Occasionally, when I'm traveling around the globe someone will ask me the very general, "What's the craziest thing that's ever happened to you?" A question that's inevitably met with a prolonged sigh and a "Where do I begin?" response that generally yields nothing in the way of quotability. It is the interest of these moments to which I've collected these memories in writing. These are part of a large scale, ongoing project that I will probably never finish. But I'm going to keep trying... I've learned a lot on the road, here's a little bit for ya!
Remember That One Time...? A life lived and lessons learned by Eddie Spaghetti...
(Some names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent)
The time: the early ‘90s. The place: Cincinnati, OH.
Okay, so very often on the road the truly memorable things that happen come up after the show. That's because, well, we're done with our "work" and it's commonly known to be time to "play."
This one got a little rough.
We were on our very first tour with the Reverend Snortin' Meat and we were having a fantastic time with them. They were fairly new to touring as well and enjoyed the drinking maybe a little bit more than we did—and they weren't terribly shy about it. The show was at a place called Bogart's, I believe, but the incident I'm talking about here occurred across the street at one of those laundromat/bar things that were so popular back then. The place was called something clever like "Sudsy Malone's" and a group of our guys went over there to check out the local action. Our show was at a bigger theater-type venue and was done by around midnight and that left a couple hours of open bar time to go and enjoy something, anything else.
So there's Dan Colton, our resident wild man and guitar playing freakshow at the bar with Snaz Fently, the 6’5” drumming demon from the Reverend's band of equally wild men and they were trying to enjoy some beers and probably some shots and whatever else they could get their hands on. Well, there was a local band playing and apparently they weren't exactly doing it for our heroes in this story. So after a few bottles of liquid courage, Dan gets it in his head that he's going to put a stop to this bands inferior brand of rock. He does this by launching himself right straight into the bands drum kit. This course of action is (obviously) not well received by the local band and they proceed to beat the shit out of Dan which, in turn, prompts the members of the Reverend band to jump in and try to stop the bleeding and they are summarily ganged up on by way more locals. Dan is laughing because he can't believe they're so mad about what he's done and he's kind of surprised by the vengeance they're laying down on his ass.
"I'm like, 'We need to get you to the doctor, like, right now.' And he's all, 'Dude, I'm fine. There's nothing they can do for a broken nose. I'll just gut it out'."
Flash forward a few minutes and all of our guys are mopping up their wounds, which were considerable, when the Reverend remembers something.
"I still have a drink in there!" he says.
"Yeah! So do I..." says Snaz.
Meanwhile, back in the bar, the band is setting their drums back up and getting ready to resume the crummy show they were putting on. There was a girl yelling into the mic, "Those guys are rich rock stars! And they come over here and try to ruin our good time!? We can't put up with that kind of behavior now, can we? No!" She was doing a pretty bang-up job of working this small but already kind of pissed off crowd into a lather when in walked our gang of merry pranksters, looking to finish off the drinks that they paid for. Now, not only were we not rich, we were also a long way from being anything more than a footnote to an anecdote of rock’n’roll history, much less rock stars. And, having paid for the drinks with their hard earned cash, they were not going to just leave them there, un-drank. So into the eye of the hurricane they go. The band wasted no time at all in putting down the instruments they had just picked up and proceeded to kick our guys asses all over again. Which only our man, Dan Colton found funny at the time.
Where was I during all of this? Well, seeing as how we were the opening band on the bill, I had plenty of time to get my drink on after we finished and before the Rev was done. And by that time I was cooked. I went into our van and passed out before the idea to go across the street came up. I was awakened when the gang piled back into the van and when I saw Colton's face. I couldn't believe how chipper he was. His nose was clearly broken and there was blood all over his shirt. Both of his eyes were on the verge of swelling shut and he's all smiles. I'm like, "We need to get you to the doctor, like, right now." And he's all, "Dude, I'm fine. There's nothing they can do for a broken nose. I'll just gut it out."
I'll never forget the next day. We were playing somewhere in Kentucky, I think, and not only was everyone extremely hungover but there was considerable actual physical damage as well. I have an image in my mind of the Rev and Dan sitting out on the fire escape, both with two very black eyes, wearing sunglasses and sharing a much needed joint. It was an almost touching sight: two like minded warriors of rock, enjoying a quiet moment of reflection after a very turbulent night. It wasn't the last crazy night that either of these bags of nuts would experience either, not by a long shot. But it was a good one for sure.
Lesson learned: Pace yourself. Because you never know what you're likely to miss if you don't.