Last year, Exhumed was invited to play the 2018 edition of the annual 70000 Tons of Metal cruise. I hadn’t played with Exhumed in almost a full year’s time while their former bass player, Matt Slime, filled-in for me. He’s logged in more time playing with Exhumed than I have since “replacing” him. I actually did offer Exhumed to take Slime in my stead, because a nice cruise seemed like it would be a good reward for hard work. Well, they insisted I go and I got to enjoy my second 70000 Tons.
I played the boat two years ago with my fellow hooded cannibals. It was a wild ride. We’re obviously not the main kind of draw that the cruise has, it being mostly populated with power metal bands from Europe. They do get a few good death and thrash bands to even things out a bit for the attendees who like something more than just songs about ale and vikings on long boats.
Our band recently had the amazing opportunity to go on tour for nearly two months as direct support for the Scumdogs of the Universe, GWAR. This came with some strings attached, however. No, we didn’t have to service Blothar’s dick-teats, that was voluntary. Instead, a couple of us would be pressed into service for our lords and masters. I was one of those: the shameless, the stepped-on, the slaves of GWAR.
For two months, we would play a show, furiously load our gear out in snow, rain, or heat, and then three of us would run back inside to don a more revealing pair of skivvies and monster shoes. To say it was rewarding would be one way to describe. The other would be grueling.
I didn’t really manage to keep a good tour diary on this last European tour… call it lack of motivation, call it the ability to download and watch TONS of films from Netflix on my phone. Either way, I still feel the need to put something down before it ebbs from aging and already addled mind: at least to learn a few lessons. Yeah, we made some mistakes on this tour, but fuck it; it really was one of the most easy going tours I’ve ever done with a crew that managed 0% slacking and 100% laughter.
There’s no real need for tour stories here; we all had a good time with relatively few crazy adventures. Most of the tour stories would just be us talking about old cartoons or cult movies while imbibing lots of alcohol. So let’s try a list of errors we made and how to correct them.
We finished up our tour with Carcass and Crowbar on the East Coast, so we and Night Demon had a string of shows in order to get back to California. Originally we had wanted to go to Cleveland (sorry guys) but we ended up in Webster, NY, at some old Mason hall or church or whatever… I don’t know. It was near Rochester, and even the few folks from Rochester were like, “Webster?” But whatever, the people who did show up were the right people and had a rocking good time.
We had to drive all night, again, but were set to hit Chicago and one of the best venues in the United States, Reggie’s Rock Club. The staff lead by Edgar is fucking on point, the food at the attached bar is great, they have laundry, a back room, but most importantly, they have insane Chicagoans who know how to rock the fuck out. Easily it bested any of the previous nights on tour… the ENTIRE tour.
We stepped out of the van into the Albuquerque sun behind the aptly named Sunshine Theater. Instantly, I could feel the carcinogens forming in my skin. This place was dastardly hot. The only place to unload our gear was currently baking in the open sunlight, so we opted to leave loading until we could find shade for our multitude of meltable props. Sean and I headed in an Uber to Home Depot and picked up more crap to fix all our broken hardware. We came, we played, we got paid, we were on our way for a two-day drive to Memphis. Until…
We were flagged down on the road by a woman pointing at our front left tire. I pulled off to the next rest stop and had a look. The rubber had quite literally been baked off the steel-belt of the tire, likely by the amazing New Mexico heat the day before. We avoided a blow out, but we did’t avoid being flummoxed by the lack of a tire iron in our rented van.
I’ve detailed before how I added a power socket to Sean’s Peavey XXX. This was because the Sennheiser’s wireless system that he uses doesn’t include a power adapter that actually reaches the floor from the height of a full-stack. Way to plan, Sennheiser. A second power socket used to be standard on old amps, but they’ve gone the way of Bill Cosby’s standing as a moral person. Now Ben has the same XXX amp and wanted me to do repeat the process. But I thought about an easier solution than cutting into his amp. So, I was certain someone thought of it before me.
What you got there is your standard plug for a modern amp, an IEC C13, with an extension for a US three-prong plug. This tiny cable allows for things you want to keep on your amp, like a pedal, wireless unit, or a hair straightener plugged in without searching around for a shit ton of extension cords. Pretty sweet! These are available on Amazon for about $10-20.
After a long-assed drive from Oakland’s punk-sister-city of Portland, I was back home. Hell, I spend such an inordinate amount of time at the Oakland Metro Operahouse, I even got married there. Tonight, I would rock the stage yet again, but this time with the first band I was ever in worthy of noting. It felt like I would be showing the biggest group of friends ever an old photo album.
I showed up early, because I have a nervous fit if I’m not in a club I’m playing before doors open. I had absolutely no cause to be there, but to walk around not actually loading shit. If I’d wanted this set to be 100% old-school, the proper thing to do would’ve been showing up five minutes before playing and realizing I had a broken string.
On Friday, February 13th, Tankcrimes head honcho Scotty Karate took his magic touch to grace the historic 924 Gilman punk club. Scotty put on an epic show featuring bands with releases on Tankcrimes. It’s the first time in my own recent memory that Gilman hosted a sold out show. And I made a poster for it.
To say the show was a success is an understatement. Punks ages 8-80 (literally) came out to be a part of the festivities. Connoisseur, Brainoil, Born/Dead, The Shrine, and of courpse, Ghoul… it was a line-up so heavy, it had its own orbit.