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The Roadtrip Pt I – No time like the present to get ripped apart!

So I will post about our recent Mudhoney road trip in instalments. I doubt anyone would have the time or the inclination to read about our whole weekend in one sitting, although i seem to be able to keep people’s attention for longer periods when writing than speaking. It’s harder for people to interrupt some words on a screen. Movies and pictures will follow later when i have more time.

Without further ado, i bring you – The Road Trip.


I don’t do early mornings that well, so it’s normally got to be something special to make me get to work by 7. Finding out that Silk’s name was on the door and i was his ‘+1’ was enough for me. I had spent most evenings that week cleaning my flat, however the last two nights were about picking the right outfit, nay, t-shirt. See I don’t normally give a a flying proverbial about what i wear, but everything i know about the Seattle scene is that it is full of cliques. If there was even the slightest, remotest possibility of meeting the band i was going to be the Switzerland of music. I’d finished reading Grunge is Dead a few month’s ago and was well aware of the possible divides – Punk vs. Grunge, Rock vs. Metal, Punk vs. Metal, punk vs. Hair Rock. What happens when you are like me and like Pearl Jam and Nirvana? Throw in a healthy affection for Alice in Chains and Soundgarden and where does that leave me? No i was playing Switzerland alright and not entering into that debate. I went with the ‘Living End’ shirt. Aussie Punk Rockabilly…work’s every time…just like colt 45 init Billy Dee…

So Silk picks up the car and i meet him. It was some sort of Mercedes mini-people mover thing. We’re not what you would call auto-aficionado’s. Put it this way i had never driven it on Gran Tourismo on Playstation so the chances of me knowing it were slim to none. The following day the conversation would go something like this:

Silk: What kind of car is this?
Me: I dunno. Some sort of Mercedes.
Silk: It’s a golf right?
Me: Nah some sort of Mercedes.
Silk: But it’s a golf right?
Me: Nah Golf’s are VW’s. This is some sort of Mercedes.
Silk: Nah, we chose a Golf.
Me pointing to 3 inch Mercedes symbol horn on steering wheel: Nah it’s some sort of Mercedes.

I have been getting worried about my hearing and what sort of damage i am doing going to shows all the time. I give Flip crap for putting tissues in his ears at gigs but i probably should be doing the same. I was contemplating bringing some for the Mudhoney sets cause i had heard they were loud…turns out I should have brought them for the car trip. My lord that boy can talk! I think that is easily the most conversation i have had over a 5 hour period ever. I’m sorry Mudhoney, can you play into this ear please…i’m deaf in that one! All jokes aside, luckily Silk held the floor for most of the conversation…i would have run out of things to say before leaving Frankfurt and had to have started reciting the alphabet. I’m not the most talkative of people.

So we make it to our hotel without too much of a fuss, it’s two U-bahn stops from the gig, perfect.

I realise that i have no idea whatsoever of the procedure involved in having your name on the door. I can only remember one other time when my name was on the door of a gig. One time at Uni i was roped into group work in Psychology with this guy Anthony and this girl Kira. Both seemed fairly cool. Our task was to test how long it took for a rat to work out a skinner box under the effects of alcohol. We were supplied with warm flat, low alcohol beer… Tooheys Blue if my memory serves me correctly. You wouldn’t give this shit to your worst enemy. Not wishing to subject our little rat to this torture, we nipped off to the Uni bar for some ice cold Bourbon & Coke. Well didn’t little Splinter like that. He figured that box out like it was yesterdays news and we got a half hour early mark. As only a teenage sitcom would have it, we walked out of class thinking we were all mighty cool and needed to instantly find out more about our cool selves. Turns out they were both Guitarists. Isn’t everybody i thought? Kira’s band was playing that weekend and she asked if we wanted to go. Of course! Mainly cause she was devilishly fit. A quick scout on the internet and it turned out she was in an all-girl metal band called Nitocris. I was well chuffed to be on the door of a proper band. They were supported by Pre-shrunk another Aussie band who had two bass players and a drummer. Nitocris finished off with a heavy cover of Queen’s Fat Bottomed Girls which was pretty funny to hear sung by 4 hot chicks. After the gig Kira made her way through the crowd to say hi to us. I offered to buy her a drink, using the entirety of my smoothness…

Me: Can i get you something to drink?
Kira: No it’s cool, they have a tab for us to drink for free.
Me: Ok then.
Kira after returning from the bar: Actually, the tab has been closed…is that offer still available?
Me thinking she’ll say a beer: Sure
Kira: Cool, a double Vodka and pineapple juice please.

wtf?!? Who orders a double off someone you’ve met once? Did i mention she was crazy hot? She got her drink…

So what was i saying that story for? Oh yeah…past experience of being on the door and what the procedure was…

I forget.

So we enter the venue. It’s pretty packed. The support band is playing. First impression, i would have to go with the lovechildren of Joey Ramone and Courtney love. The lead singer with black hair over half of his face, with black sunglasses on, black leather jacket, screaming non-sensically into the microphone. The female drummer belting away like Meg White only wishes she could in some sort of white wedding dress you’d expect to see Courtney Love throwing up over in some tabloid picture from a few years ago. The bass-player, a transvestite Sandra Bernhardt looking creature of Amazonian proportions was accompanied by a slight-framed, porn-moustached Borat on second guitar. Despite only Squires being intrigued by that description they were actually very good and a lot of fun. We would later find out they were from Israel. Charlie Megira & The Modern Dance Club (http://www.myspace.com/themoderndanceclub) if you feel like checking them out.

So Silk sends a text to Dan Peters, Mudhoney’s drummer. All of a sudden there is Dan waving to us and motioning for us to come back stage. Well i wouldn’t like to have been rude to the man so it was the least we could do.

Now i don’t have any hilarious stories representing a backstage precedence…except maybe the school band which doesn’t count. So on the way in im thinking…ok just try not to act like a muppet. We walk in and it’s just the band, me, Silk and three women from some German record label. Silk does one of the worst introduction sequences ever…introducing me to Dan before saying hi to Mark Arm and Steve Turner, leaving me to stand awkwardly just inside the door as they look over to see who the guy in the living end shirt is. Cue smiling nervously. Silk hands out the beers, which was another of the procedures i was totally unaware of. I was planning on not touching anything and speaking when spoken to.

At one point, a double live vinyl album is passed around for the band to look at…presumably it is the pride and joy of the 3 German record chicks. They ask the question, how many live albums do you have? Steve and Mark start reminiscing and mention one about the same time of Piece of Cake. I’m about to blurt out ‘the BBC sessions one’ when it sinks in – i’m not really sure if it’s a real album or not. Perhaps it’s some bootleg i downloaded unknowingly, and i could expose myself for having illegally downloaded their stuff. Here I am, backstage for free and i haven’t even bought their cd’s…i should be ashamed…oh look free beer!

I promise i will buy the actual cd’s when i have a fixed residence…there is only so much i can cart around Europe with me.

So it’s about the time where I am supposed to tell you how normal the band are and they are all regular people etc. Well Fuck that. They’re not. They are really really really cool people! Regular people are poo. These guys were easy to talk to, friendly, and just great knockaround guys who you’d love to have a beer with and talk shit until the cows come home. They looked like they felt awkward when i was feeling awkward when the Drummer of the modern dance club started fishing through her bag for gypsy trinkets – fair play to Steve for wearing the good luck arm bracelet throughout the entire gig. Apparently it’s bad luck if it doesn’t break…im sure that was arranged at some point. It was not like watching Ozzy Osbourne going through Christina Aguilera vocal gymnastic warm-ups, or talks over long instrumentals or planned cover songs. It was just four lads sitting around having a wine or vodka cranberry and chewing the fat. When the stage director or whatever his role was, came and said, well the stage is ready if you want to go on, it was almost like they had forgotten they were doing a show tonight and were fine to just sit and chat for a few more hours. I’m glad they went on stage though, they were awesome!

Now i must say i wasn’t a huge fan of Mudhoney before this trip. I had their cd’s, knew a few of their songs and could appreciate the music, but i wouldn’t have called myself a fan at all. I can blame my sister for that. When i was listening to Boyz II Men and Arrested Development, she was sending away for obscure bands that i’d never heard of, because our record stores in Sydney had never heard of them either. Green River? Soundgarden? Mother Love Bone? Who? No i don’t want to go to see Jeff Buckley. (oh my god i will never live that one down). Of course we had all the Pearl Jam bootlegs before they started releasing them, and all the Nirvana stuff…but she kind of missed the boat there with Mudhoney. Nice one Carly. :P

But you can now call me a fan. In fact i’ll tell you i’m a fan.

The show was great. In terms of a complete contrast to the backstage atmosphere, it was as if Mark Arm has a chemical reaction to the crowd which makes him spasm about the stage screaming out venomous track after track with barely an acknowledgement that he is on our plane of existence. Dan Peters marauds through songs, building up to the final crescendo of rolls leaving you intensely waiting for the final symbol crash and kick of the bass drum to signify applause, which never comes. Guy Maddison attacks the songs with almost a boyish sense of having been deprived of this experience prior to joining the band so he is going to enjoy it twice as much now to play catch-up. Steve Turner’s guitar seems to be wanting to feedback at will, a la Jimi Hendrix, where unless he keeps actively playing it is going to spiral away into uncharted chasms of noise. Perhaps that’s a feature of all Seattle guitarists…

Even with my head right next to the PA the sound and timing was great. Such a tight unit. The crowd seemed up for it as well, even if some of them weren’t too up to speed on stage diving etiquette – “The idea is to get up and get back into the crowd as quick as you can before security drags you offstage” Guy instructed.

I distinctly remember wishing i had a Dictaphone to remember the phrases i was creating to describe what i was seeing…sadly you get the descriptions of my memories.

At the end of the first set we headed back stage on the premise that there wasn’t going to be an encore. Nice one Silk. We bust through the door to the band standing in the corner discussing whether or not to go back on. Cue annoyed security band dude staring poignantly at us.

Silk: It’s ok, we’re with Mudhoney. I’m from Seattle.
Security dude: Funny. I’m with Mudhoney and i have no idea who you are?
Silk: Oh. Hi, I’m Pete *shakes hand*

Class silk! ;)

A small moment where some of the band weren’t completely seeing eye to eye and all i could think of was how much the ‘serious’ Steve Turner now reminded me of Matt Stone in BASEketball – i kept waiting for him to pull Brittany’s mum’s pube from his mouth.

We watched the encore from side/back stage, including a cool video from behind Steve and Mark facing out towards the crowd. I couldn’t help but wonder how many people out there could see me and were thinking “i wish i was that guy”, like i have done so many times at so many gigs.

Backstage again after the show and all was rosy with the band as we all resumed chatting albeit with several more folk about the place. In the end, Silk and I might have played the game too well…while everyone else was schmoozing etc, me and Pete were in the corner talking about our weight…Über Rock n Roll.

We say goodnight to the guys – they are on their way to Warsaw in the morning. We will meet them again in Prague in two days time.

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2 witty retorts to “The Roadtrip Pt I – No time like the present to get ripped apart!”

  1. Squires says:

    I got hungry reading through all that, but I’m proud to be tagged with Sandra Bernhardt, and Billy Dee!!!!

    I hope part 2 is up by the time I get back from dinner :)

  2. Squires says:

    I had my kellogs bar and part 2 isn’t on yet???…so I had to read part 1 again…

    Living end…wrong choice. You said a lot by not trying to say anything ;)…and you took a video from the stage…seriously…act like you’ve been here before….

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