Jonesing on Tour

In my earlier days of recklessness and misplaced rebellion, I had a lot of highs and a lot of lows. I say misplaced rebellion, because in hindsight every time I took another hit, every time I exhibited some kind of twisted anti social behavior and I thought I was laying out a big “FUCK YOU!” what really was happening was I was saying “FUCK ME!” Sure, I harmed most everyone around me, but I sure did not do much harm to the demons I thought I was lashing out at. And I certainly did myself a world of hurt.

I loved touring. Through most of my 20’s, I played and toured extensively both through the US and Europe with my old band Cop Shoot Cop. To this day, I deeply miss it at times. I know though that that was then and this is now. And I know that memories aren’t reality. An ex girlfriend of mine recently sent me a scan of a postcard I sent her once when I was touring. The first line of it was “I don’t think I can take it anymore!”

Touring would also give me a chance to drag my ass out of the chemical induced slurry pond that I would habitually reside in. I was forced to “clean up”. To me, that meant only ingesting what was available. Sure, I could bring a bunch of smack and crack with me, but that always seemed to run out so damn fast. My radar worked really well, but the fact was that hard drugs just weren’t available on the street in every town. If you ran in to me one week after leaving on tour, you would see a rail thin bug eyed twitching embodiment of depression and wonder. I was scared shitless and in Awe, like I was coming out of hibernation. The world around me was painfully clear and in focus. Light hurt. Noise was wonderful. The only place I felt right was on stage. That 60 to 90 minutes a day was exhilarating, being in the instant. Walking on a razor blade. A hyper-reality. And then the crash.

nosmoking

I would bring my mini pharmacy on the planes. FYI: it is possible to smoke crack in the airplane bathroom and not set off the alarm. I didn’t really think about what would happen if my method didn’t work. It wasn’t really even a choice. It had to work. I at least had to try. My life might be different now if it hadn’t worked.

After about 3 weeks of touring, my body would adjust to this new chemical balance. I’d emerge from withdrawals in to exhaustion, and then the exhaustion would turn in to a long lasting permeating giddiness. This would affect everyone in the band. Everything was funny, and anything was prime material for a joke. I remember getting lost in Philadelphia, and Natz repeatedly leaning out the window, asking people on the street if they could tell us how to find the Plexiglass Children. And being in a supermarket in Seattle, asking the woman at the butcher counter if you could make shakes out of chicken feet. Her answer was, “well, I reckon you could make shakes out of just about anything!” Everything was funny, and nothing was normal. Touring was wonderful because it felt like the rules and norms that contained the straight world couldn’t touch us. As a result, we did many things that could have turned out disastrous. Again, things that could have fucked up our lives for years to come but somehow they didn’t.

Canadian Border.jpg

Picture this: I’m handcuffed and detained (with the rest of my band, but it’s me they’re after) at the Canadian Border, where the authorities are going to confiscate our van along with all our gear, then pass me over to the New York State Troopers at which point I’ll be locked in a cell with the certainty of jail time attached. 3 hours later, not only are we driving away with everything intact, but the Border Cops actually gave me back the bag of dope I had stashed in my cigarette pack. How does this happen? At the time, I just took it in stride, but looking back I feel really really fortunate.

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