Heavy Metal Booze Cruisin'
By Jeff Edwards
So occasionally I tour manage my friends band The Shrine. Their bass-player Court and I used to be roomates and I have toured with them since their very first West Coast tour in 2011. The dudes called me up to do a US tour starting in the Southwest heading east toward Florida. The caveat was when we got to Florida we would hop on Lemmy's Motorboat and sail to the Bahamas. Basically cruise ship companies realized they can headline huge bands like Slayer and Motorhead and pack their boats with metalheads and charge $1000+ a ticket. It actually works pretty well because no fans are more loyal to their scene than metalheads.
We hopped on the ship in Miami and dumped all our shit in our stateroom. Since Norwegian Cruise lines comped our tickets we had to share rooms. Court and I shared a room with our buddy Kris Kerk. The rest of the band brought their wives and girlfriends so they got their own individual pork-shacks.
The problem with cruise ships is you can't bring your own booze. Luckily since The Shrine was playing on the ship so we got a daily rider and on that list was a handle of Jack Daniels and a handle of Jagermeister. Well equipped for the journey ahead, we set sail to the Bahamas. The schedule was pretty well planned; each band would play two sets, that way if we were too drunk or the seating was packed the first night, we could see them again later on the trip. With almost 30 live acts spread across 4 days this was the perfect setup.
The first day and night the boat sailed straight through to an island called Great Stirrup Cay. This place is owned by Norwegian Cruise line and is basically a party island. There are cabana bars everywhere and white sand beaches to hang out and swim. In the morning they had Heavy Metal Yoga on the beach, but we were too hungover and didn't awaken until noon. We got off the boat and ate some lunch then spent the rest of the day drinking ourselves into an alcoholic haze. The Dead Deads and Dark Before Dawn played on the bandstand at the beach while we chased after iguanas and stared at hermit crabs in the tidepools.
Back on the boat some highlights were Kyng, Corrosion of Conformity, Exodus and of course Slayer. Afterward we hit up the 24 hour food bar and fell asleep next to a beautiful sandwich. The boat travelled through the night to the island of Nassau. We actually got up early this time so we stepped off the boat into a downpour of rain.
Nassau is a pretty sketchy place, when we got past the security gate there were at least 20 people asking us if we wanted to rent cars, motorcycles, busses etc. One dude took a look at us and asked if we wanted "party favors." We tried a sniff of coke and it was horrible, he also wanted $150 for a gram so we walked away. We heard him yell "kiss my black ass you fucking whiteboys." What kinda place were we in? Eventually we found a guy with a small bus who offered to give us a tour of the island for 200 bucks. Since there were 19 of us, we wanted to stay together and this was the perfect solution. He drove us through the rich and poor parts of the island, took us to lunch at his favorite seafood place and stopped at the beach so we could swim for a bit. The shorebreak was easily twelve feet high and crashed into six inches of water, it was actually very dangerous so we only swam for half an hour. Since our phones were roaming and weren't connected to the internet, we had no idea we were about to get hit by Hurricane Joaquin. We got back on the ship at it immediately took off full speed. Over the PA the captain announced we were in for a bumpy ride as we were now trying to outrun the hurricane.
That night Anthrax, Huntress and Motorhead played amazing sets even though all the gear was sliding around everywhere. While we had trouble just standing on the boat while it vigorously rocked back and forth, Lemmy was playing bass, singing and rocking the fuck out of the crowd; pretty damn good for a guy who turns 70 this Christmas. The next day was the "Fun at Sea Day." Hatebreed, Others and Suicidal Tendencies rocked the deck stage while everyone was moshing in the swimming pool. There was a fat guy belly flop contest and a motorboat contest where complete strangers got to rub their faces between fake tits. That night Brian Posehn roasted all the bands and Joey Belladonna from Anthrax lead Live Band Karaoke.
The whole time we were shit-house drunk and no one cared, I assume because everyone else was completely annihilated as well. The best part of the trip, hands down, was the people. Everyone was so stoked to be on the boat and it's this positive energy that keeps heavy metal alive. While we all look like dudes who are gonna rape your dog, everyone of us has the sweetest, warmest heart. The age-old adage "never judge a book by its cover" couldn't be more true on Lemmy's Motorboat.