Here’s a short preview from my upcoming book (working title) – Will Drum For Food:
Surviving the Nineties with Clubs, Campgrounds, Clinics, and Credit Cards
My last memoir, The Boy Is Gonna Rock, takes a deep dive into the wild ride of my first major gig with the Vinnie Vincent Invasion during the infamous 80s hair metal era. The follow up—which has a good chance for a 2021 release—picks up where “The Boy” left off: on a high note. The first part of the book details my time in the studio and on the road with Nelson, a band that would enjoy a brief but fiery run atop the charts and throughout the world media. But then, several chapters in, the culture changes, and I phase into my full-time pursuits of being a drumming solo artist and clinician… and we dip down into a decade’s worth of the most grueling touring and financial logistics imaginable. It’s shaping up to be a hell of a read.
There is actually a lot of heavy shit in this book. I go deep into some personal tragedies and other issues that I’ve never fully discussed publicly. But for this initial excerpt—which I shared for the first time in my Newsletter a month ago—I’ve chosen a fun and breezy recollection from the “After the Rain” tour. (Disclaimer: This is an original, unedited first draft excerpt!)
An Evening of Nunsense
One of the more infamous promotional stunts that Geffen coordinated during that first tour went down in Buffalo, New York. It was a promotion sponsored by a local radio station that was directed to all of the area high schools: Nelson would play a private concert at whichever school managed to mail in the most postcards requesting the show.
The hands-down winner, perhaps not surprisingly, was an all-female Catholic high school. I don’t recall the exact number of cards these girls managed to send in, but it was an alarming amount, and certainly difficult to wrap your head around how they pulled it off. Nonetheless, the date was booked, and the show was treated like any other on our tour schedule. We would roll trucks and buses onto their campus and set up for the show in their auditorium. Basically, it was just another day at the office.
Funny thing was, even though this was an all-girl high school—and the students were able to invite siblings, boyfriends, and parents—the audience ratio of female-to-male was similar to all of our other shows: estrogen heavy! But we did our normal show to a tee, with two notable exceptions:
Throughout the tour, during Brett Garsed’s open guitar solo, I had gotten in the habit of going backstage and taking a mid-show piss, before returning to the drums and waiting for his cue to bring us back up. This cue was always the same: At the end of his solo, he would launch into that classic, opening riff of Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality,” and we would all jump in and play a minute or two of the tune as a segue out of his solo spot. Every night, it was wash/rinse/repeat, and I had become so familiar with the general arc of his solo, that I always had a solid idea of how much time I had before I needed to get my ass back to the stage.
On this night, however, I think Brett, ever the modest virtuoso, looked out at that packed auditorium of high school uniforms during his solo, and presumed that those young girls had little interest in his world-class pyrotechnics. So, he made an impromptu decision to cut his solo short and start the Living Colour riff early… precisely as I was standing over a toilet in the girl’s locker room, fully midstream!
Talk about feeling helpless.
Man, I powered through and forced those remaining drops out of there, then sprinted back to the stage and behind my kit to find five bemused faces looking back at me, waiting in limbo and stalling! All we could do at that point was laugh and carry on with the set. Fortunately, I doubt anyone in the crowd even noticed.
With Brett, circa 2013, when I played in Australia with Lita Ford
The other unusual thing that night was that I bonded with a nun. For real. Her name was Sister Sharon. Don’t know how or why, but it was a visceral and immediate connection… as if we had known each other in another life and had just reconnected in this one. Everyone in her camp and mine noticed the unusual bonding moment between us. Later, of course, there would be a few lewd comments on the bus about what I should aspire to engage in with my new friend. But it wasn’t about that for me (or for Sister Sharon, I’m sure). This was a transcendent experience. I was drawn to her child-like purity and refreshing sense of innocence… something radically different than the kind of thing one might typically encounter on the road back then.
We would exchange addresses and write to each other in the months ahead. And then later that summer, Sister Sharon and several other students and teachers from the high school would all come see us play at the local amphitheater at Darien Lakes… and I would have to endure perhaps the most regrettable and embarrassing moment of my life that night. Stay tuned for that one, kids.
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