New Book Details Rockers’ Wildest Gigs: Read Exclusive Zakk Wylde Excerpt
Writer Drew Fortune has covered music and pop culture for a variety of outlets for more than a decade. He is a contributor to Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Esquire and Vulture, and has also been published in Cosmopolitan, Playboy, Spin and Billboard, among others.
Through the years he’s heard many jaw-dropping tales of bands encountering unthinkable situations while performing. He decided to get artists on the record, interviewing them for his new book No Encore! Musicians Reveal Their Weirdest, Wildest, Most Embarrassing Gigs.
"I’ve always had a fascination with the extreme," Fortune says. "I grew up on VH1’s Behind the Music, and I think that’s really where the idea came from for No Encore! I wanted more Behind the Music. I also worked security at the Echoplex in Los Angeles and saw a lot of crazy stuff go down. One time a European metal act smashed their heads with microphones, then buried their bloodied heads in our ice machine backstage. That was fun, because it was well over 100 degrees that day, and I had to run ice upstairs to the bar from the basement every five minutes."
Even with his extensive rock background, the author admits he was "constantly amused, shocked and occasionally disgusted" by the tales musicians shared with him for the book. When pressed to name his favorite story, Fortune says, "I really do love the idea of cinematically picturing Dave Navarro writing a message in syringe blood, or Mark Mothersbaugh, high on PCP, on a double date with Michael Jackson and Andy Warhol at Studio 54."
In the exclusive excerpt below, Zakk Wylde recalls one of his craziest performances. The guitarist has seen his fair share of wild times -- whether touring with Ozzy Osbourne or fronting Black Label Society. Still, the musician says the rowdiest gig he ever played wasn’t at a festival or club show; it was at a house party way back when he was in high school.
Before the craziness of Ozzy and Black Label, I was in a high school band called Stonehenge, back in Jackson, NJ. We were all about 17, and we went to school with a girl named Bobbi Bush, whose family was moving. We’d mostly play keg or basement parties, but this Bobbi Bush gig was legendary. Her house was already sold, and her parents had left for the weekend. She invited all her friends from school, but half the town showed up to trash the place. All the furniture was gone, so we set up in the living room. The house was still livable, with maybe the dining room set and beds intact, but they were on their way out, with the new owners set to take over within a week. I have no idea what the parents were thinking, going off to the Poconos and leaving their daughter in an empty house that was begging to be annihilated by Jersey metalheads.
It’s always great when it ain’t your house, and it turned into something out of the movie Weird Science, where all the mutants on motorcycles crash the place. It was every parent’s nightmare, and as a homeowner now, I think, “Are you fucking kidding me?” It was a bi-level house and the whole fucking thing was packed to the gills. To top it off, there was a torrential downpour that night, to the point where my feet sunk while walking across the lawn. Every asshole was dragging mud into the place and ruining the carpets. People were putting their cigarettes out on the carpeting, spilling beer everywhere and smashing holes in the walls. We opened the show with “Bark at the Moon.” Here I am all these years later, closing out shows with Ozzy playing that tune.
Bobbi’s parents came home early, just as we were loading up the gear in my buddy Tommy’s truck to leave. The mud was so bad we had to prop it up with 2x4s to get the hell out of there. Between the kegs, hard alcohol, marijuana and the Caligula factor of people having sex in the bedrooms, the house should have been condemned. Her parents walked in and, aside from some drunk stragglers, we were the only people left,. We didn’t say a thing, and basically ran out the door. I will never forget the look on her parents’ faces. Anger hadn’t registered yet. They were just gray. The last thing I saw on my way out was “Stonehenge Was Here,” tagged on the living room wall in green spray paint. The million dollar question we all had was, “What happened to Bobbi Bush?” They moved shortly after and I never saw her again.
No Encore! Musicians Reveal Their Weirdest, Wildest, Most Embarrassing Gigs will be published on July 16. For more information, and details on how to pre-order the book, click here.