Back in July 2000, when I was a wee nipper of just 20, I went along with some friends to Nottingham Rock City. The band we’d gone to see, Fantomas, are not massively well known – but their singer and creator is a rock megastar: Mike Patton, vocalist for Faith No More. The band is also made up of members of Slayer, Mr Bungle, and The Melvins. Pretty sweet huh.
I don’t remember all that much about the gig, and there are 2 main reasons for this:
- I was blasted on booze
- It was 17 fucking years ago, man
We’d drank all day before the gig, and then we drank all the way there in the car, and then when we arrived we went into the pub next door to the venue and drank. I have a very very vague recollection of ordering an absinthe at a cocktail bar, and then missing my mouth and pouring it all down myself as the barmaid rolled her eyes. Yep, it was gunna be a messy night. I also recall having a proper shit 90s haircut that I’d stupidly dyed black in my goth phase. When my blonde roots came through I looked like I was balding.
The gig was rammed and immensely sweaty, I do remember that much. Also, the support act was some wacky Japanese girl-band – possibly called The X Girls? By the time they had finished playing I was BATTERED, and I recall trying to talk to them at their merch stand and failing miserably. If memory serves me correct, I just drooled and swore everywhere. Standard night out for me then.
I had a great spot to watch Fantomas, right at the front just by a huge speaker, but I don’t remember much about the set. Just ringing ears and spilled Strongbow. It was also back in the days that you could smoke in venues, so I probably came away with the ash and burn marks you get from being squashed in with a thousand other people whilst chain smoking and bleary eyed.
So anyway, the gig ended and we decided to go and wait outside the stage door to try and meet the band. Not my usual thing these days, but I was young and spunky – plus it was back in the days when the world got me excited and awestruck and I wanted to get out there and meet people, before hard work and alcohol fatigue knocked all of that out of me. Boooooo.
Buzz Osbourne from The Melvins came out, and I got a chance to slur at him for a bit, which was cool. Then a few more people came out and into the huge tour bus, but there was no sign of rockstar Mike Patton.
“Fuck it!” said my equally spangled comrades. “Let’s sneak in…”
And sneak in we did. There was no one guarding the rear entrance to Rock City so we slipped through the thick black doors and down into the depths of the venue, into the dusty dark underground corridors that had been trodden by hundreds of the world’s most amazing musicians, as well as some really quite shit ones. It’s worth pointing out that I hadn’t slowed down my booze intake in any way, and at this point was still really quite fucked on the old pop.
We turned a corner and walked straight into the man himself; Mike Patton, with 2 guys standing either side of him.
I’d not counted on the possibility that we might actually find him, and as such had not prepared anything to say. I let my booze-addled brain click into auto-pilot and for some reason, which I still to this day fail to understand, launched myself forward and bit the fucker. Right on his neck.
What the fuck is wrong with me?
Mike Patton was less than amused (see the pic) and smashed his open-palmed hand into my face, pushing me violently away from him. And rightly so. Who really wants a drunk, smelly, sweaty Yorkshire lad with shit hair biting at them like a rabid whippet? I’d have hit me too.
We took some quick cheeky photos on our shitty disposable camera from Boots, and then scarpered. For years since that night I’ve worn this little story as a badge of honour: The time that Mike Patton hit me. It’s only in the last 2 years though, through sober eyes, that I can clearly see what a drunken dick I used to be.
I talk to a lot of people about sobriety, and one common worry is that life will get boring after booze has gone, and the novelty of a sober life wears thin. In truth, I can’t argue with that. These stupid stories don’t happen if you spend your life drinking cups of tea.
The way to look at it, though, is as a trade off. Yes you may find yourself having to delve further and further back in time, back to your drinking days, in order to find a good story to tell your mates. But if you’ve come to the decision to stop drinking then there’s a huge chance it’s because things have got bad. The drunken adventures I had were sometimes terrible, sometimes awesome. It was a gamble at the best of times. Grab a beer, spin the chamber.
Would I go back to the paranoia, and the bad decisions, and the trips to A&E, and the drunken arguments just for the sake of a few more dinner party stories?
Would I fuck.
I got out at the right time. I’m sure that if I made the decision tomorrow to get back on the drink then I’d have an AWESOME time for a week or two, but I can also guarantee you that I’d be waking up one day soon feeling lower than I’ve ever felt, and remembering just why I needed to stop this shit.
Sorry Mr Patton. Sorry about biting you. Angel Dust was a great album. Hope your neck is okay. Love you xoxoxo.