Funny thing about heading east, you lose an hour when you least expect it. Such was the case when we showed up as the first band was finishing in Kansas City. Twelve and a half hours in the car since 8am, and we were still late. Oops. Let’s see how these 12pm load-ins with Gwar go.
We showed up at the Aftershock Bar & Grill and quickly rushed our load-in. Our friend Jeff Sisson, FX artist and general man-about-town, was putting on the show with his band Troglodyte. I guess that’s why I found bizarre Neanderthal skins lying around in the back.
Troglodyte was awesome, brutal death metal with tons of guitar sweeps all while the members wore these movie-quality masks. Basically, they made us look like shit.
When they finished, the curtain was drawn. You know, not enough stages have curtains. They’re especially nice when you have to play wearing kiddie Halloween costumes. We set up and then heard over the PA, “Okay, people, everyone under twenty-one has to leave.” Oh good. They’re making the kids leave because we are about to give a lecture on post-Jungian dialectic psychotherapy, and they don’t want the kids interrupting our mature time. Never mind the giant monkey suit.
We had a good time at the show, maniaxe were singing along, and the night was a success. Jeff hooked us up at the Drury Inn, which is my new favorite road side hotel. Breakfast until 10! Belgian waffles! Nice rooms! Friendly staff! I wish I got paid to say shit like that.
We got a leisurely start with our day off. We called Jeff and decided to meet up at the basement workshop of his friend, Ryan Oliphant. They sometimes work on special effects and local movie projects together. After listening to the Reanimator soundtrack on the way there, we were greeted upon entrance by an original, framed Reanimator movie poster. This was the right place for us.
Ryan and his lady, Anna, were super accomodating and let us meet their friends.
It was the best place to be, supplied by Ryan with airbrush, paint, and other FX supplies. In all the rush up to tour, we still had a lot of work to do on our costumes.
We got to cutting out eyeholes, airbrushing and spray painting stains, and laying down some blood. For masks, we get clear latex from local Bay Area supplier Douglas and Sturgess. We color it with water-based tints, like acrylic paint or food dye. Water that down a bit more, and we’ve got a good mixture for a runny, sick looking bloody splatter that’ll stick to fabric and look good on stage. For all of our hard work, though, we got to feel like rank amateurs next to Jeff and Ryan’s creations.
Eventually we had to drive on towards Knoxville, but sitting around, drinking, and watching horror movies sure was tempting. I’m sure that’s what our propmeister Scott would’ve preferred, it being his birthday. Instead, we got outta dry Kansas, bought him some birthday booze, and nestled into an America’s Worst Inn ’bout midnight. It was only $50, and the room reflected that. Happy birthday, buddy. Now swill that whiskey.
Monday morning and we headed out, definitely worse for the wear. Maybe we were still drunk and fantasizing when we drove into a comic book dream world and ended up in Metropolis, IL, home of Superman.
More likely, we just got stuck in a tourist trap. It’s no wonder Superman can leap over a building in a single bound, none of them here are over two stories.
Up, up, and away to Knoxville!