Touring with Staind

When we hit the stage it seems some people actually remember us. Kids start dancing on the first song and some know the words well enough to sing along. I jump out into the crowd a couple of times but the set goes by quick and before you know it I'm off stage back at the T-shirt booth signing stuff and talking to people...

The next couple of days, we're off to Spartansburg to play at Ground Zero. A couple of years ago when we toured with Clutch, we played there with 20 Dead Flower Children and Workhorse Movement both from Detroit and they both kicked ass and were real cool to hang with. The new Ground Zero was a whole lot bigger and run by the same guy who remembered us and was cool. I watched Gwar on a "where are they now" episode and it was hilarious, those guys are so funny.

By the time we hit stage, the place was packed .. we rocked out and everyone seemed to really dig it. My neck was real sore form the night before so I went a little easy but I think I'm the only one that noticed. After the show, I was hanging out at the T-shirt booth where I got some good feedback and even got some hope smoked my way. I love the south people.. they're friendly and genuine, up north people are friendly but with an edge. You know what they say, the south is the heart of the country. The bus driver from Simon Says gave us his hotel room which was good because we weren't making a lot of money at the shows ..we were pretty much surviving on money made from T-shirt and CD sales.

The next day we drove to Fayetteville, NC to play at the Club Metro, we got there early and the club was having some trouble with the PA so we had some time to walk around. I went to use the payphone across the street from the club, while I was on the phone I kept seeing all these girls going into the bar that the phone was in front of, so after I got done with my dialing I went to investigate.

It turns out to be a strip club and they made a demand of a five dollar entry fee, which of course was way out of my price range, so I was about to leave when one of the dancers approached and asked if I was in TREE.. Damn!, we've never been here and I get recognized, how in the hell?? It turns out she's from Maine and had seen us up there a bunch of times, I invited her to the show but she had to stay and work but she told me to come back and bring whoever ..and she'd try to get us in for free. I thanked her and left.

Back at the club, they were just getting the sound system going, so I set up the T-shirts and watched Staind and Simon Says do their sound check, then we did ours....and the doors were opened to the public. I hung out with a friend of ours from the band 6 pack and twisted some root between mouthfuls of beer. I think this was the only club that didn't completely sell out before the day of the show but it was still packed when we went on.

Some kids with old school TREE shirts were right up front and started a pit right away. It took a couple of songs to warm up the rest of the crowd, by the time we were done it was apparent that we successfully accomplished our job as a warm up band. After the set I walked around and talked to people. I guess Sully from Godsmack lived down here for a couple of years and everyone that I met that knew him had only good things to say. I also met a lot of military personnel that showed a lot of appreciation for our song "burning seed" and even met one kid who's brother suffered from the Gulf war syndrome. I bought him a beer and hooked him up with some stuff for his brother.

After the show a bunch of us went across to the street to the strip club, got in for free and had a couple beers. The owner used to be in a rock band in the seventies and told me stories of how disco destroyed the rock scene. I would have loved to have seen the golden age of rock when all the bars had live bands. We cheered our friend from Maine on and gave her some hometown support. We had to drive that night so I didn't drink but at the end of the night the two prettiest girls came over to the van and lit up with us, which was very nice of them.

On the road again, this time off to Knoxville, TN to play a club called Moose's, We arrived early the next day and the weather was beautiful ..The guys that worked the club were real cool to us and helped us move all of our gear in...when we hit the stage, the club was filled to capacity and a bunch of them were chanting TREE, TREE, TREE, TREE, that hasn't happened on this tour yet and it made us psyched, it was loud.

We really went off that night, I guess a lot of the kids that saw us earlier on tour with Staind came out for another dosage. A lot of the kids from Kentucky were a real wild bunch and I also met a beautiful girl who was showing me a ton of attention much to the dismay of her boyfriend, in fact, I was surprised to find out that she even had a boyfriend...as soon as I did, I made tracks because that shit ain't right and I don't want any part of a girl that has a prior obligation. I met a guy with the kind and we were hanging, burning, and talking about life when he lets on that he's white power. I ask why and he tells me it was just how he was brought up. I try to reach out with the facts of the class war, and how racism is just a weapon of oppression and the real scoundrels that are screwing us all are made up of mostly rich white men. I think he listened, he was a nice guy nevertheless so I hope it might have helped him see in a more positive way.

I brought a couple of kids backstage for a beer, we were hanging out in our room and Aaron from Staind was chilling but the kids didn't know it was him. I told them that Aaron was our roadie and they completely bought it. One kid even went as far as telling Aaron that he could sing like the singer from Staind. I, of course, told him there was no way and we argued about it for a while much to Aaron's amusement. After the show we all hung out with a bunch of the fans and partied till the wee hours of the morn. I woke up naked on the floor with no blanket or pillow ..it made me laugh. If you can't laugh at yourself then who can you laugh at??

The tour is winding down with only two shows left, it sucks that it was so short but we were really lucky to get on it at all and we have the guys in Staind to thank for such a wonderful opportunity and chance to see how our music would appeal to the MTV masses. I'm happy to say that I have renewed hope. So off we go to Atlanta, GA to play the old house of blues which is now the Cotton club located right next to Olympic park.

The park you might remember was the site of the Olympic bombing where a nail bomb went off and killed some people and injured a lot more. Richard Jewel , a security guard at the time spotted a suspicious back pack and alerted authorities. Turns out it was a bomb and he saved lives, but the cops and the feds needed a lone nut to blame so guess whose name came up as the number one suspect, Richard Jewel. The feds came up with the idea that Jewel wanted to play the hero so he planted the bomb to create a threat in which he could save everyone. As if he's the only one with a motive, besides all the attention a domestic hate group would receive. The Olympics have been used before for international terrorist to make their statements known.

A little known story is how the city of Atlanta displaced hundreds if not thousands of homeless and by displaced them I mean clear the streets with police intimidation or incarcerate those left behind. They also shut down or pressured some rock clubs like the Midtown Music Hall to change format by refusing to issue live entertainment licenses. They did this to clean up their image in the eyes of the world. Aaron and I walked around the park to check it out, some cool waterfall fountain like structure, a long list of names carved into the marble floor, a couple of interesting sculptures all in all it was pretty cool.

We go back to the club for a pre-show party, I guess tonight is the Cotton Club's first show, so that makes us the first people to play there. After the show we went to the Highlander, they used to have live bands play in the other room called the mid-town music hall but because of what happened the room is now filled with arcade games. I love this bar, it's always filled with a wide range of people and it helps to know the bartender. The food is great and I chowed, the beer was good and I drank., and I'd like to thank them for a great time.

I wake up in the van the next morning and drive off to the last show in Charleston SC, it sucks that it's the last show, it may be a long time before we can get on a tour this cool, this productive. I hope for things to work out so we can get on tours of this caliber, I can't let it get to me, it's just gonna drive me crazy, so off I drive like a madman.

We're playing at the Music Farm, we show up early, get a couple of rooms, I get on my skate and explore all local parking lots and loading docks. I meet a cool girl at the photo shop and invite her to the show then off I go in search of a shot of wheatgrass but have to settle for a cup of coffee. I come across a military museum and go inside to check it out.

The guy running the place was an old Canadian Irish guy whose ancestors made whiskey and he also fought in WW2... he was shot in the head and lived to tell me the filthiest leprechaun jokes I've ever heard in my life. I take a walk through the museum after I donate my five bucks. They had uniforms going back to the war of 1812 . I found the relics educational and inspiring. I was digging the old patches which had sweet designs displayed.

Back to the club, do a sound check, then i take a walk into the "bad" side of town. I see a sign in a bar window "proper attire required, no Yankees gear". I go in and have a beer and talk to the cook, turns out the owner is from Boston, who would have guessed? Back at the club, doors just opened so I help Jake work the line with flyers and stickers, this tactic works, it gets the name in their head....

This is the last show and we have no reason to hold anything back tonight. So the plan is to go nuts and we do but Jake went crazy, he was on top of the crowd the whole set. The crowd was into it so it just made our last show that much better. Staind got up there and played another flawless set. They have turned into a touring machine, so tight, and Aaron never loses his voice, ever. We party hard backstage and after the show out into the streets.

Staind is off to Florida to get ready for the Korn tour, Simon Says is going back to Sacramento to get ready for a European tour and the members of TREE are going back to Boston and back to work the blue collar jobs, I go back to no job at all, no money, rent to pay, bills to pay with nothing in the bank. I'm poor money wise but I just toured a dozen days of Super rock shows and got a taste of success, I had a great time and now it's time to work even harder.......