Monday, October 27, 2008

I do what I can do, when I can do it.

From January til September I was on tour. I've been all over the world and back. Today while I was trying to write some new songs for our new CD I began to reminisce about where I've been. I can't wait to get back out there. Here are just a few videos I found on Youtube.

This first one is from Sofia, Bulgaria. I had never really been to Eastern Europe before and I must say it was very exciting. While our intro was playing I felt a little nervous and as I walked out and saw 400 kids packed in I just knew it would be crazy. From beginning to end the set was pretty wild.

Later on in the tour, we would find ourselves going to Belarus. We were supposed to play 2 shows. The first one was supposed to be in a city called Brest (haha). Anyway, I remember waking up and people had already started loading in the gear upstairs to the club. As soon as everything was up there, we had to bring everything right back down. The show couldn't be held there due to skinheads threatening to shut it down somehow. I'm not really clear on the exact details. So we loaded everything back down and into the trailer. The show had already been moved twice so far. We had one other option and it was a small place in the middle of a park in Brest. We get there and can't bring the bus all the way in so we had to load the equipment through the park and up more stairs into this new club. While we were setting up, everyone who wanted to see the show were pouring into the park waiting outside for the show to start. There were probably about 250 kids waiting outside. The owner of the club decides after a while to pull the plug. Again?! Fuck. Well that was our last shot and we loaded everything back down the stairs and back to the bus. While this was happening, we took pictures, signed CDs, signed posters, etc. We hung out with the kids who never get to see hardcore/punk shows. Even though there was no show, it was quite an experience and I was really excited to just hang out and answer these kids' questions and let them know how much we appreciated them being there to see our tour.

After a while, we packed up and were headed to Minsk, Belarus. We were assured there would be no problems with this show. We get to the club and do our usual. Once doors opened, kids were pouring into the show and I couldn't wait to play. From the time our intro started til the end of the set it was just mayhem. Stagedives, singalongs, kids packed up front, circle pits. It was a hardcore show. To come all this way across the globe and have these kids go off is the best feeling in the world. Some bands I'm sure take that for granted but I never will. This next video is a song from that show.

It's crazy to think I get to see the world because I'm in a band. Most "normal" people working their 9-5 job could only dream of doing it. I get to because I play guitar in a hardcore band. How messed up is that? I thank everyone that allows me to be able to do this. If I wasn't doing this, there's no telling what I'd be doing with my life. Anyway, this next video is from our recent tour with Terror, Trapped Under Ice, Warriors and CDC. It was shot @ the Chain Reaction in Anaheim. I love playing there, I love playing California. I can't wait to go back. It was the last night of the tour after 2 months but only felt like 2 weeks. Thanks to everyone on that tour and everyone that came out. That night in particular will always be burned into my mind.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I've been gone a long time...

For the last 4 years, my life has been spent mostly on the road. I live in the back seat of a Chevrolet 3500 express van. I live in hotels across the country. I live in hostels in Europe, sometimes a bus. All my life I've lived all over the world since I was a military brat so I'm used to it. It's been a long time since I've had anywhere to call my "home".

I arrived at my house in Allston at around midnight on September 18th about 3 weeks ago. I will not be leaving Boston for an extended period of time until the end of January. I'm pretty sure this is the longest break I have ever had while being in Death Before Dishonor. For 2008, we've been going nonstop pretty much since the beginning. We did the east coast with Sick of it All, Madball and Wisdom in Chains. Shortly after that we played shows on our way out to the west coast. We were in Mexico for a little while. The band went to Australia without me because I like to get weird diseases at the worst times. Right after that we went to Europe for 2 months with Ignite and Burn the 8 Track. We were home for maybe 2 weeks and went right back to Europe to play some of the biggest festivals overseas. We got home from that and were home for a day and a half and immediately drove to the midwest to meet up with Terror, The Warriors, CDC and Trapped Under Ice for another 2 month tour.

Since I've been home I took a week off to just relax at home and have some time to myself. I spent the next 2 weeks looking for a job. After replying to countless Craig's List postings I found myself having an interview at the Newbury Comics Warehouse and at a Valet company. After playing phonetag with Newbury I decided to go with the Valet. I have my first training session on Tuesday. As it gets closer and closer I feel like ditching it but I just can't.

Usually after about 2-3 weeks of being at home, I'm itchin' to get back out on the road. Not this time. While I love being out, it's good to just be able to relax. Now that I'm home though, there's a little thing called responsibility that keeps haunting me that is never around when I'm on tour. It's been about 2 years since I've had an actual job. The last job I had, I worked for this place I had always worked at on and off making pizzas.

I don't really know the point of this post but I was really bored and hadn't updated in a long time. I was also reminded of it because Billy Madison was on Encore today and I watched it and if you don't realize where my blog name comes from, well then I don't know what to say.

Friday, July 4, 2008

"You had a heart attack?"

Technically, yes. Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle which causes the same effects as having a heart attack. Milton Hospital was ready to let me go after a couple hours with some pain meds but I thought differently.

It was the last week in June 2007. We had just got back from tour and I was borrowing our drummer's car. I was on my way to our singer's house to pick something up and I was having small chest pains on the way there. I thought nothing of it and just wrote it off as heartburn. As I got closer to his exit it was getting worse. I was breathing heavily and trying to just let it pass. I pulled off the exit and went to a grocery store near Bryan's house and got out and tried to get some fresh air. It was getting worse. I'd never felt anything like this before. I called Bryan and said he had to come get me and bring me to the hospital. The whole way there I felt like I was going to pass out and the pains were unbearable.

We got to the hospital and I went in holding my chest and told them what happened. They immediately brought out an EKG. The EKG showed an abnormal heartrate but somehow they were convinced that my abnormal heartrate was MY normal heartrate. If that makes sense.

They gave me some medicine to slow my heartrate and it did but the pains were still there. When someone has a heart attack, the heart releases cardiac enzymes into the bloodstream. They did blood tests to see if these were present in me, they were not. They didn't know what was wrong with me. After a couple hours a nurse came and said I could go home. I said no way and asked to see the doctor. I insisted that something was very wrong and he did another EKG. Now the EKG was giving a different reading which sparked them to finally think something is going on. They did one more blood test for cardiac enzymes. This time they came back positive. They told me I had a heart attack.

Well that's a scary thing to hear when you're 25 and don't drink/smoke/etc. All the other tests they did showed that I was pretty healthy which surprised me because I don't feel I'm very healthy at all but anyway. They transferred me to Beth Israel hospital in Boston. There they were going to give me 3 IVs. One of the meds they gave me caused bleeding so they had to make sure I had no internal bleeding. I'll leave out how they determined that it would be ok for that med.

While I was waiting to see a doctor my friend Alex had skated over with my phone charger because it was dead and I needed to call people. When he left to go home he got mugged for his phone and wallet. Sorry Alex. Being in that hospital all alone hooked up to wires and IVs was pretty scary especially since nobody knew EXACTLY what was happening. The doctor had said it could be myocarditis, a bloodclot formed and caused the heart attack, or an artery was clogged by something.

Later that night they moved me upstairs to a room where I'd stay. They told me first thing in the morning that they would do a cardiac catheterization. They would stick a tube in my groin with a camera that went all the way to my heart to see if anything was being blocked. If something was blocked they would fix it right then and there. It was about 3AM and I asked my friend Felicia if she would come stay with me in the hospital because noone else was around. She agreed and while I waited I tried to sleep. I woke up to a familiar face and felt so relieved. She stayed with me til the morning.

The next morning the doctor came in and said they weren't going to do the catheter because I seemed to be doing better and they just wanted to monitor me for a while. At this point I was feeling better and was concerned with long-term effects. I had a tour to leave for about 3 weeks later. They said that if it was a blood clot I'd have to take blood thinning medication and being in a band on tour I'd be at risk for getting an injury where if I were to bleed, I'd probably bleed to death. Cool. That was their main concern. So anyway, they monitored me and decided they would do the catheter the next morning for sure to check for blockage.

My dad came up from the Cape to see me through this cardiac catheterization. A nurse shaved my crotchal area where they would shove the tube in. They gave me novocaine and I could feel the tube moving around inside me but it didn't hurt obviously. Good news! No blockage. So what caused the heart attack? Nobody knows still. They pull the tube out and the nurse has to hold pressure on my groin for 20 minutes so I don't bleed out everywhere. After that they moved me to another bed and I had strained a little moving and it felt really warm by my thigh. I had opened up where they stuck the tube and they had to hold pressure there again. I had to take the worst piss ever and I couldn't in fear of putting strain on it again and bleeding again. After a little while I was able to pee and I had to lay with my legs straight for 8 hours and not move at all.

Later on the doctor came in and said they would do another test. It was an echocardiogram but they shot bubbles into my bloodstream to see if they could see something in my heart. It turns out I have a hole in my heart and people are born with it all the time and it's a common thing. This makes them believe a bloodclot formed somewhere and when it tried to travel through the hole in my heart it caused the blockage that caused the heart attack. They prescribe me some blood thinning medication and tell me I can go home but I have an appointment for an MRI the next day. When I left they told me I shouldn't go on tour until they knew 100% what was going on. This was bad news for me but I wouldn't want to be out on the road and have something bad happen. I opted not to go on the next tour. That afternoon my roommate Ryan picked me up with a burrito from Anna's in hand and we ate in my hospital room. We went home and I was so out of it from being bed-ridden to walking around again I passed out at home immediately.

I went to my MRI the next day and it was pretty easy but took a long time. After that it was just a waiting game to get the results. They came back quickly and I got a phonecall from my cardiologist saying it was myocarditis which is a viral infection and causes the same effects as a heart attack. There was no permanent damage to the heart and I could stop taking the blood thinning medicine right away and he ended the phonecall with "Good luck on tour." 2 weeks later I was on the road with Madball and back to normal. Since then I've had 2 more 'itis's but I'll save those for another time. Hopefully you stuck around through that whole story.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Well that's fuckin dope.

I had written a long entry about going to Europe again and touring and blahblahblah and my phone decided to delete it. So you get nothing.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Monday, June 9, 2008

"I heard you quit Have Heart and walked into the desert."

Well, that is somewhat true. It was Summer of 2005. We had just left Wilkes-Barre, PA from Posi #'s fest for our summer tour with Learn. We were in a 15-passenger van with 1 seat taken out and no trailer. There was very limited space for equipment/luggage so we only brought guitars and heads. There were also only 11 seats. There would be 12 of us for the first week of this tour.

We left PA and made our way to the next show in Chicago. We got there early and stayed at our roadie's friends house in the city. Later on we'd pick up our 12th passenger, Paul from Learn. We went to the venue and played a show to maybe 20 people. We figured it would be kinda shot because of Posi #'s just happening but that's ok. We started packing up the van at the end of the night and tensions were already high. There was a problem with the seating, obviously. I got pretty angry and had to walk away from that situation or something dumb would have happened. We worked it out and started on the rest of the tour.

12 people crammed in a van with only 11 seats and limited space for everything else isn't the most comfortable thing in the world. It was also summertime so that didn't help much either. After a few shows on our way to the west coast, we finally make it to Cali. Our first CA show was in Redlands with a bunch of bands who were making it out to Sink With Cali. Among those bands were friends Tarpit and Guns Up!. It was good to see GU and just shoot the shit with our friends. We played an awesome show and everything was starting to pan out. The first couple days of a tour are always pretty rocky.

Tensions between some members of the band we were on tour with and I were rising. I felt like some people were not very appreciative of the work that Pat and I put in to get that tour to happen. It was their first U.S. tour and it seemed like SOME members, not all, expected more. That was pretty annoying to me but I wasn't going to let it ruin my time. Fast forward to Sink with Cali.

We play an awesome set at SWC and we've got 1 more night in the L.A. area before we start making our way to Norcal. We stayed at our friend Tom's house right down the street from where SWC was being held. My friend Tera was also staying there and My Revenge stayed the night as well. We get up the next day and head to North Hollywood for our show at Studio S. This would be my last show with Have Heart.

We play the show at Studio S and everything was fine. We went out to Denny's afterwards with a bunch of friends from CA and had a blast. It seemed like all the tension that was building up was gone. I think our next show was in Santa Cruz so we said our goodbyes and started to make our way up there. It was pretty late and after a while of driving on Rte 5 we find out the highway is closed for some reason. We pull off the next exit in Palmdale.

Right off the exit there is a hotel. I can't remember the name of it but it was no Hilton. Whenever we'd get hotels, which wasn't very often, I would get my own room. Spending hours in a cramped van would make for much needed time apart whenever possible. We're all exhausted and very irritable at this point. So Pat is at the desk getting a room and I got out of the van and yelled over to him "Do they have any more rooms?". I forget exactly what he said back to me but it was something like "You don't have to have such an attitude and yell at me." At this point I was just thinking "Is he serious?". There was a long argument. I can't remember exactly what was said back and forth. I told him he misunderstood me and I wasn't having an attitude I was just asking a question but in the end I said something along the lines of "Fuck you, you're a faggot, I quit." He walked away and said "Good!".

I grabbed my bag and went up to my room and just sat on the bed going over what just happened. I'm in California, 3000 miles away from home in the middle of nowhere what the hell was I going to do? I didn't have a cell phone or a laptop but I had a piece of paper in my wallet with phone #'s written on it. I called a friend of mine who I knew would be up and asked if she'd help me with a plane ticket home. She was unable to help. I went back to my room and tried to watch TV. All that was on was some hardcore porn. Fast forward to the morning.

I check out of my room and I'm sitting in the hotel lobby trying to figure out what I should do. I wasn't getting back in that van unless Pat apologized to me and then I would do the same. Little did I know, he was saying the same thing about me while he was in the van. Our roadie Adam got out and tried to talk me into just getting back in the van and continuing on. I had enough. I had enough of the tour, the people on the tour, the van being uncomfortable, dealing with other people's attitudes on the tour, etc. I was done. Before this tour started, I thought about leaving Have Heart when we got home anyway. They were still in school at the time and were not on the road as much as I wanted to be. 2 tours a year wasn't enough. I just wasn't expecting to leave this early. So Adam is still trying to convince me to go. I'm not going. They give me one more chance and they leave. I wait about 5 minues before I start walking towards a payphone to try to call someone. I walk out of the hotel and go towards McDonalds. The van is sitting there and Adam is hanging out the window motioning for me to get in. I motioned to him "forget it" and turned around and walked the other way and kept walking.

I don't walk very far before I get to a grocery store with a payphone. I call my friend Martine who was just finishing up a straight drive back to California from New Jersey. She lives maybe an hour from where I am. She agrees to pick me up when she gets to the area and bring me back to civilization. 3 hours go by and all I have is a CD player and 3 CDs I picked up while on tour. The newest Internal Affairs, Donnybrook and some band from CT. I listened to them for the 3 hours it took her to get to me. She finally shows up and we go back to L.A.

We stop off at her house and then I'm told there's another show at Studio S that night with IA and a couple other bands. We went down there to hopefully find someone for me to stay with so I can get my shit sorted out to try to get back home. We pick up our friend Brooke and go to the show. We get there and the dude who HH had stayed with during SWC was there and so was Tera. I explained my situation and he said I could stay with them while I figured some shit out.

So we make it back to Redondo Beach and for the next week I just hung out around there and enjoyed the nice weather and relaxed. Tom had an extra room and said that I could live there and pay rent and he'd help me get a job. I didn't have any ties to Boston anymore so I said fuck it. Before I could do that though, I had to go home and figure some shit out first and save some $ and I could come back. I bought a plane ticket home after a week of hanging out and went home. Things didn't really pan out for me to go back out to California so I ended up staying in Boston.

I'm happy to say that the dudes in HH and I are still great friends. I've lived with them for over a year now and have filled in for them and even went on tour with them this past winter. I'm told that they waited in that McDonalds parking lot for over an hour for me to come back. I never told them this but there was a show booked in Albuquerque for that tour that got cancelled and I never told them. I got an email from the dude who booked it saying it was cancelled and I was a dick and never told them. They drove to an empty locked venue and called me to see if I had heard anything. I said I hadn't. Sorry guys! The end.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Just to start things off lightly...

First entry. Well, I used to have a Live Journal (who didn't?) and that didn't last very long. So blogging is the new LJ. I'm doing this for me and maybe some of my friends who wonder where I am or what I'm doing. It will probably be very long and boring entries to you but I don't care. I signed up for this a while ago and will be starting to write in it shortly just about my past experiences in life whether it be with touring, livning at home, living in a van, etc. I will also be getting a digital camera soon so that you can all have something to look at here and there. Also, if you don't know where the name of this blog comes from then, I highly suggest you go rent and/or buy the movie Billy Madison. Thanks.