Bud's Weenie Roast
I was 19 when I attended my first Bud's Weenie Roast. Basically, it was an annual three-day party in the woods near the Columbia River in a rural part of Washington. There was nobody named "Bud," but there was a gentleman named John Heller who owned a significant amount of wooded property, on which the event was held.
The grounds included a stage and permanent benches in front of the stage, so "volunteer" live bands would play each year. Kegs and kegs of beer would be consumed, at one point an entire pig was always barbecued and devoured, and lots of people ate psychedelics, so the party went on pretty much around the clock.
I attended two of these parties during consecutive years. The first one was great. A musician friend of mine named Joel was the one who originally told me about Bud's, and offered a ride in his pickup with a camper. He was bringing along a friend of his named Tom also. Tom and I would share a tent I brought along, as Joel would be using his camper to lure in chicks.
That first year, everything went great. We took a lot of acid, drank a lot of beer, and listened to lots of music from a couple of bands who volunteered their services. I don't remember too many of the details about that first year at Bud's, although I do remember meeting lots of interesting people and having a firecracker go off in my hand at one point, scaring the shit out of those sitting nearby as well as myself. It hurt.
Joel met some cute little airhead chick and spent most of the time fucking her in his camper. Tom and I would thump on his window every time we walked by the pickup, affording Joel and his temporary girlfriend very little sleep.
I'm not sure how many people attended that first year, but I know we went through 39 kegs of beer!
But the second year is the one that I remember best, for a number of reasons.
We had been looking forward to Bud's Weenie Roast for a whole year. I told my friend Greg about it, and he would be going as well.
We were well prepared. I would be driving my Pontiac, and brought along my large tent. We had a little acid, lots of pot, and a big bag of sandwiches. As an aspiring sound man, I brought my mixing board and equalizers, volunteering my services to the band, which Joel was always a part of.
The most well-known musician at this event would be this wasted local guitar player, a guitarist friend of Joel's with very long, blonde, dirty hair, named Martin. Like Jimi Hendrix, he played a Fender Strat, liked feedback, and had a voracious appetite for drugs of every stripe, which often included heroin. Joel had a Gibson and played in several bands with Martin over the years.
Joel secretively told me in advance that this year, Martin had an old, fried Strat-copy guitar, that he would be burning in the bonfire during his performance. This was going to be great!
So, we were really looking forward to Bud's that year.
Greg and I drove up a day in advance, volunteering to help Heller prepare the site for the party.
We built a riser for the sound man (me) and his mixing board. Not far from the riser, with Heller's supervision, we built a high swingset with a special device on one end Heller had welded together. It was sort of like a teeter-totter, but all metal and maybe 20 feet long, with a place for a person's arms and legs on each end. The idea was for two people to get on it and swing back and forth, and eventually all the way around, turning one of them upside down on the way over. Or, a single person could get on it, start really swinging, and eventually spin himself clear over. Wee-ha!
There were maybe 6 of us there that first night, sitting around the campfire, all of us on acid and drinking beer. About midnight, Heller decided it would be a good idea to go bag a deer. I decided to stay behind, feeling my safety might be somewhat compromised by the combination of firearms, LSD, drunk people, and darkness.
So, Heller, Greg, and another guy took off in search of a deer. Damned if they didn't return about an hour later with a decent sized buck. Showing off in front of the campfire, Heller lifted the deer's rear legs and held its ass to his crotch, saying "I'm gonna get me some hoop!" to laughs all around. He later explained that "hoop" was a prison term for sex. That was the first inkling we had that John may have done some time in prison.
The next day was the official opening day of Bud's Weenie Roast, and an incredible number of people -- many more than the previous year -- poured into the campground. Word of last year's Roast must have really gotten around. Unfortunately, the huge crowd included a lot of bikers and dipshit high school students.
But no matter. We had more musicians than before, too, so there was music all night long.
But things could have been better. There was an acid shortage, and I bought some rather weak acid from some bikers before they ran out. I remember Martin, while performing onstage, at one point said, "If anyone has any acid, give it to the sound man." Bless him.
Later, Martin did his thing with the guitar, smashing it and tossing it into the bonfire to the delight of all.
One of the musicians at the Roast was a guy named Wally, a tall, long-haired fellow who played the flute.
It was the final night of the Roast, and I was still running sound late into the night when I heard a commotion behind me. As I turned to look, I was surprised to see that an ambulance had backed in maybe 20 feet behind me, and they were lifting some guy into the back.
It was Wally. He had been walking along in the dark, probably drunk, while someone was on the big teeter-swing alone. The opposite end of the device had nailed the unaware Wally right in the mouth, tearing off part of a lip and ripping up his gums. So poor Wally was off to the hospital, and we wondered if he would ever play the flute again.
Eventually, the night ended and everyone went to sleep in their tents and vehicles.
About 6:30 in the morning, a huge explosion in the distance woke everyone up. Now, people had been setting off M-80 firecrackers all weekend, but this was louder than any firecracker I'd ever heard. We wondered what it was, but it was six fucking thirty in the morning, fer chrissake, and we went back to sleep.
Later, Heller himself told us what happened. Always the early riser, John was up at six in the morning walking around his property when he discovered all three of his chain saws missing! He searched the area, and eventually found all three of them in the back of a Dodge pickup, apparently owned by one of our fellow partyers, parked near the edge of his property. After removing his chainsaws, he calmly bundled together seven sticks of dynamite, crawled under the pickup, placed the bundle on top of the transmission, lit it, and ran away. The explosion we heard that morning was the truck being blown to kingdom come.
On our way out, we (and everyone else) had to drive by the destroyed truck, and I took a picture. The entire truck was gutted, and the chassis was bent in a huge arch.
We never returned to Bud's Weenie Roast after that.
WALLY eventually healed and was still able to play the flute.