Bad Chopper was touring in South America in August, 2008. See details of the tour here.

Bad Chopper line-up at this tour was:
CJ Ramone: vocals and bass
Brian Costanza: guitar
John Evicci: drums

This story is written by John Evicci and you can find this with lot more photos and some videos etc. from this location from Bad Chopper site. I wanted this to be archived also on my site and John Evicci gave permission for that.
Btw, check out also other stories of John Evicci's trips here.

John Evicci's story of tour begin:
This is a tour journal I kept on the road during Bad Chopper's tour of South America in August of 2008. A special thank you to all the people who made this trip possible and helped us out along the way: Mariano Asch, Caca Prates, Vera Kikuti, Marcio Faveri, Mariano Perez, plus all the local show promoters in each city. Also, thanks to all the fans who sent in their pictures and uploaded their videos.

We landed in Sao Paulo yesterday morning from an overnight flight from New York. I am chronically unable to sleep on planes so I picked up a bottle of rum in the airport to help me doze off. Ended up finishing off the whole thing and crashed out for a few hours, but paid for it the next day. Marcio and Vera brought us to our hotel where we had a few hours to relax before the day's activities were to start. CJ had an interview with Show Livre, then we went to rehearse one last time at a local studio, then CJ did another interview. We capped the night off with an excellent dinner at a churrascaria (Brazilian barbecue restaurant) where literally a parade of meat is constantly brought around you and is sliced off the skewer for each individual as they want it. It was all fabulous. The caipirinhas (Brazil's national cocktail, made with cachaca sugar, and lime) were good as well.
We've been having the craziest weather back home this summer. Gargantuan thunderstorms nearly every day with deluges and violent thunder and lightening. Even a couple of tornadoes, which are virtually unheard of in our region of the country. Yesterday we had a similar thunderstorm here, but Vera tells us that they've had no rain for like the past month-and-a-half. It's now raining again today. It appears we've brought the crazy weather with us. Well, first gig of the tour tonight. It's 8/8/08. CJ says 888 is a lucky number. Hope he's right. We fucking need some good luck after the ordeal that preceded our departure (don't ask). Hope the show goes well tonight. We didn't even get to do the set twice at rehearsal like I hoped we would. Still, we sound OK. We'll see.

Yesterday was a long day. We did an autograph signing session at the London Calling record store, which seemed more heavily attended than I remember it being when we did the same thing there back in 2001. Good to know the Ramones' beloved status hasn't waned here. From there we went straight to the gig at O Kazebre, a really cool outdoor venue way out on the outskirts of Sao Paulo. Kazebre means something like "log cabin" and, true to its name, the place is all constructed of wooden logs. One gets the feeling they're in Wyoming or Montana instead of Brazil. Very, very cool venue with two stages, a full kitchen, food & drink vendors, and some other stuff I didn't even really have the time to investigate. Great sound system and backline too. Just a fucking fantastic venue.
Attendance, unfortunately, more than likely suffered due to the fact that it pretty much rained all day. We suffered due to the fact that there were 7 bands on the bill and the show didn't get started until 23:00! We didn't start our set until 3:00! It was a long fucking night. MTV did a quick interview with us backstage. From what I could tell we played quite well. I couldn't hear CJ & Brian all that well, but it sounded good from where I was. I have no idea what the crowd was really like due to my usual focusing on my task and also due to some pretty heavy fog machine action. We did one encore and got through our whole basic set. All in all, a very satisfactory first show and start to the tour.
We didn't get back to the hotel until about 6:00 and we had to get up at 9:00 to be here at the airport for our flight to our next show in Cascavel. I've heard horror stories about these small internal South American flights and I'm not all that gallant about flying even on big commercial flights. I was really shocked to learn upon arrival that we're flying between pretty much every show, from what I can tell. Guess I'll either get used to it or go home with a hole in my stomach.

Yesterday's flight was no problem. It wasn't on some little puddle jumper like I expected. It was a regular plane. We flew into Foz Do Iguacu on the tri-border with Argentina and Paraguay. It's the location of what I understand to be some pretty spectacular waterfalls. Much to my disappointment, we didn't have time to visit it, though. The gig was in Cascavel, a good two-hour drive northeast. We were all expecting it to be a small town in the middle of nowhere. It turned out to be a really cool, respectable-sized city in the middle of nowhere. We unloaded our shit at the hotel and then went to do another autograph signing at a local record store then went and did sound check at the venue. Amazingly, we sold the last of the vinyl LPs we brought with us at the signing. It's a shame we didn't have the ability to bring lots more with us.
The venue, Master Music Hall is a smallish, blocky concrete room. Looks very much like an auto garage turned into a rock club. The gig was pretty good. Not quite as good as O Kazebre, but not bad either. We got back pretty late again even though there was only one opening band that night. Got up, drove back to Foz Do Iguacu, and flew straight here to Curitiba. We leave for the club in about a half hour. So far so good.

Last night's gig in Curitiba was fucking intense. Not a lot of people, but overflowing with enthusiasm. The show started relatively early so by the time we flew into town there was no time for us to sound check. Luckily the sound onstage came together with no problem. In fact, it was better than the previous two nights. We played really well and the crowd was super into it, which really bolstered our spirits. During the final song, R.A.M.O.N.E.S., people rushed on stage and chaos ensued. The guitar and bass were alternately cut off and the crowd of course took over the vocals. Amazingly, my drums remained undisturbed so I was able to maintain at least a semblance of the song throughout. It was an incendiary ending to a great show.
So, we flew into Porto Alegre today around 14:00. Checked into the hotel then did a round of press. First a radio interview, then a newspaper interview, then two TV shows. Pretty exciting. I was expecting it to be kinda cold here as it was on the cool side yesterday and this is further south, but the weather here is absolutely fucking gorgeous. After the crappy weather we got during our first two days here, I was afraid it would plague us, but that doesn't seem to be the case. The promoters are expecting a much better turnout here (in numbers, that is) than last night. Like I told someone last night, though, it's quality, not quantity that matters. If we could have a tour full of Curitiba's that would be a fine thing indeed.

Phew, I have a lot of catching up to do. Amazing how little free time I have to write, or do anything for that matter. OK, so, on our night off in Porto Alegre we went out to a rock club just to have something to do. There was a very respectable turnout for a Monday night. At the end of the night, after all the bands had played, CJ & I jumped up on stage to play a few songs with some local musicians (Brian, or should I say Gus, had retired earlier in the evening). It was a good time for a Monday night off.
The show the following night in Porto Alegre was OK. We didn't get quite the expected turnout, but no one's complaining. Hoping to recapture the Curitiba experience, CJ invited people onstage at the end of the set for R.A.M.O.N.E.S. It got a bit out of hand. There had to be like 25-30 people up there. It was a clusterfuck. This was our last show in Brazil and we wanted to celebrate. Backstage we found this old bottle of Jagermeister and knocked it off. Between that and all the rest of the beer and wine and whatnot, we all got totally fucking trashed and ended the night hanging out in CJ & Gene's room.
The next day we bid fond adieu to Vera & Caca at the airport. Our plane was late so we got to enjoy an extended goodbye. We got into Buenos Aires around 14:00. There was a ton of press scheduled for the remainder of the day, like 9 interviews or some crazy shit. Thankfully, CJ said we didn't need to do it if we wanted to hang back and get to bed early, which we definitely did. There's no point in us being there anyway. So Brian and I went out to eat and get some drumsticks (people keep stealing them from me) and walk a bit around the city before turning in early for the night to try and finally get a solid night's rest. Our room here at Hotel Napoleon was not very good. It was positively tiny, the door to the bathroom didn't close and the temperature was controlled by the front desk. Probably the worst hotel room I've ever stayed in up to that point. I was up the whole fucking night. Not because of the room, but because of other factors. It was hell. Absolutely miserable. Amazing you can be that tired and still not be able to sleep.
The following morning we had to get up super early to catch our flight to Chile. I was bummed to find a heavy overcast sky and fog when we landed. Couldn't see hardly any of the amazing scenery. Not that it would've done us much good if the weather had been clear. Couldn't see shit from the van and I asked the guys in charge three times if we could stop somewhere just for a few seconds to see something and maybe get a picture or two of the incredible Andes mountains. "Oh yeah, OK," they kept saying, but they never did. Humorously, we stayed at Hotel Bonaparte, but aside from the name, it couldn't have been more different than Hotel Napoleon. Where Napoleon was possibly the worst hotel I had stayed in, this was probably the best. This place was fucking paradise. We had separate, very spacious rooms. Everyone there looked like a model. I felt like I was in a real life Benson & Hedges advertisement. The show was at this place called Rockola, which had a ridiculously high stage. The crowd was relatively small but they made up for it with their enthusiasm. All in all, a very good show.
We had to get up really early again the following day to fly to Uruguay. Customs nabbed us at the airport when we landed and found our tour shirts. Despite the local promoter insuring us that this wouldn't be a problem, it was. Fortunately, however, they let us go after confiscating a few shirts and CDs as booty, thus avoiding a lengthy delay and hefty fines. We're now in Montevideo, Uruguay. Just got back from soundcheck and a meet-and-greet/autograph signing at a music store.
We're staying at this old hotel from the '30s called Hotel Los Angeles. More like Hotel California. We've checked in, but I'm not sure we'll check out. This place is creepy as all fuck! It's not at all an exaggeration to say that this place is straight out of a nightmare. Everything's dingy, old, musty, and ornate in that creepy turn-of-the-century way. The ceilings are like 5 feet too high, painted black, and the smell of death permeates everywhere. The furniture, the paintings on the walls, the paint itself even, all emanate this subtle but overwhelming effect of dreadful horror.
To make it even worse, the hallways are not constantly lit. The lights are on motion sensors, so when you emerge from your room, the hallway is dark. Then, as you proceed, the individual pale, yellowish lights click on briefly before quickly shutting off again. Our rooms are at the far end of a series of these incomprehensibly-arranged hallways. (Seriously, this place must have been designed by a madman.) This is the quintessential place where you expect to see some kind of fucking apparition as you turn a corner. And it's not just me who feels this way. CJ and Brian are also creeped out. The 6 floors are serviced by this cramped little elevator that runs up a caged shaft. Right before it comes to a halt it makes this sort of extended howling sound that sounds like some kind of fucking evil spirit. Random pool-shaped stains darken the already dark carpets. CJ even noticed a small patch of dark red spots on the front of our wardrobe that looked like blood spatter.
We were all laughing our asses off at all of this when we first showed up, but this is absolutely a bone-chillingly creepy fucking place. I can't imagine that these rooms have not borne witness to scores of murders and suicides over their near-80-year existence. There's so much malevolent energy oozing out of every facet of this place it's not even funny. If we don't get pretty lit up tonight I don't think it's possible we could get any sleep. And I shit you not about this, and this is possibly the creepiest thing of all... I had made this Hotel California reference to Brian as I was leaving our room to come down here to write in the reception area (he's watching TV so I figured I'd be able to concentrate better down here). There was a radio playing nearby and I shit you not, as soon as I sat down a snippet of Hotel California came on. Not the whole song. They must've used just a bit of it in some kind of commercial or promotional thing, but it came on just as I sat down to write. My blood ran cold. I moved shortly after to this private conference room to get away from the noise in the reception area. Maaan...
Anyway, we're going to eat in a half hour. Hopefully the show goes well tonight. Who knows what to expect from fucking Uruguay? As long as we make it out of this hotel with our lives and our sanity I'll be happy.

Last night's show in Montevideo was at this huge venue called Compeljo Troya. The show was well-attended and we played well from what I could tell. The crowd was a bit weird, though. At times they seemed really into it, and at other times, key times, they just dropped the ball, like they were either confused or lacking an attention span. Mariano Perez, who filmed the Do It To Me video, met us there and started filming us. He's gonna be with us for the remainder of the tour. During the middle of our set, while he was up front filming us, someone in the crowd pissed on the poor guy's leg! Fucking unbelievable. Talking with Mariano (Asch, the tour manager), he told me he's been pissed on by drunk audience members several times, including once on the head! I was speechless. I've never heard of such a thing.
Got back to the horror hotel around 3:00. I pounded some whiskey, augmenting my night's existing alcohol intake in order to insure a sound rest amidst the disquieting surroundings. Got up around 6:00 against every fiber of my being, took the van to the bus station, took a bus to Colonia, now we're on the ferry from Colonia to Buenos Aires. The remaining 5 shows of the tour are all in Argentina. Tonight's show is going to be recorded for a possible DVD release. I hope we play well. That shit always makes me nervous and distracted.

Got into Buenos Aires, checked back into the beautiful, non-creepy Hotel Napoleon, then went to get a replacement bass case for CJ after his got busted up in Uruguay. After sound check Brian and I took a cab back to the hotel while CJ hung back at the venue to sign autographs and shit. Our cab driver took the long way in an attempt to avoid non-existent traffic so, ironically, CJ & company actually ended up getting back to the hotel before us.
By this time, around 17:00, I hadn't eaten anything all day except a bag of Cheetos. I was fucking starving and I was becoming extremely agitated with how long and protracted every move we were making took. We eventually went out to eat but by the time we did that and had a shower we only had maybe a half hour before we had to be on our way back to the venue for our early set time of 21:30. We were all running on fumes at that point, having hardly gotten any rest for days. Not a good way to enter in to the biggest, most important show of the tour and the only one that's going to be fully documented.
The turnout was really fucking good. Like 2-3 times more than the last time we played here and at a much, much nicer venue. Needless to say, I was pretty fucking nervous. Much to my relief, aside from a few minor flubs, and an extremely narrowly-avoided total fuckup of Main Man, I played fine. Thank god. We even added 1965 & Neat Neat Neat back into the set, which I was happy about (they were cut from the set earlier in the tour).
After our set, CJ went onstage with some people from the opening bands and did a handful of Ramones songs (he also did this in Montevideo). After the last song, he surprised everyone by diving over the barrier and into the crowd. He was quickly pulled down and swallowed by the writhing mass of people. As I was standing on the edge of the stage watching all this, a few people in the crowd noticed me and pleaded with me for my drumsticks, twisting their arms out to me with fanatical urgency. I couldn't imagine what it was like in that mob for CJ. I don't think he remembers it himself that clearly, but he said he was pulled to the floor and that people were actually standing on him at one point. He saw spots and was probably close to blacking out. Amazingly, the security staff didn't fucking do shit. Gene had to jump in there and extract him himself! Brian noticed security's inaction and also assisted. Unbelievable. Luckily he got out OK. I was imagining people getting trampled, injured, possibly killed. Again, if they were so ravenous for my sticks, I couldn't imagine what they were doing to him. He was a bit banged up but came out relatively unscathed. Incredibly, his shirt wasn't even fully ripped off.
Backstage was the usual crowded mass of fans getting autographs and pictures with Brian and I trying not to get in the way. At the in-store in Montevideo, as Brian and I were sitting on either side of CJ as he received his usual parade of fans, Brian observed that we were like his elves and should be handing out candy canes to the fans after they got their autographs. Too fucking funny, but so true. After the chaos backstage they whisked us straight into "La Cueva" and took us back to the hotel. What a fucking night.
We're driving around in this guy Adrian's chopped-up, tricked-out boogie van (which we took to calling La Cueva due to its windshield decals). As we were driving to sound check, we heard this weird noise and smelled something burning. The thing broke down just as we were turning onto the street of the club and literally coasted up to within a few feet of where we were to load in. Today we're driving to Rosario, which is like a 4-5 hour drive. The thing just broke down again. Alternator belt or something. There are 9 of us in here, plus all our luggage and gear and shit. All I can think of is us blowing a tire and crashing. That would be almost certain death in this beast. For some reason I'm uneasy in here now. We're also supposed to take this on another long drive tomorrow to Cordoba. At this point I'm hoping it breaks down for good and we can ride in a proper van, or hell, even cars. Anyway, I'm relieved the Buenos Aires show is out of the way and I played well. That's a big load off my mind. From here on it's low pressure.

Last night's show in Rosario was really good. Smallish club, but the place was packed and into it. After Buenos Aires this was our biggest show. We did 3 encores, one more than usual, which required us to pull out the heretofore unplayed "I Just Want To Have Something To Do". After the usual parade of fans backstage we went back to the hotel. CJ & Brian went straight to bed. I went out with some of the guys, determined to get some fucking action. At the moment we're driving to Cordoba. I got to sit up front and actually use my PDA, which is nothing short of a miracle.

Well, the ol' Cueva didn't make it to Cordoba. First the water pump went, but they were able to jerry rig that. Then the alternator cooling fan blades sheared in half as we were cruising down the highway. Half of it we heard bounce off something and go flying down the road. The other half was shot straight into the floor of the front seat between Gene's feet. It made it about a third of the way through the floor. If it had some more velocity it very well could've shot up through there and killed him!
We had a good couple hours before another ride could be arranged. Fortunately the weather was beautiful and we killed time by playing target practice with rocks and trash, sharpened-stick-throwing, and just general foolishness. We amused ourselves and had a good time on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, but unfortunately this killed any chance we had of going to the nearby Che Guevara museum and/or getting any rest. By the time we got to Cordoba I was feeling the affects of the previous night's excursion, plus the hours standing around in the hot roadside sun. I was fucking exhausted. We weren't to go on until around 1:00, but as usual, by the time we soundchecked, checked into the hotel, got some dinner, and had a shower, I ended up having only like 30 minutes to lay down and relax. It's incredible how every free moment seems to somehow get eaten up. Seems our only time to relax is when we're flying or driving somewhere, which is the only time I can find to write, so I get virtually no rest. CJ, Brian, and Gene all got massages at the hotel before the show.
After getting a precious few moments to lie down and close my eyes, we're picked up by a couple taxis and whisked to the venue where we pretty much go right on. Between equipment problems, a bad sound, and, according to CJ, a lousy audience reaction, he decides to skip all but four Bad Chopper songs to try to, as he said, get the agony over with as soon as possible. We do one encore before sequestering ourselves downstairs. The rest of the night is relatively uneventful. Definitely the worst show of the tour so far. Today there's no show, just travel. We flew back to Buenos Aires this morning, went out for a really great lunch during the layover, now we're flying to Neuquen. When we land there at around 18:00 we have a 5-hour drive to Bariloche, our southernmost show, deep in the heart of Patagonia. We'll be lucky to arrive before midnight. Heck of a day off, eh? Well, at least we'll have all day before the show tomorrow to see something of Bariloche, which everyone says is really beautiful. Now to get a little rest before touching down in Neuquen.

We got into Neuquen to find not only our ride late, but the van that was supposed to take us to Bariloche was mysteriously absent (still don't know why). So, three vehicles were arranged to cart us and our luggage down here. We got here around midnight. The third vehicle (with the remainder of our luggage) arrived at some ungodly hour in the morning. The ride down here was a white knuckle death ride. We're all in a rush, sure, and we certainly appreciated getting here as early as possible, but it wouldn't do us much good if we arrived dead. Guy was driving way too fast down these narrow, winding, dark, sometimes wet mountain roads, often taking turns in the oncoming lane. Needless to say, I couldn't relax and it was a long ass drive. 5 hours. I got a sense, though, that we were entering a very interesting region, concealed at the moment in a cloak of darkness. Out of that 5 hour drive, about 95% of it seemed completely wild with not a hint of human habitation. At one point on such a stretch, Mariano Perez drew my attention to the stars above. I've never seen the like before, both in quantity and clarity. Even from within the car it was amazing. I can't imagine what it must look like if you were laying down out there in complete darkness, eyes fully adjusted to the night. I of course had heard that the stars are much more profuse in the southern hemisphere due to it's orientation towards the galactic center, but I was still shocked.
Anyway, we get here around midnight. As with every time we stay at a really nice hotel (Porto Alegre, Santiago, Cordoba) the following night's hotel is on the opposite end of the spectrum (Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Bariloche). Rooms are tiny here, the bathroom door doesn't close, and the room is uncomfortably hot even with the heat turned off and the window open, almost exactly like the hotel in Buenos Aires, except this is a little worse. I didn't make the same mistake I made that first night in Buenos Aires. I got a double shot of whisky at the bar to insure sleep. Worked like a charm. Got up early, albeit with difficulty, this morning, got breakfast, and even got my writing done before anyone else is even up.

Made the most of our free time yesterday. I got up early and walked around the city for a couple hours before the other guys got up. Walked down by the lake and down the main shopping street. This is a very, very cool city. Very touristy, but cool nonetheless. When I went back to the hotel I was given the message that we've moved to the next hotel over: the much, much nicer Panamericano. So, I gladly hoofed my shit over there.
We then went to the club for a radio/TV interview. We sat on the stage of the club with a translator and people in the audience asked questions. We then walked around town as a group, then headed back to the venue for a fantastic lunch of lamb. Some of us then went on a trip up to a mountain top called Cerro Otto. We rode gondolas up to this rotating café at the top of the mountain. The views up there were spectacular and the slowly-rotating cafe was sublime.
Came back to the hotel, made a quick call home, went to soundcheck, came back here, took a shower, back to the club, had dinner, then played. Brian and I were both expecting the show to suck. We got a sense that the crowd was thin and unexcited. We couldn't have been more wrong. The place was packed and they went fucking nuts. Still not quite as good as Curitiba, but damn close. I was totally and pleasantly shocked. We played well and got a really good response.
Partied pretty late into the night back at the hotel. This morning CJ rented a dirtbike and drove around some nearby trails. He just got back and we have to leave soon. Got a long drive back to Neuquen and hopefully we can stop at a place or two on the way for some sightseeing. I don't think anyone's expecting much out of Neuquen. It's our last show, though, so we should just tear it up no matter what.

The ride back to Neuquen was interminable, made not only tolerable, but a highlight of the entire tour due to the unbelievable scenery and a detour to Traful, an enormous lake nestled in some incredibly beautiful surroundings with a nice little village to serve travelers and campers. We had lunch there, and even though the wait was ridiculous, it was worth it to linger there for a while longer. I had suspected the landscape we traversed the other night in darkness was something special, but I did not expect it to be as mind-blowing as it was. I felt like I was in Iceland because every corner we turned, every angle you looked at any given scene from, was picture worthy. Unlike on the ride down where we were crammed into cars, for the ride back Mariano arranged a minibus and it was incredibly spacious. I had the front seat all to myself and the large windows provided the perfect vantage point from which to take pictures. And I did. Lots of them. I must've looked like a lunatic up there snapping pictures every 5 seconds, but I couldn't help it. Everything was just incredible-looking.
So, we got into Neuquen really late, around 22:30. We didn't even have time to take showers or anything. Just checked into the hotel and went straight to the gig which wasn't at a club, but rather some type of building I couldn't classify. They had a big room with a stage, and a kitchen backstage with a huge brick oven, but also other rooms that reminded me of a school or something. I don't know. It may have been some kind of public hall or something. Anyway, we get there and pretty much get to business setting up. No soundcheck as the place was already packed. We had to just get up and play.
As with Bariloche, I wasn't expecting much from this town that I knew absolutely nothing about and that seemed obscure at best, but when I heard them going wild before the show, I knew it was gonna be another good one. We played well and the crowd was great. Maybe not quite as good as Bariloche, but almost. Certainly a satisfactory ending to the tour. Backstage, CJ held court with his usual throng of fans. There was no end-of-tour celebration. No big party or anything. Just went back and went to bed. Kinda disappointing.
We flew back to Buenos Aires this morning where CJ & Brian are flying home from tonight. I'm staying an extra 5 days and taking a trip down south to do some sightseeing in El Calafate and Ushuaia (the southernmost city in the world). There were no long, lingering goodbyes. Just a pat on the back, good luck & bon voyages. Mariano took my two checked bags and I took my carry-ons and now I'm on my own. My flight to El Calafate leaves in about an hour. I have nothing arranged down there. Going totally blind and without reservations anywhere. I was planning on staying at the cheapest place possible, but now I think I might spring for at least something above a hostel. Couldn't shower since Bariloche, and I got totally fucked out of getting my laundry done. Hopefully everything works out down south.

This story is written by John Evicci and you can find this with lot more photos and some videos etc. from this location from Bad Chopper site. I wanted this to be archived also on my site and John Evicci gave permission for that.
Btw, check out also other stories of John Evicci's trips here.

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