As CLUSTERFUX broke up FIA reunited. If you haven't heard the story yet, I was getting ready to announce to the world via the social media networks that my band of the last 15 years was breaking up when through an email from an old friend the wheels were set in motion to reunite the band I was in that broke up almost 20 years ago. Two phone calls and two emails later FIA was reunited to play a reunion show at a gathering of folks that grew up on the western slope of Colorado. This event would take place in Grand Junction in late July. It seemed so far away in March...
At first we were all really excited I think but as the days went by and we hadn't made much of an effort to get together the interest started to wane to the point that the drummer (our dear friend Van) dropped out. I wasn't completely shocked; he had quit CLUSTERFUX a few years ago and then dropped out of our lives almost completely about a year and half ago. I don't know what forces pulled him so far away but I have my theories. I speak for many when I say we miss him.
Being drummerless was kind of a setback. It was certainly most discouraging to my brother Justin (guitar) and it took some coaxing to get him back on board. Joe (other guitar)and I had been talking and he suggested Andrew as the drummer. It made sense. Andrew was from the same town we grew up in. In fact his Dad use to own the liquor store that we spent our paychecks at. Andrew and Joe had played in a couple of bands together over the years and they were really good friends. He's a cool kid and is from the Valley so it made sense to me. Justin agreed and saw it from a similar perspective as me, we had a band again. Whew!
But then the days started dropping off the calendar again and although Justin and I had jammed together a little there hadn't even been the closest thing to a full band rehearsal and we only had about 20 days until the show. Joe and I had talked about it a couple of times but he and Andrew live 200 miles away. It was going to take some planning and a commitment on both sides to do this.
Finally we had a date for a full band jam. So now I had to call Chester and get the singer back into the loop. Chester was stoked and all about it...until the day before. "Dude, my wife is having a yard sale..." I wasn't sure what to think or say, I'm sure it was along the lines of "so". "So she wants me to be there"...I went into some tirade about it being "a fucking yard sale" and that you can do that any day of the week. We can only jam on this one day. For the time being I had him sold and we were a band again...
Sunday was jam day. Fuck yeah! I was stoked and ready to get this shit fired up. Punk Rock! Chester called..."Dude my wife really wants me at this yard sale..." For fucks sakes!!! I kept myself grounded and explained the importance of having him there. We came to a compromise that he would show up a little later and it actually worked out. We had only been jamming for about 30 min when...
There we were in our punk glory reliving our youth thrashing away when some crazy fucker started banging on the door. We practice at my brother's house and he lives next door to the homeless shelters. There are all kinds of crazy fuckers down there freaking their fuck out all the time. I think it was Joe that came to the realization that this was no ordinary psycho...This was our psycho fucken' singer! Chester was here and shit was about to get serious...FIA style homes...
It was as if the spirits of fallen punk icons had granted us some sort esoteric permission to jam, everything fell right in place and Chester was 100% the real deal. He was same loony mofo that he was back in the day...20 years ago.
I felt giddy. I don't know if I've ever even use that word to describe myself or anything else for that matter but that was how I felt. I was grinning ear to ear and as I looked around we all were, even Justin. The memories came flooding back and at times it was hard to focus on the task at hand because of the stories we had to share and reminisce on. Drunken tales of puke eating and general punk rock mayhem were shared by all. Each of us had our own perspective on days and times of FIA and it was really interesting to hear the other viewpoints other than my blurred and twisted recollection of events that had transpired over two decades ago. It was one of the happiest and most special moments that I had experienced in a long time, especially in a band setting. It was certainly the most fun band practice I had ever been part of.
There was certain sadness to it as well. Where we did we drift away? Why? Justin and I have almost continuously played music together since then, Joe and I remained good friends but we were tight back in the day, real tight, peas in a pod if you will. Chester was our bro, I've only seen him 3 times in the last 20 years! Van...Van was one of us, not some dude we used to hang out with, not a memory. He was a dude we reminisced with, not about. Life is full of unanswered questions, some are better left that way. We could dwell in the past and in sadness of what was and wasn't or move forward and have fun with where and who we are now...Lets rock!
Practice kicked ass and we sounded good. Not great, but having not played together in a lifetime we sounded really good. The next week it was Justin and my turns to make the drive to over to Joes on the western slope and practice in his neck of the woods. We tightened up and knew our jobs. Again, it was fun to be with everyone but there was a slightly more serious tone to it as there was some work to be done. The drive home was 4 hours, lots of time to reflect and get antsy in anticipation of what the show was going to be like. Who is going to be there? Will anyone care? Will we pull it off?...The mind is a tricky fucker!
At this point I knew I had to buckle down and really nail these songs. I practiced everyday that week playing through the entire set, every song in order. There was no way I could let these guys down, or more importantly myself. I had to do it, had to own these fucking songs.
A third week and the weekend before the show. It was Joe and Andrews turn again to make the trip across the state. By 1 o'clock they were at my door and we were loading up gear. I called Justin and got his hungover ass out of bed.
We ripped through the set before Chester got there and then 2 more times after he got there. We were killing it! I was killing it! Every song was sounding killer, my bass and my new pedal were sounding great and I was kicking ass. Stoked was I.
Andrew also earned himself an award for major improvement, he was beating those drums like a man possessed! Fuck yeah! FUCK IT ALL was back in action!
It's a few days before the show and I still wonder if anyone cares, if anyone will be there to see us. It'll be fun anyway and it sounds like we are going to keep it alive and do a few other selective shows here and there.
I just edited Justin's article on the history of FIA, I don't remember much of that. I didn't remember how or why we broke up. I do remember the difference between the two tapes and our influences at the time. We went from listening to mostly 80's US bands to really getting into UK punk and even crust. Many of those new influences really show their faces on the second tape from DESTROY, to FILTH, AUS-ROTTEN, MISERY and even NAUSEA. At that time we were really into SLUG AND LETTUCE, a zine out of New York and tried to model our dress and musical tastes after the punx in the pictures at ABC NO RIO.
Those were some crazy times...We were fuck up with a FUCK IT ALL attitude. Some made it, some didn't. I am grateful that the four of us are here to play together again, laugh together and be together almost 20 years later.