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WildSide Part 4: “Babylon A.D. had a nasty attitude and The Four Horsemen guitarist Haggis acted like he was John Lennon” Benny Rhynedance



WildSide Part 4: “Babylon A.D. had a nasty attitude and The Four Horsemen guitarist Haggis acted like he was John Lennon” Benny Rhynedance


Facebook — In a 5 part series (or more) as promised by Benny Rhynedance we bring you installment number 4 from The History of WildSide.

Rhynedance played guitar for the Hollywood based quintet in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Early parts give the reader a look inside his world from jamming in Seattle area cover bands to the big move to the city of Angels.

Now after a few decades of silence the Washington native has decided to tell the History of WildSide from his perspective.

It’s a great read so far and part 4 is getting crazy for sure.

The latest rant from Rhynedance centers around his admitted addiction to cocaine and his near overdose in Dallas Texas while on tour in 1993.

If you haven’t already read parts 1, 2 & 3… you can do so right HERE.


The History of WildSide… Part 4

“Under The Influence and Ready To Rock… Hello GRUNGE?”

Benny Rhynedance here again! This episode is a long and shocking one. Get ready!

As 1991 was coming to a close, WildSide had finally finished recording our debut CD for Capitol Records. It took a long time to get finished. Too long, by about 7 months. The album cost an astronomical amount of money to create, and it was way over budget. All we had to do now was get the record mastered, packaged up and out the door to the public, followed by extensive touring. That was our job. The fun part was about to begin. We just needed to get that album selling, paying back what Capitol had laid out to make it, get the band in the black, and earning an actual living – even though that wasn’t possible by a longshot. All of us were excited to hear the mastered CD, wrapped up, finalized and sounding killer. We just wanted to hold the finished product in our hands, the culmination of all our boyhood rock-n-roll dreams, all in a nice 5” x 5-1/2” square plastic package. But there were going to be other problems we didn’t see coming. Enter the steamroller called GRUNGE…

In late 1991, around town in Hollywood, people were talking about a new term or label in the music industry. The words “Alternative Rock” and “Grunge” started to creep into public consciousness. What was grunge? Never heard of it. What was the “alternative” of rock? Disco? No one really understood what these terms meant. Geffen records had recently signed and released this new band from Seattle called Nirvana, in late September of 1991. They had a song called, Smells Like Teen Spirit that was getting massive airplay as well as heavy rotation on MTV. They were being pushed hard. This was what everyone was talking about. Seattle grunge music. What the hell was this shit? I personally had never heard of grunge music, and I was a Seattle local from way back in my childhood in the early 1970’s. I had heard Nirvana’s song and watched the video. I didn’t get it, not one bit. The musicianship seemed elementary and really loose, there was no image, and the vibe of the music was dark and very depressing. I didn’t understand it, but the record buying public outside of Hollywood was sure understanding it! Nirvana was flying up the charts at the speed of light. Their sales were going through the roof!

RainbowParty_April_17_2016_SKY_1Grunge was quietly executing all long hair rock bands with stealthy precision. More grunge bands were surfacing from Seattle. Pearl Jam. Soundgarden. Alice In Chains. Each were selling CD’s like hotcakes. Seattle became the hotbed and new place to go find bands. Grunge music was resonating with new record buyers. Kids that were coming of age, that were too young to know about flashy, long haired, Marshall-stacked guitar bands were gravitating to this new, angry, angst-filled music that record companies were beginning to ram down everyone’s throat. Grunge seemed like the right play for a new audience. It was hugely rebellious music. It was depressing, dark, and just what a freshly turned thirteen-year-old kid wanted to hear. Actually stemming from an early 80’s Seattle punk scene, grunge had evolved over time into a hybrid style of punk, folk, and organic rock.

As far as grunge music ruining hard rock and hair metal bands, the record companies are truly the ones to blame. They had followed a template for years and replicated it over and over again, never deviating from that business model. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Find a band that has some talent and some decent songs. Hopefully they’re a bunch of good looking guys with really long hair, and a blonde haired lead singer. Get their picture all over the place. Release a hard rock single, followed immediately by a ballad. Make videos of the band playing live on a big stage, with scantily clad girls running around, climbing all over the band and get it rotating on MTV. Push this party lifestyle of excess and sex. Party, party, good times! After ten years of this template, it became a parody of itself. Record companies cashed in on it for a decade plus, but it ran for too long. The hair metal audience grew up over ten years, and actually figured out what the record companies had been doing. A new audience rejected what they were being given from their older brothers and sisters. Alternative was exactly that, an alternative to the same shit record companies had been churning out over and over. Idol worship of rock bands became thought of as idiotic. Almost overnight, the hard rock scene was turned on its ear. Only a handful of big bands would weather the grunge storm, and they would do it by hiding out from 1991 to 1995.

While grunge was systematically annihilating hard rock, WildSide was about to take our box of Ampex mixed tapes, all nine months-worth of drama and cost overruns, and head to Vancouver, British Columbia to have Bruce Fairbairn master UTI to perfection. Bruce was one of the best producers around. He’d done up some great rock heavyweights in his career – Loverboy, Krokus, Black-N-Blue, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, AC/DC , Van Halen… just to name a few. When Bruce touched something, it went BIG. Adding Bruce Fairbairn into the mix, along with what Andy Johns and Thompson/Barbiero had already done, was going to be the game winning field goal. With this CD, there really was no doubt that WildSide would have a shot at what Capitol Record’s President Hale Milgrim said we’d become – “their own Guns N Roses.” No doubt about it. Everything was just too perfect. The biggest names in rock had helped us complete a very solid debut record that would stand the test of time.

So, fast forward to Vancouver in November of 1991, and Brent Woods walking through the airport, heading to Baggage Claim to pick up our tapes and escort them to Fairbairn’s studio. While picking up the box, Canadian Customs officials got involved and asked what it was. Brent answered that they were tapes of recorded material and that he was taking them to a local studio to be mastered. Customs officers then said “Oh, so you’re from USA and doing some work here?” Brent says, “Well, yeah, we’re gonna work on mastering our record here.” Then they said, “Really… Alright then, we’ll just need to see your work visa, and all your paperwork.” Brent says, “Work visa, paperwork?” Done. Brent was backroomed and detained. The tapes were confiscated by Canadian Customs and put in a dungeon somewhere at the Vancouver airport. Noooo! Of course no one saw this coming on our end, or Capitol’s, nor were we provided with the proper documentation to do work in Canada. We got “WildSide’d.” Just put a guitar player on a plane with $600K worth of work on some tapes. No need to be sure whether or not we have the proper paperwork to work in Canada, right? Wrong. This sure wasn’t Brent’s fault. He was just the messenger. Our tapes sat in Vancouver Customs from November 1991 through January 1992, while lawyers for Capitol had to fight to get the tapes back and pay a fine. More precious time was lost. Wtf…

After the Canadian Customs fiasco, WildSide signed with Creative Artist Agency (one of the biggest talent agencies in the world). CAA immediately booked us our first tour, to go out and pre-promote the release of Under The Influence. It was the beginning of February 1992, and we were to start off in Montreal or some frozen tundra somewhere, opening up for Geffen’s, The Four Horsemen (TFH) and their album “Nobody Said It Was Easy.” They were a bluesy AC/DC vibe band produced by Rick Rubin. They seemed like a decent match. We spent 2 months with TFH and played night after night. Exactly what we always wanted to do. TOUR! As the opening act, we weren’t thought of as much, we had to earn it, and the TFH didn’t really pay any attention to us. After about five shows though, it became apparent that we were kicking a little bit of ass and crowds were liking what we were doing. The Four Horsemen guys became a bit friendlier, except for one guy in the band who was the founder of the group. This guy named “Haggis” (yeah, I didn’t get the name either) from London, was formerly a bassist for The Cult at one time, for about 2 hours, and he was the leader of the group. Man, this guy was difficult and acted like he was John Lennon or something. Unfriendly as hell. Maybe because we were killing them every night with only limited P.A. and a few lights, or maybe the fact that we were younger guys and were getting all the girls after the shows. Whatever it was, Haggis was just not a fun guy. Regardless, we were glad to be out on the road and playing show after show and giving audiences a preview of Under The Influence. The true pay off was hearing from the fans every night and what they thought about our music.

Throwing the band out on the road with no product available, in the dead of winter, in a rental van, for a band no one wanted to open for, was really a test put on us by Capitol Records. Would we suck, could we handle the traveling, would the band get along, would audiences dig us? They wanted to see how we’d do. We passed their test with flying colors. The reviews from the road were stellar. Capitol was excited. Hell, we’d been signed nearly a year and a half prior, and been cooped up in dark Hollywood recording studios ever since. Going on the road was a vacation for us! Snow flurries, -15* in Chicago? No problem, we’ll play there! We were all stoked to play night after night. Touring was what we had been dreaming about since childhood. It was like a long, fun camping trip. I found it better than real life.

Since the age of about five, when I first watched “The Partridge Family” TV show, about a family band that played shows, and drove around in a whacky school bus, and all the daily hi-jinx that ensued, I knew that strapping on a guitar and standing on a stage was something I wanted to try. Luckily for me, my parents were cool enough to let me go to rock concerts as a very young kid. I got to see what it was really like to be in a crowd of 10,000 or more going nuts for David Cassidy from The Partridge Family in 1971, or Ted Nugent, Peter Frampton, Boston or Paul McCartney & Wings. Smelling marijuana smoke, seeing people passed out, hugging empty Southern Comfort bottles, with puke all over them, hearing loud drums, bass, and guitar kicking in through 50,000 watts of P.A. system was all pure heaven for me. The live show was my obsession and those stacks of Marshall 4×12 cabinets got my attention. I was mesmerized by guitar players of the day in the 1970’s – then there was the life changing Eddie Van Halen phenomenon. Watching these early guitar heroes was the exact path I knew I wanted to travel. Man, I tell you, be careful what you wish for…

The tour with The Four Horsemen went well. We survived blizzards, wild groupies, numerous RV breakdowns, equipment problems, and even bouts of influenza. What a blast! Coming home to Hollywood was somewhat of a letdown though. Everyone wanted to stay out on the road. Fantasy life on a rock stage was much better than hanging around in L.A. Back home, we had to pay bills, be faceless, take out the garbage, fight boredom, be yelled at by our stripper girlfriends, and try to STAY OUT OF TROUBLE.

Under The Influence (UTI) was about ready to drop in early May of 1992, so the fanfare leading up to it was really exciting. We did a ton of interviews. We participated in celebrity softball tournaments for MTV. We did photo sessions with legendary photographer Neil Zlozower. (coolest guy ever!) We partied every night… and here’s where that got dangerous…

Los Angeles is such a strange place. It’s so beautiful and yet so ugly all at the same time. So many good things about it, as well as so many bad. Anyone that has ever lived there knows the meaning of this ( I spent 13 years there). Hollywood has the Boulevard of Broken Dreams, and the ability to swallow up people’s souls. I always called it a Vortex of Badness. Whatever weakness you possess, Hollywood demons would always find a way to show you your flaws, if you let them.

I can’t comment on any other guys in WildSide and what their partying habits were or weren’t like. Common courtesy dictates that I remain neutral. I can only share MY OWN personal story here. My party habits were… well, a recipe for total destruction. The line between partying and real life became blurred to where it was a party 24 hours a day for me.

Fresno_Fulton_55_Sky_Banner_2016_1As a kid growing up in Seattle, I was raised in a middle class loving family. I was the last of 4 kids, a momma’s boy, and I was a bit farther down the chain from all my siblings. My nearest sister was 5 years older. I spent almost every waking moment with my mother, as my Dad was working all day in a suit, kicking butt for the family. We were your typical old school, 1950’s “Leave It to Beaver” style atomic family. Dinner at 6pm every night, no exceptions, everyone present. We had a neighbor that grew some weed in his garden, but that was it as far as being exposed to any drug stuff. The neighbor was somewhat of a hippie, so it was okay with everyone. (pretty sure he was passing out joints on the sly to keep people quiet!) I was your typical shaggy haired 70’s kid, all about music, sports, motorcycle dirt bikes, BMX, skateboarding, fishing, homework, trumpet playing and guitar rock. That was it. I’d like to think I was brought up with a level head, a good moral standard and a magical drama free youth full of wonder. As I turned into a testosterone filled heavy metal teen with an attitude, I was still a good kid, respectful of my parents, as always, and responsible about keeping my grades up. I never smoked, and I never drank. It didn’t interest me. Van Halen was my drug of choice. The 1980 Invasion was happening and I was front and center hearing the Eddie Van Halen call. Sounds good, right? Now… cut to ten years later in 1990 in L.A., and I’m snorting cocaine off the fake boobs of a runaway stripper from Ohio, in the “Champagne Court” of a dank Hollywood strip club. WTF? What the hell happened to me? How the hell did I get here?

Cocaine was huge in Los Angeles starting in the mid-70’s and the disco era. It made a resurgence in the 80’s, and it was everywhere. It seemed like everyone in the entertainment business had cocaine, or knew a guy that could get cocaine. It was part of doing business. A&R reps from record labels would give program managers at radio stations bags of cocaine to get their bands on the playlists. It was a traded commodity. Payola. I was introduced to the drug at a party in late 1989. I think it went something like, “Hey man, you ever had a toot before?” I said, “What’s a toot?” “Oh dude, it’s just a little cocaine, here try a line of this stuff, it’ll help you feel good for the night.” I replied with “Oh no, I don’t do drugs or anything like that.” Party boy says, “Dude! Coke isn’t like a drug, everyone does it. It’s just a little pick me up, no big deal…” Sounded harmless, so I snorted the white stuff, and within about 2 minutes felt an immediate and almost uncontrollable urge to move my bowels. What the hell? This is what it was all about? After a nuclear blast in the bathroom, I began to feel awesome. Invincible. Intelligent. Interesting. Supreme. I could talk at a rapid pace on any subject. My mind was two steps ahead. I was focused like a laser beam. I could do anything! I had a ton of energy. I felt insanely euphoric. I was higher than a kite and it was a new and intoxicating feeling for my virgin drug-free brain. BOOM!

That experience right there is the reason people continue to do cocaine. That first high, that first experience is the best one, and it never really happens again. Everything that follows is just a downward spiral as you try and try to get that euphoric feeling back. Then you have to snort more and more cocaine as the body builds up a tolerance level, and before you know it, woops, you need it daily to function. But hey, not me. “I could never be a weirdo drug addict.” Famous last words. Cocaine was just a party favor, a social kind of thing. I was in control, and much too smart and normal to be any kind of coke addict, right? “Excuse me, do you have any coke, or know of anywhere I could buy some?” So our debut CD, Under The Influence finally dropped on May 05, 1992. Right out of the gate, we started to gain headway. Pirate Radio in L.A. was playing our single. We could hear it on the radio throughout the day, which by the way, was the greatest feeling in the world. Overwhelming PRIDE was the best way to describe it. Tower Records on Sunset Blvd. had a big billboard of our album cover outside by the front door. The Whisky had a wraparound front and center billboard of us right out on Sunset Blvd. next to Bruce Springsteen’s Lucky Town billboard. The Sunset Strip, the scene we’d been such a part of since the mid-80’s was acknowledging us. We were dominating Los Angeles. Radio stations around the country were playing Hang On Lucy and the word was getting around. Capitol was doing their job. Our video for Hang On Lucy was debuting on MTV’s Head Banger’s Ball with Riki Rachtman. Things were starting off smooth. We could almost smell the fine Italian leather in our soon to be purchased Lamborghini’s. I personally could not though, as I had too much cocaine up my nose to smell anything. But hey, I wasn’t an addict, I was in control, right?

Just after the debut release, CAA got WildSide, Roxy Blue, and Babylon A.D. on a summer rock tour for 1992. It would run from June through early September. All of us were really excited to tour some more, but on a bigger level. Personally, I was still praying for a final hour Van Halen miracle and getting a last leg for a week or two on the tail end of their World F.U.C.K. Tour… we’d say yes to anything! Didn’t happen. We were slated to share a 45 foot Prevost Custom Coach, 12-man sleeper luxury coach with Roxy Blue. Our bus was massive. We’d never met the guys in Roxy Blue or even heard of ‘em, but when we met up in Phoenix, it was clear they were totally cool and going to be a riot to be around. We were West Coast surfer dudes, and they were good ol’ boys from Memphis. Big differences, but metal brought us together. All of them were just super friendly guys, and we were all excited to kick some ass out on the road. Then we got to meet Babylon A.D., and they weren’t excited.

When Roxy Blue walked onto the mega bus, each guy introduced himself and shook all of our hands. Great impression. Excellent manners. Living with these guys was going to be easy. Babylon on the other hand didn’t even make an attempt to meet any of us. It was weird. The vibe was, WS/RB guys against Babylon A.D. They were the headliner, and we were just the “shitty support acts.” Whatever it was, they didn’t care enough to even say hello. They had a nasty attitude. Was it because they were from San Francisco, and we were from L.A.? The classic North/South California turf rivalry? Who knows. Maybe it was the fact that they needed two other hot new bands that had just been released, to help them sell tickets and pull in crowds for their shows. I personally think it was because we were in Motley’s Crue’s Dr. Feelgood tour bus, and Babylon had a really old beat up MCI coach, spray painted dark blue, converted from a 70’s passenger coach, that smelled like rat piss. Any way you slice it, they had a huge chip on their collective shoulders. All, with the exception of guitarist Ron Freschi who was pretty cool to us, when none of the other B.A.D. guys were around. Right on, Ron. Cool guy.

After the first three or four shows, fans were telling us that Babylon A.D. should be opening the show, and that Roxy Blue and WildSide should take turns headlining. As it stood, we were on first, followed by Roxy Blue. I never understood why we never traded off with Roxy, like one night we would go first, the next night, they would open. Nope. We had to open. WildSide goes first! All of us felt like we could go on second, maybe now and again, but it never happened. Make no mistake, Roxy Blue was definitely a no-slouch band. They were killing it as much as we were every night and giving us a run for our money. Also, because we liked them so much as regular guys, we just left it alone. This formula worked for the whole tour into September. We never hung out with Babylon A.D. Some nights we would finish our set and leave back to our bus with a third of the audience. Then Roxy Blue would go on, do their set, and bring another third of the fans back with them. There were many nights B.A.D. played to a sparse audience. Was this why they pretended we didn’t exist? Half the club would be out back hanging out with us and Roxy Blue! Police cars were often there soon after as there were tons of people hanging around in the streets. Pure mayhem. Hey, we knew how to party! “Does anyone have any coke or know anywhere I can buy some?”

As weird as that first tour was, it was good for WildSide. We gained a bigger audience, which is what was supposed to happen. Capitol Records sales reports showed were we selling a lot of product in the Midwest and the East Coast. Coming back to L.A., the first thing we said was, “When do we go back out on the road again?” None of us wanted to stay home for very long. We wanted UTI to take off and be a 5 million seller. Sitting at home wasn’t going to make that happen.

We shot a video for the song How Many Lies, in Salt Lake City shortly after returning from tour. What I wanted to know was when were we going to shoot the “Just Another Night” ballad video? Wasn’t that the exact reason why Capitol signed us, as they were sure it was a #1 smash hit? Was Capitol records still working our record? Grunge had taken off like a space shuttle and was now everywhere. I still didn’t understand it. How can we stop this grunge machine?

Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog… why were people buying this stuff? Why were long-haired guys in hard rock bands being thought of as uncool? It was almost overnight that the audiences for most bands of the rock genre, just up and disappeared. Like most guys, we were trading in our custom leather stage clothes for flannel shirts and clam digger shorts with combat boots. None of it made any sense to any of us. How was grunge music becoming the greatest thing since sliced bread? Simple answer? It could have been any type of music. Record labels wore out their welcome by reusing the same formula over and over again since 1982. The market was oversaturated with hair bands by the early 1990’s. Fans were tiring of the mundane rehash that was continuously being fed to them. Metal Edge magazine was turning into an inch-thick book trying to accommodate all the full page color band pics. It had become hard to keep up with who was who as far as new bands went. Too much competition. The market was flooded. Some were good, and a majority were mediocre. As a result, some really talented groups went unnoticed, WildSide being at the top of that list was criminally overlooked. Add in a recession of sorts, and a new set of up and coming music fans who weren’t really that aware of Van Halen, Aerosmith, or even KISS. They sure knew Kurt Cobain though! He became the new music messiah by default, and he certainly never wanted that at all.

Sidenote : I did like Alice In Chains. Layne’s voice was so interesting. Their songs were great. Jerry Cantrell has always been a metal guitarist and tone chaser from way back, plus we knew one of his early bands from back in Seattle. Jerry = coolness.

WildSide carried on into 1993 and toured on our own, as usual, in the dead of winter. January? Let’s go straight to Montreal! Canada was always a good time though. French Canadians loved to rock. The problem with Canada was the border crossing. If there was anything illegal on the bus, it had to be used up or thrown out. Who the hell would throw out perfectly good drugs, anyways? Border guards would see the rock-n-roll circus rolling through in a big tour bus with equipment truck at 1am and immediately bring out the drug sniffing German Shepherd’s. Our luck finally ran out there, though. One guard told us that it was “the first time in his 20-year career that he had ever seen a ‘canine officer’ just look at a suspect vehicle and sit down or ‘hit on it’ without even going inside.” I guess it was that bad. Thanks for the memories Canada! Go big or go home. We did both that time.

In the Spring of 1993, Capitol Records began a restructuring of almost every department within the company. Things were changing fast at our label. People were being fired left and right. The recession, and the recent shift in musical tastes had left some companies scrambling to turn a profit. Stockholders wanted answers, and that usually meant to completely replace key management fixtures. This basically put a stranglehold on all departments. Our record was basically left to die a slow and tragic death. No one told us this at the time, but this is what was happening. No more singles released. No one working radio. No one calling us. No more tour support. Even our A&R guy Tim Devine and President Hale Milgrim became distant… like Pluto distant.

We decided we would book our own shows and keep it alive by ourselves. Still a signed act on a major label, we went back out and toured through the Midwest and the South where our sales were the highest. The grunge plague hadn’t spread to these areas yet, so these places were basically “grunge-zombie free zones,” and still ready to rock. The vibe between all of us guys in WildSide was becoming one of frustration and strain. We couldn’t figure out how to plug the holes in our sinking ship, and were trying hard not to implode. We each had so many questions. How was this happening? Why isn’t this easier? Why aren’t we Platinum by now? We had every single thing in our corner almost guaranteeing our success. Why is this grunge shit completely washing over us like a fucking tidal wave? How can we fail? This is impossible. We didn’t have the answers, but, we sure as hell weren’t going to give up.

April 3rd 1993 in Dallas, Texas. Big night playing The Basement. It was a great show. I had a head cold and a stuffed up nose. Didn’t feel well. Over the course of the day, I had some Thera-Flu cold medicine, some antibiotics, a couple of Tylenol, some blow in the later afternoon (‘cause I was in control and wasn’t an addict, right?) followed up with a shot or two of Jack Daniels to try and burn out the goo in my sinus. Little hair of the dog, you know… Right there was the mistake. Mixing cocaine and all the over-the-counter cold remedy stuff was, and IS a deadly cocktail. Sudden accidental death in a nice and neat, shameful little toxic package. Plus, I had antibiotics in there as well. All this stuff I had ingested, would create a toxic soup inside my body, start shutting down organ functions, including the heart, and ultimately an acute heart attack, followed by sudden death. Your heart rate goes way up, and your blood pressure plummets to the floor. You just fall asleep and die. I wasn’t thinking straight. I wasn’t straight in any way, shape or form. I was a cocaine addict since 1989 and I wasn’t in control of anything and hadn’t been for years. The tail was wagging the dog.

After the show, I had the usual celebratory line or two of cocaine to keep the energy up, (another great idea) although I wasn’t feeling right. I was unusually tired and felt lethargic. Cocaine cures everything, right? Wrong. This was the nail in my coffin. While sitting on the bus, everything around me got dark, other people’s voices became fuzzy sounding. I had sudden and severe pain in my upper back, and my hands. Something was really wrong with my body and its functions. Strangest sensation I had ever experienced. My left leg went numb. My heart rate shot to the moon in an instant. Adrenalin. Oh great, just what I needed on top of everything else. It automatically stood me up instantly in the front lounge of the tour bus. I grabbed onto Drew’s back and shoulders with a “death grip” to hold myself up, and muttered, “Help me.” Drew looked at me in horror and froze. He knew something wasn’t right with me. Some guys thought I was being funny and laughed. I didn’t want to make a scene, so I calmly staggered off the tour bus at our LaQuinta Inn, and decided that I would die alone under a manicured green bush next to the bus. Amazing how nonchalantly I came to this conclusion.

This was not a good situation. I had finally discovered the limit line where my human body would fail, and I was perilously teetering on the edge of that line. Man, still 27, I certainly didn’t want to be part of the magic “27 Club.” Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and many more, all died at 27 years old. Great company to be in, but I sure as hell didn’t want to be a part of that club!

WildSide_CD_CoverAs I sat down on the grass, our friend, security guy, and long-time tour manager Greg Vaughn saw what was happening, scooped me up, literally flew me up some stairs in his arms and sat me down in one of our hotel rooms. Drenched in sweat, and slightly foaming at the mouth, I was falling out of my chair and begging Greg to call a hospital. He was telling me why he couldn’t do that, how I’d be arrested, and how the police would… I totally phased out… the next thing I know, I was on my back, staring at the ceiling, and Greg was slapping the shit out of me while yelling, “Stay with me Benny, stay with me now, boy!” I didn’t want Greg to wail on me again, because he nailed me pretty good in my right ear, so I decided I would fight the overwhelming wave of feeling I had to go to sleep. I could see Greg’s face now in focus because he was very close. He looked scared, and Greg wasn’t afraid of anything. The guy was an old school tough guy and part of the inspiration for the lyrics to Lad In Sin. If Greg was looking scared, then I was truly fucked. He picked me up and dropped me into the shower, as I was turning really white and kinda blue, and turned on the cold water. Boy, was that water cold. It was numbingly cold. Surprisingly, it felt nice on my face, but sounded thunderous inside my head

I went in and out of the cold shower, sometimes crawling, sometimes just laying on the bathroom tile while Greg sat next to me on the floor, and kept on talking, keeping me awake, telling funny stories about his sordid past. All the while, I kept seeing my mother’s face and thinking how pissed off she was going to be at me if I died from an accidental drug overdose, next to a hotel room toilet. Just like Elvis, this wasn’t the most glamorous of ways to go. The thought of the mere wrath coming from the disappointment and heartbreak of my mother turned out to be the catalyst in changing the outcome of this event. No way, I was going to go out like that. Once I decided that I wasn’t going to shame, disgrace and short change my mother, father, and siblings, that’s when it all turned around. My will to live kicked in. I began to feel better, like my life wasn’t hanging in the balance. I asked Greg to call my mother. He said, “Benny, (in his deep Texas drawl) if I call your momma, we are BOTH gonna be dead for sure, no matter what!” The two of us laughed. It took about 6 hours more for all the toxicity levels in my body and organs to metabolize and dissipate. With shaky knees, I got back on the tour bus around 6:30am and ate a Snickers bar. I had dodged the proverbial bullet, or rather a rocket propelled coke grenade. “Does anyone have any orange juice, or know where I can buy some?”

I’ve never shared this story before in detail. This was my shameful and pathetic rock bottom. I had seen the light though. I never did any drugs of any kind ever again after the “Dallas Situation.” I was scared straight. This event was almost 23 years ago, yet remains very vivid in my memory. Heed this warning, my friends : The shit you’re messing with WILL kill you sooner than later. You can’t, and never will be the master of it. The drugs will always win and have their way with you. Take a different path. I’ve been down this road to the very end… there’s nothing there but heartache and despair. You can change, and it can start now.

Greg, if you ever read this… no words, man. You saved my life, which allowed me to go on and complete a task later on in my life that ended up being very important. But I guess this was the way it was meant to happen. Thank you Big Greg, and God bless you.

“Get busy livin, or get busy dyin.” We had some rock-n-roll shows to do! Ain’t no visit from the grim reaper was gonna slow me down. I was reborn hard, and it was time to ROCK! “Don’t get caught by the Hair Of The Dog, That Bites You!”

The final installment, Part 5, of “The History of WildSide” will continue on with the demise of hard rock, the death of The Sunset Strip music scene, the implosion of Capitol Records, the exit of Brent Woods, and what a person does when they are heralded as a B-level rock star one day, then basically homeless the next. Stay tuned.


Differing Opinion Disclaimer : “The History of WildSide written here is MY point of view on how things happened for my band. Others in the band may have seen it differently and experienced different things, and I can respect their interpretations of our history. This however, is how I saw it, and what I experienced. Rock on.” – Benny Rhynedance

To read parts 1, 2 & 3 click HERE




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