Each year it just gets bigger and bigger but really, I doubt even in their wildest dreams the folks behind Rock and Shock would have imagined they’d get the one and only Viper Rash to open their convention one year. I guess sometimes, dreams do come true.
Of course I’m being facetious; Viper Rash is my band and we asked the folks behind Rock and Shock, very nicely, if we could be so honored as to play this year. After verifying no other bands wanted it as bad as we did, they let us, and it led to the biggest show of our short career and kicked off what would be a hellaciously fun weekend for everyone hear at Dread Central.
Uncle Creepy and his lovely lady Debi (aka The Woman in Black) showed up that Friday morning disgustingly early, having taken the red-eye from their new home in San Diego in order to get out here in time to make sure nothing was missed. My wife decided the best thing to cure jetlag were some of her amazing Breakfast Squares (imagine crack in food form), which had them sleeping like babies within hours. It was some well-needed rest, as Creepy informed me multiple times, since that night would prove to be a very long one, indeed.
We got to the show right about the time things started kicking into full Friday evening gear (dealer tables were open till 10) and I had to divide my time between making sure everyone at the Dread Central table (aka FREE STUFF) were happy and making sure my band was in full face-rocking mode. Thankfully both were with very little effort on my part, and our show itself went out without a hitch. Well, our guitar player almost got knocked over and I got horrendously tangled in the mic cable, but there were no lasting injuries, thank God.
The rest of the day was just keeping the table alive and the free stuff, from companies like SOTA, Sony, Weta, Dark Horse, Top Cow, Rogue, Fox Atomic, Gentle Giant and more, flowing. The idea is to keep people coming back and this show was proof positive that the idea works, since it was run without a hitch sans Nomad, whose usually behind the table from first light to closing time. This year he was in Toronto getting the scoop on Saw IV and Repo! The Genetic Opera, but things still managed to carry on thanks to our lovely assistants, Cara, Emma, my wife Michelle, and more. I tell you, there’s nothing like free stuff and beautiful, friendly women to keep the fans happy!
Friday night was filled with the usual debauchery that most people don’t want to see repeated on the ‘net, whether names are used or not, so suffice it to say we all had a damn good time!
Saturday morning the table was up and running before I was (thanks again, Cara!), but most of my day was spent between running around and meeting new faces and re-connecting with old ones. It’s amazing how much time flies when you’re not really paying attention. Uncle Creepy was on panel-hosting duties all day, cause that’s really what he was born to do, and from what I heard everyone was very happy with his work, as usual. I only got to see one of them, but I can attest from Fear Fest that the man was born to be up on stage getting crowds excited!
Throughout the day on Saturday, the folks behind ScreamKings.com had movies running upstairs at the show, including 9 Lives of Mara, Redsin Tower, Death by Engagement and the original Halloween with an intro by PJ Soles and the original Michael Myers, Tony Moran. Pretty fucking cool thing for fans of the original, or just those who wanted to wash the taste of Rob Zombie’s “remake” out of their mouths. Scream Kings did a great programming job (though I don’t think a movie should ever start as early as 11am… egads) and I’m sure they’ll be back next year, as well.
The overall consensus on Saturday was that it was the biggest turn out Rock and Shock has seen to date, which is definitely a good thing for obvious reasons. The crew behind it did a great job promoting, but I have to take some of the credit on our shoulders, as well. Between the push we kept giving it on the site to Nomad’s tireless work on the Dread Central MySpace page, you really couldn’t come anywhere near us in the last month or so without hearing about Rock and Shock, and I think the turnout on Saturday spoke for itself.
Of all the bands playing that night, the only one I really wanted to make sure I got a chance to see was Finnish rockers Lordi; I’d never heard them before and didn’t know what to expect, only that they dressed up like monsters and had a real affinity for horror. Personally I thought they were a lot better than even my lowest expectations had, others didn’t’ feel the same, unfortunately. I really wanted to chat with them about their upcoming horror movie debut, Dark Floors, but since I had no idea what they looked like sans makeup, tracking them down proved difficult. I’ll keep digging, though!
There was an exclusive party that went on at the same time; guests with special access were able to eat and drink for free for the night as well as get out on the Palladium’s balcony to watch the bands without worrying about the teaming masses. This is always a fun time for anyone who can get in (which is understandably none too easy) and I ended up having a really good conversation with Greg Nicotero that would’ve been almost surreal if I weren’t almost used to such things. You really couldn’t ask for a nicer guy.
Nomad made his arrival that night, as well, though he missed the big party, he did hit up the smaller one back at the hotel. I swear, sometimes it amazes me how much time people spend during these cons just doing things they shouldn’t to their body, knowing they have to get up ridiculously early the next morning and be awake and alert all day. I guess for some it’s all part of the package!
Finally came Sunday, the day we knew was going to be slow as convention Sundays usually are. Creepy and I started the day off solidifying our commitment to Dread Central with the badass tattoos you see here, courtesy of Jamie and Tony of Nitemare Tattoo, a Rock and Shock staple. The duo did us up at the same time and finished within minutes of one another, and the results are … well, let’s just say I’m very proud to have this baby on my body!
While Nomad was trying to find out just how much stuff we did wrong while he was gone (he runs a tight ship, believe me), Creepy and I were wandering the floor showing off our new ink and killing time until 2, when ScreamKings had local indie movie God of Vampires (review) scheduled to play. I have to say I dug it more the second time around, knowing what I was getting into; the crowd really reacted well to it, too, and I hope it gets more festival play and gets picked up soon.
The rest of the day was basically spent winding down, saying goodbye to convention friends and making promises to reconnect soon. Of course we had to have our traditional post-show dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, which is a great way to bring things to an end and say our last goodbyes. Another Rock and Shock in the can, and this time we know for a fact it’ll be back next year!
Huge thanks to Gina, Kevin, and the rest of the Rock and Shock crew for all they do to make the show one of the best in the country. If you’ve not made it out before, be sure to make your plans for next years now, because it’s only going to be bigger. And who knows, maybe Viper Rash will play again!
Make plans for next year’s event in the Dread Central forums!