“This is Toe, you know what to do”

Posted: March 16, 2009

 Neurosis had a gig get cancelled at the last minute in Birmingham, Alabama sometime around 1993. 

 For those of you don’t know about Birmingham it has a deep, dark and violent history mainly concerning race but in general it is a hard place to be different whatever that may mean to you. We had played there many times over the years previous and had such memorable experiences such as playing for a promoter named “Big Toe”(the above title refers to his answering machine), to playing a venue directly across the street from a hole in the wall(literally) crackhouse with a line 30 people deep all night(more then a few extremely fast crackhead fistfights that night), to 3 drunken middle aged Klansmen showing up outside the venue in the middle of the ghetto proclaiming loudly for all to hear “Any Niggers around here need to know, that the Klan is here to sort’em out”. Yeah they hate Catholics too but I’m not sure if these particular assholes knew that. Anyway what I’m getting at is that Birmingham is tense, all the time. So when we are in Birmingham we are more guarded and watchful then usual.
 It was the middle of summer and it was hot and extremely humid in the van so we decided to blow off some steam. There was a park across the street from the venue(which was locked down) and we decided to go drink, smoke, eat sandwiches, and be in the sun until the evening before we went on to the next destination. There was a marquee on the venue, it was an old movie theater. After being across the street for an hour or so Jason and Pete suddenly got up and Jason said “Finish up, we’ll be right back” with intent and urgency. We all knew each other well to know if someone spoke in that way it was serious, especially in a place like Birmingham, Alabama, and we started finishing up whatever we were doing and standing up to go. They walked over to the van and moved it underneath the marquee and both of them jumped onto the roof of the van(treacherous move at best) in a matter of moments they had rearranged every letter on the previously scattered and unreadable marquee to say one singular word that none of us will ever forget…ALIENREPTILEGOATGOD. Jason turned around and with his most devious smile and with a twinkle in his eye he said “Uh,we should go”.

 We were already running for the van. I always wondered if the promoter who fucked us out our gig saw it and how long it stayed up there before they took it down. Goodnight Birmingham.