Tales From The Road – Corn


This is not a veiled mention of Korn. This story has nothing to do with Korn. Now that that is out of the way, let me get right to it. I didn’t steal the story from Family Guy but, if you have seen the scene, it looked almost exactly like that.

It was somewhere between Stuttgart and Munich. We were running late because the band decided to hang out at an after-party at some Forest Festival that was going on adjacent to the venue they just played. There was beer, schnitzel and corn on the cob. Lots of corn. They were boiling the corn cobs in giant barrels and having trouble keeping up with the demand. I don’t drink so I skipped the beer and doubled up on the corn. It seems most of the crew was going heavy on the corn.

It was close to midnight when we finally hit the road for the 3 hour drive. The party continued on the bus and the front lounge was busier than it usually would be. Most band and crew didn’t try to sleep on these short drives and tonight it seemed everyone was up front except me. I was sitting in the back lounge doing some paper work when I heard a commotion up front.

Danny the drum tech was screaming and pounding at the bathroom door. As I was walking to the front of the bus it happened. Danny spun around and headed for the little bar sink. His eyes bulged when he got there and found it filled with ice and bottles of beer. He looked into my eyes for only a fraction of a second but I saw the desperation.

Out of options, Donny gave up trying to hold it in and let the poison out. Corn was flying everywhere as his vomit hit the guitar tech. This set off the train of vomiting crew and band members, each of them getting sick from seeing the previous one getting sick. The smell was almost too much for me as I headed back to my safe place in the back lounge. I had a window back there and I was determined to stick my head out it to breath in that fresh German air.

The bus driver was the real hero that night. He kept the bus on the road and managed to pull it over at a truck safety stop. He swung the door open and ran to safety as everyone aboard piled out. Everyone was tearing off their infected clothing and wiping off whatever puke was on them, one or two still in the process of throwing up from the barrage of puke. The bus was a mess and nobody was going to clean it up. It was going to be a hat job.

Hat job was a simple concept. I pass the hat around to the band members and they toss money in. The goal is to get someone to take the money to do the job. The size of the pot depended on the severity of the job and I knew this one would be sizable because if there is not enough to entice the crew to do it then the band is responsible for cleanup. This wasn’t a strategy I could use with every band but the younger ones seemed to be willing participants.

They were not fooling around. 1,400 euros was in the pot and I had 2 guys willing to split it to get the bus cleaned up. We didn’t have much in the way of cleaning supplies but they found a way to get the bus clean enough to make the remaining 90 minutes drive without further incident. We had a bag of swag from the festival and handed out the shirts to those who lost theirs in the great corn battle. Everyone got back into the bus and headed for their bunks. The front lounge was empty and would stay that way until the bus could be properly cleaned and de-corned. It was a few years before I was able to eat corn again and more than a decade before I could touch corn on the cob.

road dog