March 26, 2010
Following a very cool Ace Frehley gig at Mohegan Sun casino last Friday night, my friend and I were sharing a late night, post-beers bite at one of the resturants. Scot Coogan and Anthony Esposito from Ace's band came in with our mutual friend, Phil Dieli, and the ball-busting started over my Red Sox cap.
Phil is a Staten Island native, so his love of the Yankees is understandable — a grotesque flaw of his otherwise stand-up character, but understandable. And Scot and Anthony are members of Ace's band, and Phil tells me Ace is a huge Yankees fan, so it's all in good fun.
There's a lot of ball-busting between those of us in the music business who are passionate Red Sox and Yankees fans. Playful affection, sure, but there's an underlying viciousness to the shots taken at one another. A few years ago, during a photo shoot at Eddie Malluk's NYC studio, Zakk Wylde gave me a ration of shit about my ever-present Sox hat. Standing behind Eddie, I watched, while Zakk bellowed between shots to "take off that goddamn hat!"
Joking that I knew he secretly wanted to wear it during the session, the dominant posing broke down to silly grins and lots of giggling, revealing that same goofy kid who joined Ozzy's band in 1988. During our interview, Zakk repeatedly called our conversation between a Red Sox fan and a Yankees fan a meeting of the titans, comparing it to Ted Williams hanging out with Joe DiMaggio.
You really don't hear much about prominent metal guys being fans of other teams, although that sorry bastard Snake Sabo admittedly loves the Mets. Massachusetts singers Brian Fair and Sully Erna are die-hard Sox fans. Staind singer Aaron Lewis even sings in "Massachusetts" about wearing his Red Sox hat with pride.
Brian's Shadows Fall bandmate, Jason Bittner, is someone to whom I regularly give lots of shit about the Yankees. Scott Ian from Anthrax is another vocal Yankees fan, and Blackie Lawless's uncle, Ryne Duren, actually pitched for the team in the '50s.
Blackie and I once cleared a table at a wedding reception with our shared stories of childhood innocence and cheering for the Yankees and Red Sox, respectively. I was actually on the road with W.A.S.P. when franchise Boston shortstop Nomar Garciaparra was traded to the Cubs in 2004. I woke up on the bus that morning to an inordinate amount of ball-busting from Ryne Duren's nephew.
W.A.S.P. bassist Mike Duda is a Connecticut native, and a lifelong Red Sox fan. He also loves Schlitz. Somewhere along the way, we deemed that shitty beer totemic of Sox luck: the luck is in the Schlitz. There's even a can in my refrigerator, personalized by Duda with a Sharpie during his visit home a few years back, with explicit instructions to only open it in the event that the Sox are losing the World Series — the rally Schlitz.
Although he's usually recognized first as an auto racing enthusiast, Rachel Bolan is also a huge Yankees fan. Throughout the season, he's usually the first one to text me with a smart ass remark about the Red Sox. So, with Opening Day less than two weeks away, and the defending World Champion Yankees starting the season at Fenway Park, it was preemptive to text him today and ask where I should send his subscription to Red Sox magazine.
"Bite it," was the response.
One of my favorite instances of Yankees/Red Sox ball-busting involves Rachel. Skid Row played two nights in Connecticut, and at the lobby call the following morning, he asked if I would FedEx his guitars to him. Shipping them was less expensive than paying airline baggage fees for the barely oversized cases.
It would be seven weeks before their next gig, a festival date in Sweden. The odds were pretty good that he wouldn't take a good look at the instruments before then, much less open the cases. So I bought two 12" x 12" static cling stickers of the Red Sox logo and adhered one to each of his basses, basically covering the entire back of the bodies.
I figured he wouldn't notice them until some point during the set in front of 30,000-plus people, in a classic gotcha moment. The cases were shipped, I let him know they were en route, and waited.
There was no word. Days turned into weeks, until shortly before the band would be leaving for Sweden. I got a text message that read, "It's on!" and an attached photo of one of the basses with the giant Red Sox logo.
That was three years ago. Retribution has surely been building, and knowing what will someday come, I'm almost afraid...
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