Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Seattle/ Portland/ What the?

(Note: One of these days I’m going to write a way better version of this story, but trying to do it in a van barreling down the road while still a little scared of every bump we hit… well, it’s not my best work.)

I’m not really sure how to approach this one. The fact is that there is nothing really funny about the fact that we should all be dead. But seeing as I have the emotional maturity of a nine-year-old, dealing with something this serious without turning it into a fart joke seems unlikely, but I’ll give it a shot.

After a great show in Seattle and reuniting with our homies Valient Thorr, we started making our way back to Portland to squeeze in an extra night in our own beds. It wasn’t anything out of the norm. The show let out early, which put our ETA in Portland around 3:00 am. We stopped at about 1:30 at a gas station where I fired back a six-pack of microwaveable White Castle sliders. Like I said, nothing out of the norm. Then, about forty miles outside Portland, everything shit the bed.

Let me setup the situation inside the van for ya: Aaron is behind the wheel (seatbelt on). Bryan has shotgun (seatbelt on). I’m behind Bryan (no seatbelt). Adam Pike, who came with us to do sound, is asleep behind Aaron (seatbelt on). John is asleep in the backseat (no seatbelt) and David is in the loft asleep (no seatbelt). Did that get confusing? I’ll give you a second. Got it? Okay.

The next thing you know a deer jumps out in front of the van and stops dead in it’s tracks. Aaron veered right to avoid hitting it and the van starting listing like a race yacht in a gale force wind. He tried to correct to the left but there was no stopping a van loaded down with close to 2,000 pounds of gear and six full-grown men. By this time we were at a ninety-degree angle to the road and when the front passenger tire connected with the soft mud in the median the van rolled. Twice. The next three seconds took about an hour.

There was the sound of glass shattering and metal twisting outside of my body while the hollow thud sound your body makes when you land on your back echoed through the inside of me. The seat was under me for a split second before it started again. When the van stopped I was in the back seat with John. He was repeating “I’m okay. I’m Alive” over and over and when I turned to look at him there was a stream of blood running down his face. The next thought was David. He had been about ten inches from the roof and on the exact level of the back windows, which were no longer there. We looked over to see him hanging half out the window and my heart stopped. It took a second to realize he was crawling out and completely okay. Neither John nor I were wearing shoes and had to wade through a sea of broken glass to get away from the van in case it decided to explode. It already appeared to be on fire.
Even in the face of death John knows this is a blog goldmine

The next few minutes seemed like the opening scene from “Saving Private Ryan.” We were in slow motion while everything around us was in full speed. All of us were in such shock that we really had no idea what was going on. John and I were wandering in circles looking for our shoes and Aaron was asking everyone if they’d seen his glasses again and again. There was a moment of panic when we did a head count and Adam wasn’t there. Then David reminded us that he had walked off to call 911. The fact that not one car stopped made me keep thinking that none of it had really happened and it was all a dream.
The cops, fire truck and ambulance arrived and came running over with an urgency that said, “There are some mangled bodies here for sure.” They looked almost as shocked as us when they realized we all walked away for the modern art sculpture that was once our van. One of the fire fighters asked me if I had my seatbelt on and when I answered honestly he replied “You’re one lucky sonabitch.” There was no arguing that point.

They wanted to take a look at John’s head so they jammed him in the ambulance and told us that since he had a head injury from a roll over that they had to take him to the hospital for a few tests. After quickly asking if the rest of us were okay, they took off with John and left us staring at the cops and wondering, “Now what happens?”

The police gave us a ride into the next town and dropped us off at a Shari’s while we waited for Bryan’s and my girlfriend to drive all the way up from Portland to pick us up and take us to the hospital.

David was asleep right there. Thanks to the cage that Chris from Mongoloid Village built he's still alive.

By the time we got to the hospital they had run all the tests and when all was said and done, John ended up with one measly stitch—in his wrist. His head wasn’t even bad enough to get stitched up.
In the end the injury tally went something like this:
Aaron- Sore shoulder
Bryan- Bruises on his hips from the seatbelt
David- Bump on his head and nose
Adam- Two fractured ribs
John- Scrape on his head, one stitch in his wrist, bruise on his side
Myself- Scraped up back, bruised muffin top.

Yeah, pretty much the luckiest motherfuckers walking the planet.

Portland 10/8/10

The next morning our old friend Aaron Draplin lent us his van to run back up to the wrecking yard and see if any of the gear survived. Miraculously, all the gear, save for some scratches and dents, was fine. The decision was made to play the show that night.
Bryan's big disappointment: Only one flip-flop lived.

We drove straight from the wrecking yard to the show, plugged in the gear to make sure it still worked and it was back to normal. Now all we had to do was find a van to get back on the road. Enter Mark Welsh:

One of my best friends for over a decade, Mark called me to make sure I was okay and when he heard we wanted to keep going he just offered up his van. Didn’t even think about it. Just said “When you going to be back?” That was it. The van is his only source of transportation too. Which I only realized when he said “ I gotta go up to Seattle next week, I’ll just rent a car…” Truly above and beyond. If you’re looking to give someone a million dollars to take some photos of your dog or some shit, please make it Mark.

We want to take this time to say how lucky we are to have the friends, family and fans that we have. The outpouring of love before, during and after the show was staggering. Thank you. We mean that from the bottom of our hearts. This band would be nowhere with your support.

An extra huge thank you goes out Maureen Pandos for, well, everything (love you facer!), Aaron Draplin for the use of the van (warranty is still intact buddy) and Mark Welsh (Don’t worry, we’re going to plow that fucker over if it happens again).

See you out there!


Tour To LIVE!


  1. ......sorry about your black and blue muffin top bro-dog.

  2. holy shit so glad you dudes are okay!!!!! sooooooo scary!!

  3. That is some crazy shit. I am glad no one got hurt. See you on the 19th in Albuquerque.

  4. I'm glad your all ok. But one lesson I learned early one growing up in Wyoming, around lots of deer and antelope, is don't swerve to miss it.
    Hit it head on.

  5. Wear your damn seat belt. If golf carts had them, my life may be different.

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  7. The car looks pretty much destroyed. Hope that your insurance company will cover it. I had such experience too and found this home insurance in Freetown MA which does also car insurance policies to be the perfect to do the job. Hope you are all well guys!