An Epic Tale of BK in LA

About six or seven years ago…no, it was even longer than that. Wow. I’m getting old. Okay, about eight or nine years ago, my band played the Troubadour in LA. For those of you who’ve never been, the Troubadour is a great club with an excellent bar/stage/live room and backstage. Playing there is awesome for a lot of reasons, those backstage couches have definitely hosted a blowjob or two for Slash and Axl, for example, but this particular time we were stoked because we’d sold it out. It was one of the first times, if not THE first time that we’d ever sold out a good sized club outside of Chicago. We were pretty excited, to put it mildly.

Well, back in those days I used to do this thing where I just sat at the bar and bullshitted with anyone who wanted to hang out. I would often end up drinking a lot of weird stuff, because my motto if someone wants to buy me a drink is ‘I’ll have whatever you’re drinking’. This would often result in me being pretty wasted, but as a general rule I don’t have too much trouble playing in that state (I know, I know…you were at the Falcon show where I fell into the drums or the NY acoustic show or something. I get it. I’m saying USUALLY things are fine).
Well, this was one of those evenings. I was sitting at the bar drinking all sorts of weird whiskey shots and mixed drinks when suddenly our tour manager approached and said, “hey man. It’s time.” I went backstage, grabbed my shit and got ready to go on stage. I was feeling loose, but not at all wasted and I was anticipating a very fun show.

I walked onto the stage and somehow my bass case had become locked, trapping my bass inside. I went to the merch table and grabbed a screwdriver, walked back to the stage, popped the lock and tuned up the guitar. We started playing just fine. The first song (I still remember this clearly) was Dancin Machine, which sounded great. The second song was On With The Show. I remember the first 8 hits of the bass drum that Neil uses to start out the song and then….

 

…suddenly I was standing backstage and Neil and Chris were yelling at me. Neil was saying something to the effect of “if that’s how seriously you’re gonna take this band, then I don’t wanna be in a band with you” and I said, genuinely panicked, “Dude! Where the fuck are we?” Neil stopped and looked at me with his head cocked the way a dog looks at you when it’s trying to figure out what it has to do to get the rest of your hotdog. He said “what?” I said “uh, we were just on stage. Now we’re here. What the fuck is going on? What the fuck happened?” At this point Neil and Chris both looked at me totally differently than they just had been. They explained to me that I’d been flailing like an asshole, playing the wrong songs, laying face down on the stage, generally making a dick of myself. There was a little bit of anger still in their voices, but the whole scene had changed.

“Dudes. Listen to me. Look at me. Do I look like I’m that fucked up? Do I sound fucked up right now?” They both admitted that no, I did not look or sound fucked up anymore. Whatever had happened was completely gone from my system.

We recounted the evening. Both dudes remembered my popping the lock of my bass case (something that requires a lot of fine motor skill that I wouldn’t be possessing about 3 minutes later) and playing the first two songs normally. So what happened?

Well, the best that we could come up with is that someone put something into one of the drinks I’d gotten at the bar. This marked the last time I ever did the whole thing where I just sit at the bar and accept drinks from strangers. Fat Mike told me once that he never takes a drink from someone unless he sees the bartender hand it to them for this very reason. It’s weird, and I don’t know why anyone would do that to someone, for several reasons. Here they are:

  1. It sucks. Giving people drugs that they don’t know they’re taking is a very, very, very fucked up thing to do. That shit makes people think they’re sick, or going crazy or in some cases, act like an asshole in front of a bunch of people.
  2. It’s a waste of drugs. Why are you giving away your drugs to someone who may not even want them?
  3. In the case of doing it to someone like me, it’s only gonna fuck up your experience. Generally, I know what I’m getting myself into and I know how to put on a show up to the expectations of my fans and how I need to feel to be able to pull it off, but when you start throwing mystery shit into the mix, how am I supposed to compensate appropriately? I can’t.

Now, I know that a lot of people will probably read this

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and say something to the effect of “Drugged, eh? That’s funny. You got too hammered and you’re blaming it on a mystery dose. Way to shirk any responsibility for your own actions, asshole.” To which I say, “yeah, I see where you’re coming from, but keep in mind that I’m acutely aware of how my body reacts to alcohol and I’m pretty in tune with being ‘just a little too drunk to play’ or ‘way too drunk to play’ and also ‘totally ready to play’ and I’m not denying that there have been incidents where I’ve been hammered and the whole thing has been kind of a shitshow, but this particular instance was a different thing. This was a totally different experience. I can’t reiterate enough that I was on stage and then Boom! Next second I was backstage in the middle of being yelled at. It was WEIRD AS SHIT. Even Chris and Neil, who are even less likely than you to give me the benefit of the doubt in a situation like this recognized that whatever happened that night at the Troubadour was something weird, something unlike anything before or since. It wasn’t just a case of too much booze. It was downright bizarre.

Well, those guys went out and got hammered that night and I slept. The next morning I felt good and the next evening in Orange County (at some vastly lamer club in a strip mall) we redeemed ourselves with a face melting set that resulted in us getting sponsored by Seymour Duncan. The reps had been at both shows and apparently loved the unpredictable nature of our band. Ha! What the fuck? The other result was that I was flooded with email about that show. I was terribly embarrassed, obviously, and I was expecting the worst. One girl wrote something about how I really need to pull it together. She said she still had fun at the show, but it seemed like I was kind of a mess. EVERY SINGLE OTHER EMAIL I got was about how it was the ‘awesomest/punkest/most fun/most insanely kick ass etc.’ show they’d ever been to. The next time we played the Troubadour, we sold it out in advance. I talked to my buddy Matt Skiba about the whole thing right after it happened and he said some words that have been true more times than I’d ever thought they would be. He said “Everything you do that you think is embarrassing and shitty, the kids will eat it up. Every time you go out there and do something that’s important to you, that’s really something that you think is special, the kids will be bored.”

Interesting.

 

 

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34 Responses to An Epic Tale of BK in LA

  1. Matt (not skiba) says:

    Is the hidden message of this story that Skiba was spiked the other night at the metro?

  2. Josh says:

    I will never forget that show. I saw you walking around normal before your set, even singing along to wilhelm scream at one point. Then an hour later you were a mess. The best part was that you were able to sing and play bass but not able to do both at the same time. You kept talking in between songs but I don’t think anybody could understand what you were saying. I’ve seen you guys at least 20 times. That definitely wasn’t your best show but it was pretty fun and one of the shows that stands out to me the most.

  3. j says:

    Regardless of whether the kids “eat it up” it’s not fair to the people that pay to see the shows to be like that; you did this longer than seven years ago, he did it last week and blamed it on “nervousness.” Come on. We’re not idiots, you know?

  4. Josef with an F says:

    Special Request: I would love to hear the tantalizing tale of how you and Chris came to be friends/how you started playing music together. Just a thought.. if you’re ever at a loss for things to write about. P.S. — Dildos.

    • Sandro says:

      Somewhere around here there’s a post about how Brendan used to be bullied and then met Chris. I… forget the details, but if you look up “Bully” and read through a ton of articles, you’re bound to find out how they met.

    • sheila says:

      yeah – bully and football

  5. megg says:

    I eat up everything that skiba does as I think he is amazingly talented. I was super stoked to see his first sekrets show which I thought was important to him and as such was very important to me. I was ready to embrace the whole thing but instead was really let down. If he was drugged that’s one thing as I’ve been there myself but that didn’t seem to be the case. I still love skiba and wear my trio tat with pride but as a dedicated fan I can’t help but feel disappointed.

  6. oi cunt says:

    Hey man I’m pretty sure he already talked about that shit on Chris’s bday. and while I kinda agree with j that you’re paying to see a performance, I believe shit like this makes the night seem so less rehearsed and unpredictable. Making it more entertaining than bands that have designated spots to talk to audience and shit. fuck that.

    • oi cunt says:

      …giving drugs to people in general is pretty low.

    • David says:

      i once saw hte lawrence arms twice in three days. they played completely different sets both times. they were supporting frenzal rhomb on a tour through australia. frenzal played hte same set both nights… same jokes in the same places and everything. for a show that is only a few hours train ride and a few days apart that is just poor form. larry arms killed it. frenzal rhomb were crap. end of my sweet story.

      • kanthackit says:

        Frenzy Romb sucks dirty twat juice..

      • EZB says:

        i saw the larry arms do a repeat set 2 nights in a row in new york. granted one was on a boat, but the second show just didn’t live up. frenzal rhomb is the shit and i’d love to see them live

    • Bobby Bigdick says:

      Circle Jerks Gig. All-time favorite live recording. Doesn’t come off as sounding rehearsed and talking and shit is keep to minimum but is well played where it is. “So here we are. We’re the Circle Jerks”.

  7. Sammy says:

    Cool story, but that would have been a fucking scary, Brendan. Glad to hear you boys stuck together in the end.

    oi cunt, I tots agree with you on the drugs are low in general thing.

  8. car painter says:

    Me and some friends were going to a party, the guy who was driving i didnt know very well. He asked us if we wanted valium, me and my two buddies said yea. Well he gave us viagra. Worst night of my life

  9. KKKanada's Most Wanted says:

    I take drugs at work all the time, but it’s cool. That school bus isn’t gonna drive itself, ya know?

  10. MattRamone says:

    This is karma for him wearing that stupid fucking racist Brooklyn hipster headdress and just generally dressing like Johnny Depp in the Lone Ranger. There is no excuse for that.

    • wingdangdingalingdownyathroat says:

      You’re a cunt and everything you say just further goes to prove this. Now go bitch about madball over at punknews.

  11. thedollardrafts says:

    Based on the comments on the skiba show I dont think the kids were “bored” and it didnt seem all that “important” to him given he himself said he was the one not prepared. Fucked up or not you gotta know the material. BK always impresses me in that regard.

  12. Herman says:

    Seeing Fat Mike get so tanked on Valium and martinis in Worcester in ’06 was one of the best live experiences ever. Smelly eventually pantsed him, Limo took his bass away from him, and he started throwing punches at the rest of the crew as they tried to haul him through the stage door. At least they played the Decline flawlessly before he got so wasted that he faceplanted into the barricade. To make it even better, that was the first time I was exposed to the Lawrence Arms, and they killed it.

    • JB says:

      Dude no one took his bass away from him. He randomly threw the fucking thing in the air, the most surprising thing being that it was actually caught. That was one of the strangest sets I’ve ever seen in my life.

  13. Joe says:

    I saw you guys in London back in the day just supporting some other band and Chris (from what I remember) was going on about tripping balls on something some kid had given him in the toilets…

  14. acorn says:

    Saw Ben from Lucero get super fucking wasted and the rest of the band apologized and walked off stage while Ben continued to mumble and try and play guitar. Highly entertaing. Saw them a few months later and they killed it.

  15. Anonymous says:

    oh yes! BK falling into the drums at the SubT was just the funniest thing I’ve ever witnessed. Two months later, TLA played New Year’s Eve and Brendan blamed everyone who saw the drum fall for preventing him from drinking as much as he’d like since he (and his wife) thought he owed us something. Both shows were equally fantastic.

    • kevin says:

      haha i saw that ‘brendan fail’ on the tube for the first time just now. classic. MOTHER OF GOD!! i just read samiam put out some new shit too. love you internet.

  16. Penny says:

    Whilst were on the subject of performances, how is Scrubs STILL on primetime tv? That shit is the worst.

  17. Sam Marsh says:

    Please remember, some of your biggest fans aren’t kids anymore either. So please keep up the stuff that’s important to u. Side note, why did release date change on amazon for split ep with dan?

  18. Buddy C says:

    Between the secret TLA show at SubT and the Cornish Gay Men show at Ronnie’s, I have never had so much fun at a show!

  19. Your mom says:

    Brendan at the mercury lounge was amazing, and the most entertaining thing I’ve ever seen.
    I’m just concerned that matt may be drugging himself. It seems like he’s been on a steady decline lately. I can’t help but wonder if the pain meds from the truck running over his foot are at the root of this. I’ve heard rumors of him moving on to dope. Plus his ex GF stated she was “forced to break up with him”

    I hope skeebs gets his shit together. He seems like a decent dude

  20. Timo says:

    Same thing happened to me about 10 years ago @ a Dropkick Murphys show in a now gone club called the Galaxy in St Louis. I was drinking at the bar which was crowded as shit and my 2nd beer in I noticed I was drinking a high life and not a bud light. I had 1 more beer after that one (which I finished anyway) and then came the bagpipes at the beginning of the show. That is all I remember from the night and I drove back to the burbs from the city. Lots of pretty girls around so I think the “mystery champaign o beer” was not intended for me so hopefully I stopped woman from being raped…

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