Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Crazy Tour Story Part Two | Bullet Holes In The Lobby

Croatian Rock and Roll Show
This is part two of my Rock and Roll in Croatia tour entry. We had the opportunity to perform in some rather remote regions of Yugoslavia.  Most times, the shows were just like any other, but this one had a feel that I will never forget. 

The club was now full, and upon the first notes of our opening song, the room turned into a violent, swirling mosh pit which immediately drove some of the wiser and more fashionably dressed people out onto the gravel pavement surrounding the cafeteria.  The majority of the men in the mosh pit were clad in worn out military fatigues. This hunter green melee forced many to watch our band through a single grimy window. An ice storm had started outside, and for some reason my mind focused on the sharp crystal pellets bouncing off the heads of the people that gathered close to the window.   As we ticked off the songs in our set, many of the men seemed to lose control.  Empty bottles started to fly from the crowd, creating brown and green fireworks of glass that drove even more people out onto the gravel.  Two security guards stationed on each side of the stage were throwing men back into crowd, but noticeably losing control of the situation.  Our bass player was kicking people back into the crowd, men were crashing into the drums, and broken glass was flying like shrapnel.  We had to cut  out songs from our list and end this night before something very bad went down. 

As I clicked off the four-count start to our last song, everything went black.  A man had lassoed my head and arms with his jacket. He had thrown off most of his clothes and tossed them in the air, and I just happened to be in the line of fire. For just a second or two, I lost it. In that short burst of anger, I yanked the jacket from my head, and stood up from behind my kit.  Standing on the stage in front of me was a drunken soldier, stripped down to his underwear and one shoe.  The entire club broke out in laughter.  My rage diminished instantly, and we went on with our last song. It was fitting that the night ended with a bit of slapstick comedy.

We packed up our gear and headed to the hotel.The only hotel in the village had no power, but they managed to show us to our rooms with flash lights.  The hotel manager confiscated our passports, and left us alone in the pre-dawn darkness.   

Our tour driver shared the hotel room with me.  He pulled out a flashlight, cleaned the blood from his mouth, and nursed a sore shoulder.  He had his own battle off-stage that night, having been head-butted by a man who tried to steal an empty CD case.  The fight lasted only seconds, but the damage was apparent.  He muttered something about his jacket being torn and didn’t bother undressing.  He collapsed on his bed and we tried our best to get some sleep.

At first light, I found that we were staying in a brown painted room with brown carpet, brown blankets, and brown furniture. The morning was cold, grey, and it was time to get rolling to the next town. We got our passports back from the hotel manger, ordered some coffee, and waited in the lobby for the rest of the band. I happened to look up at the ceiling.  Directly above me were 23 perfect little black holes. I pointed to the holes just as our hairy legged waitress came back with our coffees.   "Bullet Holes. Someone got a little excited." she said to me, as she put her hand into the shape of a gun.

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