Brody to the Max
For the Distillers, life on the road isn't all about gulping moonshine, kicking fans in the head, and slapping one another silly. There's also barfing, pissing in public, and passing out. To promote their brand-new third album, Coral Fang, the L.A. punk rockers joined the traveling circus that is Lollapalooza. Here's what went down, straight from the band themselves
JULY 5: INDIANAPOLIS
Andy Granelli: First day of the tour. We wereall really excited to play. We got ready: Istretched, Brody warmed up, Ryan drank abeer, and Tony smoked. Then God spat rainand wind from his anus, and they canceledour set.We cried like little babies. Actually, itwas okay, because we spent the day gettingused to everything. It’s strange to be munchingon a tuna-and-potato-chipper and haveChris Cornell walk by with the Audioslaveguys in tow. It’s even stranger to have themlook over and say “Hey.”
Brody Armstrong: First day of Lollapaloozaand we get rained out. I made friends withsome people from Indianapolis who broughtme moonshine, which makes your facepucker on the spot. It gets you drunk withinone minute. They told me to take a sip, butI gulped it.
Tony Bradley: Tonight was fucking awesome.We hung out with the guys from Queens ofthe Stone Age and had all this vodka andbeer and White Castle. Josh [Homme, who isdating Brody] bought a giant box of fireworks,and we lit them off while sitting by amanmade lake at the hotel.
Ryan Sinn: I remember getting up and trippingtrying to get away from things explodingin my face. A few kids threw waterballoons at us, so we threw some stuff backat them until they ran away.
JULY 8: KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
Brody: Today, we played our first show. Itwas hot, and it sucked. First shows alwayssuck. It takes a lot to get in the rhythm.
Andy: I think it was 500 degrees outside,which is possibly an understatement. Beforeour show [on the second stage], I caughtsome of Steve-O from Jackass’ act. He stapledbras to his ass, cut his tongue with abroken lightbulb, drank tequila, and vomited.He got the best crowd response of theday. I tried to talk to him, but to be honest,I’m afraid of hep C.
Tony: After Steve-O puked up tequila shots, Ithought, “How are we going to follow thisguy?” It was a rough set, but there were abunch of Distillers fans singing along andenjoying the new songs. One kid came upand said, “The new songs are great. I don’tgive a fuck that people are saying you guysare selling out.”
JULY 9: ST. LOUIS
Andy: Today we just tried to stay cool, butthere was no place to go that wasn’t a milliondegrees. For fun, I tried to sign up for thismodeling agency that had a booth on thegrounds. The models weren’t amused. Thenagain, I don’t think models get amused.Weended the night hanging out with a couple ofthe Donnas, watching Jane’s Addiction. DaveNavarro has Louis Vuitton guitar straps.
JULY 11: MILWAUKEE
Brody: No show today. I’m sick. I went to thehospital with a chest infection and a fever. Ihad to give a urine sample, and there was acrack in the bottom of the urine cup, and mypiss was dripping all over the floor.
Andy: Nothing happened today. I think Imight pierce my belly button out of boredom.
JULY 12: CHICAGO
Ryan: The only cool thing I did all day waswatch one of the Donnas light her guitar on fire.
JULY 16: CINCINNATI
Andy: We had two days off in Cincinnati, sowe went to this bar called the Cock andBalls, or something like that. The guys fromCave In were there and some of the tour’smystical sideshow types. I learned a lesson:Don’t give a hippie 20 bucks for pot. Allyou’ll get in return are pseudo good vibesand a hangout session in a yurt.
JULY 18: DETROIT
Tony: We had a rad show. I did a Ted Nugentimpersonation, yelling at the crowd andshaking like a mad dude. I think the audiencewas too young to get it, but some oldguy in the back screamed, “Yeah, Nugent!”
Andy: After the show, we spent some timewith the Funeral Director. He’s actually a DJin [Kool Keith’s latest project] Thee Undatakerzwho wears a mask, cape, and battinggloves. Some of the dudes from QOTSA gotthese killer scooters and were puttingaround backstage.
JULY 20: CLEVELAND
Brody: The show today sucked. We switchedto the main stage and had to adjust because itwas giant. We’re used to small clubs, whichis kind of where we excel. The wholeamphitheater was wood-paneled.
Andy: It looked like your uncle’s cabin atthe river. It smelled like mothballs andmayonnaise.
Ryan: Five minutes before we were to go on,the production guys wouldn’t let us hang ourbanner because we didn’t have some fuckingcertificate saying it was fireproof. Our managerStu said, “Hold on,” and within eightminutes, that thing was up. Stu held a lighterto the banner to prove that it wouldn’t catchfire. The production dude was cool withthat, but as he started to walk away, the bannerwas kind of burning. Oops!
JULY 21: NEW YORK CITY
Brody: Andy Wallace [who mixed Nirvana’sNevermind] is mixing our record. I told himwhat I wanted to hear without expecting himto actually respect my opinion. When wecame back a few hours later to hear music,he had done exactly what I said. He heard itfrom my perspective and had gone beyondit. I was really impressed.
JULY 23: HOLMDEL, NEW JERSEY
Brody: Today was Tony’s birthday. We had aphoto shoot for New Musical Express and gotinto a huge beer fight on these golf carts thatwe had stolen. I smelled like beer for the restof the day. The drowned-beer-rat look. Realattractive. Our A&R guy, Craig, drove us backto the city in his minivan after the show, andTony took my Gatorade bottle and peed in it.
Tony: I had to pee really bad! I felt pretty terriblewhen I found out that Craig had rentedthe minivan for his family.
JULY 24: NEW YORK CITY
Brody: CBGB tonight. It was amazing to standon the same stage as Blondie, the Ramones,Richard Hell, and the fuckin’ New YorkDolls. It was one of the most fun shows I’ve ever played in my life, and I sweated my fuckingskin off. The crowd blew me away. It wasscary and awesome and intense all at thesame time. This dumbass held up a sign thatsaid TAKE TIM BACK [Brody’s estranged husbandis Rancid’s Tim Armstrong], so I kickedhim in the head. All the kids around himcheered when I did it. I did’t realize howhard I kicked him until I saw his head wobble.I was like, “Oh, shit. Not a good sign.”
Ryan: CBGB was fucking crazy. While wewere sitting on the bus out front, I saw RobHalford walk by the club wearing a chartreusepolo shirt. That was the icing on thecake. The show was insanely awesome. Theonly bad thing was that I looked at these photosa friend took and thought, “I really need tolose some weight.” I’ve probably been drinkinga little too much.
Tony: I was totally stoked to be playing ourown show at night, because playing at 2:30in the afternoon [at Lollapalooza] can berough. Cristina Martinez from Boss Hog wasthere. It blew my mind because I’ve had acrush on her for a long time and she lookedeven more beautiful in person. It was thebest show I’ve ever played. Kids weresinging all the songs back to us.
Brody: In the van back to the hotel, I slappedAndy. We invented the Slapping Game a fewyears ago, where you just keep slapping eachother until you want to beat the shit out ofeach other. I’m a total fuckin’ masochist. Thesurprise was he slapped me back. It was thegreatest! I went to slap him again, and everyonefreaked out.
JULY 25: BOSTON
Tony: I used to live in Boston, so I got to seemy mom and my sister. I think they wereblown away by [the show], because you tryto explain to your parents what you do, butwhen they actually see it, they understand.
Brody: I love Tony’s mother. She’s a fabulousRhode Island Italian mama who has balls thesize of Russia. She emasculated him and senthim my way. I emasculated him, and nowhe’s a man.
JULY 28-29: NEW YORK CITY
Brody: Three photo shoots today. I did thecover of Women Who Rock magazine. It’sstrange that I’m going to be on the cover of amagazine. I feel like I’m on this train thatdoesn?t have any stops. You just stay on andwatch the scenery go by. The whole tour hasbeen like that. Then I did this other shootwhere I was called a “future legend,” whichwas weird. It would be totally fucking arrogantfor me to say, “I’m a future legend.”Johnny Cash is a legend. Debbie Harry is alegend. Patti Smith is a legend. They’ve allmade their imprint. I definitely don’t seemyself as a legend. I can’t tell the future. Icould die tomorrow, and it could all fuckin’be over.
JULY 30: WANTAGH, NEW YORK
Brody: Today’s show at Jones Beach[amphitheater] was terrible. We took awrong turn and got there 15 minutes beforewe were supposed to go on. I gave the crowdthe finger at the end of the show.
Ryan: Worst show of the tour. Whoeverdesigned Jones Beach needs to be kicked inthe nuts. It’s shaped like a baseball diamond,but there’s no grass. There’s no vibe–you don’tconnect with anyone. To get to the stage youhave to go through this tunnel that obviouslywasn’t sealed very well, because there was allthis gross, murky water and it smelled horrid.Security were a bunch of fucking dickheads.It was one of those days where I thought,”Man, can I just catch a fuckin’ break?” ThenI noticed all my gear was set up backward.
AUGUST 1: WASHINGTON, D.C.
Ryan: My fiancee, Heather, left today, andI’m bummed. I’m not going to see her againfor a month. I took her to the airport, and theguy from the venue who drove me back wastelling me about his upbringing in Haiti,watching people get hacked to death in thestreets. The whole way back to the hotel, I’mbumming that I just dropped off my fianceeand that I’m hearing this guy’s story. Ineeded a stiff drink.
Tony: I partied all day after the show.QOTSA’s merchandise girl, Anna, introducedme to my new favorite drink–vodka,ginger beer, and a generous amount ofwine. I drank several of those, and we endedthe night dancing. I passed out on the couchin the dressing room.
Andy: Tony was getting belligerent in thecatering room and tried to throw a chair.Hewas so drunk we got him to squat and piss.He squatted over a giant puddle, and itlooked like he pissed all over the place.
AUGUST 3: ATLANTA
Brody: We did an interview for CNN today,and I don’t think I said a goddamn word. Theboys did all the talking. It was total comedy.
Andy: My girlfriend, Katie, was in town, sowe went to some bars. Some fucking hippietried to spray her drink over someone, and itgot on us. I tried to teach the girl a lesson onhow not to be a jackass at a bar, but I was toodrunk to explain it properly, so she walkedaway. Dumb hippie.
AUGUST 4: DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
Ryan: Day off. We went to the boardwalk onthe beach and tried to rent scooters, but theplace was closed. We walked back, and Ifigured I would buy a bottle of Mad Dog20/20. It started to rain, and we had thebrilliant idea of jumping in the ocean. Onlytwo of us had bathing suits, so Tony put onKatie’s panties. Tony conned me into givinghim my swim trunks and having me swimin my underpants. I didn’t give a shit–I wasdrinking Mad Dog! The lifeguards sent usaway because of lightning, so we all ran forthe hotel pool. Tony and I had to pee, so wegot out, peed our pants, and jumped backin the pool. It’s pretty hard to be discreetwhen you have yellow streams coming outof your shorts.
AUGUST 6: WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA
Ryan: Brody and Tony went to New York tomaster the record. Andy and his girl went toMiami for a few days off, and I’m staying onthe bus, traveling. The air conditioner broke,and it was a fucking hot night. I think I’vebeen sweating nonstop since Atlanta. Wedrove to Baton Rouge. I caught a frog andnamed him Chirpy.
AUGUST 6: NEW YORK CITY
Brody: Tony and I went to Motor City Bar onthe Lower East Side and got milked anddanced to R&B and soul all night. Then wehad an argument in the cab and sat on thesidewalk and yelled at each other. We stayedat the Hudson–the dog-box hotel. I don’tknow if [hotelier] Ian Schrager has everstayed in any of his fuckin’ rooms, but I thinkhe needs to. I kept waiting for someone toknock on my door and give me a bone.
AUGUST 8: DALLAS
Andy: I flew to Dallas today to meet up witheveryone. I went to Tony and Ryan’s room toorder food so I wouldn’t have to pay for it. Iate, barfed, and passed out at 11:30 P.M.
Brody: The air-conditioning on the bus brokedown. It was 120 million degrees in there,and all my lipsticks melted. I refused to go onthe bus, because it was cooler outside than itwas in there.
Ryan: I saw Vinnie Paul from Pantera cruisingaround the venue parking lot. It wasfucking amazing. Our show was reallygood. Brody was really happy with it, but Ithink I sounded like ass. I was sick, so I couldhardly talk, let alone sing.
AUGUST 10: HOUSTON
Brody: Our last show. It was definitely thebest one of the tour. Perry [Farrell] came outand introduced us. I was so nervous–I wasshaking the entire time. But it was totally fun.Everyone was watching our set, which probablymade me more nervous, because Icouldn’t look to either side of the stage. We’regoing to have a little party before we go. Wegot to hang out with the Burning Brides andthe Donnas a lot on this tour. We all got alongreally well. I will definitely miss all the facesand the tour camaraderie.
Tony: Perry called Brody the sexiest womanin rock.
LATER THAT NIGHT
Ryan: Holy shit, I think our roadie was gettingit on in the shower. Gross!
Andy: Tony and I went to eat at Denny’s afterthe show. As we’re walking out, Tony made acomment about the heat. This jock was walkingin with his girlfriend and looks at us andsays, “What did you say, faggot?” We endedup fighting him. He punched Tony square inthe teeth, so I beat the shit out of him andbashed his grill into the pavement. Then thecops came. We tried to get him busted forassault, but it would have been a pain in theass. So we just went back to the hotel andwent to bed. By the way, I told the cops that Iwas in Audioslave to try and pull morewater. It didn’t work.
AUGUST 11: LONDON
Brody: Tony came into my room yesterdaywith giant lips. It looked like he’d had 40[collagen] injections in the same spot. He toldme what happened at Denny’s. If I had beenthere, I would have slit that jock’s throat fromear to ear. Unbelievable. The trip over herewas hell. I wanted to upgrade to first class,but it was $3,900. Fuck you, Continental Airlines.So I was standing there, tempted to[upgrade], when Andy came up and said,”Dude, imagine how many pairs of shoes youcan buy with $3,900.” He was totally right.