This past Saturday my girlfriend and I went to Day 2 of the three day Rock Carnival put together by WDHA and WRAT at Oak Ridge Park in Clark, NJ. I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to go to this because the only bands I’d give a shit about at all were King’s X, Sevendust and especially Black Label Society, hell, Anthrax wouldn’t be playing until the next day and the lineup for that day was shit compared to what we saw the day we went; but Courtenay REALLY wanted to see King’s X and she REALLLYYYYY wanted to see all the food trucks. So we went.
It was a nice day out, especially with it being the last day of summer. First off – I call absolute BULLSHIT on having to pay $20 to park on the field for the day. Second, it looked real nice when we got there; they had a ferris wheel, four stages tents everywhere, a beer garden and of course, food trucks. But the set up was so fucked up and unorganized. We felt like we had to go through a fucking maze to go from one stage to another, or from the beer garden back to the one of the two main stages. Fucking stupid!
The first band that was on when we arrived was this shit emocore band called Bad Case For Big Mouth. Someone should tell them the they a real bad case of playing some really shitty music. I also think anyone with whinny vocals should just chop their balls off. Hell…whoever the first fuckface was who decided it was ok to whine like a bitch should just fucking go and kill himself now – you reading this Morrissey???? So after seeing that shit we ditched their asses immediately to check out the rest of the carnival.
While walking around we saw a tent. The closer we got I remember seeing that Game Changer Wrestling was on the bill. The closer we got after that I noticed someone a little too familiar to me. Yeah…it was Jaka…
My little backstory with him is something I’ll get into another time. The important thing is if I saw him I knew before he even told me that was definitely going to see this guy…
Chris Dickinson…wrestler turned drummer turned wrestler again. I actually played guitar in his very first band but that was about eleven years ago now. Around the time he had gone back to wrestling he and Jaka were feuding but now they’re part of Team Pazuzu and the two of them will actually be wrestling The Steiner Brothers in Manville, NJ on October 16th. Anyway, I decided to stick around to see Chris wrestle since I hadn’t since I was a ring announcer in a no holds barred match he had against Jaka six years ago.
Here’s the match:
I caught him for a few minutes after the match ended before he and the rest of Team Pazuzu had to drive off to Connecticut for another match that night. So we walked around a bit more until 5pm when Skid Row were about to go on. I personally could give two flying fucks about them without Sebastian Bach but Courtenay was curious to see what they sounded like with their brand new singer Tony Harnell, who sadly used to sing for TNT. New Jersey is the band’s home town so the old school crowd that probably saw them in bars turned up for this shit. They were not that bad but dude…their singer was in TNT. Done. Over.
After they got off they were setting up for Sevendust while methhead led Puddle of Mudd were on the other stage – I’m surprised Wes Scantlin even made it out to the gig without getting arrested again! Too bad you still sucked ass. Courtenay, being a towering 5 ft wanted to get as close to the stage as she could before anyone showed up or she knew she wouldn’t be able to see Sevendust, since she could barely see Skid Row; so there we were, standing there, subjecting ourselves to Puddle of Shit until Sevendust were to come on. The most entertaining part of the wait was the way the crowd cheered as Skid Row’s banner was being brought down. Puddle of Meth took FOREVER to finished their lame as fuck set. Of their entire catalog most people only know of one shitty CD and they just dragged it out to death.
Then…a REAL band came on:
Lajon Witherspoon? Corey Glover on steroids. The guy is still a BEAST on the mic, one of the best singers of my generation, criminally underrated. Morgan Rose…I want his drum kit…now. I lost my way with Sevendust for a long time and it’s not their fault. Starting with their 1997 debut – which I have on cassette – they were pretty much lumped in with the nu-metal movement, most likely because of their grooves but in reality they thankfully are nothing like that. Sometime in between songs Lajon decided to talk about how he’ll always be the guy that talks to all the fans and how grateful the band are to us because they’d be doomed without us. When I hear people say things like that I automatically assume they’re just full of shit. Or was he?
After Sevendust finished up I immediately took Courtenay by the hand and rushed us to the other main stage to see Black Label Society. This was going to be the seventh time I saw them and I wasn’t going to miss shit. Zakk Wylde is GOD. There was no one else that night that could play worth a shit compared to Zakk Fucking Wylde, not Slash, not the Skid Row guys, not even Ty Tabor – no one. The band’s set were intense as usual, hell, ever since he got sober the band’s shows have been like religious experiences and this was no exception.
Here are the first two songs:
Considering each band had just fifty minutes to play I found it amusing that Zakk managed to fit a brief solo section into the set. “Now this is just meedly meedly stuff”, said Courtenay. Me? It’s the best meedly meedly you can get here. After we finished watching Zakk pound his chest like Captain Caveman we relaxed a bit before we walked over to the “Birch Hill” stage to see King’s X. No way we were seeing Stephen Pearcy. Fuck him. Fuck him and every single washed up glam rock asshole that was there. But while hanging around I noticed a tent with a bunch of middle aged metalheads raffling off bass drum heads signed by 80’s thrash bands as well as selling some nice rarities. Oh shit is the Old Bridge Metal Militia really back from the dead as a result of mid life crisis? I think so! But I have to admit, it was nice to see them out. No, I didn’t talk to them. I wasn’t even born yet when they were giving Metallica a home when they came to Old Bridge from California. What was I going to say to them??
They even made an attempt at being slightly relevant by making a webpage. Aaawwww! Check them out at http://www.oldbridgemetalmilitia.com
After Ratt’s washed up ex singer finally shut the fuck up we walked to the stage. That’s when I noticed dUg’s bass cabinets and had a real bad Beavis and butthead moment:
Huh huh, hey Beavis, look at the letters on his amps, huh huh.
This was going to be my first time seeing King’s X, what an honor…just too bad Eddie Trunk had to announce them on stage. Ok we get it, you were there for everything that happened…a million years ago. I used to love listening to him but he caters way too much to his age group. The band came on…dUg Pinnick looks really good with a goatee, makes him look a lot younger than 65…it’s good to see Jerry Gaskill still doing this after enduring two heart attacks and the loss of his home to Hurricane Sandy. Ty Tabor is an incredible guitarist and he showed his ability to keep up with dUg and Jerry during some long jams.
As I was filming their set Courtenay pointed out to me the back of someone’s dreadlocked head. “Lordy lordy!!!” he yelled out with a big excited smile as he was talking with other people during the show. It was Lajon Witherspoon; I thought he was just bragging for the sake of image when he spoke about his love for the fans and not being afraid to go out to the crowd but there he was in the flesh. In fact he was standing right next to me at one point and when I said the band were amazing he talked to me about them. Wow. After King’s X ended their AMAZING set I approached Lajon, told him I’d be honored to take a picture with him and Courtenay. “Let’s do it!” was his immediate response. Amazing guy, very down to earth, more people should be like Lajon Witherspoon.
Then there’s that parking lot bullshit. We tried to leave after our selfie with Lajon but it wasn’t happening. In fact there was a line that just didn’t move. At one point Courtenay just parked her car all over again to save gas because we were going nowhere. People were increasingly enraged, drunk, both. So I walked to the nearest parking lot attendant and asked him what the fuck was happening. “None of this would be happening if the police just listened to us.” was his answer so I realized that the police were directing traffic JUST one way. This was absolutely disgraceful. It was over two hours before we finally got the fuck out of there. Hell, my friend Maureen from Brooklyn said fuck it and took car service back to her hotel and left her car in the lot just to avoid the bullshit. I also know there were a lot of complaints the next day and I also know that I’m not going back until WDHA and the Clark Police Department figured out how to safely organize and run an event like this.
The show was nice…just really fucking disorganized from start to finish.