Part two of Our Atlanta Surf Fest Adventure:
Our big after-show party never materialized, but not without some fine moments trying to make it happen, starting off with stealing one of the giant surfboard shaped signs that had every bands' name on it, signs that were attached to utility poles at very high altitudes on the way to the Surf Fest grounds. Taking one of these boogers involved hopping a curb, backing our rent-a-van up against one of these poles, whilst Mark climbed onto the roof of the van and hacked away the plastic claps holding the signs in place with Bryon's trusty pocket knife. I'll never forget this moment; Me backing the van into the pole on a dark street, rain dumping down hard, the van's backing alarm approaching meltdown, while Bryon and Mark are hollering ""Mon back--just a little more," and Rusty and Pete are laughing their asses off. But Mark, shirtless, wearing a backward ballcap, looking for all the world like the doofiest frat boy at a ten-year reunion, clambered up that van and pole like a rabid squirrel, and had our awesome sign in the back seat in mere moments. Success!
Then came our efforts to stock up on beer for the "party", where we learned we had arrived at a local Kroger's exactly TWO MINUTES too late to buy anything until Monday. Failure! Let down and frustrated, we went to a local Korean restaurant to get a couple of in-dining area beers (still available in this context), and have a big asian feast. Then we saw the prices on the menus--15-20 bucks a meal?! Just the beers, please! We instead went to Waffle House, where Pete, Bryon, and especially Mark, unaware of Atlanta's WF prowess (which Hillsborough most definitely lacks!), had fine meals, and were absolutely dazzled by the whole experience. Rusty, an old hand at finding good Waffle Houses, and me, experienced in the ways of Atlanta's late night chow, smiled proudly between our bites. It wasn't a kickass party, but it sure didn't suck, either.
The next morning we headed back home, silent, in vivid contrast to the trip down the day before. This wasn't quite what we were hoping for. Again, we should have known better. West Virginia, we hoped, would be different.
Nothin new to blog yet, so in honor of our upcoming Surfapalooza gig, I figured I'd dig a vintage tale of our last big road trip to an all-instrumental music fest:
May 23rd--Surf Fest, Atlanta, GA--Part One
Ah, Surf Fest! Our first big out-of-town show! Playing amongst our fellow surf nuts! Renting a big ol' van for the trip! Staying in a nice hotel w/a pool! Oh, this was gonna be big--HUGE, I tells ya!
Ah, should have known better--especially the more experienced road dogs in our little bunch, but when we loaded up our rented Ford Econoline and headed south, we figured we were destined for greatness. Fellow bands would kneel before our feet, our merch boxes would be stripped bare in seconds, women would strip buck nekked at our beckon call, children would request our autograph and aspire to be us some day. We were scheduled to play in the early evening, and planned on gathering up some beer along with our newly anointed fanbase and head to our Holiday Inn for some kickass partying.
Instead, it rained. A lot. When your show is outdoors, this is a bad thing. The show went hopelessly behind schedule, into the wee hours of the morning, and most of the surf crowd went off to dryer land, like the Bubbapalooza at the Star Bar. Our 7pm window arrived about three and a half hours later, during a rain storm so intense, the roof of the stage nearly caved in from rain water. An over-eager stage hand tried using a pole to clear off the H2O, and in doing so nearly dumped several hundred gallons of the stuff into my '64 Ampeg amplifier--which, if you didn't already know, ain't waterproof. The few folks left in the crowd were indeed surf fans, women and children, but the surf fans chose to stay where there was roof over their heads, which was several hundred yards away from the stage. The women consisted of a drunken mother/daughter team that heckled us the entire set, and the children were more interested in throwing beach balls at our faces than wanting to be like us in any way.
Oh, and did I mention we rocked? Of course we did. Our fellow surf bands--those that were left, anyhow--were duly impressed, but did not get on their knees and bow, as at that point, those knees would have ended up with a whole lot of mud on 'em. We also got to see some kickass bands--the Surge, The Mystery Men, The Penetrators, the Necronomikids, and Daikaiju all knocked out some fine stuff--including at least three (count 'em!) three versions of "Popcorn" by Hot Butter. The merch boxes, alas, remained pretty freakin' full, while the buckets designed to hold the vast sums of money we'd hoped for, remained empty--or pretty darned close to it.
Part II in our next blog!