A Day in the Life Vol. 001: Poison The Well

Tuesday, 02 October 2007

My name is Chris Hornbrook and I'm the drummer for Poison The Well. This is a day in the life for me on Warped Tour. The day that I choose to cover was the show in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It proved to be a somewhat eventful day. I hope you enjoy!

6:30am: I've just been woken up hearing our bus driver, Charles, in a panic. I also take notice that the engine or generator is not running. This isn't normal because twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, either one of those is powering the bus. I get up and walk out into the front lounge to see Charles, hands covered in grease, on the phone, walking out of the front door and our tour manager, Steve, sort of woken up, sitting down. Apparently, it's early in the morning and we are about five miles from the area in which Warped Tour is to be taking place. The bus is not moving.

8:45am: The past two hours or so haven't been very successful in getting us to the show. Our driver had called some of his friends that are about thirty minutes behind us to stop off and give a hand. Charles is pretty inexperienced when it comes to fixing things on the bus and his friends are way more useful with bus repair. Around the same time that they arrived, Canadian roadside assistance stopped and was trying to help out as well. The only problem was that we didn't speak French and they didn't know any English. No one knew how to ask them for jumper cables or to call a tow truck. At some point, a dude that spoke English showed up and they were able to start getting things done.

9:30am: Our bass player and I are sitting in a Tim Hortons getting some breakfast. For anyone that doesn't know, Tim Hortons (or how I like to refer to it, Crotch Hopkins) is the Canadian version of Dunkin’ Donuts. The Bus was towed up to the nearest exit and is waiting for another truck to come and give us a jump. Apparently, a wire came loose from the alternator to one of the batteries and caused that battery to drain. In effect, it stopped giving power to the alternator, drained the battery completely, causing the computer to turn off that powered the transmission. It's funny how one little wire could be such a pain in the ass.

10:00am: We finally make it to Warped Tour three hours late. It's taking place at Parc Jean Drapeau, which is a man made island right on the outside of proper Montreal. We actually played here on Warped Tour 2003. It's pretty awesome and the view from where the bus is parked is amazing. It's right on the Hudson River and is about eight hundred feet from a huge bridge that connects it to the rest of Montreal. It's low tide and there is a bed of rocks making a long, wide pathway in which you can walk out onto the river. I know I'm going to have to explore this when I have a chance later.

11:30am: I went to go find out where the main stages were situated. Since we broke down and didn't have any idea when we where going to make it, Warped scheduled us to close out our stage at 7:40pm. Every day you play at a different time. So some days you'll be playing at noon, other days at 3:20pm. They played it safe and gave us a ton of time to get to the site. At this point I had about eight hours or so to kill. I decided to take care of my responsibilities and set up, tune and store my kit. After finishing that, I watched a bit of the band, Only Crime, open up "Lucky" main stage. It was pretty cool to watch older duders that have been involved with hardcore and punk rock still out playing and touring.

1:30pm: I decided I wasn't going to eat catering today. I basically filled myself up with Hansen's Mandarin Lime soda and a random Asian noodle soup I bought from Wal-Mart.

3:00pm: So I started to make my way down to the rocks and do some exploring. It wasn't too much of hassle to get down, which was good for me because I was totally pumped to walk around on the Hudson River. I totally felt like a little kid, running around, throwing rocks into the river. Total highlight of my day.

3:50pm: Out for the count, nap time.

4:30pm: A quick wake-up and a quick walk to the catering line that was beginning to form. There were a few of us in line talking shit and making fun of other people waiting as well. The line was pretty fast and I ate quickly. As soon I finished, I went to cover for our merch dude, Jason, so he could come and eat.

After standing at merch for a little bit I noticed one important thing of the day; it's so funny to see dusty, French-Canadian kids try to ask you questions in half French-English. Totally priceless and totally impossible to figure out. I hung out there for about an hour, talked shit with the merch girl for As I Lay Dying and filling out cards that advertised what stage and what time we played. Eventually our singer, Jeff, came over to hang out and help me.

6:30pm: As soon as Jason returned, I made my way back to "Lucky" stage to start moving my gear onto stage. The way it works is, you move your gear onto the side while the other band is sound checking and getting ready to play. It makes for a quick load on and load off for both bands. The set changes usually consist of moving the other band off, setting up, sound checking and making sure monitors are cool.

Normally, before that has even started, I will have a practice pad set up under our tent around back and start doing hand warm-ups and body stretching. It's super important that I'm able to do all this, physically and mentally. If I don't, I usually have a weird show. I don't know why, but it just works like that.

7:35pm: Just waiting for the band on stage "13" main stage to finish so we can play. The way the main stage situation works is there are two stages set up right next to one another. This year, one is named "Lucky" and the other one "13" in the spirit of this being the 13th year of Warped Tour. As soon as one stage is done, the other stage goes. So, music is a constant and there is never a moment of silence between the two stages.

Right after we play, As I Lay Dying is closing out the "13" stage and the entire tour for today. A few friends roll up and we are all talking shit with them. My whole kit is set up and ready to go. I'm just standing around, randomly stretching out muscles and just waiting to play. We all can be pretty impatient when it comes to waiting. There have been plenty of times where we will just go on five or ten minutes earlier just so we don't have to stand around.

7:41pm: Within the first fifteen second of the first song, our guitar player Ryan was jumping around while playing and totally fell off the stage into the security guards! I couldn't believe it when I heard it. I didn't so much see it rather than hearing him play the song and then go to a sudden "!@#$%%^&." I was pretty mad at first. I think just because Ryan is the type of dude who attracts bad things more than others. I was totally like, "How the fuck does shit like this happen to him all the time?" Aside from that, the set was awesome and we had a blast. I'm glad he wasn't hurt in the end.

9:30pm: Bus call was at 9:00pm, but it's taking everyone a little bit of time to gather. A few of us went to the BBQ, others just hung out on the bus. We have the next day to cross the boarder and drive to St. Louis. Super, super-long drive and no one is looking forward to it. I think I'm just going to go in my bunk and clock out for the night.

For more on Poison The Well, including more music and tour dates, click here:

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