My penchant for mayhem at parties has been a celebrated but often lamented piece of local lore for several years, and that’s especially true when my own band is involved. I mean, hey… They come for a show, right? I live in a city known for its music scene and its college life, and with all that come insane house shows. I’m not going to try to justify or endorse any of my actions or those of anyone in this story, but what I am about to tell you is completely true.
In the Summer of 2010, I had just gone through the worst breakup I’d had up to that point in my life. For whatever reason, maybe as an escape, I put all my efforts into having the biggest, loudest, and craziest band in town. A ten-piece punk rock band called the Wee-Beasties. For those of you who haven’t seen it, basically we sound like if Black Flag had a big horn section. No, we are not a ska band. Amps only go so loud, and a blasting horn section ensured we’d be louder than those swoopy-haired emo kids that were so big in the scene at the time. As the “singer”, I would usually take the stage in only women’s underwear, break stuff, roll in glass, and make-out with dudes while we played. Basically, I did my best to create as much of a riotous atmosphere as I could in whatever drunken and disorderly state I was in. Say what you want, but we were getting written up everywhere and our shows were drawing like crazy.
At this point in our career, Denton, TX kinda sucked. There weren’t many places to play and sad bastard indy rock dominated the scene. Hip-Hop groups weren’t even allowed in most of the clubs for another year or two. It was getting pretty old playing the same couple places, so we decided that a show in a house would be a natural move from the monotony. Fuck, if anything maybe we’d come out of it with some street cred.
I’m not exactly sure who booked the show or who we talked to in order to get on the bill, but someone decided it would be a good idea to put us in the middle of a three band lineup at a place called the Mansion. It was a great big house venue on Sherman Drive that was supposedly owned by a member of the Blues Brothers way back when. It was a Friday night, and we showed up an hour early to drink Four Loko (it was 2010, so they were pretty big then) and watch the opening band, Michael and the Time Travelers. I remember the Red 100’s were supposed to play after us, but because of what happened during our show, they didn’t get to.
None of us had ever been there before, but this fucking place had everything. Kegs. Liquor bottles. Bongs. Weird black-lighted rooms blasting shitty EDM music with douche bags snorting cocaine off drunken, naive tits. A huge backyard for the people trying to just drink and talk. The kitchen was one giant beer pong tournament. I certainly saw more than one midget. I think at one point there was a magic show going on. Frankly, it was hard to tell. There were lights and fog-machines and drinks and drugs everywhere. Without exaggeration, there were at least 500 people and not one of them even close to sober. “Our kinda crowd”, I thought.
The main room where the bands were to perform was of significant size. It was called a ballroom, but really it was just a very large living room that connected to the kitchen. And it was beyond packed. Sometime during the opening set, I got pretty hot. I sweat profusely when I’m about to play, when I play, and then after I play. In an environment like this, I figured taking all of my clothes off except for the panties I was wearing would be an acceptable solution. It always gets a funny sort of reaction when I do it. Some people laugh, some people are grossed out, and some people think I’m a drunken asshole. These are all appropriate responses. I placed my clothes under the bathroom sink and began walking around the party in search of various intoxicants to indulge in.
The thing about women’s underwear is that the crotch isn’t designed to hold external genitalia, or at least very much of it, and these babies were snug. In the back yard, I bumped into a friend of mine who was also plastered. We’ll call him Chad. Not because that was his name, but because Chad is a fucking hilarious name and this guy was a total Chad. He was kind of a super fan who went to all of our shows and always said the wrong thing at the worst time. The rest of my band members had started collecting around me, so we discussed our set list and took pulls off of a whiskey bottle. Our trumpet played passed around a joint. Someone from inside called out that we needed to set up, so I tried my best to walk straight and help the guys load in. Chad helped also, which was very un-Chad.
Sam, our drummer, started setting up his drums and the rest of the boys plugged in amps and started tuning their horns. At about this time, whoever was running sound informed me that we weren’t going to be able to use the PA or the microphones, because we would probably end up breaking them. I lied to the guy and told him we’d be really careful. “Fuck you, let them use it or they’ll break YOU!”, Chad shouted. The combination of these two points seemed to suffice and we continued setting up.
Before we start playing, one of the things I like to do is hold the microphone and pace back and forth in front of the band like some sort of caged animal about to be let loose. This gives the feeling that something unsettling and explosive might happen at any moment, which was a good thing to indicate, because that was absolutely about to happen. That and the combination of feedback and distorted guitar tuning is classic punk doctrine. Our guitarist gave me the signal that we were ready, so I put the mic to my mouth and shouted, “Let’s fuck this place up! 1-2-3-Go!”
On “Go”, we ripped into a fast pacer and the place ignited. Bodies were flying left and right, up and down. You could feel the wooden pier-and-beam floor buckling and pulsing from the weight and energy of such a mass of human flesh. There was almost no room to breathe, it was so packed. Eventually, the mosh-pit began spilling out into the kitchen, knocking over beer pong tables, drinks, and other party goers. It became such a problem, that the owners of the house slammed the door closed and locked it.
I’m not exactly sure what possessed me to do it, but I started punching, kicking, and pounding on the locked door, and eventually our trumpet player and I busted it open with our shoulders. We had no clue there was a dude on the other side trying to get in, and when the door gave way, it smashed into him and his head got split clean open. There was blood fucking everywhere. Keep in mind, the band is still playing. This is probably 45 seconds into our show. I’m screaming and yelling into the mic the whole time, and not a single person has stopped moving.
I’ve made it a rule to NEVER stop playing no matter what happens. During our second song, a very large, young black man came into the room and started waving his hands to get us to stop playing. This was during a “call and response” part of the song requiring fan interaction, so every time it came to the part where the crowd was supposed to shout, I held the mic in front of his face, knowing damn well he wasn’t trying to participate. Eventually, he got annoyed and tried to grab the microphone from me to explain that the show was over, but we simply wouldn’t stop. He clutched at the mic with both hands and tried to yank it away, but he could only get it as far as his chest, where I still continued singing into it and looking directly at him.
I wasn’t sure at the time who this guy was, but evidently he was friends with the people who ran the house, and at that moment, all his friends burst into the room at the same time to aggressively stop the show. What followed was a full scale riot. There were bottles, blood, and fists flying everywhere. Chad started swinging, but disappeared into a wave of people. Someone wrapped their arms around me from behind, pinning my hands to my side and lifting me up.
I was still “in character” at this point, and began shouting, “Don’t touch me!”, “How dare you?!”, and “You’ll never work in this town again!” One of the homeowners approached me with fresh cocaine hanging from his nostrils. “You’re out of here!”, he shouted. As I was being dragged through the kitchen door and towards the night, I could see my band mates tearing down their gear while trying to fight off marauders and the homeowners alike, while several people in the audience continued to fight.
At one point I was headbutted square in the face by ole coke nose, but was so drunk I began laughing. “If I wanted a kiss, I’d have asked your sister”, I stated bluntly to the him as I began being pushed outside even faster by the large black man and the other people attempting to remove us. He became enraged and punched me in the stomach. I couldn’t stop laughing and the process repeated. Chad grabbed our box of promotional CD’s and began passing them out and advertising a show we were having at Rubber Gloves the next week. On my way out, I saw him slip one in the back pocket of an unconscious man laying face down on the floor. (Full disclosure: I’m pretty sure that guy was unconscious when we got there.)
When we got outside, things went from bad to worse. “Maybe this isn’t our type of crowd. Can we just stay for beers and not play?”, I reasoned. “Get the fuck out of here” was a response I began hearing repeatedly. “Fuck, my clothes are still under the sink”, I thought. There’s a moment in every man’s life when he realizes he’s fucked up somehow and should cut his losses and leave. At the exact second I began even considering that possibility, a television smashed through a window and on the other side of where the glass used to be was Chad. Holding up one of our shirts, he bellowed, “Wee-Beasties t-shirts! $10! No fat chicks!”
I turned toward the unbelievably long and crowded driveway that this house had and noticed one of our guitarists getting into her SUV with a couple other people and band mates. I ran and dove in the back cargo area, hoping to soon hear tires squealing in retreat. It was not to be. After several minutes of wondering why we weren’t moving, I notice that the car was completely surrounded by the large black man, ole coke nose, and their friends. “Perhaps they’ve come to apologize”, I wondered. The back hatch opened, and Chad stepped in to sit beside me, bleeding profusely from the face. He handed me a $20 bill. “I sold two of them, but lost the rest”, he slurred.
I began to hear arguing and yelling coming from the front area of the vehicle. It seemed that one of our friends in the front passenger seat was having words with the large black man. It was getting pretty heated. “Why don’t we just go?”, I asked. “We can’t move,” our guitarist replied, “There’s too many people behind our car.” I could tell this was going nowhere and fast as it seemed there was going to be another brawl in a few seconds. I tried my best to emotionally prepare. Just then, Chad said something that I couldn’t process right off the bat. I mean, I love the guy but he’s such a fucking idiot sometimes.
“It’s not our fault you’re black”, he said casually. There was a brief second of silence while everyone’s jaws dropped. All at once, two windows smashed on the SUV and the interior lights came on. I honestly thought the car was being turned on it’s side for a second. The back hatch opened again and it rained fists for what seemed like an eternity. In a situation like that, you can’t do much but wrap up the best you can and hope you don’t die. I’ve being in a lot of scrapes, but I’ve literally never been punched so many times in my life.
Suddenly, the vehicle revved and squealed, and we flew down the driveway towards the street. There was a guy still holding onto the side of the vehicle and I’m certain we hit at least two cars on the way out. At the street, we stopped and could see what looked like a small army running towards us. I’m certain I saw someone carrying a pitchfork. “Fuck, we’re falling apart fast! We’d better get out of here!”, Chad shouted, not knowing that it was the understatement of the century.
The drive back towards town was silent apart from the wind whistling through the busted windows. No one said a word. It was a sobering moment in my life, and I considered the path I was was on and where it may lead me. “Perhaps, I should go to dental school,” I thought. A face turned towards us from the front seat and, addressing Chad, it asked rhetorically, “It’s not my fault you’re black?”
I never got my clothes back.