Brooklyn doom metallers Kings Destroy recently hit the road with Pentagram. Here, in their own words, is what transpired…
Chicago, IL (Stephen Murphy, vocals)
Well goddamn, it was great to head to Chicago for the first show of the tour with Pentagram, Radio Moscow and Bang, plus Iron Reagan taking the stage before us. We loaded our gear into the van in Brooklyn and miraculously drove through NYC and over the George Washington Bridge with no traffic. That never happens. Drove for eleven hours then crashed in Clyde, Ohio. Middle of nowhere. Next day was four more hours to Chicago. Didn’t even bother going to the club — first stop was Kuma’s Corner for a metal burger and some beers. So good. Loaded in and reunited with the Pentagram and Radio Moscow boys with whom we did the Western US this past February. Touring with bands you know and get along with just makes everything a little easier. Loaded in, no soundcheck, hit the stage at 8:20 and ripped off as many songs as we could in our allotted thirty minutes. Reggies was already crowded when we played. By the time Bang, Radio Moscow and Pentagram played, the crowd was boozy and righteous. Great first night of tour.
Minneapolis, MN (Stephen Murphy)
When you tour the US you gain a real appreciation for the vastness of the country. The drive from Chicago to Minneapolis clocks in around eight hours. We woke up early, threw the football around in the fresh air and got our move on… destination Hammerheart Brewery, about 20 miles north of the city. Master brewer Austin Lunn is a great host. He’s also a talented one-man band who records under the name Panopticon. We tasted his beer and he gave us three growlers for the road. Nice! Mill City Nights is a large venue that’s run with great professionalism. We loaded in, got a soundcheck and hit the stage at 8:15. Six songs and an appreciative audience later we loaded out and tucked into watching Bang! These guys were playing in the early ’70s and they are great mellow dudes. A welcome addition to the tour. The first two days have involved about twenty hours of van time. The next few days will be a lot easier.
Grand Rapids, MI (Christopher Skowronski, guitar)
Put in ten hours on the road to Grand Rapids, MI. We knew this was prob the toughest travel day on the tour. Couple stops for terrible food and fresh air. Day three in a van with seven guys. It didn’t smell great. Got to the venue on time, loaded in and set up. Pentagram had already soundchecked so we got a good thirty minute check. We had about an hour of downtime before the show. The Pyramid Scheme has an awesome pinball arcade… maybe 15 of them, so the guys played pinball while passing the time. We hit the stage at 8:00 p.m. and the crowd was cool and receptive. Bang went on after us and were great. All of the bands on this tour have been killing it nightly. Tonight was no different. Stood on stage for some of Pentagram, Bobby Liebling playing to crowd while Victor, Greg and Sean locked into their tight set. Impressive to see. We loaded out after the show and drove to a house on a lake about half an hour north of the venue.
Lansing, MI (Christopher Skowronski)
Slept at the awesome house on a lake that Mary Jo and Ray own. The weather was great. Ray took a few of us out on a boat ride. We were playing in Lansing but it was close so we had all day here. We went and got a whole bunch of food and drinks and hosted a giant barbecue withe Radio Moscow guys (who are the best dudes, btw. Awesome time. We hoofed it over to Lansing for the show. JJ from the superblog Theobelisk.net is embedded with us on this tour. He booked the show. On the bill are Hordes, Cruthu and Beast in the Field. We got to play for an hour, which was welcome as we could really dig in, as opposed to the 30-minute opening sets we have been playing. The Radio Moscow guys came to the show as well. All the bands ripped it and then we headed off to the after party. Awesome day and night. Met lots of cool people.
Cleveland, OH (Christopher Skowronski)
Easy enough drive down to Cleveland though we were a little worse for wear from late-night shenanigans. HOB has four stage hands waiting to load us in. Awesome! Load in is quick and we got a nice soundcheck. Room sounded great and we headed out to grab some grub before the show. We were slated to go on at 8. At the last-minute our set time got moved up to 7:30. We rushed back and got on stage. If you are an opener on a tour like this you realize very quickly that you have to bring you’re a-game for every second of the set. It’s easy to lose people’s attention as the opener on a four-band bill. We craft each setlist with this in mind then get out there and play as hard as we can while trying to appreciate how awesome it is to have been invited by the legendary Pentagram to tour with them twice this year. We are pretty locked in and tight now. Crowd swelled over the course of the set and the appreciative roar while the last chords ring out meant we’d done what we came to do. The rest of the night we hung at the merch table, checked out the other bands and soaked it in.
New Stanton, PA. (Carl Porcaro, guitar)
The unseasonably warm October temperatures and sunny days we’ve had on this tour have surrendered to dark skies and chilly air. Seems fitting as we wake up in a motel rivaled in its grimness only by a soviet era athletic barracks we once stayed in whilst touring with Rosetta in the Czech Republic. You won’t find us complaining about a bed and a hot shower on tour however. The combination did wonders for shaking the edge off of the various tour maladies me and my roommate are fighting and got us out the door and into the van. First stop was Sheetz for a gas station breakfast and fuel up amidst the camouflage wearing, 4×4 with with gun rack set, and now we are on the way Baltimore.
A good time was had by all last night at Mr Smalls in Pittsburgh and I suppose everyone is feeling the effects as it is pretty quiet in the van this morning. We are at the midday point of the tour and everyone has been burning pretty brightly thus far. Aaron is keeping the flow going with some deep Doobies and Mandrill tracks.
Baltimore, MD (Carl Porcaro)
Tonight we’re playing Baltimore Sound Stage and I’m happy that there in an additional band on the bill because going on at 7:30 the last two nights has been drag city.
The four hour trip to went pretty smoothly and easily and by mid afternoon we were rolling through downtown bmore in search of a kick drum head. When we pulled up in front of Ted’s Music it looked like the music store that time forgot. Apparently the place is like ninety years old and the neon sign in the window advertising “Harmonicas 25-50% off” looks at least half that. I used to love places like this as there were always some weird relics to check out/buy, but they are all completely picked over these days. When Rob went in everyone was sure that they wouldn’t have the head but were happily proven wrong when dusty box was handed across the counter to our waiting drummer. Psyched that Ted came up with the goods and that we had some time to kill before load in, our road mgr Jim Pitts offered to take the band out for lunch and beers at the joint next door. A good time was had. Thank you Jim.
When we got to the Baltimore soundstage we were greeted by a staff of people who seemed excited to work there, pumped about the show, and Johnny on the spot when it came to helping us load in and getting us situated with anything else we needed. It’s actually kinda rare to find that and always appreciated. The Baltimore sound stage is a big box in the ground floor of a high rise building. It doesn’t have a load of character as a room but the stage is really big and it has a powerful sound system and even a green room shared with Bang and Radio Moscow that had a TV we could watch game 7 of the World Series on. We had a good time with all those guys and Pentagram and their crew every night and this show was no exception.
The show was opened by a Baltimore band called The Pilgrim, not be confused with Pilgrim, from Rhode Island. Their brand of 70s hard rock with female vocals fit right in on this bill and they played an excellent set. Pentagram had a great set in Baltimore as well we watched and had a few bevvies at the side of the stage was right near our green room.
After the show was a motel outside of town, where you find the cheap ones. Before we checked in I let my bandmates know that I would need to get myself to an urgent care or ER or something before the next show. I had this lump on my calf that started out innocuously enough like a little pimple at the beginning of the tour but had grown to the point where I was limping and getting in and out of the van was proving to be a painful, difficult enterprise. The homespun remedies prescribed by KD’s own Dr C Wolf were just not working and It was clear I was gonna have to get serious.
Our drive to Philly the next day was only 90 mins away so we knew we had to take care of this little operation and still get to the gig in time. After one false start with a place that wouldn’t treat me because of insurance reasons we ended up at the Med Express in Mount Ephraim. They quickly diagnosed me with an abscess which they said was quite common but that they would have to cut it open with a scalpel and drain it. So they put me in one of the doctors rooms told me to relax and wait. Not thirty seconds after, a kid in the next room started screaming in agony for what seemed like an eternity. So much for the relaxing part.
I am not going to lie. When the doctor did get around to treating me I totally screamed also. Maybe not quite like the kid next door but it was loud. I wish they had given me a rope to gnaw on because I had the imprint of my own teeth on my wrist for like the next four hours. When it was all done and the pressure in my calf was released I was a new man. I had a huge ace bandage on my leg so I didn’t have to see the gore, and it didn’t hurt at all any more. The pain pills they prescribed for me which I washed down with a beer surely helped.
I was probably inside for about ninety minutes and when I got out the van was gone.
Philadelphia (Christopher Skowronski)
Made the drive to Philly the morning after the Baltimore show, so it was mercifully short and gave us the chance to actually sleep late, hang around the hotel, etc. That is, until Carl informed us that the abscess that was taking over his leg had reached critical mass. He’d been operating under my care for the first few days of the tour, and since I have neither a medical degree nor much common sense, his leg was not getting any better. In fact, it looked like maybe it was going to need to be amputated. Steve drove him to the nearest walk-in clinic, but it turned out it wouldn’t take his insurance. We put in a call to Sean from our brother-in-arms Clamfight, who lives in Philly, and he steered us to a clinic just outside of the city, on the New Jersey side. So, we brought him there, and the rest of the band and crew milled around the parked van as he went inside to have his tourbola abscess lanced. The kind citizens of whatever town we were in did not take kindly to a bunch of sketchy long hairs and a black van loitering in a parking lot for a couple hours, so the police were dispatched to investigate. Explanations were offered, stories were checked with the clinic staff, and the Long Arm Of The Law released its grip on Kings Destroy just as Carl was released. On to Philly, where a sold-out Johnny Brenda’s awaited. Loaded in and had a quick bite at the German beer garden across the street. Show rocked, but we had to get a move on before Pentagram took the stage as we wanted to get to Steve’s in NY at a reasonable hour in order to sleep before having to leave for the long drive to Vermont the following day.
Burlington, VT (Christopher Skowronski)
The drive to Vermont was long, but scenic. Steve drove his own car up, as he was going to leave right after the show and attempt to make it to New York in time to see his kids for the day before the New York show at the Gramercy. Carl was behind the wheel for the trip to Vermont, and aside from backing into a pole in the parking lot of a gas station somewhere in Massachusetts, we had no troubles. Made it to the venue, loaded out, and had a couple can of Heady Topper which we’d picked up at a local beer purveyor. Good stuff. The show killed, as it was Pentagram in Burlington on Halloween night. Lots of costumed folks partaking of lots of mind-altering substances. More than one dude dressed as King Diamond — classic King Diamond, not that weird bowler-clad vicar King Diamond that just came through on tour.
Our hotel was about an hour outside of Burlington, and by the time we made it back after the show, it was fucking freezing. The place also kind of felt like the Overlook Hotel from the Shining. We hit the sack hard, as wake-up was set for 8:30, and it was after 2:00 when we arrived.
New York, NY (Christopher Skowronski)
Tough for me to write about the drive to New York. I was crashed out on the long back seat of the van for ninety-five percent of it. I awoke to massive traffic on the Bruckner. Par for the course. Seems we’d made awesome time on the ride, only to be crushed once we hit the Bronx. Either way, it felt good to be home, even if this show was the penultimate and we’d have to haul back out of town for the final gig in Providence the next day. Made it to the Gramercy early, even with the traffic. Loaded out and headed to a nearby pub for a couple drinks. By the time we got back and got all the equipment set and checked, friends and family began making their way in. We got to see our wives, Steve had his kids and some of their friends, and the show was awesome. The Gramercy was packed, we were back after two weeks on the road, and I jumped in a cab and got to sleep in my own bed.
Providence, RI (Christopher Skowronski)
Had to make my way to Steve’s to meet up with the rest of the guys and the van, as most had chosen to stay there to make the wake-up easier. I was happy I slept at home, but I did have to wake earlier than the rest in order to get to them. No big deal. Got there and we dicked around for a bit before hitting the road to Providence. I keep saying Providence, but the show was actually just outside the city, in a town called Pawtucket. Drive was uneventful, and when we arrived for load in, it was fucking freezing. Got the gear in, hung around while Pentagram did their final soundcheck, including a run-through of a cover tune that tourmates Bang were going to perform as a finale. Ordered some food from a local Italian place. I’d never had shredded chicken parm before, but it did the trick. Washed it down with a few local beers and then hung around backstage with the Bang guys. Last night of this tour, so there was bitter sweet vibe all around. Show was great, and we all watched Bang and Pentagram from the stage for the final time — Radio Moscow missed their flight back from Cali, so it was just the three bands for the night. Load out was tough, as the final night party vibe got a bit out of hand, but JJ took the wheel and got us back to Steve’s in New York by 4:00 a.m. I don’t remember any of the ride. No matter. We were home. I went home and to bed for two days straight.