Saturday, 21 December 2013

The Legend of Foxy Bano

One of my friends I've yet to really mention yet in this blog is Shane, a.k.a. "Foxy Bano" one of the many older guys I met in my circle of friends. Shane was a tall, pale, lanky fellow with a very interesting facial structure. When I first started hanging around all the thrasher guys he always seemed to give me the business. It was as if he had something against me for being younger, or perhaps he felt threatened by a new person entering the circle. Never the less I really paid him no mind, but inside it was starting to bother me.

I asked some of the guys what his deal was, and also inquired about the nick name "Foxy Bano" As the story goes, Shane was quite pale as i mentioned prior, so the guys used to call him "Shane Albino" which didn't flow or rhyme to well, so it morphed into "Shane-o Albane-o" or "Shane Albane" Over time it was shortened to simply "Bano" Then one night while partying at Dove's listening to Jimi Hendrix's "Foxy Lady" a guy named Danny had a bright idea to sing "oooooh Foxy Bano!" over the chorus. The room erupted in laughter and the rest was history.

One day in an English class, that coincidentally about 10 of us from the circle were in, the guys were swapping stories about Shane. Most of the stories were funny things that had happened to him, the kind of stories you really didn't want your buddies spreading around. Myself still being a noob to the group and looking to impress my new older friends, thought it would be a great idea to make a comic strip about Bano. I quickly hammered out a full page comic strip illustrating one of the stories they had told me in class. All of the guys were in hysterics and I had never really seen this light hearted side of them. Feeling like I was finally accepted by these guys, I did what any other impressionable kid would do.....I made more Bano comics!

The next week I was at the Hex Arcade in Bramalea City Centre playing "Altered Beast" when I was approached by Bano. He gave me the usual business like always, but he was extra douchey because he had caught wind about the comics. Now he was challenging me to step outside and fight him in the exact same parking lot where I watched Boots whip Maggot's ass. I guess I was fed up with him trying to bully me and I hit my boiling point. I flung my hands away from the coin op machine, looked him dead in the eye and said "Ok let's go!" The look on his face was priceless as he was a bit taken back by my reaction. Bano paused for a minute, then said "today's your lucky day, I've been Christmas shopping and I've got breakables in my coat pocket" I thought to myself "bullshit" It was clear that my standing up for myself slightly intimidated him to some degree, and he left on his merry way.

The following Monday at school I was hanging with the guys on lunch in the commons area of our high school when along came Bano. This time around his attitude was quite different. He sat right beside me and asked me how I was doing, and he actually genuinely seemed to care. The next thing I knew we were chatting and hitting it off. Bano even asked if he could read the comics, and surprisingly he was a big enough man to have a laugh at himself. We went on o be good friends and he even asked if he could have the comics because he liked them so much. I agreed as long as he was cool with me having copies of my art. 

When I first introduced Jerry into the circle, Bano didn't like him either, and he was constantly trying to get me to ditch Jerry. As the years passed on, Jerry and Bano ended up becoming best of friends. Who would of ever thought? As far as my comics go, I had enough story ideas from the guys to make a second comic book, but I never did get around to it, probably because I was accepted, and now good friends with Shane.

 Bano never got around to making me photocopies of my own artwork. Was this all a ruse just so he could possess the comics, knowing full well no one would ever have a laugh at his expense again? Now in present time I kind of resent him for this, as these comics were really what won my friends over and I feel they played an important part in my life. Plus as an artist not having your own art is also very frustrating. Perhaps now,  25 years later, I should put out volume two just to spite....and to preserve the legend of Foxy Bano... ;)

The proposed cover of the 2nd issue of Foxy Bano comics

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Grand Ole' Party Crashers

June of 1991 was an epic month in my life. Woodstock was a success and people would definitely be talking about it for years to come. Asides from my friends and I throwing the biggest party during our high school run, graduation was now around the corner. I was happy to be saying goodbye to school life, but I just felt so dis attached from the whole event. None of my friends were really in school with me anymore, so it wasn't like I even had people to celebrate with. Hell, I never even bothered getting grad photos done, much to the dismay of my mother.

So if I wasn't excited about my own graduation then what was I to do? Crashing other schools grad parties seemed like a logical idea! A co worker of mine who attended Aquinas catholic high school, invited me to her grad party at some hotel in Mississauga. I knew she had a crush on me, and I wasn't very interested in her, but I wasn't going to miss out on the chance to party crash.

I ended up going with Jerry, Foxy Bano, & Lance Romance. Somehow I managed to get my hands on a 40 ouncer of tequila, but I only brought one can of pop for mix. After my first stiff drink the can of pop was gone so I started drinking right out the bottle. At one point I stuck my torso out the window to talk to some people I knew. I had a beer in hand one of the girls had given me. Next thing I know a female cop was instructing me to come out of the window. I ended up in the back of the car and we hadn't even been at the party for 30 minutes. 

The officer told me I would be receiving a fine for drinking in public, which we called a "53" as the ticket price was $53.75. We'll as fate would have it, the fine penalty had just been doubled, and was now increased to $107.50. Thankfully for me, I had no identification on me, and an attitude that I wasn't going to go out like that. I totally bullshitted the cop in regards to all my personal info. I even told her my name was Anthony Kiedis, lead singer of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. After receiving my fine I left the car, chewed the ticket up, and spit out the wet, shredded pieces of paper in front of everyone who had just witnessed the altercation. The officer in question was still literally right behind me in her car. I headed back into the hotel room and reclaimed my bottle of Tequila.

From that point forward shit got crazy. I had no mix left, and I ended up drinking the entire 40 oz. of tequila straight. By this point we were all insanely drunk, so naturally it was time for the madness to ensue. We ran around the hallways smashing all the light fixtures and mirrors. Not satisfied with the level of darkness, we decided to find the main circuit panel for the entire hotel. We took every single fuse and smashed them. The hotel was now in complete blackout mode. From there we started working our way from room to room, walking in on unknown strangers parties, yet nobody knew who anyone was because it was so dark. We proceeded to steal what alcohol we could and raid the over priced mini fridges. Then we would head to the next room and repeat the process.

Before long it seemed like everyone started following suit, crazed drunken fools now ran amok, arson and vandalism in full swing. The pinnacle of party crashing was reached when a television from one of the rooms managed to find its way through a plate glass door. After that, police presence was high, people were getting kicked out of their rooms left right and centre, and we were booting down the road in our escape vehicle laughing hysterically. I felt amazing and could not believe I was in such great shape after drinking an entire 40 of tequila to myself. It was my first time trying it and I loved it. I had heard a lot of people's horror stories in regards to Tequila, but she was alright in my books.

Ironically, the story made it to the local paper that week. The article however claimed that a gang of skinheads were responsible for the chaos. I couldn't stop laughing as only one out of the four of us had a shaved head at the time. Regardless of the medias false portrayal of us, we were now infamous! 

Monday, 16 December 2013

Woodstock 91' pt.2

As the sun slowly set, more and more people showed up to the old farmhouse on McVean road. Dove had set the DJ equipment up in the kitchen, which was on the backside of the house. The speakers were positioned out on the back deck, which had been transformed into a stage for the evening, so the bands would have an area to perform. Yes, bands, plural. Originally E.B.S. was the only band set to play, but I was a bit shocked when the Demon Barf boys showed up with their equipment. Somehow they had managed to weasel themselves onto the bill. I remember being slightly pissed off about this, as they weren't set to play, they weren't on the flyer advertised as playing, and I'm pretty sure none of the occupants of the house actually invited them to play. Inside I was feeling a bit of resentment towards them, probably because of how they snuck their way onto the bill without an invite. Looking back I think it bothered me more so that these guys had their shit together and were actually doing something, while my band was still a mere science experiment.

Never the less, they put on a somewhat memorable performance, depending on your level of intoxication. By the time E.B.S. hit the stage I was three sheets to the wind. I don't remember much of the set, but I do recall how surreal it was watching them perform in the backyard of a farmhouse, their precious gear surrounded by a chicken wire fence, which we all hung off of in a drunken mosh. The highlight of the set was when they played "Screamin' Boogies" their "rap song" My buddy Eggman was throwing down on the muddy, earthen dance floor like he was in the club. Egg was breakdancing, doing the running man, and other assorted dance moves. Every time the chorus came along, majority of us started a "GO EGGMAN!" chant, which just fuelled him even more to cut up the rug. 

Once both bands were done playing, Dove started spinning music from the kitchen DJ station. The general rule was nobody in the house except for close friends. Dove made an exception for females who needed to use the bathroom. So the kitchen turned into the grass smoking hang out spot for the homies. There was people everywhere by now. If I had to guess, I'd say at least 250-500 people were in attendance by this point. A few of our friends were even AWOL, as the Guns n' Roses concert was in Toronto that very same night, so they'd all be arriving later. Somehow a known local felon who shall rename anonymous, made his way into the kitchen, and within minutes you could feel the tension in the air. This guy had the audacity to try and kick me out of my own friends house merely because he didn't like my haircut. Feeling somewhat intimidated, I rounded up a few of the guys, and we got him out of the house eventually with much of a scene.

Tension was high by this point, people were everywhere, and we were struggling to keep things under control. Incidents were not in high numbers, but there was a bit of drama going on none the less. Like the two coked out girls who got caught making out topless in the bathroom. Eggman and I made a point of telling anyone who would listen to us about what we had just walked in on. Before long one of the girls who was completely irate by this point, threatened to go get her boyfriend to kick my ass. When she returned with him, it ended up being one of my older friends. Once he saw it was me, he laughed and told her "That's Theo, he's cool" I felt a bit of relief none the less.

Once the G n' R concert ended, even more people started showing up. I really have no clue what the total number of people in attendance was that night, but the rumours of "upwards of 1000" people showing up didn't seem that far off. It was like no sight I had ever seen. I had never been to a party of such magnitude. There were mini parties all within the big picture, and you could literally just float around from circle to circle, mingling with strangers and catching up with school mates and friends. Somewhere along the line I ended up chatting with some drunk girl, which led to us rolling in the grass making out for the rest of the evening, the dew now starting to form on the cold, wet ground.

Eventually the guys found me, and it was time to get out of here. Somehow Limey had managed to get a ride home with Jerry and I. As we were leaving we noticed a massive police presence at the edge of the long driveway, it was as if half of the force was on call. We had totally pulled one over on the boys in blue. Here we were having quite possibly the biggest party in Brampton history and the cops didn't even know about it until it was full bloom. The fact that the farmhouse was on private property just sweetened the victory, as the cops literally couldn't do anything, with the exception of stopping people as they left to see if they were driving drunk or not. We had succeeded in throwing the biggest bash of the year. Even quite possibly the biggest bash Brampton had ever seen.

We got through the makeshift ride check no problem, and we were on our way home, just in time to beat the rising sun. Shortly after we started driving, Limey told Jerry he was going to be sick. Jerry didn't want to stop the car so close to the police, so we slowly drove down the country road, the back door slightly open, with Limey's head sticking out and spewing vomit. As I dozed off in a drunken stupor, all that rang through my head were Jerry's words to Limey "If you get any puke in or on my car I'm going to kick the shit out of you"

Eyes closed, I cracked a smile. I thought to myself, in the words of the Irish Rovers...
"Wasn't that a party?" 

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Woodstock 91' pt.1

Graduation was right around the corner, my band Slow Poke was slowly coming together, and life was quite peachy. My buddy Dove had started living in a farmhouse with a couple of other guys just on the outskirts of Brampton towards Caledon, which would be considered "the country" by some. Dove decided he wanted to throw a big party at his new digs. We sat around discussing said party, and yours truly was elected to create a flyer for the event. A group of us sat around a friends kitchen table coming up with a name and concept for the party and flyer respectively. Eventually we decided to call the party "Woodstock 91', so I came up with a flyer displaying the name, date, details, map, and a cartoon picture of all of us partying. Epileptic Brain Surgeons agreed to perform at the party, so having their name on the flyer would surely draw more people in.

Once the flyer was done, we headed to the mall to get photocopies made. From there we went around the mall handing them out. Dove had only come up with the idea a mere week before the date of the party, so we had to move fast with our guerrilla marketing tactics. We distributed flyers to all of our friends who went to different high schools, they way everyone in every high school would be aware of the party. We even went as far as to frequent strip joint parking lots and put flyers under people's windshield wipers. Then somebody came up with the idea of actually inviting some strippers to the party, so we headed to the Sword & Shield, Brampton's most sleaziest and infamous strip joint.

I wasn't even of age, but the bouncers let me in without question. This was my second time ever in an adult establishment, the first time being when I was merely 15 and Jerry and I got served at "Chez Paris" Now I sat in amazement viewing scantily clad women all around me while the boys were schmoozing with strippers and handing flyers out as we drank 99 cent draft beer out of small, dirty glasses. 

By mid week the buzz was all over town and throughout the schools about Woodstock 91'. There had been quite a few epic parties during my high school days, but without question this was going to be the biggest. Rumours were quickly spreading about how many people were going to be there. According to the masses there would be 1000 people attending. EBS were set to perform, and on top of that Dove had rented a serious p.a. sound system for the music to boom through at full capacity.

Friday finally came, the school week was over, and it was time for Woodstock 91'. I can't remember who it was, but one of the guys picked me up after school. I think it was Shane "Foxy Bano" Adams. We quickly grabbed our party favours and headed up to the farm house in the late afternoon. When we arrived there were a handful of guys, mostly new found biker friends of Dove's, sitting on the porch drinking beer. We joined them and cracked a cold one. The sun was blazing, the birds were chirping, and it was a nice relaxing gathering of friends. That would all change in a mere matter of hours...

Monday, 9 December 2013

Backtrax, Boys in blue, & Demon Barf!

Slow Poke was still a two man band as our search continued for a bass player. We even went as far as to place a classified advertisement in Now magazine, a free weekly newspaper in Toronto. Needless to say we encountered some interesting characters, but nobody we felt fit the part. If both Derek and I didn't feel this was the right man for the job, we passed on them. Once in awhile I'd like someone and he wouldn't or vice versa, so it ended up being quite the event. Eventually we met an older guy named Sted. He was rough around the edges like us, and even wore a dreadlock necklace made from his girlfriends hair. Sted looked like he walked the line of being a punk rocker and a hippy. I suppose you could say he had the "grunge" look. So on forward we went with Sted, showing him our songs.

Meanwhile in Brampton, my graduation was rapidly approaching, and there were parties a plenty. There was also a club that opened up in Bramalea called "Backtrax" or "Backtracks" that was hosting live music and a club scene for punks and alternative people. Word on the street was you could easily get served alcohol there underage as well. When the boys and I caught wind that the Epileptic Brain Surgeons were going to be performing there, we knew we had to go check it out.

It ended up just being Jerry and myself that went if I recall correctly, but we were meeting friends there. We decided to take the bus, and ended up on the wrong one, so we got off at Avondale plaza which wasn't to far from the club. During our walk we stopped under an overpass and smoked the pot we had on us, then proceeded on our way. Minutes from the club, peel regions finest police drove by us and halted to a stop. They quickly jumped out of the car and gave us the business. Where we were coming from, where we were going, we match the description of two guys they are looking for etc. etc. 

The next thing I know we are being searched at the side of the road. One of the officers found a smoking pipe on my person, and within minutes we were practically standing out in public at the side of the road with our pants around our ankles. If that wasn't embarrassing enough, we were then instructed to get in the back of the car, where they had us pull our underwear down to make sure we weren't carrying anything. I had never felt more humiliated and violated in my entire life. We were clean and the cops sent us on our way eventually after taking all of our information down.

We finally got to the club and made it in without further incident. We attempted to order beer and to our amazement we got served without question! Even though it was an all ages club, it was apparent being of age didn't matter when it came to buying a drink. We sat down in a sigh of relief at the front of the club close to the band. I just about shit ten bricks when I realized the opening band was those guys who were at ever E.B.S. show, my rivals from Chinguacousy school. The guys who I despised even though I didn't have a reason too....Demon Barf! I decided given the events of the night that I would actually pay them an honest listen, and much to my disbelief they actually won me over. I had a new found respect for these guys. 

Just as things were getting good I noticed a commotion at the other end of the club. I looked over and my jaw dropped when I saw the same two police officers who had stopped us a mere 30 minutes ago. They were stalking their way through the club specifically looking for people who were drinking and asking to see their I.D. In a panic I let my friends know what was going on, and we all chugged our drinks down in synchronization, then dumped our empty bottles on the floor under the table. We managed to escape persecution, and the boys in blue were on their merry way. 

Eventually E.B.S. took the stage, and to be quite honest I barely remember it due to the circumstances of the evening. Regardless, the Brampton band known as Demon Barf now had a few more fans...

Friday, 6 December 2013

Scumdogs of the Universe

It felt like the final year of high school was passing by quicker than any of the previous years, and I had yet to attend a concert in 1991. That all changed in the late spring when "Gwar" decided to return to Toronto for their second ever performance. After what Mike Myre had told me about (their first show) there was no way I was going to miss Gwar this time. They were on tour to support their second full length release "Scumdogs of the universe" Looking back at this exact moment as I write, one can only wonder if that album title is a play on Black Sabbath's "Symptom of the universe" Never the less, I got two tickets for the show, one for myself and one for my trusted chauffeur and best friend Jerry. 

By now it was well known that if you went to see Gwar, you wore white. This is still an unwritten metal rule. One knows they will be covered in blood shall they dare and brave the pit, so wearing white ensures you will have a free souvenir for afterwards. I clearly remember wearing my "Team Alva" shirt, as it was the only white shirt I think I owned at the time. We headed to the concert hall a.k.a. The Masonic temple, and we were anxious for the madness to ensue. 

When the lights finally went out and the curtain raised, there was a brick wall across the stage. In front of the wall, a group of picketers with signs that read such things as "down with Gwar" we're protesting the group. Two familiar faces in that crowd of picketers were Michael Jackson & Bart Simpson. The picketers were soon joined by the then president of the United States, George Bush sr., who came forth with a speech for all of us in the crowd about the evils of Gwar and the music associated with them. Midway through the speech the brick wall crumbled down as Gwar bust through it. They slaughtered all the picketers, ripped the presidents face off, then jumped into the first song.

Admittedly, I didn't know much of Gwar's music asides from the handful of songs thrown on a mixtape Myre made for me the previous year, but it didn't really matter. These guys were so entertaining that the music was almost secondary. You could go watch them perform having never heard one song and you'd still be in for the show of your life. I later learned that Gwar's lyrics told the story to each song, and each album was themed and in turn played through like a story. So if you actually knew the lyrics it was easier to follow the visual part of the performance while making sense of it all, but that didn't matter to me on this particular night.

It was surreal sweating it out in that over populated mosh pit, seeing the people around me and myself included, getting covered in blood, urine, and semen, all of which was simulated and fabricated by the band. Gwar also had a large video screen that would air segments and skits between songs that helped tie the story together. Meanwhile innocents were being slaughtered on stage left right and centre. At one point the band brought a giant meat grinder on stage and they looked to the crowd for "sacrifices" Fans would get on stage, get clobbered on the head with a prop weapon, and then get dumped into the meat grinder, which sprayed strong streams of blood into the crowd. It was so hot in the building that the paint was actually peeling off the walls.

For years after I would spread the good word of Gwar, insisting to anyone that they should go see them perform live if ever given the chance, as it would be the greatest rock and roll spectacle one could ever witness. Even if you didn't like their music I would still strongly urge you to see them perform live. To me Gwar was the new Kiss. Musically they weren't that great, but the magic, mystery and madness they brought to the table made them a special entity in the history of music.

While in the pit, Jerry ended up loosing one of his shoes. We waited for the building to clear out afterwards so he could find his shoe, which surprisingly to us was quite a feat once we saw the HUGE pile of shoes in the centre of the floor. He found a near match and we called it a night. When the insanity ended, it was incredible seeing the looks on the faces of the general public, as thousands of blood soaked punkers and thrashers made their way down Yonge street. It was a magical thing, and I couldn't wait to do it the next time Gwar came to town...

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Roll Call

One thing I was starting to notice was the fact that I was spending less time in Brampton, and in turn spending less time with my friends. It seemed like I was always in Toronto now doing the band thing, but I was also making a whole new world of friends. The Brampton crew had grown to large proportions, and the gang was still getting together at Dove's place regularly. Our numbers had shockingly grown, which could be part of the reason people never messed with us. 

By grad time here's how roll call was looking: there was myself, Dove, Noel, Spicoli, Gooch, Pugsley, James, Chunk, Jerry, Lance Romance, Foxy Bano, Reeves, McKean, Poloniato, Wild Wes, Pat "Norm", Marco, Cummer, McCuish, Chapman, Ronnie, Sanker, Gary, and Stinky.... Just to name a few. As you can probably tell by now, most of these guys had been donned with a nickname. On top of that initial crew of guys, there were other friends as we'll due to the six degrees of separation rule. Realistically though, all of us had "other" friends, so it wasn't uncommon to have 30-50 of us rolling together to parties, etc.

Meanwhile on the school front, co op was going nicely, and my final year of high school was passing my by in a flash. I started thinking about that and I got a bit sad, then I remembered how I hated most of the people here. I also remembered how there was nothing left here for me except my diploma, the official license to send me off into the "real world". Who was I kidding? I hated school. I'd be more than happy to never step foot in one again. I still felt like I was going to miss the social aspects of school, but again I reminded myself of how all my friends had moved on from here, so there was no social life left to be had here.

Myself, Mike & Mike, had been continuing our "jams" at Chapman's, as well as our lyrical ciphers. What started out as 3 white teenagers imitating the Beastie Boys, was slowly becoming what I proudly consider the first rap group from Brampton. Now there may have been other people rapping, but as far as I know nobody was doing shit! No demo tapes were dropping and no shows we're being put on. If we weren't the first I think it would be safe to say we were the first "white" dudes in Brampton to form a rap group.

Across town in Toronto, Derek and I were still working on Slow Poke. We had our handful of songs, we were still jamming them religiously, and we were STILL searching for a bass player....religiously....

Monday, 2 December 2013


It feels like it's been forever since I posted a blog entry, as I've had quite a lot going on lately preventing me from doing such. It has been a bit frustrating getting into this section of the story and having to put it on pause. The story of slow poke, in my opinion, is where my musical ventures stared to get very interesting. I look forward to sharing this portion of my life you, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I've enjoyed writing it.

Speaking of musical ventures, part of the reason my writing got stunted last week was due to the fact I was working on a new song entitled "Whatever happened?" Musically it is my take on what's happening in hop hop today production wise. Lyrically I ask the question of whatever happened to rap music? When did all the fun and creativity get sucked out of it? In my quest for knowledge, I never really answered my own question. Or did I? You can judge for yourself. It was nice taking a break from the Street Trash project and getting back to work on my solo material.

Last week another big happening was the 20th anniversary of the Wu Tang Clan's debut album "Enter the 36th Chambers" and to commemorate the event Wu Tang is touring. They happened to play Toronto last week and I was fortunate enough to attend the event. Wu were fired up and put on a high energy show, but the sound mans lack of abilities didn't do justice to their sound. I was also highly disappointed at the absence of the RZA, the man responsible for forming the clan. RZA is also the one who produced all of their beats and music. The fact they didn't even acknowledge his absence baffled me. It was nice however to finally see the Wu live after all these years.

On a personal level I've been spending quality time with my son whenever given the chance, and you can find me playing GTA V online most nights. That game I tell ya...

Once again I appreciate your supper and patience, now on with the story...again...