Great Confuser tour part one
I am to most people ITCHY, the crazed alcohol-and-drug-induced singer of the long lasting Detroit band SHOCK THERAPY. Itchy is an integral and interesting part of me, but hardly the only part. There are sides of me that have no name at all.
In September of this year Shock Therapy performed on the first half of its fourth European tour. The nine shows in total were all in Germany. In May of 1992 the band will finish the tour in the rest of Europe, including the Netherlands, Denmark. Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Switzerland, Yugoslavia, and Poland (due to the compact size of Germany it is easier and cheaper to split the tour this way). The band has had great success in the past playing in Germany, I will recount this latest success.
The members of Shock Therapy for this tour were put together in a bizarre fashion. First, Cliff Hill, former drummer of A.L.D., quit the band of the same name to move to Germany. Cliff first saw Germany as an emergency drummer for the previous Shock Therapy tour, and wanted to go back and live with a girl he met there, but also to get away from Detroit. I had planned on using German drummer Phillipp Adenacker who played with Shock Therapy for three years, but Phillipp quit at the same lime that Cliff moved to Europe. Cliff wanted to play again to make some cash, so there it was. Long time S.T. synthesist Tom Buckley became the assistant manager of a hair replacement clinic in Philadelphia and could not tour with the band because it would jeopardize his big career move. In Toms place, I chose a friend of our bass player Dustin Aller, Joe Santori. Joe turned out to be an excellent replacement and superior keyboardist. Dustin also lives in Germany with a girl he met on the last tour. Now comes Keith Jackson.
Keith was the original guitarist for Shock Therapy, but he never had enough of an attention span to stay around too long. After a year of not talking to me and playing in various Detroit bar bands the big guy called me from Phoenix where he had just moved and married a girl he met a year or so before. He said he was through with fooling around and wanted back in the band. I said that Dirk Schwarzhoff was the S.T. guitarist but maybe hecould play second guitar. A day after Keith called me Dirk called to say that the previous Cancer tour was "too much" and he could not play any longer with Shock Therapy. The guitar slot in Shock Therapy was empty and Keith-O moved right in. It was as if we were reunited by some strange force. Perhaps the same force that keeps alcohol molecules bonded together.
After five days of rehearsal near Essen, Germany, the band was sharp and ready to tour. The first show in the same town was a great success that proved to be a predecessor for the rest of the shows. The club was filled beyond capacity, with 400 plus people making it almost impossible for us to squeeze our way to the stage. I painted my entire body with cobalt-blue acrylic and wore only black karate pants. This was a far cry from my previous stage-wear which lead to many people asking me at the end of the shows where Itchy had gone and who was I. One long-time fan did not believe that I was Itchy even after I and the whole band told him it was me. He cried in a corner of our dressing room for a half hour (I think he was on acid). All shows lasted a little over one hour, every show drew at least two encores, one show had five. On many shows we played the country classic Plastic Jesus followed by a mindless hardcore song. At the end of the show we all sang Pink Floyds Goodbye. The crowd Shock Therapy favorite was Hate Is A Four Letter Word, what a surprise. The highlight of the whole tour was the festival shows.
Festival shows in Europe are where between five to fifteen bands play and people pay thirty dollars or more to get in. Festivals usually last for six or more hours. Shock Therapy headlined two festivals that drew over 2500 people each. At one festival In Hanover the Yugoslavian national Television filmed us for a T.V. special to be aired in Yugoslavia and Poland (Shock Therapy Is popular in the eastern Europe countries). Keith walked up to the microphone at the beginning of our show and said "its great to be filming for our friends in Czechoslovakia!". A stage hand walked up to Keith and told him it was for Yugoslavia, so Keith went back to the mic and said "oh, sorry, i guess its Yugoslavia, not like it makes any difference anyways...". I imagine that part will be edited from the film.
So, besides my getting laryngitis and a sinus infection from breathing in all the damn cigarette smoke from the incessant German smokers, all went well, except for one very strange night.
Cliff and I were walking around the town at about midnight. We were tired and turned back for the apartment the band was living in during our practice time. We both blanked out and suddenly found ourselves on top of the sharply slanting roof of the apartment. There was bright light surrounding us everywhere. I heard a loud snapping bang and felt myself tumbling down the roof. At the last second I grabbed the rain gutter. I was dangling three stories in the air above a concrete parking lot. I then felt small hands grabbing all over my body. I remember what I thought were very small religious men measuring my body in different places. There was some confusion and I remember Cliff holding his hand out to pull me in a sky light roof opening. Joe was helping him. lost some more time and found myself sitting in the room where I was sleeping with everyone else around. Nobody could match stories of what happened, and time seemed to have been lost for everyone. There is no question in my mind that Cliff and I, especially me (and possibly the others) had an encounter with extraterrestrials, This is not uncommon to me as I had a similar encounter with Phillipp in 1989 along M-14 at 4:00 in the morning. I have had encounters all my life, I believe, I plan on seeing a hypnotist to help me figure out what has been happening.
So, this is all for now, the tour was a pleasurable one, I look forward to the next, in winch I will write more. I would also like to announce rny upcoming marriage on October 19 to my long time girlfriend Denise Merta, I am extremely excited and happy and also grateful that she has put up with me for the past six years.