Hot Poop on Tour: A Chronicle

"I played in a death metal band. People either loved us or hated us, or they thought we were okay."--Mitch Hedberg

Hi, everybody...Sweet Ronnie Coz here, ready to tell you all about the wonderful tour we just finished. However, I shan't be discussing this in the form of a Zine Tour Diary. The dullest writing ever committed to zinedom has surely gotta be the proverbial Tour Diary. I'd rather read the Poughkeepsie White Pages from cover to cover than to ever have to read installments like these:

"Day 9. Gainesville, FL. We got into town and showed up at the Shattercore House, where Jim of the Turnpike Sexslaves made this rad vegan chicken cacciatore. Donnie Ballsac showed up and we watched these killer kungfu movies until we played the show. Donnie's so cool. The space we played used to be an abandoned pickle factory. Isn't that crazy? Then Janarchy gave Bill Drillbitch an atomic wedgie, followed by all the guys from Mascara Club dogpiling our bass player until he urinated his cutoff camo shorts. It's so cool meeting these people who don't think and act like people in our hometown."

Lather. Rinse. Repeat ad nauseum until said tour is over.

The moments themselves that comprise a tour, while great fun when you're in the midst of it, don't really translate into exciting writing. Not only that, but nobody ever talks about the really important things that go on when you tour.

For example, we all know that touring, unless you work hard and transcend our crappy little circuit, lacks the creature comforts of home. All bands have stories of going on tour and sleeping on couches. That's fine. But what you who don't get to tour don't realize is the dirty little secret of touring, and it's this:


Shitting, after a few days on the road, really starts to enter the forefront of your mind. Couch space, floorspace, a hammock, the kitchen counter, the backseat of the van, the backyard next to the anthills--that's fine for sleeping, but what's up with the bathroom? Is there toilet paper? Does the toilet even work? Do your bowels even work? Are your bowels working a little too much?

Shit happens, especially on tour with PBR, pizza, junk food, Sparks, and so on and so forth. If you're in a house with four other guys, or four other bands, and there's just one bathroom--well, you get floods, leaks, smells, poisoned colons, among other maladies plaguing those engaged in the rocknroll lifestyle. (Our old pal A-Ron knows a little about this and his disaster onstage at Beerland after too much cheap beer and too many Frito Pies.)

This is why you should try and wake up before the other dudes in your band. This insures you'll get the first crack at the crapper, as well as the last few strips of the T.P. Sheets. Avoidance of unpleasant toilets is also why you should always try and stay with fags and nonpunk women with boyfriends while touring. These people by and large keep clean houses and even cleaner bathrooms. The more obvious the punk rocker, the more disgusting their living situation, and that's pretty awesome when you're 17, but when you're an old fart like me, you want something just a little bit (not much, see, just a little bit) better.

My band is the greatest band of the 21st Century. I'm also the Greatest Drummer of the 21st Century. I know this and you know this, and you also know that we just toured with the Sneaky Pinks who are the Greatest Buzz Band of This Era. We had some laughs, ate some food, drank some drinks, got into some fights, stood around bars feeling shy and bored, called our girlfriends, got lost in Manhattan, got found in Charlottesville, VA, and read most of the wonderful book "Drugs Are Nice" by Lisa Crystal Carver.....but what you don't know is how it all went down with my poops.

This is important, and you should read this, so without any further ado, what follows is a Tour Diary of My Poops:

Day One: Green Bay.
On previous tours, I would get all backed up for the first few days, and I was nervous that this was what was going to happen this time. It was a real drag in Seattle, sitting on the toilet--brokenhearted--trying to void my bowels while the other guys partied and Joe Pestilence laughed that evil laugh of his on the other side of the bathroom door. I didn't want a repeat of this, and fortunately for me, this didn't happen. We were gonna stay with RFA, filled with promises of liquor, billiards, and video games, but it just didn't work out, so we stayed with one of Thuh Idiot Strings. I slept in a pleasantly a/c'd basement on a waterbed below a painting of Bob Marley. The movement of the water kept my bowels resplendent in blissful regularity. In the morning, I did my business in a wonderful Midwestern bathroom, with crafts and wicker and calligraphied profundities about the human condition. My dinner, a shrimp, butter, and white cream pizza masterpiece from Jake's Pizza, dropped into the water like brown cheese curds.

Day Two: Kalamazoo.
Aside from genocide and child slavery, there really is nothing worse than having to take a crap in a bar bathroom. Kraftbrau is no exception. In the summer, Kraftbrau holds the heat well--as do many of the clubs and spaces where we practiced our art. It's a dirty off-white little midwestern bar bathroom, with an open window looking out on the street. I didn't bother pooping in Kalamazoo. We also didn't really have anyplace to stay, so I slept in the back of the van, the weather dropping 20 degrees as a massive thunderstorm raged in the middle of our set. I used a gas station the next day--some marginally filthy turlet somewheres between K-Zoo and Detroit. My shat came out like a big brown crescent, comprised of that Kraftbrau beer nobody seems to agree on whether it's good or bad, Bimbo's Pizza, and Sparks.

Day Three: Detroit/Hamtramck.
Timmy Vulgar's bathroom is probably what you'd figure. Toilet paper? Pshaw! But who needs toilet paper when you have the weekly alternative Detroit paper for to do your wiping? And who cares anyway! Detroit is a wonderful place to play our music. Every good thing anybody has every said about the Spirit of Detroiters I wholeheartedly agree with. Detroit is the happy medium between Chicago and NYC, with the best of both worlds, and, as compensation for Detroit's obvious apocalyptic decay, God made the Detroit rocknroll women bee-yew-tee-full. (Memo to the Missus: It's just an observation.) In Detroit, after no sleep, lots of beer, and getting jarred out of half-sleep by Vulgar blaring (of all things) some Leonard Cohen record at 7:30 in the AM, my turds were raw powered bursts of nervous earthy energy--solid, but just on the verge of collapse.

Day Four: Cleveland.
In Cleveland, we played some punk-punk punk rock place called The Church. God, evidently, hates air conditioning, fans, and clean toilets. That's cool. The toilet was in the basement, and it smelled like all the Cleveland Steamerz ever dumped since time immemorial. By this point, the Sparks was really effecting my bowels, and it was hard to work under such tough conditions. But, I am nothing if not a professional, and I was inspired by the things I saw at the Rocknroll Hall of Fame (GG Allin's turds, under glass; Rick James's coke shits; Johnny Thunder's blistering bloody junkie craps) to persevere. Fortunately, we later stayed at the girlfriend's apartment of the dude who lent the Sneaky Pinks his station wagon who was going to accompany us for the rest of the tour, but was stuck working instead. Girls have clean toilets and lots of toilet paper. They're far less likely to equate "punk rock" with "living in a rat-infested dump with hokey band graffiti all over the walls." This was the Best Defecation in the Nation, thus far. This was also my birthday, and 'twas a fine fine way to kick it off.

Day Five: Pittsburgh.
We played the Mr. Roboto Project in Wilkinsburg, PA, on some shitty little street that looked like a Hollywood backlot to some 50's movie about streetgangs. It was a punk rock collective space, so naturally the toilet smelled closer to shit than to vanilla meadow air freshener. I didn't bother trying any doodie expulsion under such anarchic conditions, and my colon accepted this. I played the shows (starting in K-Zoo, I double-duty drummed in Sneaky Pinks and had myself a ball), had a roomful of hardcore kids (98% male) sing "Happy Birthday to You," then I ate the greatest hotdog I've ever had at that O place or whatever it's called...the place with the mammothly large french fries. We walked around as the epitome of a Dude Squad--15 of us or thereabouts--all guys. There was probably more estrogen in a San Francisco Leatherman Bathhouse circa 1978 than there was in our little scene, as we gaily marched down the road singing Weird Al Yankovic songs. Stayed at Dan from the Radio Beat's house with a couple other touring bands, so it was a relief to wake up early and get to that toilet before anybody else. But, sadly, the toilet paper was gone, so it was back to wiping with the free weekly paper. This edition of the Pittsburgh Weekly (or whatever) had some dreadlocked anarchist living in the woods because civilization is dying, you understand, so like, it's time to get back to nature and eat mushrooms and tree bark. Fair enough, but in the meantime, it was not unpleasant to wipe my tour-ravaged buttocks with the cover of this rag.

Day Six: Brooklyn.
When the Sneaky Pinks played, we (I include myself here since I was technically a part of it by this point) were faced with a row of papparazzi...like 6 photogs shooting away. This reminded me of how Colin, Karlic, Canderson, and two or three others used to do the same thing for sparsely-attended shows back in the day, and that front row, where DANCERS should have been, was filled with Ansel Adams types, making the show look a lot more DRAMATIC than it actually was. The flashing lights of the cameras and the Manhattan traffic really made my bowels quite tense. Actually, to backtrack, before I went on with the Sneaky Pinks, I took a leak (the club's bathroom smelled really bad but that didn't stop 2-3 dudes crammed together in the stalls from sniffing loudly for some strange reason) and committed the fatal showbiz rule of accidentally leaving a pee stain on the crotch of my red silk boxers that I wanted to wear while I played. I hoped it would dry, but it didn't, so I just carried on like the born entertainer I am and played it off like it was sweat or something. Nobody noticed anyway, cause I'm just the drummer. When the show ended, we all stayed at 3 different places. Each of our hosts did insane amounts of blow all night into the early morning, and talked at us rather than to us, but hey, that was entertaining to all of us anyways. But, to backtrack, what was really funny was how I met five people who introduced themselves by their Goner Handles. Like, "Hi, I'm Larry, but I go by Dicklick McPussypants on the Goner Board." It's not to say we didn't like meeting these people or were ungrateful for letting us stay in their apartments....it's just an observation. But anyway--back to the shitting. My Brooklyn bathroom had all the comforts of home in Chicago. The bathroom was small and lacked a homey-kind of warmth, but that was okay. My poops were dark brown submarines, tapered off at the ends like tamales.

Day Seven: Charlottesville, VA.
After the aloof hipsterism of NYC, it was great to be in the South, where people actually get a little starved and excited for shows, and like to, I dunno, call me crazy, but they like to HAVE FUN WHEN BANDS PLAY! Yeah, I know that's a tough concept to understand anymore here in this jaded Pitchfork Nation of Snark, but Charlottesville was a great time, and I started it off, regrettably, with my only explosive craps of the whole tour. I ate a free taco salad, and the next thing I know, I'm in this very clean bathroom with fliers and posters of different objects and their names in Spanish just dropping hot burning liquid deuces. Bowel chowder. These could have been wet farts had I not been extree careful, and I was, thus avoiding my name joining the others in their accidental poop tour infamy. But the toilet paper was soft, and after this, I was back on even keel.

Day Eight: Durham, NC.
I was scared to use the bathroom of the dude we stayed with, because he had a sign on his toilet saying, "We're hippies! If you use this toilet, please fill it up with water before flushing. If it's yellow let it mellow. If it's brown, let it mellow." Okay, I think the sign actually said, "flush it down," but I didn't want to make any errors. There were drywall buckets below the sink, and you were supposed to fill these up with water from the sink and then put it in the cistern (I think). I ain't got a head for figurin', especially when I've been traveling and my poops got minds of their own, and they're ready to escape post haste. Fortunately, I didn't have to do any dumps until we got out of there, and it was back to the road, and the good ol' unhippie gas station turlets for to do the number twos.

Day Nine: Columbus, OH.
I stayed with my sister, so there were no worries. My poops alternated between buckeyes and sickles, buckeyes and sickles, cracked and solid.

Day Ten: Bloomington, IN.
We stayed with two other bands, and that's always a bad sign, but this time it was alright because Alex had a 12 pack of TP just sitting there ready to be used. I slept in the van, drunk, despondent, and discouraged, but it was just a passing fancy, relieved when I found relief the next day, voiding that retched Ohio Turnpike food.

Day Eleven: Lafayette, IN.
Hip record stores have pretty good toilets. They don't get too much use, and there's usually some magazine to look at, some music magazine telling you all about the latest angry bearded abomination. Downtown Records in Lafayette was no exception. One of my turds looked like the Prudential Building in downtown Chicago. Another looked like the Congress Hotel in downtown Chicago. Still another looked like a brown three flat like you find in most Chicago neighborhoods. This was a sign that it was time to go home. I flushed, wiped, washed, pulled up, zipped up, walked around Lafayette and drank away a few hours, played the show, and off we went, back to Chicago, where we played two great "homecoming" shows and felt ok about it all.

And that's the story, and this is the greatest piece of writing I have ever done. Be on the lookout for this as a "Book on Cassingle," as read by Mr. Tony Sagger. Thanks to all the really great people we met or reconnected with. Just when you're about to quit music altogether and write it all off as being Over and Done, at least in your mind, you find new bands, new people, and new places to inspire and get excited about. Huzzah to youse and yinzers, brahs!

Love from your Pal,
Sweet Ronnie Coz.

To read past installments of Anonymous Goy/Sweet Ronnie Coz go here.