Optional page text here. The Beast's Lair: Long Drives, Heavy Metal, Term Papers, and Old Friends

Monday, October 22, 2007

Long Drives, Heavy Metal, Term Papers, and Old Friends

Those words explain what has been happening with me the last few days. Judah First performed two shows over the weekend in east TN. It was our first time in several months back on stage and boy did it feel good. Just being on stage in front of crazy kids with my ol' faithful Gibson Explorer strapped around my neck and my best bud James Aaron next to me is worth the 5 hour drive in the middle of the night. What follows below is a detailed trip report of the weekend. If you do not want the nauseating details, you may want to stop reading here. Just know that it was a great time, great time.

Judah First Trip Report

The most difficult part of this trip was saying goodbye to Andi. I hate that. I wish she could have come with me, but she was unable to get off work. I jumped in Judah One and made my way toward the interstate. As I pulled onto the highway, I big grin came across my face. It was good to be back in Judah One! I started reminiscing about old trips and funny stories. Since 2004, this band has seen a lot and experienced an infinite amount of memories. Thinking back on all these things, I couldn't help it. . .I had to put in "The Drain." As soon as the cd slipped into the player, I was singing to the top of my lungs and appreciating the greatest worst lyrics ever written and recorded. I was laughing so hard I was crying.

Big Blue Barry aka Triple B aka Barry aka (as I like to call him) Triple Threat was on his way from Nashville. He called me when he hit Knoxville and I realized he was going to beat me to Kingsport by about an hour or two. He was going to head on over to the venue and begin setting up the kit. We were in luck, this performance we were actually able to set up the kit the night before the show. That is a luxury.

As I approached the classic 417 exit on I-40, I realized something that was not good. I was out of gas. So, I took the exit ramp and by the time I reached the bottom of the ramp, Judah One died. I couldn't believe it, I was literally 200 yards from a gas station. I waiting a moment and tried to start her back up. After a few attempts, she managed to start for me and I was able to give it one more thrust of the gas which coasted me into the gas station. After running in to grab a Dew, I was back on the road and getting closer to Kingsport.

As I was making my way toward the venue, just about a mile away, James Aaron (JA) called me and asked if I could run over to Greg's aka Bonesaw aka "the sound guy" to pick some stuff up. I said sure, and as I pulled into the venue, I saw JA on the phone in the parking lot. I pulled in, jumped out, and gave him a big hug. As I entered into the venue, there was the entire band. Greg was there, hanging out, Keyth was on stage tuning his bass and Triple Threat was looking over his drums. Judah First was in the house!!

It was at this point that I made the worst decision of my life. We were playing in a skate park complete with ramps, half-pipes, etc. JA's friend Brittany was riding a skateboard so I asked her if I could see it. I just don't know what I was thinking here, but I grabbed the skateboard and went to the top of a ramp (the smallest I could find). I can't even ride a skateboard on the ground, but for whatever reason I decided to give it a shot. All I remember is being on the ground of the skate church in a little pain. Triple Threat got a great video of the crash. I actually took a pretty mean fall, cut my face, and had some decent swelling. A note to self-don't do that again!

After running over to Greg's to pick up some more gear, we went back to the venue and began to work on a soundcheck. Greg had brought subs this go around and they were so loud and huge it was stupid. I ran outside, across the street and could hear the building itself rattling from the bass. The JF fans were going to get destroyed on stage the next night. We ran through a few songs and were feeling pretty good about everything. Keyth jumped in his car after the sound check and took off. He doesn't have a license, so I called to ask why he was driving. He let me know that everything was fine because he also wasn't wearing his seatbelt. JA, Triple Threat, and myself went to IHOP where we spent a good two hours waiting on service and food. But, we had nothing better to do, so we just hung out and enjoyed our food. From there we made our way to the EFWC (JA' church) and crashed hard in the basement. It is so dark down there, I love it! I borrowed Triple Threat's toothpaste (which I still have) and he went upstairs for some reason, which was a mistake, because he was scared to death by a ladies hat that was strategically propped up. Funny.

After rising up early, eating a granola bar and doing some jogging, JA and I noticed that Triple Threat was gone. We remember him saying something about getting an oil change, so I took off toward JA's place to take a shower and JA went looking for Triple Threat at Wal-Mart. We also thought Rosenstone might be lost in there, or possibly asleep at the candy isle. After I showered, I took off to Morrell Music to buy a $10 pack of strings, and finally met the guys back at the venue. From there, we took off to the world's greatest restaurant, La Carreta. This was Triple Threat's first experience with La Carreta, so we took our time. The food was amazing! From there we went to the mall to say hi to Greg. We noticed he was talking to the Law, so we decided to not bother him and went in Spencer Gifts instead. I bought some make-shift boas since I forgot the legendary JF boas at home (first time I have ever done that.) Back to the cookie company (where Greg works) we went and I bought us some cookies and a couple of drinks. Greg overcharged me, but I didn't say anything.

Well, finally it came close to show time. The band went to the dressing room and got ready. We love this part of the show and it always gets our hearts racing. Once we got on stage, we simply did what we do best. RAWK. The audience was not as active as normal, and we had kind of a strange lighting thing going on, but that didn't stop us. I began the set with Speak to Me and absolutely played it as hard as we ever have. I was going so hard that I kicked all of Keyth's pedals over. It didn't really matter to him though because he never heard a thing all night. James Aaron was being classic JA and Triple Threat is an absolute monster behind the kit. He headbangs harder than any of us! This was Greg and Keyth's first time hearing Barry play and they were impressed with his ability to pick up the songs, as was the rest of the audience. After the third song "Own", I told JA, "I am going to puke, just keep going." I was feeling it, but thankfully I never threw up. We actually had a dude in a wheelchair moshing. It was great. After the performance, I spent some time talking to a fan while the other guys hung out and broke down the stage.

Earlier in the day, JA and I had talked to our long time friend Jason. We were all inseparable in high school and Jason was off work tonight and was able to hang out with us. I was so excited. He said he would come out after the show (he has a 2 year old to play with) and when he walked in, I jumped off the stage from rolling cables and gave him a big hug! Wow, it was good to see him. We hung out literally all night, renting a movie at Video Magic (after a failed Blockbuster attempt), eating at IHOP, and going back to the church to watch "28 Weeks Later." I had such a good time with him and I am making it a point to make sure that I do not go so long without seeing him again. He has a beautiful family, just good stuff.

The next morning, after jogging and a banana, JA and Triple Threat drove to Bristol to begin setting up and I stayed behind to pick up Greg and Keyth. We would find out later that the PA was so large that we really needed another couple of people to run it. Once I showed up with Greg and Keyth to the performance, I couldn't believe my eyes. We were playing on the Bristol, TN Country Stage!!! The act before us was a soft-rock, jazz, country thing. They were great, but not really what JF is used to playing with. The average age in the audience was like 60 years old. I thought we were going to offend a bunch of people and maybe even get shot. JA had a great attitude the entire time and was excited about playing. I knew once we got on stage I would have fun, but I seriously thought these people were going to hate us. When we got there, we pulled directly in front of the stage to unload our gear. I didn't really realize that the first band was about to start, so that was kind of rude of us I guess. But, they were super cool about everything and I think we met some good friends. JA, Keyth, and I went to the bathroom to change. JA took the stall and Keyth and I laid down a diaper changing station and put our stuff on there. Due to the fact that my stage pants are too small for me now, I was playing in jeans for this show. I actually kind of liked the look.

Once we got on stage, it was unbelievable. First of all, this was a huge stage, so it lent itself well to our kind of performance. But once we started, the people actually hung around. We began to hear yelling, applause, and people having a good time. Once again, we were playing so hard it was amazing. At one point in the show, I started handing out glow sticks and people were coming up to get them, and then they stayed up front to rock with us. I was pulling every move I have out of the hat, even dancing and waving to cars that were passing by (did I mention we were on an outside stage?) At one point, JA's mike went out (probably because he was flinging it around by the cable), but he just grabbed mine and kept on rocking. There was a guy there named Cody and Greg informed me that he was by far the "crazy of the night", an award that JA typically gives out. After the show, we were able to talk with so many people who were thanking us for the show. There was a "stage hand" there who was hilarious, and Keyth commented on the stage cover by saying, "I like that shape."

Back to Kingsport we went and we said our goodbyes. JA and I went to taco bell for a quick recap of the weekend, which we always try to do. We agreed that it was amazing to play together once again and we talked strategy for 2008. It was midnight and I had a 5 hour drive ahead of me, just in time to make it to church. So, off I went. It was a great weekend with great memories.

Memorable Quotes of the Trip:

JA - "Greg, shutup!!"
Beast - "Greg, shutup!!"
Keyth - "Greg, shutup!!"
JA - "I tell ya there's nothing like playing in Bristol, TN!!"
Keyth - "That's it, I'm shooting somebody."
Keyth - (commenting on the stage cover) "I like that shape."
Keyth - "grab something and shake it"
JA - (after turning out the basement light) "Boys, I can't see the couch."
Beast: "That probably was not the smartest thing I have ever done."

Well, I have three major papers due this week and next, so my blogging time will be limited. Have a blessed week!


Anonymous rexwilder said...

"Don't tell me my business boy, I'm just checking the luggage."

October 23, 2007 5:19 PM  
Blogger Big Blue Barry said...

If you would like to see the video of Philip doing his best Tony Hawk impersonation go to http://blog.bigbluebarry.com. It's the 3rd video from the top.

- Triple Threat

October 25, 2007 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Dezi said...

That looks painful!

October 25, 2007 10:22 PM  

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