When I began the process of putting this together, I was sitting on the curb of Love’s truck stop just outside of Pryor, OK. We were out of money, out of ice, out of clean clothes, out of cigarettes, out of patience and outdoors because our bus was out of power. Monday has been one of the most grueling days together as a band when we left the most epic weekend of our careers only to have mechanical issues to wash out the buzz we still had from Rocklahoma. Tuesday got longer but I will get to that in a bit.
Let me start from the beginning….
We pulled out of Birmingham on Thursday to begin our 11 hour trek to Pryor, OK for the music festival Rocklahoma. We left around 10pm and drove through the night in extremely high spirits. We I woke up we were pulling into a Walmart to grab groceries and beer for the weekend. Just about everyone in there was heading to the festival.
Fully stocked, we pulled in the campground., filled the coolers, setup the grill, chairs, and corn hole game. I cracked a beer and flew the Alabama state flag over the campsite and cranked up the ipod. There was a buzz in the air going around and it felt good.
All of our neighbors were super cool and are now considered great friends of ours. They supplied the much needed golf carts and even had a small stage with a stripper pole. Lights included. Our neighbor, Mad Hatter (we called him that because he wore a curly orange wig and top hat all weekend) had the ultimate golf cart with off road tires and full surround sound with touch screen receiver.
Vicker’s threw some burgers on the grill when our buddy Mike Paulk from Tulsa came pulling in. We met Mike last time we played in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. He’s fits right in and we were glad to have him around.
As the sun started to set we heading in to the festival to watch the first night of bands. We stopped by and saw Saving Abel, Janus, Buckcherry, Three Days Grace and Godsmack. While watching Buckcherry I noticed everyone was walking around with these huge souvenir mugs. Once I found out you can walk in and out with it , I made a B line to the booth to get one for $5. The best part was seeing WITHIN REASON on the side under the Rocklahoma logo. These mugs played intricate role in everyone’s weekend. Friday’s shows were awesome. It really gave me my first fix of music for the weekend.
When we returned to the now infamous B-50 camping spot the party in the campgrounds had already begun. The stripper pole was going full speed but Griff decided he could turn it up a notch by getting up there and showing his stuff. When he went upside down, all of the change in his pockets came crashing down causing the growing crowd to erupt.
Vickers had aquired 2 authentic sombreros and all we needed were ponchos to be all set. We took one purple blanket, one kitchen rug we coffee cups painted on it and and cut holes on the middle with garden shears. This would be the oufit for the rest of the night.
Around the camp there we other adventures going on. There was Camp Jager, The Trampoline and the Watering Hole. All 3 were easiy accessable by golf cart, which we had plenty of. Mad Hatter took a group and Mike took another. The Trampoline was cool but the excitement wore of quickly. Camp Jager would have been cool if anyone could remember its location. The Watering Hole was a small rock quarry filled with muddy water..well and trash and a giant tractor tire thanks to Mike and Vickers.
The high speed race back to B-50 ended with Mike flipping his golf cart and then having it run over his own leg. On a normal day "concern" would have been the proper emotion but on this night we all just laughed until we threw up, then put it back on its wheels. I decided that I had enough and went to bed.
When the sun came up on saturday, I crawled out of bed, grabbed a Pedialite from the fridge and walked outside. To my left was Mike's golf cart laying on its side. The corn hole boards were smashed into pieces. There was no doubt in my mind that Vickers was responsible for that. (I found out later that I was correct.) To my right, among piles of beer cans, and empty ice bags was Griffin just sittting there alone, still up from the night before.
Slowly everyone started waking up and Vickers got some chicken and corn on the grill. Mike hobbled over to show us the damage from the crash the night before. I can't believe this dude was still walking. His leg was swollen and covered in dirt and blood. He said it was one hell of a night but tonight had to top it. So, we started planning the evening. The general idea was to throw a huge party at B-50 and let everyone know we were playing on sunday.
During the planning our friends from the Nigel Dupree Band stopped by before their show and agreed the party would be a great idea. After dinner we went to do an interview with KMOD then watched Nigel's set. The next thing I know Boz called me frantically telling me to look up. Just then Scott, Chris and Vickers came whizzing by in the same helicopter that Vickers swore he was getting in the day before.
That night we gearing up with mugs full of RBV's and went to see Brookroyal, Shaman's Harvest and ZZ Top. While watching Shaman's Harvest, we were standing by a little boy who looked to be about 5 or 6 and his parents. He kept looking at us and finally asked for an autograph. We signed his shirt and introduced ourselves to his parents. Mook took his Within Reason all acesss pass off and gave it to the little kid. During our set on sunday we saw security lift him over the barracade at the front of the stage and he had his pass around his neck. It was awesome. We threw him some guitar picks from the stage. That def was a highlight of the weekend.
As we returned to B-50 the party had already begun. It wasn't too long before the sombreros were back on and the stripper pole was fired up. Before we knew it 300 of our closest friends that we have never met had shown up. We hooked up a microphone to the PA and stopped the party to make an announcement about our set at 3pm the next day. It paid off because I saw most of those folks from the stage the next day.
Early sunday morning I got up with Little Eddie around 9am to started loading up merch and heading into the festival. Luckily Mike was still up snd gave us a ride on the golf cart. On the way to the merch booth we got distracted my Safari Joe's Live Snakes & Alligator tent. When I woke up at 9am, I never thought I would have an albino python around my neck by 10am.
By noon we had the bus behind the stage. Me, Blake and Little Eddie grabbed a quick bite at catering then headed over to the Media Tent and Radio Row to meet the rest of the guys for a hour of press.
Soundchecked at 2pm and hit the stage at 3pm. The show was hot and sunny but was a blast. We had a huge crowd to be the first band of the day. We kicked things off with "Instigator". Hopefully nobody noticed that I started in the wrong key.
After the show we went over to merch and did a meet and greet. Everyone we met was so nice. For ther rest of the day we just hung out and listened to bands such as Hail The Villian, Sevendust, Theory of a Deadman, Lacuna Coil, Taddy Porter, Chevelle, and Tesla. In my opinion Sevendust stole the entire weekend. They were amazing.
After the show we went back to B-50, had a few friends over and looked back at the weekend over a couple RBV's. I went to bed about 4am....
At 7:30am I was awakened by the sunlight and the hum of the engine shutting down. Griffin slid open the curtain, tossed a gray tshirt on my head and said. "Get out here dude."
I rubbed my eyes and held up the shit which read "I've Been Rocked by the Pryor PD".
You can imagine by confusion.
I walked down the steps and a tow truck was pulling up. After talking to the police I let it sink in that we may be stuck in Pryor due to engine and power trouble.
I climbed in a police car and followed our bus on its $720 tow truck ride to the repair shop. The repair shop was closed because Memorial Day so we had to call the mechanic in which I knew was going to be expensive. Once we replaced the alternator we got the thing running in about 12 hours. We got about 5 miles down the road and it all shut down again in the parking lot of a truck stop.
We called the mechanic and he said "get comfortable cus we can't do anything til tomorrow".
So we had to stay the night in the parking lot with no power. The next day after being woken up by a bird that flew in the bus and freaked out, we go it jumped off and headed back to Birmingham. We couldn't get past 4th gear so we made the 648 mile trip at 40mph. We left at noon on tuesday and pulled into B'ham at 7am on wednesday.
Besides the 48 hour ride home, Rocklahoma was an epic event. I would not hesitate to do it all over again. We met some great people. The staff and security were tip top and the bands all sounded great. It will be a highlight of our career for a long long time.