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Pit Stories: One Foggy Night

Photo of Spider Rockets

Band Photo: Spider Rockets (?)

New Jersey’s Spider Rockets sent in a well-told story of traveling between gigs one foggy night while touring in upstate New York:

It was late, and we had finished our last night playing a festival in upstate New York. We were dirty and tired of hanging out with nature and decided to hit the road instead of camping out for another night. All around us were mountains and enough one-lane winding roads to make one uncomfortable driving in the daytime. Cell phone service was pretty much unavailable, too. Definitely no hotels. Also, as you can imagine, no nearby cities... The fog started coming in as we were leaving. We started driving and we realized how bad the visibility actually was.

All eyes were on the road except one of us who will remain anonymous. That person had imbibed a little (no, a lot) too much peppermint schnapps at the festival and was comatose upon settling into the van. Anyway, the rest of us could not see 10 feet in front of us so driving was slowed down quite a bit. We were low on fuel and were on the lookout for gas stations. No big deal, right? Wrong. We found our first gas station, but it was closed. We knew there was a village within the next few miles -- we remembered passing it on the way to the festival. We were all watching for other vehicles. Driving carefully and slowly, it was hard to miss the surprising number of large dead animals on the side of the road. We were not anxious to have a wild animal jump in front of us, so we all remained vigilant (except “comatose-one”). Finally, we got to the village. It was pitch black, kind of creepy, no street lights, not a living soul to be seen and no open gas station. A band member (who will remain unnamed) usually is sound asleep in the back seat. This person falls asleep within 3 minutes of laying down and can sleep through a tornado. A gift, right? Anyway, this person was wide awake and spinning graphic and grisly stories of what could happen to us. Inspiration was probably the dead animals we kept seeing. The stress level went up a couple of notches in the van for all except “comatose-one.” We pulled over in the dead village and searched GPS for nearby 24-hour gas stations. Most did not appear to be open all night, but one that looked like a possibility was 12 miles away. When we got to the gas station, it was closed. Panic started kicking in. “Comatose-one” was now half-conscious and mumbling incoherently. We found another possible 24-hour gas station on GPS, but it was 18 miles out.

We started driving and got a low gas alert. “Comatose-one” was now fully awake and stone cold sober. “Storyteller” was also wide awake and, being his favorite author is Edgar Allen Poe, you can imagine the stuff he was spinning. We evaluated our options. It would take hours for AAA to get to us and if we ran out of gas, there was nowhere to park safely on the side of the road. Things did not look good. The arrow on the gas gauge was now pointing to empty. How long did we have? We were driving on fumes. We saw the lights for the gas station ahead of us –they were the only lights around. As we drove closer, we realized we were out of options. For those of us who were nail biters (ok, only one), we were down to the quick.

As we approached, the gas station became like a beacon welcoming us from the darkness and unknown that had surrounded us so far. The lights from the station glowed and the scene looked like a mirage. We pulled in and were instantly surrounded in a bank of fog. The gas station also had a large convenience store that looked like it was open. Yes! A good sign. We all stumbled out of the van in front of one of the gas pumps and held our collective breath as Johnny (lead guitarist) tried the pump. Yes, it worked! We found our Shangri-La! The van was getting filled up we were so damn happy to be alive and safe.

We walked into the convenience store that seemed to welcome us with its cheerful lighting. This Valhalla had a large selection of junk food, fresh coffee AND soft-serve ice cream. What??? A gas station convenience store that has soft-serve ice cream? This was the only one we had ever seen. We grabbed some food, ice cream (of course) like depraved creatures and settled into the van where we decompressed. We were still pretty shaky, so we decided to camp out until the fog cleared and we could drive safely. We promised each other we would be careful in the future to never, ever get caught in a situation like that again. No gas, middle of nowhere and dead of night... Hopefully, never again.

New Jersey’s Spider Rockets just released their fifth full-length album, "Along Came a Spider," in January via P-Dog Records. Spider Rockets has toured with Pop Evil, Trapt and Saliva and has opened for the likes of Papa Roach, Steel Panther, Tantric and others. The group has toured throughout the USA and has also performed in Europe. Lead singer, Helena Cos, and guitarist, Johnny Nap, originally started as a duo with an electronic rhythm section playing dive bars in New Jersey and New York City where they cranked out crowd favorites from AC/DC and Judas Priest to Guns n’ Roses and Metallica while testing the waters with original material.

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A self-described "metal geek," Doug Gibson has been listening to heavy metal for more than twenty five years and designed and coded Metal Underground.com from scratch over ten years ago.

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