I have a fear of riding in cars while other people are driving. Its not a debilitating sort of anxiety, but rather a minor nervousness that always makes me a bit uncomfortable as a passenger. It’s mostly a control issue I think, but it also stems from the two or three fairly serious car accidents I’ve been lucky enough to have walked away from. At no time was I the one driving the car. In fact, I’ve never been in an accident while I was behind the wheel. Because of this fear, I spent about 95% of our touring days driving the van. The only times I didn’t drive were when I was just too drunk, too tired, or we were on a bus (which actually always made me more nervous than touring in a van). During one overnight drive from Minneapolis to Chicago, we wrecked our van so completely that I’m still amazed we were able to walk away from it.
It was December, about a week or two before Christmas, and we were on the last shows of a five week tour with our friends Day At The Fair and Houston Calls. After the Minneapolis show, we drove directly to Matt’s Bar for a Juicy Lucy prior to making the overnight trek to Chicago. We were hoping to stop home for some quick R & R before our next gig at the Metro.
It was bitterly cold. The temperature was around 0 degrees with a wind chill of near minus 25. It was the type of cold where you can feel the icicles crystallizing on your eyelashes and in your nose. The type of cold that hurts. We cranked the heat up in the van and got on the road around midnight.
I was dog tired from a few nights of heavy partying so I asked our guitar player to take the first driving shift so I could grab a couple hours of sleep. The plan was for him to drive 3 hours and then wake me up to take the next shift. I took off my jacket, buckled myself in, and laid down on the bench directly behind the front seats, covering myself with a sleeping bag.
We were about an hour or so into the drive and, even though I was exhausted, I was having a difficult time falling completely asleep. I could hear our guitar player and roadie talking in the front seats but I couldn’t distinguish any of the words. There were other sounds – the radio, the steady hum of tire treads vibrating on the highway underneath me – but it was all just white noise. I was in dreamlike, half-conscious hypnotic state.
As I lay there, Green Day’s “Holiday” cut through on the radio with a sudden clarity. At the same time, the noise and vibrations of the road abruptly disappeared from underneath me and it felt like I was floating on the bench seat. Just as the entire van began to fishtail, our guitar player screamed from the driver’s seat. “OH SHIT! BLACK ICE!! HANG ON WE’RE GOING OVER!! OH MY GOD! AHHHH!!”
A monstrous cacophony of screaming and profanity erupted inside the van as we slid sideways on the highway. Everything unraveled in slow motion. The entire van flipped and we landed upside down on the highway with a deafening BANG! The roof crunched inward and the windows exploded, blowing a dust storm of glass throughout the van. Our personal belongings went flying around like we were in the middle of a tornado. I was hanging upside down by my seat belt as we skidded down the road, the sound of the van’s metal roof grating on the asphalt just inches from my head. We hit another bump and rocketed off the highway, plowing our way through snow drifts and finally coming to a stop up against a long thatch of bushes, about 30 feet from the shoulder of the road. There was no sound. And no movement.
It was eerily silent as we all tried to gather ourselves together. Slowly I began to hear the sound of steam hissing from somewhere in the engine. The monotonous drone of the tires, still spinning as if nothing had happened, echoed around my head. Someone called out, “Is anybody hurt?” One by one we all answered that we were ok. I remember naively thinking that it would behoove us to get out as quickly as possible before the van exploded.
I was still hanging upside down, held only by the seat belt secured around my waist. I glanced around, trying to orient myself in the cold darkness. I placed one hand above me, bracing myself on the ceiling as I punched the button on the safety belt, releasing me from it’s life saving grip. One side of the van was crushed slightly more than the other, leaving me with only one escape window with which to crawl through. I wormed my way over pillows, sleeping bags, jackets, and broken glass, finally squeezing myself through the opening and out into four inches of recently fallen snow. It was freezing.
I stood there in the moonlight with the rest of the band, shivering as we surveyed the damage. The van was resting upside down in a shallow ditch at about a 45 degree angle from the road. The force of the accident had twisted the tow package like a pretzel, severing the van from the trailer. The trailer was on its side about 40 feet away, its back doors blown wide open. Almost all our gear and merchandise had been thrown from the trailer and it lay strewn all over the side of the highway like artifacts washed ashore after a shipwreck. Everything that we had worked so hard for over the last 6 years was now lying on the side of a Wisconsin highway like some child’s discarded broken toys.
Once we realized that the van was indeed NOT going to explode, we each took turns carefully crawling back inside to gather up our jackets and what personal belongings we could salvage. As we waited for the State Police to arrive, we collected all of our gear and merchandise, stacking it into a pile next to the trailer. Surprisingly, not much of it was outwardly damaged. Though we didn’t know if the amps would turn on, almost all of our cabinets and cases were still intact. We tossed armfuls of snow covered T-shirts back into their bins and managed to save all the boxes of CDs except one. One of the only things that didn’t make it through the wreck was an acoustic guitar we had been borrowing from Day At The Fair. It’s neck had snapped in half like a twig. I still feel bad about that to this day.
The State Police finally arrived and escorted us a few miles back to the nearest town where we rented a hotel room for the night. A tow truck came to haul the van and trailer back to a junkyard where went through it the next morning to ensure we didn’t leave anything behind. We were extremely lucky in that both Day At The Fair and Houston Calls were not very far away when we crashed. We called them after we called the police and they graciously squeezed us and our gear into their vans and RVs. We didn’t get much sleep that night but I’m proud to say that we still made it to the Chicago show the next night, and to the final show in Detroit after that (we took our cars). It seemed that nothing could stop us from bringing the rock….
I recently did a podcast interview with Tinky and Louie of Radio Exposed. Check it out at www.radioexposed.net. We discussed quantum mechanics, Einstein’s theory of relativity, and the notion of using anti-matter to solve the world’s energy crisis. Well, no…but we did talk Allister history and the possibilities of a brand new record in 2012. Enjoy!
Can anyone please tell me what the fuck is up with this Maroon 5 song, “Moves Like Jagger?” I mean, really? Have we collectively sunk so low as a society that we actually think this is a good song? Who are the dipshits that are demanding to hear this song, keeping it endlessly spinning on every radio station when, in fact, the entire idea of the song should have been bagged the minute Adam Levine said to his band, “Hey I got this idea to write a song referencing Mick Jagger.” If someone in my band had brought that idea to practice I would have punched him in the face and run screaming to the nearest bar.
Doesn’t anybody see why this song is so atrocious? What kind of band thinks that writing a song about Mick Jagger’s moves is a good idea? Especially a band that has had huge success writing a few halfway decent pop tunes? How do you consciously walk into a recording studio and lay down these lyrics with a straight face? Sorry Adam, its fucking lame. Not even Kara’s Flowers would have done something like this. First of all, Mick Jagger may be the frontman for one of the biggest rock bands in history, but copying his moves in order to impress a girl is simply the antithesis of cool. Watching him dance is like watching a heroin addict in withdrawal doing a full body dry heave. It just doesn’t work. There is nothing remotely cool or attractive about it. He looks like a fucking idiot, plain and simple.
The other issue I have with the song is why use Christina Aguilera? For fucks sake man, she’s washed up. She’s a has-been. If Maroon 5 was trying to “resurrect” their careers by pairing themselves with another pop icon, the least they should’ve done is found someone current and relevant. Look, I’ll be honest, I like Christina Aguilera. But I like her circa 2000 when she wasn’t a drunken, disgusting mess. Now she’s forgetting the words to the national anthem and getting arrested for being drunk and disorderly (not that I’ve never done that before but we’re not talking about me today). So why Xtina? Why not Lady Gaga or Katy Perry or (dare I say) Pink? I can’t say I regularly keep up with pop music/culture, but I’m pretty sure Christina Aguilera hasn’t done anything of interest in quite some time. In fact, it’s scary to think that she could even be HURTING the popularity of this song. Yikes…
I’m sure there’s some sort of underlying reason between the pairing though, like label politics or money. Or, its merely something simple and explainable like Christina and Adam are secretly dating or fucking each other. Either way, the song stinks something awful and we are all worse off for having been subjected to it. All I can hope for is that it dies quickly and quietly and is never heard again. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go write a song and call it “Takes Propofol Like Jackson.”