Load Trip

Four angry young drunks drive to the top of the local rock heap

So instead they pile into their 1981 Chevy van and hit the road. In the next month -- from tonight (September 15) till October 16 -- they'll play 28 shows. Their next day off isn't until September 28, set aside so they can drive from Richmond, Virginia, to Knoxville, Tennessee, where they'll headline the No Cheez Music and WUTK New Rock 90 Night at the Mercury Theatre. The trip will take them as far north as Ohio and back west to New Orleans.

Many believe that one shortcoming of Miami's booming local rock scene is that the bands never travel. Road trips make the group members closer, the challenges build character, new audiences are reached. Take the bevy of skinheads at a house party in Birmingham, Alabama. Fausto, Load's drummer, recalls it as a riot, but Tony scales it down to "a huge fight. One skinhead had this long-haired guy on the ground and he was holding the guy's hair and pounding his head into the cement. Bobby, who had sliced his head open when he fell into the drums and hit his head on a cymbal, walked over to the window, looked out at all those people, and started saying, 'Hi! Hi, Hitler! Hi!'"

I ask Fausto why Load hasn't appeared on The Buzz, the entertainment segment on WSVN-TV's news show. "Laurie Hibberd won't get near us," Fausto says. "We'd rape her." Bobby swivels his head and says, "I really like that band the Didjits."

When Load formed two years ago, punk was at a low ebb, but the art form has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity. That has, of course, carried over to Load, who have become one of South Florida's most popular bands despite themselves. What's remarkable is that they haven't changed their approach one bit. They watch a lot of television. (A new song, "Cannon Procedure," addresses the way fat TV detective William Conrad was able to karate chop bad guys with the greatest of ease.) "We want to be geniuses," says Fausto.

I'm keeping an eye on Bobby, who's babbling about either Jerry Lewis or Jerry Lee Lewis with his bandmates, when Jeff jumps up and announces, "I have to piss." He stands up and walks out the front door of Ted's Hideaway. "He has a problem with bathrooms. He never pisses in bathrooms," Tony explains. "Not even in his own house," adds Fausto. Bobby spins toward us, "Why is Jeff pissed?"

Some time passes. No Jeff in sight. One of the band members tells me I have to look outside. I crack the front door and there's Jeff with the heavyset Camel smoker, staring at the engine of the guy's hot-rod truck.

One of the Loadsters says that when the band practices (at which point Bobby interjects, "We practice? When?") Bobby spends the entire time watching Batman -- the cartoon version. "I really like that band Gang Green," Bobby mentions. We talk about how Gang Green was famous for its members' affection for Budweiser. Fausto says, perhaps seriously, that Load is seeking corporate sponsorship from Old Milwaukee.

Soon we're sitting in an alley talking about AIDS. "Our parents," says Tony, "fucked everybody. So now we can't."

Bobby, who began the day with a beer at 10:00 a.m., says, "I really love that band Forget the Name." One of the musicians has retrieved a stack of plastic buckets to sit on. When he stands to stretch, Bobby kicks the buckets over and begins shouting indecipherable epithets at us. Fausto says that Bobby's dad recently turned 65, and Bobby burps another curse. "Yeah, well, you're old man is cooler than you are," Fausto tells the singer.

And then I find out that Bobby sent his old man a birthday card.
Load performs at 11:00 tonight (Wednesday) at Squeeze, 2 S New River Dr., Ft. Lauderdale, 522-2151. Admission costs $5 and $7.

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