After the first part of TesseracT guitarist, James Monteith‘s recollection of the more musical and work-based exploits while on tour across America, the second details every single one of the band’s fuck ups and fails along the way. Some mothers do ‘ave ’em…
The show must go on… A tour is never without its problems, however this one has been particularly plagued by bad luck and stupidity. When stuff goes wrong you just have to deal with it, laugh and carry on no matter how serious.
Here are our Thirteen Fails in chronological order:
1) Flights Fail – I was already in the states at SXSW, but the rest of the guys got the the airport, only to discover that their flights had not been confirmed. Fortunately our manager got on the case and sorted it last minute, but this nearly put an end to the tour from the off!
2) Border Fail 1 – Well this isn’t strictly a fail, but it sucked hard. After travelling all night we got to the border for around 7am and the people on duty took a massive disliking to us. First, they made us sit around for two hours doing nothing until a shift change. The morning shift then started playing hardball, questioning our paperwork and tried to blag that we weren’t playing legitimate venues and had to buy some kind of permit for $500. luckily we managed to find a document proving that the venue example they used was legitimate, which they analyzed for another hour, then eventually let us go. We got to our hotel at 11am, with a show to play in the evening. It was tough to say the least!
3) Amp Fail 1 – Our amp company forgot to ship our new heads, so the first show in Kingston was a little bit of a stress. We hadn’t met anyone so didn’t feel comfortable blagging, but we luckily found a hire shop and got some in for the night. We then befriended Maylene, who said we could use theirs until we get ours sorted.
4) Amp Fail 2 – We had a delivery to Calgary! Although it was only one amp. The other had got stuck at the border, and then apparently sent on its own tour of the USA. Well one is better than none I guess…
5) Border Fail 2 – When driving from Thunderbay to Winnipeg, we accidentally crossed a border into the USA. Even though we tried to explain that we wanted to stay in Canada it was no use… We were trapped, the van was being searched, and we were at the mercy of the authorities again.
6) Trailer Fail 1 – When we finally left the border we were speeding down the highway when a car pulled up alongside flagging is down. We ignored him at first but he was persistent so we thought we’d better see what he wants. We then became slightly alarmed when we realised his car was full of our stuff! The trailer had been left open after the search allowing half our stuff to fly out the back. Luckily for us this kind man had picked everything up and brought it too us.
7) Van fail – The van broke down on the way to Edmonton so we missed that show which sucked a lot. This also was the start of many problems with the van…
8) Lost the band mobile phone.
9) Trailer Fail 2 – See Steel Panther section
10) Las Vegas – Horrible, horrible place – for playing gigs, at least.
11) Amp Fail 2 – We finally got the second amp, which was great, but then the first amp we received died. Maylene to the rescue again.
12) Trailer Fail 3 – The left wheel fell off.
13) Dan’s Greenie – Dan wasn’t feeling to well around mid-tour, and when launching into a powerful vocal part on stage his vocal chords ejected a tennis ball-sized bullet of mucus, splattering a guy in the front row. He wasn’t happy to say the least and had a good rant about it on Facebook, which was pretty funny actually.
Merch in Vegas
Most venues these days take a cut of the band’s merch. Considering they have their venue rented and take loads on the bar, their position on a gig night is fairly low risk, I find this pretty outrageous, but this is how it works. We always pay our cut, although as they’re not supposed to on music, we’ve found various ways to minimalise what we pay out – mainly through CD and tshirt deals.
Vegas however was a different story. We knew we’d have a tough time as soon as the merch guy came over saying they’re taking a cut on both cloth and CDs at 25 per cent and gave some bullshit reason for the high rate about state tax. After contesting him he called over the promoter/manager, who was a young, smiley larger lady who had a slight evil glint in her eye.
Americans have this strict customer service etiquette which they even employ when trying to screw you. In England we’re all pretty moody arseholes in the music business, so when the very polite, smiley promoter essentially says they’re taking half of our profit, I’m a little taken back. We asked to see the paper work on the state tax (which she said she’d email us but didn’t) and ended up at a bit of a stalemate.
The gig ended up being one of our worst ever. The sound guy was a proper arse and couldn’t give a shit about us, the local act took forever to get off the stage, we ended up having our set cut to 20 minutes, our fee was cut in half and we got no dinner money. We weren’t pleased and the compounding events brought out the anarchists in us all.
At the end of the night Amos stalled the guy counting the merch while I collected our fee in advance of the merch settle up. We waited for a window of opportunity to escape and then did a runner. We probably only saved $100 or so, but it was hilarious fun, and apparently the venue were furious! They hassled Protest and Maylene about us but it was too late – we were long gone. I don’t think we’ll be welcome there again, but the feeling’s definitely mutual.
As a teenager a regular weekend activity was going to my mate Tim’s house with friends Dan and Raph to listen to and discuss music. We were all very nerdy about the stuff we were into and took all music discussions very seriously. Beers were consumed and we’d inevitably progress onto Tim’s mum’s booze cabinet, and from this point onwards it was only a matter of time before one of us got the urge to sneak into tim’s sister’s room, and steal her Bon Jovi Crossroads album, and slyly slip a track on. We were listening to a lot of post-hardcore, punk and early nu-metal – we’re in the late ’90s here – so the the juxtaposition of the raw production, pingy snares and aggressive guitars with the reverb drenched pomposity of the Jovi was just hilarious.
We ended up on a quest to find hair metal to play at this point in the evening. With the likes of Europe and Whitesnake being firm favourites and Guns N’ Roses even invoked air guitaring on the upright piano a la Slash one time I remember. We thought it was hilarious, although it probably seems a little sad now, but I don’t care, it was fun. The funny thing is, from listening to hair metal as a joke I eventually came to really like it. But then maybe I always did and was just too ‘cool’ to admit it.
So anyway, the humour of Steel Panther is kind of nostalgic and I was very excited when we managed to score guestlist for their show on the Sunset Strip – the home of hair metal – after our show.
We’d just finished up our show in Anaheim which is just down the road. We piled into the van and I hit the accelerator and we sped off Hollywood-bound and full of excitement. (Well at least I was.) Then the band phone rang. It was Brad from Maylene.
James: “Hey man, you guys up for Steel Panther then?”
Brad: “Err… you might want to comeback and retrace your steps. You left your trailer open and all your stuff is in the street outside the venue!”
In disbelief we pulled over. All we could do was look at each other ashamed of our incompetence… again! What was even worse was that we had to go back and pick up all our stuff in front of Maylene and Protest The Hero. It was embarrassing. Thankfully nothing was lost or broken, and the Maylene and PTH guys kindly collected all our stuff up, but yeah, what a stupid fail. But the biggest fail of all? We missed Steel Panther!
Luke from Protest The Hero vs Chimp Spanner. Which one is which?
It was 3am and we were all fast asleep in a motel in the middle of nowhere when the phone rings… I eventually pick up. There’s a guy on the end of the phone heavily breathing, and after a pause the following occurs:
Caller: “Are you awake.”
James: “Well I obviously am now.”
Caller: “You wanna fuck my old lady?”
James: “… What?”
Caller: “You wanna fuck my old lady?” “
James: “Errrrrr, no!”
I put the phone down and sat up fairly freaked out. Thoughts of serial killers setting up a honey trap for pervy lone men started flashing though my mind. I don’t know why. I’m just paranoid by nature, I guess.
The phone rang again, this time Dan answered. In response to the the same question Dan replied, “Would you like to suck on my purple bell end?” Although this was funny, I couldn’t go to sleep, due to fear of the killers coming to our room seeking revenge for his piss-take.
I don’t know why I got so freaked out as I guess it was just a bunch of doggers looking for some action, but it was weird. Maybe it was another TesseracT couple wanting to take things a little further?
James will answer all of your questions at the end of each column so email him at email@example.com with your questions or leave it in a comment below! Ask him whatever you’d like to know. It could be something about TesseracT, his guitar technique, the djent genre or more stuff about James getting drunk. In the meantime, go check out TesseracT’s acoustic sessions at Metal Injection!