Friday, March 29, 2013

Academy of Touring 101...

How many tours have I produced? I honestly cannot recall; hundreds I am certain. I dabbled a bit in show production in my early Metal years in The Bootlegger. I was just getting the hang of it when the carpet was yanked out from below us and our walls came crashing down.

Trying my hand at band management was the next step for me, once I picked myself up from the tangled mess that dominoed after The Bootlegger's was snatched. I had a band, Sacred Reich, but I didn't have any contacts other than Bill Metoyer at Metal Blade, but I called around and soon had a nice phonebook of numbers and addresses.

Getting a tour was not so easy. I needed to find a booking agent who was willing to help develop a band. Most agents want a group that has a big buzz; they are much easier to book and make moola from. 18 months after the release of "Ignorance" and I still could not land a tour! I even wrote a letter to Debbie Abono who was the manager of The Possessed, asking if they would take Sacred on tour! I phoned every person I could think of, and every label that released Metal, trying to sniff out a tour.
Phil Rind

Jason Rainey
Wiley Arnett

I finally found a tiny, unknown agent who booked 5 shows in North America for Sacred Reich. We even went to Canada on this run! Trouble was, he got arrested by the feds for tax evasion and we never received the deposits. Who cared? No one did! We were thrilled to have a tour!
Greg Hall

On this first tour, I began to keep a journal and have continued writing for all these 25 years on the road. I am grateful to have done this because I have a log of my life...68 countries have my footsteps. My university was the road. I sold merch, tour managed, did the tour accounting and managed the band and a family while on my long journey. We had no tools such as cell phones, wifi or even fax machines. Pagers were a whim in the mid 90's but in the 80's you did all the legwork on a landline.
Gotz, Rainer Hansel, and Tommy (Coroner)

With the small buzz beginning in America, I was able to get a European agent who began booking Sacred dates abroad. On my first European tour, which was Christmas dates with Motorhead, I hired a European tour manager because I was tripping out on performing overseas. Were things different there? Would people speak English? Would we know what to do? To my dismay and horror, the tour manager knew less than I did. 24 hours in Europe and I realized shows were basically the same everywhere and I shizzle-canned the TM. The promoter, legendary Rainer Hansel, gave me encouragement in my decision. I scooped my confidence up in my Anvil briefcase, laced up my best Doc Martens and moved on.
Me,  Fan, and Jason

We did this first tour in a Mercedes station wagon that we rented at the airport in Frankfort...with no credit card! We piled our gear, luggage, Sacred Reich and myself in and took off for the unknown. Jason Rainey did most of the driving but we all took a hand at the wheel. We thought we were badasses in our Mercedes!!
Schmir (Destruction)

After this tour, offers for shows came to us regularly, and soon the world was our stomping ground. We spread the word of Metal and Sacred Reich to the far reaches of this planet. Little did we realize the path we would choose would leave a mark on Metal History....
The Sacred touring family
Sacred at Euro Festival

Class dismissed...

Friday, March 22, 2013


            After the Brixton show and Sepultura’s collapse, we returned home mentally exhausted and physically drained. Christmas was only days away and the mood around our home was of despair. We tried to carry on for the children, but with their brother gone forever, it was next to impossible. On Christmas Eve, we received a letter saying the funds from all Sepultura accounts were frozen because of the split. It was the last straw. No money, no Sepultura and even worse, no Dana.... life was spiraling, deeper and deeper into the dark unknown.

            Christmas morning we all watched a video of our Christmas the year before. Dana was passing out the gifts and Zyon was rocking out to the Deftones' Bored. It seemed an eternity away. All we could do was go through the motions.

            1997 rolled in like a foreboding storm. The sun was shining in Arizona, but our house was full of gloom. Max and I were fighting breakdowns 24/7. We lived off each other's energy, trying to hold each other up. Our lives were so fragile during this time period.

            I knew something was wrong with the police assessment of the accident that took Dana's life. I immediately knew he had been murdered. Why couldn't the police see?? I teamed up with Dana's girl, Kristen Carneal, and we became detectives. If the police couldn't solve this mystery, we would. I wore a Cleopatra Halloween wig to cover my green hair, put on wife beater t-shirts and we went into the gang areas. I never told Max or anyone what we were doing. I did not want him to worry about us. We girls had nothing to lose.

            Max created his own therapy. He set up his recording equipment in the kitchen, like he had done since Chaos AD was written. In no time at all, he was the Creator! The first song he wrote was Eye For An Eye. I could only marvel at the brilliance of his writing! The passion of the emotional state of our home was infused in his anger and pain. His original lyrics, which he later revised during recording, said it all...

You stole what I create, playing with my fate, integrity is not a game.
Who do you think you're fooling, pretending that you're ruling,
Can’t you see it's not the same...

We made a short trip to Sedona, to a favorite retreat, The Enchantment Resort. We had stayed there many times before and thought we could clear our minds a bit. When Roxanne, our daughter, and I walked in, we almost had a heart attack! There at the front desk was JFK Jr., checking in to a room. We girls couldn't speak! Damn, the man looked good in a suit! He looked at us, with my green hair blazing and said "Far out!!" We all laughed! We walked out to the car and told Max and the boys about our adventure.

Soon in the room, Max set up his 4-track and began writing in the morning. He wrote the classic song "No" at this moment. The original lyrics also included "No JFK, No Courtney Love." Maybe I said JFK Jr. was cute a few too many times for Max's liking....??

Back at home, Max continued to spit out hits!! I was so amazed each time he let me hear another song. "Tribe, Primitive, Bumba, Quilombo, The Song Remains the Same," they flowed out of his mind like a quick thought! Max also honored a fellow Brazilian artist who had died in a car accident shortly after Dana whose name was Chico Science. He called the track "No Hope, No Fear."  “Bleed" was penned during this period of anger and pain. It helped Max release his emotions about the lack of justice and the agony of losing someone abruptly to violence. He also wrote songs that have never been recorded..."Loser" and "Judas" among others. It was also at this time he wrote the basis for "Head Up," a cassette he would carry with him to Seattle at a much later date. I knew my man was slowly healing.

I called Monte Conner at Roadrunner and told him Max was ready for him to hear music. I knew we had enough songs for a killer cd and I could tell Max was ready for the studio. We flew to New York, songs in hand and faith in our hearts. We were going to get through our Dark Ages.

We met with Cees Wessels and Monte and discussed the possibility of a new deal and recording session. Monte loved the songs and we could feel a glimmer of light enter our lives. I explained we had no band and assured them it would be no time at all before we had a lineup. To our amazement and secret hopes, our project was accepted and a giant hurdle was jumped. 
Back in Phoenix, Marcelo Dias, a longtime friend was hired to play bass. Lucio, the guitarist of Chico Science, was asked to play guitar and a young man we had recently met, Roy Mayorga was invited to drum. We still didn't have a clue to the band name. This would come much later, out of nowhere, standing in the company of the Deftones.

            Soon we would be in Malibu at the Indigo Ranch, where we had laughed with Dana and Sepultura. It seemed like the right thing to do. We walked to the outskirts of the property, on a cliff that overlooked a lush valley. A large cactus stood guard over the view. Carved in its soft plumage were the names of friends who had once stood there...Dana, Chino, KORN, and more. We knew we were exactly where we were supposed to be...

Class dismissed...

Friday, March 15, 2013

"...hold your HEADUP high." - Dana Wells

After Dana's death, everyday human routines were a struggle for me. I could work because it took my mind off dark thoughts, but I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep. How could I do these movements when my son couldn't? I felt guilty to sleep and relax or to feed my thin frame. It took me 3 years to begin to understand and come to grips with the tragedies of 1996.

The Deftones had a super tight relationship with Dana. They had a magical thread weaving them together for their love of music.

When they called and asked Max to come to Seattle and collaborate on a track in Dana's memory, it lifted Max and me out of the Valley of Despair. It gave us a spark of Life back.

Max, Terry Date, Myself
We both flew to Seattle and hooked up with the guys and met Terry Date, who was producing Around The Fur. It was exciting to be with The Deftones. Everyone had so much positive energy. Being involved in a creation from the ground floor was like being an architect constructing his masterpiece. It wasn't long before they were all digging on some music Max had brought with him. I pulled a surprise out also. I grabbed some lyrics I had found at home that Dana had written. They were written across a flier and said "WALKING THROUGH THIS WORLD YOU HAVE TO HOLD YOUR HEAD UP HIGH".

Chi, Chino, Max
Chino loved the lyrics and the 'Tones all loved the music Max brought to the studio.One thing lead to another and before I knew it, Chino and Max were throwing down the vocals. Chino even got a bloody nose from the mic hitting him. They were singing like it was a live show, not a studio recording! This moment was the twin birth of Headup and also the name of Max's new band. It was the recording of this song that inspired the name Soulfly.

Chino, Stef, Chi, Abe and Frank....Maximum Respect and love to you. You never knew, but you picked Max and me up and lifted us to the next stair, a stair that rose above our grief.

Max, Steph
Dana's photo was pictured in the Around the Fur cd booklet. If you look closely, you will see a young, long-haired boy with a big birdie....little, mischievous Zyon....from his heartbeat on Chaos Ad, to Around the Fur. We were all survivors!
Class dismissed...

Thursday, March 7, 2013


           I don't remember when Dana met the Deftones, but I remember their demo tape became an addiction in our home. Zyon got caught up with "Bored" and we heard it slamming through the house all day long. Dana made lots of recordings of Zyon jamming to Bored. In fact, Zyon was so gangster, I told Max that when Zyon took the stage over, one day in the future, Max would have to take a break and sit a couple out.

 Dana was after me to manage the Deftones. They were young and without a manager at the time he met them. I booked a flight to Sacremento but as Fate chooses, I went into labor just a couple days before my trip and little Igor was born. I missed out on my meeting and Warren Entner signed the Deftones. I respected him greatly and knew the band was in good hands. With a new baby, Sepultura's Chaos AD release, and Nailbomb's Point Blank coming out, I was quite busy.

Dana, Jason Rainey of Sacred Reich, and some friends of Dana chilling waiting for the show

           Max and I were home for a while, in Phoenix, when Dana told us the Deftones were going to play there, in a club called After the Goldrush. I knew it well. I had done many shows there with Sacred Reich and Sepultura. It was a nice sized club in Tempe, near ASU.

We all went to the concert and Dana was so frikken happy! Trust me, we were excited too!! Zyon made sure we all knew every note...of at least one song!! Their cd, Adrenalin, had just come out and max was listening to it nonstop.

Max was invited to sing Engine Number 9 with them. The club wasn't sold out but the fans who were there got a treat that night for sure!! It was obvious to us their career was about to explode. What we didn't know was there would one day be a song titled Head Up and fate would ask our lovable Chi to step out...


Class dismissed...