The Bozo Porno Circus Diaries: Sunny Days, Shit-Smeared Walls, and Slayer

Categories: Gothtopia

If you never saw a Bozo Porno Circus show then you just plain missed out. The Tone Zone Records band was a freak-out and a half, stuffed to the wall with loud noises and pretty girls getting sparks shot off their metal-covered crotches by belt sanders. Recently, lead guitarist Chris "The" Lane (AKA Crispy and for a brief hilarious time Nikki Wykkid) uncovered a treasure trove of tour diaries and photos, so all this week we're heading down a well of Houston-flavored debauchery from the glory days of our goth scene.

Florida was hot and humid -- felt just like home in Houston. We were pulling into the venue in Tampa, a place called The Masquerade. Or maybe it was Jack Rabbit's. It was one of those clubs with more than one name, and after awhile they all blurred together to me. Inside it was a typically dark and cool dance club, a major contrast to the sunny Florida weather just outside its doors.

There was no stage, which was never a good thing, but something we occasionally encountered. When you play music that caters to a dance club crowd sometimes the clubs themselves don't usually host live acts and aren't set up well for live music.

The "Floor is the stage" scenario poses several problems. First, it's difficult to set any boundaries between the performers and the audience. We would often interact with our audience members, and our girls would sometimes pull attractive women onstage to play, but it was still nice to have a few feet of elevation to keep drunks from just wandering into our territory. With all of the metal gear and fire, it could be dangerous to have people meandering around. Plus it just didn't look right.


The Bozo Porno Circus Diaries: It's Cold When You're Naked
Sid, the Evil Sex and Drug Clown

Down a short hallway was our dressing room. As those sorts of things went, it was a pretty nice one. Dressing rooms varied from club to club. Some were barely closets - tiny little spaces with maybe enough room for a couch if you were lucky. Others were pretty swanky -- large, with their own bathrooms. This was one of the latter, which was a treat.

The club was adjoined to a much larger music venue, a several thousand-seat theater-type place. I had heard from a bartender that Slayer had played the week before, and it looked like the type of room that a band like Slayer would play. The bartender also told me that a really dedicated or deranged Slayer fan had smeared human feces all over the walls of their dressing area -- the dressing room that we were to occupy that night.

The walls looked clean enough, and I never found out if that bartender was telling the truth, but I avoided touching any walls that night.

Most clubs are similar in their griminess. At night when they're packed with people and the lights are dim they look really nice. Over the years I had seen so many of them before they opened for the night during sound check or whenever we arrived to set up our gear. Sometimes we'd be waiting around in those clubs for hours, and most clubs are pretty gross when you see them well lit and uncrowded.

I once was in a well-known Houston club, setting up for a show later in the evening. I had been in the place hundreds of times as both a performer and as a patron. I knew it was kind of yucky anyway. But with the lights on? It took on a whole other level of filth. I remember walking into the men's restroom and finding a human turd on the floor with a cockroach busily eating it.

That pretty well summed up the way a lot of clubs are without the gloss that night brings them. It's like getting a handful of gold in a fairy tale... Only to discover that the gold is actually poop when you return home.

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