This guy's been drunk before? You're kidding!
Jesus Christ, I had a lot of good times drinking and driving in my day. From about the ages of 20 to 24, one of my favorite activities was getting behind the wheel on a sunny day, cracking a 40 oz. King Cobra or Colt 45, putting on some fucking Coalesce, Converge, Red Chord, or Deadwater Drowning, and just seeing what would happen. I’d usually have some equally morally corrupt buddy in shotgun packing bowls of weed and rewinding sick breakdowns while I turned the cockpit of my '96 Jeep Cherokee into a CBGB’s show. We’d be furiously checking our pagers for responses from young girls from rusty families wasting their time at one or more of the numerous parties around town while guzzling malt liquor in a fog of THC and turning the CD player up until the plastic speaker coverings shivered in terror.
Maybe I’d be just getting out of class, getting out of work, or we’d be leaving band practice. Whatever the situation was; beer, high speed, drugs, sex, violence, and the hardest of hardcore were on the menu. Perhaps I’d have some naïve girlfriend with me. The time I was pounding a 40 oz, heading to KFC, getting some serious oral attention from a lovely young blonde, and listening to BIG L rhyme, “I put my nut sack…back where your lungs at, lil’ ho,” was a memorable one. The moment was made even more poetic when I heard a muffled giggle from beneath the steering wheel rise up over the head-bopping DJ Premier beat.
The time Deadwater Drowning got me arrested on my birthday was glorious. A bunch of us underachieving, know-it-alls went to see Dave Attell at the Hampton Beach Casino on one of my birthdays (who’s counting?) and decided to pre-game in the parking lot with the Deadwater Drowning CD cranked beyond ridiculous levels while passing around enough hard liquor to give John Bonham’s corpse a chubby. I think the cops could hear Nate Johnson screaming, “You…You’re waking up…to…do…this…all over again!!” along with five or six boozed up knuckle heads all the way from the station and, rightfully so, the cops approached our car with that “Are you fucking kidding me?” look on their faces. It was an arrest of comical proportions. We were told to pay a small fine and released just in time to see Dave Attell take the stage. (As you can see, BMA has played a viral role in my life since its inception and I’ve been grateful ever since.)
So yea, I’d constantly find myself in and out of those types of situations, and I’d experience it all with a hearty laugh and a hazy mind. And yea, I’d get pulled over. I mastered the art of cop communication and was able to evade the long menacing arm of the law for quite some time. I had all the essentials in my cockpit; cologne, gum, a respectable right-wing talk radio show on a preset station, various hiding places throughout the dashboard, and the devastating puppy dog eyes and smile of a young kid who “really meant well.” I had all the field tests down. I could touch my nose with my eyes closed, recite the alphabet backwards convincingly enough, and walk in a straight enough line. I even had a whole persuasive rap about my distrust of breathalyzers; how they’d pick up on acidic drinks like juice and how they’d get you because of cough medicine or mouthwash. I actually had two cops tell me, “Well, we know you’re drunk but can’t prove it. Get outta here.” Oh yea, I was on point. I was charming snakes, swimming with sharks, walking a beer-soaked tight rope, and then I actually slowed down.
Around the ages of 25 to 27, I greatly reduced my participation in what was once such a hallowed activity of mine. It was getting risky and my living situation didn’t really enable or even require such abrasive actions. I even thought to myself, “Wow, I made it through all that ridiculous shit without getting a DWI.” Dozens of people I knew with far less dedication to the craft were piling up DWI’s and there I was, with a fairly clean record and slowing down. I thought I’d made it. I saw no D’s, W’s, or I’s on the horizon. And then, in May of last year, during what could honestly be considered one of my most innocent of attempts, the police badges rained down.
We played a show two and a half hours north of our “jamspot” in Vermont. The venue wasn’t even a bar. We went to a restaurant/pub across the street for some food and drinks. I had about five beers and a shot or two of Jack then headed over to the venue. We hung out drinking water and waiting to play. We played and any buzz I may have developed was sweated out. We had already enacted the “no drinking in the van” law by then so I had about three hours to completely sober up on the ride back. We got back to the "jamspot" around 2:30 a.m. and I felt as if I hadn’t had anything to drink. In past situations, when I did feel a bit tipsy, I’d sleep it off in the "jamspot" for a few hours before driving home. This time, however, I felt fine enough to drive home without incident. I even thought that if I did get pulled over, the cops wouldn’t even think I had been drinking. So around 3 a.m., we all left in our individual cars out of the parking lot. Unfortunately, I was last in line and right when I pulled out, I saw the cop across the street pull behind me.
At this time of night, I knew I’d be getting pulled over. They got me over to the side of the road. Upon their approach, I realized that it was two officers I had never seen around town (we’ve gotten to know most of them well). Their attitudes and body language lead me to believe that they were planning on arresting me right when they saw me leave the parking lot. I did all the field tests perfectly and was beyond cooperative. Even when they tried to get under my skin, I cooperated like they were family. They asked about the breathalyzer, I gave me spiel, and they weren’t having it. I knew that even though I hadn’t had anything to drink in over five hours, the breathalyzer could still nail me. These cops were out for blood. I’ve had experience in this type of situation and, trust me, these guys were fucking pricks. I saw them getting frustrated as I continually performed the field tests perfectly. I did their little Vaudeville act a little too well. Fed up, one cop said, “You’re under arrest.” I remained disgustingly cooperative until a very good friend of mine picked me up at the station around 4:30 am.
After a year with no license, trial postponements, varying employment, understanding friends, money thrown at a lawyer, and too many headaches, my trial is in two weeks on June 5. I have no idea what’s going to happen and I’m not looking forward to it. The only positive thing I can get out of this whole thing is by asking, “Where the fuck were you guys four or five years ago?!”