Thursday, February 15, 2007

Da-Do-Do-Do-Da Raining Blood

Marvel at how a random conversation on the Information Superhighway goes from a snide remark about The Police reunion tour to Slayer and a Camaro... just... like... that!

Umlaut: The Police reunion tour = Stones prices... "Tickets will be scaled primarily at $225, $90 and $50."

Tour Manager Doug ("TMD"): And this surprises you?

Umlaut: No... but I am surprised people would pay those prices to see 'em.

TMD: That remains to be seen. I'm thinking they'll do pretty good as far as ticket sales go.

Umlaut: They're the Stones of the 80's Gen.... It'll be huge and boring ... In order to get access to the ticket pre-sale via The Police tour site you have to join their fan club for $100... 4 ticket limit. Nicely done.

TMD: It's all about sucking as much money out of your fans as possible.

Umlaut: Just like Venom.... only alot more money.

TMD: They were both 3 pieces. You never see them in the same place. Maybe...

Umlaut: Both have shite bass players....

TMD: I think maybe they are one and the same.

Umlaut: Both are from Newcastle! (Sting and Venom)

TMD: Hey, do me a favor. Send the link to that Slayer Grammy Umlaut posting to my buddy Rich. He's copied here. He was around way back when in the Slayer World. And he will probably get a kick out of this "The Police are Venom" thread.

Rich Laminate: Yes I must confess, I am aware of the parallels between The Police and Venom. I must also confess Cronos/Conrad is a longtime friend although I have not seen him in a number of years. I must also confess to working for Sting briefly in 1986 as well as Venom. Actually the more I think about it the more bizarre it all is. I am sure I would not pay the $225 to see The Police. I might pay to see the original Venom again. "Buried Alive" and "Bloodlust" were always epic.

Umlaut: I saw Sting in 1986 as I was getting out of the Metal Days... and I saw Venom in 1985 and 2006 and was sorely disappointed both times.

Rich Laminate: Where did you see Venom? I think we played the Kabuki Theater if I remember correctly, Venom, Slayer & Exodus; real Exodus with Baloff. I was with Venom and Slayer at the time, I think we also played a theater in Sacramento, perhaps the State Theater... Yeah Venom probably lacked cool due to the very gay guitar players, as I recall Mantas did not feel like touring. As for Sting he was a pretty cool guy, very nice but definitely insanely talented and on his own page, like an Einstein type dude. I had a conversation with Branford Marsalis who was playing with him at the time. The funny part was that Sting would actually play the horn the way he wanted Branford to play the instrument which is kind of bizarre as the guy is ridiculously talented and I am sure does not need Sting to school him. Funny nonetheless.

Umlaut: I saw the Venom / Slayer tour at The Kabuki.. and I spent alot of time around 'Loff and Exodus back then. Venom didn't impress because they were so sloppy... especially coming after Slayer. The legendary story from The Kabuki is Cronos threatening to drop the lighting rig on the crowd if people didn't stop spitting on him (HAHA).

Rich Laminate: Were you at Day On The Green when Metallica played, I remember Harold O. with an "I Am An AIDS Victim" logo courtesy of James and Kirk.. Fun times. Whatever happened to local personalities Andy Anderson and Toby, the two immortal crowd walkers? Are they still alive?

Umlaut: I was at that DOTG... Yeah, Harold's legendary moment of degradation. I haven't seen or talked to Andy in 10 years. I haven't seen Toby since 1985 but a friend of mine ran into him several years back at... The Renaissance Fair. I have a vivid memory of Toby walking on heads during Slayer at that Kabuki - Venom show.

Rich Laminate: Those guys were amazing. We
(Slayer) did a show in Sacramento with Exodus and DRI; another momentous show and they were diving off the PA. Personally I was busy trying to remove the endless stream of revelers from the stage. Rumor was we had like 5 or 6 people with broken limbs. The crowd was so violent, you had to love it. Ah nostalgia, the 80's.. They "weren't no tuna fish and they ain't no trout"; words to live by.

Umlaut: I have another vivid memory of Andy diving off the speaker stacks at The Warfield during the Motorhead / Mercyful Fate / Exciter show in '84... The last Metal show at that venue for, like, 5 years due to the damage done to the place.. Epic.

Rich Laminate: Slayer started the Reign In Blood Tour in Seattle and the crowd at the Moore Theater ripped the stone facings from the walls and began throwing it, along with various pieces of seats and what not, at each other. By the time the show was over the gig looked like Beirut. Speaking of Mercyful Fate and Exciter, when I met the guys in Slayer in 1984, Tom and I went to see Mercyful Fate and Exciter in Baltimore, MD and ended up with myself beating up like 4 or 5 bouncers at this club after way too many Red Deaths. When the promoter found out who Tom was he made the guy who started the ruckus apologize, who coincidentally had a broken nose courtesy of me. We went back into the gig to rage some more and of course crashed the car on the way home to New Jersey. Fun times......

Umlaut: The first time I met Tom was pre-Slayer and he was visiting S.F. with a mutual friend.. He was wearing a tweed blazer and cranked Santana in his Camaro. Funny.

Rich Laminate: Dude, the car we crashed was the Camaro. It was the first tour bus. I had an opportunity to segue over to KJ's recollection of the infamous Cronos / Tom Araya encounter, which I was present for.

[Umlaut Note: For the newbies, this incident has been Metal Legend around the world for over 20 years..]

If my memory serves me, we did not have enough money for hotel rooms and I believe we were in Buffalo or upstate New York somewhere and out of the kindness of their hearts, Venom allowed us to stay in their tour bus. Obviously boys will be boys and a certain kinship was developing over much alcohol.

I remember Cronos either passing out in the front lounge or maybe taking a breather and somehow Tom's dick came out in the general direction of Cronos, which was met by a very significant head butt to the face. In a split second the room went from drunken fun to, holy shit, we may get thrown off the tour, not to mention we are about to have nowhere to sleep. Even more amazing was Tom's nearly unfazed response and his limited laughter at the whole thing. A special moment in Metal history. I am glad to have been there. We took "no money" to a whole new level.

To quote Baloff: "METAL!!!!!" It's amazing how the story of Tom "marking" Cronos traveled all the way to S.F. back then in those pre-Internet / pre-cell phone days. The stuff of legend!

Rich Laminate: As for the story I was telling you last night, it is even more involved. It starts like this: Tom and I venture 2 1/2 hours south to see Mercyful Fate and Exciter at the Coast to Coast Club in Baltimore, Maryland. I had arranged us some passes through Doc Bevins the promoter, a very good guy. The first thing that happens is Doc provides Tom and I with an open bar tab, which lead to many, many, many Red Deaths; I can't even remember what is in them but they will hurt you.

Anyway, Mercyful Fate is on and Tom and I are in the crowd and there is a blind guy (complete with cane) standing in front of me banging his head; a little unusual, but whatever. This guy turns around and claims I am pushing him, which I am not. The bouncers got involved, a fight started, I whacked a couple of them before they dog piled me; all the while Tom is still watching the show. So they drag me out with Tom in pursuit. Now he is drunk and hostile and the promoter comes outside to see what's going on and finds his 2 guests fighting his hooligans.

Cooler heads prevailed and he made the guy who obviously got the worst of the beating apologize for starting it. I could not believe it: broken nose and bleeding, this poor dude has to apologize. Cool, now back to the show and more drinking. Somewhere along the line I ask Tom if he can drive because I am completely retarded and he assures me he can. After the show we head to the infamous Camaro for our drive home.

Along the walk through the parking lot we find original Old Bridge Metal Militia member Bob Ojo sitting on a parking stop with no shoes on and a t-shirt. This is important because it is November 1984 (pre-global warming), like 25 degrees, snowing and ice on the ground.. Remember no shoes and a t-shirt and obviously intoxicated. When questioned what the hell he was doing there and how did he get there, he seemed oblivious. Anyway times a-wasting and we need to take our comrade in arms in and take him home with us. He piles into the Camaro and off we go.

After a few miles I again ask Tom if he is OK to drive and he reassures me he is good. I fall asleep and awake to the sound of grinding metal and sparks showering the car, to which I react by grabbing the wheel and steering the car off of the barrier wall on I-95 and over the curb. Tom wakes up, hits the brake, the car stops and we are like "What the fuck just happened". Of course, our comrade in the backseat never even woke up after hitting the barrier and the curb and skidding to a stop.

After about a 3 second discussion we decided perhaps we should just stay there and sleep (in the grass on the side of the interstate). We slept for a few hours and then restarted our trip.

Everything was fine, and we made it back to Jersey and nearly home. 5 miles from our destination, we are entering an onramp on the Garden State Parkway and at the top of the ramp the car spins loose and does 2 complete 360 degree spins on the ice. Normally this would not be significant except for the 5 state police cars behind us, who immediately pull us over and inspect the entire car. How we did not get a DUI remains to be seen. We sat on the guide rail for like an hour; poor Bob, still no shoes and a t-shirt.

Tom was issued a ticket for careless driving and so we finally made our way home... Ah 1984, a much less complicated time........... What a metal night, drinking, fighting, car crashes and the police. I am feeling a little bit nostalgic, even weepy. Those were the days my friend. Ironically, Tom is still one of the nicest people I am privileged to be friends with and 23 years later we are still here laughing about the same stupid bullshit.......

Old Metal has the best stories.. Kidz these days don't even know.

Thanks Rich!

"Blasting our way through the boundaries of Hell, no one can stop us tonight.."

Several longtime readers commented to me privately that I should have called this post the sequel to last year's infamous Old Men Talking "conversation"; I agree.. My favorite thing about this space is how it can jar other peoples' memories... so I don't feel like I'm the only freak who finds this crap entertaining.

Old Metal Erik: I have been enjoying your blog and the resulting Earth Dog thread over my morning joe, and I gotta pipe in. I remember the Kabuki bill as Venom, Slayer, Possessed. Exodus did the tour but wanted to do their own hometown show for the Bonded By Blood release. I might be wrong, but we joked about the bill being Venom, Venom Jr. and Baby Venom.

As far as that Motorhead / Mercyful Fate /Exciter show: Awesome! And it marked the end of those seats at The Warfield. I did my share of destruction that night, flinging pieces of seats everywhere. It was truly chaotic.

Note for The Newbies: For almost 40 years The Warfield was a movie theater (Gone With The Wind had its West Coast premiere there in 1939). In the 70's the theater became a concert venue and the original main floor theater seating remained intact... until Motorhead and Mercyful Fate literally destroyed them in 1984. In the years following that mayhem the old theater seats were removed and The Warfield's main floor is now an open floor for General Admission standing.

Umlaut: [Posted on the Earth-Dog Forum] That Motorhead / Mercyful Fate / Exciter show at The Warfield was so epic... The theater style seats bolted to the floor.. Everyone rushing the stage when Fate came on.. I got knocked sideways out of the aisle and was laying across several chairs for a bit and I was afraid someone was going to land on top of me from above.. The debris from the busted chairs being thrown onstage during MH.. Then walking around down front after the show and seeing all of the wreckage.. the remains of the chairs still bolted to the floor but no more chairs... Epic!

The Warfield with its original main floor theater seating (1930's)

Old Metal Erik: Now, the irony. I spent the years 1988-1995 working at The Warfield and Fillmore, both on the stage crew for events, and on the maintenance staff when shows were slim. One of the main tasks for maintenance was repairing the damaged seats in the balcony - the exact same seats that used to be on the main floor. Talk about karma!

Nonetheless, I used to love working in the balcony, and finding all the lost concert goer loot. I found wristwatches, jewelry, money, and after Jerry Garcia shows there would be literally ounces of high grade pot to be had.

I was once reattaching a severed seat cushion, when a ticket stub fell out of the inner stuffing. It read "Loew's Warfield" and was dated 1932. I still have it in plastic somewhere. Crazy!

The Warfield as Movie Theater
Circa 1964 showing Boris Karloff's Black Sabbath (!)

These relics are courtesy of Chris J. (Thanks brutha!):

Count all of the umlauts!! However, wrong 1984 Motorhead band photo...

Revised ad with correct 1984 Motorhead photo