We did a U.S. tour back in 2006 with fellow Chicago band Mest that was, for all intents and purposes, the beginning of the end for Allister. During that tour I drank more, did more drugs, and initiated more physical violence than probably during all the rest of our touring years combined. I’m not really sure why it happened. Contrary to what you might think, it certainly wasn’t because of Mest’s influence. In fact, we didn’t even like them going into that tour. We became good friends by the end but we had established our own identity as a band long before we had met them. Looking back, it was probably the result of many things. Our label no longer seemed interested in us, our headlining shows weren’t very well attended, we had seriously wrecked our van a few months before, and sales of our newest record were dismal. Touring had started to become a burden rather than an enjoyed privilege and we all began to unravel in our own ways. The culmination of things came on an off night in the unlikely town of Missoula, MT.
Rarely did we ever even drive through Montana, much less spent the night there. I don’t really remember the circumstances behind the travel day but it seems safe to assume that we were most likely headed from Seattle to some northern Midwest city, probably Minneapolis. There was another band on the tour called Scary Kids Scaring Kids. They were a lousy screamo band but, as people, they were fun to hang out with. We had all decided to meet up in Missoula, MT, a quiet city in western Montana that was about the midpoint of our cross country drive.
After a long 9 hours in the van, we managed to find a Hampton Inn and a Super 8 that shared a parking lot. Mest parked their bus in the back of the lot and, along with SKSK, rented some rooms at the Hampton Inn. We parked our van close by and opted for the cheaper and less fancy Super 8. After checking in, we decided simply to pick up a few cases of beer and relax at the hotel. The Hampton Inn had an indoor pool and we all agreed to meet there for a few drinks.
There was plenty of beer to go around, as we had all picked up a few cases. We had also picked up a bottle or two of Jagermeister, the preferred choice of liquor on that tour. Both hotels were not very crowded so we had the pool all to ourselves. It was also around 11pm and I’m not sure if the pool was technically still open. At any rate, the booze flowed freely and we were thoroughly enjoying a relaxing evening of swimming and drinking. At some point however, the night inexplicably turned violent and got completely out of control.
I believe it all started when someone tossed a lounge chair into the pool. That playfully innocent act somehow created a chain reaction of events that would end up costing thousands of dollars in damages. Once the first chair went in, it was a free-for-all. More chairs went in, along with tables, towels, laundry baskets, and whatever else was laying around the pool deck. Empty beer cans were hurled into the deep end , creating a sudsy disgusting pool of chlorinated backwash. Someone smashed an empty bottle of Jagermeister, spraying shards of glass all over the pool deck and into the pool. The destruction only intensified.
Like a pack of wild rabid dogs we made our way up to the room that SKSK had rented. We burst through their door screaming and laughing like children, drunk and soaking wet. Paintings were torn off the walls, tables were smashed, and the microwave was obliterated into a million pieces. We wrecked the place fantastic. I wasn’t done, however. By this time I was completely, blindly drunk and a kind of weird, inexplicable thirst for more destruction had come over me.
I stumbled my way back across the parking lot to the Super 8 where we were staying. I managed to make it up to our room on the third floor. I burst in, yelling and hollering like a madman, waking up the three other guys who had gone to sleep hours before. I staggered over to the window and threw open the pane. Like a barbarian, I ripped the tv from where it rested in the entertainment center and carried it over to the window, its chord dragging behind like a snake. I heaved it up onto the window sill and shoved it out, watching it narrowly miss the hood of a car as it crashed down onto the sidewalk below. And suddenly, like the flip of a switch, the drunken rage was gone and a quiet serenity washed over me. I stood there staring at what I had done, my head hanging out the window.
The cops showed up, of course, but to my surprise no one was arrested or even handcuffed. They simply questioned us, verbally reprimanded us for allowing our drinking to get out of hand, and made us pay for the damages. I forked over somewhere in the neighborhood of $800 to replace the TV and to fix the window. I don’t know the exact figure but I believe The Hampton Inn billed Mest something like $3000 for the destruction of property and cleanup of the pool.
We were kicked out of the hotel for the night (obviously) and forced to drive down the highway to find another. I ended up sleeping in the van that night and also for a good majority of the next day. I could not believe that of all the times I truly deserved to be arrested, I wasn’t. Sometimes I wish I could go back and apologize to those nice people of Missoula but, alas, what’s done is done. Like I said earlier, that was more or less the beginning of the end for the band. Within a year of the Missoula meltdown we had done our last tour, played our last show, gone on permanent hiatus, had numerous fights and arguments, and yet somehow through it all, managed to release a gold record in Japan. I’m still proud of that, at least.
So I’ve finally posted a new song up on the Facebook page. Go check it out at http://www.facebook.com/timrogner
I’ve got enough solo material to release a 5 – 6 song EP and the ultimate goal is to have it up for sale/download within the next few weeks. I’m putting together the finishing touches on some simple artwork this week and I should have the final mixes of everything soon. It’s been so long since I’ve released some original songs that I’ve almost forgotten how exciting it is. Also, I’ll be sure to get up a few good stories from the road in the next week. I know I’ve been slacking….
Roadies are some of the craziest motherfuckers in the world. They almost have to be. Day in and day out they put up with so much band bullshit that its amazing you don’t hear more stories of them snapping and shooting up the tour bus. They are the hustlers and the hooligans, but almost always the hardest workers. They don’t often get the respect they deserve and they rarely get paid a fair wage. Yet, they are always the most fun, the most energetic, and certainly the most insane people on any given tour. Magoo, our guitar tech/roadie for a good majority of the band’s touring days, was no exception. Although I don’t see him as much these days, some of the best stories from the road involved Magoo. He had an uncanny natural ability to shock us and make us laugh just by being himself. I owe some very fond memories to him and his propensity for doing the unthinkable.
We played a show at the Roxy in Hollywood and were invited back to stay with two girls that we had met at the show. Our van was leaking gasoline (a long story which will be revisited in a later post) and the girls lived all the way down in Orange County, a good 45 – 60 minute drive from Hollywood. We had all been drinking heavily and I was certainly in no shape to drive. Amidst the confusion after the show, it was somehow decided that our drummer would drive our van and Magoo would ride in the car with the girls. We hopped into the van and followed Magoo and the girls to the highway.
I was drunkenly sitting in the back, staring out the front windshield and trying to keep my head from spinning. I was watching the girls’ car in front of us and it looked to be swerving all over the highway. I remember thinking that Magoo probably shouldn’t be riding with them. As we continued down the highway, I saw what looked like a t-shirt being held out the window, flapping chaotically in the air as we hit 75mph. What the hell? I could see Magoo inside the car with his shirt off, mischievously smiling at us through the back window.
He pulled his shirt back inside and I next saw his pants dangling out the window, flapping wildly in the air. What the hell is he doing? The car now seemed to be swerving even more. It was 2am and I stared in drunken disbelief as Magoo climbed out the window, completely naked except for his shoes, and made his way onto the roof of the car. It should be noted here that Magoo has been blessed (or cursed, depending on how you look at it) with an extraordinarily large package which, on his 5’4″ frame, looks quite like a baby’s arm holding an apple. It’s very impressive.
Anyways, here he was, humping the roof of the car completely naked while these two drunk girls are speeding and swerving all over the highway. He was whooping and hollering and laughing and giving us the finger. He’d stick his ass up in the air and shake it at us, his huge cock dangling down between his legs. I thought for sure he was going to fall off and we would run him over. Our drummer thought the same thing so he slowed and backed off until we were a good 100 feet behind. Magoo clung to the top of the car, flailing and flopping for a few more minutes before finally making his way back through the open window and into the car.
We eventually all made it to our destination in one piece, but it was, without a doubt, one of the most hilariously exhilarating drives on that tour. It’s certainly an image that will be forever burned into my mind.