Volcom Tour, North America 2008
"It was crazy to be a part of the first North American Motörhead tour in many years."
by Mark Gardner
Sometimes rock and roll planets align when you least expect…or when you aren’t looking. Just when you think you have things figured out and the movie version is playing in your head, it evolves again and shapeshifts, and you crack a smile in uncontrolled wonderment. This was the Volcom Tour.
The lineup was locked in with Motörhead, Misfits, Airbourne, Valient Thorr, and Year Long Disaster. Just a couple weeks before the tour launched, word came in that Airbourne couldn’t commit due to health reasons. It was a drag hearing someone was sick, and we’d all been looking forward to playing with them and hanging out for a month. So the first planet moved a bit out of orbit. We decided to be a four-band bill then, allowing everyone extra breathing room and longer set times. The Misfits were absent from the first two nights, so we cranked through the sold-out shows at home—Anaheim and San Diego, CA—with Motörhead, Valient Thorr, and Year Long Disaster. So heavy. It was crazy to be a part of the first North American Motörhead tour in many years. Usually, for some reason, tours start at least 20 hours away, so it was really strange to drive 20 minutes and suddenly be in the rush of tour mode. Tour mode is heavy, instinctively knowing you have to get gnarly and there’s nothing you can do about it but buckle down, dig in, and go nuts—and hoping you know the difference between being wasted and killing it or being wasted and blowing it.
“Hey man, should I be talking to people? Should I just go for a walk by myself? Shit, man, maybe I should just lay down.” Coming out the stage door with some gear, I even saw Aiden hiding behind a stack of boxes peeking around at everyone. That image kept me laughing for the whole tour.
It was great to have the family back together again, seeming like not a day had passed since we toured with Motörhead in Germany. Once again Lemmy made sure we played as many casinos as possible, the first one being at our third show in Las Vegas, also the first show with the Misfits. We were all really excited to see and meet those dudes; everyone on the tour had some sort of Misfit blood flowing in their veins from days gone by. This was one of my many favorite nights on the tour; the vibes were flowing, the show was crazy, we were drinking and gambling—all the basic food groups to a slam-dunk evening. Valient himself and Aiden Thorr ate some earth fun brownies, and I’ll never forget the looks on their faces that night. You can’t find fun brownies inside planet Venus.
In Kansas City we played another casino show at Harrah’s. After causing a thousand people to go deaf, I enjoyed a parking lot water bottle shower and headed in for some gambling. I scanned the rows for a vibe and came across Lemmy sitting at a machine pulling the handle (no button pushing here; old school all the way). I sat down next to him and threw in 100 bucks; he looked over at me, “We’ve done this before, yes?” I started laughing. “We sure have Lem, in Germany.”
“I see you brought some gambling money to play with.”
“Yeah, been looking around for a lucky machine.”
“Well, there aren’t any lucky machines in this place…the bastards.” He pulled out a cigarette pack and handed me over a smoke. The waitress walked up, “Hey, fellas. Can I get you a drink?”
“Two Jack and Cokes,” I replied.
Lemmy smiled, “Why am I not surprised?!” We sat for an hour and talked about women, tours, and when to cash out. I hit a couple sizzling sevens and got up to like 350 or 400 bucks. Lemmy kept patting me on the back when I hit. “There you go!” As he got up to head out, he warned, “You better cash out before you put it all back in like I did!”
The next day, the Misfits left the tour. Maybe it was because they weren’t getting sound checks. Maybe it was because they weren’t getting dressing rooms. Whatever it was, it was, and they chose to split. We said our goodbyes, Valient Thorr took the main support slot, and ASG joined on for the rest. Another rock and roll planet slid over a bit out in space and aligned with the other.
Another smoggy memory surfaces, and this one feels like it’s from Columbus, OH. Our show was postponed by a day so we had all night to fuck off. I started receiving texts from Phil in Motörhead, one of the absolute funniest dudes I’ve ever had the pleasure to spend so many crazy days and nights with. He called me to his suite downtown. Walking into the room, he says, “Hey Marky, go into my bedroom, it’s my treat.” “Oh great,” I’m thinking, “some gnarly hooker’s in there and she’s going to cover me in pudding.” But I walked in to find this super-cute massage girl with a full table and lotions all set up. “Take off whatever you feel comfortable with.” Just like Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty, I was naked in half a second, jumped onto the table, and laid right out. “Umm, you’re supposed to be underneath the top sheet, and you’re supposed to lie on your stomach,” she stated uncomfortably.
So here I type, with no more paper left for tour stories (probably for the best—some are scary), and wrinkled from an hour-long hot shower and dizzy from a 24-hour sleep. We should have slept last night, but of course right when we walked into the Vapor park from the plane we got called up to the Rainbow Room to meet Lemmy and Dan. I walked in and Lem was smiling at us. “Well, here we are again, ladies!”
Huge thanks and big love to Motörhead and the entire crew, Valient Thorr, ASG, and Year Long Disaster. Look for more Volcom tour action down the road.
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