I read a piece of self-help advice some time ago which suggested if you were being haunted by an act of which you were ashamed, then you should write it down on a piece of paper. Then you rip it to pieces and toss it in the bin thus physically manifesting and destroying your burden. It’s a good facsimile of self-forgiveness I guess. I figure that in the spirit of that advice, I should type the following story down if only so I can print it out a few dozen times a day and feed it into a shredder.
It involved a musical inspiration of mine, a man often referred to in metal circles as a genius: Devin Townsend.
For the two, perhaps three people out there who don’t know who he is, his resume is rather astounding. I’m not going to go through it, just read it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devin_Townsend_discography
Suffice to say he’s had a finger or toe in an unfeasible number of hard rock and metal bands either as a performer or producer. The guy has broken more new ground than a B52 stuffed with daisy cutters. I’ve spent about twenty minutes trying to work out where exactly to start with his achievements and I honestly don’t know where to begin. So if you don’t know them yourself already, either take my word for it or head to the link. Music history will mark the Canadian as one of the top ten influential metal figures of the past two decades.
Our orbits swung close a couple of times before we met. First time, he borrowed my copy of ‘the World of the Dark Crystal’ through a friend to get a tattoo from it done when he was in Melbourne. Later, there was the ill-fated mission when Luke took the first Berzerker album’s worth of preproduction that we’d done and tried to get Devin to produce it, only to find that he wouldn’t replicate the production and the Canadian performers couldn’t replicate the playing (all captured in excruciating detail on ‘The Principles and Practices of the Berzerker’ DVD).
I finally met the guy properly when on tour with his band Strapping Young Lad in the US. We were at the Key Club in LA waiting for Nile to finish one of their interminable sound checks which consisted of Karl wailing on one note on his guitar for about an hour straight. I was watching by myself from the middle of the floor as usual, just tripping out how Jon Vesano’s shoulders seemed to be almost as wide as the stage when Devin wandered up and started chatting. At first I thought he was just being social but it turned into one of the most interesting tour chats I’ve had. I can’t remember where the conversation started but within the space of half an hour it had covered the Dark Crystal, gelflings (and how sexy Kira was), Japanese girls (“their socks! What is it with their socks!”), living in japan, cooking, psychedelics, entheogens, shamanism, and a bunch of other topics dear to my heart. Responsibilities, not boredom, cut the conversation short and I walked away going wow – the dude is total friend-quality cool. And the rest of the tour, there were more fun talks and a bunch of music swapping. I turned him on to Soul Coughing, he lent me Wesley Willis and Samael. He’s a total genuine nice guy which made what I accidentally did to him all the more embarrassing.
In the second half of the tour, we played at the Palladium in Massachusetts during a blizzard. We had picked up John Longstreth on the way out there. We’d befriended him on a tour we’d done with Origin the previous year. Birds of a feather blast together and all that.
Actually, I should elaborate on John a bit more. First time I met him, I thought he was a brat. I think he cussed me out over something within minutes of meeting him. But as the tour went on, the dude just got cooler and cooler. We jammed Morbid Angel’s “Immortal Rites” together which immediately marks someone in my mind as awesome. Origin – a band known for playing at rather brisk tempos – complained about him as a drummer because sometimes he’d get so pumped he’d play the songs too fast for them to keep up. And one more anecdote about the lad before moving on: at a show in Dallas I was just walking past side stage while Origin were playing. I suddenly realised John was waving at me, even though they were mid-song. He drummed with one hand and mimed drinking from a bottle of water with the other hand, while playing something like this, cymbal hits and all. I stopped and stared. His hand was literally blurring and I think if I hadn’t twigged that he needed water I would have kept watching until space-time folded in on itself and the venue collapsed. Fortunately I realised what he was asking and rolled a water bottle across stage to his kit. He stopped it with a foot, flipped it upright, finished the song, ripped it open.
So we’d picked up John and brought him along. When we arrived at the venue the blizzard was in full swing and it looked like it’d be a lock-in show. So we took our stuff up to the rooms, and set up merch, and……and…….
….and I’m just procrastinating. I’ve been procrastinating for the last few days, but it’s time to write this. I’ve been trying to think of interesting, arty creative writing ways of getting this out there but bollocks; this is going down ugly and unvarnished, and it’s going down NOW.
I caught up with a girl I knew after the show. We’d finished playing, I think Strapping Young Lad had just finished playing, and Dark Tranquility was about to go on. This girl and I wanted to hook up. Fortunately the Palladium is pretty huge and the band area on the upper floor has plenty of spare rooms. We found one without bags or any evidence that someone would want to pop in. It had tables and chairs and stuff. We shut the door, I sat down in a chair, and without elaborating unnecessarily, we got right to it.
It didn’t take us long to progress to the carpet and the position of romance known as ‘doggy’, when I heard knocking on the door and someone trying the doorknob. I’d had the foresight to push tables up against it so at least we’d have a few vital seconds to retrieve our modesty if someone wanted in. I shouted “give me two minutes! TWO!” ….tours are spent without much privacy so one’s libido and ‘staying-power’ are reset to a level best described as ‘teenage’. I heard Devin on the other side of the door go “Okay!” Devin was waiting to use the room?! I made an effort to finish even quicker.
And finish I did. I mentioned that tours come without much privacy? Let me be explicit, you don’t get much relief. You store up enough protein to wallpaper a medium-sized house. That was the issue I was faced with. I pulled out of this girl and spaffed with gratuitous violence and volume. I didn’t want to leave a puddle so I caught it in my hand. My hand filled up and I was still ejaculating like the love child of Peter North and a petrol bowser. I dumped the first handful on the nearest seat and filled my hand up again. I looked around and thought what the hell, I’ll just wipe my hand over the wall. I coated it in a thick varnish. I haven’t quite been able to watch Dulux adverts the same way since. The term ‘zuffle’ means to wipe your dick on a posh bird’s curtains after sex, but I don’t know what the word is for when no curtains are available and you’re using your hand. Anyway, you get the idea.
The girl and I giggled and got dressed. I didn’t want to look too closely at the destruction we’d left behind, I just wanted to escape the scene of the crime. I pulled the tables away and opened the door. Devin looked from me to the girl, put two and two together, and started snickering. My expression was consumate shit-eating.
To my horror, Devin walked in past us with a female interviewer and a photographer and a few other people. “Shall we do the interview here?” he said to her. The girl I was with had already popped out. There was another media type in the doorway, and I couldn’t tear myself away from what I realised was about to happen. I thought he just needed a place to himself to, I don’t know. Meditate? Read in a corner? Shit.
“In here’s fine, grab a seat”, said the interviewer. She was a cute, tough looking chick in a singlet. Everyone was oblivious to the fact that I’d gone ghostbusters and slimed the room from fore to aft. She sat down on the seat I had dumped so much of my love onto without looking. I managed to turn my reflexive snort into a stifled cough. Devin sat in the seat opposite her. The media type in the doorway started chatting with me but I couldn’t look away. Devin relaxed into his chair. I tried to formulate answers to the media doorway dude but my brain was frozen. Devin was rocking back on his chair. The interviewer asked him a question and he tossed his head back laughing, resting it against the wall – the wall I had wiped my splooge onto.
I didn’t blink. I stared. Time stood still. He was saying something but I couldn’t hear anything. All I could do was stare at where the back of his head touched the wall. And when he eventually leaned forward again, I could see a couple of hairs glued to it.
I excused myself and blundered out of the room. I heard someone saying that about a thousand people were stuck in the snow and couldn’t make it to the venue that night. I bumped into Longstreth shortly after and told him what happened. He was like “oh wow, I got laid in that exact same room only last year!” We high-fived and laughed, and John never saw the dusting of crusty almond flakes that fell from my hand after the high-five.