Bill has asked me to write this blog for Mental Funeral about Scorched-Earth's adventures on our "Scorching Mexico 2011" mini-tour. Many American bands don't think to tour down there for various reasons. We have lots of friends in Seattle who are originally from there and they are easily more fanatical than almost any nationality when it comes to Metal, so when the opportunity arose, we jumped at it almost immediately. It will be the third country we've played in (Canada and the US being the others) so we will have left our stamp in all of North America afterwards. Well, at least the largest countries, haha).
Thursday, May 19th: We make our way to Sea-Tac airport to make our flight to Mexico City. We are playing 3 shows down there, our first time in Mexico. Along with me are our longtime drummer Josh Hanenburg, our new guitarist Matt Fields and our fill-in bassist Zach Palmer (Sanford Johnson isn't able to make the trip. These will be the first shows without him in our entire existence). On our way to the plane we run into our friend Mike Krutsinger, late of In Memorium. He's going to New Mexico, while we're going to Old Mexico (hey, it WAS New Spain at one point). He wishes us luck and we part ways. It's an uneventful flight to Phoenix and then on to Mexico City, when after we zip through customs we are greeted by our hordes of adoring fans! Wait a minute, they're actually adoring fans for Puerto Rican pop superstar Farruko, who is apparently about to arrive anytime now. We hang out for a while observing this phenomenon. You never see this type of Beatlemania in the States these days (then again, I don't hang out much at the airport back home), so when Farruko makes his prescence know, all bedlam breaks loose. Hundreds of kids screaming and rushing him all the way to his van, which they start shaking. Some of his fans notice us, and ask about our band and such. An old drunk woman apparently thinks we're Farruko's backing band and asks for our autographs. We oblige.
We are picked up by our friends Eddie and Minos. They are in a brutal Mexican Death Metal band called The Light Of Dark. I met Eddie years ago when I first visited Mexico City, at this huge street market known as El Chopo. We'd stayed in touch for years, and he's set up this tour for us. We head to his place for cervezas, cheladas, smoke and good times. We go out to this public square known as Plaza Garibaldi, where mariachi bands play throughout the night and you can drink publicly. We also witness an anti-narco operation in progress. In the States we aren't used to seeing cops with full-on assault rifles and HK's. I told the other guys in my band (whose first time it was down here) that they're going to see the good side you never hear about in the American media, but they're also going to see some crazy shit you're not used to. LOTS of people back home think we're crazy for playing down in Mexico, due to what they see on TV about the narco wars down here. Personally, I'm only interested at this point in getting some sleep and starting the next day as Conquerors Of The Pyramids...
Friday, May 20th: We head out to what I think is one of the coolest places in the world: Teotiuachan. That is the site of the very famous pyramids outside the city. I'd been here before, but I really wanted everyone else to check it out as well, so this is our main tourist destination of the trip. We witnessed the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, the Pyramid of The Sun, and the Pyramid of the Moon. Climbing the pyramids is a task, but once on top, there's seriously an energy there you can't describe, even if there are tons of tourists up there.
All right, the gig! We play at a place called Blue Factor, which is a pool hall/bar with tons of blue light, hence the name. There's about 7 opening bands, and the setup is interesting because there's tables and chairs in front of the stage, like as if it were a comdey club or something. We headline the gig, and when we go on, the tables and chairs go flying to the side and the apocalypse has begun! The crowd is going absolutely nuts, with exploding beer cans and the mike stand nailing me in the eye twice. I don't care though, this is awesome! Afterwards we sign a few autographs, pose for some pics and sell some merch. This is new, as this never happens in the US hardly for an underground band. We see Mexican she-males outside for the first time and with that we head off to bed. Without the she-males, you fucking perverts.
Saturday, May 21st: Today we reap the whirlwind! We have 2 gigs today, the first being at the street market known as El Chopo. For those who aren't familiar, El Chopo is a few blocks of booths that sell any, and I mean ANY kind of CD, shirt, or merch item you'd want. It's metalhead paradise. We do a little shopping (prices are good, as you'd imagine), then we set up to play. We're going to do the gig on the sidewalk. I guess they have bands play there every week, of all sorts of styles. We go on after some alternative band and proceed to Crush Thy Kingdom. There's a TON of people watching us, most of which aren't even metalheads, but just curious onlookers. I'm wondering what they think of us when we're done, when we get STAMPEDED by people wanting pictures and autographs! It's fucking insane, we're taking pictures with families dressed for church! DON'T THEY KNOW!?! Hahaha, we'll oblige them. VERY cute and friendly girls spend lots of time with us, but all things must pass and we have to get going to our next gig, in the foreboding Mexican forest...
We make our way up some winding hills to Valle de las Monjas, site of the Metal In The Forest fest. This is going to be my first time seeing forests in Mexico (Ididn't know there were any!). They look strikingly similar to forests in Washington. However, it's apparent from the moment we get here that there will be no hippy rituals like back home to be had this day! We actually arrived 2 hours late, but the stage is still being built. We check out some of the booths and score some good deals on merch. We set up our tents and await the impending slaughter. The stage is HUGE! This is going to be the biggest stage we've ever plaed on, similar to Wacken. It turns out that they need a band to soundcheck, so we volunteer. The local bands are supposed to go on after our soundcheck, but after the reaction we get from the 2 cover songs we play ("Burst Command 'Til War" - Sodom, and "Atomic Nuclear Desolation" - Blasphemy), the kids are going nuts already. There's a HUGE crowd gathered. Thunder, lightning and rain have hit the fest (every time the thunder sounds, Matt plays the riff to "Black Sabbath") and these fanatics don't care, they're starving for some fucking Metal. So we ask the soundguy if we can just start playing and he gives the okay. We start and the whole crowd goes fucking berzerk. This is easily the best gig I personally have ever played and I'm gonna milk this for all it's worth! Slamming, headbanging, crowd chants, all was on display. After we got done, tons of kids come up to the backstage wanting photos and autographs. This is crazy! But awesome, of course. What I like about this country is that there's absolutely no sense of irony with anyone, they're all sincere in what they like and don't like. Americans: we need to revert back to being like this before that Cobain fucker came along and ruined everything, haha.
A few other highlights of the fest: Watain put on an EXCELLENT show, the 3rd time I've seen them, and this one is the best. The forest gives a great ambience to the performance. Plus it's cool to see Set Teitan on guitar, since he never comes to the States with them. Hirax came in at the last minute (both Marduk and Sinister cancelled) and killed it. HUGE fucking pit for them. Now Rage was supposed to headline. I'm very excited for this since the never seem to play in the US. Things were amiss almost immediately, as we found out Peavy wasn't there, and he was to be replaced by a local guy. The intro starts and fails. Silence. Then the intro starts...and fails again. The guitarist kicks his pedal board, announces that this isn't a real Rage show anyways, and walks off stage. The drummer decides to play along to taped Rage music, but this doesn't last long. This German disaster ranks up there with Dresden and the Hindenburg....
Sunday, May 22nd: Most of the day is spent for us drinking and siestaing, and hanging out with fans. It's amazing that the day after, there's still hordes that want to get pictures and autographs with us. We watch our friends in The Light Of Dark tear up the stage early in the day (www.myspace.com/thelightofdark666) then we retire to our tents for the most part. We come back down much later while Gama Bomb is playing and we see the largest pit any of us has seen since the 80's! They were really fucking good, and we hung out in the backstage drinking with them. Violator from Brazil goes up next and they just tear the forest a new asshole. Almost half the crowd is wearing shirts of them and they deliver the goods, for sure. Then Exhumed headlines and destroys the place, utterly. Great to see them again and to hang out backstage drinking (you notice a theme here yet? haha). As the show is winding down, I'm talking to a gentleman in a Von shirt. It eventually comes to my attention that this is Antimo of Disgorge(MEX)/Hacavitz! I react like one of those kids trying to meet Farruko! Very cool guy and I asked him if certain stories of him fighting/getting revenge were true, and yes, they were, haha! We now have to go and we walk off into the dark forest and eventually back to the city lights.
Monday, May 23rd: Pretty much just a day of hanging out and seeing sights. We go to the Zocalo, which has this famous church with some of the greatest architecture you'll ever see. Burger King down here is awesome. They have sandwiches that aren't in the US currently (Italian Chicken Sandwich, motherfucker!). We party and say our goodbyes and head off to the airport, our conquest of Mexico complete. When we got back to the airport in Phoenix, and then home to Seattle, we totally wanted to not be there, haha. We shall return, Mexico!!
BIG THANKS TO TERRY(SCORCHED-EARTH) for recounting his and the bands adventures in MEXICO to the MF readers.