Randy cruised up in a 1988 Peterbilt semi as I stood in the driveway, hopeful. I gave my mom a hug and climbed aboard. Slowly the outline of my driveway dissipated and that feeling; the feeling I've been chasing my entire life, settled in for the first time. I was twelve and had Holden Caulfield on my mind. Rebellion wasn't entirely easy in my home town; the closest I could get to feeling something “real” was stealing a pack of Winston's from Casey's General Store, riding my bike to the woods and inhaling until my head felt like it was floating two feet above my shoulders.
“AINT NO MESSIN' WITH A SON OF A BITCH.” I glanced down at the stack of cassette tapes strewn about the console as Nazareth screamed through the speakers. 1980's hair metal and contemporary country staring me in the face when all I wanted to hear was Marilyn Manson or White Zombie. We stopped off to fill up as Randy revealed “this mother fucker can go 12 hours on a tank.” I hopped back in the cab nearly snagging my JNCO's on the door. Back on the road I noticed a precarious heap of No-Doze and Jolt Cola piling up in the console. “Am I going to be safe riding with my sleep deprived Uncle half way across the country in a thirty-thousand pound vehicle?” “I wonder if Twiggy took guitar lessons when he was my age?”
When night fell the hum of the road lulled me into a deep slumber. I woke to the sunlight drifting up from the asphalt as the truck barreled east. “Welcome To Mississippi; IT'S LIKE COMING HOME.” It's funny how signs begin to decide things for you when you're on the road. I wasn't sure if Mississippi was like coming home but by the looks of the Perkins Open 24/7 sign directly after it I knew I would at least eat pancakes. After breakfast we climbed back in the cab grabbed a couple more hours sleep and cruised on to Jackson. Pulling into the distribution center we settled into a stall and the trailer's contents were gutted, they hooked up a new one and we shoved off. All over the Southern United States this was the routine for a little over a week. I formed a bond with those signs and the yellow dotted lines that scatter wide like veins over the vast American landscape. We headed back west and finally the last load was dropped, I was home.
Fast forward a few years, I'm in my early twenties and playing in a band. We bounce on our first tour hitting warehouses, dive bars and house shows all over the middle west. We were lucky if ten people showed up to the shows and were even luckier if we found a comfortable place to sleep. Pulling into Joplin Missouri the stench of Nu-Metal canceled out any aroma's we'd collected since our last showers. “Cesspool Castle” was the venue, and by venue I mean the head of the local NORMIL chapter's cat shit stained basement. Instantly our reaction was whiskey, shit loads of whiskey and quick. After a jaunt to the LQ to grip some Beam we settled into the Castle. We were served brown rice and fish sticks for din din and treated to Volcano rips of the brownest dirt weed this side of Tijuana. The local opener jammed out some Clutch covers and it was finally our turn to rip. Come to think of it some of the footage from that show probably exits on You Tube, look it up. After the show we all realize that we were entirely too fucked up to drive away so we're forced to spend the night. There were a few starving cats in the “apartment” along with a large collection of “Bizzare” magazine which features high gloss, high res pics of gaping wounds, fecal matter and other curiosities from around the globe. We all woke up huddled together on the porch with 3D hangovers, crept out unnoticed and immediately got tested for AIDS.
Now a couple years later I find myself still traveling the country in a van with three dudes who share a similar lust for life. Five times we've circled the country sharing our music and meeting like minded people. In June we were cruising through the South again and there it was “Welcome to Mississippi; IT'S LIKE COMING HOME.” It all hit me at once; Randy, the cassette tapes, the invariable attitude I collected in that Peterbilt. “Holy Shit,” I thought, it's exactly like coming home. Now I'm home on the road, I use every moment I'm in a new place to learn something about what it means to be part of this generation. Over stimulation comes easy these days, kids are rapidly trading in their sense of adventure for something cheap, a lot cheaper. And with the economy of conscious in such dire straights who can blame them? I've chosen to live closer to things more concrete, and I owe it all to Nazareth, “Hair of the Dog.”