I rocked with a Zombie

April 6, 2007 at 11:42 am (The Easy Chair, Waxing Nostalgic)

The golden finger struck again. Thanks to a working redial button, and a slow spot between customers, I had just enough time to be caller ten on KUFO for what must be the hundredth time. The boo-tay this time? Tickets to see Rob Zombie and Anthrax at the Salem Armory!

Whenever I start feeling old, or think going to shows isn’t worth it anymore, some band comes along and throws such a rocking good show that I get hooked back in again. This was one of those shows.

As mentioned, it was in Salem. Why in the hell would he insist on playing there? Pyro laws? It’s a good hour drive, longer on a Friday at rush hour. What would I do?

I dispensed immediate e-mails to my guy friends with cars, those who would be up for such nonsense. At 4:53 AM, my friend Alx responded with a ‘Hell yeah!” Deal! I had a ride.

I offered to take my X-GF, as a token gesture. When she responded, “Not my scene; you go have fun,” (My boss inquired, “Did she even pretend to be interested?”) I was off the hook. This would be way too loud, smoky and crazy. So it was boys night out.

Thanks to a toothache, I had a handful of vicodin left. They are way easier to party on than booze. No pesky peeing every fifteen minutes, no $5 beers to bitch about. Just a warm glow that kept my feet from hurting, should I have to stand.

We arrived just as Anthrax was finishing. As the crowd pushed and shoved towards the smoking and bathroom areas, we skulked in and found two seats next to the soundboard, just above the crowd and level with the stage. Perfect. Alx was impressed with my sleight of hand; a flick of the Bic, and a few seconds later a whiff of something sweet, green and skunky. “Wow, you’re a pro!” he exclaimed. I offered to share, but he declined until later. (He’d just began driving 2 months previous, and we’d almost ran a red light on one of the busier streets in Salem, so waiting was a good thing…) I got silly, and the pills were kicking in full throttle.

The Salem Armory is an old building. (The last time I was there? A Jehovah’s Witness convention in about 1965. My uncle had died, so we left early.) This would be the anti-thesis of that. It has an open floor, with a stadium riser against the back wall. Pictures of Frankenstein and the Wolfman adorned each edge of the stage. A throng of shirtless types, (boys and girls) thrashed about in front of the stage. When the lights went down, it looked like an anthill with pepper poured on top. Alx nudged me and said, “No way in hell I’m going down there!”

As smoke billowed out, a heavier version of the theme to the movie Halloween played. Flags, skulls and these weird shaped things were strewn about. The weird shaped things would become many different images as the night progressed. (Oh, for a hit of acid right now…)

The band blasted to life; drums, bass, electric guitar, and Mister Zombie. They came out in skeleton outfits, and the first song was American Witch. It thumped and bumped and got everyone going. (“I can’t stop my leg!!”) After Devil Man, he stopped long enough to address the crowd, in his best carnival-barker snake-oil salesman persona: “This is no lie- as I was looking at the itinerary, I saw we were coming here, and I said, ‘That’s it, cancel the rest of the shows. This tour ends in Salem!’ You motherfuckers have always come out for me, so we’re ending the tour tonight. You folks is craaazy!”

The appropriateness of the American Witch tour playing in Salem had not gone unnoticed by yours truly.

He played all the big radio hits, More Human Than Human, Thunderkiss ’65, Living Dead Girl. Exceptional covers of Enter Sandman and Sweet Dreams (are made of this). There was lots of banter between the members of the band, and they seemed to be having a ball.

Those who know me know I am a big fan of Mister Zombie’s movies, House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects. He played the themes to both movies, with a film montage of the movies’ more intense visual moments. The fourteen-year- olds sitting in front of us, so tough and posturing during the first few songs, were looking a bit green around the gills. If there was a downside, it was that there was no sighting of Mrs Zombie, aka Sheri Moon, aka Baby Firefly.

The big finish? A song I’d not heard before, The Lords of Salem. (Confession- I thought he was singing Lords of Satan until I got home and looked on the ‘net…) It was loud, grinding, full of smoke and screeching guitar solos, and the band ended by throwing water on the crowd and promising to return next time.

Next on the list for Mister Zombie? A remake of the Halloween movie, a cartoon coming out, and the touring resumes.

For me? I’m waiting for Tool to come back to town, so I can once again break out the magic dialing finger. In the meantime, I’ll be down at the newsstand, perfecting my Captain Spaulding impersonation and scaring small children…

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