Away in the Sea of Red: Isis Remembers Isis Part 2

Our second eulogy for dearly departed Metalgazers Isis includes more reminiscing from the band, more photos (again thanks to Mark Dawursk) and an old school live clip from one of our favorite songs. Let’s get to it:

Bryant Clifford Meyer (Electronics, Keyboards, Guitar, Vocals)

For some reason my memory has become slightly out of whack – fragmented and confused. It’s frankly slightly embarrassing that we played around 850 shows and I wouldn’t be able to recollect even one night in its entirety. Flying to Europe for the first time in 2003 and making fun of “Brest” in France on the inflight map i remember. Dale Crover ringing out his sweat filled bikini briefs into a pint glass was pretty good. My keyboard switching to some circus sounds setting at a 120 degree basement club in tuscon is amusing i guess. This stupid yarn is a for sure “had to be there” deal, but maybe the Dälek and Oxes guys will relive it, and about 50 mid-thirties Iowans.

We played in Ames, Iowa at whatever university is there, Iowa State or something, with Dälek and Oxes on Oceanic tour. Dälek are an awesomely loud fucked up Public Enemy meets My Bloody Valentine trio (at the time). Oxes played wireless aluminum guitars and math-y Albini-y quirky songs and they stand on boxes and sit at the bar and might have a dildo for a drumstick and it’s great. Anyway i think we played football before the show (which was in the school pub-bar thing) which was the only time we played football on tour ever i think – fascinating. So whatever the show was weird obviously and loud and fun and for sleeping quarters for some reason we all stayed in the dorms on campus. It was free so that was good enough for us. So we got a bunch of beer and whatever else and had a little party in our dorm rooms. At maybe 2 in the morning some dorm guard dude came a knocking on the door to find one Ox barking orders to another Ox adorned in only his underwear and some football helmet struggling to finish his push-up regiment, with the rest of us a boisterously supportive audience. Needless to say, dorm guard had no idea what to make of this and i think just sort of told us to keep it down, put out whatever we were smoking and left. It was really funny.

Aaron Turner (Guitar, Vocals)

I can’t think of one specific tour story that comes immediately to mind, at least not one that takes precedence over all others, so I’ve just compiled a list of highlights with brief synopses:

– Cave In not dead in van fire: 2000, summer tour with Cave In. Driving down highway in PA. See smoke out the window a few miles off. Come up on highway rest stop, see Cave In van completely immersed in flames. Heart drops to pit of stomach. Pull over and run towards fire. Find all members of Cave In in the crowd watching the van burning. Some guy in the crowd makes a sarcastic remark about the fire, Caleb (Cave In bassist) calmly tells the guy that it’s his van on fire. Guy stops talking. Caleb unhappy. Next few shows we sell half-melted Cave In CDs and smoke roasted T-shirts to try to help them recover a bit of their losses.

– ISIS breaks up the first time: 1998, ISIS does summer tour with Cable, our first tour out of the Northeast. Shows cancelled. Band members fighting. Horrible pizza at an Italian/Chinese restaurant in North Carolina. Broken disco balls and bloody knuckles. Threats to take a bus home. Band breaks up and then gets back together at the end of tour. Almost the end of ISIS.

– Dinner in Athens, Greece: 2009 (?) ISIS European tour. Nikos and others helping out with ISIS show take us to small family restaurant somewhere in Athens. Three or four generations of the family are there, either helping make the food or just hanging out. A constant parade of dishes makes their way to our table over the course of an hour or more. Some of the best food ever ingested by the ISIS collective, and certainly the best meal of that tour. A good meal on tour cannot be overrated. Perhaps the best part of the tour, period.

– Get to play shows with Melvins: 2002, spring tour with the Melvins. There are very few bands everyone in ISIS unanimously adore. The Melvins are one of the select few. They make music we love and that helped define our music. In 2002 we got to tour with them for the first time. This was a big deal for us, to say the least. Not only did they rule every night of the tour, but they also turned out to be real nice folks.

– ISIS opens for Cradle of Filth, crowd is not amused: 2000 (?), ISIS are asked by local promoter to open a show for Cradle of Filth, Usurper and some other bands I can’t remember (Rotting Christ?). ISIS plays first. Whole front row turns their backs on us while we play. We play harder as a result. Still no response from the crowd. Approx number of attendees: 1,500. ISIS sells 1 t shirt and 1 CD. Also, some band on the bill accuses us of stealing their keyboard. We find out later that they hid it themselves so they could play higher up on the bill.

– ISIS sleeps in van, funny stuff happens: 2001, summer tour with Knut. We are on a route leading towards Sturgis motorcycle rally, or whatever it’s called. Every hotel in a 200 mile radius seems to be filled up with bikers. We get tired and finally decide to sleep in van. I can’t sleep, and while awake in the van I witness the following: Aaron Harris angrily tossing and turning in his sleeping bag stretched across front seats, Clifford (while sleeping) stretches his arms out above his head casting spells with his hands and muttering incantations, Jeff (also asleep) smacks Mike in the head, Mike swears vehemently, but does not wake up. After a few uncomfortable hours we give up on the idea of sleep and carry on.

– ISIS final show a good one: 2010, summer tour with Melvins and Cave In. Our final show in Montreal (also the location of our first ever live show). Lots of friends there including our long time tour partners and friends in Cave In. We play a set that feels like an important final statement full of emotion and energy, which also feels like just another ISIS show – fitting and anti-climactic simultaneously. Probably the best ending I could’ve hoped for….