Assholes and Elbows
Alright, I am a little behind on the blogging, and not really sure if I should talk about the shit that has happened in the last week, or start off from the beginning…..Ill start off from where we left off, but first we would like to say this:
We would truly like to thank Rob Dyrdek, the entire cast and crew of Fantasy Factory, and everyone at MTV for believing in what we are doing enough to give us the opportunity of a lifetime! To everyone that has been messaging us asking us “is that exactly how it went down, you just showed up and started playing?”. Or another good one is “they scripted all that out didn’t they”, or “so who hooked you up with MTV?” People always want to know an excuse for why they can’t do something, go out and “make your OWN luck”. I can assure you that we showed up at the right place at the right time doing the right thing. They saw the passion in what we were doing and videoed it, everything that happened after that was as real as it gets, there were no re takes, there were no do overs. There were no plans or scripts, we weren’t on The Real World and we weren’t on Road Rules….We were on Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory, one of the few truly real reality TV shows left. How could it get any more real, an independent band shows up on the set of a network TV show in a mobile stage to perform for someone who truly inspires them and is thrown on an episode at the last minute, sounds pretty fucking real to me.
So we returned home from California Music Adventure 1 with a completely pimped out mobile stage. It is very difficult trying to conceal the absolute hands down most amazing thing to ever happen to you in life, for 2 months, until the entire world gets to see exactly what we are about because the absolute hands down most amazing person you have ever met believed in what you were doing and gave you a chance. Especially when you are driving around in a mobile stage that now has a vinyl wrap on the outside of it that is worth more than the van itself. So what’s the first thing we do when we get home…Drop it off at the mechanic for a few weeks to make sure the engine is going to hold out, abandon the plans for building a new mobile stage this winter, smoke weed, and come up with some crazy ass idea to move the drums to stage left, and my guitar over to stage right…
It has always been hard for us to find descent mechanics, it just sucks not knowing if you are being fucked over or hooked up. You know how they say a pharmacist is more trusted than a doctor…well an auto mechanic is less trusted than an auto salesman. No offense to any auto mechanics out there, but when I found out the fuckers that installed our motor in Albuquerque didn’t replace the rear main seal or the spark plugs, among other things, and charged us for them, after I told him to replace everything that was remotely questionable, really fucking pissed me off. That obviously explains why it started leaking oil after 2000 miles, why it ran like shit all summer, and why we had to pay about another $2000 to have the motor pulled out again and basically rebuilt. Oh also, we had been running 15-40 in it all summer long, like the motor builders said, come to find out it uses 5-30. Bill with Cars Inc is who we ended up going to in Eugene, after our good friend Crackerbox recommended him. He was like the best mechanic we have ever dealt with, was honest about how much everything would be, fixed everything on it from the springs to the motor…even to the missing hood bolt that had a zip tie in its place.
Our next priority with the mobile stage was to smoke copious amounts of marijuana and stare at it for about a month. We built this thing with no plans, and somehow, when we smoke copious amounts of marijuana and stare at it, we can kind of visualize the plans…in our minds… We finally came to the realization that moving the drums and guitars around wasn’t going to work. Also we realized that all the wood structure that we originally installed was pulling off the walls after 8 months of rough roads. On top of this I finally took it to a weigh station to find out it weighed 20,000lbs, 2,000 lbs over it’s current registered maximum vehicle weight. We solved the legal weight problem by registering it as an RV, which is measured in length….It’s kind of hard to go over your length limit! It was a tough decision looking at this freshly painted pimped out interior complete with drapes, microwave, refrigerator, and new beds then having to rip it all out, but it needed to be done. Keep in mind we had been planning on building a new bigger mobile stage, with one more bunk for a driver, so we also had to make more room in this one somehow.
Even though it is now an RV and weight doesn’t matter, it still doesn’t make sense to drive around with 1000lbs of 1 1/2″ plywood decking on the floor, so we were forced to gut absolutely everything out. Next thing to happen was to replace the Cerwin-Vega TS-42’s with Cerwin-Vega CVP-121’s as well as replace the Crown XLS 5000 running the subs with 2 Cerwin Vega CV-2800’s. The folded horns that we had in there sounded great, but just took up too much room and weighed too much.
We also wanted to put another 4000 watt generator in to run a rooftop A/C unit so we don’t die this summer in the humid heat. 2 weeks before we left I thought it would be a good idea to drive down to Onan and see if they can squeeze us in for about 100 man hours worth of work at the last minute. Everyone at Onan was fucking stoked and ready, drop it off in 2 days, well get it back to you in 5 days at the earliest, but probably more like 8 days. For some reason it didn’t even cross my mind that it is Monday evening, and we are leaving next Saturday….12 days away and the mobile stage is about 5% built on the inside, everything is still gutted out, including the entire electrical system. I got out my phone “Hey Dano…who’s holdin’ right now, lets get stoned and stare at the stage”
I threw a coat of spray paint on the wood so it at least looked like it was a little more complete, now 5.5%. About 8 cans, enough to get me high enough to walk into walls. Picked Dano up in the morning, went to the U-Haul hangar, sat in our practice room which is really a foosball room because we never practice, stared at the mobile stage for awhile, pulled away the docking bay, closed the door, and took it in to Onan the next morning…5.6% complete.
We received confirmation that we are going to be on the entire Rockstar Mayhem Tour this summer again, playing in the mobile stage before doors, under the Metal Mulisha 3 times a day, as well as afterparties. Blinded by good news, we decided to smoke weed for a couple days and at some point over the weekend I realized that if the mobile stage comes back from Onan on Friday….and we leave on Saturday…….hmmmmm. First thing Monday I called Onan to try and get a better idea of when it would be done, they pushed some buttons, pulled some strings, had everyone in the shop work on it, and had it back to us by Tuesday afternoon.
Believe me when I say Onan turned our mobile stage into a true motorhome! It now has 2 generators totaling 16,500 watts of power with 80amps, a 2000 watt inverter, a rooftop A/C and heat pump unit, a 50amp transfer switch with external plug for shore power, both generators charge the inverter batteries to a maximum of 350 amp hours, and remote start/stop switches are in the same spot conveniently located above the power amps next to the inverter computer panel, in front of the air conditioner/heat pump thermostat control…bitchin.
Now it is time to build everything inside, and I mean EVERYTHING. Weld together an aluminum drum riser(thanks Scott), finish building all the wood framing inside, install all sound equipment to test, remove all sound equipment to paint, run all speaker wires/microphone cables, re-wire all the electrical(thanks Scott) the list goes on and on and on, all while leaving the bunk area tore apart because it is going in Friday morning to Overhead Door for the automatic remote control roll up door. Once again we are up for 48 hours straight, watching the sun rise, watching the sun set, just knowing we have to finish as much as possible in a short amount of time.
Overhead door had it for about 5 hours on Friday, and they hooked it the fuck up. Just like Onan, Overhead Door is fucking amazing and pulls strings to get shit done quickly for us…Probably because they know we are procrastinating stoners! We walk up, Paul hands us a remote, we push a button, and the door fucking opens….No fucking way! This is going to make it a whole lot easier to deal with police!
Time for another all nighter. Somehow shit was getting done and it got done, Dano was cutting wood, I was screwing it together, Bekka was organizing merch, then as the last screw went in, everything else just kind of got thrown in the side and organized after we left. There are a lot of things we did not finish that we will add once we return home before Mayhem Tour like safety harnesses, grab handles, 2 active CV-28’s for monitors when people need them, and probably way more shit that will be remembered when we draw up the blueprints….in our minds…
This whole rebuild was about adding versatility and reliability to the mobile stage, the drum riser comes apart into 2 – 2′ 6″ x 6′ sections and is carried into any venue with the drums still attached, I pull out my Mesa 2 x 12 combo amp, Ampeg bass combo amp, and we are raging it inside the venue 5 minutes after we just played outside. Also while we are playing inside, our sound engineer Mike Lavin is out in the mobile stage mixing the live recording we just made in the mobile stage because everything going into the mixer is recorded live straight to a computer. Then he sends it to the 10 disc duplicator right below the mixer which he then takes in to Bekka at the merch booth so we can give people a solid studio quality live recording an hour after the show is over that you pay what you want for.
After telling everyone that I actually slept for a couple hours when I really didn’t, we left the hangar at about 4PM on Saturday. Heading south to Red Bluff and at some point around 8PM I realized we were not going to make it to the early Red Bluff show, so we promised them we would rage the skate park the next day at 4PM on our way to Modesto, and stopped in Redding at Bombays for the first rager of the tour.
Here are some pictures of the reconstruction of the mobile stage