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Wendy's WWADThe Honky Witch Tour Chronicles – Part II

Saturday October 18th – Day 3
Woke up in the visual-stimulation-wreck that is Jeremy’s apartment (complete with the old Bates Motel sign, a number of porn and cryptic news stories scotch-taped to the walls, a signed Spice Girls poster, stacks upon stacks of toy monsters, Hell-oween masks of every description, Spiderman paraphernalia and an overwhelming display of overall clutter…in his defense, Jeremy is on the road with Nashville Pussy about ten months of the year) and took off for this cool brick-on-the-outside-Knights-of-the-Round-Table-medieval-on-the-inside joint called the Highland Tap where the specialties are Bloody Mary’s and a dish called Eggs in Hell. En route, we all got to admire Jeremy’s black-and-red-pride-and-joy-muscle-car, a 1967 Camaro SS. Kenny observed, “So this is what you spent your money on”.

After goodbye’s, we jumped back in the Honky van and took off for Ground Zero in Spartanburg, South Carolina. As Pinkus and I scrolled through the pictures from the Star Bar the night before, I commented that Kenny made funny faces when he played the drums. Pinkus explained, “They say the faces you make when you’re playing are what you look like when you’re having sex”. Well if Pinkus is right (and I’m pretty convinced that he usually is) then I’ll have to remember that the next time I’m eyeing a musician. En route, we listened to a lot of Josefus, this Houston band from the 60’s and 70’s, who just released a badass box set of all of their old stuff. We made killer time, as Kenny drove the whole way without stopping.

For the record, Ground Zero is probably the only cool place in South Carolina. It is run by two brothers, Jim and Mick, who are all about supporting the rock. When we arrived, Jim had the grill going, cooking up burgers for all the bands…and it’s always good to get free food on the road. $10 per day doesn’t go very far, especially if you’re a smoker. So we pigged out and I went to work on getting my drink on, writing this fucking column, and selling merch, as there were 5 bands scheduled that night: Gods of Mars, Calus, Crank County Daredevils, Honky, and Dixie Witch. I was located far from the stage and busy writing and getting loaded, so I didn’t pay too much attention to the bands…except for noticing that the Crank County Daredevils were really hot dudes. I knew they couldn’t be from Spartanburg.

“Crank County Daredevil”
Bobby Rock came up to the merch table to show me an anatomical add-on, in the guise of a fake fingertip created with the miracle of crazy glue. Bobby explained, “See I got the crazy glue to fix up my finger. Sometimes your hands get burned up and you just put the glue on there and it forms a protective coating, like a fake finger to get you through the set. It was designed during Vietnam to help patch people up”. Hmmmmmmm….
Since the bands were supposed to be done by 1:00AM at the latest, Honky took the stage fairly early, and started off their set with Plugs, Mugs, and Jugs, a dedication to Handsome Joel. That seemed to set the tone for the rest of the evening, as the Witch ended the set appropriately with their own personal tribute to Handsome Joel called Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, featuring both Trinidad and Pinkus on vocals. It’s badass that these guys continue to embrace and perpetuate the memory of HJ, and I found myself bawling at the merch table. It wasn’t all depressing though, but almost more of a healing kind of thing, because all of us know that he would have been here with us.
After the show, the owners cleared the locals out of the bar and started up the grill again, throwing on more burgers, hot dogs and corn. They also started passing out Jim Beam in the-little-airplane-sized-bottles-of-booze-they-sell-in-the-backwardass-state-of-South-Carolina.

Then out came the brothers’ big glass bong that had been blown for them by the bass player for Crank County. Kenny, Claytallica, Bobby and I thought we would never get out of there. Trinidad was agro and liquored up, Pinkus was so buzzed he was wobbly-weavy, and Curt (being the loveable burn-out that he is) just plain didn’t give a fuck about much of anything at that point. The main concern amongst the rest of us was that Biker Billy, the-aforementioned-bass-playing-glass-pipe-blower, wouldn’t want to wait up all night for us to make it to Asheville, North Carolina, where he’d been cool enough to offer both bands a place to stay. After getting super high and trying to get Trinidad and Pinkus out of there for what seemed like forever, we finally hit the road an hour and a half later, with Kenny at the helm. We made our way to Ashville with Kenny asking, “What are those lights up there in the sky?” Those lights turned out to be street lights going up the sides of what-were-invisible-mountains, due to the dark darkness of the night…not flying saucers, as Kenny originally thought. When we made it to Biker Billy’s we smoked even more kind bud out of a couple of different pipes and bongs in his collection. Then Kenny made a dash up the stairs in an effort to snag the only extra bed (everyone else relegated to sleeping bags on the hard wood floors with the exception of the one lucky enough to get the couch…can you guess who tagged that immediately?) with me close on his heels. Sorry Kenny but you gotta share the bed with the only chick traveling companion. After all, I don’t bite.
Often.

Sunday October 19th – Day 4
Got to sleep in a little, before the dejavu ride to the motherfucking Waffle House. This one was uniquely different in that the food was actually halfway decent, the waitress was nice, it was clean, and wasn’t chock full of retards. You would almost think it wasn’t a real fucking waffle house. The waitress asked if we were in a band or something, to which Pinkus replied, “Actually, we’re traveling computer salesmen”. After breakfast we went for a cruise up the Blue Ridge Parkway to check out the mountains, then back to the pad, where Claytallica helped me e-mail off the photos for this fucking column, one by fucking one. Then we headed out to Stella Blue, the venue that night.

The Crank County Daredevils, although scheduled to play second, went ahead and played first, since Honky was a touring band and the dudes were just plain fucking cool. They started off the set with the singer / guitar player, Scotty (who looks total Clash style early punk rock) with, “Come get a little closer, I want to see the whites of your eyes”. They played some super long power-heavy rock songs, loud as fuck. The second song’s chorus said something to the effect that “Rock-n-roll’s better dead than alive”. Biker Billy on bass was all tattooed out and looked like a quintessential rocker, “L.A. Guns style” as Claytallica put it. The bass and drum players were easy on the eyes as well. When they were done with their full-on rock assault Scotty shouted, “Next up Honky and then the beast of the fucking south, Dixie Witch”. I dig the beast part. It seems appropriate somehow.

 

“Scotty 1977”

Then Honky took the stage with Pinkus quipping, “It’s good to be here in West Carolina. I see why they call it Assville. We’d like to give it up for the Crank County Daredevils…who didn’t have any crank. This song is called Bad Foot, and it got us in trouble with a bunch of girls one time. It’s on our CD called Attacked by Lesbians.” After scattered chuckles from the crowd, Pinkus repeated, “Assville”. This night was also dedicated to the memory of Handsome Joel, as Pinkus got on stage to sing Here Today, Gone Tomorrow with the Witch.

After a near argument between Curt and Trinidad (Kenny and I kidnapped Curt in the Honky van and got him high to chill him out), we went back to Biker Billy’s for a 3:00 AM bar-b-que. The Daredevils cooked up all kinds of shit: beans, spaghetti squash, all this free-range pork, even pork steaks, and jalapeno cornbread. When Hammer (the healthy-meat-eater-drummer-for-Crank-County-and-grill-master) explained that no animals were hurt in the retrieval of the meat we were eating, Pinkus commented on the concept of “fibeyes”. Meanwhile, I was wondering what the fuck it was that we were, in fact, eating. The “Hammer’s pork steaks” were a-little-too-juicy-white meat, reminding me of the Bob Badalvan movie Parents, and prompting me to muse about the taste of human flesh. What was really cool is that Hammer would just put the tongs through the kitchen window with a chunk of flesh between them (the grill being on the screened-in porch that backed up to the kitchen), never having to leave the cooking zone. The mystery meat kept coming and coming…through the window, as did the unlimited supply of beer, Turkey 101 (which I was shooting as if it were Jim Beam), and even absinthe, which I avoided like the plague, since it knocked Curt the fuck out the night before.

Monday October 20th – Day 5
En route to Richmond, Pinkus broke out the camouflage-colored (per Pinky’s request) pipe that Biker Billy blew for the band in his basement studio. In less than thirty minutes, Biker Billy blew two pipes, one for Honky and one for the Witch, which led Pinkus to observe while we were splitting, “God, those guys were dicks”. I mean shit, we got a free place to stay two nights in a row, fed at three in the morning, unlimited pots of coffee when we woke up, free beer and booze, and new smoking utensils. Then Pinkus busted out his brand new Tricky Triangle, the wooden puzzle game with the golf tees where you have to jump one over another, getting rid of as many as you can. Your score is based on the number of tees you have left on the triangle, and the fewer the better. Supposedly this is some sort of IQ test, which might just scare the fuck out of you if you’re an eight-year-old, genius or idiot. “This is my moment of truth!” Pinkus exclaimed, then “Fuck!” He had ended up with two left. We were cranking some Clutch stuff that was cut from their Pure Heavy Rock album (hence unreleased), to the point where Pinkus said sarcastically, “We are going to listen to something else before we get to Richmond, aren’t we? I mean this is a killer album and all”. And we smoked out some more (there’s definitely more pot in this van). Pinkus is reading Country, the Twisted Roots of Rock ‘n’ Roll by Nick Tosches which studies “Tales of drug abuse, murder, racism, and brawling” (High Fidelity), basically what fucking outlaw party maniacs the original country dudes were. Once we crossed the Virginia state line, I observed that it seemed to be getting noticeably colder. Kenny seemed really interested in fucking with his fingernails, driving with his knee, and then biting his fingernails some more. A minor scare occurred when Kenny asked, “Is the Service Engine light supposed to be on?” “No”, Pinkus replied. Then we noticed that the speedometer was no longer working either. It ended up being nothing but a mis-jiggled wire…that was re-jiggled into place in Baltimore a night later.
We didn’t arrive at Alley Katz in Richmond, Virginia until 7:00PM. It was located in this industrial-warehouse-looking-hood, right next door to McCormick’s Irish Pub. This is where Erik Larsen (guitar for Alabama Thunderpussy, guitar / vox for the Erik Larsen Band, and drummer / vox for Axehandle) deejays on Metal Mondays. And it’s all fucking metal. Alley Katz was a fucking dive, but at least they gave the bands free pizza and Pabst Blue Ribbon (a staple when away from home and Lonestar). Curt and I hiked about a mile to get more batteries for the camera (if I could afford rechargeable I would definitely have them by now), then popped into McCormick’s for a shot. We were greeted by Brian Cox (drummer / ATP) and Ryan Lake (guitar / ATP), along with their new singer, Johnny (the old singer’s name was Johnny also) Weills.

<<<< “Pinkus, Claytallica, Brian ‘Artemis’ Cox, Kenny”

Luckily for us Richmond’s own RPG were the openers that night. They opened a Black 13 Booking day showcase at Room 710 last SXSW. Of course I slept through it, having gotten too fucked up the night before at what show I can’t remember. Anyways, I heard they rocked the fucking house, and I was super pissed I had missed them (I guess I’ll have to just not sleep at all this SXSW). Plus their fucking demo was badass. RPG did not disappoint in Richmond either. They were fucking awesome…and you guys missed it.

Kenny walked over to my corner-for-the-night and started messing with the pornographic merch sign with a fifty-year-old-plus-naked-lady with her legs spread open really wide, and says, “Yeah, I want the hurting’ curtain sandwich”. Then Bobby Rock chimed in, “Pussy…the other roast beef”, which reminded me of the roast-beef-hanging-wizard-sleeves back in San Francisco. Then Honky took the stage, Pinkus leading into House of Seven with, “This is my divorce song but I get a little too choked up to sing it, so this man’s going to do it for me” (indicates Bobby Rock). They were fucking as rocking as ever, with Kenny not-only-doing-the-job-but-making-them-harder-and-better-as-well. Then the Witch jumped on and rocked the fuck out. They’ve worked out the kinks from the first couple of shows and are finally starting to get their grooves on. Pinkus, who was well lit, pretended to eat Curt’s socks during their set. Then he made the socks into bunny ears over Curt’s head, when they sang On the Hunt together.

Sometime during the show the Pink Swords arrived. They were pissed because they had hauled ass all the way from Boston to make it for their show at Nanci Raygun, only to get there and be told that the show was over, and would they be happy with 2 pitchers of beer and free lunch the next day? Luckily the dude at Alley Katz was cool as hell, and let the Swords slide on the bill. Unfortunately most people had booked it on over to McCormick’s for shots, since Alley Katz is a beer only bar. There were some stragglers who stuck around for the Swords, however, and at least I got to rock the fuck out to one of my favorite Austin bands…in Richmond fucking Virginia.

Then it was back to the ATP house, in order to give Honky a break from yours truly (as they were staying in Kenny’s already-cramped-apartment) and to hang out at the sausage party with the cool as shit ATP boys… for a night of drinking more and more beer, and more whiskey, and smoking Brian’s homegrown weed, and listening to motherfucking Pentagram. As the ATP boys were cool enough to let the Swords stay at their place too, Johnny V and Pits got to rock out to the motherfucking godhead that is Pentagram with me. And a free place to stay on the road, even if it means sleeping in the van and having access to a shower / pot to piss in, can make a world of difference. To be continued….


Rock-n-Roll Q & A with Goose (bass) from The Candy Snatchers

Who are your favorite bands / greatest influences? That’s a really hard one for me, but I’d have to say, definitely Seventies Aerosmith, The Lyres, and The Pretty Things.

What is your definition of success in rock-n-roll? Someone being able to drive to the next show.

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