Friday, May 28, 2004

The Mysterious Tony Scum 

I mentioned in my previous post about how much of a great time we had in Portugal last week. Our friends Vasco, Romina and Xico (aka Sicko) really went to incredible lengths to show us a great time.

Perhaps the greatest thing that happened to us was meeting the Portuguese Man of Mystery, Tony Scum. You see, it all started very late one night. Vasco showed up at our hotel with Romina at around 11PM. Mara and I were already REALLY loaded at that point. Vasco told us we were heading to the town of Elvas. This really meant nothing to me, as all I knew was that this town was near the Spanish border. In reality, I actually had no idea how close or far the border was. All I knew was that we were going to some bars and to check out this town. It sounded good to us!

After about an hour drive through some really cool back roads, we were clearly on the outskirts of town. There had been a big thunderstorm earlier in the day, and a thick fog hovered just a couple of feet off the ground. We bumped and lurched down this really dark, dirt path alongside of this long, low apartment building. Suddenly, out of the dark mist, stepped a dark figure. He placed himself directly in front of the car. Vasco was forced to slam on his brakes. Before I could even react, the back door opened, and the figure forced himself next to Mara in the back seat of Vasco's Volkswagen. Vasco turned around and said "Duke, this is Tony Scum". After exchanging brief (very brief) greetings with me, he promptly turned to Mara and gave her two kisses on each cheek.

I was pretty drunk at this point, only getting drunker, so my memory is hazy from here on. I do remember Tony Scum telling me that the apartment complex next to which we were parked had been the scene of a huge scandal. Apparently some apartments had been rented by some Catholic priests and politicians. They used these apartments to molest children. We all were disgusted by this, and happy they had been busted. Tony Scum especially had a disturbingly murderous glint in his eyes as he told me the story.

We drank in the car for a bit, and then Tony Scum declared he wanted to drink more. We stumbled down the road to a bar. The place was packed. As we walked into the crowded, sweaty, patio area, the crowd parted like the proverbial Red Sea with Tony Scum walking in front of us. There were no tables available, but when Tony Scum approached a table with two empty chairs, the four girls sitting there quickly stood. With fearful glances over their shoulders, they backed off and decided standing against the wall was a more comfortable place to drink.

Some of Vasco's and Tony Scum's friends came up, with some trepidation I must add. Introductions went around the table, and a couple of them offered to go buy a round of booze. We dutifully supplied some cash, and they disappeared. After about 5 minutes Tony Scum got impatient. He abruptly stood and wandered off. Less than a minute later he returned with a nervous waitress in tow with our round of drinks. We had a couple of rounds while chatting about various subjects. Suddenly, Tony Scum declared he wanted to leave. Therefore, we left and stumbled down the street. By this time it was around 2 AM.

After a rambling walk onto ancient city walls (Elvas was a stronghold against the Romans, Spanish, Moors (Muslims) and pretty much everyone else for 2 thousand years) we stopped to take a break on this tower on a very high rampart. Suddenly, Tony Scum turned to me, and reached into his shirt. I recoiled, not sure what this man that everyone else was so afraid of had in store for me. He pulled out a CD and said "This is for you". I held the disc up to a far-away street light, trying to read what the cover said. The text consisted of 2 words; "TONY SCUM". I thanked him profusely. He then said, "Now we go to other bar".

That is exactly what we did. The scene at the first bar was repeated here. All of us desperately waiting for drinks until Tony Scum intervened and took care of business.
Eventually it was getting past 3 AM and we were all feeling it, except for Tony Scum for some reason. In any event, we managed to make it back to Vasco's car. As we all piled in, Tony Scum did as well. We took off down the same back roads. Vasco and Tony Scum spoke to eachother in Portuguese. I don't claim to speak Portuguese, because I don't speak it. I can only understand bits and pieces. But with my knowledge of Spanish, and my very limited knowledge of Portuguese, I knew they were speaking of a place to drop off Tony Scum. "That's weird" I thought to myself. "We are in the middle of nowhere, and Vasco must know where Tony Scum lives".

Suddenly, Tony Scum began yelling "Aqui, aqui, aqui!". Vasco lurched to a halt, and with barely a goodbye, Tony Scum hurled open the back door, and raced across the road and ran into this field of long grass into the pitch black.

I asked Vasco, "What was up with that?" He replied, "I do not know where Tony Scum lives. No one knows. Whenever I give him a ride it is just like this. He suddenly yell Here! Then he runs across the road into the night."

I had to inquire further. Vasco told me that Tony Scum only states he has a place out in the country, but no one has ever been there. "No one?!?" I screeched?

Finally, Vasco told me that there was ONE person who has claimed to have been to his home, and they even took pictures from a digital camera while Tony Scum was distracted. But after he said this, Vasco muttered something in Portuguese. I'm pretty sure he mentioned something about the Moors, murder, and the "Comandante do knight da ordem militar de Diabo". At least that's what I thought he said. Remember I really do not know Portuguese. However, that phrase roughly translated means "Knight Commander of the Military Order of the Devil".

Now my curiosity was really piqued, however I could tell Vasco was uncomfortable talking about it further.

Now that I have returned, via e-mail, I have begged Vasco for these copies of the photos of Tony Scum's home. They are disturbing for sure. However I think it is clear as to why Tony Scum commands so much respect from those in Portugal. They also explain why there does not seem to be as big a problem with Islamic terrorists in Portugal, and why the Catholic priest pedophile scandal is much less prevalent in Portugal. You see, those types of people mysteriously disappear in alarming numbers in that country, never to be heard from again. After seeing Tony Scum's home, it's obvious why.

Duke, TONY SCUM, and Vasco. Notice how Tony Scum looks to the sky with the Devil Sign. I have 3 picutres taken at 3 different times that night. In EVERY picture, Tony Scum holds the same pose.

Unfinished wall in Tony Scum's house. Just a few more pedophile priests, and/or Islamic terrorists will finish the wall!

The latest victim. Is it a pedophile, or a terrorist? Or both? Only Tony Scum knows. Note the Upsidedown cross. It MUST be Tony Scum's home.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The Portuguese are fucking cool 

Well we're finally back. Of course it would not be a Tunnel Rats adventure without it's share of mishaps and just plain old shit occurring in an effort to make me blow my top.

It all started Friday night at Logan airport. Mara and I were in the check-in line for American Airlines. As we wait in line, out of sheer boredom, I'm thumbing through my passport, still pissed at the Latvian guy who stamped my page with a dry stamp, so there's no proof I was ever there. I flip back to the front page and notice my passport expires in 2 years. I casually ask Mara when her's expires. She looks, and then says "Shit. It expired last month".
This revelation set off a series of events that are too painful to describe.
Actually, fuck it. The lady at the American counter desperately tries to get in touch with Customs to see if we can get a last minute re-newal before they close for the weekend. After about 30 minutes on the phone we realize it's impossible. So we're sent to the American Eagle Changed Ticket desk. That is where we encounter the most vile, fat ugly, middle-aged CUNT I have ever run afoul of. I could take up pages trying to describe all the details, but it's boring. In a nutshell, this woman grabbed Mara's passport, looked at the last name and canceled Mara's sister's flight to London. Not once did she ask us a question, or even tell us what she was doing, until it was already done. When she did finally say something, I politely told her that was the wrong person. She flipped out. Yelling at us for like 15 minutes while she tried to undo what she had done. Even having the nerve to yell "Why the fuck didn't you tell me there was someone with the same name on your flight?"
Well Duh you stupid cunt, you didn't tell us you were canceling a flight! Actually, that is not what I said. I figured we were at her mercy if we wanted to get our flight re-scheduled, and there were 2 State Troopers about 40 feet away. But after 15 minutes of her shit I was pretty damn close to dragging her over the counter and just kicking the living shit out of her. Normally I would never hit a woman, but this troll didn't qualify as a woman in my book. She probably had about 100 pounds on me, and she was so hideous and bitchy I don't think even the horniest bull dyke would stoop so low to touch this low-life. In all honesty, I have never been treated so rudely in a customer service situation where physical violence seemed to be the only way to shut the cunt up. I was literally trembling with rage when she sent us to another desk, because she was unable to fix her screw up.
That's when a GREAT employee of American noticed me in this huge line, and he could sense my anger, and he actually came up and asked me if I needed help. He took me right to the front of the line, fixed our problem right away, and got us booked on Monday night's flight so we could have time to get the passport fixed. I went from such polar opposites of people that I was stunned into silence. Of course as all this was going on we got a call from B-Face and Anda, who were on their way to airport for the same flight. They called to say Anda's passport had also expired.
Finally on Monday, we left. We arrived on Tuesday morning in Lisbon. Of course that is when the next bad thing happened. We had just left this cool castle we were touring in Tomar. Me and B-face get back to our rented car first. He gets in the back seat and says "Where's my backpack?". That's when I noticed the doors are unlocked. I could swear I had locked the doors when we got out. I remembered doing so, but here they were unlocked. B-Face's backpack is definitely gone though. I'm pissed at myself, thinking I had somehow fucked up and left the car unlocked. That is until I notice the lock on my driver's door had been totally shimmied and broken. Some mother-fucker had broken into the car. They got a bunch of our clothes, B-faces back-pack, his wallet, some cash and some gifts for the people we were meeting over there mainly our friend Vasco (Savage City Outlaws and Iron Mustache) and also Vasco's phone number was gone.
Needless to say, we had a bunch of shit to deal with from that, but it worked out alright. We still had our passports. However, what sucked is that Vasco and Sicko of the Savage City Outlaws were waiting for us back in Lisbon! I had no way to call them. I had no clue what his number was.
A day later I was finally able to get back in touch with Vasco by calling the US and giving my e-mail password to Bernie so he could find the e-mail. Unfortunately Vasco had waited for us for two days with his bandmates. They had a bunch of recording equipment as we were going to have an impromptu recording session, with video and everything. It would have been the meeting of two great groups of minds. And it never happened because of some douchebag in Tomar who broke into our car. In any event, that very cool thing that Vasco and Sicko did for us shows how cool the Portuguese are.
Even after all this had happened with the plans Vasco had made for us, we still hung out with him and his girlfriend Romina 3 times during our trip. He brought us to Elvas for a night where we got to hang out with some his bandmates, and the Portuguese Man-of-Mystery TONY SCUM (who will get a blog post of his own soon). He offered to bring us to his family home and to see his Uncle's horses (we weren't able to go) and he brought his 91 year old grandmother to dinner with us. His grandmother was great, and B-Face promised to cut his hair for her, but only if Vasco did the same. So I don't think it's happening anytime soon.
Even though I started this entry with a rant, I can't say enough great things about Vasco, Sicko and Romina. They did everything they could to show us the best time possible in their country. It is amazing to travel that far to have people you have never even met try so hard for you. All of Vasco's friends we met were the same way. I know in some parts of Europe being an American may not be such a good thing, but the Portuguese showed themselves to be the best. I can't wait to go back next year. And believe me, I'm putting all the pressure I can to get the Savage City Outlaws over here to the US so I can repay the hospitality they showed us.

Me, and our friends in Elvas. I don't remember all their names. To my LEFT is the Mighty TONY SCUM! This man will be a star someday. Behind Tony is our good friend Vasco, who was such a great host for us. Then there is Vasco's girlfriend Romina, who was also an incredible hostess.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Hittin' the Road 

Well unless I end up with web access, this will be the last post for a couple of weeks. We're heading off to Portugal today. Looking forward to everything but the flights. What a fucking nightmare. We have to change planes at Heathrow, and anyone who's had to do that before knows of what I speak.

We spent this past weekend hosting the guys from Drag the River.

Besides being an excellent band, they are all high class guys. They are welcome back at the Crevanator Compound anytime. They still have a bunch of their tour left, so those of you in the South and the Midwest should go out of your way to try and check them out.

Speaking of shows, we played with Drag the River this past Monday night. It was a helluva time. We did not play our best set that night. In fact, we were pretty bad. Hell, sometimes that shit happens. We'll be playing the Abbey Lounge again by this fall at the latest, so we'll it make it up to everyone then.

Also on the bill were our good friends The Guts . Although their drummer Rick was the only one who had the courage to hang at the Compound with Drag the River over the weekend. Geoff Useless barely survived the Thanksgiving bash last year. He hasn't been back since. Very strange.

Also on the bill were Boston's the Dents.

I saw them twice over this past weekend, and if you get a chance to see 'em, take advantage of it. You will not be disappointed. They play some serious rock-n-roll. They are in the semi-finals of Boston's battle of the bands, and if they don't win, it's a travesty.

In addition, we made some new friends at this show, as the Vapids from Canada were last second add-ons to the bill. Really cool guys from Hamilton, Ontario. The drank like fish, said "Eh" a lot, had a good ense of humor about being made fun of for being Canadien, and played some really good shit. They've been around for 10 years but I had never heard or seen them before. I'm glad I did. At some point we'll be making a trip up there to play Toronto with them.

Lastly, the bad news. The Crevanatormobile did not pass inspection. I knew one of my rear wheel bearings was going, but I was hoping they wouldn't notice. I just wanted the sticker so I could drive for a bit before I replaced it. There was something worse though. The bolts that hold in the cross bar that attaches both sides of the frame, and supports the Transmission mounts, are fucked. They are literally cracked from the torque the engine places on it when I wind the engine up to about 5 or 6 grand. That, of course, explains why my front suspension was so squirrelly when I drove it last week. I thought one of my ball joints was bad and I needed an alignment. But no, the front suspension is incredibly loose, as it also partly depends on that cross bar. I have a buddy with a speed shop in Dover though. I'll be bringing it to him in a couple of weeks. I don't have the tools or the space to drill out those bolts and replace them. Then, all will be right with the world.

Oh, and before I forget, here's the last pic of Otis y'all will see for a bit. He's hanging' tough! (As Joe King used to be wont to say.)


Friday, May 07, 2004

Otis, as tough as his namesake (OTIS SISTRUNK!) 

Well it's been a real busy couple of weeks up here in these parts. Between work, getting the garden going, trying to write songs for our record, practicing for shows, and getting ready to leave for Portugal next week I've had almost barely enough to keep up my drinking. However, have no fear faithful readers, that is one thing I will always find time for.

I am not the only to have had a tough couple of weeks. We've had huge temperature swings, with one day being 80, followed by 2 nights in a row of 32 degrees. It's been hard on poor Otis. I watched the weather faithfully, and if it was going to be a cold night, I would rush out and place him underneath a cut-off milk jug to try and keep him warm. I avoided overwatering to protect his roots in case of freeze. You name it, I tried it. Even up to a couple of days ago, I thought he was a goner for sure. Here he is:

As you can see I had to trim off the parts of him that died, but he has since sprouted 2 new leaves! He's gonna pull through this, I can feel it. And he'll be all the tougher for having survived, I think. I've also added a new page where I'll place all of the Otis pics over time, so you won't have to go through the archives to see the series.
OTIS Archives

And since we're speaking of things coming back to life, yes it's true the CREVANATORMOBILE is back on the streets! The salt has been washed away from the roads! The weather is warm! It's time to instill fear back into the hearts of old people and little children as I race around the backroads with my 400 horsepower of pure hatred.

Well I gotta run for now. I need to take the Crevanatormobile down to the station to get inspected.
BTW, We are playing the Abbey Lounge this MONDAY! It's in Cambridge, MA. A great lineup too. Us, the Guts (NH), the Vapids (Canada) and our good friend JJ Nobody's new band Drag the River (Colorado). See you there!