Here was my view of Wes, day and night during the rally.
..... and this was Wes' view of me all day and night.
Yesterday, while sitting in the doctors office, my phone makes the funny lil sound it makes when I get a message. Each time I hear it I am sort of shocked. Not because I got a message, but because the damn thing is actually working! HOW FAR ARE YOU FROM SCOTTSDALE MAN? "Well, depending on where in Scottsdale, anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes, why", I asked back. Well we plan on parking at the Scottsdale Mall overnight. I said "hell man, that's not far at all, I'll come see you, let's party it up". Call you when we get in to town man! Since I hadn't seen him since August this was a great surprise. After the knucklehead sent me the wrong number to reach him, we finally got to talking on the phone, you know, the way our ancestors use to do!
First off, I had to know what the hell they were parking at the mall and why it was being parked there. I knew of no bike events in or around town. I didn't know of any big bike events in Cali. or Nevada that were about to happen or that had just happened. So of course I asked and the answer made me really happy for him. "I'm on a tour bus brother" was his answer. I caught a tour and not just any tour, I got on the number one tour in the USA right now, Five Finger Death Punch and Hatebreed and I'm touring with the opening act Rains! I was so thrilled for him. I could hear how very happy he was in his voice. I suggested that they take the idea of parking the bus in the mall and stuff it up some one's ass. My second suggestion was to gather up all the buses and all the bands and come park them at my place. I've got the pool, all kinds of bedrooms, an extra apartment, laundry facilities, pool table, booze and I even offered to cook up some of my famous fixins! FUCK YEAH MAN, WHAT A GREAT IDEA, LET ME ROLL IT PAST THE SINGER AND I'LL HIT YOU BACK! Cool! Well I'm jumping on my bike right now to run and pick up a check, I'll call you back in 40 minutes when I get off the bike, fair enough? I take the ride, pick up the check and I call him back and I swear to God, a different person answered the phone! So I ask, what's going on man, you okay? THIS IS WHERE THE MADNESS BEGINS! The driver of the bus said no! He got in to a huge fight with the assistant tour manager and refuses to drive the bus another inch! He has pulled off in to a truck stop in inner city ghetto Phoenix! He says "dude, homeless people are asking to wash the wheels on the bus, this is fucked up"! So now I'm confused! I'm going to sleep the driver says and walks off like a child and instead of taking his ball and leaving, he more or less took his bus keys and crawled in to his bunk. I would officially call this guy A LIL FUCKING BITCH but would not want to offend any lil bitches anywhere by putting this dick in their category! He stopped the bus 20 minutes from where they were supposed to park for the night, 30 minutes from my house! Well this made me so pissed! I was not going to have my friend, stuck in a crack head and lot lizard filled truck stop in Phoenix!
I had a better idea.... grab your gear, get your laundry ready, JACK SHIT to the rescue! I am bringing you all back to my house! I'm not going to have you robbed, raped or human trafficked while aimlessly wandering around all night in the farthest, darkest back corner of a massive parking lot! They were thrilled to say the least. They could not believe that I was going to drive 30 miles to come pick them up, only to bring them back another 30 at 2am to get on the bus to drive away, when their own fucking bus driver who is being paid to drive them around wouldn't!!!! FUCKING PSYCHO!!!!
So I roll on up to pick them up and one by one they all come off the bus, introducing themselves to me, thanking me profusely and smiling! I have freed them from their prison! One of the first guys off the bus is leaning against the back of my truck and starts reading my back window stickers. DARK STAR TATTOO, WHO THE FUCK IS ROADSIDE MARTY and so on. These guys are all in the Horse Mag! I said oh yeah man, those guys are my friends, every sticker on here! As it turns out, he is a huge fan of all things CHOPPER and loves GEORGE THE PAINTER's and Charlie the Nomad's writing! I said "no shit, small world man". GTP is one of my dearest friends in the whole world, he spent the whole day at my house yesterday, I couldn't get rid of him! My wife got Charlie the Nomad and his girl Jill there house too, they live 8 doors down from us on the same street. "GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE MAN"! No I won't, I'm serious! Now the first problem arises, there are seven of us, my truck can pretty much hold 5 men. Here I am thinking that it is freezing out. The AZ night time temps have dropped to a drastic 67 degrees. We will ride in the bed of the truck, we don't care, just take us with you, don't leave us here! That is just what we did! We drove 80 mph down the freeway with a lunatic biker behind the wheel and band members and management jammed in to every open spot in the truck! Off to the JACK SHIT resort and day spa for wayward rock stars! I had a surprise for my new friend... I reached out to Charlie the Nomad and told him that he had a huge fan of his at my house, would he come down and say hello?
After a while, we all ended up back out on the patio. Anyone who needed to, got their laundry done, anyone who needed one, took a shower and then just stretched out on patio chairs! For the next hour, the guys filled me in on all the antics that this driver has pulled and all the drama that he has caused and then they dropped the bomb on me! They had been on this tour, now get this, for ten days! Yes, this piece of shit has caused all this trouble in less than two weeks and they have fifty more dates to play before Christmas.
So here they are, first major US tour, chance of a lifetime to show the world what they got. Instead of relaxing or partying their asses off like musicians on the damn road are supposed to do, they are having to sneak away to speak because they are afraid the fucking bus driver will hear them. This mental patient is holding their lives in his nutty hands! I liken it to things such as this; you make a plan for the night, person X is the designated driver, it is set in stone. Everyone gets twisted up and on your way out to the car, you find your DD throwing up drunk over the rear bumper, or referee in charge of the game is gambling and purposely moving things in the direction that suits his own personal agenda. This guy is not on this tour because it is HIS TOUR, he is on board for this tour because it is THEIR TOUR! YOU ARE THE BUS DRIVER MOTHER FUCKER, DRIVE THE FUCKING BUS!!! As a matter of fact, how about we try this, DRIVE IT WHERE WE TELL YOU TO DRIVE IT! This guy takes the bus to places and stops because it is near a long lost friend of his or because it is near a casino. In another life, this guy performed a job much like the management is doing for this band and obviously he wasn't very good at it. He undermines each and every decision that the managers make because he knows better and you have to do it his way or he jams on the brakes or just parks the bus and puts the band in time out! I believe that the facts show us that he does not know better or he would be a tour manager, a band manager or anything other than the bus driver! Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that driving the tour bus is a lowly job or anything. Given the opportunity, I would love to do it myself. Open road, freedom, new people, new places and ROCK N ROLL each and every night, that just rules! How the hell can you not be happy with that? The more these guys spoke, the more upset that I became because these guys were now my friends and you folks know how I feel about friendship! I was ready to drive back to that bus, grab the driver and his bags and toss his ass off of the bus! You like this truck stop so much you piece of shit, then stay here! In speaking to these guys, all of them, you could see how level headed they were and how intelligent. What they needed was a break from the fighting, the drama and the bullshit of this guy before the whole tour got screwed because they were all locked up for murder! By the grace of God and because of the friendship I formed with Wes in Sturgis, I was able to get them that break! They were so kind and so thankful for what Diane and I had done for them that they wouldn't stop saying it. These guys were nothing but class!
My buddy Wes had told them when they asked about the stacks of shirts and hoodies on the pool table and he explained to them what they were and why I did it and how all the proceeds went to helping with Diane's medical costs. The very next thing I know, I am getting handed twenty dollar bills from nearly every hand in the house! It was nice to know instantly, rather than wondering later about these guys and who they were or what they were about, these guys were plain and simple, the real deal! The kind of guys that you could use the phrase "what's up brother" and not feel like a phony for saying it! Of course there was no way that I could let this moment pass without grabbing a shot of it, so Diane picked up the camera and snapped off a few! We took the first one but had to wake the damn drummer up for the second. See, I told ya, REM sleep!
So I say this to you my friends and I say it from experience and the heart. Keep your mind as well as your heart open. Don't just shut strangers out! Be open minded with each person who crosses your path in life because the universe puts them there for a reason, a test perhaps, to see what you do and then it rewards or punishes you accordingly! Please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying to just let every pocket picking piece of shit right in to your lives and give them the key to your daughters bedroom. I'm just saying keep an eye out and your mind open. Had I been the typical arrogant performer, I would have never hung out with the crew guys who turned out to be nothing but righteous people. Had we not become friends in Sturgis because Wes was just as kind and open hearted as I was, this night would not have happened. He would have never touched base with me for being in town. I would have never gone and rescued them and I would not have made these new excellent friends! Nor would I have a new kick ass CD in the player to listen to while I wear my new Rains T'shirt, which reads across the back........ oh hell, why tell ya when I can show you.... check it out.
Make the best of each day for we never know if there will ever be a tomorrow. Surround yourselves with people who have earned the love and respect that you give and when you give it, give it with all you got! Weed out the pieces of shit who have typically through no fault of your own other than kindness, found there way in to your heart and home. People have asked me... but what about second chances, people changing for the better? For this, my experience tells me this answer. When you are looking down at your sidewalk and you see a small weed coming up between the cracks, you know it is a weed! Right now, it is small, it has caused you no trouble and has yet to become a huge pain in the ass. Right now it is easy as hell to just rip it right out and it is gone. Some people want to wait and watch and as the weed grows taller and stronger and its roots bury deep under the concrete, they wait and hope that the weed changes, they wait to see if the weed will turn in to a rose bush or another beautiful flower. It can't, it is a weed! It will never be anything more than a weed! If you don't deal with the weeds, they will grow in and over run your property and then what? Then my friends, you are screwed! So keep an eye out for the weeds and pull them promptly and without a second thought, they will never become that palm tree you always dreamed of napping under!
As a side note to the story, I'd like to add this after its original writing. I wrote this but did not publish it as I wanted to make sure that it was okay to tell the tale. I checked in on my friends to see how they made out on their trip to Texas. The text I got back was this and I quote "Day went great"! "Hell Yeah man, thanks again for everything, you're the reason everything went great"!
If that is not something that makes ya feel great, I don't know what would be! I'm truly grateful these guys rolled to a stop and right on in to my life! Then I got a message from Jason Anderson, the guitar player reading "check out Speaking Rock El Paso's website". So I did and this is what I found.... so now I say to you guys, THANK YOU! I wish you epic success on this tour for the future my friends!
Until we see each other on the road again,
Keep the wind in your face,
Tits in your back
and The Man off your ass
and oh yeah, go see my new friends Rains on the Sharing the Welts tour!