Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Bar Brawls 101

So we had lived in the Slayer House a few months now and a new year was approaching us, but before we enter 1995 I would like to recall the events that transpired one Saturday night in October of 94'. 

Shayne's girlfriend, and our roommate, Pauline, was from Orangeville Ontario. I had been there a few times in my early teens with Jerry, and let's just say the male species in town didn't welcome our kind warmly. Pauline said there was a punk show going on up there, and as leery as I was, I ended up packed in a vehicle and we were on our way. There was myself, James, Noel, Shayne, Pauline, and my girlfriend Tara. 

When we arrived at the show I was a bit taken back to see it wasn't even a bar, we had arrived at some type of legion or community center. My levels of leery-ness were already on the rise but we made our way in and paid some ridiculous cover charge in relation to the time period. We walked into what was literally a gymnasium. There was no alcohol being served, and the majority of the audience were underage teenagers. 

Just when I was about to reach my boiling point I realized I knew the fellows on stage performing, it was The Almighty Trigger Happy! Somehow I caught singer Al Nolan's attention, and the next thing I knew he was pulling me up on stage. The band began to play some heavy improv groove shit while yours truly laced the microphone with a deadly freestyle off the top of my head. The kids in the crowd totally ate it up and it was a magical moment. We watched the rest of Trigger Happy's set then made a group decision to goto an actual bar so we could drink.

Pauline brought us to a place that I later knew as "Main Street Station" but I'm not sure if the name was different at the time. Regardless, we put two tables together, got a round of drinks, and ordered a shitload of chicken wings. The bar wasn't too busy, maybe 30 people or so including a table of 4-5 guys behind us, local farm boy jocks with very big mouths. We tried our best to pay them no attention and continued on with our drinking and mass consumption of wings. 

At some point Noel decided we were going to have a round of shots, specifically flaming zanbuchhas. He offered to pay but the catch was we had to drink them on fire. We clanked our  shot glasses for a "Cheers" which caused a bit of our shots to spill and set the table on fire. From there I tried to sip my drink and burned my lip, I tried again and got burnt again. Finally I threw my head back, opened the hatch, and dumped it in from a few inches above my mouth. At the same time everyone else was trying to figure out a way to take their shot while also dealing with our flaming table. 

Shortly after one of the large jocks walked by and stroked my goatee, then he stopped and said "Is that ok? You're looking at me funny" to which I replied "Ya it's cool, I'm just used to chicks doing that, you're the first guy who's ever done that". Anyone within an ears shot was snickering and laughing while he looked at me angrily stunned, then returned to his table.

The jocks had been getting rowdier as the evening progressed, and they were being quite disrespectful to the waitress. My girlfriend Tara was outspoken to say the least, and she voiced her displeasure to the waitress, telling her she should stand up for herself. I guess the jocks overheard and the next thing I knew Tara was bickering with them. She was witty and mouthy enough to take care of herself, so I payed little attention to the squabble and continued to drink... Until one of the jocks at the table stated loudly to Tara "Ahhhhjust shut up and show us your tits!"

I'm a very patient man. When I was younger I had serious anger issues, but I learned to deal with them by the time I graduated high school. It now took a lot for someone to push my buttons, but when you hit the right button I literally change in the flick of a switch. I snap. Faster than Banner turns into The Hulk. 

The room turned red, I felt my blood boil inside of me, and I stood up furiously flipping over our table and drinks. Before the bottles and glasses hit the ground I was already facing the jocks table and strongly asked... or demanded "WHO THE FUCK SAID THAT?" The looks on their faces were priceless. All wide eyed, jaws on the floor, and faces paled as if they'd seen a ghost. They sat their silently, not one of them having the balls to answer. 

Finally the biggest of the bunch, who'd stroked my goatee earlier, stood up and said it was him. I knew it wasn't him, he was just finally nutting up because it was obvious none of his spineless accomplices were going to. He looked at Tara and said "I'm gonna kill your boyfriend" then we started approaching each other. Before we even had a chance to lock horns I saw Tara come out of nowhere and smash an empty beer bottle over his forehead and eyebrow. The next thing I knew the entire bar was in a frenzy and everyone cleared out. As I was following suit someone had grabbed the back of my shirt and was punching at the back of my head. I calmly looked at the bouncer and said "You going to do anything about this?" and he just turned a blind eye. 

By the time we got outside whoever was punching me had run off like a coward into the night, and absolute madness had broken out. Somehow Shayne was now fighting the jock that Tara bottled. He was holding his own quite well until the big guy got on top of him. All of the locals were taking cheap shots at Shayne, so I walked up and stomped on the back of his head, which resulted in his head smashing into the concrete. Shayne immediately rolled him over and started filling his face with punches, Pauline even jumped on him too, and the two lovebirds pummeled his face in perfect harmony. 

Some local yokels started talking shit after I did that and I was now challenging multi people to fight me at the same time. Nobody wanted a piece of me whatsoever. I guess appearing like such a mad man had instilled some serious fear into them.  I was even trying to goad a police officer into fighting me and he too wanted no part of my madness. The streets were absolute chaos, and by the time the smoke cleared we had held our own quite impressive considering it was 4 men and 2 women versus a bar full of people. 

The best part about it all was one of my friends offered to pay the tab on his credit card as long as we gave him the cash. Well he happened to be in the bathroom when the brawl broke out. When he returned from relieving himself he was surprised to find the bar empty and his credit card and the bill sitting on our table. He never did sign that credit card receipt, and in turn we had consumed almost two hundred dollars or so worth of alcohol and food for free. Talk about justice.

Speaking of justice, after everything was said and done we realized Pauline was gone. The police had picked her up and brought her to the drunk tank. Still adrenalized from what has just went down, we all decided to crash the police station, which seemed like a good idea at the time. After a few minutes of yelling and threatening the police they amazingly released Pauline and let us return home with her.

I'm still baffled today by how we managed to pull that one off. We all made it out virtually injury free and got home safely with no charges being laid against anyone... For the time being...

Friday, 8 January 2016

The Black Belt Demo

Happy New Years! I'd like to quickly wish each and everyone of you a happy 2016, and I hope it's a great year for you all like I am anticipating it to be. For my resolution I am going to try and post at least once a week. Let's hope I can stay true to that. Now let us continue on with the story of "Heavy Ghetto"...

So we had been in our new place a few months now. Waller had moved back to Vancouver so there was a bit of an emptiness in me, but thankfully the birth of Black Belt Jones had reinstalled me with a passion that burned brighter than ever. We had been writing songs and jamming frequently, and we were now ready to hit some clubs for live performances. Before we could do that, it was essential that we recorded a demo tape so we could give club owners and promoters a preview and taste of what we were all about.

I had long returned Derek's four track recorder to him after his sneaky disbanding of Grasshopper. Luckily for us Mike Myers had picked up a four track of his own somewhere along the line. We could now easily record a demo tape in the comfort of our new home. Mike didn't live very far from us, so he was over quite frequently. Material wise, we had about 8 songs or so, which was more than enough for a demo tape.

I honestly have no recollection of the recording process surprisingly enough considering my track record with memories, except the day Paul & I hooked the Sega Genesis up to the four track. We recorded music and sound effects from the video game "Mortal Kombat" which we then layered with beats and rhymes... a song that came to be known as "MORTALITY". Other than that it is all blank, but I do distinctly remember being in Mike C's room with him and Mike Myre. We were recording all the vinyl scratches we needed from Mike C. We also did our final mix down that day, and our demo was now ready to rock.

During the recording period I had been working on a cover concept as well as liner notes and inserts. My two best pals from middle school Sanjai & Jay Poole were still hanging out at Slayer House on a regular basis, and they were a great inspiration. Sanjai even ended up drawing the cover of the demo. It portrayed myself dressed as Black Belt Jones, delivering a decapitating kick to a falling Derek from Grasshopper. This spawned the idea of having his severed head inside the liner notes. I drew the head in pencil then used an actual type writer to layer the text over top of the image. Yes kids this was looooong before the days of fancy computers and photoshop. It was all DIY, and I wouldn't of had it any other way.

Our demo was officially completed. We printed off multiple copies of the covers and inserts, which we had to cut by hand with scissors. We bought an abundance of blank tapes from dollar stores and bargain stores all over Brampton. We had to dub every single side of every single tape from our master copy, and let me just say doing your own duplication is a very time consuming process.

While we were busy dubbing tape after tape, some other musical happenings were unfolding within our circle of friends. Wiggaz AD had also been recording at Greg's place, and they too now had a completed demo tape ready to shop around. This was great in my eyes, as we could now tackle this as a team, and even offer two bands at once, which also enabled us to double our promotion efforts. 

It wasn't very long before our first opportunity came. Mike and I decided it would be best if we went back to the man who had started it all for Grasshopper, club promoter William New. Willie was genuinely thrilled to see us, and he was very excited to hear our new project. Within the blink of an eye he booked us for one of his infamous "Elvis Monday" shows that he was well known for. We ended up playing with an unknown band that night called "Rusty" who would go on to achieve mediocre success. William was a great man, and he would give anyone a chance, which was a highly admirable quality in my books. 

BBJ got over really well with the crowd that night, I believe mainly because we were something new, fresh, and different. Elvis Monday's were usually booked with Indy bands generally, who played punk, rock, grunge, etc. Now that people were presented with a live funky rap band, they actually embraced the change, and the reception we received was overwhelming. 

We knew we had created something special, and it was time for us to show the world...
Or the greater Toronto area at least...