40 Oz. Of Hell -- God Hates Us All -- But Some Definitely More Than Others
Tuesday, May 28, 2002 @ 11:15 AM
The Rock n' Roll Ranting Of A
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Welcome to the dump where Jeff Kerby lives in his Pinto and swills mind numbing alcohol case after battered case. I have been assured that every couple of weeks I will receive a column from him undoubtedly written on one of the torn up bags which he uses to house his malt liquor. It seems this poor guy lives with all that society throws away only to find solace in a bottle of fire. Here it is, Kerby’s 40 Oz. Of Hell. Be glad you only get to visit -- he has to live there. – Ed.
Today’s Episode: "God Hates Us All -- But Some Definitely More Than Others"
There are metal fans and then there are Slayer fans.
When I happened to run into David Chipps at the line to get into the Sunshine Theater, it was easy to tell which one he was. Hell, it was easy for everyone in a three-block radius to tell which one he was.
“Kerby, you mutherfucker -- wait, I mean, Kerby you midget fucker -- what’s up?” He yelled with enough volume that I knew I couldn’t pretend not to know him.
Besides, it wasn’t like I didn’t know what he was doing -- simply initiating a conversation in order to simultaneously squirm into line in front of the people behind us. It worked, too. The way he was screaming, no one was going to say anything. Not even at a Slayer show. David and his friend, who had just been introduced to me as Zebediah, both looked as though they had walked right out of some murky-ass swamp and directly into line. They were dirty, wet and smelled like fish… uh… so, I guess that meant they were unlike me in that I was dirty, wet and smelled of ground beef. It figured I would meet him up with him there -- the first of two straight nights featuring Slayer in Albuquerque. I hadn’t seen him in a while, in fact, the only contact I had with Chipps since I saw him at Dokken a couple months ago primarily consisted of him leaving several risqué messages for me at McDonald’s during my shifts. As soon as he’d phone, my manager, Mr. Johnson, would call me into his office and thrust one of those pink, “while you were out” slips at me. The first time, I saw that David Chipps had called and had left the following message: “What are you wearing? What are you wearing?… dude. Are you naked?”
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That time, Johnson even offered me the phone to call him back, but at that point I thought it judicious to decline. I just figured that responding might only encourage him. However, after the next two messages he left which read: “Just for your information, it’s eight inches,” and “No big deal, just tell him I was just calling about his rectum,” it was clear that my pal Dave’s messages were becoming increasingly perplexing to my very heterosexual, terminally-obsessed fast food manager.
“Listen here, Jeff,” he told me on the day of the rectal inquiry. “We need to clear the air a little bit. McDonald’s is an equal opportunity employer, and we definitely do not make it a habit to discriminate against our workers based on race, creed, religion or even sexual preference, but that being said, I don’t especially enjoy being the scribe for your little messages of amour. If your special “friend” wants to call here, that’s fine---but he needs to tone it down a little. I mean what’s next? What’s next?”
Although I knew this was a rhetorical question, I just couldn’t help responding -- “…I dunno,” I said tonelessly. “I was thinking something along the lines of cum gurgling? What do you think?”
“Look Kerby, this isn’t funny. He keeps this up and there are going to be some serious consequences! Serious consequences! This is a place of work -- not a pickup joint for those who use “exits” as “entrances” if you know what I mean.”
Although Mr. Johnson didn’t exactly say what the punishments were going to be, I could tell that he was pretty pissed. I decided right then and there that I’d better go outside during lunch and call Chipps from a pay phone. After dialing the number listed on one of the messages, I listened as he picked up only to mutter a completely unenthusiastic “What’s up, fucker?”
“This is Kerby-- “
“I know who it is you payphone dialing bastard. Fuck boy, it ain’t that difficult a mystery -- shit, after all, you’re the only guy I know who’d be calling me who’s sad enough not to own his own a fucking phone. Shit, you don’t even have Cricket, bitch.”
“…Uh, yeah. I guess you sure got me there. Anyway, do you think it would be possible for you to stop--”
“Leaving fucking funny-ass messages at your place of work? Is that it? You afraid I’m making you look like a homo? You don’t need me for that. If you don’t enjoy my entertainment, then just fucking say it!! Don’t go around going, ‘Hey, do you think you might… could…or may stop--” you sound like an asshole.”
“That would be just--”
Click. That fucker hung up on me.
It isn’t like it’s the first time that’s ever happened either. In this case, it was worth it to hear dial tone because the mad dialer didn’t send me any more messages, so, at least Mr. Johnson was happy. I didn’t think much more about it and had actually kind of forgotten Chipps existed until he showed up in line at the concert. It shouldn’t have been a surprise to me though--isn’t a Slayer show where you’re supposed to find all of life’s colorful, bloodthirsty characters who send obscene messages to their friend’s employers? ...It sure seemed that way as we slowly wound around the venue. It was apparent that many of society’s dirty little secrets had left the underground and were now in my direct proximity as we continued along in our quest to reach the front door. During that long sixty-three minutes -- hell yes, I kept track -- I suffered through some of the worst verbal abuse every heaped on a poor bastard that you could ever imagine. The harsh part was that most of the stuff was… well, true. The bad part was that since Dave had such a history with me, I would’ve been a pussy if I didn’t find a way to endure the vast array of names he consistently heaped upon me. What made things even worse is that he came to the show equipped with a copy of the last article I wrote, you know, the one where I talked about the Iron Maiden, Powerslave shirt that he always wore.
“What the fuck, Kerby? Fuckin’ makin’ fun of my fuckin’ clothes just because my mom couldn’t do the fucking laundry every week. What the fuck? Sorry I didn’t have some of those fucking shirts with the fuckin’ alligators and shit, motherfucker--”
“I wasn’t trying--”
“Shut up. Shut the fuck up. I may not have had any of those fancy shirts, but I’ve fuckin’ got this motherfucker. Yeah, try this bad boy on for size.”
That’s when Dave turned around to show me the tattoo etched across the back of his neck that said, “Slayer”. The design was inked to make it look as though he had created it himself with the help of a kitchen knife.
“When the hell did you do that?” I asked.
“About a week before Slayer was supposed to come here in February.”
“Bet you were pretty disappointed when they cancelled, huh?”
“Worst day of my life,” he said as a thick sincerity came over his face like bukkake on a Japanese whore. “Yeah, it was even worse than when my mother died.”
“Fuck no, I’m not fucking kidding. When she died, I just drank and dealt with it later---that cancellation shit impacted my life, motherfucker. I cried when it happened. I actually fucking wept. That night was the darkest of my life.”
I was trying to ponder the total meaning of his statement when I was distracted by some chunky kid moving along behind us talking to different groups of people while holding out a ticket and a five dollar bill in his hand. Out of curiosity I mumbled something to Chipps about what that guy was selling when Zebediah intercepted my inquiry and yelled over to the kid, “Hey, fat boy!! Fat boy!!”
“I’ll ask the questions here you tubby bastard. What the hell are you doing?”
"...Some drunk guy bumped into me and started slurring, “Mman, I hhope [Slayer] play some old sshit from Hell Awaits and Reign in Blood tonight, uh, and tomorrow.” This fucker was scary, and since I didn’t know what to say, I just screamed “Slayer rules!” and threw up the metal sign."
The kid looked over and appeared a little startled. His downtrodden facial expression made me instantly sorry that I had ever posed the question. After weighing his options—which were undoubtedly few—tubby must have figured he might as well tell his story. Come to think of it, that was actually the prudent thing to do---running would have only resulted in a horrific ass kicking.
“Well…man, thing is that they’re screwing us!! All the people who had tickets for the February show have to go tomorrow night---guys, I live 200 miles away.”
“So? They’re playing two shows, go tomorrow night and quit bitching.” Zebediah said.
“But, I’ve got school.”
“You’re fucking kidding aren’t you? You’ve got to be fucking kidding! You’d better get your jiggly ass out of here before I kick it…..What the fuck? This guy gonna be late for Home Economics on Monday or what? School? That’s the stupidest shit I’ve ever heard. Slayer plays two shows, one on Saturday and one on Sunday the choice is fucking simple, go to one, or go to both, but SHUT THE FUCK UP WITH THE WHINING ALREADY!!”
No wonder Chipps and this guy were friends.
As the entrance to theater finally loomed in front us, David yelled, “here it is -- welcome to the gates of hell!! Enjoy it boys, ‘cause it’s as close as we are gonna get -- until we diiiieeee anyway.”
After the searching and the ticket taking, I kinda got separated from Chipps and Zebediah -- I wasn’t exactly sure that was such a bad thing either. Since I had no one else to consult with, I just decided to go up to the balcony and get a beer. There was a vacant place on the rail overlooking center stage, so I took it. It was immediately after Diecast had finished their set that the chants first started, “Slay-er, Slay-er.” Shit, I thought I could feel the balcony move as the volume increased and the foot stomping commenced. It was at that point I began envisioning the upper floor falling to the pit crushing all in the venue. That’s when I started getting philosophical about everything.
When you die at a Slayer concert, do you automatically go to hell? What if you’re in a wreck and you’re playing a Slayer CD? What if a train hits you and you’re wearing a Slayer t-shirt? What if you die while helping a group of homeless people but you have a Slayer tattoo? Do you still go to hell? Why doesn’t anyone think about this kind of thing?
I know that the audience’s borderline obsession with Slayer happens every night in every city they play, and you have to admit that opening for them anywhere is a pretty unenviable task. That being said, Hatebreed went over better than I figured they would. The lead singer does some interesting dance type stuff considering the music is marketed as hard core. As he jumped and shuffled his feet around the stage, all I could think about was Motown’s 50th anniversary special. The songs on the set were all very short and the singer kept saying that the set was almost over -- I think he kept repeating this so that people wouldn’t get as hostile if they thought that the headliner was about to appear.
While everyone waited for Slayer to open the flood gates to hell, some drunk guy bumped into me and started slurring, “Mman, I hhope they play some old sshit from Hell Awaits and Reign in Blood tonight, uh, and tomorrow.” This fucker was scary, and since I didn’t know what to say, I just screamed “Slayer rules” and threw up the metal sign. Once he heard me, all he did was flash his nicotine-stained ivory at me as he stumbled away. Albuquerque is definitely a Slayer town, and many, including the guy I just talked to, claimed they were going to both nights. I only had a ticket for one though, and I figured that if I had to hear any more of Chipp’s abuse, one would seem like plenty. That is, I felt that way until the band came out to the sounds of “Darkness of Christ” before launching straight into “Disciple.” Of course, right from the beginning, the pit was a violent, pulsating mass of sweat, tattoos and dysfunction.
Slayer’s musicianship was typically solid with the band singing scorching tracks such as “Stain of Mind,” “Die by the Sword,” “Threshold,” “Bloodline” and “Payback.” Tom Araya seemed to be in a festive state of mind as he thanked the audience for all of their emails and letters supporting him during his time of loss. He also told a story about driving by some car that had gotten mangled in an Albuquerque intersection and how you never knew when you might end up dead. Araya’s narrative segued into a superior rendition of “Postmortem.” Looking around, you realize that it is a difficult task to stereotype a Slayer fan or what a Slayer fan should look like. Of course, there are your rocker types and some clean-cut muscle dudes who
looked like they would be happier at a Circle Jerks show, but throughout the night I saw just as many overweight, “two kids and a dog” people looking like they probably worked 9-5 selling insurance. Remarkably enough, these were some of the most enthusiastic in attendance as they sang along with every lyric and pretended to play each guitar solo. When Tom told the crowd, “There sure are some ugly motherfuckers out there!” I looked down and was able to see Chipps and Zebediah bashing about in the mosh pit. The atmosphere on the floor was definitely not the type you would see at, the Offspring, for instance. There were many very big, very aggressive, adult males seemingly wanting to send each other to the infirmary while basking in the sounds of the devil. I know, I know, everyone says that it’s all in good fun, but it sure looked painful. Besides, asskickings find me -- it’s not like I have to go out and search for them.
As I watched the set, I knew the drunk guy who bumped into me earlier had to have been happy when “Raining Blood” and “Hell Awaits” moved the pile of sweaty humanity beneath me and caused it to undulate and shriek in a maniacal, cathartic wave. For a while, I couldn’t see Chipps anymore, and I thought that maybe he died underneath the weight of some buffed out House of Pain fanatic. I don’t want to say that I actually hoped that he would meet this fate, I just felt that it was probably the way he would want to go, you know, Tom Araya’s voice ringing in his ears and a love for metal in his heart. I had no selfish motives here; it wasn’t like I wanted him to bite it just because it meant that I’d never have to worry about him leaving me any homoerotic messages at my job. …Hmmm, but if he did pass away, I knew I’d also never have to endure any more grief about how I was a high school loser who never made it with the ladies and continued to be one later in life -- like David, I guess -- only I wasn’t a cool loser, I was just a regular garden variety failure. I already knew that, so why did he always continue to tell me about it?
When the last notes of “Angel of Death” helped peel what was left of the paint off the ragged Sunshine Theater, I started to make my way down the staircase and into the lobby where a throng of rabid Slayer people stood in line to buy coveted t-shirts that they would inevitably proceed to wear every day for the next month. Who cares if they were thirty bucks? Hell, it wasn’t like you’d ever have to buy any more clothes -- at least until the next tour. As I usually did, I planned on passing up the shirts in favor of spending the night at a cheap hotel. I knew I’d never be able to go back to the shelter since it was probably too late to get a bed at that time of night. I had just stepped out of the building and taken in the first breath of fresh air I had experienced in hours when I heard the call. The call of the one I presumed to be dead…
“Kerby, you fucking midget loving bastard!!! That show kicked some fucking ass, motherfucker!!!”
Nope. Chipps was alive, and he wanted me to accompany them on their haunts about the city. It was against my better judgment to go with him and Zebediah to one of the local bars downtown because I knew they didn’t know their way around down there. I also knew that we were destined to end up in one of those college bars where everyone there would perceive themselves as infinitely more cultured and refined than we were. Darn it, that’s exactly what happened. Everyone at the bar -- besides us, definitely shopped at Dillard’s and the Gap. Chipp’s didn’t even seem to notice. Maybe he just didn’t care, I don’t know. He did buy me some beer though, even if I was the night’s entertainment, it was worth it.
“Zebediah,” David said. “Did you know that in high school, this fucking fucker would ask me to go skipping class with him. He’d say that we were gonna drink beer or some fucking thing. Instead, all we did was shoot baskets at some fucking park while he cranked Autograph. Motherfucking Autograph! Can you believe that fucking shit? How’d that song go, midget boy? “Turn Up, the Radio”?
“More like, ‘Turn up the Gayness,’ motherfucker,” Zebediah joined in.
“Yeah, that is fucked up. Autograph -- what the fuck is that? It isn’t like you don’t get involved in all kinds of fucked up shit even now. Like what’s up with that rant shit? I mean, it’s cool as fuck for me to say shit because I know you, but some of these little bastards whine just because. “Kerby do this.” “Kerby do that.” “Kerby, you’re funny, but I don’t understand words with more than two fuckin’ syllables.” What the fuck is that? Dumb motherfuckers. Oh yeah, you’d better fucking portray me accurately too, motherfucker, or I’ll be on there telling everyone about your Autograph fascination.”
“Gay shit.” Zebediah said.
“Well, I don’t get to the computers too often unless I get over to the library. Even then, it’s ok, it’s like a sick little family.”
“A family? A family? What the fuck is your name? Osbourne? Fuck them, dude. I don’t even know if I want to be in your shit anymore.”
“It’s cool. They mostly just talk about me--”
I hadn’t gotten a chance to say anything else because some guy from the pool tables bumped into Chipps. David turned around quickly and faced this guy whose name I just knew had to be something along the lines of Grant or Buddy. He was exactly six to eight inches taller than Chipps, but even with this heady reality staring down at him, I just knew David wouldn’t let this go.
“What the fuck?” David said.
“Yeah, are you gay?” Zebediah followed up.
By this time, the dude had gotten a good look at Chipps’ concert shirt and turned back to one of his friends and said, “Slayer? Fuck, when was the last time you guys listened to them? Middle school? Hey, shorty, you guys worship the devil? Scaaaryy!”
Shit. I knew it was on then. See, you could say shit about Dave to Dave, but if you started talking about Slayer, you were in for a battle -- that is exactly what ensued. I wanted no part of this either (probation will do that to you). Still, it was like Chipps said, I could talk shit about him or vice versa, but put just let some jackass who was probably listening to Duran Duran in the eighth grade starts throwing in his two cents, and just see what happens. The whole place turned into a clanging, broken whirling dervish of destruction. I got hit at least eighteen or nineteen times. It was almost worth it though for the five or six really good punches I got in. The whole incident probably only took about two and a half minutes, but I felt like it had been much longer. When the sirens blared from down the street, I knew that metal or not, I need to get the hell out of there and into the nearest flea bag hotel I could get registered in.
The clerk at the counter looked at me and my bloody face, but still rented the room to me after only asking whether I was HIV positive or not. I tried my best to assure him that I wasn’t, and although it seemed like he didn’t believe me, the guy just muttered, “What do I care? It’s the housekeeper’s problem anyway.” That night, I applied various cold compresses to my bloated face and decided that I really loved rock and roll. Even though I knew it would eventually kill me, I actually enjoyed the freak show that my life frequently became whenever I put myself in an atmosphere with other drunk, stoned people who liked to rock and tear shit up. That was when life got interesting -- that’s when life was worth living.
The next morning, I made it got out of my bed at the hotel and went to walk down to the locker at the shelter where I kept my McDonald’s uniform. As the sun shone onto my lily-white skin, I ran into two meth whores who didn’t even bother to proposition me because I looked so ragged. The only thing I could think about that morning was how much I hurt, but at same time, I knew that it was all worth it. My mind continued to ruminate, and I started to feel bad about leaving Chipps for dead two times in one night. Before I fled from the police sirens, the last sight I viewed was that of Dave and Zebediah throwing wild punches at ten preppy guys with pool cues. Instead of hoping this time that he had gotten trampled underneath yet another wave of aggressive feet, I actually found myself hoping that I’d run into Chipps at some other show this summer like Danzig or the Scorpions. Hell, at least just knowing he was alive and out of jail would mean something.
I changed clothes at a gas station and put on that bright red and yellow hat. There was obviously a formidable rush at McD’s when I arrived, yet when I opened the door and went to clock in, Mr. Johnson yelled for me not to start my shift, but to go back to his office -- NOW!!! That’s when my obviously frustrated manager thrust four new pink slips of paper into my hand. They were all from the ubiquitous David Chipps, and I read them all, one right after the other.
“Kerby, I can’t believe you liked Autograph -- you big pussy.” 9:40 AM
“You left the early, motherfucker!! If you’re gonna die, die with your boots on!!” 9:43 AM
“Fuck you, Jeff. Slayer rules!! Now come and bail me out of jail -- if you don’t, you’re a big faggot.” 9:45 AM
“Kerby, fuck you!! Hurry up. If you don’t get me out of here, I’m gonna tell everyone how gay you really are. HEAVY METAL RULES!!” 9:48 AM
As I glanced at the messages in front of me, I realized that despite what I may have believed before, God really does hate me.