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Friday, August 18, 2017

A PICTURE SPEAKS 1000 WORDS

This week marked a milestone for our family.  Dana has now been gone for as long as he was with us.  It's a tough realization for a mother, a brother, a sister, a friend...  But it's a fact, and we must accept it.  It may be a gut punch but it's a fact.


When I had to go to the car he was in, to retrieve evidence and personal items, I certainly had no courage.  My dearest friend, Debbie Abono, went with me.  She had the courage.  She was already a member of the club I had just joined.  Neither of us wanted to join, but there we were, smack dab in the middle.  She helped me control my shock and put the events in perspective.

When this photo came out in the Phoenix New Times, it changed my thinking.  Someone out there had the vision to see something no one else could see.  It made things easier.  It made me see that from every darkest moment, the light always returns.  Dana's death was a catalyst in many ways.  That occurrence picked Max, me and our family out of our past life and threw us into the future in one quick moment.  While we couldn't see through the whirlwind engulfing us at the time, we can see it clearly now.  Our souls are as free as his.  God bless.

Class dismissed.....

Friday, August 11, 2017

WACKEN, 2017....28 YEARS OF BLEEDING METAL!!!

Wacken is always an adventure. It's so dialed in, so perfect! Why, even the shuttle vans have Wacken carpet!


After we parked the bus, and got our credentials, I wandered down to the dressing room area with Iggor, Jason, and Mike. We cruised through the horseshoe and looked for our dressing room. Shock and awe set in when we saw the sign on the door! Typical Wacken, always makes you say WHOA! Mike soon spotted Steve Harris nearby and he and Iggor took off to the sickest photo op of all time!! Jason and I went in the dressing room, admired the Marshall fridge and stole the poster!





Later in the day, after the press was done, the guys all scattered about. I love the giant Trojan deer! I got the set lists and day sheets ready and cruised around a bit. The set time was early and there wasn't much time to waste. We were beginning a marathon of 3 festival shows in 3 countries in 29 hours!



The show was a blazer!!! Many people came to me and remarked on the crowd that came outa nowhere. I smiled...our Tribe. We're big...the biggest in the world. And here was our German Tribe, along with brothers and sisters from many countries..they poured in! You could feel them, and it was the fuel for the band!!







Wacken has it so dialed in, they had a soup machine on stage! In 30 years on the road I have never, ever seen that! Wacken water, Wacken history...it keeps growing!




A big shout out to all the Wacken peops who made our day perfect!! It is so organized and dialed in, and each year gets better!! They were gracious and offered to take us to the airport to hop a private plane to the next stop in Lyoin, France! We opened the Wacken shuttle sliding door, plopped our feet on the Wacken carpet and drank the Wacken water...all in a daze work.





Friday, August 4, 2017

BUNK WARS.....2003

2003 was a busy year for the European Festivals!  So many bands were on tour that I couldn't find a bus!  Every bus I reserved would be snatched away, as soon as I was making the payment!  I finally found one that was used by the Manchester football team....the only problem was...IT HAD NO BUNKS!!  With so many people traveling with us, I had to rent 2 buses.  We were heading to Russia for Christina's wedding in our family church in Volgograd, so we had lots of friends and family with us.




Believe me, everyone was shocked to find two buses with seats picking us up at the airport!!  What started out like Shock and Awe soon turned into a creative construction project that we all called Bunk Wars!  There was a piece of plywood or an air mattress safe in Europe, once our pillaging hands went near!  People claimed property under the tables, under the seats and on top of the tables.  It looked like a gypsy squatter's ville!!

The best feature was the giant coffee area at the back of each bus!  We drank more coffee on that tour than you can imagine!  The only trouble was, the toilet was next to the coffee machine!  The heat would set in and whoa...the smell would overtake us!  One night, as we were all being gassed, Mom came out of the toilet and said "that doesn't stink!  You know what stinks?  Straw in the corner of a train car!"  Touche!  No one complained again!

We were making our way to Russia, visas intact, when I received an urgent message from the Russian government.  Our tour was cancelled  due to their discovery of a terroist attack planned for Volgagrad, the city of the wedding!  With so many Americans traveling, and the city near Chechnya, we made prime targets!





Reboot everything and we switched the wedding to Belgrade, Serbia. It was absolutely a blast!  This tour had many tales...we took my Mom to the concentration she survived; we took her to the location of the forced labor camp she worked in; we took her to the Grand Hotel in Nurnberg where she spent her first free New Years after years of enduring WW2.  We partied with Gypsies and Dad held court at the catering backstages of many festivals. He even asked if he should Pop Slayer in the nose for restricting Max's on stage water tossing! I am ever grateful that Max and the band allowed this to go down.  My parents have left this earth and those experiences are now treasures!

Thanks to Soulfly and our guests for keeping it REAL, for not whining and crybaby-ing!  Bunk Wars.....RIP, Dad, Mom and Leo...you made it righteous!!


Class dismissed.....

Friday, July 28, 2017

DON'T LET A GBH-ER TAKE YOUR SHARPIE!!!

In the early '90's, I was traveling with Sepultura in support of the Arise record...or Beneath the Remains..it was one of them for certain!! So much has happened since my first tour, sometimes it's hard to recall exactly which tour was which! Those early days were quite different than these days! We were a happy bunch of fun loving criminals, and raged hard!


One warm night in Texas, after a show, we all headed to our hotel. We were starting to stay in nicer hotels and Red Roof Inns were becoming memories. I went in my room only to soon hear a knock on the door. The word was out and we were all heading to bash at the outdoor pool. It was late and no one was there. Surely we could chill in peace and enjoy the time off!

After a short time, security showed their faces and ruined our plans. Since my room was near the pool area, everyone decided to go there and transport the fun. I admit I was leery of this move. Parties in hotel rooms always ended up with someone getting kicked out of the hotel. Sure enough, shizzle quickly got out of hand. Max found out that his friends from the UK, GBH, were in the same hotel, so naturally he invited them in. In one rapid hand movement, Jock, Ross and Max played a quick game of tic tac toe on the wall! It wasn't any ordinary game; it was a 4 foot tall game! A minute goes by and there were tic tac toes all over the wall. I couldn't say much. The damage was done. I went out to the pool and slept on a chair...overload? I think, yes!


The security dude gave me the Get Outa Here Nudge in the morning and luckily, I had my room key. The room was a wreck! In those days you didn't need a credit card and I could have easily slid out and escaped. Guilt overcame me and I went to the lobby and fessed up. Blah, blah, blah, have mercy on me! After a short time, the manager charged me $222 to wallpaper one wall of a room. Not bad, actually! I anticipated worse. It would cost me an arm and a leg today, and maybe a chat with an officer or two! The moral of the story....Punks are Punks!

Class dismissed......

Friday, July 21, 2017

HOLLYWOOD ROCK, 1994, PISSING ON A FLAG IS DANGEROUS

In 1994, we travelled to Brasil as part of the Hollywood Rock festival run.  Aerosmith, Robert Plant, Poison, and Ugly Kid Joe were also on the bill.  Rio de Janeiro kicked ass, as always.  It's such a visual city, full of excitement.  If you know how to tame it to your lifestyle, you desire to stay on that beach with the plush sunlight forever.  The famous black and white cobblestone sidewalk, frames the beach and the city streets.  It's romantic and spiritual at the same time.




Sao Paulo was a proud day for Max.  After an explosion of a show, it was important to Max to present Zyon to the crowd, to his people, to his country.  He took him from the side of the stage and carried him to the front.  40,000 crazy fans going wild, and Zyon never flinched.  He just soaked it all up and filed it in his fresh brain.  As Max held Zyon, a Brazilian flag was thrown up on the stage.  Max picked it up, raised it and then turned around and left the stage.  I joined him, as usual and we went towards the dressing room.  Or, so we thought...

At the bottom of the stairs, the MTV cameras and lights turned on, and there, next to MTV,  were the police, waiting to arrest Max!  They advised us to get into the van that had conveniently pulled up.  Max, Zyon and I were shuffled off to the police station and Max was under arrest. For what, we did not know.

At the station, the atmosphere turned light after Max was questioned about the flag.  Apparently someone at the concert protested loudly and quickly, "Max peed on the flag, stomped on it, on the stage and walked off!"  In no time at all, thanks to the arrangements of MTV, the news spread like wildfire, through every possible microphone, fax machine, phone call and carrier pigeon in the country.  Most likely also at every beer and cup of coffee shared in Brazil, for the next week to come!  We were detained for quite some time at the police station.  When the Cop Shop Talk turned to soccer, I quit worrying.  After the Police Chief arrived, Max was released and all was well...until morning.

Max flipped from being the Max everyone loved, to the Max everyone shunned, all in a matter hours.  Every news channel, radio station and magazine was spreading and stretching the story, inch by inch.  A simple presentation of Zyon, with the flag of Brazil, had turned and twisted and arrived at Max, basically shatting on the flag on stage, in front of 40,000 people, while holding Zyon.  Ok.  Every talk show was talking, and every mouth was judging.  We even heard a Brazilian rock star say Max should be lynched!  One of the biggest political magazines had Max in the political cartoon of the week, with the President!  We couldn't leave our hotel room.  Everywhere we went people glared at him.   Paranoia and despair set in.  Poison took it differently and said "You are taking all the press!"  Max didn't want it.

Before Max left the country, for other planetary dates, he wrote a short statement, from his heart, and it too, spread like melted butter.  Everything and everyone cooled down.  I am sure there are some little homes, in some little villages, where the news stayed put and Max will forever be the Flag Destroyer.  It was all part of our Journey.

Class dismissed....