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Mortimer snert and the Band from Hell

It was a metallic day in the neighbourhood when Mortimer Snert was awakened by an incessant pounding on his front door. Reaching for the alarm clock, Mort discovered that it was 5 oclock in the bleeding morning. This better be good, said Mort to the yellow cat, who was busy hiding under the bed. Dragging himself out of bed, he stumbled down the hall, intent on causing serious damage to whoever it was that was pounding. Arriving at the door, Mort kicked it open to discover a very surprised friend of his standing on the porch. As nicely as he could, Mort asked what had brought this fine fellow to his house at 5 in the morning. We have a session starting at 7, said his friend. Slowly, as consciousness returned to mort, he remembered the details of this particular day. The feller standing on the porch was the audio engineer for a local thrash band. His band had decided to do a demo tape, and had booked a 24 hour session at a studio in okc. Mort was to co produce the album, and do the mix. So this was the day that everything was supposed to take place. Now Mort, at this time, lived in norman, and okc was just 20 miles away, and he was curoius as to why they needed such an early start. He was soon to find out. It seems that they were supposed to go by and get the band together, and have them follow to the studio. Now Mort had never met this particular band, and had never heard any of their music, and really had no information on them, which, as it turns out, was probably just as well. So mort and his friend leapt into mort’s truck, and headed for the band’s house. Now the band’s house was located in the upper class part of norman, on a street where leave it to beaver could have been filmed. Except for the band’s house. Mort noticed that when they pulled up to the house, the yard was in need of being brush hogged. The weeds were 4 feet tall. Getting out of the truck, they approached the front porch. Mort’s friend turned to him and said, Now don’t freak, Ok? It’s not as bad as it looks. Mort fought the sudden urge to bolt. Pounding on the door produced no results. Mort’s friend turned to one of the windows that had had the screen ripped off, and raised the window and crawled through. Mort followed. The guy was right. It was not as bad as it looked. It was worse. Much worse. Incredibly much worse. Now mort was not one to pass judgement on people with messy houses, his certainly would not have won the good housekeeping award, but this was, well… For starters, the carpet had huge holes burnt into it. And not your regular run of the mill huge holes. These looked like someone had made a campfire in the floor. Most of the sheetrock was battered, with more broken than not. What was left intact had been spraypainted with obscenities, and incredibly lurid artwork. Mort headed for the window. His friend headed him off at the pass. Just be cool here for a minute, we’ll get the guys and be out of here, promised the friend. Mort didn’t believe him. They made their way through piles of beer cans and pizza boxes that looked like they had been collecting for years. The first person (!) they came across was Ted, the lead guitarist. Ted had stayed up all night and had consumed a massive amount of beer, and was passed out in a drunken stupor, slobbering on himself. Get up, mort’s friend yelled at ted, accompanied by a vicious kick to a place that should not be kicked. Ted did not move. Rooting through the rest of the house, they found other members of the band, in various states of unconsciousness. Finally mort’s friend caused such a rucus that all the band people were up, and really pissed off. Mort was beginning to see why they had got up so early. Now the band had had the foresight to load the van the night before, so all the equipment was ready to go, or rather, that was how it was supposed to work. It seems, though, that ted and his girlfriend had had a rowe the night before, and she had bailed out on him, taking the only key to the van. This was not good. So after wasting almost an hour trying to find this girl, Mort went outside and hot wired the van. So they were finally off to the studio. Arriving at the studio was about as much of an experience as going to the band’s house had been. Mort was in no mood for weird things, but the studio fit right in with the rest of the day. First off, the studio, which had been advertised as a 24 track, was actually not at all. The 24 track part meant that the console had 24 ins. And it was linked to a ½” 16 track recorder of dubious origin. This was not the worst of it though. The console and recorder shared the same room as the band. Mort was not impressed. And to top it off, the guy who owned the studio was blind, and would not allow patching or moving mics on the console. Mort decided he could live with that. So it was time to unload the truck. By this time, the band had scattered, and rather than try to round them up, mort and his friend unloaded the truck. Now what was in the truck came as a surprise to mort and his friend both. There was an assortment of guitars that looked like they had been through a Guess Who concert, at which the band regularly splintered the equipment and hurled the remains out into the audience. The drums were no better. There were no extra guitar strings, and the snare had a hole bludgeoned in the top head. Mort was not happy. They dragged all the junk into the studio and proceeded to set it up. The lead guitarist had a nasty old fender twin reverb, which looked like it had been immersed in beer, then barfed on. Mort plugged it in, and hit the switch and was rewarded with a loud arcing noise and a cloud of smoke. Dredging out the screwdriver, mort pried the lid off the thing, and found the entire interior to be packed solid with cockroaches soaked in beer. Now roaches are electrically conductive, and especially when soaked in beer, and hitting the mains had torched quite a few of them. Mort took the amp outside and dumped the remainder of the roaches on the sidewalk. He was glad the owner couldn’t see that. So eventually all the junk was set up and it was time to find the band. Ted, the guitarist was passed out on the floor. He was hard to miss. Larry, the bass player, had, sometime between the time they got there and now, eaten a huge load of lsd, and was huddled beside a flower pot outside the studio, flapping his wings and muttering something about pigs. The drummer had smoked a bunch of hash, and was in similar shape. After some serious physical abuse, and offers to end their miserable existance on the spot, Mort’s friend finally got the band assembled. Ted, at that point decided that they needed some lunch. Mort didn’t care. They went to the barbeque store. The people at the barbeque store freaked. Now we must remember that the people in the band were not exactly your normal, run of the mill garage band type people. Not by a long shot. Ted wore a mohawk. And not just any mokawk. It was orange and green, and stood about 2 feet straight up. The drummer looked like he had been beaten with an aluminum bat, and was scarred, and had black eyes. Larry did not make the trip, mort left him at the studio flying with the pigs. Mort and his friend were the most normal looking of the whole crew, Mort’s friend, having hair down to his belt, and mort being similarly attired. So this crew of fine young men made their way into the store, ordered, and sat as far away from the other customers as they possibly could. As soon as ted sat down, he started horfing down the barbeque. Mort was amazed that anyone could eat that fast without choking to death. Well, that didn’t last for long. The barbeque reacted with the beer and whatever else ted had ingested, and suddenly ted turned green, leapt over the table, and headed for the bathroom. Now the store was kinda small to begin with, and the bathroom was basically in the dining area, so when ted started wailing, everyone could hear in intricate detail what was going on. And ted wailed. And wailed. The restaurant cleared out. Mort was mortified. The drummer thought it was funny. Mort could not eat. Just when he thought it could get no worse, the lady who ran the joint, and who also was a jehova’s witness, decided that these youngsters needed a good dose of salvation. So she proceeded to come over and sit in ted’s chair (since ted was still wailing) and hand out tracts, and give the boys a lecture on going to hell. Well, Mort had news for her, they weren’t going to hell, they were already there. In person. And no, it could not get any worse. Or so mort thought. Finally the lady left, and ted finished wailing, and they went back to the studio. At the studio, the band tried to play a song, and decided that they were seriously in need of guitar strings and drum heads. Mort went outside and hot wired ted’s van again, and since he wasn’t going with them, told ted in no uncertain terms to not turn off the truck when they got there, just leave it running and get the stuff and come back. An hour passed. That was ok, because it took that long to get the recording equipment ready. Another hour passed. Mort called the music store. Had they seen the band? Yes, they had, but thay had been gone for some time. Could they look outside and see if the van was still there? Yes they could, if mort could describe the van. You can’t miss it, said mort. It’s an early 70s econoline, covered in every imaginable colour of spray paint known to mankind. Yes, it’s out there, and there’s some people looking under the hood. I’ll be right there, said Mort. Loading his friend, mort got in his truck and went to the music store. It seems that ted had forgotten about shutting off the van, and had not only turned it off, but had taken loose all the wires that mort had used to hot wire it with. Now ted, being the incredible genius that he was, decided it was no big deal, he’d just short some wires together like mort had, and the truck would start and no one would know the difference. What ted didn’t realise was that it takes more than just getting the starter to go to get the truck to run, and in the process, ted had completely melted down the starter. Mort had had about enough of this. He ordered the band into his truck and proceeded back to the studio. Ted was whining about leaving his truck at the music store. The farther they got, the louder ted whined. Finally at a stop light, Mort, who is usually a really nice guy, dropped the truck into neutral, set the park brake, climbed over the seat, grabbed ted around the neck and slammed him up against the wall and offered to kill him right there on the spot with his bare hands. Ted suddenly decided that they could probably leave the truck there with no problem. They arrived back at the studio. It was getting late. They started the first take of the first song. Now one should realise that the term song is used here as a point of reference, what they played consisted of turning the amps up to 11, thrashing, and screaming into a mic, with the drummer, who had now eaten speed, flailing wildly at the drums. And to top it off, Ted couldn’t play a guitar if his life depended on it. Now it would probably be a good time to give a bit of background on ted, just to clarify his position here. Ted was a punk. Ted drove a skateboard everywhere he went. Ted used a lot of drugs. An aweful lot of drugs. One day during one of his drug induced skateboard sessions, ted got run over by a car. It damaged his left arm. Not badly, but enough to get insurance money. Ted’s lawyer, being the fine fellow that he was, suggested to ted that he make his injury seem worse than it was to get a whole bunch of money. So what happened is ted, who would have had no problems with his arm, wore casts and slings and generally didn’t move his arm for several years. What resulted is that his elbow joint grew shut, and his arm was permanently locked at a 90 degree angle. His muscles atrophied, and all that worked were his fingers. But he was the lead guitarist. Watching him play was a real treat. He would use his right hand to position the other one on a chord, then would thrash that for a while, and then when it was time to change chords, he would knock his left hand up or down the neck, hoping to get somewhere close to where he was supposed to be. So, it was ted the one armed guitarist, larry the acid eating bass player, and the drummer, which mort never got the name of. They recorded 12 songs, all of which sounded the same. Now it was time to mix down. Mort was deaf already, from listening to the band, and it was really really really late. Mort was not enjoying himself at all. Now the mix session was almost as interesting as the original session. The blind guy, who had been passed out all day while all the events had occurred, was now up and around. Since the guy was indeed really and truly blind as a bat, and since the band had such an incredible amount of crap in the studio, the blind guy spent most of the time tripping over things. He also had one of those ultrasonic keyring locator devices, and the corresponding tweeters attached to things like his beer can, the dog harness, the keys, and a large number of remote control devices. Now the nature of these things was such that when Mort tried to mix, the audio from the monitors (being pure distortion) caused the tweeters to think someone was trying to locate them, and they all went off at once, causing quite a rucus. Not that it mattered as far as the mix went. It was pure total crap. Mort did his best, and still it sucked. Now the audio guy had heard ted play before, and knew he couldn’t hit chords for the life of him, so he had rented a harmonizer and brought it along to the mix. The intent was to play ted’s guitar directly through the harmonizer, and bend the pitch to wherever it needed to be for the apppropriate section of the song. Theoretically, this should have worked, but it involved bouncing ted to another track, and an endless number of punch ins and outs on that track. Mort tried this for a while, and then threw up his little hands, because ted would not hold the same chord all the way through, so there were sub adjustments, and even more punches. Mort had considered laying down another track of ted, but quickly changed his mind when he heard ted wailing again, outside in the flower bed this time. Now another interesting point should be brought up here, and that is the mastering machine that this fine studio had. It was basically a vhs machine, with some type of cosmic encoder, which allowed the audio to be placed onto the videotape using the video heads. It was supposed to be the latest and greatest. The problem was that you could not edit onto this device, and if you needed to find a place on the master, well good luck. So Mort got to deal with this machine also. 24 hours had long since passed, and the band was nowhere to be found. The dog was howling because of the distortion, Mort was ready to kill, and the session still continued. Finally, 36 hours from when they had first arrived at the studio, the mix was done, mastered and in the box. Without even looking for the band, mort collected his friend and bailed out. Shortly thereafter, Larry got busted for narcotics, the drummer got beaten to death in a bar fight, and ted rode off into the sunset on his skateboard. There was never a copy of the demo tape, except on the vhs. Mort resorted to not doing audio, and especially not demo tapes. And they lived happily ever after. And yes, just in case you ever had any doubts about this, it’s a true story, every blasted word of it.