On The Locust’s next tour, we hit the East Coast and managed to get a show at a typical all-day festival featuring one crappy “play on the floor” band after another in the fine town of Who Really Cares, North Carolina. It was a clever mix of straightedge and white trash. We stuck out like a sore thumb—a beaner, a towelhead, and a couple throwbacks. Everyone thought we were total fags. And we were stuck there. We broke into a nearby church and stole a bunch of mics to ease the pain of that long, hot day. I slept in the baptismal tub for a few hours to avoid the blistering heat and humidity. But when it was time to play, it got a lot worse than we expected.

Our set was about four songs long. During the first three songs, the audience was as hostile as they could be. This shithead in front of me kept kicking the mic stand. When I went to sing, it would smack against my teeth and he’d laugh. After the third song, I told him if he did it again, I’d fuck him up. As the next song started, he kicked the mic stand and I headbutted him without missing a beat. When the song was over, I noticed blood on the floor in front of me. His girlfriend was yelling at us. Joey spat at her, Gabe gave us a four count, and we went into another song. But some people in the audience were trying to physically stop us from playing. We decided our set was over. Gabe ran outside to get some fresh air since the missing sound guy could not give us oxygen in the stage monitors. He came back to inform us our van had been vandalized. I threw off my mesh vest and started to charge outside, ready to fight, but Gabe stopped me. Apparently the brother of the guy I had headbutted punched our van’s headlight; his fist broke the glass, which slashed a major artery in his wrist. Blood spewed all over the front of the van, and the paramedics were called. It was probably good that I didn’t make it outside to fight the guy since I was only wearing hot pants and sneakers.

Our roadie went to the van to make sure it wasn’t getting completely destroyed. We packed up our gear, and tried load it into the van through the crowd. By the time we were loaded up—if you can call throwing everything in the back and hoping the doors would close “loading up”—the cops had showed up and started arresting people. There was a police helicopter in the air and police dogs on the ground. People were demanding money back for our merchandise they’d bought. Some even threw the stuff back at us. Everyone was yelling at us, but we weren’t taking their shit.

We managed to pull away from the parking lot without getting arrested or beaten up. On the drive out, a car followed us for a while, but we lost it by running a couple red lights. We ended up at some guy’s apartment in the next town over. We’d become friends with him earlier that day while trying to pass time as the plethora of crummy bands played. We woke up in the morning to find our van’s tire had been slashed. We just changed out the flat with our spare and were on our way. I never understood why someone would only slash one tire. If you really want to be a badass, you should slash all of the tires. But I suppose a badass would have just kicked our asses in person.

The tour was absurdity from there on out. Another show, somewhere upstate New York, was the same old run-of-the-mill mockery from a predictable audience. I knew that we were Jedis when some dickhead talked shit to us before we even played a note and got nowhere. Our lack of response resulted in him spitting on me for no apparent reason. As the spit dripped down my chest onto my mesh vest, I spat back without a thought. Now, this shot I took was without aim, concentration, or hesitation. It was exactly like the part in Star Wars: A New Hope when Luke blew up the Death Star. My spit went straight into this heckler’s mouth as he was leaning back, mouth open, cracking himself up after making a string of dumb comments about our band. I spun around toward my amp, amazed, tense, waiting to get socked in the head. I stood there, only a few feet from this guy, wearing my uniform, which consisted of a mesh vest with reflective stripping, hot pants, goggles, and sneakers. Nothing happened, and I then knew that the four of us Locusts had evolved.

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Vocalist, lyricist, and bassist JUSTIN PEARSON is the author of FROM THE GRAVEYARD OF THE AROUSAL INDUSTRY. Pearson's bands, past and present, include The Locust, All Leather, Some Girls, Holy Molar, Swing Kids, The Crimson Curse, Head Wound City, Ground Unicorn Horn, and Struggle. He runs the independent record label Three One G. Traveling worldwide with his bands, Pearson has encountered many strange things in his time. He lives in San Diego.

3 responses to “The Better You Do, The More They Expect: An Excerpt from From the Graveyard of the Arousal Industry

  1. Nancy says:

    You had me at “I threw off my mesh vest…”

    Thank you.

  2. Joe Daly says:

    To spit back into the crowd is ballsy.

    To hit somebody’s mouth with your spit is majestic.

    Welcome aboard, Justin! Good to have another San Diego writer around here! We may be few, but we’re spread out.

  3. Simon Smithson says:

    I was in primary school, and the class-thought-he-was-cooler-than-he-was-kid was teasing the class-became-a-bully-because-he-was-bigger-than-the-rest-of-the-kids-and-didn’t-fit-in-kid.

    Kid 1 was behind a mesh fence, calling the Kid 2 a monkey. He yelled it out in slow-mo: ‘Moooon-key! Moooon-key!’

    Kid 2 hawked and spat, right as Kid 1 was opening his mouth to form the ‘ooooo’ soundy.

    Perfect. Shot.

    The look of utter, unrecoverable disgust on Kid #1’s face as he made the mental link and realised what had just happened in his mouth makes me laugh to this day.

    Welcome to TNB, Justin.

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