Recently an artist friend of mine expressed interest in illustrating some of the snack-sized memoirs I have written over the years. He encouraged me to write more of them, and so I have been thinking back to the highlights of my lowlife. Then today my friend Jason informed me of a new release by the band Hum, who have not put out a record since 1998. I immediately knew the story that I needed to tell.
Names may be changed to protect the forgiven.
Long before Corey Taylor joined, a group of my friends had become huge fans of Slipknot, including my girlfriend Mary. I went to a few shows, but soon found the circus metal shtick a bit boring, and stopped attending. Mostly it was the clown. I fugkn hate clowns. Little did I know that in my absence, my girlfriend was becoming a little more than just a fan.
On Valentine’s Day of 1997 the band Hum were scheduled to play at The Maintenance Shop in nearby Ames, Iowa – and Mary had planned to go along. At the last minute she said she was not feeling very well, but encouraged me to attend without her. Since I had already promised my friends Brad and Dana a ride, I tucked Mary in to rest and recuperate, and went to see one of my favorite bands from that era.
The show was absolutely amazing. Hum ejected a cacophony of sonic euphoria from stacks of Orange amps, but most impressive was their drummer, whose style reminded me a lot of William Goldsmith from Sunny Day Real Estate – another favorite of mine from that era. I told him so after the show, and he took it as a compliment. We continued to chat for awhile and eventually he invited us to hang out with them.
As much as I really wanted to take that opportunity, I had promised Mary that I would come back as soon as the show was over to check on her and see if she needed anything. Brad and Dana were disappointed that we had to pass that chance up, but understood that I had a vow to keep. So we raced back to Newton and I dropped them off before heading to Mary’s.
As soon as I arrived I knew something wasn’t right. All the lights were on and there were several cars parked out front. When I went in there was a small party going on. My friend Brad’s girlfriend Jane was there, and she was hanging all over Joey, the drummer of Slipknot. Mary was nowhere to be seen, so I headed back towards her bedroom, and was lightly discouraged from doing so by partygoers. When I opened the door, there she was, performing fellatio on guitar player Mick – right on the very bed I had lost my virginity to Mary on just a month earlier.
Mick is a giant, scary-looking papasmurfer, so I neatly tucked my cuck tail and got the fugk out of there. Unfortunately I had become accustomed to Mary’s infidelity, including with a few of my best friends, so I continued to fight for her love. Or some dumb 20 year old manchild shit like that. In doing so I believe I laid down some severe insults on Mick where I knew they would bounce back to him, and kept my distance like the brave heckler warrior that I was.
A few months later I took some acid with my friend Bonz, and when it started kicking in he convinced me to go with him to Dotfest, a Des Moines music festival where Slipknot were playing, which I had vowed to avoid. It was some pretty powerful LSD and my inhibitions were lowered. After parking in the wrong place, we managed to break in through a weak part of the gate, and avoided paying the entry fee. For an hour or so I was actually enjoying myself quite a bit. Then word got back to me that Mick heard I was there, and was gonna knock me the fugk out if he saw me, and that kinda killed my buzz.
It was strange, though, because instead of becoming afraid, I became inexplicably cold. It was a warm summer day, but there I sat in the grass, huddling and shivering. Some hippy dude came up to me, gave me a loving look and said, “I know what you are going through. It will be okay. It is all in your head. Just imagine you are warm. Imagine the sun shining on you and…” That was enough hippie bullshit for me, so I told him that unless he had a jacket to spare, he should go enjoy the show.
I never ran into Mick that day, and never got punched. Warmth eventually returned to me and we drove back home and drank ourselves down from the trip. I learned absolutely nothing and ended up back with Mary a few months later, which as you might have guessed, once again ended terribly. Although in hindsight I have become grateful for dodging that bullet. Had I continued down that path, life would have been much worse for me, and I would probably have drank myself to death in Newton by now.
About the time I began to realize how well that had all worked out in my favor, Slipknot released the single Duality. I had no idea who it was, but I rocked out every time I heard it played on the jukebox at the bar. My friend Lenny saw me rocking out to it once, and immediately chided me, “I thought you hated Slipknot?” I had told my Slipknot story several times while deep in my cups, apparently. So not only did I forgive Mick and the fellas, after almost a decade, I actually became a fan. This arrangement is far more beneficial. Learning to let go is probably the single most important skill in attaining happiness, which I find far easier to say than consistently do, but I’m trying. I push my fingers into my…