Seattle, WA. 98177-0750
If any band walks the razor's edge it is Seattle's Kill Switch...Klick. Somewhere between industrial, electronic
and rock, KsK are met with both indifference and adulation at home; in a scene they helped create, a scene in
which they are considered leaders. With the release of their new LP, deGENERATE, on Cleopatra Records the
band- d.A. Sebasstian, bass, keyboards and vocals; Jeremy Moss, bass and Marty Aguilera, drums- hit the road
with with 2Minutes Max (Francois Monet and Christian Hempl). True to form, KsK' s balancing act was on
display for this tour and is detailed here in Sebasstian's personal diary. On the road, between disaster and
distinction, KsK are still on the edge.
I woke up at 6am. My wife and kids are still asleep. I sat there for a few minutes just looking at them.
Vienna, our newest addition, is just three-weeks old. She's curled up on my wife's breast. Sidney, my
2-year-old son, is in his bed next to ours. He is mouthing words in his sleep. I get a little teary eyed.
I'm gonna miss my little family, but I tell myself, it's only for a month and the band needs to get to
the East Coast to promote our new record.
5/2/97: Outside San Francisco, California
Pow! Something's wrong with the van (whom we affectionately call Matilda). God, I hope it's not serious.
We're 45 minutes north of San Francisco. I get out and pop the hood. It's a water hose that blew out
close to the engine. Francois cuts the hose shorter and it fits. We empty out the cooler and put the water
in the radiator. It's not much but it seems to be enough. We take off.
Shit! Another hose blew! We call AAA and wait. This guy pulls up in a beater Toyota pick-up. He says his
name is Chris and he's in the band Sodium. He has some water in his truck. We cut down the heater hose
that blew, exchange CDs, and head out, not waiting for AAA.
Houston we have a problem!! The van is now overheating! We pull into a gas station, buy some coolant, put
in water, but there's a leak in the radiator. We call the club and say we'll be a little bit late. We buy some
stop leak (this silver powder stuff that claims to stop radiator leaks). It seems to be working. We gas up
and get back on the road.
Man! Something's really wrong now. The engines smoking and clicking. We pull over and call AAA again
from a roadside emergency phone. We should have just waited for AAA in the first place. Now we're fucked.
The AAA guy shows up with this huge flatbed tow truck. He says he can eventually take our van all the way
to the nightclub. He drops us in a strip mall parking lot and says he'll be back at 7pm.
I'm sitting in the driver's seat of Matilda, riding high on top of a flatbed, bouncing along the freeway. The
closer we get to San Fran, the more it sinks in: We are in deep shit. We have to find a mechanic open on
Saturday morning in downtown San Francisco. That might be impossible, and our next show is in Denver
on Monday night! Sometimes I wish there was a rest button for bad situations. I'm trying to stay cool, trying
to concentrate on the upcoming show. If this is paying your dues, then my credit card is maxed.
We go on at midnight. The room fills up and no one leaves during our set (this is a good sign). After we're
off, I work the merchandise table. people (mostly 'zine writers) come up looking for free shit. Others
buy stuff. Everyone asks you questions. I try to be nice. Even if my day was fucked-up, these people came to
see us play. An artist is never above his or her audience.
Poor Matilda is sitting out in the parking lot broken and quiet. Francois and I volunteer to sleep in her to
keep and eye on the equipment.
5/3/97: San Francisco
I find an auto mechanic that's open on Saturday. It's only four blocks from the club hall. The mechanic says
it sounds like the head gasket. He does a test and, sure enough, i's the head gasket and it'll cost $500, and
if the heads are warped, around $1,500. I feel sick to my stomach. The van only cost $2,000. The worst part
is that he says we probably did it ourselves by running it after it had overheated. Now I don't know what
to do. We're stuck with a dead van and a whole tour sill ahead of us. I call Cleopatra Records from a nearby
pay phone. Nobody's in the office on the weekends, so I leave a message. I call my wife upset and blubbering,
boohoo-what-to do. She says she'll keep calling Cleopatra. Maybe we can rent a van.
The guys pull up to the station. Joseph Bansuelo is driving. He lives in Oakland and has been selflessly hauling
the guys and the gear back and forth since after the show last night. Then it hits me: I'll give Matilda to Joe.
I mean what the hell, it's better than just abandoning her. He gets all excited, "You really mean it? You want to
give me your van!" I say, "Why not." So it's a done deal.
We start making calls on a rental. The U-Haul gal says, $1,045.00 please." We say, "What?!"
"Yeah," she says dryly, like she's used to people freaking out when she tells them how much U-Haul trucks cost.
None of us have that kind of money. I call my mom and beg. She says OK, but she needs the money back in 30
days, because it's on her American Express card. I'll have to ask our label to reimburse my mom and refinance
the whole tour. Begging for money, that's the music business.
5/4/97: Leaving San Francisco
Francois rents a car, 'cause only three guys can fit in the front of the U-Haul. We heard that the back of U-Haul
trucks are sealed and if someone rides back there they can die of carbon monoxide poisoning. Now we gave
two times the gas and rental mileage.
11pm: Salt Lake City, Utah
driving around Salt Lake City I find a really hip radio station, KRCL. They play a song by Birmingham 6, a band
also on Cleopatra. I say "Let's call 'em" So I do and the DJ says, "Come on down to the station." Alan & Alan
the industrial and ambient DJs, are on the air. We do an impromptu interview. They play our music and feed
us left-over pizza. They also say we can crash in their parking lot for the night. I'm in radio heaven.
A whole lotta nothing, but that's a good thing. It makes up for the two-people-per-square-inch, big-city lifestyles
so many of us live. We're listening to the local news radio station: "Our top story: Several road signs were
found torn down and shot up with shotgun buck yesterday. County road crews still haven't got a damage estimate
yet, and now for the weather..." I need to visit Wyoming more often.
11pm: Denver, Colorado
We hit Denver at 5pm. We setup and go on around 11:45pm. It's a Monday night and the turnout is about 50
enthusiastic people. After the show we load the truck, get our money and hit the road. We have to be in Kansas
City by 11am for a sound check for an afternoon College show, and it's already pushing 2:30 in the morning.
5/6/97: Kansas City, Missouri
We drive all night. My voice is a little hoarse, and I haven't showered in two days. Otherwise I'm OK. It's noon
and we're not even in Topeka yet. Whoever booked an 11am soundcheck in Kansas City, knowing we were playing
Denver the night before, has never driven this route. We call and cancel, and then call our evening gig to confirm
the 6pm soundcheck.
The club is a gallery space in the industrial section of Kansas City. The promoter is sitting with the soundman in the
parking lot across the street. We pull up and he breaks out the Little Ceasar's pizza (our show contract states the club
must feed us). We have a choice: We can play inside, a room not bigger than an average living room, or outside
in an alley between three buildings. It's not raining so we opt for outside. The space is very cool. We give it everything,
we always do even if there's only 20 people in the audience. If someone pays to see Kill Switch...Klick, I want them to
walk away going, "Fuck! What a great band!"; not, "Those guys wouldn't put out 'cause the attendance was low."
We make a whopping $10 (gas money out of the promoter's pocket) cause the soundman got all the door money.
We switch out the U-haul and rental car for a Budget Rental van. It's tight but much cheaper. A little way out of
Kansas City, a solid gray sky starts unloading a massive downpour. We drive until midnight and into Iowa to find a
The van is full of gear so only two of us can sleep in it. Jeremy has a sleeping bag. he beds down on a nearby
picnic table. Christian does the same. Marty and me get the van. Francois goes into the bathhouse building.
He said it was nice and cozy and he got a decent night's sleep until two big country boys came in at 5am to take a
gnarly, early morning shit.
5/6/97: La Crosse, Wisconsin
Not a big place, but a lot of friendly faces. People just come up and start asking you questions. "where you from?
Seattle...I hear that's a nice place. You in a band? That's nice. Where you playin' tonight?"
When the locals talk about La Crosse, they make it very apparent that they know its not a very big place and that
there is a much bigger world out there. But still, it's OK. I definitely agree.
The club is located upstairs of a huge retail building. We soundcheck and all is ready. I get a message from our
booking agent, Ben Dewalt. I'm hoping it's about more shows, but when I get him on the phone he says,
"Columbus, Ohio canceled- no reason. The Kalamazoo club's mixing board blew up, they're down for the week."
"Maybe you guys can do some promo or see some sights."
"But we need the money, Ben."
"I'm sorry...Look when ya get to New York, I'll help you out. You guys can stay with me, OK?"
We blast through the set. the sound cuts out for half a song but it's not a major deal. I knock my upright bass
off the stage and crack the body but it's fixable. The owner says it's OK for us to crash at the club. He lost money
on the show but still paid us in full That's good people.
5/9/97: Grand Rapids, Michigan
I notice the initial anxiety of getting the tour going is completely gone. We are settling into a rhythm, living from
show to show, concentrating on one gig at a time, one problem at a time. The last nine days have flown by. I know
a year from now I'll look back on all this and smile. But for now it's serious work. After the bad news yesterday from
Ben about the canceled shows, Jeremy said, "This isn't just a tour anymore, this is a mission."
He's right. We have to finish this tour. We will finish this tour (I hope). Twenty more days to go.
We get to the club at around 5:30pm. It's a 200-capacity coffee house with a stage and a PA. Attendance is light but
enthusiastic. We crash at the club.
5/10/97: Cleveland, Ohio
Tonight is prom night in Cleveland. rented limos with drunk 18-year-olds slide past as we pull into the Motel 6.
The guys go drinking at the Holiday Inn. I call my wife and we talk about the kids. Who would have guessed even
five years ago that I'd be married (my third time) with two kids. My son gets on the phone- he sounds a bit older.
He says, "Daddy work. Daddy play mooshik." I get kinda sad. My daughter is only a-month-and-a-half old. You can
miss alot in a month when they're so young.
5/12/97: Huntington, West Virginia
It's raining off and on at our campsite. We decide to go see a movie. We get coffee at a little cafe next to the theater.
The barista asks us where we're from. We tell her and she gets all excited. "Seattle...Well how does my coffee
"Good ," I say. I couldn't have said anything else even if it sucked (which it didn't). I mean, if you say, "Man you coffee
really sucks, " you could make an enemy for life.
We go to Kinko's and get the big fax ready for Cleopatra Records. The final dollar amount for the truck rentals
is $2,500. That's $2,500 on top of the initial $2,500 Cleopatra gave us to buy Matilda. Our total tour cost for
vehicles is $5,000. To sweeten the deal, I offer a KsK remix album at no charge. I cross my fingers and give the
fax to the Kinko's guy. It's in God's hands now.
5/13/97: Huntington, West Virginia
We wake up late and take our time; soundcheck isn't until 6pm. The promoter kicks down food money-
$10 each. Whenever a promoter gives you decent meal money without any hassle, you have a 90-percent
chance of getting paid.
We play at 1am and the crowd goes apeshit. It feels good. So this is why I live. After the show a guy asks if
we want to slam some heroin. I say, "No, I'm totally clean; I don't even drink anymore." He says "That's
cool, how about the other guys? I got the killer shit and the rig's out in the car, loaded and ready.
Come on. I'm parked in the alley." I say, "Naw, I don't think so."
5/13/97: Washington, D.C.
Today's plan is for Jeremy to hang with his mom (quality family time) while the rest of us zoom into
Washington D.C., to see the sights. That night I call my wife and she says my mom is bummed. Cleopatra
hasn't sent her a reimbursement check yet. She fronted us her rent money for the last van rental.
5/17/97: New York City
In New York City they have seven bands on weekend bills. Stage space is a commodity. We show up for load-in
at 9pm. the promoter says to comeback at midnight; there's no room backstage for our equipment yet. We
drive around and kill time. When we return, the promoter says there's been a fuck-up and Kill Switch...Klick
won't be going on until 2am. Jeremy is fumin'. He's dealt with this booking agent before (when he used to live
in New Brunswick). He runs out to the truck yelling, "Fuck him! Fuck that prick! He always does this kinda shit!"
I talk him down, "People are going to stay for our show. 2am isn't that late." We actually don't go on 'til 2:30am,
but the crowd is good and several A&R guys are here for a look. We tear it up.
5/18/97: Providence, Rhode Island
We get to the club in providence at 6:45pm and nobody is there. We find an open door and let ourselves in. We
all wander around calling "Hey, is anybody here!" No answer. I go around a corner and trip an alarm. We all jet
out real quick and try to look casual. the soundman shows up, along with a lone cop. They talk to us and
deactivate the alarm. Everything is settled, and some poor shithead who forgot to lock the doors the night
before is in some deep shit.
We slam through our set and the room full or rivitheads and goths goes wild. People dancing and moshing full on.
Joe, the door guy, comes up with or money but it's $50 short. Jeremy shows him our guarantee. the guy shrugs,
"You'll have to come back and talk to the boss tomorrow." Jeremy gets hot, "Hey man, we're on the road and
we were really counting on that money to get to our next show!" Joe shrugs again, "we already made the drop,
blah, blah, blah." But Jeremy is persistent. Finally the boss coughs up the $50. We're a little pissed that a club
with a packed house tried to screw us.
5/19/97: Moosic, Pennsylvania
We have to make it to Moosic, Pennsylvania for a 5pm soundcheck. We arrive right before the soundman. The
PA is very good and the room looks to hold at least 400. Just then, Vince, the owner, walks in. Vince does not
look happy. He says, "What's goin' on here!" I say, "We're the band Kill Switch...Klick." He says, "Man, I canceled
that show ten days ago."
"Are you sure?"
"Look, it's my club. I lose money on this industrial stuff. I had Sister Machine Gun play and only 20 kids
"OK, " I counter, "how about giving us some gas money?"
5/20/97: Princeton, New Jersey
The plan is to go to Princeton, New Jersey for a radio interview. Cash is tight, nine days to go. I do some
laundry. My socks are sticky with mildew and I ran out of underwear a week ago.
5/21/97: Atlantic City, New Jersey
We arrive early in the evening and check into this run-down hotel. We hit the casinos with all of $10 to
gamble. We wait out a couple of geriatrics 'til they get off the nickel slots. Even playing nickel slots, $10
doesn't last very long among three people.
5/23/97: New York City
Money is very low. We head into New York City to stay with Jeremy's friend, Amy. I get the feeling in New York
that things have been painted over and over and over. Layer built upon layer. Then one day the powers that
be just said, "What's the fuckin' use." That's NYC to me, peeling paint...forever.
We get to the city and find a parking spot. Everyone but me walks over to Amy's. I have the first van shift. I try
to sleep, but some guys are talking and yelling on the street corner. It sounds like one of the guys says
"Let's roll that van," but I can't be sure. I see some commotion through the windshield. I sit up and some
skinhead is looking in. My heart races. I'm ready to fight. He sees me and looks over at some guy with short
dreads. they both bolt away. now I really can't sleep. I get in the driver's seat and sit in a mildly paranoid daze.
The garbage trucks come and the street slowly quiets down. the sun rises and I finally fall asleep.
5/25/97: New Brunswick, New Jersey
In New Brunswick, Jeremy's mom has come up from Virginia to see us play and set us up with hotel rooms.
After soundcheck we ask the soundman if we can get something for dinner. he says he doesn't feed bands.
I give him the we've-been-on-the-road-for-a-month, boo-hoo-hoo spiel. he finally kicks down $13. A little
push goes a long way, or so I am learning.
We go on around 12:30am. The crowd is really responsive. We finish out the set. I'm covered in sweat and a
little hoarse from the fog machine smoke. This guy comes up with all three KsK CD covers to be autographed.
He tells me a story about when he was going to get his tongue pierced, he made a tape with my song,
"Go Man, Go" on it. In the piercing place he had the guy play the tape over and over for courage. I am
touched. It's not often, as an artist, I feel like I'm connecting with anyone. I get so caught up in writing songs
and the mechanics of dealing with a record label that I forget about the people who actually buy my
records for the pleasure of listening to them. that's the composers dilemma: You are so close to your
creation that you can't be objective. It's like your children.
5/26/97: New York City
Tonight's our last show on the tour. We hang at the club until Noel, the promoter, shows up. While we're
waiting Joey Ramone walks by. He looks a little bit heavy. Old punks never die- they just get fat.
We go one at 11:30pm. The room is half-full. A bunch of dancing drunk chicks show up and flop around
The dance floor for most of our set. Oh, what fun. We pack up the van and say goodnight to the Big Apple.
As we're driving out we see the Stature of Liberty in the distance, looking bright and lonely.
It's 2:30am. Next stop, Seattle.