"It's Going to be a sick one!" That was the last email I read from Ryan "Too fast to Die, too loose to live" Immegart, the only guy that the Goons really listen to and that's only because we have to answer to him when shit goes browntown…
It'd been three years since the Goons had polluted Costa Mesa and we were coming back to put something into the air other than Carbon Monoxide and the reeking acrid scent of oil refinery toxins. We were coming back to rock out dammit!
Costa Mesa hadn’t changed but the Goons of Doom certainly had. Since our last album release “The Story of Dead Barbie and Ghost” we'd moved in all directions playing with different kids, different moods and in different outfits. The bleeding eyes were gone, so was the white blonde chick (replaced by a giant black dude seen below) but the good times were amplified and the walls continued to shake under the unbridled mayhem of kids losing their minds.
Back home the band was experiencing unparalleled and unprecedented opportunity. We were head lining act with the Kings of Leon at the Falls festival, we played atop an Ice cream truck at the Lilly world stage of the Big Day Out alongside Neil Young and the Arctic Monkeys. The drummer from Band of Horses came on board for a few shows (we still can't remember his name). We were on a mad roll. Our Samoan friend Ray joined the band albeit without a moniker (until we read it on the tele promter while on the Daily Habit with Pat Parnell – Ray of Sunshine as it turns out.) An American tour was the obvious next step. Cue Immegart and Volcoment and shit was up and running in no time.
We were locked in for September: 9th of Sep to the 20th. The VolcomEnt boys couldn't have fit the head of a pin between shows they were crammed in so tight. 11 days with 14 shows. 264 hours of drinking, smoking and singing out loud where ever we could
First stop was San Diego where we had two shows. The first was the launch party for the ASR tradeshow. The stage was two stories high and so far away from the crowd it looked like we were playing to a mad bunch of midgets. Thankfully there was free beer so Killer's fear of Oompa Loompa's was quelled and we played a lightning set much to the delight of us personally. From there we went straight from the Ry Craike video premiere hosted by Electric at the Bondi Bar. We traveled 14,000 miles to play in Bondi! The stage was tiny but we had that crowd so hopped up they were pretty much sucking the sweat out of our t-shirts between songs… Another gig nailed to the wall.
The next morning we hit the Tradeshow itself, where Volcom had four kegs, guitars and some drums ready to blast out after the skate jam. As expected the Volcom gang were dressed up for a crazed Hawaiian theme. The closest we came to anything Hawaiian was Ray, but he's Samoan, so we just turned everything up to 20 and pretty much burnt down the building with riffs that shaved a layer of skin off all who were present. Three down babies and a big thanks to the girl in the front row who spat beer in Vaughan's face just so she could lick it off.
After the roaring success of the first couple of shows we had a lay day back at the Volcom Team house. We did all the usual rock star crap – ate caviar, poured top priced bottles of champagne into the pool, howled at the moon and threw TV's into the bottomless canyon out back. Ozzie Wrong saw a raccoon and giggled like a schoolgirl. They were good times.
I was a little worried about the next gig. It had been three years since the Goons had been to the Surfer Poll and for good reason. The last memory I had was being stuck on the Red Bull bus and having a beer thrown at me. I retaliated but thanks to my poor eyesight I hit a four time Women's World Champ square in the face with a near-full can of Bud. Feeling a little in danger for my life I opened the window of the bus and attempted to jump out. But I got stuck half way and had to squeeze out the rest. The last thing I remember is my sarm popping out of it's socket at the shoulder and my face hitting the road without any form of protection. Not the best night out.
This year we were asked to present an award for Move of the year. I eyed the Red Bull table with trepidation as we hit the stage. The goons busted through the curtains singing HISS HISS, SHAKE SHAKE whilst Vaughan Dead delivered the award to Taj Burrow and the madness didn’t stop there. We drunkenly wrestled our way into every shot even doing post award interviews on ESPN. I doubt they knew who we were beforehand but they sure as shit knew who we were after. Blam!
Next show was out at Pamona. The Aquabats have always been good friends of the Goons and every time we head into town they're cool enough to get us involved. The Aquabats are one of the coolest bands that have been playing for a long time and their fans are some of the most loyal trippers we've ever come across. They treated us real friendly and we'd like to shout out a big thanks to them all. We cut out the swearing for that gig which left us with one third of one song to play. It was a short set, bit rough around the edges but wholesome, like a loaf of brown bread.
The OC Tavern will rate as one of our wildest parties ever. At this point in time the gigs and good times were starting to all blend into one, but somehow we made this one kick into a newfound madness and the show went into overdrive. The crew from the OC quoted that it was the best mid week show that had rolled through in years. I agree. The drum kit got smashed and we all did a bit of crowd surfing on the three people who turned up. 16 Red Bulls later, we were watching the sunrise with all who came talking at length and in detail about how we were the best rock and roll band to ever tour America. And you know what? We were right.
The Goons have always been about ticking boxes. We set goals and we like to achieve them, even at the expense of good health, relationships and our own credibility. For some reason playing at the Viper Room was something we always wanted to do. We were nervous and stoked to be on the bill at last – headlining no less! We rocked up and a band called OH MY GOD were playing – absolute legends due to the fact that as we hit stage Ozzie's bass fell to bits and they came to the rescue. The gig was – as expected – a true blue rip snorter and the next morning we were greeted with some cool news from the owner of the Viper saying he rocked up with some ladies not knowing what was on and ended up dancing all night. Hope he got laid to top it all off. That would have been pretty close to a perfect night in anyone's books.
The next morning we woke up and kissed hands and shook babies with the crew of the Daily Habit. This was by far the most hungover we were on our entire voyage and it showed. After about three takes on Billy Lee, the entire studio was ankle deep in post-massive-night-perspiration. We kicked arse of course and no doubt the crew at TDH will have their bleeper ready cause we swore like drunken sailors right throughout the set. AAAAARRRRGGGHHH!
That night it was back to the home town of Goons, Costa Mesa for a show at La Cave or as it's also known – the pit of Beef, playing host to the biggest and best steaks in town. After the chef had grilled 500 steaks the La Cave had the stench of a baked abattoir and the crowd had sparked with enough personality to rip the roof off of the joint. This gig was by far the hottest and sweatiest show we did. Everybody walked out with wet jeans and blood stains from some wild ass crumping competition that kicked in mid set. That night we went and got loose at the Japanese Motors jam room. Played with pet snakes and danced to go-go surf beats till the sun was well high the next afternoon.
Our last two gigs were up there with our best ever. Laguna Surf and Sport, a local surf shop in Laguna Beach put on a bunch of pizzas and free drinks for the local groms to celebrate our instore performance. What started out like an MTV unplugged set soon erupted into a Slayer pit as the groms went completely fricken beserk! Fingered kicked in with the lead guitar and the kids new exactly what they wanted and they got it. Before I knew it the store was being ripped apart with one grom being thrown from one side to the other. Every word was being yelled, I couldn’t help but really love this gig, the kids were by far the coolest crowd we had We'd like to give a bit shout out to all those groms and the crew at LS&S for making our last day such a treat. A few hours later we reset the gear across the road at the Dirty Bird. Laguna or Lagooooona (so we were told to put up on the next goons poster) was our official send off. The best of the old time crew and all our new crew fans had come out of the darkness to fair us well. We didn’t want to let 'em down playing the old favourites and some new songs that were created in the tour van. The highlight of the night was mad Jack Morrisey belting out our next number one hit to thedelight of a horny female crowd. “Hungry Man” was the fitting finale to the best 10 days these fucken Goonbags have ever had. Mwahx!
The Goons Would Like To Heap Praise And Thanks On: Ryan Immegart and Woolly, Marky Gardener and Mike Nobrega (We love you pricks!) Mikey and Lena – the best hosts ever, everyone else who helped us out and last but certainly not least Pauly B, the man who somehow managed to stay sober, get us on and off sstage, the van packed, the girls smiling and the trip a breeze. Forever in your debt Bianco. Much love. Goons forever!—Cowboy