Monthly Archives: April 2012

Nebraska Strip Club, US Tour 2001

You’re young, male, in a band, travelling in a foreign country, and you have some time off. Where do you go? You head right to the strip club.

Boredom is a big problem on tour. People have theorized that this is why so many musicians turn to drugs. Eight hours of travel a day, staring out a window. Boring. Waiting for the venue to open up (always two hours later than the time you were given). Boring. Waiting to soundcheck. Boring. Waiting for doors to open. Boring. Playing your show. Well, that’s between thirty minutes to an hour of excitement. Sitting on merch for the rest of the night. Boring. Packing up, loading the van. Strenuous and boring. I’ve got to stop here before it becomes “reading thesenseless blog? Boring”.

But the long and the short of it is, touring is like groundhog day; the same routine again and again and again. We had a phrase for touring : “hurry up and wait”. Everyone would be telling you how important it was to be at the venue at this time, to be at soundcheck this time, to be offstage by that time…but you were always left sitting around waiting because every single fucking entity in the music business is unfailingly late. So you’d hurry up to get your shit together at the behest of someone else, then sit around for ages waiting until they turn up late and mosey on in like there’s all the time in the fucking world. You’d be wolfing down your $1 wendys burger like an animal and sprinting back to the venue for soundcheck, but the PA hadn’t arrived. Or the soundguy wasn’t there. Or the rest of your band had vanished to go have a good time somewhere else without telling you. So when you all get some time off to go enjoy yourselves together, you grab that opportunity with both hands.

That’s how we ended up at a stripclub at a truckstop town in Nebraska in 2001. It was the first Berzerker tour in the US and we had the Alarum guys in the band back then: Evans, Palf, and Racca. It was over a week into the tour. Our tour manager was a big fat Puerto Rican called Tito Piccone. Sounds like a gangster name, doesn’t it? Jesus I could write a dozen stories about this fella. A good half of them would be spiteful, vengeful, and libelous, and I’m sure I’ll squeeze them out at some point down the track, but for now I just remember the good things. He introduced me to At the Drive In’s “Relationship of Command” album which I adored, but the rest of the band hated. We were driving around the US in a splitter van and when he put that CD on I’d clap for joy but everyone else would start bitching. They all wanted to listen to that silly ‘musician’ music like Frank Gambale, or some jazz metal stuff. When I heard the first track ‘Arcarsenal’, to me it sounded like the United States of America, right there.


the pride of aussie metal

pre-tour: nourished, washed, excited, and conspicuously not hating each other

He was also the first person to play me Deftones and describe the music perfectly.
“Hey Sammy” he told me in his breathy high pitched voice while driving one fine day, “if you’re ever making it with a chick, you stick on Deftones, right? Because chicks LOVE Deftones. And then while they’re getting off on the Deftones, you’re eating them out, and they’re like” – at this point he put one hand on the ceiling, arching his back while driving with his spare hand – “oh! OH Tito, daddy! Oh my god TITO! Oh! OH!” I could see a few rolls of Tito’s stomach emerge from under his t-shirt while he impersonated female orgasm.

Come to think of it, it took me a good five years to try listening to Deftones again after that.

Anyway we were on a big drive through Nebraska and Tito decided that was enough driving for the day. We pulled into a tiny truckstop town. I call it that cause it was like one truckstop, one hotel, a few houses, and a stripclub. I don’t even know if it had a name. I didn’t even realise the stripclub was there at first. I went straight to the hotel room and started washing my underwear and socks in the sink. This was still the part of the tour we could afford hotel rooms. I stuffed up washing my socks in the sink and managed to give myself huge blisters on the inside of both my thumbs, right where they rested against the guitar. I burst them and put bandaids on them, when Palf walked in and told us he’d found a stripclub next door. I’m not sure if we all went but most of us pretty much dropped what we were doing and headed over.

The guy checked our ID at the door and saw we were all Australians. He asked what we were doing in such a remote place. One of us replied we were a metal band on tour. The dude loved this, he thought that was awesome. He let us all in, waived the cover charge, and told the DJ to play some metal for us. I think the DJ put on In Flames. Fortunately it was one of their older albums from back when they were heavy.

It was great. We were the only guys there apart from the staff. The strip club was one room and it smelled a bit weird. We got drinks and sat right up at the stage. There were a couple of mediocre strippers who were finding themselves having to dance sexily to Swedish Melodic Death Metal. I had brought some $1 bills along and coaxed one of the girls over to muster up whatever sexy-dance a $1 bill buys. She was topless and still wearing panties. She danced a bit, got up nice and close. I freed up another $1 bill, then another. I wanted to see them panties off and I was going to dripfeed her dollar bills until they disappeared. I think I finally realised that strippers weren’t allowed to remove panties in Nebraska roughly at the same moment I got a massive shock.

Without warning, around the region of my balls, there was a loud noise. The noise was like savage growling and yelling. Keep in mind this is a guy from a death metal band saying “savage growling” so you can guarantee the savagery quotient of that growling. I was sitting right up at the stage, all the better for the stripper to drape her legs over my shoulders and I looked down to see what the noise was. Underneath the stage was a cage and inside the cage were three german shepherds. The dogs had decided to start barking at me, right up against the cage. THAT’S what the smell was in the place! Dogs. The stripclub smelled of dogs. The owner kept his dogs underneath the stage the girls danced on. I wondered why they were barking at me. Maybe they were jealous.

We didn’t stay there that long. We were tired from travelling and were only on $10 pd’s a day. It didn’t take long to use all of them up, and I was bored again. I thought of one of the pre-tour goodbye parties I’d had back in Melbourne, where we went to Goldfingers. That place was clean, and big, and all glowing and shiny like a little casino. The girls were all hot and in the main room they were all totally naked and convincingly acted like we didn’t repulse them. This little truckstop place just didn’t measure the hell up. On the debauch richter scale it barely rated the thud you get on a sidewalk when you push a small child over.

The next night we were playing in Colorado. We were about fifteen minutes into our set and I noticed the front row was staring at my hands. I looked down and saw that the band aids were hanging off my thumbs, as well as two complimentary flaps of skin. I don’t know how I hadn’t noticed them. The flesh looked very, very raw. I think the red mist of performance had sent the pain offstage to get its autograph later. I waited til the end of the song then ripped the bandaids and skin off and threw them into the crowd.

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The Senseless ‘The Floating World’ media roundup, April 2012

Sales for the new album: nearing 1/3rd of the way to my required goal for pressing physical CDs (figures not yet received from Amazon). EVERYONE wants CDs, that has definitely been made clear. I hereby commit to pressing them by the end of the year.

Reviews: Metal As Fuck, 1 user review on Amazon
Interviews: Lurker, Uberrock
Media: Mention on SMNnews, ‘Amazing Pain’ played on PlanetMetal 28th feb

In Our Hearts (the floating world)
Walk – unmixed version (the floating world)
The Senseless rehearsal video with Leon Macey and Sam
Vacation (In the Realm of the Senseless)
Happy Ever After (In The Realm of the Senseless)
After Happy Ever (In The Realm of the Senseless)

Buy From: CDBaby, Amazon, I-tunes, facebook

Usual Sites: LastFMmyspace, encyclopaedia metallum, metalstorm

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Ask Earache

I know I rip into Earache Records a bit based on years of association, but Ask Earache has been a guilty pleasure of mine for a year or two. It’s slowing down a bit now, but it still makes interesting reading for anyone who wants a candid window into the the thoughts of a once-legendary record label.

The link shows honest responses from Earache Records staff members to public questions and if you’re a fan of their back-catalogue or just extreme music in general, there are some fantastic stories in here. They also have the odd bit of advice which I recommend reading with a grain of salt; although much of it is solid gold, a lot of it is best read to educate yourself what a record label’s opinion or view is.

Lovely people, too

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Tuck And Roll

Oh dear. I’m going to have to explain “Tuck And Roll”. I’ve got a couple more tour stories coming up where that phrase appears, so I’m going to have to illustrate how the band latched onto it and gave it a flogging.

First, a caveat: all bands turn into pirates within a week of hitting the road. ALL bands. It doesn’t matter what kind of music they play. Within seven days everyone in the bus will be unwashed, smelling of ass, drunk, and treating everyone around them including themselves like shit. You might as well all be in a motorised longboat looking for venues to pillage and girls to loot. Manners and hygiene just melt away, as do sobriety and sanity.

I say this not to seek forgiveness, but merely to explain. In this and upcoming stories, behaviour gets a bit questionable. We did things all right-minded people would object to. Whatever. I know that many people in our shoes would have done the same.

Tuck and Roll. This catchcry originated in El Paso, Texas near the start of a Berzerker US tour. We were all hanging out in the motorhome, which was freshly festooned with glowing christmas lights that one Jesse Pintado had found in a rubbish skip and kindly donated. We had some randoms visit that night, a young dude and his cute girlfriend.

Why do guys do that? For god’s sake, if you have a girlfriend never, never, NEVER take her to a tourbus. Not unless you’re one of those fellas who gets off on watching guys mercilessly hit on his girlfriend, in which case fill your drink with ice and go right on ahead. It’s guaranteed to happen, and half the time as soon as your back is turned someone will be getting it on with your girl. Or they’ll swap email addresses, or phone numbers, and within weeks your sweet girl will be haranguing you about being boring, or that she needs change and adventure in her life, and that will be that. Guys on tour are going to be sexually aggressive. They’re travelling to a different town each night, every night. They don’t have time to subtly ascertain a girls relationship status, or go through the slow process of trying to woo her with charm and character. They have a few hours at best to go from hey to money-shot, and don’t have time to faff around doing anything but being very, very direct.
 I’ve got a half-dozen stories lined up ready to go about the brazen shit we got away with when girls were on the bus. I’ve got a mental image right now of reaching drunkenly out of my floor-level bunk one night in Scotland and trying to drag in a terrified screaming girl by her foot because I liked the look of her ankles. Never, ever, EVER bring your girlfriend onto a tourbus.

Will shag anything on tour. ANYTHING.

So this young dude had brought his cheerful cute drunk girlfriend onto our tourbus. At that stage, we were onboard with Akim the tourmanager, and Walker. Walker was travelling with us. His exact role, I may or may not get around to explaining (and it requires a LOT of explaining). The young dude was pretty drunk. I remember a few of the guys were pretty into his girlfriend. They were into her the same way piranhas don’t give a shit whether you’re feeding them beef jerky or wagyu. Young? Cute? Drunk? Giddyup.

To cut a long story short, this young drunk dude decided at some point to drunk-drive his way home. Did anyone protest, suggest he was too plastered? I do not recall. I remember him telling the girl he was heading off once or twice, and she said she was coming. Well, she didn’t go and he eventually disappeared. This was a logistical problem for the girl as he was her ride home. This was no problem for us as now a cockblock had been removed.

It took about ten minutes before someone wrote on her tits with a texta. She encouraged us all to leave a mark, I remember writing “insert 9 inch dildo here” on her right buttock. A couple of the guys tried to ‘escalate’ with her. At this point, I should mention our camera policy, and it’s something I recommend to all aspiring young bands on the road:

As soon as you get girls on your touring vehicle of choice, roll the cameras. Get footage of them getting on the bus, enjoying themselves on the bus, you enjoying them on the bus, and them getting off the bus. One of the downsides of sexually and morally questionable behaviour is getting retrospectively accused of outright rape or molestation by girls having regrets a few days, weeks, or months later. Getting accused of that as an individual is fairly straightforward; someone accusing a band of that has multiple public outlets. They can – and will – accuse you on guestbooks, forums, and facebook and kick up a right fuss. This doesn’t create the outcry that instances of this crime would normally cause as the public expects its musicians to be savage and retarded. But still, we have parents and families, and we don’t want them reading about that shit. 

This was a lesson learned on the first tour of the US, and we didn’t even behave that badly. It was our first overseas tour and we were still learning the limits of our awfulness. We hooked up with a girl or two, one of them had abandoned her boyfriend during a pool game to come frolic. All was happiness and laughter. Then two months later, no doubt after her boyfriend realised what had happened and gave her a bollocking, she cried rape all over our fansites and everywhere. She only shut up when I requested she file charges against us with the police. So roll them cameras so you have a document of what really happened, and some evidence of consent. It’s easier these days as well, just get the video on your phone going and ensure the footage shows exactly what’s going on.

So the guys are trying to escalate with the girl, there’s a couple of cameras surreptitiously rolling, but no-one’s getting anywhere. The Napalm Death tour manager came up for a chat. They were just about to leave for Phoenix and wanted to know if we wanted to follow them? Gotta remember, this was before vehicle GPS was available let alone phone GPS. In those days, you would have to examine maps and make notes how to get from town to town. So we said, hell yeah we’ll follow you. Saves us having to pore over a map and argue with each other for an hour. Just follow the Napalm taillights. Sweet.

So we told the girl we were leaving. She asked us if we could drop her off home. We said no way. We had taillights to follow, and we weren’t deviating from their course. We said she was welcome to travel all the way to Phoenix with us though. She agreed. The cameras were rolling. After a few more minutes, the Napalm bus left and we dutifully followed.

The vibe changed right about here. A couple of the fellas went to bed. We turned the main room lights off. I was wandering around packing things away, or writing my diary, or doing something relatively un-fun. The girl was obviously thinking, these guys are into me, I’ll wait until we’re getting near a turn-off road then I should be able to convince them to drop me home. But our switch from drinking, harrassing, fun-lovers to sleeping, navigating, driving tour-pros probably unnerved her a bit. After ten minutes the road headed out into the desert. She started hinting that the turn off to her road was in ten miles time. We said, no way. Didn’t you hear? We’re not stopping. She went quiet then tried again two minutes later. Again, the answer was a firm no. Someone pointed out to her that we had told her that we were going to drive to Phoenix directly. She started sniffling. I think Walker came up with comment of the night when he mused out loud, “I wonder how long it takes to bury a body in the desert?”

She was openly teary at this point, and someone suggested a compromise. That compromise was Tuck And Roll – you leap off the moving vehicle, tuck into a ball, and roll to a stop, hopefully without breaking anything. This seemed to distress her further and we only got her to settle down by explaining we’d slow to walking pace briefly. Still wasn’t happy though. She told us she had a five mile walk from the turn-off to her house right through lost-wandering-mexican-desert country. Not our problem. Couldn’t she see we enjoyed tears? I thought of the movie Salo, the part where a girl is crying and begging for mercy from one of the libertines and the guy says the chick’s tears are the most exciting thing he’s ever seen. OK, we weren’t quite that far gone but there were four of us present so the simile holds up in terms of bodycount.

We approached the turn off. Our road was long and straight, so we could keep an eye on Napalm’s taillights easily. We slowed down. Akim was constantly explaining to her that she would have to get off, and this was her one chance to be within walking distance of home. He had a very convincing and soothing manner of speech with women that saved us drama at various times. He always reminded me of a cut-price Gene Simmons. His monologue was punctuated by the door being opened and the RV slowing down. This girl looked from guy to guy to plead her case, but they’d all gone cold. She went to the doorway. I was closest. She looked deep into my eyes, begging me to do something – talk my cohorts into making the turnoff, or at least slowing to a stop. She was a cute girl, despite the texta we’d smeared on her. She had really nice blue eyes. We were travelling at about walking distance now. I saw the t-intersection of her turnoff. I shook my head no, and gave her a kindly push out the door then shut it.

Unhappy? Bored?
How about a nice cup of TUCK AND ROLL


Edit:  The girl in the last photo is not the girl from the story. This girl is alive and well in Brussels, Belgium. The one from the story is probably still lost in the desert

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