Not Breathing

Not Breathing

Paging Dr. Allcome… Please report to the ICU.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. After spending an entire day in Tampa, Florida with Dave Wright and Drew Fitzgerald, I felt Dave, at least, would appreciate a good-hearted laugh when he returned home from the “Lowest of the Low” tour, but sometimes things don’t go as planned. You see, Dave has been a friend of mine since I did the layout for Sangre Azul. We (the deviant cohorts : Jeremy Crawford, Dave Reddig, and myself, Drew West) decided to head to Tampa for a night and hang with Mr. Wright. After talking with Dave (hmmm… you might begin seeing the dilemma we faced all night) we decided to cart both a 35mm and 16mm projector with us to add a change to the visuals during not breathing’s set. We loaded the rental van and traveled feverishly across the state, fearing we would arrive late. As luck would have it (and the fact they were driving from New Orleans), we beat the tour bus and wandered aimlessly about until we could enter the club. I don’t remember how long we waited for the tour bus to arrive, but within thirty minutes of its appearance, I had finally met Mr. Wright in person, and was drafted to drive the production manager to the Laundromat to wash towels for Pigface. I’ve known Martin Atkins and the tour manager, Jolly Rodger, for somewhere around four or five years, and the idea that if Boozie (the production manager) went by herself she wouldn’t return jump-started the chivalry gene in me. Off we went, leaving Mr. Wright and Mr. Fitzgerald to set up their gear. When we got back to The Rubb, Dave had most of his gear set up and we began to unload five hundred pounds of projectors. Not an easy task when you are about to carry it up a flight of stairs to the balcony. Jeremy and Dave relaxed, while Mr. Wright, Drew, and myself wandered around conversing about computers, graphics, and the net. Next thing I knew the room was filled with the ambient textures of not breathing. I looked at Dave, “You’re already playing? Should I go start the projectors?” “Nah, we do our soundcheck usually about 15 minutes before the doors open and play until Jolly tells us to turn it off for Phyler,” replied Dave. Here I was, carrying on a conversation with the two of them while they were playing! “This is for you guys, Drew,” says Dave, “I know how much you like ambience, noise, and muted beats.” I smiled and thanked him. Dave kept talking as he leveled the room with a thick fog of death-disco-noise. Eventually, the room filled to his liking, and he dropped the heaviest beats I thought possible for not breathing. The music was a weird collage of organic sounds, conversations, monster death beats, and chaos in motion. Even my worst moods can be dissipated by not breathing into ecstatic ecstasy. It was akin to watching poetry in motion as they slid around on material from Starry Wisdom and unreleased songs. It was then that our conversation left words and was nothing more than gestures, smiles, and my bouncing happiness. While our Dave ran the projectors, Mr. Crawford and myself snapped numerous pictures of the scene in front us. After it was all over, we headed to the tour bus with Dave and Drew. Alas, a chance for the five of us to dive into a game of confusion over names, and chat like old friends. “Tomorrow, I’m leading an army of monkeys towards certain death. Care to come along?” I ask Dave as we relax on the back of the tour bus. “No, because El Duce is dead. The beasty abyss monkey is jumpin up and down with no lack of sauce; and the sauce is flowin’ like a Charlie Chan whiplash juicy foot. I’m gonna sew it up like a moonshine beaver hound.” It’s a typical Dave reply. We play a game over e-mail, confusing each other and trying to make sense out of the words of communication. Dave has a certain flair with words. He’ll take what you say, decipher it, and spit back an even more cryptic reply. You’d be amazed. “Your set sounded great guys. A wonderful country fresh hoe-down. Techno acid house all tranced out in a meltdown.” Dave sits for a second, and tosses back, “Live shows just aren’t as much fun anymore.” We had to agree with him. A month on the road, and anyone is bound to feel a little jittered turning their love into a job. Dave begins to talk with Dave, Drew with Drew, and Jeremy isn’t an odd man out. When you don’t share a name with others in the room you can contribute to any conversation. We converse about touring, producing, labels, war stories, and everything else. Two Daves, two Drews, and a Jeremy. It was confusing as hell when a name was said. Lee, of Sheep on Drugs and Bagman, dropped in for a bit. You could see it in his face, the name game was far to disorienting. He was his usual jovial self. He still remembered me from the previous year’s tour with Test Dept , and thanked me for all the vodka. After a bit, he left in search of someone. Dave pulled out a picture of his girlfriend (who is a massage therapist), and we were in awe. “I’m gonna’ go stick my head on the train tracks. It simply isn’t fair,” says Jeremy. Dave, however, was very modest, and explained how much he missed her. I had to give Drew a hard time, because he is married. He took it well, laughing. Meanwhile, the two Daves were removing Jeremy from his practical joke on the train tracks. I think a hidden observer would have thought we were the most absurd group. “The Gestapo has isolated the problems and shall begin virus elimination,” I stated, as we got ready to leave. “Devil bunny virus will eliminate certain death. Wooly bully, wully bully, wully bully… ,” Dave chants back at me. If we had known what would occur a week later, I don’t think we would have joked about a virus. A week later, in Rochester, New York, Dave felt bad and sent Drew to play solo for not breathing that night. When Drew was finished, he went back to the hotel to check on Dave. It wasn’t a good sign when he needed security to open the door. Dave was delusional and needed an ambulance. After the doctors did all their tests, they concluded Dave had spinal meningitis. He was placed in ICU and hooked up to all the machines. At one point, he stopped breathing for forty seconds. I got word of the events through e-mail, and we freaked. Remember, we spent 3 hours on the back of the tour bus in a closed room with Dave. Any of us could have picked it up. We didn’t, and neither did Drew. Currently (April 11th), Dave has regained consciousness. I was told the first thing he asked for was coffee. I guess they weren’t feeding it to him through his IV. So that was our experience with not breathing. I’ll lay it down in plain words… nothing can stop these guys. Dave lived up to the name of not breathing and is still alive. We were able to get out of town for a night and hang with our Internet pals. People may bad mouth the Internet, but look at what it was able to do: five guys have created a friendship over telephone lines, and could relax comfortably without ever meeting in person. Dave’s vegetarian lifestyle prompts his goodbye, “Bavarian vegetarian chili and a black bean burrito. Ain’t paid no parkin’ fine. The monkey will cry, and cry black.” Well Dave, we here are discovering the ability to advance the mind towards infinity within seconds. I know what I know, and we kill what we eat.

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