Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Q & A with Eric "Ace" Wallace of On, Black Breath, Get The Most and former guitar shredder of Go It Alone

So I got to know Ace a little better on this current tour so I felt he would have some knowledge to drop so I decided to bring him in on this blog. Everytime we have been in the northwest we crash at his house and well he's been in a few touring bands so he knows whats up. So besides gathering as much gear as he can from craigslist and printing shirts he shreds on his guitar.

1. What keeps pushing you to write and tour in a hardcore band?

Well for one, hardcore ain't gonna write itself. Plus constant aversion to having a real "job" and more than $50 in my bank account go well with an insatiable taste for fast music and sleeping on floors.

2. Biggest miss conception of being in a hardcore band that you have encountered?

That it's cool. This shit isn't cool, it's just what we do. Cool would be having a ton of money and blowing it on rad stuff. You can't get that by playing in a hardcore band.

3. The item that you will most likely lose on tour?

Towels. Luckily I figured that out and now just run in place really fast until I'm dry.

4. If you could choose a preferred method of raging for any of your bands what would it be? Diving, Moshing, Fist Pumping, Fist Pumping with Beer in hand, or Singing Along?

Stage dives for everything. Hardcore shows, metal shows... stage diving always rules. Check out old Obituary videos, I think they cover four or five of those options with each hesher that appears on stage.

5. What is one of your favorite memories that you've had on tour?

Probably one that wouldn't be interesting to read about because I'm not articulate enough to relate its magnitude. Instead, I'll choose one that has proven to be a crowd pleaser. This one is from the Go It Alone summer 2007 tour, just after we headed north, alone after a three week U.S. tour with Verse, Soul Control, and I Rise:

Since the ferry rides to and from Newfoundland are 7 hours or so they are fairly expensive, and more expensive depending on how many passengers are in the car. We had 6 in the van including a roadie, and naturally we were hiding everyone but me. Ghost riding da whip hadn't been invented yet, so the zero passenger car had yet to come. The hiding trick had worked well every time in the past, with 100% success rate on the Washington and B.C. ferries, topping out at about 15 hidden people on a bremerton ferry once.

The return trip from Newfoundland back to Nova Scotia started like any other. Everyone got in the back and concealed themselves with sleeping bags, nary a murmur could be detected, and they didn't speak until we were through the queue and I had purchased and handed off the boarding pass. The boarding pass handoff was critical as it had a oversized, bold 1 in the center, indicating I was alone. I drove up, paid the lady, and did my best to engage her in a conversation about my dealings on her island. We concocted this story on the way to the ferry about how I was researching snakes and the trailer was full of instruments such as heart rate monitors and measuring sticks and whatnot, to try and get some amusement out of the otherwise stale interaction we expected to have at this place. On the way in it got some laughs and a "good luck." See, the story was funny because it is well known that Newfoundland has no snakes. She was less receptive to general conversation than the lady at the incoming ticket office on the way into Newfoundland, but she did admit she hated snakes. I told her I was doing research on snakes in Newfoundland and didn't find shit, and with that I drove on to the next step: agricultural search.

I wasn't too worried. It was a little garage where I pulled up and saw a few officials milling about. I started to get nervous when I saw them opening the trailer in front of me and poking around, but maintained my cool. Time to put the lies to the test. We hadn't been pinched yet, and I wasn't about to deal with that embarassment or paying an extra $100 or more for the added passengers. An agriculture bro walked up, said hello, and went immediately to the back of the van to opened the door. We'll call this guy Todd. Now, there were four benches in the van, and every one of them had someone laying on it, covered with a sleeping bag. It looked slightly suspicious to say the least. Todd started to poke around so I jumped out and ran back to distract him, which worked pretty quickly. I claimed there was nothing back there but the two boxes he could see, and closed up the back. He wanted to check the trailer.

Todd wasn't the ripest grape on the vine, so I figured I had the advantage there.

"What you got in there?" he asked.

"Oh, just some gear." I wanted to leave my options open. I opened up one of the trailer's back doors to show him just enough to know it was mostly "plastic and metal" and then closed it back up. At that point it seemed he was going to pass on a more thorough van search. We were in the clear.

"Yeah, so i'll just take a look in the side door and you can be on your way," said huge-head Todd.


I walked up to the passenger side of the van because luckily it was locked and required my keys to open it. I positioned myself in between him and the van, figuring my ability to keep him away from the van was going to be the determing factor in whether he found everyone or not. This was going to be a difficult position to maintain considering his job was to look for plants and animals inside of everything. After four weeks eating nearly every meal in the van, he would have a lot to keep him occupied. I jiggled the keys in the door (Ace Ventura-style, so as to alert the secret cargo in the van) and kept reassuring him that all I had were trash bags and some cooked food I was planning to eat soon. Nothing fresh. No animals. My heart was racing, partially because I was on the verge of being caught, and partially because I had to think a million miles an hour to try to make everything seem normal while convincing him not to touch the people hiding on the benches inches away from the door. My pulse is quickening just re-telling this.

I opened the door and no pee bottles fell out. Weird. I wildly threw up empty paper bags and discarded boxes of potato wedges (or jo-joes depending on where you're from) from the floor thinking it would provide a bit of a smoke screen. Maybe if he couldn't see past the flying debris and garbage everywhere he wouldn't look any further. I didn't mention the 10 personal bags and big heaps of body on every bench. Oh man...

At this point I was still between Todd and the van, but he kept looking over my shoulder with equal parts suspition and curiosity in his eyes.

"There's no people in here right? Just you?!"

"Yep, just me."

"What's on that bench, under the bag? That's not a person?"

It was Kari, our roadie, laying on the bench closest to the side door. Her feet were facing the door, less than arms length from Todd and me.

"Oh that's nothing," I said as I started to lightly punch her feet, trying to make the pile of bag seem fluffier than it was. Sleight of hand was all I had going for me because with even the slightest probing of his own, the jig would be up. While I ruffled her sleeping bag and poked at Kari's feet, Todd was distracted by something else.

"That one's moving!" he yelled, looking terrified.

"What?!" I yelled as if he were crazy. "That's not moving."

Clearly it was moving. Russell was breathing and it was all too obvious.

"What, yeah! There it is again!"

Todd was proving more observant than I had hoped. I poked at Russell under the sleeping bag as if I didn't know whether there was a person there or not.

"Nope, nobody in here. That's just... I was doing snake research," I explained. Seemed reasonable.

Todd snapped back away from me and looked like he saw a ghost.

"That's... snakes... you got snakes under there?!"

"No no no! I don't have any snakes in there! There aren't any in newfoundland, that's why i'm going home." Todd had apparently never heard about that. He looked relieved enough to keep moving with the search, but not enough to let me go. I had more explaining to do.

"Yeah, I have a bunch of equipment in here, for my snake research." This just seemed to interest him more, but I had to go along with the lie.

"What kinda equipment?"

"Well, that one is like a uh..." My mind was racing.

"That one is like a blood pressure reader," I said as I grabbed his arm and squeezed, blood pressure-reader style, hoping it would distract him from looking any further. I was still between him and the bodies on the benches, but he was still looking past me wide-eyed and curious.

"So it's just you in here?" Todd still needed more convincing.

"Yeah yeah yeah, just me. I just gotta get this equipment back home."

"There it is again! It's moving!" Russell's breathing was escalating.

"Yeah... that one doesn't have an on/off switch and sometimes the equipment just moves on it's own. I can't turn it off." It was pretty bad, but he was dumb.

Todd started to reach for Russell, and I cut him off again and started poking his leg, trying to ruffle the sleeping bag to conceal his fucking breathing. But poking him was just making him nervous so he was breathing heavier.

"Yeah, it's all light sensitive, so I gotta keep the equipment covered up." I was pleased with that one. Finally, that should back him off.

"That's not a person?!"

Todd reached forward and I couldn't really stop him from lifting up the corner of the bag and revealing Russell's shoe and leg. Todd stepped back a bit and then yanked the sleeping bag off to uncover Russell's whole body.

"That's a person!" he exclaimed.

"Oh that? That's just russell. He's basically a robot." The guy looked legitimately terrified.

Russell faked waking up, sat upright, rubbed his eyes, and asked groggily, "Yo, are we back yet?"

"No no, we're not even close," I answered as I turned to Todd, trying not to miss a beat.

"He's been in a coma! We've been working so hard and he's just passed out."

Todd was frozen with bewilderment and I saw my chance to escape.

"So am i still gonna make the ferry?!" I shouted, hoping loud sounds were distraction enough for old Todd, as I slammed the doors on him and my instruments. Just then another agriculture lady walked up to assess the situation with her co-worker, clearly overhearing my web of lies. I was already on my way out, and ran around to the driver's side to start up the van as they started talking. I saw them staring with their mouths open in the side view mirror as I handed off my 'one passenger' boarding pass and got on the ferry.

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