Friday, April 30, 2010

Return of the Iceman?

Well, I finally went out to the Independence Events Center today and gave my fading ice hockey career another jump start.

Considering the fact that it was only my second time on skates in two years (my last game was at Pepsi Ice Center in Overland Park KS in May 2008), it wasn't the worst of times. I played a solid defense, made some slick passes, only made one bonehead giveaway, and scored an empty-net goal with no time remaining. Still, I thought being about twenty pounds lighter would've made a difference. WRONG! Get out on that track and do some laps, big man.

Back in high school I was a neighborhood legend but I didn't have the size to take a shot at the minor leagues. The band, then wrestling, eclipsed my hockey dream until 2007. I had this fantastic delusion of making a comeback to see if I had anything left. Unfortunately I chose the Waukonis hockey league as a re-entry point and, frankly, I got screwed over every step of the way. Joe Lynch, who was one of my first 'friends' at the rink (and happened to be chummy with four-time Stanley Cup-winning NY Islander and 1990 Olympic hockey gold medalist Ken Morrow) turned out to be a lying snake in the grass. He ended up being the one to get me kicked out of the league, sinking my last hope of being 'discovered'.

So why go back? Well, why lift weights, why play rock and roll? Even better: why wake up tomorrow? If you can, you might as well. If you don't you may as well start digging your own grave. When your dreams die, you die.

And this NYC Sewer Rat isn't dead yet.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Iron Man?

Back to the weights again.

The weights. They've given me the edge throughout my life, ever since I was a 98-pound weakling in fifth grade at St. Paul's School in Brooklyn NY. I convinced my Mom to buy me my first 110-pound set for my thirteenth birthday; that was the recommended age to start because Joe Weider said so. I was so weak I could barely carry the bar, my Mom and my friend Kenny had to carry the box of plates. They helped me evolve into a 147-pound wolverine through high school, and I eventually became a 185-pound Broadway Turk Superstar throughout my NYC rock career with the Spoiler and the Ducky Boys.

When I left NYC for Texas, all I took with me was my love for lifting. I got back into it and was amazed to discover there was life (and size) beyond the Big Apple, pumping myself up to 240 (with a 400-lb bench press and a 500-lb squat) to pursue my childhood dream of pro wrestling. I toiled in the minor leagues for four years before hanging it up and putting the plates away. Seven years later, I made a comeback at Kuk Sool Won on the road to a martial arts degree. It ended in Independence MO where I tore my arms up, the left one at Universal Hapkido and the right one at the Cave, a submission fighting school (you think I would've taken the hint). In between I managed to find closure with my dreams of ice hockey in Gladstone MO. I was a glacier on the ice, I wrecked enough guys to get kicked out of the league.

So why go back now? defines me. That big bad wrestling persona was Broadway Turk before he ever set foot in a wrestling ring. It makes the SPOILER what it is, it gives me the edge and the self-confidence to get up on there and say, this is our stage, we own it, it's our spotlight until we're done. We play hard, driving, physical rock and roll, and one look at us tells you we can do it...before we play one note.

Lifting weights is the most challenging form of exercise there is. In other sports, when you get tired you can stop. When you got 500 pounds of metal on your shoulders, if you give up you are a dead man. It tests your skill, your nerve, your desire, your character. Whenever I look in the mirror and question the reflection, I head downstairs to the basement where the bench and the rack await.

So, if this is the end of my career, I can't think of a better way to go out. Rock hard and feeling mean. They may not be sorry, but they won't dare laugh until I'm long gone.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bait Shop Blues?

We survived the Battle of the Bands on Sunday April 25th.

There were a lot of mixed emotions for me, it was like ‘in with the old and out with the new’. Terri Thunders and Cowtown Joe left the band just before the show. Terri is pretty much a workaholic and wasn’t going to lose a paycheck over a non-paying gig. Joe wanted more creative control than I could afford to give. My newest drummer, John Farrell, and our titular manager, Greg Wood, were no-shows. My co-promoter of our defunct IWA (Independence Wrestling Association), “Mad Max” Anderson and his wife Dorothy showed up to give us moral support and make sure we got our video. My old drummer John Mc Guffin, who played on our Canned Heat video, came in and saved the day onstage.

Strangely enough, only two things really stuck in my mind. I repented for saying the f-word in front of the younger audience. I also felt like we got outmuscled by Operation Fear, a screamo band out of St. Joseph. Of course, they couldn’t get over in front of 95% of the audiences we play, and it was five against two. Still, it’s that Spoiler pride. I don’t like us coming up second best at anything, not even screamo. But, once again we’ve proved we’re the best band out there. Yet once again, I don’t know where we’re going next. There’s no guarantee that John Mac is coming back, and it may well be me and my new drum machine against the world again. Still, we’ve got the new songs on My Space, and they’re screaming at me not to be buried alive. They’re just too good to be threw, as they say.

I’m taking the week off (or so I’m thinking) to recharge my batteries, hit the weights, wait for my new grunge pedal to come in, and tinker with some new recordings. I know I’m nearing the end of my journey and I just want to go out in style, but you just never know where the Lord is going to take you along the long and winding road. Hell, you just want to get there with your head held high and your dignity intact.

At Jerry’s Bait Shop, we had nothing to be ashamed of.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Metal Machine Massacre?

This is the night before one of the biggest shows in SPOILER history. Tomorrow afternoon at 4 PM at Jerry's Bait Shop in Lee's Summit may be the end of the beginning...or the beginning of the end.

Despite having written some of the best songs in franchise history as of late, recruiting members and finding gigs has been highly unsuccessful. Narrowing the gap has necessitated the use of a drum machine, which has tightened up the sound but serves to emphasize the lack of support. The great Broadway Turk Superstar has become a one-man band, doing the guitar/vox, putting on a show, working the mic between songs, a one-legged man at a butt-kicking contest.

The Bait Shop is hosting Gorilla Productions' second Battle of the Bands in KCMO. The Turk strapped it on with Terri Thunders (keys) in December and they more than held their own. Only it was an alternative band competing against a lineup of metal bands, swimming against the tide. This time Superstar wrote a metal set that's down to kill. Only the SPOILER hasn't done a metal show in over thirty (!) years. They're concerned, they're nervous...but they're poised and ready.

Should this attack fail, the writing may be on the wall. Alternative is not catching fire in Kansas City, and the old guard blues and classic rock venues are drying up. The NYC Sewer Rat has been hitting it hard since last fall but the naysayers and the barren playing field are taking its toll. The music is too good to give up on but everything has its limits.Has the SPOILER reached its limit? On April 25, 2010...we shall see.