For a few weeks when I was about 23 or 24, I can’t quite remember, I did short tour playing bass with both of the acts on the bill. We left Oceanside at about 11 a.m. after we had gotten nice and loaded on some nasty crank that we had gotten from the other band we were touring with, The Dirty Angels. This was quite a crass crew. The lead singer Alex had been a bit actor in the eighties in a couple cheesy roles in movies like the Lost Boys and prisoner number one who dies in Con-AIR with Nick Cage. They had recently lost their bass player for some reason or another and I was just filling in till they found a new guy. All our shows for the next month were booked together so I figured Fuck-it. Twice the chance people would get me loaded and I would make double what everyone else on this fuck-tastic voyage would. So we piled in one the cars that was following the truck that had all both bands gear and headed north on the I 15.
My band at the time was a three-piece monster Johnny N. on guitar from NY Charles Barlow on Drums and me on bass. We rode up with Henry Spent from the SPENT IDOLS another punk band, like the Dirty Angels. It was a hell of a crew. Every stop on this short tour was just a fucking circus. We had the weekend booked at some lodge in Bear Mountain As we ascended the mountain we started smelling that ol’ sick car smell; we were still at the bottom of the grade. What if this junk heap Henry had died on this ascent? This was before everyone had a cell phone, and certainly none of us had one. There would be no way to tell the other guys that we had a situation. Henry kept running through the gears trying to get up some momentum, but there was no reprieve from that hill. Something had gone wrong or a calamity had befallen somebody on every stop of this tour, so it was our turn today.
That heap of shit finally spit out its last gasp and the motor died. We crossed the lanes illegally and docked that shit-liner in a runaway truck turnout. All the gear was in the two trucks that were leading this caravan John and I just had my bass and his guitar in gig-bags with us and I believe Jeff had his snare in a case and his bag of drumsticks.
it was starting to snow and the rest of the caravan was probably 10 miles up the hill by this point so it was time to think. “I we just tell people what our situation is, someone will help us out,” I said Johnny N. was already on top of it. He reached into his gig briefcase and pulled out a marker and proceeded to look for paper. Henry Spent ran to his trunk and pulled out 3 large cardboard boxes and yes this was just what the Dr. had ordered. We went into “roadside beggar mode and made the hobo hitchhikers masterpiece reading, “BAND NEEDS RIDE TO BEAR MOUNTAIN,” it was brilliant and even in our situation the humor in all of this was not lost to us we laugh as we began the hunt for just the right sucker to let us in his vehicle.
The first leg up the mountain we were picked up by a French couple in a jeep it was kind of a tight fit considering the size of Charles Baylow and we had Henry Spent with us (curse him for not having a better car) 2 guitars and a snare drum but we made that shit work. The French couple had stopped because they loved the cardboard sign; yes this was the winner. They got us to about Mountain center and dropped us off at a convenience store. Better than a runaway truck turnout 8 miles back.
It’s strange I can’t seem to remember who picked us up for the second leg of the trip but it seems that we some must have smoked some pot because I remember being stoned when our final chauffeur picked us up standing on a rock at a turnout about 6 miles from gig we were worried about getting to. He was a German ski buff that been in California for the season. Johnny N sat up front and traded New York for Hamburg stories. This was an uncomfortable leg of the trip lodged between Charles Baylow and Henry Spent. About 20 minutes later we were in the bar and of course the rest of this traveling circus had already been there for about 3 and a half hours. There was quite a laugh when Alex said he just started wondering where we were; mainly because of our absence out the Load In.
One hour left before sound check and the two bands I was playing were set to go on; so up to the room to do one. Once our heads were on straight we went down and sound checked and played the first of the two nights at the ……………. Lodge. I cannot remember the name of the place but I’m sure it was the worst shithole on the mountain. And that first gig marks the beginning of 48 hour blank space. I saw a video of night #2 and it seems I was pretty good form.
The ride back to Oceanside can basically be summed up to the closest near death experience I’ve ever had. The bodies to vehicle ratio were off and we literally drew straws on who would ride inside the camper shell on top of the gear. It was Charles Baylow and who ended up climbing into to Alex’s camper shell and finding ourselves in that potential coffin. I’m sure everyone has felt uncomfortable riding with sketchy drives and feeling uncomfortable with the driver. Yeah that was Baylow and I in that truck that night. It was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. The guy drove like an asshole.
As Johnny N. Explained later it was a black Cadillac that came around the bend coming up as we were headed down the mountain. It had swerved into our lane. Baylow and I had no visual for the whole trip. We felt the truck jerk left sharp and hard to the side of the highway that drops off was on. For about 10-15 seconds the sound of screeching tires was my life’s swansong; I really thought it was over. It is true there are a lot of things that quickly go through you mind at that moment but as the truck slid to the halt on the shoulder we exhaled and realized we were still alive. I only recall the silence up in the cab and Baylow seething at our driver. That night lady luck shined her light on me and decided that it wasn’t time for this particular truck load of idiots. God, we would have been a textbook statistic.