Thursday, 28 May 2015

Hoolie-Ween 93'

Now that I had my life back, the first order of business was to set up a live show for my band 3 n' Pass, as we hadn't performed in almost half of a year. Before I even had the chance to begin planning, I was contacted by my good friend Dallas of The Satanatras. They wanted to know if we'd be interested in opening for them and "The Hacksaw Jim Duggans" at a booze can on Halloween. 

For those who don't know, "booze cans" were illegal after hours parties that took place in Toronto during the 90s. They weren't just parties though, they were usually set up like a bar, you could buy drinks, dance, and generally do whatever drugs you wanted without anyone even blinking an eye at you. Needless to say I was totally on board with Dallas' proposal, and the fact that the show was on Halloween made it even all that much cooler, after all it is my most favourite  day of the year. 

I talked it over with the boys, and they were all on board. Since the show was on Halloween I figured I'd need to get a kickass costume together. The video-game Mortal Kombat was the newest, hottest thing on the gaming scene, so I decided I'd dress up as my favourite character "Scorpion" who in the game would take his mask off to reveal a skull head underneath as he breathed fire on his fallen opponents. My costume was pretty ghetto since it was home made, but I was happy with it. I even managed to get a skull mask to wear under the ninja mask, so I could reveal my true face like he did in the game.

I also decided I had to make an awesome flyer since we hadn't played in so long, so I immediately took pen to paper and started creating. The fact this was a Halloween show gave me all the inspiration I needed. I started my illustration by drawing Eddie, the mascot of Iron Maiden. Attached to his fingertips were puppet stings, similar to the "Number of the beast" album cover. Eddie's puppeteer strings would attach to a sea of people below him, including all the band members and iconic Horror characters. To this day in present time, this flyer is my fave I ever created for any show.

As if I wasn't excited about this gig enough, Dallas approached me and inquired if I'd be interested in singing a song with them. They planned on doing a cover version of the Beastie Boys "Time For Living" I was absolutely 100% on board with the idea. I even managed to make it out to a couple of their rehearsals so we could practice the song. It was sounding sweet, the energy was great, and it was just fun as hell to play.

When the night of the show arrived we packed up all of our gear and headed down. We arrived fairly late into the night and got everything set up. By the time the bars let out, people started filing into the booze can. By 1am the place was packed and we were ready to rip shit up. I'm not really sure if people got what we were doing. Our hybrid of rap, reggae, rock and punk was definitely ahead of it's time in my opinion. We got a pretty great reception from the crowd none the less, and they really popped off in excitement when I removed my ninja mask to display the skull beneath it. All in all I was very happy with our performance and the reception we received from the audience. 

To be quite honest, a lot of that night is a blur to me. It could have to do with the fact that it started so late at night, it could of been the alcohol and pot, but most of it eludes me with the exception of some key memories. I have no recollection of The Hacksaws or their music. I do however remember my performance with The Satanatras, and our cover of Time For Living stole the show. The crowd went nuts and they absolutely loved it. 

It was a great night, a great experience, and our first "illegal" performance. 
We were back on top of our game, or so I thought...

Friday, 22 May 2015

Emerald Escape

Although the summer was pretty much a useless write off, I did mange to find an escape here and there. Every Sunday my friends and I would goto a nice little secret place known as Emerald Lake. Emerald was in a small town called Campbellville, situated between Milton & Guelph Ontario. The Lake was privately owned and admission was $10. Shayne had gone there with his family while growing up, and he was nice enough to share this special place with us.

Emerald Lake was a family ran place, yet it was biker affiliated I believe, as all of the security guards resembled Hell's Angels. You could drink anything anywhere you wanted in the park, as long as you had it in an open container such as a plastic cup. Beer bottles and cans were strictly prohibited, but you cold still drink without question, which was a beautiful thing. They also didn't frown upon marijuana usage either, and it was not uncommon to smell it wafting through the air, despite families and children scattered about the beach. Hell, some of those "families" were partaking in the weed too.

All in all it was always an awesome vibe there. Nice water to swim in, cliffs to dive off of, a beach to lounge on, a kickass snack bar, gorgeous girls in bikinis, and if you felt active enough you could play volleyball, basketball, and mini golf. I never once saw any type of fighting or altercations occur, which to me was worth the price of admission alone.

Sometimes we'd spend Saturday nights getting drunk, and we'd pull all nighters, then head there bright and early in the morning running on no sleep. The only catch was, you had to buy enough alcohol on Friday or Saturday in order to have some left to bring to the lake on Sunday. Thankfully in the early 90s we could goto the Molson Brewery Plant and buy alcohol, then eventually the beer and liquor stores started opening on Sundays. Hallelujah!

Over the years Emerald Lake grew and expanded. Nowadays you can actually camp out there for however long you desire, unlike back when we went the park closed around 6pm. They've also expanded the activities including a water slide for the kids, baseball diamonds, trailer park, campsites, and more. If you've ever been there then you know how amazing the place is, but if you've never been there, then I suggest you check it out should the chance ever arise.

In all honesty, I think Emerald Lake was my saving grace that summer. If I did not have that outlet who knows where the insanity of working midnights would have left my sanity. My friends, my girl, my band, and Emerald Lake were all I had that summer to keep balanced. Unfortunately I wasn't getting much time with any of the above mentioned due to my crazy work schedule, but if it wasn't for them I really don't know where I would of wound up.

After quitting Loeb, I needed some form of income, so I did a few random jobs for Shayne's mother who ran a gas station in Woodbridge. I started off painting the place for her and doing odd things she needed done. Shortly after she was robbed at gunpoint, and was quite traumatized to say the least. After that incident, myself and the other Shane (Foxy Bano) started partaking in stakeouts. We'd just hang out in his car parked in the gas station lot keeping eyes open for any suspicious behavior and/or activities. Eventually she gave me a part time job working midnights on Sundays & Mondays.

Meanwhile on the band front, we had literally done nothing. Due to me working so much, all I could do was write lyrics. We weren't jamming or playing any shows, but that would all change come Halloween...

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Spring Cleaning

I was doing some spring cleaning on the weekend with my son, and we found my old art portfolio from high school. Obviously we decided to crack it open and sift through the treasures inside. I knew I had tons of old flyers, but I didn't t realize I still had most of the original artwork for them. I also discovered a collection of flyers for almost every Grasshopper show I played. The coolest thing by far though, was a hand written double sided piece of paper I'd used to keep track of EVERY Grasshopper show we ever played. Venues, the acts we played with, and most of the dates. I decided to re-write them all in this post for prosperity reasons and fond memories that I'm sure will come back as I write this list:

Thursday April 23rd, 1992 - Niagara Cafe - w/ Mudfish & Goat Dance
May 1992 - Pickering Coffee House - w/ Something For The Pain & Yet Another Posse
May 1992 - Degrassi Street house party - w/ Goat Dance
Sunday June 7th - Ozone - w/ Y.A.P.
Monday June 8th - 1150 - Elvis Monday w/ various bands
Sunday June 14th - Pickering Coffee House - w/ Stew, Goat Dance, Mudfish
Monday July 13th - Lee's Palace - w/ Y.A.P., Mudfish
Friday July 17th - 1150 - w/ Groovy Religion
Wednesday July 23rd - Sneaky Dee's - w/ Land Of Nod
Thursday July 24th - 1150 - w/ Grim Skunk, Satanatras
Monday July 28th - 1150 - Elvis Monday w/ Velcro Soul, Fibreglass Granny, Freak Brothers 
Wednesday July 30th - 1150 - Dinner is Ruined, Bryan Ruryk
Thursday July 31st - Lindsay Ontario Bingo Hall - w/ Problem Children, Velcro Soul
Friday August 1st - 1150 - w/ Dave Howard, Paul Myers
August 18th - Sneaky Dee's - w/ Land Of Nod, Mudfish
August 20th - 1150 - Benefit show w/ various artists
August 21st - 1150 - Drive Like Jehu, Snowdogs
August 23rd - Project X - w/ Yeti
September 2nd - El Mocambo - w/ Suffuse
September 5th - 1150 - w/ Don Gato, Rocktopus, Hernandez Brothers
September 10th - Sneaky Dee's - An April March, Development Site
September 12th - Pablo Cafe - w/ Dirty Bird
September 30th - Tremors - w/ Y.A.P., Demon Barf, Full
October 1st - 1150 - Book Fair w/ various artists
October 3rd - Sneaky Dee's - w/ Land Of Nod, Mudfish
October 7th - Sneaky Dee's - Graham Kirkland Project - w/ Big Sugar, Bare Naked Ladies
October 10th - Oxford party - w/ Dirty Bird, Cops For Christ
October 17th - 1150 - w/ hHead, The Coles
October 22nd - 1150 - w/ The Smalls
November 6th - 1150 - w/ Wool, Groovy Aardvark, Y.A.P.
November 10th - Lee's Palace - w/ Full, Squid, Land Of Nod
November 14th - Rotate This - w/ Sloan
November 20th - Silver Shack - w/ LandOfNod,Mudfish,GoatDance,BobDogDog,CatRocket
November 26th - 1150 - w/ Dog Pile, Mudfish
December 3rd - 1150 - w/ GoatDance, Mr.Nobody, Full, Mudfish, 2 Line Filler
December 7th - 1150 - Elvis Monday w/ various artists (New Music filmed us)
December 9th - Ozone, Oshawa - w/ Project 9
December 11th - Opera House - w/ Jesus Lizard, Arc Welder
December 12th - Godridge Ontario - w/ various artists
December 26th - 1150 - Satanatras, Mudfish, Shotgun Shack

January 2nd 1993 - Embassy Hotel - w/ various artists
January 9th - Peterborough Art Space - w/ Crumb Family Robinson, Voodoo Chick Town
January 13th - Tremors - w/ Demon Barf, Rund Funk
January 14th - 1150 - w/ Project 9, Edma's Cat
January 15th (my 20th birthday) - Kave in Guelph - w/ 13 Engines
January 21st - 1150 - w/ Goat Dance, Demon Barf, Marcy Playground
January 29th - Oshawa Church - w/ various artist
February 6th - The Rivoli Club - w/ Satanatras
February 11th - Silver Shack - w/ Mudfish, Full, Hash Mantis
February 12th - HMV Super Store - w/ hHead
February 18th - Project X - w/ Lock Jaw
March 2nd - Edgewater Hotel - w/ Gobble Hoof
March 5th - The Rivoli Club - w/ hHead, Green Apple
March 7th - Promise Land - w/ Boris Is Back
March 19th - Sneaky Dee's - w/ Mudfish, Goat Dance
March 20th - Edgewater Hotel - Pot Fest w/ Satanatras & various artists
March 21st - El Mocambo - w/ Demon Barf, Ice Pick Lobotomy
March 27th - The Concert Hall - 102.1 Sonic Spring w/ Acid Test, Teknicolour Raincoats, The Morganfields (our final show)

Tuesday, 12 May 2015


The darkest summer had finally ended, and I decided to quit my job. It seemed like the only logical solution to saving my relationship and saving my own mind from sinking further into hate, jealousy, and depression. Musically I was listening to mostly rap and hiphop these days. The metal scene was still kind of non existent due to the over saturation of the grunge scene, and to be honest I had grown tired of that quickly. I was still a huge fan of the first Nirvana album and I enjoyed Mudhoney too, but the other stuff never really did much for me. Temple of the dog, Pearl Jam, Screaming Trees, and all the other bands Derek played religiously just didn't appeal to me. Perhaps I didn't get it? Perhaps the music wasn't heavy enough? Needless to say I'd had my fill of Grunge music the past few years to know I was done with it.

Derek was quite ignorant towards metal music and guitar solos, so I had pretty much weened myself off of that stuff simply to appease him. Those days were done but who was really flying the flag now for metal? Slayer & Pantera were still representing. Metallica had turned to shit, and most of the 80s crossover thrash and hardcore bands were now defunct. What was a guy to do besides listen to his old records and reminisce the glory days?

I had started watching my buddy Shayne's sister after school until their father got home from work, so I got back into the swing of recording music videos off of tv. I was really only into Rap City by this point, but I'd still watch the Power Hour just to see what was going on, which wasn't much. It was either older stuff or new crap that I had absolutely no interest in. Then one day a particular video caught my eye. It was a band I had listened to once a few years back, but a band I never heavily got into. After seeing the video for a song called "Refuse/Resist" I had a new appreciation for said band. They were called Sepultura.

I'd listened to their earlier release "Beneath the Remains" a few times in the past, and although I liked it, it never really struck me as mind blowing or incredible. But now, in what I call "the dark times of metal", there was a new light shining bright and guiding the way. That light was Sepultura. I immediately went out and got ahold of their latest album entitled "Chaos A.D."

The band was from Brazil, but that didn't matter one bit. In fact it made them cooler in my eyes, and I loved the broken English within the vocals. They were fast, heavy, crushing, and their breakdowns were brutal. The type of shit that made me want to jump back in the pit and clobber fools. I hadn't felt like that in awhile. Chaos A.D. was an incredible album. As I listened through the first time doing my usual reading of the lyrics, I was surprised to discover that every song was solid. There was nothing weak about this album whatsoever, nor were there any weak songs in my opinion. It was nice to have metal back.

I had become so absolved by rap that I had kind of forgotten my roots, even though I was still a die hard fan of aggressive music, but more so the hardcore stuff. When I discovered this music in grade 9 I completely turned my back on the music that got me there in the first place, bands such as Iron Maiden & AC/DC. I even sold all those old records in Toronto at various used record stores, hell I even dumped a crate on the sidewalk of stuff nobody wanted to buy like Ratt & Twisted Sister.

Now a young man of 20 years old, I was seeng the error of my ways. These were my musical roots. If it wasn't for these bands I wouldn't be the person I am...or the person I was at this point in time, which is basically the same person I am today as I write this. I had realized the error of my ignorant ways, and the only way to fix this was to re-embrace the music I loved growing up as a child. I needed to get back to my roots, so I went right back to the beginning, the band who arguably started it all, Black Sabbath.

Shane had quite a lot of their stuff on cd, so I started exploring the albums I'd never heard before. Records such as Technical Ecstasy, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, and Never Say Die. I had only owned Paranoid, Volume 4, and Live Evil, so this was a whole new world to me. I just couldn't get enough of them. Even to this day when I listen to Sabbath I can't describe the way it makes me feel. It's almost like a magical right of passage or a religious experience. Hearing those riffs that caused a ripple effect that is still rippling over 40 years later in the metal scene. I get goosebumps every time they molest my ears.

I have always tried to live regret free, but I still regret getting rid of all those old records. Thankfully I kept some of the more sentimental ones, but one thing was for certain... I'd never sell a record again, and I would never turn my back again on the things that made me the person I am...

Friday, 8 May 2015

The Darkest Summer

The summer of 93' was a complete bust for me. I was working midnights full time, and it wasn't uncommon for me to work 10 days in a row due to their wacky scheduling at Loeb. The job itself wasn't bad. There was maybe a dozen of us in total working, we could listen to whatever music we wanted over the store P.A. system, and we could pretty much eat anything we wanted as long as we didn't get caught. I was constantly bringing in mix tapes to play and sneaking into the freezers for a snack.

My relationship with Tara however, was suffering greatly. While I had to goto work at 11pm every night, she would be going out drinking and parting with her friends. Being 20 years old and not trusting her friends, led me to be full of jealousy and rage every time she went out. It was quite unhealthy to say the least, as my mind was always getting the best of me. 

I'd usually take my lunch break between 2-3 am, and I'd head up to the staff lunch room for some peace and quiet. After eating alone I would head outside and partake in a doobie. From there I'd sit outside on the ground, my back against the wall, and I'd write lyrics for the remainder of my lunch break. Needless to say my pages of raps were piling up very quickly. A lot of these raps were dark and negative, I gather due to the fact I was always angry, jealous, and never saw the light of day for most of the summer.

When we weren't listening to cassette tapes during our shift, we'd usually have the radio on 102.1 The Edge. Lollapalooza was coming to town, and 102 were giving tickets away every night. Whenever you heard a band played that would be on the bill, you'd call in for a chance to win tickets. I was pretty stoked over the fact that Rage Against The Machine would be performing this year despite the fact that they were still virtually unknown and underground. I thought for sure if they played a Rage song I'd definitely be the caller to win the tickets.

As the weeks passed by I was slightly shocked and discouraged at the fact that I still hadn't heard Rage yet, so I decided to call into the station and inquire about it. I was even more shocked and slightly offended when the disc jockey told me they don't play Rage on their station. I got into it with him questioning why they wouldn't play a band who's on the bill of a show they are promoting and giving tickets away for. Apparently Rage were too hardcore for the radio station that claimed to be "alternative" I was never a big fan of 102.1 to begin with, but after this whole fiasco I vowed to always run their name through the mud whenever the chance presented itself.

I ended up becoming friends with a co-worker named Billy, so one night he and I decided to go out for some drinks together at a local pub. We were swilling pints, having a good time, and even getting attention from some young ladies. At some point one of the girls mentioned Billy had said something negative and insulting about me, so I called him out on it in drunken furious style. He ended up leaving the bar to avoid the confrontation, so I followed him out and trailed him down the street calling him on. We ended up getting into numerous scuffles but I could tell he really didn't want to fight. I ended up twisting my ankle somehow and within the next 24 hours I was on crutches and not able to work.

When I finally returned to work there was obviously tension between Bill and I, yet he wouldn't even look in my direction or come anywhere in the vicinity of me. The summer was almost over and I felt like I never got to enjoy any of it. Now having the extra bullshit at work wasn't encouraging me to want to be there, and I was sick of never getting to spend time with Tara or any of my friends. This job was definitely not having positive effects on my life, so I knew it was about time to call it quits...

Phot of Tara and I having some cold ones with 
friends before working a dreaded Loeb night shift. 

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Finishing the Starter

So some of you might be wondering how I was able to get a job when I had the pending issue of the starter pistol incident I mentioned awhile back. Well I'm going to break it on down. Grasshopper was no more, unless we are counting the new bastardized version of it. Derek and I no longer spoke, but we still had to attend court for the whole starter pistol fiasco. We were both being charged with "weapons dangerous" and it ended up being quite a lengthy procedure.

During our first visit to court, Derek already had council and was ready to be over and done with this. I on the other hand, did not have a girlfriend who's mother knew the best lawyers in Brampton. In fact I didn't have any lawyer or legal council, so the judge decided to give me time to seek council and set us a new court date scheduled for a few months later.

A few months passed and since I was unemployed I clearly could not afford a lawyer, so I finally found my way to seek free legal aid in Mississauga. Once I finally managed to get there they had neglected to inform me that I needed to bring certain things with me, ie: paperwork, birth certificate, etc. So I ended up making the trip for nothing and had my second court appearance pending the following week. The only problem was the date legal aid gave me to come back was weeks later.

So we were in court for our second time, Derek again with his lawyer, dreadlocks tied back, trying to appear somewhat respectable, and then there was me with no council. I explained the situation to the judge and he set up a third court date as I needed to have proper legal aid. I ended up going back to legal aid services with all the proper requirements in order, but this was simply just an application process. I still had to be approved, and they informed me it would take some time.

Back to court for visit number three. Once again we could not proceed as I was still in the waiting process for my legal aid. I explained the situation once again to the judge, and once again he set another court date for us. By now it had been almost a year since these charges had been laid against us. I could tell Derek was getting very frustrated, as he had never dealt with the judicial system before. I had dealt with it on numerous occasions, so I was completely used to the drawn out process. Deep down inside I was getting a sense of extreme satisfaction at his distraught.

I eventually got approved for legal aid. The crazy part about this whole thing was my parents had no idea what was going on. I thought my courtroom days were in the past, and those days were very disappointing for my parents, so I didn't want them catching wind of this. It was a bullshit charge to begin with, but I was an adult now and I wanted to deal with my own grown man business and beat this myself. That meant having to get the mail EVERYDAY so my folks didn't discover and documents that would expose the situation. Needless to say I was thrilled that I finally had council. I was ready for court date number four.

When the day arrived I was nervous, but I felt they wouldn't make too much of an example out of us. Anytime I was in court I'd always pay close attention to the judge just to get an idea of what they were like when dealing with other cases. I'd either feel some relief or get even more nervous. On this particular day we had a male judge who was quite up there in age. He was very loud, outspoken, and boisterous, he constantly had a miserable scowl on his face, and he may have even been suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's. I thought for sure that he'd throw the book at us.

When our case finally got called, the crown attorney started reading off the information about the charge. As soon as the crown said the words "starter pistol" the Judge cut her off and stopped her dead in her tracks, blurting out: "A starter's pistol? And you're charging them with weapons dangerous? How can it be a dangerous weapon when it doesn't actually discharge? $5000 peace bond for one year, case dismissed!" That was it! After all the waiting, legal council, and lord knows how much cash for Derek's lawyer, the case was over before it even started. All we had was the peace bond, meaning if we were caught with ANY form of weapon within the next 365 days we'd be charged with a $5000 fine. I was totally stoked, especially at the fact that I had dealt with this all by myself and proven my innocence. It felt amazing. 

I'll have you know that I upheld the bargain of the peace bond for one year, and was completely cleared, now with a clean criminal record that could never come back to haunt me. Or so I thought...