Eat your tell-tale heart out Edgar Allan Poe. Much like the monster in the closet, musicians must battle the technical glitches, flat tires and wardrobe malfunctions that go bump in the night.
Beyond the member-generated terror— it is a general consensus that girlfriends are never welcomed to band practice— horror stories plague bands, from the nationally known to the garage-band heroes. As post-hardcore outfit, Every Minute Can Kill, rockers, Beyond the Element, and alternative rock-ensemble, The World Outside, can attest, ghastly tales perpetuate more than dark and stormy nights.
In a Kingdom by the Sea
After finishing recording their album, “Get Your Groove On,” in Toms River, Vineland-based Every Minute Can Kill ventured to a nearby White Castle to replenish the calories that rocking out burns. While the band was listening to the rough mixes of their tracks— naturally with the music up and windows down— a rusted pickup truck, with no windows, matched pace with them. A mile or so later, after bearing the brunt of an angry onslaught of profanity laced death threats, the truck with the noted “skinhead” drove off, leaving Every Minute Can Kill with a tale that would do Poe proud. “He drove away and left us unscathed,” said Rich Williams, guitarist for the band. “But we still joke around that he almost ripped our old bassist, Frank, right out of the car.”
While the road is an assumed platform for nightmares, a venue’s stage is where a nightmare can quickly mutate into a full-blown terror. Factors such as equipment failure and nerves can dramatically affect a band’s performance. Unfortunately, for Jersey-born Beyond the Element, both demons have reared their ugly heads during their set.
“Our first show with Kevin— no offense Kevin— he played everything 30 times faster [than the rest of us],” said bassist and vocalist, Corey Presner with a laugh. “He played different music than us.”
When Beyond the Element’s drummer, Kevin Reardon, is not “playing different music,” he is busy destroying his drum set. During their set one evening, Reardon kicked a whole in his bass drum, forcing him to think fast. “That was fun,” said Reardon with a sigh. “I had to turn the bass drum around [in the middle of the song] and finish the show on the front of it.”
Quote the Raven
Much like a crowdsurfer materializing out of the audience and fulfilling the kicks-to-the-head quota every show-goer agrees to, band horror stories crop up unexpectedly, ambushing bands both internationally known and locally grown. Technical glitches, on-stage mistakes and van problems pepper the existence of any band, spreading panic in their arrivals; a panic rivaled only by that of a rookie show-goer when a M.O.S.H. pit opens up and the call for a “wall of death” echoes throughout the venue.
Transforming nightmares into, “One day we’ll look back on this and laugh,” local acts, Every Minute Can Kill, Beyond the Element and The World Outside face the fears that could fall the House of Usher with each set. After all, the show must go on.