25 July 2013


I went on my first full US tour in 1994. There were a couple of shorter jaunts that came first, but in '94 we embarked on a truly ridiculous nine week journey with nothing in tow but a demo no one wanted and some really ugly shirts. We played with LAGWAGON on a native reservation in Arizona, we played with DEFIANCE at ABC No Rio, we played with AVAIL in a high school gym in Iowa and we played with TOTAL CHAOS in Mankato, Minnesota. We played an arcade in Albion, Nebraska and the office of a used car dealership outside of Albuquerque. We listened to BORN AGAINST and PROPAGANDHI constantly, and slept on picnic tables at rest stops because we had nowhere else to go and unironically called it "camping." The whole thing was full of future memories permanently etched into my mind, but I think my bandmates would agree that the highlight of the tour (at least in the "memorable experiences" category) was the Spiderfest in Marmora, Ontario (population 1,500 or so). A regionally legendary fest by that point, Spiderfest was held on the estate of an old dude named Spider who was punk as shit and didn't give half a shit what anyone did on his property (I believe that 1995 was the last year that paramedics were allowed at his alcohol fueled drug/punk fest in the woods, eventually leading to the authorities shutting the fest down). We rolled into town clueless and a couple of townies directed us to Spiderland Acres for a weekend of confusing debauchery...several hundred people fukkd up as all hell wandering around the woods...and there were some bands too. I am sure that most of the bands were complete shit, but BLOWHARD, ARMED AND HAMMERED, POLITIKILL INCORRECT, SHITFIT and the leather kilt wearing MC (named Thor?) made an impression that has lasted two decades....and then there were VAGABONDS from Montreal. Snotty UK influenced bar punk that might not mean shit to me if I heard it today but, at 21 years old and a million miles away from anything I had ever seen or done before, these haggard (read: drunk) dudes cranked out some perfect party tunes. And the drummer was so incredibly annihilated one morning on the path from where we were parked to the stage that we thought he might be dead. There was this grimace frozen on his face that I could not possibly describe, and even after he woke up, that grimace was there for the rest of the weekend. 

Imagine my surprise when a quick internet search revealed that punks STILL put on a Spiderfest in Ontario (footage from 2012 here...about like I remember, but with way less people). Spider died in 2009 at the age of 72.

1 comment:

Daniel said...

good story to read with my morning coffee. Made me think of some of my weird travels as well.