Joe the Camera
It was Christmas morning 1978, and I was at the grandparents on my fathers side for this one, they were in my life even though he wasn’t, carrying the guilt that their deadbeat son was wishing away with alcohol somewhere in the midwest. I didn’t mind too much though, I got spoiled rotten for these abandonment issues.
It was still dark when I woke up, and I was still young enough to hope to catch Santa eating the cookies I had left out the night before. I creaked down the spicy mustard colored carpet that lined the narrow and chilly hall, shuffling my Winnie the pooh footy pajamas, and waking up my grandparents. Fuck, Santa was gone, and didn’t even eat all the cookies… I wondered if he didn’t like them, and immediately started to worry about gifts being affected because of shitty Foodtown cookies.
Grandma sat at the kitchen table, lighting up a Marlboro Gold 100, while Grandpa brought me a present from under the tree in the living room. It was a small box wrapped in shiny gold paper, with a green and red plaid bow tied around it, I flipped open the tiny card taped to the box that said, “Open Me First!"
I remember thinking how weird it was that the color of the wrapping paper and ribbon were an exact match to that shitty yellow rug and the plaid couch covered in plastic in the living room.
They watched me rip open the box, smiling nervously, Grandma looking over me with smoke rippling out of her nose like an old Italian dragon, while Grandpa patted his hands on his lap eagerly anticipating my reaction, while unknowingly dying of lung cancer.
I peeled away the gold paper like a Willie Wonka chocolate bar and saw the words “POLAROID” across the top of box. My eyes popped open like the sound of someone opening a can of Coke, and my mouth dropped so far that I almost got cigarette ashes on my tongue from the loaded ash tray on the kitchen table.
The card on the inside said "TO MY SON, LOVE DAD, I MISS YOU!!!”
Finally… finally, finally, finally, I could tell my mother what I had been hoping all along, that she was wrong. I knew my Dad wasn’t a drunk, deadbeat, douchebag, sperm doning, loser, fuckface, while she worked two jobs and went to night school to give me a better life. I knew she was wrong about my dad! Maybe the child support checks she never received were just going to the wrong address? Maybe he had the wrong number when he tried to call on my birthday every year… maybe…
I was more excited to get this shitty Polaroid camera from my father than I was about any gift I had ever gotten from anyone on any holiday ever before this.
I quickly changed out of my pajamas, and into my weird, brown, corduroy, church outfit. We took pictures to send to dad, wherever he might have been shoveling cow shit for beer money that month, and went to church. It was literally the best Christmas I had ever had.
It was now the summer after, and I had been wondering why he never called to say he got the pictures, or why I could never call him to thank him for my camera. My mom and I were walking through the mall and passed a shoe store, she started snickering and said, “Hey, you wanna see your father?" and low and behold, there he was… in a cheap blazer, down on one knee, measuring some old man's foot, just like Al Bundy.
His face dropped when he turned his head and looked directly into my eyes. Mom rushed me out of the store, laughing the words she always had for him under her breath, I remember feeling empathy, anger, and embarrassment for him, this whole time I thought he was far away, but there he was. He had been in NJ all along.
I was well into my teens before I figured out that my grandparents had bought that camera themselves and signed my father's name on it.
I stare at this blank fucking screen like I stare at my phone. I know it's in there, but it's not coming out, it hasn't in quite some time now... all that fear of failure or whatever people with alcoholism blame their laziness on seems to be happening to me again. I know I'm better than most of the bullshit out there, even though you're not supposed to say you're better. You're supposed to say you are no better or worse than any other person because that's what people say. Do people really feel that way? Because I think I'm better than a whole lotta mother fuckers, even though I feel like a scumbag loser most of the time. I know I can write a funnier show, give a better pitch from a podium, write a better song... but I don't. I lose constantly because of the cripple. Is it because I don't think I can? Am I masking all these insecurities with bravado mouth bullshit?
Fuck man... I just want to be 30 seconds of what I feel like my mom thinks I am. Twenty second troll jabs on Facebook feeding it like an asian hooker, but it goes away so fast now. I don't want to argue about shit I don't even care about on the internet, I don't want to post selfies and hope I get more than 200 likes so I can be fulfilled in my day. I want to wake up, take a deep breath, and just fucking go man... I see some of these fancy AA dudes hustling it all up, and I feel like I'm the only one that can see how full of shit they actually are. Then I go acting completely full of shit not even aiming for a prize. I'm surprised I haven't been shot dead yet for some of the dumb shit I've done.
I tend to get lost in my delusion quite often, believing that my life actually is what it looks like on Facebook. Thinking that I am adored and people should just give me free stuff just for being born...
Tour Guide (day ?)
I just had a dream that I forgot what I was dreaming about… I have been trying these natural sleeping pills to try and make up for the insomnia that the european drinking band we are sharing the bus with have been providing for me, and ll they do is give me weird dreams, in 15 minute intervals of drool time.
It’s weird, I used to be able to shoot an 8-ball of coke and go to Target. Now, if I drink 2 cups of coffee, I have to shut my phone off, and hide in the bathtub with the lights off. I guess my tolerance for downers has always been a little higher, but I’m not about to down a whole bottle of German valerian root, just to get some extra sleep. It’s all for vanity reasons anyway, I think much more artistically when I only get a couple of hours in, but I look like I’ve aged 15 years and went vegan.
The cigarettes don’t help, even though I’ve got it down to roughly 2~3 a day (after show only), and I drink a ton of water, I’m just old enough to feel the effects so heavy, that I might as well be smoking a pack of Pall-Mall non-filter, washed down with 2 liter diet coke on the reg.
I’ve never been able to really sleep on anything moving, it feels to out of control. Like if something were to happen, and I was sleeping, so, it just makes me not sleep… I also broke some serious wind in a rem drop one time on an airplane next to really pretty person. The McDonald’s breakfast I had eaten in a moment of weakness, mixed with the cabin pressure at take off, and the coolness of the plastic window on my temple, had made a little “brrrffttt” that woke me up. I wasn’t sure if it had really happened or not, and then it hit me… then, it hit her. Probably the most embarrassing plane moment I’d ever had. My Grandmother taking me clothes shopping for 7th grade on a Saturday in my hang mall was less embarrassing than that.
So, I normally just stay up laying in my bunk till about 5 or 6am, dreaming about all the creative things I could be doing, while I stare at how many likes the picture of me and my cool face-maker is getting. Then pass out and sleep all day, till like 20 minutes before soundcheck. I swear I might as well be on heroin.
The bunks are big, but they are a hard sleep, and the way I sleep in them really fucks my back up. Lifers will tell you that they would rather sleep in a bunk bus than a real bed… they're idiots who either don't have a real bed, or hate their wives.
I slow pace it to the dressing room like Fred Sanford, with the back of my hand against my lower back, and my face wincing at the ceiling. I grumble over to whatever Terminator 2 Electric Boogaloo european coffee machine they have provided, and stand there for 20 minutes trying to figure out how to use it, until some weird over smiley dude comes over to help me. I thank him, and he nods 30 or 40 times walking away backwards. I get enough coffee in my system to feel the right amount of clammy, and anti-social, and make my way to the bathroom that the opening band has completely destroyed with all their european rocking and rolling weirdness. I lay towels all over the floor, and spray all the dyed black hair resinating all over everything, into a rusty blackened drain, that seems to lead to the bowels of where old metal dudes go to die of no sleep. I also lay a towel inside the shower, because sometimes, it just feels that gross. its really not, but it just feels that way…
I wash the night befores shower off, brush the thick, staining, german, coffee off of my teeth, and douse myself in Agatha’s oils, leaving the bathroom cleaner than anyone had ever left it, and smelling like a head shop in Portland. I make one more cup of coffee (with no help this time), eat five rolls soaked in glorious freshly churned butter, because the bread is always absolutely fucking amazing just about anywhere out here, and make my way to the stage to muddle through a song or two.
I don’t really need soundcheck, it’s more for Tommy and Art to dial in their sounds and make sure their shit actually works.
They have lots of pedals, and pads, and bleeps, and bips I don’t even have anything in my wedges, I’m so fucking deaf, It doesn't really matter anyway. I lay my phone on the top of a cabinet, because I’m still waiting for the love of my life to text me and tell me to come home. It’s never going to happen, but I wait anyway. Tommy and Art are incessantly noodling their instruments to the point where I want to scream, but I just sit there and wait for them to finish so nobody looks at me like I’m a fucking dickhead. They already look at em enough for it. I painfully smile as we start a song, it sounds tight, killer, loud, and we impress everyone on the floor. Now it’s finally time to go back to the dressing room to stare into luminous space television. man, that was a brutal 10 minutes of actual work…
As I feel myself getting dumber from super important Facebook opinions, I reach for that last cup of coffee… the one that always puts me over the edge. I know I shouldn’t have it, but, maybe this time, it will be different… nope. Not different. Everyone is against me now, or trying to kill me, or am I against them? No matter, I go back into my curtained off cave and stare at my phone, but she still hasn’t told me she wants me to come home. The pillows are always so weird on these busses, it’s never a bed pillow, more like an overly soft throw pillow, encased in a foot of extra fabric that you can never really put anywhere, the blanket is comfortable, but always and inch or two too short. The tempurpedic day bed mattress fits my body just enough to where I can almost roll over without crashing from a middle bunk drop to a hardwood death, so I lay in that one position until it’s time to quickly flip myself over with some quasi-Bruce Lee move, that’s most likely going to throw out my lower back again… I’m 45 years old, I pulled my left bicep a few days before we hit the road reaching for dryer sheets. No joke.
She finally text me, but it was just a few pictures of our son, our gorgeous son who I can’t stand to be away from for more than 12 hours… so these runs really hit me hard now, but hey, at least she’s texting me something.
I’m able to get a couple more hours sleep before the show, even though the bus door keeps opening and closing, and stupid heavy metal boots are clomping up and down the 7 stairs of the double decker, in thick Schwarzenegger whispers. I dream about stuff I can’t really comprehend. I’m on a plane, but it’s a boat, there’s a hot leprechaun in the seat next to me eating red vines, but he doesn’t speak english… Journey is playing over the talk box, and the TV on the back of my seat is playing an old Morton Downey Jr episode, but he’s screaming at the television in Dutch with smoke billowing out of his mouth. I soon wake up in a coffee sweat to realize that it’s just the singer of the opening band trying not to wake me up, but whispering right next to my fucking bunk. I huff through the curtain very passive aggressively, patting him on the shoulder as I gimp by, trying to straighten my body out from being in the truck stop coffin too long, and realize that he actually did me a favor because it’s almost show time.
Yes, I blew another chance to see another amazing city. Art does that stuff all the time, goes out and looks at buildings and shit. Sometimes I’ll go with him, but for the most part, I’m just going to sit backstage in the same spot for hours and hours, knowing I’m totally annoying on the internet, but trying oh so hard not to be, and yell at this particular part of the country for not having Netflix yet, then hate myself for not knowing how to work the gnc or whatever the fuck I downloaded to get that stuff to work in every country I’m in…
20 minutes to show, I pop my old man pre-work out shit, and stretch like that’s actually going to help anything. The way I act on stage is cool for a 24 year old shirtless dude with nipple piercings and shitty tribal tattoos, but not for this 45 year old man with chewed up pencil erasers for nipples and a bunch of cover ups, but I can’t help it. I know no other way…
The show goes over very well as it always does, and one more time I didn’t stroke out from banging my head like an idiot. I try to contain myself, but I just don’t have that off switch when I’m up there. If I’m into it, I go all in, If I’m not, I still go all in.
I stumble off stage, dripping in bottled water, sweat, and ego. I sit on a wooden chair that doesn't really feel all the way put together, and dramatically put my head in my hands, running my fingers through this beaver dam I just turned my hair into.
I look up, and there it is again… fucking pizza. Boxes upon boxes of weird, european pizza, which I reluctantly shove in my face because, well, because its just there…. it’s always pizza or kabob, bags of leaky hot cabbage and unidentifiable meat, soaking through a flour tortilla, ruining your stage pants. Neither of these things make for a very pleasant bus ride. I sit around all day, do like 20 push ups to make myself feel a little better about myself, then pound carbs and sugar like I was going to the fucking electric chair after midnight.
There’s a reason I don’t take my shirt off anymore, you can ask anyone, I fucking love being shirtless… but the ripples have slowly turned into waves over the years, and I’m just sitting there wading through the chocolate and potatoes, hoping it all goes away without me having to do any actual work. Like this is just some kind of fat fluke, and has nothing to do with age or laziness.
99% of the people that come to our shows, want to see Tommy, this is no big mystery, but he likes when we are at the merch booth with him. So I reluctantly go, to take pictures and sign shit, while drunk, sweaty, old men, tell me in the most broken of all english, that the first time they saw Prong was in 1991… they ALL say it. it’s actually quite phenomenal.
I usually last there about 15 minutes, smiling, thanking, and sweating. I sneak outside to the front, to smoke my celebratory cigarette, congratulating myself for not smoking all day. I sign a few more things out there, take a few more pictures, and head back in to shower. She still hasn’t asked me to come home, but that’s ok. I get through another day, with gratitude, patience, and a cynical manipulation of public opinion.
Sweaty pants hang in the balance of love and hate, drying themselves, while soaking the concrete floor. Everyone has to soak a concrete floor once in a while in order to dry themselves out, its the nature of the beast. Maybe I’ll go to the back lounge and pound a Snickers bar while I watch Star Wars again, maybe I’ll go smoke one more cigarette with Marcel our driver, maybe I’ll lay in my bunk and stare at my phone until she tells me to come home, ending up luminously blind and crying. There’s a rack of paper cups on the back of the seat that have been driving me crazy for a few days now, maybe I’ll move them to a place where people can actually enjoy them, so they stop pissing me off…
Do I feel like a lucky mother fucker to be sitting in this truck stop somewhere off the autobahn at 8:46am with a broken back and a jones for machine spewed caffeine? In the immortal words of Cliff Burton, “Abso-muthafuckin-lutely.”
I’ve had much worse jobs, in and out of this profession… it’s all a “Slave to the Grind” in one way or another ;)
Tour Guide (day 1)
Here I sit, next to a massive pile of garlic soaked asians boarding a plane for China. My headphones block my ears from the drone muttering of shuffling mutants stuffing their useless groan holes with overpriced piles of goop salt, washing it all down with gallon sized funnels of fascist Mountain Dew.
I steer away from my usual angry playlist for traffic in places like this, its much more dangerous when im not in a giant pile of metal, surging through the lame streets of Loa Angeles. I once witnessed my friend elbow a 12 year old girl for just standing in the center of the walk way looking at her phone, I felt bad, but fuck her.. she deserved it.
So for airport hikes, I usually find a folky, almost acoustic type playlist to ease my already simmering brain, because the Uber guy took the freeway instead of back roads.
I woke up at dawn, went to Sa’s to pick up little man and drive him to school, gave him the longest hug and kiss goodbye, and went home to finish packing… the length of a tour never mattered to me until I had my son. I couldn’t wait to get the fuck out of this shithole most of the time, and if I was on the road, I was getting paid, so the longer the better. Now, the thought of not being able to smell my sons breath for 3 weeks makes me absolutely insane. So much so, that I drove back to the school before I had to leave, to give him one more hug and kiss goodbye. I never really cried for a good reason before, today was definitely a good reason. This is that kind of love where you squeeze so hard you pop the fucking kids eyeballs out of his sockets.
10 hours on a plane is not really that fun, but whatever. I haven’t been to europe in a while, so this will be a nice welcome back. The weather is starting to warm up a little, so we won’t be in the blisters of a German winter. No more black ice for me to get all Cliff Burton about.
It’s bad enough that every time the plane takes off, or lands, I think I'm going to die in a violent, flame balling crash before we even get 500 feet off the ground… every time, no matter how much I fly, I think it's the last time i'm getting on a plane. hopefully i'll get really lucky and get a middle seat.
To someone that hasn't been to Europe with their band, I definitely sound like a real douche, but to guys that have been there, they know exactly what I'm talking about. Yes, I am absolutely grateful for my life, but just like anything, after a while, it becomes a job, and with that job, comes hassles… I'm trying to stay positive these days, so I'm not going to get into it, but if I can't watch the 2nd season of Daredevil on this journey, I might just have to choke someone out with a donor kabob…
I promised myself i wasn't going to kill myself like I normally do on these runs. Doing nothing but jerking off, smoking cigarettes, chugging coffee, and staying up all night staring out the window, so I look 25 years older when I arrive back in the states.. normal sleep hours, only 2 cigarettes a night (aftershow), and running and push ups every day. We’ll see how long that lasts, if it even gets off the ground at all.
6.5 hours left in flight, and stuck in the window seat.. better than the middle, but not as good as the aisle, my fidgety ass can’t handle not being able to get up when I want. It's not even about getting up, it's about knowing I can't that makes it a terrible experience.
One time I was in a rehab, and all I wanted to do was play my fucking guitar. If I could play my guitar, that would make everything better… my fingers were actually aching to play it. I was writing song after song in my head, racks of lyrics would appear in black sharpe on the inside of my skull, and with every cursive letter that was stroked out, I would curse the poor, underpaid, technicians, with every vile, disturbing, thought, about getting loaded I could muster, until, they finally let my mother bring me my acoustic.
I think I played it once for about 6 minutes, then it leaned against a portable toilet chair in the corner of the room for the remainder of my stay. The lyrics stopped appearing in my head, my fingers stopped aching, and I became deliberately stagnant. Then, when I got out of that rehab, I sold that guitar for a couple of bags of heroin…
I remember a lady there that had a massive crush on me, she was a soap opera star or something of the sort. She would throw notes into my room asking me to meet her in the bathroom after bed call, she would dramatically scream from the end of the women’s hallway when I would try to leave against medical advice. She would sit in the hallway outside my room and play the Tom Waits version of "Jersey Girl" on this little walkman type transistor. I would sit in my room and cry listening to the words... I wasn't in love with a Jersey girl, but I still got it.
12:28pm London time. During our layover to Dussledorf from Heathrow, we got the news about the multiple terrorist attacks in Brussels this morning, which is 2 hours away from Dusseldorf, and also where we will be in 2 to 3 days…
Everyone is on high alert, talking about the attacks, reading about it on their phones, and keeping a close eye on all the people in heavy scarf attire. You cant help but be a tad racist in times like these… I find myself looking on the ground for children running with backpacks. People are smiling, and pretending not to be worried, but the fear is so thick in the air, I can barely breathe, and we can only pray that what happened to our dear friends in Paris, doesn't happen to us. I'm not really scared, it's more of an aware fear. You become so blindsidedly coddled in America, people talk about the ghettos and the rough neighborhoods they grew up in. I get that, people getting shot and mugged every once in a while, sounds totes scary. It's a whole different animal out here, the real ghetto, the real badlands… where you have to worry about your grandmother getting blown to bits on a bus with 26 children. I'd rather live in a neighborhood that kills for money and drugs, then one that kills for god and religion… it’s a much safer hang.
Ugh, take off's on smaller planes, so much worse than regular 707'sThere's a baby in first class screaming it's face off. I'd be pissed if I shelled out the extra 500 pounds for this flight, and it was ruined by a dirty diaper and an earache.
Dear Los Angeles my dear...
The talentless hack of a server who has 100 head shots in the trunk of her car, and sits in AA every day complaining about her shitty boyfriend
The sober "artist"
That musician with too much Ed Hardy shit in his hair, and a rockin Instagram...
The never ending parking lot of any street you turn down after 7am
The countless extras from the Walking Dead setting up tents on every freeway overpass in Los Angeles, and most of the side streets in Hollywood.
The constant flow of puzzled faces, garbed in Izod collars, khaki shorts and velcro sandals, taking pictures of the John Wayne star that some dreaded homeless guy wearing no pants took a shit on 3 days prior.
The broken stripper heel rest next to the peaceful sticky weave on the mustard stained curb, stuck with dried onion and the end of a bacon wrapped hot dog, that a rabid pigeon won't even give a second glance to...
Whatever... this is just some of the price you have to pay to live in the town that has given you everything right? No matter how hard you try and sabotage yourself, people still let you live your dream and blah blah all that happy Hollywood horseshit...
I used to get so mad at people, I mean, people still make me completely irate, but it's more of a "screenshot to a group chat" kind of anger these days... which is far more full-filling than being angry alone. Loud cell phone guy at the Coffee Bean used to eat me up inside for days on end... until one day I realized, he probably isn't even talking to anyone, and I giggled pleasantly to myself. Instagram rocker guy posting all his fancy shit used to make me intolerable of the internet, and the state of music in general, until I realized how lonely and shallow he is, and that that stupid internet is all he has to make him feel wanted. Some of these realizations didn't just come to me, my burning bushes came with the help of some very dear friends...
Finding a group of friends that share a common interest in people bashing is one of the most therapeutic things that has ever happened to me. I'm in about 5 group chats, everyone we bash totally deserves it, and would probably commit suicide if found out. I'm sure I'm also in a bunch of group chats with various dicks that think I'm this or that, and that's fine with me. I used to get really bummed when I heard people didn't like me, or I heard someone was speaking ill of me. Then I realized that what I say or think about that person, is more than likely a million times worse than anything they would be thinking or saying about me, and 99% of the time, I am absolutely thanking fucking God I am not that person... ever. so, fuck them anyway.
My time is limited here, and I used to spend it in total fear that I wasn't this enough, or I wasn't that enough, until I got it all and... it still... wasn't... enough...
It wasn't until very recently that I started discovering what is actually really fucking important. Like, raising my son to be a gentle warrior.
Raising a good human, that can help.
Not raising some fucking asshole that thinks a watch or a shirt makes him cool, or thinks that being healthy is ordering a chicken sandwich from a drive thru. I refuse be responsible for someone that shop at Wal-Mart in a rascal.... your fucking parents should be ashamed of themselves.
So, here I sit. 7:45am, about to wake up my son and get him ready for school, thinking about the love I lost, and the love I still have. Writing about assholes because I've been up since 5 drinking organic coffee from Whole Foods........ I don't know who I'm becoming, but I sure as fuck am glad I'm not the person I became.
It was cold and drizzly outside. The roads were slick, and it was just cold enough to give them a light sheet of ice in certain places... you had to be careful taking the turns in the rain, the tire's on Jerry's car were a little worn, and you didn't want to end up sideswiping a telephone pole.
It was our first fall out of high school. Driving around listening to thrash cassettes, chainsmoking Marlboro reds, looking for weed, and trying to figure out what we were going to do with our lives was a daily occurance. The drops of rain that collected on the rim of the cracked window would try to extinguish my cigarette every time I ashed... the heat blared form the vents, while ice cold drizzle swiped the right side of my face. I would incessantly air drum until my arms were sore, or until we arrived at whatever lame destination we were headed to.
Hanging out at friend's houses who's parents were at work was getting old quick, we would sit there bored out of our minds, numbing heads with stoner fix. The fix just made us more bored, and we would start fantasizing about carreers, wives, and owning homes. We were of the 6% of our classes that didn't go to college, and decided that maybe we should fix that.
So with our new found lust for adulthood, we drove over to Bergen Tech. The local trade school, where dudes like us went to get a nice, american, blue collar carreer. The kind of place you could go and not have to worry about removing the dangling sword from your left ear.
We ended up taking the electrician course. They made great money, and didn't really have to lift heavy stuff... so we figured that would be a great job for a lazy pothead. What we didn't take into consideration, was the massive amount of shit you must learn, as to not electrocute yourself... it wasn't just about plugging the green wire into the green base. Not smoking a ton of weed before class might have helped us retain some of that information as well. I remember sitting in that class thinking, "holy shit I'm stupid."
I may have felt completely retarded, but at least I felt like I was doing something... and my Mom had lightened up off my back a little as well. I attended my first class, and things were looking good for the old young drunk. What I didn't tell anyone was that I had already made my decision to not go back... there was no fucking way I could party the way I did, and become successful at anything other than being a regular at a rehab. Jerry had convinced me to give it one more shot, so he picked me up in front of my house (it was still cold and drizzling), and we headed on our way. That morning we had no weed, and it was a fucking bummer. We searched the entire car for the tiniest roach, called all our friends, but it was dry as fuck. We stopped at the McDonald's drive-thru for some #1's with coke's, and got pulled over as soon as we pulled out of the parking lot.
New Jersey cops are notorious for being the biggest douchebags on the planet. Every bully jock from high school becomes one, and their tiny little penis' show, in the size of the tires on their personal vehicles, and the brut force they treat people smaller than them with... so these wannabe marines couldn't wait to drag 2 long hairs out of a car, in hopes of finding dead bodies and a brick of uncut heroin in the trunk. Unfortunately for them, all they found was Big Mac seeds on the seat... which they completely freaked out about, and threw us against the back of the car, spreading our legs apart, and frisking us. Did I mention that the McDonald's was right next to the trade school we were attending? And that it was break time, and every kid was out on the front lawn watching us get harrassed?
While we were laughing because the cops thought the seeds off the hamburger bun were drugs, and it just happened to be the first time in months we weren't stoned or carrying anything.. this mother fucking cop pulls a half joint out of nowhere!! Holding that shit up like he found the mother load.
We were dumbfounded man... we searched that whole fucking car like 4 times that morning looking for anything to sweep into our lungs, and nothing. This mother fucker just tilts his glasses down, and boom.
Now they really have a reason to be assholes, and throw us in the back of the car. They threw us in the back of the car to write us a ticket, because it was just under whatever amount the drug free school zone law had marked for 100 years in federal prison or whatever bullshit that was, and that was all they could do... the entire school sure did get a kick out of watching us get searched and kicked around though. Neither of us ever went back after that day... and neither of us became electricians.
What we did do, was go to the record store and get the new Slayer...
I make four... but as soon as I sink my teeth into the first one, I know I need to throw in 2 more for back up... just in case I need to be a complete piece of shit for the rest of the day.
My son sleeps soundly on the floor in front of the numbing machine, that has obviously done it's job, and Disney danced my poor unsuspecting child right off to dreamland. I take this opportunity to gorge myself with as many White Castle hamburgers that I can pull out of the freezer at one time, and wash them down with the IBC cream soda staple...
This shit's been going on since I was a teenage drunk in New Jersey (way before the word alcoholism was invented). We would pick the least hammered person, pack into their car, and sit in the parking lot of White Castle on rt.17, with a giant white bag filled with these proccessed little heart attacks, and see who could eat the most sliders in one bumper sitting. I'm pretty sure that John Roth still holds the record to this day... that dude ate like 39 of those things in one shot.
6 sliders, 1 cream soda, and 50 push ups... that should make me feel better. I feel that the apple I had yesterday, will balance out this unhealthy lunch. I might walk on my hands around the baby while he's still sleeping for a little while as well... really shake it up.
My shift was over, they let me cash my whopping $120 check in the store. I stood oustide holding my dirty white apron, waiting for my friend to pick me up. The store was at the bottom of the hill off the main blvd. that we used to cruise down every night when we were teenagers, looking for the heathenous hair sprayed whores that never became cheerleaders, sucking down wine coolers, snapping their gum, and blaring Poison out of their t-topped Iroc- z's...
I had been strung out for so long, that sex with a girl sounded like a nice change of pace... it had been about 2 years since I was even interested in trying to get my dick hard.
I was smelling the deli meat on my fingers while the sun set over the hill, realizing I should go back inside and wash my hands because I stunk like a genoa salami, when all of the sudden, I heard tires screeching over distorted guitars and triggered drums... the pace of my heart was raised about 4 measures, as Mike's blue pathfinder tilted it's way into the parking lot, racing towards me like he was going to barrel me into the white brick wall I was smoking against. He barely stopped the car as I flicked my cigarette into the dusk, and jumped in the passenger seat. We hugged it out, turned up the music, and headed back to his house to prime up for the evenings events. A slight wave of relief had come over me, these were the people I felt safe with, they knew me... I didn't have to pretend to be anyone else, I could just be my idiot self, and they were fine with it.
Nothing completely insane happened that night. Not like AA said it would anyway... they had tried brainwashing me to believe that if I relapsed, I was going to lose an arm, or my Mother was going to get Cancer. I had heard so many horror stories about people drinking after a certain time sober, and killing a family in a car accident, or dying in a bar fight, or drinking and having a heartattack from smoking too much cocaine. I had been in some barfights, and smoked some coke, but I knew, I knew with all my heart, that I could just regress back into my teens, and it would be just like it was in 1988. We could pop the trunk, blare some under produced shitty metal, and try to take out the street lights with empty brown beer bottles... and that was exactly what happened. There was no heroin, no one died in a car wreck, it was just a good hang... I fucking knew I was right.
I remember popping the first beer back at Mike's house, followed immediately by a hit off a joint. The weight I had been carrying on my shoulders while sober, fell off rather quickly as the bubbles eased down my throat, and I coughed up the smoke. I let out a huge belch as my friends welcomed me back, there was no regret man... I was fucking home.
The next day I woke up rather late. It had been a while since I had partied like that, so we were up all night talking about the good old days while we chewed our faces off. I eventually went back to my aunt's house, and she didn't notice that anything different about me. I had gotten away with it! It really didn't matter anyway, I was going back to my old life in New Jersey. I was going to move into Mike's house, get a job driving a truck, and drink and do blow like a normal human being... I was done trying to be a rock star in LA, and there was no fucking way I was hanging out with all those old guido grandpa's in AA, that were telling me working at a Pathmark was humbling, and a great start to a new life. I called my sponsor and told him that I had drank, but it was ok... I was fine. I thanked him for everything, and told him that I wouldn't be requiring his services any longer. Before we hung up he said, "see you soon kid." I was so offended by this, all that did was justify my feelings about the losers in AA and those judgemental douchebags even more. He had no fucking clue how I felt, or how I was going to run this from now on... mother fucker I got this, fuck that dude.
I was going to spend one more night at my Aunt's house, then move all my shit into Mike's and start over. I had convinced her that it was all going to work out, so she could tell my Mother and everyone else. Better it came from her than from me... everyone was so tired of hearing about how it was going to be different this time. Except me obviously. Right then the phone rang, it was for me. It was this dude Paul from AA. Older guy, balding, red moustache, kinda looked like a shitty version of an undercover cop. I was so over AA and the people in it by this time, that I almost hung up on him as soon as my aunt handed me the phone. I figured what the hell, let's laugh while this dude try and talks me into coming back to a meeting.
In a shaking voice he asks me if what he heard was true, had I relapsed? Yes Paul, I am not in AA anymore I said, but I thanked him for calling and told him good luck with all his AA stuff. He was new in the program too with 90 days or something.
1996 part one.
After losing a two year battle with Los Angeles, I found myself back in New Jersey...
It was the summer of 1996, and the lightning bugs were out in full affect. I had come back to the east coast with a full blown intravenous heroin habit, and had eventually landed myself on my Aunt's couch in Hasbrouck Heights. Where there was always a CB scanner flickering red lights, while the muttering of a truck drivers lonely voice would occasionally break through over some static, talking about a cop hiding in the weeds a few miles down the road.
There were bearskin rugs and statues of vikings resting on the greenish/yellow carpet that floored the entire house. It was my very first morning off heroin, and I came to curled up in the fetal position on the small, cold, leather couch in the den. Mtv news was on, and as my eyes focused a little and my gut gave a screaming need for a syringe, I was informed that the keyboard player for The Smashing Pumpkins had overdosed and died, as did the singer for Sublime, and Scott Weland was once again arrested for possession of heroin. This definitely didn't happen all in one day, but it felt like it did that morning.
My Aunt had called her Brother (my Father), who was sober, and pretty much non-existant in my life. All I remember is my Aunt asking me to hobble into the dining room to the big, wooden, viking like table, and my Father sitting there. He had been informed that I was on heroin, and to drive me to a detox. I don't remember the ride to the hospital, I don't remember the feelings involved... I just remember being dropped off at the Newark University Hospital, where the detox was on the AIDS ward. It's funny nowadays to listen to rich little douchebags whine about having to make their beds while staring into a sunset off a coast in Malibu. My first detox experience was much much different..
They didn't have the meds that they do now to control the virus, so there was just transvestite after transvestite, shuffling by my door, pushing a pole on wheels with a pissbag attatched to it, covered from head to toe in open sores, and about to drop dead any day.
I got dropped off on a Friday night, and since it was a county run facility in the murder capitol of the world, there was to be not a Dr. in sight until monday morning. So I laid on that ice cold, plastic bed for 48 hours straight... crying, puking, and shitting myself. I passed the time by snorting a few xanex that a tranny had slipped me, and writing a sexual inventory.
Monday had finally arrived, and since I was still young and spry, I had just about completed the detox, and convinced everyone there that I would be much better off back on that cold leather love seat in my Aunt's den... so my Aunt came and picked me up.
Arnie was my first sponsor. The minutes seemed like hours, as I stood in the parking lot of The Macaroni Grille on Rt.17 after a friday night meeting with my friends, them all telling me to, "just go up and ask him." I felt like I was asking the hottest chick in high school to the prom, I didn't know anything about being clean or sober, I didn't know he basically had to say yes, I didn't know anything except how to get high... and I was obviously even horrible at that. Arnie was exactly like Steve Martin's character in "My Blue Heaven" but with a George Hamilton tan. He even sounded just like him...
I finally got up the nerve to walk over to him, and the other 5 x-junky assholes with 25 years clean he was standing with, who laughed at all us newcomers every time we shared, and told us that they had spilled more out of the spoon then we ever shot into our veins. I asked Arnie in a semi-stutter if he would sponsor me, he just kinda winced at me, gave me his card, and said, "yeah kid, call me in the morning..." I literally felt like the hot chick said she would go to the dance with me, when I walked back over to my friends they all hugged me like I had just been jumped into some weird cult... and in a way I kind of just was.
So I started attending meetings on a regular basis, making friends, and gaining a little weight back. My Aunt was starting to trust me more, and calling my Mother with good reports. I had gotten a job in the deli section of the Pathmark just down the hill from my Aunt's house, and things were finally starting to look like they were going to be alright. I hadn't not been dopesick in a while, and it felt kind of amazing to wake up and not have my teeth be on fire.
At around 28 days or so, I had gotten my first paycheck. I had also run into one of my old drinking buddies from my youth at my deli counter. He was telling me how everyone missed me and wanted to see me, and that I should come hang out that night. It was a friday, and I knew what went on in my old town on a friday... these were the people I went to high school with, who didn't get all strung out on dope. Yeah they were fucked up, but they were all for the most part functioning alcoholics, do a bump on the weekend warrior types. I figured fuck it, I could handle one night of hanging with the old crew right? I mean... there sure as fuck wasn't going to be any dope around, and THAT was my problem... not drinking. I convinced my Aunt to let me go, and also said I would most likely be spending the night. I already knew I was going to get drunk, and I was fucking down for it. I had been strung out on dope for so long, that I missed just being a drunk idiot with my friends. I missed being the life of the party. The only problem, was that it wasn't 1986 anymore... and I had crossed a line I did not know existed.
I have always been bored with the business of it all. I would always rather be the one who deals with all the pleasures of life.
Deeming myself the “George Hamilton of punk rock,” and living a hammering lifestyle has put me on a less than permanent couch tour for most of my life. Occasional scraps of togetherness have been forced onto me by my occasional will to succeed, but for the most part I have lived off the generosity of my friends and family my entire existence. The days rage with handouts as I grift from womb to womb.
Most would call this a lonely soulless way to live, and to be completely honest, when I am actually awake and totally aware of my surroundings, it sucks so bad that I would rather eat a rusty razor blade sandwich on moldy bread, washed down with a Chlamydia milkshake, then have to sleep on one more of my friends couches, or ask for a ride to wherever I don’t even really want to be anyway.
When I actually take a step back and look at the “stuff part” of my life, the materialistic section of it all, it makes it real easy to get depressed… but not enough to actually do something about it. I don’t have a license… take the bus. I don’t have an apartment because I’m “on the road a lot…” so I crash at friends houses and apartments. I have always been either a great starter but never ever finished anything really, either that or I just completely half ass a whole thing… complaining the entire time about nothing.
I could be on a leer jet with the Rolling Stones, getting my dick sucked by an 18 year old virgin, all while shooting non addictive speedballs with Keith Richards, as he shows me how to play “Moonlight mile” on the acoustic guitar that he is going to give me when he’s done… I would still find something to complain about, and by the way I only said 18 because it’s illegal to bang 16 year olds, but it would probably be more entertaining to show a 16 year old supermodel how to… fuck, I’m just gonna stop right there with that one before I start getting all Polanski.
“Oooh Jason… you’re soooo honest in your writing… we love you.”
Go fuck yourself, this is the only thing that keeps me alive 80 percent of the time. I don’t write for you, I don’t write for anyone but myself. That’s why it’s so God damn repetitive.
Ok…. so I may not be on a private jet with the Rolling Stones, but…. I am on a huge 747 with Slipknot and Stone Sour, on our way back from Brazil, one band for which I played bass for 2 nights ago and rocked the fuck out of over 100,000 people. There isn’t an 18 year old girl blowing me, but let’s just say the girls like to travel in pairs down there, and just sit in your hotel lobby. The absolute true meaning of “shooting fish in a barrel….” and I’m sitting here complaining… see? I wasn’t fucking lying.
I could take a million dollar scratch off ticket to Vegas and turn it into a coke dusted Ziploc bag and a sticky shot-glass covered in fruit-flies while driving Biz Markie’s Ferrari right into the back of a cop car with a family of four strapped to the hood. I actually won the $100 roll at the cee~lo game backstage before Slipknot went on last night, so with the 4 people with balls big enough to drop a bill on one or two dice rolls… I got my room service bill for the weekend handled.
Nothing fills the hole completely… Nothing. It’s just a temporary fix, but then again everything is a temporary fix. Nothing is forever.
If I got my head out my ass far enough to live comfortably, I think I might have a shot at being kind of happy. Definitely happier than I am or have been ever in my life. It’s like…. almost there.
I was on stage a few months ago in front of 60,000 people, feeling like a complete fraud. I wanted to blow my head off the entire time… so much for a dream come true fixing you right? So I come back to Los Angeles and start going to the place that I can get my “medicine” talking about my stupid whiney feelings and what not, and low and behold… playing in front of 100,000 a few months later and not wanting to blow my head off, at least not till the show was over. I totally enjoyed the show though, and didn’t feel like a total piece of shit till like 5 minutes after I got off stage…. Progress.
I’m flying over Venezuela as we speak (I type). I have a few hundred dollars in my pocket, and a few more in the bank. I just watched Arthur and cried like a little baby when Hobson died so I know there is a feeling in there somewhere… but none of it is enough. I will sit here thinking about how my back hurts and my neck is killing me, how I will never be an Arthur and fall in love with a Naomi, and how there is 3 hours and 45 minutes left of this 10.5 hour flight from a weekend people only dream of. The type of shit I used to watch on television when I was a kid, the type of shit I still watch on television today. Barstool dreaming becoming a reality isn’t enough for this little manboy. I need something bigger. I’ve had something bigger. I just refuse to accept that this Great Spirit actually exists most of the time, and that I am the same as all the rest of the whiney AA faggots. I tell everyone I am the same, but deep down I know I am different… and unfortunately, that will eventually kill me. It will kill me while I’m not even paying attention… because I’m rarely ever paying attention.
The Great Spirit is in the adrenaline… not the “jump out of a plane” adrenaline, the kind of adrenaline that gets you killed. Like stealing some shit from a store kind of adrenaline, fucking your friends wife kind of adrenaline, the kind of adrenaline that makes you feel so shitty… you don’t even want to be alive. Once you get to the other side of this behavior is when you can start enjoying the Great Spirit.
For guys like me…
The Great Spirit is the stink on a stripper pole, It’s finding a vein and hitting it on the first try, it’s an all access backstage pass… My Great Spirit has been a mirage for years.
In light of everything going on in the world, people with real problems and such, I don't feel right about feeling this sorry for myself, I don't feel right about it at all... but unfortunately, at the moment, I don't want a way out... and it gets worse as the minutes pass. When I was a kid I would pout in my room for hours, sometimes days on end. Just wanting to be left alone, I don't want anyone asking me "what's wrong" or "am I ok?" I just want to keep my head in the dirt until the worms eat my brain just enough so I don't have to think anymore. Knowing a shot of whiskey and a little bump of cocaine would make everything worse is the brutalist of truths right now... I don't want to pray, I don't want to meditate, and FUCK helping people. I rely on many to get by, and when times like these are sprung upon me and I can't do it alone... I want to blow my fucking brains out. Knowing everything is going to be ok is fucking annoying. I want to rip the paint off the walls and scream with my shirt off, but I will eventually have to repaint when I get out of the psych ward. I haven't spoken a word in hours... nor do I plan on doing so for the rest of the night. I can't even take my ball and go home, because I can't afford one. I heard a girl making an amends to another girl in the Starbucks, and I wanted to throw my coffee at them... I think I need a break from the cult. The parrots peck hard at my ears, droning the same crap day after day. Whining about solution and how amazing their lives are now that they are sober. Listening to conversations outside meetings makes me cringe, and I want to kick people in the back. I want to kick myself in the back mostly. I want muscles, but I don't want to do push ups. I don't want to get lung cancer, but I refuse to quit smoking. I want a successful relationship... no I don't. I want my head to just be quiet for 6 minutes, so maybe I can take a nap without tossing and turning, waking up with all the pillows on the floor and a forehead full of sweat. I want my chest to not feel like it's in a vice grip 24 hours a day. I don't want to force myself to live in this shit world I create in my head anymore...
In This Moment...
I walk through the door exhausted, hoping there is at least one slice of cold, hard, pizza in the grease spotted box barely hanging off the kitchen table. To my surprise there is one and a half slices left... ripping into the crust first, the brittle dough cracks off into a million pieces, falling onto my bare chest, I ignore it and keep shredding. The coagulated cheese sticks to the roof of my mouth like a load of cum in a shower drain, as I slowly swallow the artery clogging man food, chewing aggressively and fast, because I can't wait to choke down one last cancer stick before bed. My hair always looks best at the end of the night, after running my fingers through it a few times while the smogless night air of Hollywood runs down the back of my ears through the open windows, it starts to look like I've been surfing and doing sit ups all day. My only thought after a night of checking unstyled little bastards drivers licenses all night, is that I should have paid more attention in school, or any attention for that matter. If these little assholes only knew how bad I wanted to kick them across the street while their girlfriends screamed for help... and I would just laugh, while quickly becoming out of breath because I'm so out of shape. Should I put the headphones on and watch the first season of All in the Family? Or should I jerk off to the thought of something that happened 19 years ago. Sally Fields Shirley Temple hair is a total turn off to me for some reason, so I think I'll just watch that and go to sleep with barely any shame tonight. Skinny Rob Reiner with a full head of hair freaks me out when I see it, and all I can think about is that Archie is dead now... his rotted corpse lay in a deep grave in Westwood Memorial Park somewhere, while I try to digest coagulated sperm from the shower drain, and fill my lungs with chemical gifts from the Badlands... Goodnight you fucking assholes. Jason Christopher
It will end now.
I'm trying too hard at not trying hard enough, and I can't say the right thing without coming off wrong. You laugh and tell me how funny I am, as I shove peanut butter under your eyelids. Spinning through life like a bird with one wing. No one has the proof. No one has the fortune cookie with the golden ticket... sorry Charlie. I've gotten the apple with the worm in it, right after I found the goose that laid the golden egg. Either time didn't make a shit of difference. The end of the rainbow is up your ass while I shoot gold coins down your throat. Biting my nail to the blood trying to figure out where the pain is coming from, while the love flies over me like an unattended car alarm at 3am... Smoking American Spirits will give me healthier cancer, so I can shit on your words that rest in the back pocket of your skinny jeans. Your mustache is so ironic. I will take nothing to my grave but my hatred for love, and the last thing my Father ever said to me, and he will die the slow death of happiness in his military bunkered boxer shorts, with his daughter's first prize tiara clutched at his cancer ridden chest. I stole my own record off the internet, I've already paid for it dearly with my soul anyway. Only men live here. Men younger than me. That don't sit down to pee. I am craving substance. Not just a plane ride to an autograph, and a lonely hotel room that speaks no english. I don't want dubstep ruling my unborn child's existence. No one ever tells the world why the doctor has no face anymore... rock and roll is regurgitated and sold as Lil' Debbie snack cakes to crackheads in a bodega used for a Columbian drug front. You fucking assholes can't make The Wall... you cant remake a classic film and possibly think it will be better... someone tell Kanye West that James Brown is dead. I can't possibly go on much longer with this much freedom.
Trying to make every smoke ring perfect. Not to trip over an impaired sidewalk. Bowels of maggots fest at your feet. Your toes curl in the sand. Destiny is but a symptom. The long hot winter awaits. You trip. Listening to The Band. Mother's womb is iced over. Your lungs burn with envy. Chopping the spinach with your teeth. The sink drips loud with fear. Cocking your head back with confidence. Hanging yourself with the Christmas wreath. Death awaits the moving. Cracks fill every hole. Time is but a symptom. Your toes curl in the sand.
It all started in the back of the room. These clouds weren't meant to handle this kind of sun, but they forged their way through anyway. I had real high hopes for my low self esteem as I pounded my soul into the ground. I didn't realize at the time what would become of all this, I just knew that "becoming" was all that mattered. We trampled around the sunset strip for weeks, devouring anything in front of us like two five year olds in front of a pile of chocolate chip cookies. I couldn't save myself if I tried, so I just went with it the only way I knew how, no damage control in site for miles. There seemed to be a litter of dead butterflies around me every time I woke up, and my head was stuck in the sand of the mattress. I was surrounded by beauty, life, and success, and all I could do was wrap myself even tighter, into my cocoon of madness. I felt nothing for anyone or anything, not even myself. At first I was able to act out the love and kindness like I was starring in a Broadway show, but in time, it slowly washed away like a stone in a stream... nothing left but a pebble of a man, sitting in the dark, buried under water, trapped between the two boulders of hate and shame. Now the light shines bright in my life, but is hidden behind sunglasses of controlled fear. I take them off when I feel safe enough, but will look past your face like I'm waiting for someone more important to walk into the room. Now the bus is full of people, starstruck from the life I complain about, and I feel like I am throwing a big party in my parents house that's gotten out of control, but I can't tell anyone to leave. I want to leave, but I have nowhere to go, so I put the sunglasses back on and let everyone know they can politely go fuck themselves while I dive back into the sand to watch the butterflies die...
They've taken away all my medicine. I keep looking around, but don't see anything. If I could touch your face, live in another place. Dance behind the wall, so no one sees you fall. If I could kill your face. I heard you're bringing me down, to all my better friends. I didn't think it was bad, I guess it could have been. If I could stop this train, from wrecking everything, I would light up a smoke, make you laugh with a joke, Tell you what might have been.... They've taken away, all my medicine
The majority of the past 4 1/2 years I have spent drug free has been pretty smooth sailing. The only time I get a little crabby about it, is when I'm sitting here late at night, playing along with my itunes on shuffle, I flash back to when I first started playing music. I would sit on my bed in front of my cd/radio boombox, and try to play along with whatever came on the radio, but I would be stoned out of my mind. I loved smoking joints that I had usually stolen from my Stepdad, and sit there in amazement as I played along with shit I had never played before, like I had been playing it for years.
It's the same now as it was back then for me, I still get that rush of excitement when I am just able to play something I had never played before, but it was so much more fun when I was stoned. I would sit in my chair singing the harmonies to Crosby, Stills, and Nash, closing my eyes and pretending I was in the studio recording it as it was playing. I would smoke a bowl, then take an hour long steaming hot shower while I sang along to the entire "Are you gonna go my way" cd, or "Facelift" by Alice In Chains... smoking weed just let me wrap my head around the music more so it got deeper into my head, something a ton of cigarettes and coffee just don't do. There is no amount of meditation that could prepare my head for the tuning it needed to get deep into it.
Some of the best records in the world came from the most drugged out people on the planet... and when they got sober, their records just sucked. period.
Thank God I never stopped playing, so I don't need that extra boost to get where I need to go nowadays. What I needed to get me to that place when I was a kid just comes naturally now, and the music is my drug. That may sound gay as fuck, but it's true. I just came back from a 10 day trip in South America, playing to packed houses every night, and didn't need one shot of whiskey, heroin, coke, or weed, to get my spirit centered enough to not be nervous. I just went out there and did my thing the way I know how to do it... people may think I'm loaded as fuck the way I act on stage, but the fact is, that I'm so comfortable in music, I don't need anything to help me. I can play in front of thousands of people sober just as easily as I sat in that chair stoned singing that fucking hippy music, and the rush I get when I put that bass down and step off that stage, listening to those kids lose there fucking minds for one more song, doesn't compare to what a joint used to do, looking down and seeing that little girl sing every word as tears roll down her face is enough of a high for me.
Not to mention the fact that if I do smoke a joint to try and capture that youthful moment, I will probably be locked in the dressing room bathroom with a needle and an eight ball in no time, then there will be no band, no music, and no crying little girls waiting for me outside the hotel....
I still do the same shit I did when I was 19. I still take a shower with Facelift blaring through the speakers, pretending I'm in a vocal booth harmonizing with Layne, I still sit in my chair running Iron Maiden scales until my fingers bleed and I can't move my forearms, I still eat a pint or two of ice cream while I watch cartoons... It's kind of like I still smoke weed, I just don't.
All hail the King...
The shower head leaks slow... drip... drip... drip...
It reminds me of the annoying little voice in the back of my head. "Jason, you are better than everyone else." "Jason, you have no reason to get out of bed in the morning because you have nothing to offer anyone." "Jason, you are guided by The Great Spirit and everyone will follow you." "Jason, you are leading everyone into the darkest places of the unknown and no one will survive this blistering universe you have created."
The false sense of leadership I was given through mass ingestion of chemicals carried me through the streets of wherever I was at the time, making me almost bulletproof for most of my life. Ego fueled by warm whiskey and tiny lines of cocaine laid out on the back of a puke stained toilet, a dangerous and powerful tool for any mere mortal. Whether the streets were pampered with palm trees, or littered with junkies, it didn't fucking matter. The hot air balloon disguised itself as my head, would float me from bar to bar, talking nonsense to anyone who would listen. Most of the time people would just agree with me because it wasn't worth the argument. On cocaine I was right... no matter what.
A ticker tape parade would be thrown in my honor, and children would run along side of my float screaming my name with love and envy, as my cupped hand shallowly waved to the onlookers, and my dead eyes stared straight ahead to the place where the sun sinks, like the lump that moved from my throat to my heart every morning I was forced to wake up and start another... fucking.... day...
The Prince that now wears the crown due to a fatal injury to the King during battle, must now carry out his barstool plan of world domination, but the town has a different plan for him, and he is quickly banished from the kingdom. The charming peasants that once ran by his side, cheering for him and making his life an unbelievable wash of glory, have now become dark, faceless shadows. Shadows that mock him with moans of distain and hatred. He is afraid to leave a room once he has entered, for fear of what they will say about him when he is not there, and he, eventually becomes so paranoid, that now even showing his face is not an option.
He sits alone, with a tiny ray of light from a crack in the stained glass bearing over his throne, giving him just enough light to dig his scepter into the broken skin that was once smoothed and babylike. The moans have silenced... because no one is there anymore, as he waits to die and never be found.
Spring is in session....
In 8 days I leave for South America for a 10 day tour with Mr. Sebastian Bach. I am very excited for the rabid Brazilian fans in the crowd, streets, and hotel lobby. There was never a better weekend in my life then when I played Rock in Rio with Stone Sour, and I am looking forward to making more fond South American memories.
Right now my days consist of waking up, eating a few oranges while I choke down a few cigarettes, then running out the door to catch a bus to an afternoon meeting, then back home to drive my neighbors crazy for a few hours of Skid Row blaring through their walls, while a real deep healthy bass chugs along with the itunes. I don't normally make meetings when I'm on the road and I have a feeling Brazil is going to be a little more toxic than the usual tours, so my pre-tour plan is to make myself completely sick of meetings here so that when I go on the road I'll be fine, this is what works for me.
I'm tightening down some new songs that Bas wants me to learn, and trying to keep my head out of other situations going on in my life at the moment. I had a real ego bruise a few weeks ago, so it has been a bit of a struggle keeping my head focused on the tasks ahead, today was the first day I've actually been able to snap back into fucking reality and be stoked for what I have... which is pretty amazing to say the least.
It doesn't matter that I had to literally pay for the bus with pennies today, and that I'm smoking cigarettes that were left behind weeks ago because I can't afford my own. The life of a hired gun in Hollywood is so fucking typical sometimes, that all I really need is the stripper girlfriend to drive me around and smack some eyeliner under my lids and it would be picture perfect.
What I'm used to doing is sitting here feeling sorry for myself, whining about how "they don't want me" or how I'm to stupid to get a real job, or I'm not good enough for any of this stuff... blah blah fucking blah. That's not the case. The straight fact is that I fucking rule, and if you don't want this, then good luck with what you get. South America is going to be amazing...
After the few shows we have in May in the states, I'm going to fly home to see the fam and the old gang. Hang there for a few weeks while I fatten up on Mom's cooking, take in some fresh clean upstate NY air, and show my Nephew that I really actually still exist and that I'm not just some crazy guy that makes weird faces on his computer screen, then fly to europe for a months worth of metal festivals with some old friends.
Hopefully if it all works out I might be pulling some double duty with Mr. Taylor out there...
My life pretty much fucking rules, except for this whole eating pasta every day thing till the checks come in.......
See you fuckers soon...
Love and Rockets,
Jason Christopher Rappise
Panic at the disco 101.
I literally just made myself dopesick talking about the last year of my using with my buddies at the diner. I'm never one to sit around and "war story" the fuck out of people, but apparently I needed to get some shit out. It was like someone dropped a few ex~lax into the dormant volcano of a constipated asshole, and exploded all over the shellac of the table I was sitting at.
My heart started racing as I talked about my x-girlfriend finding me overdosed and bleeding from the ear on the floor of my old apartment, a light film of sweat appeared on my brow as I went into graphic detail about the last few days before I flew back to NY to finally kick, and before I knew it... that fucking pit in my stomach that had been filled with love and AA bullshit, was now a black hole of want. Want more. Want more of anything. I could almost feel the needle piercing my arm as I broke up pieces of white toast into my eggs over easy. I felt the rush of the cocaine from a speedball hitting the back of my throat while the heroin chased close behind, comforting my nose into a warm fuzzy blanket, relieving my heart from exploding as I shoveled slimy chicken abortion sopped up by soggy, starchy, white bread down my gullet. Trying to fill the black hole of a war~story with warming comfort food.
I felt my eyes popping out of my head as I got closer to the end of the story, and all I wanted to do was dive out the huge glass window onto Franklin, and jump into the first shitty Honda civic I saw with two no english speaking mexicans in the front seats....
The good thing about being sober and staying sober is... having some sort of choice when that insane wave comes over you and you almost feel like you've never made one meeting in your life, and it was all some weird dream. Like waking up from an insane drug dream, having to really check and make sure that you didn't get loaded the night before, I've had to do that on more than several occasions. So after my hour long rant at the table, and sending myself into what I thought might turn into and overwhelming craving frenzy... I took a deep breath, paid the check, drank my fucking water, and went outside and smoked a cigarette on the walk to the car. My heart slowed down as Danny drove me home and we laughed about what douchebags some people we know are... now I'm sitting here writing it, instead of actually having to live it.
To all the dickheads that were in my position 5 years ago, when I couldn't get an hour sober, let alone a day, all I have to give you is this...
It's a lot easier to stay sober, than it is to get sober. If that makes absolutely no sense at all, maybe re-read this little blog... and do the fucking steps.
We partied like pigs, with an endless supply of slop being poured down the chute into the troff. The mass relapsers toasted away almost a hundred years of sobriety in a joint effort over some sangria at a dark restaurant, I was to join the pack a week later. 18 years, 15, years 9 years, 20 years, and so on... the clinking glasses at the toast may as well have been filled with gasoline, overflowing onto the table candles, causing a fire that would tear through everyones lives within seconds.
The fact that most of us were in recovery for so long and now being cut from the bondage of freedom, drew us closer together, forming a pact of slow suicide and total devastation of everything good that had been built over the years. Some of us made it back with a few scrapes, some of us died and came back to tell the tale, and some still wander the streets failing miserably at succeeding.
I wouldn't consider myself lucky, but I am damn thankful to be one of the ones that got out "alive." The only thing that sucks is having to watch or hear about the others that weren't as un-stubborn as I.
I won't go into detail about what happened yesterday, just know that you are in my prayers (god that sounds fucking gay). I hope you get the chance that Lazie and I were given, and I hope that when you come out of this... you once again join our little cult of shitbag idiots trying to keep our heads above water and out of our asses.
I fucking love you Ron.
Toys in the basement.
The existence of light in my life has only come from being pushed into the darkest corners of the basement. The cold, wet floor, the imaginary rats nibbling at my bare ankles, the annoyance of a leaky pipe overhead, dripping ice cold rusty water into the deepest lobe of my ear. The flies buzzing around my eyelids that were once maggots, mutated from a dead rats mouth that had been caught by a mousetrap in the early summer heat.
The sounds of a normal every day life come from the beams above my head, I can hear them going about their lives, they scare me... cooking, cleaning, talking on the phone, listening to music, enjoying stuff. I can't relate, I have no idea how they do it, and I am miles away from any sort of comprehension of it. The abscesses on my hands have become so painfully swollen, it's almost impossible to swat away the flying maggots from my face, so I let them land on my eyelids and scratch their legs together. It was annoying at first, but I have adjusted myself to deal with the lowest form of uncomfortability, so I close my eyes and eventually they fly off for a few minutes to circle the room in search of a more rotten substance than my face. A chip in the tin foil on the one window above the broken washing machine let's me know that it is daytime. I know it is a warm summer day, but I also know that no matter how hot it is outside, I will still be freezing. So I stay paralyzed in my little nook, it is where I am the most comfortable. My feet had fallen asleep an hour prior to the flying maggot circus, now I just can't feel them at all. I have to pee, but I can't move, so it just streams into my lap forming a puddle in my lap. It's warm for a few minutes, and it feels really nice, but it eventually turns into a cold shitty feeling that matches the rest of my body. I can smell death in the room, but I can't tell if it's me or the decomposed rat in the other corner. I see a shadow walk past the rip in the tin foil, my heart starts to race. I magically get feeling back in my legs as I hear a knock at the top of the stairs. I rise up like nothing was ever wrong with me and pull myself up the wooden steps by the splintered railing. I open the door to a man with a shaved head and a mouth full of balloons, he is my best friend. He doesn't say a word, he just spits two balloons into his hand, and places the cold slimy balls of hope and joy into my open, sweaty palm.
I slam the door in his face and rush back down the stairs almost killing myself. I tie the dirty, bloody shoelace around the top of my bicep, load the gun, and pull the trigger. The abscesses in my hands make it nearly impossible, but I fumble it all together just enough to hit the vein. The flying maggots instantly turn into butterflies, as the film of cold dirty sweat that had been layering my face all morning magically disappears. I stand tall and stretch, almost touching the beams on the ceiling. The normal strangers above me don't seem so scary anymore, and I could probably have a conversation about anything they would like to talk about if I was to go up and join them...
HELLOOOO CLEVELAND!!!! (Tour pt.3)
Pulled into Cleveland in the late morning. Dead trees are a sure of me not wanting to step off the bus, wrapping my scarf tightly around my neck, I brace myself for the 7 second walk from the bus to the hotel lobby. After a few minutes of room switching and roommate confusion, I grab myself a grande soy chai from the Starbucks in the lobby, and head upstairs to once again, throw my lufa in the shower, post my toothbrush up so it's not touching anything on the bathroom counter, and shove my face in the pillow for a nice, hard, power nap.
After a shitty burger and a band meeting in the restaurant downstairs, I go back to the room and start digging around on the internet for the underdog strip clubs. It's Monday, so I find the places that have the most girls, call them ahead of time and tell them that we are in the rock band playing in town tomorrow night... that way we are assured no cover, and will usually get a vip section roped off for us, which is exactly what happened. I was a little bummed Sebastian didn't come, with him there that just assures every girl in the building will notice us, and flock like uummmm..... a stripper to a bottle of Grey Goose.
We did just fine dominating the strip club without him, and stealing all the girls from the 4 creepy old dudes sitting in the corners. I danced, I high fived the guys, and chugged redbull until I felt my heart skip. I don't do strip clubs usually but hey... when you're in a place like Cleveland Ohio with an entire day off, there isn't much else to do except stare at halfass strippers with lazy eyes, band aids, and shittier tattoos than me. The dj played a little metal for us, giving us a break from all the techno/Buckcherry fuck party that they usually grease the poll to, and I just sat back and watched everyone get hammered, while the band aids fell off in my lap.
Now all jacked up on redbull I sit on the bed chainsmoking, and listening to a Foo Fighters mix, while Jimbo types an email in the next bed... I'll probably sit here staring at the tv until about 7am, pass out, then wake up and start gearing up to rip the fucking faces off everyone in Cleveland tonight.
The tour pt.2
Tonight's show in Michigan was my favorite so far, I finally got my legs a little more stable and feel more comfortable on the stage with the guys. You would think that growing up on the east coast I would be adjusted to this shitty cold weather, but I'm not, I'm a total baby about it ever being under 60 degrees. The house was packed tonight and I think we put on a kickass fucking rock show for everyone, I'm still all weirded out when people ask me to sign shit or take pictures with them, but I went out right after the show and met with the fans to hang out for a bit. I honestly don't know how my friends do that shit on the daily, I guess it's something you just get used to... hopefully I will have the opportunity to "get used to it."
Sebastian and Corey are very similar in the sense that they just have rock running through their veins instead of blood at all times, I am a very blessed mother fucker to have both those guys in my life, in different ways they show me how to be humble and appreciate what goes on in this crazy unpredictable world of music. Corey's sister came to visit and brought my favorite little girl in Detroit Jaylynn, they came to soundcheck to watch us work out the kinks I was having trouble with the past few shows. It's nice to see the fam on the road man, it really centers me and makes me feel good that people will actually drive an hour out of their way just to give me a hug.
I'm starting to get more comfortable around the guys and don't feel like "the new guy" anymore, even though I totally am and absolutely know my roll around here, it's just nice to be around a bunch of really nice guys that get it. They are just here to rock the fuck out and make the crowd want more... thats all I give a fuck about. Talking to fans after the show, you always get the "how could you live on a bus for that long?" question... Honestly, if it's with the right people, I could live on this fucking thing... as long as I get to do this shit 4 or 5 nights a week and my neck holds out, I'm totally ok with playing the rock music as long as they will let me.
Like I said before, I been very lucky to play with such amazing people, who are not only huge musicians, but also very good friends. It's not like work at all... it's like I've been at summer camp for like 3 years now, and it doesn't look like summer is going to be over for a while. These mother truckers laugh, eat, smoke, drink, and kill it on stage... It's a tour so of course people get cranky or shitty at one another from time to time, but for the most part so far it has been a very respectful crew.
Playing with Bobby Jarzombek is also pretty fucking huge. That guy is a fucking metronome made of solid steel, and one of the nicest dudes you will ever meet in your life. So yeah, I get to rock with that dude every night, he makes feel like I'm just playing along to the cd. Nick and Johnny are also ripping guitar players, nick is 21, adorable, perfect long rock hair, totally rock skinny ripped when he takes his shirt off on stage... if I was even just a little gay I'd totally fuck that kid in his sleep. Johnny not so much, nice guy though.. and an absolute shredder.
I feel like I'm starting to belong somewhere finally, I've done so many shitty tours, coming home broke as fuck, starving, playing to like 20 people (if that) a night, all across the country in some shitty converted van that's always breaking down, with at least one super aggravating asshole around me the entire time... Now it's like God or whoever the fuck has got my back was just like, "here dude... you earned it, take a year off and be treated with a little respect for doing the only thing you've ever loved for so long."
I stay humble, remain forever grateful to play these packed houses full of rabid fans, with people that I would no questions asked take a bullet for if I had to, and never... NEVER take a shower in the dressing room without throwing a towel on the floor first.
Tonight's show makes sitting in a parking lot staring out the window at some shitty ghetto liquor store window all day long... totally fucking worth the wait.
The first days of tour pt. 1
Got a pretty decent nights sleep last night, with no sleep the night before, a 6am flight, a 2 hour layover, then rehearsal till midnight... I should have knocked out as soon as I got back to the hotel, instead I dicked around on Facebook and kept going down the the lobby to smoke. Bobby the drummer got back to the room and we chatted for a bit, finally knocking out around 4am, as soon as my face hit the pillow I was done. Woke up with bones cracking and sleep staining my eyes around 11am, an hour till check out, and 2 hours till bus call... just enough time to shower and throw all my shit in the bathroom in the suitcase.
I was feeling a little more confident after last nights rehearsal, just tripping a little on all the breakdowns and segues I needed to learn for tonights show... but hey, I'm a fucking professional now so no problem right? Besides, after Sebastian high fived me about 97 times I started to feel a little more comfortable, he's real excited to play with me which is awesome.
I thought about my Father a lot today, wondering if I was passing his house on my way to Guitar Center, or if anyone else in my "family" was near where we were playing. I heard everyone moved here from the east coast years ago, but I don't really give a shit enough about most of them to track them down. There's a few cousins that I still care about and will put on the list if they ask, but for all I care, my "Dad" could live in Africa and I wouldn't know the difference.
I finally make it to the lobby of the hotel and the first thing I do of course, is look for the coffee. I float into the restaurant looking bewildered and completely out of place. The waiter asks me if I'm in a band, then gives me free coffee and a super firm handshake... after I make it well known that I could give two fucks that he plays drums, I hunch down and start rolling my suitcase towards the big white bus parked out front. I have to stay hunched because the airline broke the God damn handle on it. I toss the bag in the first bay, and step onto what used to be George Jones' production bus. I might as well have stepped into a guest room in the Scarface mansion. The bus is so fucking rad, completely white with Christmas lights wrapped around the mirror on the ceiling, a swordfish etched into the glass separating the sink from the couch, grey carpet running from the drivers seat to the back, with another etching of a beach setting with palm trees on the glass in the back lounge. I claim my bunk, then take a walk with Jimbo to find a Starbucks. The daily mission of any tour I've been on in the past 5 years has been to find coffee... and keep drinking it until I can't feel my face.
The venue was close, so right after we jacked up on caffeine, me and Jimbo decided to not wait for the rest of the guys to finish breakfast, and walked over to get things rolling. I was hoping to get one more rehearsal in before tonights show. Sebastian didn't sing last night and one of the guitar players missed a flight and didn't arrive till 11pm. So I was a little on edge, the coffee was not helping that situation at all... but I kept drinking it anyway. I had to go pick up a new bass head, graciously provided to me by my family and other bandmate. The one I had been using for the last 10 years just wasn't cutting it anymore. Unfortunately I had to spend about 3 hours in the Greensboro North Carolina Guitar Center to get it... which in real people time is like 5 days. Everyone was very nice, but it's fucking Guitar Center, I can't be in that place for more than 30 seconds before I want to kick the little bass slapping emo douchebag in the back... it's cool man, I get it, you know your scales and can play some sweet Avenged Sevenfold riffs. Now get back in your room and jerk off to the girls that I have sex with until you get a sweet job at Starbucks, and make sure you practice making soy chai late's for when I come back next year you hopeless little dickfuck.
I finally get the bass head in the back of the runners car, and 3 hours later we start to drive down the freeway in the now pouring rain back to the venue. By the time I get back everyone is all done checking their shit, so I throw my new bass head up onto the 8x10 and plug it in. I didn't even hit a note on my bass before I felt the difference in size, this thing is a fucking monster. Bas finally showed up, high fived me a few times, then ran through some songs. It was my first time playing with him and I thought it went pretty well, then after soundcheck he high fived me like three more times... so I knew I must have done ok.
Touring looked so cool when I was a kid... I would sit on my couch and watch this brand new channel called Mtv, dreaming of one day getting to lick the neck of my guitar and have girls fall all over me. I would stare into the mirror next to the tv practicing my moves with wooden sauce spoons or a broom, my mood would sometimes switch from being a drummer one day, to be a guitar player the next... Videos like "Home sweet Home" or "Dead or alive" would come on, and I would dream of being on the bus with a bottle of Jack Daniels and a grossly hot blonde from some beach village. I would watch bootleg Metallica shows and Live after Death, wishing I could play like Cliff Burton and Steve Harris... now back to the day.....
I'm pretty sure I've got all the segues and little nick nacks down, and I am more confident about the show, even though just a couple of hours before we hit the stage I realized that I had learned 2 of the songs in the wrong key... and had to relearn them all over again. So just to be sure, I threw on the headphones and jammed the songs a few more times in the hallway before we went on. Dave the TM comes out of the dressing room and throws both of his hands in the air giving me a 10 minute warning. I take a deep breath, give my bass to Jimbo, and go into the bathroom to make sure my hair is ok...
Honestly, a good show for me is having a good hair night.
I take a quick peek out into the crowd, see that the room is just about packed, take one more deep breath, then go into the dressing room for a few more high fives and a 10 minute headstand. I like to walk on my hands a lot, and before a show I'll usually go upsidedown against the wall for a generic version of a Keith Richards blood transfusion, just to get my shit pumping..
I walk down the hall stretching and flapping my arms, making sure not to knock my hair out of place. I come up stage right to grab my bass, Johnny the guitar player on my side is already there smiling. We don't high five....
The crowd starts screaming because they see us warming up on the side, it's always a good feeling stepping out onto that stage... even when you know they aren't screaming for you, they could give a fuck if it was me or some other hired gun up there. I'm just stoked cuz in about 35 seconds I'm about to bust into "Slave to the grind," a song from a band I was not to into 25 years ago...
and if you would have told me that when I was 16, sitting in Terry whatever her last name was' T-top Firebird, in the parking lot of the Garden state Plaza mall, smoking Marlboro reds and hating the music her hair sprayed, white tassled leather jacket wearing ass was listening to.. that 25 years later I would be touring the world with the singer of that band, I probably would have punched you in the face... but here I am, standing on this stage, staring at a club full of people screaming for him.
The intro starts to roll, the lights get lower, the crowd gets louder... and as I start to make my way across the stage with bass in hand, I remember why I do this. At first when I was a kid, it was totally about girls, money, and booze... it was the only way I knew how to think, I had never ever picked up an instrument, and I already wanted to be in the back lounge of a tour bus getting a blow job with some stupid sunglasses on. Now it's different, I do like taking pictures with people and signing shit, with an occasional chick to hang with or whatever, I don't drink or do drugs anymore so that's out of the picture... but the real reason I do this, is so I can't move my neck when I wake up in the morning. The feeling that is produced when I lock in with the drummer, and everything is at the right tempo, is undeniably better than any speedball I have ever done. Ok... let's not get too carried away here, maybe it's not as good as a giant speedball, but holy fuck does it come close. The intro stops, Bobby hits the high hat 4 times, and we start Slave... I see Sebastian out of the corner of my left eye, just smiling and waiting. This guy has been doing this since I was in fantasy camp on my living room couch, and it looks like he's about to take the stage for the first time ever. I love that about him, Sebastian is the epitome of a rock star... we roll through the intro to the song, and as the song kicks in, Sebastian runs up on stage screaming, swinging the mic over his head like a helicopter blade. I look up, and he turns back and points and smiles, it's on and we are killing it. About 7 high fives later, we are almost through the 5th song... I am nailing just about all of the stuff we went over during the small rehearsal we had, hitting every ending, and with only a few glitches... I successfully make it to the end of the show. He makes up all come to the front of the stage to take a bow, which totally freaked me out. I'm not in Queen, or Van Halen, I just want to go backstage, crack a bottle of water, and light a cigarette. The best cigarette for me ever is right after a show... I'll suck down like three in a row. Baz tries to get me to come sign some shit at the merch table but again, I know my place.. so I grab like 9 slices of pizza, a coke, and sit on the stage watch it all go down. After about an hour of watching that, and signing some shit here and there, I head back to the bus. I get a light round of applause for a job semi-well done, and I hit my bunk with sweaty balls as we drive to Baltimore...