ATCGW: The Nightmare


Anything That Can Go Wrong: The Nightmare (660 words)

Adam was startled when he woke up. That’s not to say he was startled awake. There weren’t any loud sounds or feral cats that caused him to jolt from his slumber. He was startled by what his eyes saw when he opened them.

For the past several months the unemployed 31-year old had woken in the unfinished basement of his mother’s house. Usually it was after a period of sleeping for anywhere from 9-10 hours. Sometimes he would masturbate and then get another hour in, but he was never woken by noises or the sun that barely filtered through the dirty basement windows.

Today it was the sun that had woken him. Instead of laying on a dirty beaten up futon under a stained comforter he awoke on a gorgeous king size bed with beautiful 300 count thread Egyptian cotton sheets. He checked his crotch only to discover that he had wet himself during the night. Well, at least that part was the same as every other day.

He tried to remember what he had done last night. It had been New Year’s Eve if he remembered correctly (which he probably didn’t). And he had rang in the new year in his local gentlemen’s club. Well, it wasn’t really a gentlemen’s club. Nudie bar was a more appropriate title. 

But how did he get from there to here? He got out of bed to remove his soiled boxers and walked to the picture windows in the nude. He was greeted by a wonderful view of snow capped mountains. He wasn’t in Ohio anymore, that was for sure. There weren’t any mountains in Ohio and snow rarely fell until mid January. You could say what you wanted about the state, but when it came to climate change they were benefitting.

He tried to think. Did he make it home from the nudie bar? Had he died in a car accident and gone to heaven? No. That didn’t make sense. It was more probably that one of the dancers was an eccentric millionaire who had whisked him away to the Canadian Rockies in the night. Not much more probable, but still more probable.

As he walked to the hallway he remembered making it home and falling down the basement stairs. He could feel the aches in his hungover body and see the bruise on his hip. But he remembered crawling to the DVD player and putting in Cheer Squad Sleepovers 4. He remembered making his New Year’s wish right before he passed out.

That was it! His New Year’s wish must have finally come true! As he passed the platinum album lining the hallway he knew that must be it. His wish to be a rich and famous rock star had finally come true!

He was excited now but he couldn’t make out the writing on the platinum albums. He couldn’t tell if it was his band that had finally busted out of the garage and gone on to superstardom or if he had been transferred into the body of another rock star. He hoped it was the former as he couldn’t play covers.

First things first though. He would go to the bathroom and wash the glitter and urine from his body, then he would explore his mansion. He would lounge on the 83-foot sofa and drink the finest Kentucky bourbons. He would call up a porn star to come visit him. He would grab a guitar in the home studio and rock until he couldn’t walk.

But first, he needed to shower. And when he walked into the bathroom he realized that his dream had not come true. He must have woken into a nightmare. When he looked into the mirror he recognized the shoulder-length blond hair and goatee immediately. He had gotten his wish for rock stardom, but at what cost?

He opened his mouth to scream and the reflection of Chad Kroeger screamed with him in the mirror.





going-nowhere-fasterThe Frustration

It’s been four months since Ockym’s Razyr reformed and the wheels have been spinning and spinning without gaining any traction.

Ever since bassist Matt Vance returned from his stint in rehab the boys have been getting together every week, but not accomplishing much.

“We need to get some gigs,” one will say.

“No, we need to get the songs polished before we play out,” another says.

“Why don’t we just write some new stuff?” comes out occasionally.

This has been going on nonstop for FOUR MONTHS. So far they’ve brushed up on several of their old songs and polished off many cases of beer, but they haven’t set any new goal.

“I’m just not really sure where all of this is going,” guitarist Eric Shawn says. He’s the new guy in the band and most of the time he’s spent with these guys has been downtime.

“I’d really like to get out and do some gigs,” drummer Josh Randall says. “Let’s get out there and rock. It’ll be a great way to get back in the game.”

“True,” Matt Vance says. His sobriety fell away shortly after the band regrouped and he’s now chugging beers like there’s no tomorrow.

going-nowhere-fast-gary-kaemmer“I just think we could use a little more work on the songs,” says singer Adam Gillis. “I’d like for them to be really tight before we go out and share them again.”

“That’s a good point, too,” Matt says.

“I’d like to write a few more tunes,” Eric says. “I’ve been with you guys for close to two years and I don’t have any songwriting credits at all.”

“He’s making sense,” Matt grabs another beer.

“What do you think, Hal?”

Guitarist Hal Levatine has been noodling since practice started. He’s the only one who seems committed to his instrument. He just shrugs and says, “I’m down for whatever.”

“You know what we could do?” Josh says. “We could set up at Front Street Tavern. They haven’t been having bands there.”

“Yeah, that’s a great idea.”

“What? Like we just take our instruments there and practice there?” Adam asks.

“Yeah, they don’t have any bands there anymore so we could just be like the house band.”

road to nowhere“I don’t think they want bands there any more,” Adam says. “I’m pretty sure that’s why they haven’t been having bands play. I’m guessing they were sick of all the fights and are looking into a more mellow atmosphere.”

The group gives him a blank stare.

“Well, we could still look into it,” Josh says.

“Sure, go ahead.”

“So what do we do now?” Eric asks. He looks to Adam. Adam looks to Josh. Josh looks at Matt. Matt chugs his beer. Hal practices sweep picking.

“I guess we should play a song.”


More idiocy from Ockym’s Razyr

Part 15 The Post Treatment Interview 8/3/2015

Part 14 The Intervention 7/3/2015

Part 11 The Christmas Party 28/12/2013

Part 3 The Road Trip 5/1/2013

Part 2 The Jam Room 23/4/2013


Interview RecorderThe Post Treatment Interview

Now that things have settled down in the Ockym’s Razyr camp and everything is getting back to normal, I thought it was time to sit down for a one-on-one chat with the man of the hour: bassist Matt Vance.

The Audible Stew: So the last time I saw you was as you were leaving the intervention. Did you head straight up to rehab from there?

Matt Vance: No. Actually, I left the intervention in a blind rage and went out and got drunk.

AS: Really? They just let you leave?

MV: No, I had to sneak out a window. But then I went to the bar and got hammered. Just falling down, pissing-on-myself drunk. Then I ran into a mailbox… or was it a telephone pole? I think I ran over a mailbox and then a telephone pole.

AS: Wow. So was that what convinced you to enter treatment?

MV: Actually it was the judge that convinced me to enter treatment. When your choice is a year in jail or two months in treatment it’s pretty much a no brainer. Plus, my dad had already paid for rehab.

AS: You were only sentenced to two months up there? But you stayed for about a year.

MV: Yeah, things were going pretty well. I took a long hard look at where my life was heading while I was down here and decided that it was really going nowhere. So I decided to stay up there and try to be useful for a while.

AS: So what was life like?

MV: It was pretty cool. You start out on lock down and not really able to go anywhere, but after the first two months when you go all the way through the program you’re allowed free rein. I managed to get a job and a…

AS: Wait. What? Did you just say you got a job?

MV: Yeah, man. I got a job and a…

AS: Where did you get a job? You haven’t worked in the entire time I’ve known you.

MV: I worked at a Wendy’s up there. I made my way up to assistant manager in only 6 months. Plus I had a…

AS: Hold on (pause). I’m just going to need a minute to let that sink in. OK. I’m back. Well, it sounds like you were doing pretty well up there. What made you move back?

MV: Things just started going south. My girlfriend broke up with me…

Vance's Alleged Girlfriend

Vance’s Alleged Girlfriend

AS: WHAT!? Holy crap! You had a girlfriend too?

MV: Yeah, that’s what I was trying to tell you. I had a girlfriend and a job. Things were going pretty well.

AS: What was wrong with her? Was she an amputee? No, that couldn’t be it. I’ve known plenty of attractive amputees…

MV: She was a recovering heroin addict.

AS: OK. Now it makes sense. I’m still not sure anyone else is going to believe this. Have you told any of the other guys?

MV: Yeah, they had a hard time believing it too. They weren’t as big of dicks as you though. I don’t see what the big deal is. I met this girl up there, I got a good job, I got sober.

AS: So how long have you been sober?

MV: Going on 13 months.

AS: Cool. Congratulations. It’s like a whole new you. Are you feeling good?

MV: Yeah, I talked to the guys about getting the band going again and I think I’m ready. I was in a pretty dark place before I came down here. Lindsay dumped me for some other guy. I was passed over for a promotion. It just seemed like the time was ripe for change.

AS: Well, we’ve covered a lot of ground in this interview Matt. It feels like I’m talking to a different person than I met all those years ago. I wish you luck in your future endeavors.

MV: Thanks man. I’m feeling strong and I’m confident I’m going to stay sober for a long time.


Top Posts of Ockym’s Razyr

Part 11 The Christmas Party

Part 3 The Road Trip

Part 2 The Jam Room

Part 10 The Other Interview

Anything That Can Go Wrong 14

2011-05-05-BONUS-COMIC-InterventionThe Intervention

It’s been over a year since I’ve written about the Ockym’s Razyr. Things were always bad with the band. They were always volatile. I think Don Henley said in an Eagles documentary that any great band is always five minutes from breaking up and they were no different.

It was a little surprising what did it though.

The last time bassist Matt Vance departed the band (Part 6) he was replaced. With someone. I can’t remember who, but it was someone. This time that didn’t happen and the band dissolved.

The intervention wasn’t a pretty sight. Most of the band members showed up at his parents house to tell him it was time to get  his life straightened out.

“We’re worried about you Matthew,” his dad said. “Your mother and I found a powder on the bathroom sink so we know you’ve been snorting drugs.”

“But that was just Vicodin. It’s nothing. I got them from Mom.”

“Well, when I gave them to you I thought you would take them orally like a normal person. Not nasally like a… like a… like a drug addict!” His mother broke down in tears.

“Is that all you’re worried about? I’m sorry. I’ll stop snorting the pills.”

“Your behavior at practice has gotten a little erratic,” singer Adam Gillis said.

“I thought you guys liked that. I thought that was my role in the band… to be the kooky alcoholic guy.”

“Well, we like that. But we’re just worried about what you’re doing to yourself.”

“But you guys drink too. I think I saw you pass out and piss yourself last week, Eric.”

“Hey, I’m not on trial here.” guitarist Eric Shawn defended himself.

“We all just want what’s best for you, son.”

“But I have to drink. It’s the only thing about me anyone likes. I don’t have a job. I don’t have a girlfriend. My only talent is that I can play the intro to ‘N.I.B’ really well.”

“I don’t know about all that, Matt.” Gillis’ girlfriend Kelly opined during a brief lull in texting.

“Well, I can play ‘Blister in the Sun’ really well.”

“That’s not a talent son,” his father said. “Everyone can do that. Your mother can do that.”

Mrs. Vance continued crying

“Dude,” Adam said. “I saw the post on Facebook about trying to score some dog antibiotics.”

“That was a joke… I wasn’t really going to take them.”

“Why the hell would you take dog antibiotics?” Eric wondered aloud. “Will those get you high?”

“That’s what I’ve heard.”

This is not the treatment center Matt spent a year in.

This is not the treatment center Matt spent a year in.

Mrs. Vance cried louder.

“OK. So what do you suggest I do?”

“We’ve booked you a room at a very nice treatment facility in Cleveland.”

“Ohmygod,” Matt said. “This is really happening.”

“Don’t worry about the band,” Gillis said. “We’ll still be here when you get back.”

But in all actuality, Ockym’s Razyr wasn’t around when Vance returned last month. After searching for a new bass player for a month, the band decided to venture on without a bass player for a while, but the sound wasn’t right.

So when Matt Vance called up Adam Gillis to see about practicing, it began a whole new chapter in the drama of America’s least favorite pretend band.


*Author’s note* Dog Antibiotics will not get you high. At least I don’t think they will. Please consult a veterinarian before using/abusing any prescription medication designed for animal use.

Top Posts of Ockym’s Razyr

Part 11 The Christmas Party

Part 3 The Road Trip

Part 2 The Jam Room

Part 10 The Other Interview

Anything That Can Go Wrong 13

"Argument Over A Card Game" by Jan Steen

“Argument Over A Card Game” by Jan Steen

Part 13 – The Set list

“I don’t think we should open with that song,” says Matt Vance.

“Well, what song do you want to open with?” asks Adam Gillis.

“We should go with the Dream Theater cover.”

“No,” Josh Randall says. “We can’t open with a cover.”

You wouldn’t think choosing the order for a band to play their songs in would require such intense debate, but for the past hour three members of Ockym’s Razyr have been bickering like the Hatfields and McCoys. Or perhaps members of congress.

“Why can’t we start with that song?”

“You can’t open with a cover.”

“Why not?”

“You just can’t. It in the rules.”

“What rules?”

Vance is right when he questions where the rules for writing a set list come from. They’ve never been properly codified. Most national acts rely heavily on tracks from whatever album they’re trying to sell while keeping the crowd happy with older favorites. Local bands have no guidelines to follow at all and rely on what they like.

Not the Ockym's Razyr set list

Not the Ockym’s Razyr set list

“I think ‘As The World Burns’ should be earlier in the set.”

“No, we can’t do that.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s our biggest song. It’s the one everyone knows.”

“What are you talking about? Nobody knows that song.”

“Sure they do.”

“I’ve looked out at the crowd when we play it and I don’t see anyone singing along.”

“Yeah, but it always gets a good response.”

“All of the songs get about an equal response.”

The band is opening up for another local act and have been asked to perform a 45 minute set. This means that they have to drop a few tunes from what they’ve been playing and order the remaining ones accordingly.

“We should probably leave out ‘The First Hundred Years’, ‘Search for Tomorrow’ and ‘Somerset.'”

“No. We have to do ‘The First Hundred Years.’ People know that one. They’ll be expecting us to do it.”

“You know Adam, I’ve never had anyone mention that song to me. I don’t think anyone can even tell our songs apart.”

“Nobody ever mentions songs to you because you’re always puking your guts up after a show.”

The guitarists Hal Levatine and Eric Shawn are in the actual rehearsal space away from their peers. They’re working on new riffs and playing music while the others argue. They could care less about how the songs are ordered.

“I just think those are our weakest songs.”

argument5“They’ve gotten a ton of hits on Reverbnation!”

“That’s just because they were the first ones that played on our page. Of course they got more hits.”

Bands practice usually last 3-4 hours. There is no practice today. And what’s more, when they all leave afterward they are no closer to settling on a set list than they were when they walked in.

Anything That Can Go Wrong 12

Part 12 – The Space Heaterspace-heater-NC

“OK guys,” Matt Vance said when he showed up to practice 15 minutes late. “I think we need to have a band meeting.”

“Oh Christ,” Adam moaned. “You’ve been back in the band for three months. What the hell is going on now?”

“Look. It’s freezing out there. We need to invest in a space heater.”

The group let out a collective moan.

“We’ve been over this Matt,” Adam said. “We can’t afford one.”

“Look, I’ve saved up a hundred bucks from working at Burger King and I’m willing to splurge so we can keep warm.”

“It’s not that cold out,” Hal Levatine said. “Plus, we’re in the garage so we don’t have to worry about the wind.”

“Yeah, I see your point. But it’s freezing out there! We have to do something. Maybe if it was in the 50’s…”

“It’s 53 degrees outside,” said Josh Randall looking up from his phone.

“Why is everyone so against getting a space heater?”

Not enough space on this sign to say "It's fucking cold"

Not enough space on this sign to say “It’s fucking cold”

“Well, the rental agreement says we cant have a kerosene or propane heater,” Adam said.

“It also says you can only have half of the people living here that you actually do. It also says you’re not allowed to have pets.”

“You leave Mr. Whiskers out of this!” Adam snapped.

“OK. OK, what about an electric heater?”

“I don’t want to pay for the extra electricity,” Josh said. “We’re already floating the bill for what? A PA. Two Amps. A drum set…”

“It wouldn’t be so bad if you would turn off your drums after your done using them.”

“I’ll pay the extra,” Matt pleaded.

“Look, we have one outlet out there. If we plug anymore shit into it we’re liable to start a fire.”

“At least then we’d be warm.”

“Stop being such a pussy and come on,” Josh said. “Once we get out there and get going you won’t even notice the cold.”

“I wish global warming would come back. Why is it taking this year off?”

“That’s just a myth,” said new member and conspiracy theorist Eric Shawn.

“Come on guys, last week is was colder here than in Antarctica.”

“Yeah, and Metallica was down there rocking,” said Gillis. “So grab your bass and let’s get to practicing so maybe someday we can rock Antarctica.”

Where'd they find this joker? Couldn't they have sent Lawrence Welk?

Where’d they find this joker? Couldn’t they have sent Lawrence Welk?

Anything That Can Go Wrong 11

Part 11 – The Christmas Partyagreenerchristmastree

“That was not the way I imagined that would go,” Hal Levatine tells me on the drive back from a North Canton Christmas party.

“Yeah, I was expecting… I don’t know. A few more people,” Josh Randall says.

“I just hope Eric doesn’t think we’re a bunch of tools because we did this.”

Eric Shawn is the band’s new rhythm guitarist, hired when the band regrouped after Paul Ode’s Departure (Part 9 &  Part 10). He’s been with the group since September, but tonight was his onstage debut with the boys.

Well, that’s putting it loosely… It was his debut. There was no stage at the garage in North Canton where a friend of Bassist Matt Vance threw her Christmas party. The garage consisted of a couch, a love seat, a coffee table and a television hooked up to several video-game systems.

A few people sat at a card table at the other side of the empty space playing Magic: The Gathering and didn’t really join with the rest of the party.

“I don’t know about this Matt,” Adam Gillis said last week when the topic was approached.

“Come on, guys. It’ll get us out of our garage and we can take our music some place people will hear it.”

“I am getting pretty tired of just jamming in the garage, Adam,” Randall said.

“Yeah, it is about time to dust the cobwebs off,” Levatine agreed. “And we’re not getting a ton of offers at the moment.”

I really wish they would turn that music down.

I really wish they would turn that music down.

“Do you think we’re ready?” Shawn asked. “I’m not sure.”

“Yeah, we’ve still got to teach him some songs,” Gillis said.

“We have 45 minutes. That’ll be plenty. Look, we just go up there, set up our equipment and ROCK! That’s all there is to it. They’ll love us.”

It’s hard to tell now whether Vance was telling the truth or not. When the band members showed up at the party it turned out it was BYOB and most of the attendees were underage.

“No problem,” Vance said. “Beer run.” He sped away in the Oldsmobile of a 19 year-old with unruly facial hair.

“This is gonna be a disaster,” Gillis moaned. “These people don’t give a shit about our music. The only reason we’re here is because Matt wants to fuck that chick over there.”

I followed his finger to the Dance Dance Revolution pad and the chunky girl with the dreadlocks bouncing on it.

“She’s cute,” I said.

“Yeah, but Matt’s in the friend zone and he doesn’t realize it. He’s been trying to nail that for three years and has made no progress. I just hope he keeps it together enough that we can at least have a good show tonight. I mean, we brought all our equipment out here just for him to try and impress her. I hope that’s enough to keep him from fucking up.”

It wasn’t.

When Vance returned from the beer run he had downed a quarter of a pint of Jack Daniel’s and was quickly double fisting the Natural Lights he had bought.

“Slow down,” Shawn told him. “We have to play later.”

“Aaah, don’t rully about it.” Vance said. “I’ll be fine. I just have to warm up.”

After sitting on the couch watching the chubby redhead play DDR for 45 minutes (during which time he outpaced the other members of the band in beer consumption by a 4:1 ratio and smoked two joint and one bong) he was ready.

With the exception of Vance the band was tight. They were rocking and pounding away with a wild abandon I haven’t seen in them up to this point. The technicality exhibited by Levatine and Gillis in turning down Vance’s amp whenever he wasn’t looking was astonishing beyond belief. The band blasted through twenty minutes of material before Vance fell on his face. He played the rest of the set on his back.

Not that anyone noticed. None of the dozen or so people at the party ever paused the DDR game. Nor did the nerds leave their Magic game.

“You know what man?” Vance asked me afterward.

Matt Vance will be pissed when he wakes up. (

Matt Vance will be pissed when he wakes up.

“What man?”

“I really… I…” Then he vomited in the bushes.