headed back to the room while Brent and I stayed out for a bit. The vibe quickly changed as the cops blocked off part of Bourbon Street, so we headed back too. It sucks because it would have been a super fun Halloween if that shit didn’t happen. How could a person unload into a crowd of thousands is beyond me. I don’t like cops or the system, but I do hope they catch the fuckers and make ’em pay. That’s just not right what they did. Hopefully someone in their crew will grow a conscience, but I doubt it.

Day 26: New Orleans, La.
Needless to say I did not want to get up and check out this morning. I would have been perfectly happy sleeping all day, but we had to be out by 12. We ate some food then headed over to Jackson square where I napped on the lawn. We walked over to the French Market; it’s crazy to think people have been selling shit out of that spot for more than 300 years! We had to pick up our van from the parking lot at 4, then headed over to the venue to check it out. Nothing was really around there so we headed to Louie Armstrong Park and chilled on the lawn there. It was under construction but we snuck down pass the guardrails and got a picture of his statue. We went back to the venue and loaded in. A band we played with at Fest, Young Turks, showed up to our show because theirs fell through. They rocked a quick 13-minute set, that they should have waited 30 minutes to play. We set up and took our time. We went on around 10:45 and played a pretty good set for being so hung over and tired. I decided not to drink tonight but changed my mind when I found out we could get anything with our drink tickets. Hull ruled it up after us. After Hull’s set, Shimer, Jeff and I were hanging outside when we heard RVIVR playing across the street. The door guy at our show quickly marked our hands as they do across the street and we went over to their show. We watched about five songs before we had to leave. I like that band, super catchy pop punk! We’re now headed west on the 10 on our way to Dallas to stay at Slim from True Widow’s house.
Let’s hope we make it!

Day 27: Dallas Tx.
We pulled up to Slim’s warehouse about 10 a.m. He lives in a warehouse where they run a legit screen printing shop. Tons of cool things were everywhere. His band’s on tour with Boris, so he’s not here but called his roommate and set it up so we could still stay there. I rode in the shotgun seat all the way from New Orleans, so I found a couch and fell asleep The show was in a pizza bar-style place with a backroom for shows. It was a nice, good-sized room, bit of a shallow stage with a decent PA. The first band was called Kaliya, they were Swedish-sounding metal mixed with some metal/hardcore parts. They were pretty good.  We played pretty well until my snare stand broke in half, literally the metal broke in half, right in the middle of Altar. Hull let me use theirs and we went right back into the song from where we left off.  Hull sounded good tonight. The turnout wasn’t too hot, but the promoter was cool and paid us what he said he would. We went back to Slim’s and watched the Charlie Sheen Roast before getting some sleep.

Day 28: Austin, Tx.
Woke up around 11 and set off for Austin. We went straight to our friend Adam’s house. I’ve known Adam for a long time now, he was a just kid when I met him back when M23 was playing. I’ve kept contact with him through the years and always seem to run into him a few times a year. He lived in the ugliest apartment complex I think I have ever seen. The paint job on the place was ridiculous, like someone threw up Tex-Mex all over the walls. His apartment itself was pretty cool minus the hard concrete floors that are no good to sleep on.  Unfortunately Adam had to work so he couldn’t make the show. We all showered up then headed off to check out Red 7. The place was cool. It had an indoor bar with a stage and an outside stage and bar. The show was outside tonight and was a Fun Fun Fun Fest pre-party. So anyone with their wristband could get into the show free. Toxic Holocaust was headlining so there should actually be people here tonight! Shimer and I went and got some good veggie food at the Korean restaurant next door while the other dudes got some barbecue. Got back to the club and saw that a band called the Pushmen were playing. I quickly sent my friends in the Pullmen a text, letting them know that we were playing with their opposite band tonight. The Pushmen were a good heavy band that featured members of various Austin bands. It was their second show and they were tight as fuck. We went on next and rocked our best set of tour to a pretty packed house. After our set I ran into Ron Conflict and ended up chating with him and his wife for most of the night. Hull and Toxic Holocaust were both great. Tonight was a much-needed good show for both our bands. Now we’re back at Adam’s house and we aren’t drunk enough to sleep on the hard concrete so we’re headed out to the van. Three more days.

Day 29: Lubbock, Tx.
Got up around 9:30, showered and got some breakfast with Adam. He left to go do security at FFF while we headed to Lubbock. The drive was kind of cool going through all these weird small Texas towns. We got to the venue around 6, and no one was there yet. The only thing to ever come out of Lubbock was Buddy Holly, and the venue was right across the street from the Buddy Holly Center so we headed over there to check it out. It was a cool little museum dedicated to him, they even had his glasses that were pulled from the plane wreck.  We were all pretty hungry so we cruised around looking for some food and fell upon Taqueria Jalisco. It was a sit down Mexican joint with food about $4 cheaper than home and it was actually pretty good. We got a call earlier in the day saying the venue for our show in Phoenix got shut down. They moved it to a record store that would be collecting donations. The whole show seemed sketchy from the start, we got all the info yesterday then find out the place was shut down?  Something just didn’t feel right. We were 19 hours from home in Lubbock and it’s a 14-hour drive from Lubbock to Phoenix to play a sketchy show, then drive another eight hours from Phoenix to home. So we decided to skip the show and head home. After we were done with our margaritas and grub we went back to Bash Riprocks 2. (No joke, actual name of the venue). The place reminded me of the movie Roadhouse for some reason. It had a decent stage and PA, just a weird vibe. Nick from Hull is sober and they charged him for a soda at the bar, all bar venues at least give you one drink for free, and they never charge you for a soda when you’re in a band. We just wanted to get our set over with and get home, but the show had to lag. The first band, Go to Hell, was pretty good. Fast thrash with stoner and hardcore breakdowns. It was a hell of a lot better than I thought it would be. There were a few kids, like five, that were slam dancing. One was the stereotypical street punk kid with studded leather jacket, flannel tied at the waist, Docs, blue mohawk. He was slamming around like kids do, then the clean cut 22-year-old bouncer walks over and makes him stop. A few more songs go by, the kids dance more, then the bouncer stops them again. The kids, mad that they can’t slam dance, leave. During the next song some of the other kids who stayed started slo-mo slamming/hard core dancing at it was funny as shit. After GTH was done the next band set up and it took forever. About 45 minutes later they started and they were pretty horrible. The music wasn’t that bad but the singing sucked. Shimer told the promoter to get them off the stage when they ran over their set time by a half hour. We finally went on and the place filled up a bit. Some of the slamming kids who left came back and started slamming as soon as we played. Security dude stopped them again but this time, Craig started talking shit. Telling the club to let them dance. It got a bit heated with the bartender, but we just kept playing. The kids dug us, and the show turned out way better than any of us thought it would. When we were done, the promoter got us all shots and apologized for the place and lagging band. Hull went on and rocked the kids. The dude paid us well, we said our goodbyes and jumped on the road for the next 18 hours. California here we come….

Day 30: Driving home
I fell asleep in the back. The first driving shift stopped about 7:30 a.m., so Craig started driving and I rode shotgun. It was actually 6:30 because of a time zone change so it was still dark out. About 20 minutes into the drive it started raining pretty damn hard and the wind was blowing like crazy. It was shitty driving conditions in the dark. An hour or so and it started snowing. I hadn’t driven through the snow in a while and Craig handled that shit like a champ, while everyone slept. The sun finally came out and it turned into a winter wonderland drive with snow on everything, it was so beautiful. No one is telling their girlfriends or wives that we are coming home early. They all still think they’re going to meet us in Long Beach tomorrow night when really we are 300 miles from home. I hope no one ruins it; we’ll be back in Ventura by 7 p.m.!! Vans don’t fail us now.

Day 31: Long Beach, Calif.
It felt really good to sleep in my own bed last night. We all met up around 7, and headed down to Long Beach to play at Que Sera. It was cool to have one last hang sesh with the Hull dudes. My buddy Shay from Faded Grey came out, I guess he lives right up the street. Our friends in Bastard rolled out too!! Hull played before us and ruled like always, we went on after them and had a lot of fun. It’s kind of sad this is the last night. The Hull guys turned out to be really sweet dudes. We took some photos, said our goodbyes and left. We got home about 3 a.m. While at the show, we were added to a High on Fire show on Wednesday, the tour continues . . ..

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