we have a date with the underground, chapter 15
by Turtle Jones
Smokey and dirty. We were at one of the last places in California that would let you smoke while you drank in a bar. Inside of the bar. Blanketed in smoke and the stench of beer. The smell. It's something that you will never forget. Dive bars and clubs were my life back then. I got used to the noise and the smell. Sure, it was illegal to smoke in bars, but the owner was making a stand. Standing up for her rights to let her patrons smoke in his bar and to a smaller extent, sell cocaine in the bathroom. I think that's in the California Constitution somewhere. The right to smoke in bars and do cocaine in the bathroom. I don't question these type of things. I just light a smoke, do a line, gasp back from my throat clenching and take a shot. Then move on. California rules.
Before I start this story, I do want to let any of you gentler readers know that this was near the end of my drug using and drinking days. So this might get a little graphic. But, I think pretty much all of you guys know what I do now with recovering addicts. This story in no way represents anything I would endorse any of you to do. Just realize that this was the end of my using career. It's just a story from my past.
Sorry. Had to say that. Some AA disclaimer or something like that. I don't know.
Back to the story.
Sitting in a bar with a few people in California. Doing shots of vodka and lines of cocaine. Well, I can't really say I was doing lines of coke. I got tired of snorting that shit. That was too much trouble. I didn't want to break this out on the table. I just started swallowing the little twenty bags of plastic. Shooting them back with a shot of Jagermeister and just waiting for it all to kick in at once. It took a few minutes for it to soak into my system. Wow. It hit. Alcohol and cocaine besides whatever else was running around in my system from the night before. Wow. That hit. Why did I swallow it? If I had to go out to someones car everytime I wanted to get high, I would've looked like some whore. "Do you wanna go out to your car? No? What about you? No? What about you? Yes? Let's go!" So you can see I needed another method to get high. So I just ate the packets. Shot them back like aspirin. I had just finished a few shots of vodka and a few twenties of coke when my friend came up and asked me something crazy. Something that was, well, pretty unbelievable. Something that would haunt my mind for the next three months.
Hey Turtle. Turbonegero is getting back for one show. One show only. They are getting back together. Quart Festival. You wanna go?" You have to remember Turbonegro broke up years before. This was a band that was gone for awhile and influenced most bands around after they had left. They suddenly disappeared. They got big when they were gone. We had missed something big. We had to go. We had to see them. Make up for us just finding the album two years after they had broken off and traveled to their regions of Norway to never talk to each other again. But something changed. They were back! One night. Let's go.
Well fuck yeah. Let's get in the car!
"No. Turtle. This is in Norway. Three months from now. Still wanna go?"
Well of course I said "yes" at the time. I was wasted. I think everyone at the bar said "yes" at the time. A few days later I rememebered hearing what my friend said and looking up what Quart was. Where it was at. The plane fare. Hotel fare. Just staring at the computer. Fuck. This is going to kill me. But, I did it. I saved up three months to get there. Just to see Turbonegro.
We are going to Norway!
The Quart Festival is a yearly rock/pop/rap festival that takes place in Kristiansand, Norway in the beginning of July. It's a pretty cool place. The town that is. I had never been there, so I didn't know what I was getting into.I don't think I was ever there. I was still trying to get out of America. Find the passport. The fuck I leave that thing. Damn. Found it. Let's go. SFO. 23 Hour flight. Well fuck that. I hate flying to Europe. If you have ever done it, you will grow to hate that damn little plane that shows you where you are on the monitors. It's so disheartening to look at that screen after you wake up to see you haven't even gotten over New York. Well crap. I've done this before.I'm gonna be nice and numb for this whole trip. I don't want to be awake.
We were in the international area of the airport. Yes, there are two areas and many different bars in this airport. Domestic bars and international bars. We drank in the international area. Cause we kinda had too. Couldn't get out without being seached again and I already felt lucky one time for getting in with a lighter in my pocket, so I didn't want to take a chance getting it pulled a second time. So we are staying here. This is the bar we stay at. We drink here. These are our friends now. I like them. Tequila was passed around. Norwegians were drinking with us because they loved the fact we were going to see the Fnords. Well, technically yeah, we were going to see the Fnords. That's if you call the Fnords mass amounts of carnage and beer. Then yeah. We are going to see the Fnords.
Pills were passed around. Valium. Take as many as you want. Get numb. Try to pass out. Lets just sleep thru this whole flight. Get really drunk and get really numb. I can take a few more. Keep passing them out. I can still think. I need one more. One more shot. Ok. I can't think. I'm ready. We stopped by the duty free shop, stumbling and laughing. I bought two handles of Aboslute vodka and two cartons of cigarettes. Hey man, I don't know what the fuck it's going to be like over there. Got to be prepared. Well, maybe I had been there. I think I might have been to Norway before. Maybe. I don't know. Was I? I knew what Kroners were so maybe I had been. Maybe?
Drugs. Kids, don't do drugs. Just say "no".
They stored the booze in the luggage area, which I hate, but they did it. Hid in the back. Well, I guess in theory, I could've shoved a rag in the bottles and blew the plane up. Light it on fire and made some kind of weird statement about not enough good lesbian porn on the web. Or, I could of just drank it. Hell, I don't know. All I knew is we had 23 hours to hit the ground somewhere in Germany before flipping to a smaller plane to get to Norway. The pills were kicking in bad and I needed to crash. Also, I needed a cigarette bad. Really bad. You can't take a chain smoker and put a nicotine patch on his arm and expect him not to still feel pain. Fuck! 22 hours and 23 minutes left! Fuck. Pass out time. Try to sleep. Just sleep. Close your eyes, tell the stewardess not to touch you and just sleep.
I woke up an hour later. Jacked out on detox booze. You all know what I am talking about. When you drink all night, you can't sleep. You sleep for 45 minutes then your skin crawls and you have now walked into the Land of the Living. Not being able to close my eyes. Valium wearing off. Well shit. This is not going to work. Looking around for something to settle my nerves. Nothing. Crap. Ok. I just have to take this. Let my body go thru it. Out of drugs and booze. Nicotine detox. Jesus, I hated flying to Europe. There's not a whole lot left in this part of the story except for me detoxing off of valium, alcohol and nicotine at the same time. Just having to sit and take it. I wasn't a happy camper. So we can move on with the story.
We landed in Germany. All of us just dying for cigarettes and booze. Running for the first bar we could find in the airport. Slamming back drinks. Pushing poor Germans out of the way. They hadn't seen the likes of these types of Americans since we blew the fuck out of Berlin in WWII. Don't tell me you like me. Don't lie to me Gunter. I know damn well you hate me for beind an American. Just give me a drink and get the rest of the crew drunk and I won't make fun of you for losing World Wars.
Now is another part of the story where I have to tell you that I don't hate anyone. But someone yelling at me that I'm a stupid Englishman while I yelled back that I wasn't fucking an Englishman, you dumb son of a bitch, I'm a fucking American and them still yelling it at me?
That kinda bugged me.
But, the German part is later in the story
We jumped on a plane. A little pond skipper that got us to Norway. For some reason we were on the band plane. All of these bands and members and crew. They all looked like us. All beat up. Wondering why we were there. Why did I pay so much for this? My brain can't think and I'm halfway around the world. Why? I'm not going to lie and say we played this festival. We didn't. We just flew there to see Turbonegero. That was it. If you were playing, good for you. I was just waiting for the last day. When Turbo plays. Quart is a five day festival that starts at about four in the afternoon and goes till about one in the morning. After that, the park closes and the bars open. All of the DJ's drag people in and the party keeps going. Something you all should see.
We landed in Norway. That was a long flight. Where is the bar. No bar. Well fuck. Dig out the vodka and lets pass it around. Half a handle was finished before we walked outside. Walking outside of a small airport in Norway we were confronted by a ton of limos. Well hell. We still need to get where we need to go. Why don't we just get a taxi? These were the taxis for this airport. Kinda like Hawaiian taxis except without the screwed down ashtrays and Don Ho blasting thru the speakers. Grab one. Grab a limo. Lets go. Show the driver the name of the hotel. This is where we are going. This is our hotel. You need to get us there.
The driver looked at us in shock, read the name of the hotel again and then slowed the car down. Looked us over and asked us why we were going there. "Um, cause we are?" He kinda shurgged and kept driving. Really, I was so wasted at the time, I was in no condition to ask or answer questions. Everytime you go to Europe from the West Coast, it is a drag. I mean it hurts. Like really. You guys from the East Coast have it easy. That extra eight hours flight time really takes a toll. Plus the East Cost layover. You feel like you want to sleep till the end of time. But you have to keep going.
We got to the hotel and paid of the driver. He asked us if we were sure this was the place we want to be. I don't give a fuck. This is the name on my iteneray. So, I guess this is it. Thanks, dude. I'm going to sleep. Checking in at about one in the morning. Sun still shining down on us. Fuck man, does the sun ever set here? I see children running around. It's like one in the morning. Not my time. Their time. Wondering why there are kids still up. Pirates running around. Why pirates? What the hell is going on? Getting our key and a shot of vodka. Two big bottles of "orange drink" and gathering our stuff. More kids. The fuck is with all these kids?
Fuck it. Lets just go to bed.
The next morning we woke up.
It was show time.
But where were we at? What kind of hotel was this?
This show hadn't even begun yet.
The pirates were coming.
They were coming for us.
Captain Sabertooth was right outside our door.
And it was only Monday.
We were running low on vodka. We had to face the pirates. They were out there. The kids. The pirates. The vodka.
But, that's a story for another day.
QOTSA - Feel Good Hit of the Summer
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