Temple Of Bon Matin tour diary
by Greg Chapman
(reprinted withour permission)
This is an account of the first mini-tour I had the honor of enduring from June 28 till our return on June 31. This incarnation of Temple Of Bon Matin included Ed Wilcox on drums, Linda Searnock on guitar, Joe Zimmerman on guitar and starry wisdom provided by yours truly.
Friday, June 28
Philadelphia -- So far the hardest part of the tour was getting up at 5 AM to drive through the traffic clogging up the Walt Whitman. Eventually, we make it to Linda's and I must bid Stef (sniff) farewell. Then, Linda, Ed and I drive up to Langhorne to meet Joe and the van at Steyer's Orchards. After packing in the rest of the equipment, we head out on the highway towards Ohio. Feeling philosophical driving amid the Pennslyvania countryside. I take notice of all the colors, mountains, clouds, barns, silos, an occasional cow, passing trucker faces. Silence lingers. Are we to Cleveland yet?
Somewhere around oil City I realize that I forgot my keyboard. Thick depression soon overcomes the anger. Real smooth. The rest of the band tries to soothe my stupidity. Nothing helps.
Cleveland -- We finally reach our first destination and spend most of our time trying to f ind a place to buy a keyboard. Naturally, everything's closed. Eventually, my madness is subsided when I have to shell out $50 for a worn floor model at Radio Shack. Lesson learned, cut back on the pot and always prepare a checklist.
After the load in at Speaking In Tongues, I scour the territory for booze. Across the street is a gas station/mini-m'art that seems to be bustling with activity. Inside, I find some malt liquor they don't get back in Jersey. Lazer and Ice Man catch my glare, and at $1.09 a pop, Ice Man is the right price so I buy two. Is it me or does everyone here speak Spanish?
Midway through set-up, I polish off my first 40 and give Ed the other so back across the street I go. Later upon return, Joe and I smoke bowls out back in the overgrown bombed out lot. Two stray dogs kept corraled by the club owners play-fight with each other as Joe spins yarns about his time in the Mentors. The atmosphere at the club seems laid back unlike the places back in Philly, New York and Jersey. Lake Of Dracula arrives and I chat with Weasel about Deicide and Nokturnel as the place fills up. During the set, it seems that people are actually enjoying it. Usually, in Philly, what little the cat dragged in look bored and irritated, but here, they seem to be in a trance and know how to snap out of it to clap. For once, I'm happy, and leaving my synth was a blessing in disguise as the new one makes it easier for me to get the noisy loop delays I need to survive.
Afterwards, I meet Marlon Magas in the kitchen. We get in a few words but by this time I'm pretty soused and he has to dash onstage to play. Lake Of Dracula then began kicking serious ass. I wanted to flail around and knock out teeth and drink up every last drop of alcohol in the universe but instead, I get to carry amps through the din and audience. Ahh, the rigors of touring begin. Still, I get a chance to watch in jaw-agape awe a few more songs and convulse before we depart and lemme tell you, this is the type of well-executed button pushing clamor that I want to witness when I go out to a show but I don't because back home there's nothing worthy like this anymore even in the Bowery... I steal somebody's last honey brown beer from the community fridge and march in defiance past some of the oldest broads (late 50's) I've ever seen banging their heads to such craziness ...
Before we leave Cleveland, we stop off at the Rock And Roll of Fame to piss... on it. Ahhh, that was the best whiz I ever had...
Dark stretches and endless miles. A cheezy metal station propels us deep into the night... Dio, Rush, you name it. I'm sobering up into an exhausted blank embryo. Joe's in the back snoozing and Linda is sleeping in the seat behind us. Somewhere along the black highway, we stop at a rest stop to piss again. I'm still kinda drunk and loogy as Ed pulls the long haul behind the wheel with amazing stamina.
Hours later, we stop at another rest stop to piss yet again. Ed and I get some grub and eat. An undead Joe slogs to the john. We chill out for awhile, discussing our escapades and the road ahead. When we get back to the van, it's screamingly obvious that Linda is missing, still in the bathroom or something. After ten minutes, we start to wonder aloud. After 15, I go in to see if she's wandering around disoriented or if she fell in, stopping just short of calling into the ladies room. I get back to the van with no Linda. After a few more minutes, like spectres in a cemetary, Heather and Marlon from Lake Of Dracula come waltzing up with Linda trailing behind. Before we can say "there she is" or "where have you been?" they inform us that we left poor Linda at the other rest stop. Ed and I look at each other like "nuh-unh, you gotta be kidding?" It was quite a shock and I still couldn't fathom it even as they presented us with all the gory details. Ed and I still think it impossible to believe and that they're pulling an elaborate ruse on us. They assure us that it is not. Evidently, Linda was in the can when she got a psychic impression that we left. Lo and bedeviled,, she was right as the van was nowhere in sight. After 15 minutes passed, panic didn't set in but joy as a van she thought was ours pulled in. Stranger still, it was filled with Lake of Dracula not Temple of Bon Matin. Kindly, they of f er her a ride to Chi-town, astounded. When they pulled into the second rest stop, they thought we were waiting for them... yeah, right. Call up Ripley with that story. What are we gonna forget next?
Dawn breaks over a foggy Indiana. When it gets brighter, we notice the graveyard known as Gary. The pollution looms overhead like a kite of mercaptan stretching to Chicago. What's that funny smell? It certainly ain't Elizabeth. on the outskirts of the Windy City, noxious yellow smears linger in the morning air.
Chicago -- We make a call to Linda's cousin in Naperville, get directions and sometime around 10 or 11 AM on June 29 we arrive. Everyone else passes out but I can't seem to rest so I wander around Naperville in search of a thirst quencher. Later, I take a shower and it's amazing how you miss the little things you take for granted at home. In the afternoon, we're scheduled to play a radio show in Evanston at Northwestern University station WNUR located on the shores of the mighty Lake Michegan. After choosing the wrong direction as usual, we're late but are greeted with free beer. After we play, the dj wants to interview me about my other life as a porn scribe so I concur.
When we get to the club, Chicago becomes Central America, some latino wedding is going on in a building nearby and nobody seems to speak English anywhere in the vicinity. Bigger drag is the Club Zwerge is located below the Logan Beach coffee house and that means steep steps for lifting equipment. Blacktail arrive and after lugging in all their stuff, we get a search party together for the liquor hunt. 40 ozs of King Cobra are found much to our collective delight. Again, we seem to be the only gringos in Mexico.
At the club, the hot topic of the night is the "leaving Linda" story. A short set from drum/guitar noise duo Hit By Flying Glass ends before it got dull. The stuffy basement is packed to the gills with the attitude-rich Chicago scene. Blacktail wail out a good set that doesn't drive the audience to the door like it usually does in Philly, much to their chagrin. The crowd even seemed interested in their wacky Babar/smut vid.
I begin to worry about Linda's whereabouts, as she went to dinner with her cousing earlier while we loaded in. I go outside to find her and I'm relieved to see her talking to Jessica, the bassist of Lake Of Dracula. Again, we chat about the incident and Jessica tells us about an even worse incident involving the Demolition Doll Rods, a station wagon, two states and the police, so I feel better about leaving Linda, the good sport.
Missed the Grandpa And The Girls set featuring the drummer of Harry Pussy.
Lake Of Dracula play another great show that blows me away like buckshot. Chicago is a nasty town and they get down and dirty just right. I can't tell if it's love or hate between the crowd and the band blaring loudly. Marlon jogs in space hollering out the lyrics, Heather the Scissor Girl drums hard with a bored expression, Jessica blows bubbles while looking at the crowd with a combination of contempt and wide-eyed enthusiasm for their spasms and Weasel is a lunatic. I don't what he slips into the riffs but he plays it with the conviction of grindcore continuously while adding scintillating variables of strings and crunch and there you have a close proximity to what Lake Of Dracula casts out of the inferno. It was so envigorating I wish could've videotaped it (and I wish I did as I would find out later that it was to be Heather's last show). Everybody flocks out as soon as they're through, which is understandable.
Temple Of Bon Matin then gets to play to a handful of drunken stragglers who taunt and pelt us with popcorn while we set up.While we play, they destroy each other and dismantle a wheelchair with violence. The Temple whips them into a frenzy that was getting more chaotic and out of control by the minute. The line between victim and victor was blurry and moving ever closer to disaster. Welcome to Chicago, now go fuck yourself. Philly is in the house and will not be intimidated. The animals were trying to set f ire to metal chairs, too bad nobody saw this glorious mess. Lake Of Dracula were adios, you're on your own I guess. As we f inish, they kick over one of Ed's bass drum cases and then he and Linda conf ront the idiots, who become spineless and apologize. Linda leaves in a huff, so the rest of us get paid and load up... I hate Chicago. As we drive away, we hear on the radio about Tyson biting Holyfield's ear but think it's just a joke.
Ever try to sleep with sweat as thick as an oil spill all over your flesh? I did and actually got five hours of miserable rest in the van until nearby Sunday morning churchbells ring me back to waking. Linda's cousin is a gracious host but I'll be glad to get out of Naperville and back on the road..
onwards to Detroit, we stop in Indiana to buy fireworks made by the children of the dragon. Like kids in a candy store, we individually gather fireworks of all shapes and sizes and powers in preparing a battery for the show tonight in case the audience gets out of line again.
Detroit -- There are many row houses, some abandoned, some trashed, others lived in by many African-Americans. Ed says this is the nice part of town, downtown Detroit is worse. Actually, the show is in Livonia at a record store, where some spooky people are hanging out front reading the Bible when we arrive. once inside the Record Collector, it seems like a cool place with just about anything a disenfranchised youth could be seeking for some salvation. I find a rare pre-release of the first Wall of Voodoo EP and snap it up immediately. Pretty soon, Crash Machine are raging to a dozen or so teens milling about. The lead singer is a pixy in a short silver dress playing a guitar by sweeping her shoes across the strings. They make noise for a few more minutes and then it's over. Blacktail Limited do their thing playing a fitting doomsday whoosh to capture the feeling of the area. Whereas Chicago had a pervading nastiness, this place reeks of desperation. Blacktail are followed by Werewolves & Isis, a three-piece improv-noise outfit featuring Aaron of Couch. His sketchy drumkit was falling apart as he hit it along with a guitar-maimer and zany keyboardist that was pretty insane in the fingers. They were another decent unknown group to watch. Then, we play to the few remaining people but I don't dig it. Afterwards, the owner of the store is decent enough to buy some old U7@l's, as well as letting us take a few tapes to of f set the lack of dough. Ed grabs a copy of the f irst Deicide to help jet us back to Philly. I no longer take notice of the scenery as we speed home through to the morn, listening to Deicide over and over again, trying to set the Guiness on non-stop playing. After 91 times, Joe awakes around Pittsburgh and turns it off in lieu 0 f Howard Stern... The End.