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In the beginning

“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”

— Charles Bukowski (Factotum)


It was the summer of 2000 that I realized this thing was getting too big. MK ULTRA, Alex Zander and my life as I knew it was once and for all over. In 1994 I set out to kill the person that I was born, and after 30 years of broken dreams, gallant attempts and being stifled by a socially retarded society in the region where I was raised and those experiences now long behind me, I had willingly succeeded in committing symbolic suicide.

August 31, 2000 started out just like any other day. I drove my laundry over to a laundromat around 9 AM, and more than likely due to anticipation of my good friend and fellow road warrior Mike Blackley driving up to Chicago from Indianapolis for a concert later that evening, I locked my keys inside the car. So as my clothes were being washed I naturally panicked, “how the hell am I going to get into my car?” Mike was set to arrive around 1 PM and Slash’s van (I was working the Chicago Street team for Slash’s Snakepit release and tour) was going to pick us up around 3 PM. And around 3 PM in the afternoon is NOT a good idea when driving from the inner city out to Tinley Park where the venue was, which I had attempted to explain that in advance Eddie who was the mastermind of the Slash Tour at the time. So, in my panic and desperation I decided to go in through the sunroof of my car.

A few hours later we’re in this van that has Slash’s face displayed over the thing, one of those types of vans where the image can cover the back and side windows with the passengers being able to still see outside, much like many city busses. Inside were the crew, a bottle of Jack Daniels and Mike and I had a cooler full of Coors Light. We were stuck in traffic for hours, and forced to urinate outside at the side of the road in broad daylight, when we needed to. By the time we had arrived at the Tweeter Center where Slash was opening for AC/DC on the Stiff Upper Lip Tour everyone was well on their way to being a tad bit intoxicated.

After Slash’s set ended we were all hanging in the backstage dressing room with the band and crew. One needs to keep in mind that a backstage at these large outdoor amphitheaters is not what they are, at your typical concert hall, auditorium, theatre or arena. There are masses of tractor trailers and tour busses which are not in sight of the audience and the backstage is actually underneath the stage, the rooms there are quite luxurious. No graffiti or semen stained sofas and there isn’t trash on the floor or within its halls; they are very clean, tidy and nicely catered. Of course there is always lots of booze and groupies about.

It was getting close to time for AC/DC to perform so we wanted to take our places in the pavilion, but there was one dilemma, we were lost in the cavern of tunnels and stairs underneath the stage. As cliché as this is going to seem, it was not unlike that scene in Spinal Tap where the band cannot find their way onstage. As a matter of fact, it was exactly like that, only here we were, a couple of boozy media fellas, wandering around and following the sound of organ music and screams of the audience.

Somehow we found our way to a stairwell and followed it up and found ourselves on AC/DC’s stage below a huge statue of Angus Young which had smoke coming out of its nostrils and a big cannon right out by the drum riser. The stage was covered in fog and all I could think was, “oh shit, we’re going to get arrested.” As I began to make a beeline for the front of the stage Mike says to me, “I’m going to go and touch the cannon.” What can I say, that’s Mike, and he did just that. I waited for a few seconds for him to get back over to me and we ran out and jumped off the front of the stage into the photo pit, just as huge explosions went off onstage behind us and the sound of deafening guitars practically blew us onto the ground.

Thus had landed exactly where we stayed for the remainder of the show.

It was that hot August night when it came to me, this thing I had conceived, not 6 years earlier was getting too big for me. Too big for the people in my life, as well as my soon to be ex girlfriend Heather especially, and this thing was very much getting out of control. In retrospect that is exactly what I had dreamed would happen, but at the time I kicked it into gear, it was a dream that had seemed out of reach. Out of control was part of the job description was in not? Wine, Women and Song.

That far away teenage dream had become my day to day life.

My name is Alex Zander, I am the Concierge to the International Sin Set.

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