No one remembers me being there, but I swear I went on the Inside Out/Quicksand/Shelter tour back in 1990. I swear it.
It’s a story few recall, except those directly involved, but it has to do with Derrick Green (now singer of Sepultura) and I getting sidetracked the first day of the trip and playing catch up the rest of the time.
I was able to get on the tour because, after a poor audition with Quicksand to play second guitar, Walter Schreifels said if I still wanted to go with them I could roadie.
The idea of being on the road again with my former bandmates from Beyond, Tom Capone, and Alan Cage, who both played in Quicksand, excited me.
Charlie Garriga from the Cleveland band Outface got the second guitar gig and brought along the singer for his band Derrick to be the other roadie. Beyond had played with Outface in 1988, so everyone already knew each other before piling into Tom’s dad’s van that one June morning.
The van we were using was the same one Beyond used and the one BOLD had taken on their 1989 tour. John Porcelly from Youth of Today dubbed it “the Van of Suffering“ because it had no windows in the back and was always super hot, especially when sitting on its metal floor. We didn’t know it that morning, but Derrick and I would learn soon enough how much suffering the van could actually cause.
Alan and I were the only ones with drivers licenses, so, as we pulled away from New York City, heading for Buffalo, I found myself behind the wheel of the Van of Suffering. Positive vibes from when Beyond played Buffalo with Gorilla Biscuits still lingered and everyone was excited to start the tour in a town that had already been conquered.
That is, everyone except Sergio, the bassist.
He was worried that we’d get pulled over and his weed would be discovered. This was a new element to being on the road that none of us considered because, even though Beyond didn’t consider itself a straight edge band, we travelled with Gorilla Biscuits, Project X, Judge, and Youth of Today, the most popular straight edge bands of all time, so weed was never an issue. To eleviate his worries, Sergio opened the back of his bass with a screwdriver and stashed his shit inside with the electronics. It was fascinating to watch.
About an hour outside Buffalo, I noticed I couldn’t push the van any faster than 50 miles per hour, then it was 40 miles per hour, then thirty. Next, I heard a horn honking and as I turned to my right, I saw a family of four all giving me the finger for driving so slowly in the left lane. Doing my best Han Solo, I screamed, “it’s not my fault!”
I was able to pull over to the side of the road where the van died and everyone spilled out. There were no cellphones back then, so we didn’t what the hell we were going to do.
Shelter, who were a Krishna band, was traveling by bus, so someone suggested we keep an eye out for them. After about twenty minutes, someone asked, “Is this Shelter?”, pointing to a bus filled with shaved heads and orange robes. Surprised by how much orange filled the front of the bus, I jokingly commented, “It this isn’t Shelter, then maybe it’s the Simpsons.”
They were able to take Walter to a phone to call the promoter of the show. When he came back, he said the band members were going in Shelter’s bus, while Derrick and I waited for the van to get towed.
Oh man! That’s a bummer! I thought. I don’t want to miss the show!
After we took care of the van, a girl in an old style New York taxi was going to somehow find us on the side of the road and take us to the River Rock Cafe, where the show was happening. An old style taxi? What?
The tow truck guy showed up first. He only had three fingers on his left hand, but was still able to connect the van to his truck. It was impressive.
He didn’t want to leave us standing on the side of the road, so he offered to wait with us. His missing fingers and prison tattoos told me he was someone you didn’t want to piss off, so I tried to keep the conversation light. He wasn’t much of a talker though and he was getting agitated the longer we waited. Taxi Girl showed up an hour later.
She had blonde hair that was pulled back and was wearing a short denim skirt. As Derrick and I climbed into the taxi, I commented on how I liked her choice of ride and she told me her rich dad bought it for her after she graduated high school.
We got to the show, but missed Quicksand’s set. My duties as a roadie also included selling t-shirts and 7”s, so that’s what I did. Walter told me to hold onto the money we made and to give it to him in the morning.
That night, we stayed at Taxi Girl’s house, which I remember to be a mansion a lot like the one in the Big Lebowski, with marble floors, a giant stairway and furniture with plastic on it that you weren’t allowed to touch.
When I woke up in the morning, Walter told me the engine seized in the van and it was going to take five days to replace. He had called Jordan from Revelation Records to pay for the repairs, but we still didn’t know how we were going to continue with the tour.
I suggested Charlie contact Chubby Fresh in Cleveland to see if he could drive his van to Buffalo, pick us up, then finish the tour.
And that’s exactly what he did, except Derrick and I had to wait in Buffalo for the van to get fixed and then we’d meet the band later in the week in Cleveland. This time, I was channeling Lando Calrissian: This deal is getting worse all the time!
Brian Foyster, the promoter of the show, let Derrick and me stay at the apartment he shared with the singer for Zero Tolerance, a popular Buffalo hardcore band. They were both gracious hosts, showing us around and taking us to all the best food spots.
Originally, Walter said he was going to pay Derrick and me ten dollars a day, which back than was enough to feed young people, but we only made it to one show and the ten dollars I got from that was gone after my first day.
I didn’t have any other money with me, except for the merchandise money I was supposed to give Walter but never did. I ended up using that money to pay for my meals, though I worried about what I was going to tell Walter when I saw him again.
At one point, we met up with a crew of hardcore kids that included the other guys in Zero Tolerance. Taxi Girl was there and I tried to get something happening romantically with her, but, like Leia rejecting Lando’s advances. she declined. Another bummer.
The rest of our time there was spent hanging out, talking about music. I was especially impressed when Brian mentioned he had a radio show and had recently interviewed Chuck D from Public Enemy. Everyone in hardcore listened to hip-hop at the time and Public Enemy was the biggest name in the genre in 1990, so I had a lot of questions for him, as he described the conversation.
The van was finally fixed and Derrick and I said goodbye to Buffalo. On our way to Cleveland, we got caught in a crazy rainstorm and had to pull over. It took a couple of hours for the rain to subside, so we each claimed a corner in the back of the van and listened to it pound on the roof.
Brian Baker’s new band, Junkyard, had just released a video for a song “Simple Man” before we went on tour and even though the music sounded more like Lynyrd Skynyrd than Minor Threat, as the rain fell like bullets. we spent those couple of hours singing that song, cracking each other up at the absurdity of it.
Quicksand wasn’t going to be in Cleveland for a few days, so Derrick and I went to his family’s house where we were to sit tight. His parents were very sweet, as they welcomed me into their home. His father was dressed in a sweater vest, looking like a classic college professor, which, based on the amount of books on the walls of his office, he might have been. As I put my bags down, I happened to glance at a piece of mail addressed to Friendly Green.
I’d find out a couple of years later when the Outface record came out that was his father’s name. They told him if he paid for the recording, they’d name the record after him.
I got settled in a very sunny, cozy guest room his mom prepared for me. By this title, I’d run out of clean socks to wear. Being on the road, I figured, fuck it. I’ll just wear my Vans with no socks. It took only a day or two for my feet to stink up that room. It got so bad, I could smell it from downstairs when I walked into the house. I’m sure the Green’s could smell it too, but they were very polite and didn’t say anything.
I guess I could’ve asked to do laundry, and they may have offered, but I was shy at that age. My mom taught me to not bother people. She didn’t tell me your feet stunk if you don’t wear socks though. That would’ve come in handy and saved me from a lot of embarrassment.
After a couple of days, Quicksand finally showed up. We met up with them at Charlie’s dad’s house which was painted the colors of the Irish flag. When he found out my name was Kevin Egan, he asked me how I liked the house. I didn’t know what the colors of the flag were back then, but I told him I liked it (These days, every time I see an Irish flag, which in New York City can be quite often, I think of Charlie’s dad’s house).
I waited for Walter to ask me about the merchandise money from the first show, worried that he was going to pissed that I spent it, but he never asked. Either he forgot about it or he figured I had to live on it while in Buffalo, which was the case, Without that money, I wouldn’t have been able to eat.
There were only two more shows on the tour: one in Pennsylvania and one at City Gardens in New Jersey. The one in Pennsylvania was with Gorilla Biscuits, which was cool because Beyond had played a bunch of shows with them in 1988 and ‘89 and it was fun to hear those songs again, even if only a year had passed.
So much had changed in that year though. Tom and Alan were on their way to playing in one of the most popular bands in New York City and Walter was developing a musical style that would influence endless amounts of kids. Hardcore as we knew it seemed to be coming to a close and something new was happening.
After the show, Walter asked me to really push the t-shirts in the parking lot. So many things had gone wrong during the tour, I guess he was trying to recover whatever he could. While doing so, Zack, who sang for Inside Out, laughed at me for being so pushy with kids. It was the only time I communicated with anyone from that band on that tour, which was weird because Vic DiCara, the guitarist, played bass in Beyond and was one of my best friends in high school.
At that time, though, Vic was knee-deep in Krishna and spending most of his time on Shelter’s bus. Zack was cool, though. I heard he became a plumber after the music thing didn’t work out.
The final show was the only time I’d ever been to City Gardens. It was an impressive venue, but mostly what I remember about that show is Tom and me meeting a couple of girls. After the show, we returned to New York and most of us crashed at Walter’s apartment in Queens.
I still wasn’t wearing any socks and when I took my Vans off, Alex Brown, Walter’s roommate, who also played in Gorilla Biscuits with Walter, screamed, “Oh my god! Who’s sneakers smell like trash?” Knowing Alex could at times be intimidating, I admitted they were mine immediately and he insisted I leave them out on the hallway, which I did.
If someone wanted to, they could probably write a book about that tour, especially considering three people on it (Zack, Derrick, and Sergio) went on to rock stardom. It was such a weird mashup up of personalities, philosophies and sounds.
The whole Krishna thing added an interesting element to what was already a fun, exciting tale of young people taking their music around the country. Meanwhile, Quicksand was mixing their own version of alternative music with New York hardcore and Inside Out was refining the genre to perfection. And it was all happening at once. I was lucky to be there, even if I only caught three shows.
If you want, you can read more about that iconic tour. Sammy, who played drums for Shelter, did an interview about it for No Echo, and Vic DiCara wrote about it online and in his book, Train Wrecks & Transcendence: A Collision of Hardcore & Hare Krishna. It’s worth buying his book for those stories alone.
All I can really do is tell you what could’ve happened if the Van of Suffering never conked our that first day. The fun I could’ve had. The adventures I could’ve gotten into. It probably would’ve been a great time.
[Thanks to Justin Moulder for letting us use his photos.]
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