10/23/95 - the Metropol, Pittsburgh PA.

Well, to make a long story short, after some frantic scurrying we find the right person to ask (quite by accident) and learn that the signing is AFTER the show, at midnight to be exact, at a record store called Vibes. And guess what, they'll have copies of "Smells Like Children" on hand! Yup, the 10/24 date holds true - after midnight will be the 24th after all - and we can not only get one of the first copies available but have it autographed as well. Happy happy we. We drive to the store; EVB satisfies herself that she can get here in jig time from the club, and, well content, it's off to the Metropol.

It's a glitzy, depressing dance club in the warehouse district. Some girls we haven't seen since Wilkes-Barre last spring are first in line, and Carrie and Devon show up shortly after. They have great tales to tell: they were in the same hotel as the Mansons last night and did a mission-of-mercy burger run for them in the wee hours, which was followed by a ketchup fight of epic scale. The maids must've loved it... they also share Erika's adventure (she sobbed hysterically outside the Mansons' bus until tender-hearted Ginger told the Rev about it, and Manson, , sent her out a note and a piece of candy .) and some stories of Mr. M. Senior, who had to fly back home last night. He's honestly proud of his weird kid, and has a whole room at home dedicated to their memorabilia, including all their Slammie skulls. EVB has the inspired idea, with which I immediately agree, that when we see them tonight I should give Manson a DM&G for his dad's collection. Get to hear their soundcheck - "Down In The Park," "Organ Grinder" and "Antichrist Superstar." Sounds great from outside too. ---Where's Hanzel und Gretyl? We fret - their white van and trailer still aren't visible at 6:30, and the thought of the show without them in it is too painful to bear. But *whew*,they pull up barely fifteen minutes before showtime. Poor kids, they'll have to scramble to get on in time.

Get inside, get to the wall, immediately get a nasty case of the creeps. It's a bad place. Designed much more for intimate drinking and chat than seeing bands, it's got lots of cozy little nooks and crannies but a small dancefloor and a tiny stage. With three bands' gear tiered on it there's approximately a foot of space for Hanzel und Gretyl to stand in - their drumkit is so close to the edge of the stage that Cathy can touch it. They hustle around, setting up as fast as possible. (Ah, the travails of a small-time band: drive yourself to the show, come on in grubby t-shirts to set up your gear, change into silver space tunics, play your set, get back into the grubbies and tear down the gear, drive yourself to the next locale. Gimme that glamorous rock and roll lifestyle...)

--It feels bad. Its vibes are cold and hostile. I wonder what sort of warehouse it was before it became a trendy nightspot, and I wish I wasn't here. At least our primary bouncer is friendly and calm. Helps.

H&G's intro tape and lights begin on time, but they aren't ready; spacy sound-effects and fog fill the stage and they're still wrangling with their setup, on their knees plugging and adjusting at top speed. No time to strike their usual motionless CLOCKWORK ORANGE silhouette pose before the cue, they beat the clock at the last second and dive headlong into their set. Bravo! They're great fun as ever - we learn this is their last show of the tour and mourn. We'll miss them. (Really must do that doll!)

Clutch are, well, Clutch. They've got an enthusiastic following here. Poor Carrie gets the world's biggest Clutch fan right on the back of her neck, and I mean biggest; this guy could armwrestle the Hulk to a stop, and he does the whole set with big-time body English and bellows. Such fun. I get an attachment of my own, glued to my back the whole night, but I don't really care - he'll take any hits before I do, and it's kinda warm too... OK, they're gone. Just a short wait now...

Red light, hissing smoke, weird tape into rippling scream. Cued up to go. Ahh there he is...no stilts... and he's about two feet away from me. Should help me not think about the evil vibes.

I'm going to cut out of describing the set for a second to focus on the main event - it was Present Night. Maybe he wanted to reward us for doing this many shows, but anything tossed got tossed in our direction. coyote got another water bottle - her third, I think - and a length of Mr. Manson's nylons. I got a t-shirt someone flung at the Rev - he grabbed it, pulled it between his legs and tossed it right in my face. And then things got truly strange....

He broke a beer bottle - real one - over his head, used the broken end to cut his chest. Blood trickled slowly down. He wiped his fingers through the blood, stepped over, and spattered my face with it. I felt it hit my face and lip. I licked it off. I know he saw me do it. I could taste it on my tongue. I got the shakes and held onto the bar. What the hell happened? What the hell happened? A minute later he did the same to coyote, EVB and Carrie. I don't think he did it to anyone else and they don't either. And they - a lot more psi than I am - both got the same message: "Anointed in the blood of Antichrist Superstar."

We got chosen for something. No question. And we all feel so strange and different it almost calls for new names.

After that the signing is almost anticlimax, though it was way fun. We beat it fast, and still were about 75 people back in line. The black bus =) pulled up at about 12:30, cartons of CDs included, though we didn't yet know that. The store handled it really nicely; you went in, bought your CD, then got in a line that went upstairs to the band's table, got your signature and headed back down. About 50 people got in at a time, I'd say, no more till the first 50 got out. The line was sizable - they'd advertised and announced the signing at the show so I'd say at least half the crowd came over. I'd already decided to buy a CD but get a zine autographed instead, and bring their copies. I was terrified - almost chickened out on the stairs but Cathy, bless her, talked me back into it. Annoyed Clutch's bus driver by dropping a Satan's Bakesale flyer >=). Barely got my armload out in time to reach Madonna, who was at the near end of the table. Oh this was bad - I had to make myself say something and if he'd ben catty (I know he can be) I would have lost my nerve. Took the plunge: "I, um, thought you might like to have copies of my fanzine- I know you have one on the bus but maybe you'd like to have one of your own." Devil bless him: Madonna Wayne said nicely "Sure, I'd like to have one, thanks." Whew! Down the table with my little stack, having them sign mine as I presented theirs. Ginger didn't seem to notice his zine (ah, well). --but did X-out Sara's face when he signed the cover! Daisy was more enthused, especially with the attached candy ; "Hey, a Pixy! Cool!" He pushed a Reese's cup across the table and gave me that grin; "Here, fair exchange." I was so dazzled I hardly collected myself in time for Twiggy. Twig signed mine and then settled down to read it, oblivious to the waiting line or anything else. Almost a shame to interrupt, but I did. "Um, Twiggy? I do have one for you too--" He looked up with the sweetest smile - absolutely heart-melting - and took it from me as if he'd never had a present in his life. Awww..

And, of course, Mr. Manson himself. Who spoke before I had a chance to. "This is very cool, by the way. " (!!) "Thank you, I'm glad you like it," I managed as he signed mine. "There's things in here I didn't have," he continued as he handed it over, "so thanks." Just in time I remembered my mission. "I meant to give one of these to your father when he was here last night (of course he wasn't HERE here, but "on tour" becomes one place after awhile), but I missed him..." I stumble to a halt , but he gets my meaning and looks sincerely pleased. "I'd be glad to get one to my father, thank you," he took it from me. "Since I already have one," he added. (hee. coyote was right, the on-bus copy has been labeled Property of You-Know-Who. ) "Yeah, I know," I got out, and stumbled clear of the Unbreakable Eye Lock in a snowed daze.

Whew. Can the next stretch be as intense?

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