Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nurse the Hate: Hate Rock N Roll

In the late 80s I remember going to see fIREHOSE at a couple club dates and thinking how successful those guys were, and how awesome it must be to be a “rock star” at even such a small level. Of course, what I didn’t know is those guys were careening around the country in a rickety cargo van trying to find people’s houses to crash out at because they didn’t have enough money to get a decent hotel. I assumed these guys put out real records that people I knew listened to, so it should be assumed they were living a more modest version of a Bon Jovi video.

I bring up fIREHOSE because the Whiskey Daredevils are like rock n roll catfish swimming around in even deeper depths than the relative boom days of 1987 and fIREHOSE. For example, here’s how Leo spent his Saturday/Sunday. After a long night of snoring keeping all of us up in our cramped hotel room (one room for four guys), he showered and poked around the lobby for free food. When that failed to materialize, he went into our first gas station stop and bought a “breakfast pizza”, a “Little Dude”, and a Vitamin Water. The breakfast pizza was a slab of dough with fake eggs, cheese, and processed sausage that had been sitting bleakly under a warming light. The “Little Dude” was a Chunky candy bar sized piece of sausage that required no refrigeration, and looked like something you would shove up someone’s ass. Leo inhaled the questionable meal, smoked some weed, talked shit for 20 minutes, and fell back asleep for the 5 hour drive to Champaign IL. I think he was awake for 45 minutes total on Saturday morning/afternoon.

We had an opening slot for Heavy Trash (who are really good and a fun bunch of guys by the way). The downside of this is that you get paid about 1/3rd or less of what the headliner makes. The upside is that you finish your set, and get to hang out drinking while watching the other band with no worries about having to get up and perform in public. As you can imagine, Leo moved in on the complimentary Pabst like a hawk. I don’t know how many he knocked back, but I would imagine it was a heroic quantity.

The only reason I tell you this is to set the stage for what indie rock n roll is really all about. It’s Sunday, and Leo is in his familiar sleeping position in the van as we hurtle across the bleak Eastern Indiana/Western Ohio landscape. His stomach is a little dicey, but he’s been here before and can sleep it off. The decision is made to pull off at one of the horrible fast food restaurants off the highway. To make things interesting we decide to make a game out of it. First we debated if Leo should choose the restaurant randomly from his laying down position below the window line of the van. Example: “Take a left and pull into the third restaurant on the right.” This was decided against because we would have the distinct possibility of pulling into a Hardee’s, and we’d rather go hungry than eat at Hardee’s.

Then we decided that Leo would order a combo meal by random number from wherever we chose, and would eat that no matter what it was. While some people assume Leo is always eating catered food from backstage, the usual deal is that he scrapes by on whatever cheap eats he can find on the highway. This is budget rock n roll. The Squirrel makes a strong case for KFC, and we pull in. Leo says, “OK…I’ll take a #3 combo meal with a Coke. And give me whatever sauce is available for a #3 too.”

As we walk in to the small town KFC/Taco Bell combo fast food hut, I scan the board for the #3 combo. I think we were in Plainfield Indiana. I shit you not; the #3 combo in this particular KFC is a “Livers and Gizzards Combo meal”. I couldn’t believe it. This KFC not only sold gizzards, but had it as the #3 combo? Where the hell were we? How the hell could a mainstream fast food restaurant be selling chicken livers and gizzards, and have it make economic sense? No matter, the plan is the plan and I order the “Livers and Gizzards Combo” for my little buddy lying on the van bench.

I will freely admit, Leo was more than a little disappointed when the plastic platter of grayish nuggets was revealed as his lunch. “What the fuck? Jesus…OK…OK…I can do this.” Slowly but surely Leo worked his way through the breaded nuggets, complaining once in awhile about “the taste of iron”. Then he then did what he always does, and passed back out asleep. It was about 35 minutes later when I heard the voice behind me. “Do you guys have a plastic bag up there? I think I’m going to throw up these gizzards.” Ken assured Leo that we would have to gas up shortly, and if he could hold off for a couple minutes he could compose himself in some legitimate restroom facilities. “OK…I’ll try….”

Still in the middle of nowhere, we pulled into “Gas Station”. It’s not a Shell or BP. It’s “Gas Station”. Leo unsteadily walked towards the building to find a hopefully clean restroom. The first sign that things might not be ideal was when he was pointed to one of two port a johns located across the gas station parking lot. I saw Leo walk inside the blue booth, and quickly come back out seemingly shaken. Imagine if you will, you are hung over and have a stomach full of chicken livers and gizzards. Now imagine that when you walk into the port a john you discover a giant mound of human feces has crested the bowl. Wet paper sits on top of the shit mound, and a thin slime of water sloshes on the plastic floor. How he didn’t start immediately barfing, I’ll never know.

Leo begged us to drive him down the road to another “Gas Station” with what had to be better facilities. He disappeared inside the cinderblock building for 20 minutes or so, and emerged seemingly refreshed. “Yeah, it was bad in there too…real bad…but I made a little nest out of toilet paper and took a shit. After I flushed and got ready to leave, and I gagged a little bit and threw up, but all that came out was foam.”

That’s what rock n roll is really like.


At November 19, 2009 at 1:45:00 PM EST , Blogger roscoe said...


Bravo to you Greg and of course to our hero Leo!

At November 20, 2009 at 3:50:00 PM EST , Blogger Greg Miller said...

I have just added an actual photo of the event. Gaze upon it with wonder!

At November 24, 2009 at 9:00:00 AM EST , Blogger ScottyJ said...

Fantastic stuff!!

At November 25, 2009 at 12:55:00 AM EST , Blogger Brandonio! said...

The KFC in Anderson Indiana has the gizzard /liver meal as #3 too! Rock on Leo!


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