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The Alternate Reality
Part Three: Quotes Of The Tour

Back for more, eh? You know, throw 16 people together on the road for 34 days, and they start to say the darndest things. But, before we get around to the Quotes Of The Tour, here's a little bit of information about which songs we played and how often we played them. Obviously, this isn't a complete list--just a few selected examples. Remember, there were 28 shows.

'Cause Of Breakfast--24 times
Top Of Stove Melting--16 times
My Dilemma--14 times
Vent (Assholes, O'Bannon, you name it)--10 times
Lightnin' Roy--10 times
The Immigrant Song--13 times
The Cowlogy--12 times
Power To Love--10 times
I'm So Tired (by the Beatles...remember them?)--5 times
Skunk--9 times
Uglytown--7 times
Cheddar--4 times
Weekend--3 times
Scotch--2 times
Inca Roads--2 times
Fuckin' Ed--2 times (read on and you'll see what this was)
Land Of Broken Dreams--once
Baby Blues--once
1988, Blameless--never

I would mark down what we played each night so that we could see if we were neglecting certain songs. As far as "Blameless" goes, we really wanted to do it, but the madness of our soundcheck situation made it nearly impossible to get the keyboards happening in a timely fashion. Oh well...the "Half Alive" version is one that I can live with.

Alright, then, time's a wastin'. Straight from the Moose's mouth, I give you The Quotes Of Note for the tour. These will be presented in a somewhat chronological order, so as to give you that special "I felt like I was really there!" kind of feeling. OK, boys, start flappin' dem gums...

"You look victorious."

---Keneally, during the Beller/Phil Bynoe Bass Player magazine photo shoot in Ventura, after Phil had asked Mike, "How do I look?"

"Don't you ever talk about anything besides cocks and boogers and shit?" "What do you want me to talk about? Politics? I voted!"

---The first quote is me, the second Toss; both were uttered on our way from Ventura to San Francisco in the always-inspiring Expo.

"This defeats the whole purpose of going on fucking tour."

---Steve Vai, exasperated at the horrendous noise his amplifier was making during the soundcheck at Bimbo's. Roger Bell, Vai's guitar tech, would calmly patch and repatch, change polarities, change cables, change his underwear...and usually have the thing quiet as a baby by showtime.

"Oh, and by the way, Cami Slotkin says hello and blow me."

---Brad Dahl, who caught the Vegas show, relaying a message from our favorite Jewess.

"Aaaagh! My meat!"

---Ed Lucas, as his beloved beef jerky fell off of the Expo's dashboard and onto the floor mat.

"I like the way they have The [Red Hot] Chili Peppers' guitars up here--I mean, whose is it, anyway?"

---Again, Brad Dahl, at The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, on the revolving-door status of the guitarist's slot in that band.

"That wouldn't exactly make me rush out and buy a ticket."

---Keneally, commenting on a Vegas billboard that was singing the praises of one Lance Burton, the fabulous magician. The advertisement indicated that Mr. Burton was booked at their lovely hotel until the year 2009.

"Hey, there's some good eatin' over there."

---Toss, to both me and Ed, the day after the infamous second-hand onion rings incident referred to in Part 2. He was pointing at the bus tray.

"Do not pinch and prod the waitresses. They will pinch and prod you back."

---Written on the cover of the menu at Krazy K's Korner Kafe, in Richfield, UT.

"I can't--my nose is in the way".

---Steve Vai, after his assistant Rich Pike had told him to watch his head on the way up the stairs to the stage at the Fox Theatre in Boulder. Once Steve got up there, the explosion went off, the sirens wailed, and Steve gave the cue to start "There's A Fire In The House". About five seconds later, his amplifier blew itself to smithereens, and he simply stopped the band, hung his head and smiled. The following quotes are from Steve, immediately afterwards:

"Boy, do I feel like an idiot."

---still on stage.

"That's gotta be the shortest show I ever played."

---backstage, while Roger Bell tried frantically to fix the problem at hand

"Do you mind if we try this again?"

---back on stage, with a new amp in place. The crowd loved it. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Steve Vai that I got to know on this tour--funny, humble, and most of all, human. Now, Steve, about those long soundchecks...

"When Steve called me in August, I had the phone in one hand and a gun to my head in the other."

---Phil Bynoe, of course, backstage in Boulder. I told him that I understood the feeling.

At about 1:00 PM on November 25, 1996, Steve Vai's tour bus caught fire while everyone on board was still asleep from the previous night's festivities. The bus pulled over to the side of Interstate 35 near the Kansas-Oklahoma border, where everyone woke up and got the hell off in a hurry. The next 90 minutes were spent watching the bus burn to a crisp. Thankfully, no one was injured, but a lot of personal items were destroyed in the fire. I wasn't there--these quotes and anecdotes were relayed to me by members of the Vai entourage.

"Get up...get off the bus...right now."

---Steve Vai to Mike Keneally. It's the first thing Mike remembered when I asked him what happened.

"What--is there a fire in the house?"

---The always jovial Nick Tongue, to Steve Vai as Vai tried to wake him up and get him off of the bus. Nick thought he was kidding.

"Wipe that smile off your face!"

---Roger Bell, to Nick Tongue as the bus burned.

"I'd rather be here, smelling the smell of my fire-laden death room."

---Mike Mangini, commenting on the fact that the venue for the evening (The Diamond Ballroom) didn't have a closed-off dressing room, and since they had no bus, he was going to stay in his hotel room for as long as possible. His room, filled with items retrieved from the burnt-out bus, smelled like a fire.

"I'm glad I didn't know."

---Toss Panos, relieved that he wasn't on the bus when it burned to the ground. Toss and I were actually invited by Steve onto the bus for the 14-hour trip from Boulder to Oklahoma City, an invitation that we would have accepted had we known about it. Why didn't we know about it? Toss and I were out getting loaded somewhere, and the bus left without us.

"In the scheme of life, this don't mean shit."

---Steve Vai, in the aftermath of the bus fire.

"Is it too soon to put out a press release?"

---A rep from Epic Records, to Vai's manager Ruta Sepetys, less than 36 hours after the incident.

"I can see Kurt Loder now... 'For years, Steve Vai has been known as a hot guitarist'..."

---Keneally, on what an MTV News brief about the bus fire might sound like.

BFD tour photo

"Are you a musician or what?!"

---Keneally again, taunting Toss, who didn't want to play in this tiny little place called Nick's, a bar with live music right next door to the Boulder venue. When we came in for a post-show beer, the crowd recognized us and exhorted us to play, but Toss was drunk and a bit put off by the two-piece kit on the stage. After Keneally taunted him for a bit, Toss relented, and we played "Lightnin' Roy" and "Cheddar" for the nice folks.

"You can't fool fate."

---Steve Vai, to me, in Oklahoma City, as we discussed my audition for the first time since Anti-Cipa-Tion. I know, Steve, now I know.

"An expression of sympathy for Timothy McVeigh."

---Keneally, commenting on a sign near our Oklahoma City hotel that simply read, "Pawn".

"Are the guys in Beer For Dolphins the same as the guys who were in Bad 4 Good?"

---Someone called Caravan Of Dreams in Ft. Worth and asked this question. Uh, no.

"Oh, good. We're near a medical center in case my stomach needs pumping tonight."

---Toss, in Tulsa, OK.

"No, they don't do that here. This is the Midwest. Everybody would jump out and kill themselves."

---Toss, also in Tulsa, after I'd asked him if he could open the window in our hotel room. It was locked shut, which brought about the above comment.

"Adult video alone does not make a state. But it helps."

---Me, as we crossed the Texas State Line. The very first thing we saw was an adult video store.

"I hope your grandmother catches on fire."

---Mike Mangini, to a cab dispatcher who held him up for 100 minutes and made him late for Thanksgiving dinner in Ft. Worth. He'd sworn to us that, after the bus fire, he'd stop using his two favorite insults ("I hope you die in a gas fire", "I hope you get hit by a bus"), but he had a hard time refraining in this instance.

"Look out, darlin'. It's another out of work musician."

---The MC at The House Of Babes, an awful strip club that we were in for about ten minutes while in Ft. Worth. The MC was referring to Nick Tongue.

"I hate this shit...I've got a big boner right now...lick my balls."

---The one and only Toss Panos, on stage in Ft. Worth. Keneally knew that Toss was in a bad mood and wasn't too into playing at the time, so Mike stopped "Lightnin' Roy" and offered the microphone to Toss to try and cheer him up. Toss sat silently, staring at the microphone for about 20 seconds, while the crowd waited for something to happen. Then he went ahead and said this quote. Keneally quickly took the microphone back.

"I'm the Jeanine Garafalo of transvestites."

---Me, after some LOB reader compared me to RuPaul after a show.

"One of the top five nightmares of all time."

---Roger Bell, a fifteen-year road veteran, on the sound situation in Cardie's, in Houston, TX, site of BFD's biggest musical triumph of the tour.

"Fuck. I'm fucked up. Again."

---Toss, in nearly every city, and just as surprised every time. Don't get me wrong--he's not like this at home. The road just does weird things to people.

"You better go on and get the fuck out of here or else you're gonna join him. You fuckin' wanna find out what a pair of fuckin' handcuffs feel like?"

---A New Orleans police officer just outside The House Of Blues, as he dragged an uncooperative, handcuffed subject out of the back of his patrol car and out into the street. He was yelling at the suspect's friend to stay back. Bad boys, bad boys...whatcha gonna do.

"I, personally, do not endorse cow tipping."

---Keneally, introducing The Cowlogy in New Orleans.

"I think that the only way I'm gonna get through tonight is to drink. And bowl."

---Me, at--you guessed it--The Ranch Bowl, in Omaha, NE.

"I have Santa Claus voodoo semen."

---Toss said this. I have no idea what it means.

"You guys checkin' out the local beaver, eh?"

---The doorman at The Ranch Bowl, who was at least 70 years old, to me and Toss. Of course we weren't.

"That's not rap. That's c-rap."

---McGee, after watching Phil Bynoe lamely attempt to perform a human beat box while dancing onstage during soundcheck in Minneapolis. McGee asked Phil, "What the hell's that?" Phil responded, "That's rap, man." Now read the above quote, pronouncing "c-rap" like this: KUH-rap.

"Where's fucking...fucking...fucking...ED!!!"

---Me, trying to find Mr. Lucas and his camera so that I could take a picture of something. The phrasing of this quote was turned into a 30-second punk song, entitled "Fucking Ed", which we performed in Minneapolis and Milwaukee.

"If you guys don't knock it off, someone's gonna come out there and kick all of your asses!"

---Toss, unknowingly, to Steve Vai, his wife Pia, and the promoter (Jack) of The Rave in Milwaukee, as they were trying to get into the dressing room area. We had just found four people in our dressing room who had no business being backstage, and we had to kick them out. Toss figured that the knocking on our locked dressing room door was the work of those same trespassers, and the rest is foot-in-mouth history.

"Is Linda Hamilton related to George Hamilton? I don't think so, 'cause that guy's a putz."

---Toss Panos, on the way from Milwaukee to Chicago.

"At least they didn't take the map."

---Me, checking out the damage to the Expo's rear passenger side window, after it had been smashed to pieces in St. Louis. I was in total, absolute denial about the whole thing.

"I will bash and crush anyone who hurts you."

---A Cincinnati fan known only to us as "Aga", offering his services as a personal bodyguard to Keneally.

"Never trust the evil echelon alienistic controllers. Death to Tesh!"

---Written on a wall backstage at The Odeon in Cleveland, OH, by a self-professed member of the National Anti-Tesh Action Society, or N.A.T.A.S.

"I want my mommy. I just want to be held."

---Roger Bell, during the soundcheck fiasco at Graffiti in Pittsburgh. Doors had already been delayed for over an hour when Roger said this.

"You're cute. I'm gonna think about you when I masturbate tonight."

---An obviously inebriated girl in Pittsburgh, after I'd talked to her for about fifteen seconds in the parking lot of our hotel. She got in her car and sped off shortly thereafter.

"I love Bryan Beller."

---Phil Bynoe, after I drove him to a mall in Long Island so that he could exchange a pair of jeans. I'll do anything for a good LOB quote.

"It seems that Mother Nature has been kinder to you than human nature on this tour."

---Martha Lawrence, after I told her that the weather had been unusually warm on the trip thus far. We were talking on a pay phone at The Strand Theater in Providence, RI.

"They were pretty good. But they need to change their names. Dolphins suck. Beer for Patriots. Division champs, baby!"

---A New England Patriots/Steve Vai fan in Providence after BFD's set was finished, overheard in the crowd by Miss Inga Wohlgemuth.

"Wait a minute...I just realized. He has breasts!"

---Steve Vai, to me, on stage at Irving Plaza in NYC. In case you're wondering, yes, I did in fact don the red dress for that show. Not for the whole BFD set--just for the little percussion thing during "Answers". Keneally was genuinely afraid of what the crowd might have done had I played BFD's entire set in that getup.

"It's kind of like that Deep Purple/Whitesnake thing."

---Mark Melikan, manager of The Bayou in Washington, D.C., after I tried to explain the musical family tree of Zappa/Vai/Keneally to him. I'm sure that the Whitesnake reference was a total coincidence. And, FINALLY...

"I'd do it again."

---Me, to Keneally on the bus, just seconds before I left DC for Westfield, NJ, signaling what was for me the end of the tour. He looked at me as if I was out of my fucking mind. Then I thought about it for a second, and decided that he was right. I'd do it again...but maybe with a couple of more days off next time. And a driver. And...oh, you know what I mean.

And there you have it. All that's left are the pictures, and then I can finally rest my weary fingers. Mr. Chatfield, give the nice folks a thing that they can click on, won't you please? See you at Part Four....................BB

(New BryanFaceTreatments® by Douglas O'Neill.)

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