Gotta do some correcting… thanks, Garn!!
So, we found out about our being off the tour from Arizona, the then-girlfriend, (yes, that’s her name), of our soundman, Sterling. Dime called her and then she called us. We were about two hours from Dallas, so we swung by, picked her up, and continued on to Chicago, because as Garn said, “hey, free guitars.” I was wholly unaware that they knew they were getting free gear. I joked about the Washburn factory not having a drum room, but in all seriousness, the experience there was pretty cool, with the guys being treated like one of their roster artists who they were outfitting with gear for a tour. We actually did a photo shoot with a Washburn rep at the Alpine Valley venue site. And when I say, we, I don’t mean me. But Thurb, Boz, and Lance looked super cool with their new guitars!
I forgot about “when” a couple of insane road-related incidents happened, like pretty much one right after another, and they happened right after we took off for the tour the first time, so forgive me while I backtrack and just include them here.
We had picked up Sterling’s girlfriend, Arizona, and we were somewhere between Texarkana and Little Rock, Arkansas. We’re barrelling down the road in the RV, and it had already turned dark. Boz was driving.
The rest of us are hootin’ and hollerin’ it up in the RV, and from the back of the RV, Thurb shouts, “oh sh*t, I’m seeing sparks!”
Then immediately after, more eruptions from the back since more of them moved back there to see what was happening. People are yelling, “Oh sh*t, we lost the trailer!” The trailer hitch became detached from the RV and was now still moving and going every which way, bobbing up and down on the highway asphalt like a lure’d fishing line catching action in the water. And we were getting further and further away from it. Everyone starts yelling for Boz to pull over.
Miracle point 1 – the trailer managed to stay upright, on both wheels and just came to a stop in the middle of the highway, and also was not damaged in any other way.
Miracle point 2 – no other vehicles were behind us, nor were any in sight.
Boz eventually pulls the RV over to the side of the road. A few of the fellas jog down the 1/4 mile to where the trailer is and haul it back to where we are.
Miracle point 3 – none of the equipment was harmed in any significant way.
We’re all just catching our breath, not believing what just happened. And someone gets to work investigating why it happened, and the answer is revealed… lost cotter pin. I don’t know or remember the full details on why the cotter pin would have released itself in the first place, but in any case, we lost the one we needed.
We are now sitting in the dark, on the side of the road, and we see a pick-up truck driving toward us but on the service road, next to the highway. He wasn’t coming to help us, but we flagged him down. He very kindly stopped for a group of long haired men along the side of the road. Are you kidding? But this kind soul not only stopped, he then proceeded to help us. He was a little older than all of us, but cool as could be.
Miracle point 4 – We explained what we figured out to be the problem, and he agreed. He went back to his truck and came back….. with a cotter pin, and I think maybe a lock or something else to help secure the hitch. We gave him beers and Pumpjack cds and a couple of t-shirts. We couldn’t believe that he literally had the exact thing we needed to get back on our way.
It must be noted that this was the point in the journey that Boz decided his time behind the wheel was over and handed over the keys to someone else.
We get on our way, and not an hour later…. just outside Little Rock, we came upon, at damn near 65mph, a semi-truck which was just sitting, stopped, in the middle of the four lane interstate, which was separated by a median. The truck next to us swerved into the grassy median and as Boz remembers, he just closed his eyes and braced. That we made it unscathed through both of those incidents is almost unbelievable.
OK, at this point in the story, we decided to head back to Texas, since we had no idea if we were ever going to be invited back to the tour.
Though we were feeling super dejected and disappointed to a degree none of us had ever experienced in terms of that level of “let-down”, we had a show booked! Somehow, we had booked a show in Bowling Green, KY, which wasn’t far as it was in the path of the tour route. While the Ozzfest tour rolled on to Indianapolis, we went to Bowling Green, KY and played a show with locals, 60 Watt Shaman. That show was just in some crappy club where we got a decent but certainly not an overwhelming reaction. None of that mattered, hitting the stage and getting to play was like releasing a pressure valve. It helped a lot, at least for the night.
We left the next day to head back to Texas, while the tour was on a day off, headed toward Somerset, WI. We got back to Midland the next day. We weren’t home for 3 hours and we got the call to “get our asses to St. Louis, MO,” because we are back on the tour!
So referencing that “confusing” comment in Chapter 8 when we were at the Washburn factory… things just didn’t make sense to me. It felt like on one hand, perhaps the band opting to leave the contract with the brothers was fine… no repercussions. Hell, here the guys were getting free Washburn guitars seemingly based on the connection to Dime. But then, why weren’t we getting help or updates from them when they knew we had been kicked off the tour? It felt like we were just on our own, drifting in the wind. Maybe there were repercussions we didn’t know about, or I didn’t know about. It’s not like we were a last minute addition to the tour – every single thing about our participation had been finalized months prior, and confirmed in the programs, all the ads, etc.,. Maybe it’s presumptuous to think we would get help from the brothers, but it was directly because of them the band was there in the first place. From whom else could we ask for help but them? And maybe they were helping behind the scenes, and it was just taking that long to work its way through the channels of the Ozzfest organization, especially since we were sublevel priority.
And then on another hand altogether, which I thought about looooong after, which is more likely the case, and that is, that those guys were dealing with their own internal band issues, on top of professional obligations at every tour stop (press and other interviews, photo shoots, etc,.), not to mention trying to enjoy life on the road. So, of course, they weren’t thinking necessarily about dumb little Pumpjack and their issues even if they could have just snapped their fingers to make things right, which I’m sure they could not have just done anyway.
All that said, nothing was ever made clear (to me) as to why specifically, we were kicked off in the first place, nor what transpired or who intervened specifically to reinstate us.
We all did laundry, refocused our packing to be a bit more lean, then restocked the mini, repacked the trailer, and left Midland again, for the second time, to start the Ozzfest tour.
I don’t remember much about Riverport Amphitheater, the venue in St. Louis. We were all just beyond excited that it was really happening. And sure enough, we opened the festival, to a nice crowd that got there early. To say it was a massive pressure release would be an understatement. We were so excited to just get on stage and jam for these people who had no idea who we were. (On YT, search Pumpjack, Ozzfest 2000, St. Louis.)
The brothers were there after our set, and we all climbed aboard our RV and did shots in celebration of our first gig. Dime asked me, “How does it feel?” to which I responded, “it’s awesome, I’m just bummed I have to wait two days to experience this again!” He laughed!
It was the best way to start the tour, even if we were late to the party. We ended up signing autographs for a couple of hours – ticket stubs, t-shirts, pants, body parts…
It was a day of enjoying catering, enjoying our case of beer and case of water, which we received every show day. David Draiman from DISTURBED stopped by where we were at catering, introduced himself, and said he thought we were “a breath of fresh air.”
We started meeting the other 2nd stage bands, and when evening came, when the headliners were out and about, we started meeting them, like the guys in Incubus and Godsmack and Zakk Wylde who had just started BLS. We were all way into Pride & Glory and just gushed to him how much we all loved that cd.
Next up, two days later, was Kansas City, MO, at the Sandstone Amphitheater. This is what I remember of Kansas City in AUGUST of that year – “GET ME OUT OF HERE BEFORE I DIE OF HUMIDITY AND HEAT EXHAUSTION!
For this gig, the second stage was about a half mile from the parking lot, and on this particular day, for who knows what reason, they had us go on like five minutes earlier, and the gates were still closed!!! We launched into “Pa” to about a dozen people. It filled up a bit but ugh, playing first on a major festival was a far cry from playing a full club with the crowd chanting the band’s name.
I think KC is where Thurb started saying from stage to the crowd, “Hey, we’re broke, just trying to make it from city to city – so if any of ya out there got a spare joint, be cool if you tossed it up our way.” We saw about 3 joints fly up to the stage every time he did that from then on. (On YT, search Pumpjack, Ozzfest 2000, Kansas City.)
After our set, we went back to the RV to try and escape the heat. People came to the RV all day long to get us high – fans, the Primer 55 guys, the dudes in Deadlights, etc. It was a stoney, sweaty hot afternoon… yeah, rock n roll!!
Later that night, we headed out toward Dallas, but couldn’t make it all the way, so stopped at a roadside rest stop to crash.
Next up, “Dallas, motherf**in” TX, let me hear ya.”