File Under DIY Tour Madness 1995: With Dick Delicious and Super X-13
If you've been a musician and booked your own tour, you already know they can be a string of catastrophes waiting to happen. We scheduled 3 shows with our longtime buddies Super X-13 in Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and Panama City Beach (where Spring Break was that weekend). Knowing our debaucherous behavior at the time, I thought we'd be lucky to make it back to Atlanta outside of State or Federal confinement.
To lower expenses, both bands piled into my Ford Econoline with a trailer in tow. Astonishingly, this didn't wind up to be another crappy indie tour, this was some real Rockstar shit. Three nights in a row we had massive crowds, great shows, were overpaid, plus got free beer and random groupies!
On the last day of our glorious mini-tour. I awoke on Sunday morning on the floor of some chick’s house in Panama City to the sound of “Oh, fuck! It’s not going to start!” from outside the window.
My van had a ghetto starter switch. You needed to flip it quickly or the starter would keep running till it burned out. Scott (Hugh G. Rection) and Shane Morton, apparently went on an early morning quest for water-slides (water-slides?!) and forgot how to operate the switch correctly. The van was toast. One of our friends gave us a ride to the auto parts store. In the brutal heat of the Florida's sun. I crawled on the 120 degrees asphalt toiling to change the part. I am far from being mechanically inclined, so the repair took forever. I wrangle the new starter on, try to crank the van up: Nothing. Maybe the new starter could be defective? We go back to the auto shop, get another and after many hours of aggravation the 2nd starter actually worked. By late afternoon, we were finally on the road back to Atlanta.
The roads from Panama City to Atlanta are a mixed bag – consisting of backcountry roads that wind through Florida, Alabama, and South Georgia. Kelly Sanford (drummer of Super X-13) is driving and most of the other guys were passed out from roofies a fan gave us (yes, we roofied ourselves). In the cabin of the van were just the 6 of us, a giant stack of porno mags, and an axe handle inscribed with some racially insensitive remarks in sharpie we kept “for protection”. We mostly used it to bust open pinball machines to get quarters for gas money after some promoter screwed us, which frequently happened at the time.
We were driving through Dotham, Alabama when we run out of rolling papers, so we stopped at a convenience store. The redneck clerk sold us Zig Zags and then dropped dime to the police. As soon as we leave the parking lot a cop gets behind us with blue lights flashing. Our drummer, Dave (Phil A. Cunt), takes the weed and stuffs it down his pants. Shane and I try to wake up Scott and Timmy, who are thoroughly unconscious from the Rohiphinal.
Two precariously inbred redneck cops come up to the doors on either side of the van with guns drawn and transport Kelly into the back of the cop car. Scott finally comes to, but Timmy (guitarist for Super X-13) stays down for the count and we can't wake him up.
Next, we are asked to step out of the van, one by one.
Shane Morton got out first, with green hair and wearing a “Bitch Goddess” t-shirt. The chief redneck cop informs him, “Boy, you’ve already broken the obscenity laws here in Alabama by wearing that shirt. Why don’t you tell me where the acid is at!”
Next out is Scott, despite the beer gut, is told he fits the profile of an IV drug user.
Next in line is me, “Hey are you the guy who owns this van?’, the cop asks.
“Yes”, I say.
“When we find that dope you are hiding, we are going to confiscate your vehicle.”
Next was our drummer Dave, who was the most clean-cut looking, had the least number of tattoos, but was also the guy holding the drugs! They pull him aside and say, “Boy, you look like the straight shooter of this bunch. Why don’t you just tell us where the dope is?”
Timmy was so roofied out of his skull, we had to drag him out.
Guess what the cops say to the guy who is so passed out on narcotics that he can’t even walk or talk?
Once they have us all in a group, they tell us that the driver (Kelly Sandford) was already under arrest for DUI. We all knew Kelly hadn’t been drinking, that’s why he'd been chosen to drive.
Soon after, more police cars pull up. We are standing in a circle – this other dweeby looking cop is fidgeting nervously with a flashlight and a semi-automatic pistol drawn. The doughnut-bloated redneck Sergeant sends one of the cops to search the van.
Mind you that there was nothing in the van except a giant stack of porno and an axe handle. All of our gear, luggage, and any drugs that had survived that trip we're surely in the trailer, but they never even asked to search it!
The trailer could have been loaded with dead bodies stuffed with cocaine for all they knew.
The redneck sergeant starts his tirade, “Hey why are you boys so shifty? I bet you wanna beat me? Don’t you?”
We stand silently.
He continues, “I don’t like musicians. My best friend was killed by musicians.”
More silence follows from our group.
“Why don’t you boys just tell us where the fuckin’ dope is? We’ve already called for dogs to come out here. Tell us where the dope is?”
The cop repeats this mantra for the next forty-five minutes, acting like he was talking to the Manson family. Meanwhile, we haven’t heard a peep out of the other cop who is still in the van with the flashlight rummaging through all of the nothing.
Finally after the umpteenth “You boys wanna’ hurt me” comment, I finally break down, “Hey man, you are the only one talking about hurting anyone, we are just trying to make it home.”
My comment created some levity, the cop started to settle down a bit and asks “Which one of you is the lead singer? The lead singer gets all the girls.”
The respective singers raise their hands.
“You boys know any Molly Hatchet? If you are going to be playing down in Panama City, you had better know some Hatchet!”
“Sure, we know a little Molly Hatchet.”
“Well hell, yeah…ten four good buddies!”
An hour later, the other cop finally emerges from searching the van – his shirt is completely soaked in sweat, with a giant ring of wetness around his collar and dripping off his head.
“Hey Sarge, I checked the whole van – they’re clean…”
He could have finished the search in five minutes, but judging by the hour that had elapsed and the ring of sweat on his uniform. I’m about 99% certain he was in there doing the five knuckle shuffle to our collection of Hustler magazines.
“How do you boys ride in there? It must be damn hot.”, The Sargent says as he shines his flashlight into the empty van for the first time. He picks up the “racially insensitive ax handle” and looks at it with curiosity, smiles, and puts it back.
“Well hell yeah! You just some good old boys!”
After two hours on the side of the road, they finally let us go, and escort is out of town like the Beatles had just rolled through Dothan, Alabama.
By this time it is 3 AM and we still have four hours of travel ahead of us and day jobs in a few hours. We make it seventy miles outside of the ATL when the van’s engine cuts out and we are stranded on the side of the road: AGAIN!
We walked to the Waffle House off the next exit, get the van towed, and call our girlfriends to pick us up as the sun is coming up: How had such a glorious “tour” gone straight to hell?
That was just one of 1 million crazy and fun times we've had with those guys, but that story always sticks out for some reason.
That was the Dothan, Alabama incident with Super X-13.