THE WINSTON CAMPAIGN - From Riches Back To Rags.

As promised here is Part 2 of the interview I did with The Winston Campaign. It was cool to look back at the unedited version of this because there was so much of it. I had to cut out a lot to fit it into the pages of Absolute Underground over 2 issues. This version gives you a way better look into what sounded like an unreal trip. It also gives you a much better view of how funny and real Mike Woods was. Telling it like it is was something he was very good at. 

R.I.P. Mike, you were truly an original.  

THE WINSTON CAMPAIGN 2 - From Riches Back To Rags. 

The last Vancouver Vengeance article ended with The Winston Campaign trashing a high end green room in a Mexican night club with who they thought was the owner (Roberto) until they were rudely interrupted by seven large bouncers in bullet proof vests, and one angry Mexican in a suit. We’ll pick up the interview from there.

Dan: So seven giant Mexican bouncers with bulletproof vests storm into the room with a little Mexican guy who is well dressed and looking not happy to say the least. He’s screaming in Spanish and all of a sudden we’re thinking there is other people with a stake in this massive club. The bouncers told us to get out and we hit the street pretty fast.

Mike: We get outside and are ordered off the property of the bar and I’m on the sidewalk yelling how we came all the way from Canada and it wasn’t our fault, Roberto said it was cool. I’m basically yelling in their faces and a couple days later I was amazed that the three of us didn’t get killed. You know, because as you said, I’m the psycho of the band.

AU: No, you just look like it. I think Dan might be the psycho, he broke the table.

Dan: So we’re pretty worked up, but I’m starting to put the pieces together. We’re in Mexico in this big fuckin’ club, we’re in the border city where no gringos go, they’re wearing bulletproof vests and we don’t know if we’re fuckin’ with gangsters or what. So I tell Mike to shut up.

Mike: This is after that angry Mexican guy, who we now figure is the owner of the club, almost runs us over in his BMW, stops, gives us the finger and drives off into the night. Then a white SUV pulls up being driven by one of the bouncers that escorted us out and he's like "get in."

Dan: And we say not without Roberto who finally shows up on his texting thing like nothing is going on, and we’re like, ‘Roberto man, what the fuck?’ and he says, ‘oh that? Don’t worry about that. Come on let’s go, get in.’ We’re thinking twice but follow him into the SUV being driven by a bouncer who just threw us out of the club. We ask him where we’re going, and he says to the next club.

Mike: I’m still flipping out going through the money we’ve spent and the time we spent on airplanes and Roberto says to me, ‘You want to act like a tough guy we can go behind those buildings, you can meet my security and we can deal with this a different way,’ and I just put my head down and say, ‘I’m sorry.’

Dan: He tells us, ‘look guys, I’m super fuckin’ rich, don’t even worry about it.’ Then we go to the after hours club and Roberto is looking blind drunk and every thing is back to normal, even though not long ago we were destroying this fuckin’ club that we’re supposed to be playing at with NOFX in three days. Back then we were thinking Roberto was the top dog and now it seems like he isn’t.

Mike: I probably drank ten beers at the after hours club. The place is basically full of yuppies who are talking about their career’s in design and their apartments. On our way out Hugh runs into this chick who is a bombshell. The hottest chick you’ve ever seen in your life. So we bring her back to the motel because Hugh wants to make out all night or whatever, but the guys at the counter don’t want her to come in because they think she is a hooker and that we’re all gonna fuck her.

Dan: I just say, look I’ve been up for 50 hours and I’m going to bed, sort it out yourself. Eventually they rented Hugh a room and he goes off with his super hot Mexican chick and Mike barges into my room saying things like, ‘I didn’t think that was what this band was all about, what the fuck was that?’ And I just say, ‘Fuck you Mike, you don’t know shit about what I do.’ Just being super obnoxious and telling him I’d quit the band when we got home. I woke up the next morning and said I’d never quit this band.

(Then there is some bickering about rolling tobacco in with the joint)

Dan: Sunday morning the people from the club come over and said our hotel is terminated and they aren’t paying for it. I feel that’s fair cause we fucked up their club. But now I’m thinking this is a nice hotel. I gave up my credit card and asked how much the room was per night. 700 pesos, which is like 55 dollars. I laugh because that’s the price of the shittiest motel in Vancouver. We get a hold of Roberto, and I talk to him and he’s asking me what happened last night and I tell him we smashed shit up and he says to not even worry about it and that he told us to do it and everything was fine. So we went off to enjoy the day, 28 degrees. Most people are in leather and we’re relaxing in t-shirts.

Mike: The architecture, sculptures and churches in Monterrey all look so cool. Everything is done to the nuts.

Dan: That night we went to some bar that Roberto told us he’d be at. Some guy from the after party that recognized us as the Canadians sat down to drink with us while we got texts from Roberto saying, ‘yeah I’m coming there for sure.’ But no Roberto ever showed.

Mike: After the bar I ended up going on a crazy long walk at 1:30 in the morning and wandered far enough, just to places where I was not wanted and thought I should be scared now.

AU: The Mexican ghetto?

Mike: The equivalent of the downtown east side of Vancouver, but I felt pretty safe.

Dan: Monday night we were supposed to have a rehearsal, but we had no gear. We were trying to get Roberto to help us out but he was too busy trying to get El Hefe through customs, and that night NOFX and their entourage shows up including this guy named Padge that we meet in the lobby. We see El Hefe and Eric Melvin but I decided not to bother them.

Mike: Monday was a weird night, because I think shit was spreading about the crazy Canadains that trashed the club.

Dan: Sunday is a day off, and then Monday is the day you take care of the problems from the weekend.

Mike: I went in 7/11 and was followed in by a security guard with a shotgun that stood in the corner watching me. Then I hightailed it back to the motel room to watch some Spanish TV until they woke up.

Dan: We woke up on Tuesday thinking show day. We’re a little bit stressed about the gear situation and get an email from Roberto saying he is at the citation office dealing with authorities about El Hefe’s visa and he had no idea when he’d be around, but don’t worry. Then the tour manager Padge from NOFX comes up to us and said he just got back from asking about the 4th band on the bill and they said you trashed the club, is that true? We looked at our feet and were like ‘yes, we fucked up the club.’ And he tells us they're pretty pissed over there, but we told him Roberto was our contact and that we’re playing tonight. Padge told us we should go over there and apologize, but I don’t really like being told what to do.

Mike: We blew the guy off, and Dan went to study for an exam and me and Hugh went around the city and became friends.

Dan: Yeah, I had an accounting final the morning after we arrived home.

AU: So now you’re studying and Mike and Hugh are becoming boyfriends.

Mike: Yeah we just hung out and talked, and I was thinking, ‘whoa me and Hugh are bros now? I wasn’t even sure if Hugh liked me.’ We went back to hang out with Dan and we’re all getting a bit stressed.

Dan: Because now it’s 5pm and the show is happening, but nothing is happening for us other than wondering where Roberto is. He tells us he’s on his way. So we have some food and I tell them I’m sick of feeling like the biggest criminal because I got drunk and fucked some shit up. The reality of the situation was they told us to come down here, they told us there was going to be a rehearsal and sound check, and they told us they’d be meeting up with us to have drinks and none of it happened just because we fucked that shit up and we’re getting ignored. We came down on our dime to play our music but are now getting treated like shit. I hit a breaking point and was like 'fuck it I don’t even care about this shit anymore.'

Mike: Dan tosses his napkin in the middle of the table and takes off and Hugh says, ‘I just don’t get it. I’d never destroy a room full of shit.’ And I said, ‘well some people would and some just kind of do.’ We’ve all got imperfections built into us. I told him everyone I know and keep close to me is really amazing, but also really fucked up, and that fucked up shit happens sometimes, and you have to realize that it is there, deal with it, and try your best that it doesn’t happen again and accept that people are all different. And Hugh says ‘you know, you’re right. I need to apologize to Dan.’ We get up and I follow Hugh out thinking ‘you know? I’m gonna cry.’ So I go out a different doorway and go lean up against a wall and just cry while drinking a red bull with a bunch of Mexican girls watching me.

AU: So you’re crying because…

Mike: cause it was all emotional…

AU: And you’ve come to terms that the shows not happening?

Mike: I wasn’t even thinking about that at all, I was just thinking it was a real touching moment between the three of us. Those guys have known each other way longer than me but I’m giving him a lecture on interpersonal morality, and he goes to apologize to Dan for being judgemental and I think, ‘wow that’s really nice, and I’m going to go cry.’

AU: (Laughs)

Mike: I finish up and come around the corner and Hugh is saying to Dan, ‘you know, I guess people are just different.’ And Dan is crying saying, ‘we came all the way down here, and Roberto hasn’t done anything for us and everyone’s ignoring us.’ and I’m thinking nobody makes my friend cry.

AU: I’ll do the crying around here thanks!

Mike: So I say, 'Hugh lets get across the street and let Dan be Dan for a bit.'

Dan: Cause at this point my house of cards has blown over. It was such a nightmare, but the word hasn’t come from Roberto that we’re not gonna play yet. Everything was on our dime at this point and we had been promised everything but got nothing. So I’m cursing.

Mike: We went to the venue found Roberto and he says he has got to go have a secret meeting for half an hour and I go stand on the sidewalk with my arms crossed and say I’m not moving and Hugh’s just being cool. Roberto comes back and I tell him he needs to go talk to Dan because he’s really upset, so we all go to the room and talk about everything. Roberto tells us he’s going to pay for our flights and rooms…

Dan: First he came in and asked me how it was going and I said obviously not good. And he said sorry he had been at the citation office all day and things were running behind, so you can’t play before NOFX, but you can play after them. So we just said fine, we don’t care if we play to ten people we just want to play, and at this point they’re doing soundcheck with about 500 mexican punks lined up down the street. Roberto’s telling us we’ll play after NOFX and that he’ll take care of the flights and hotel rooms. Before he leaves I ask him how we'll get into the show and he takes out three general admission tickets and gives them to us. So we went to the show and right away lose Mike.

Mike: I’m basically the only one of us that gets stopped because I’m the only recognizable Canadian from the other night who could possibly be to blame for all the green room destruction. So they said I couldn’t go in. I kind of feel like they were trying to get me to be all agro so they could beat the shit out of me, but I just looked at them and said, ‘come on, please. I’ve been through so much in the last few days.’ But they weren’t having it. I went outside and waited for someone to appear. I saw Hugh and he texted Roberto and 20 mins later he came out and told the two guys to let me in, and finally I’m in. It’s like any big punk show except we’re in Mexico, and I’m surrounded by people who do not want to talk to me, which is pretty normal too.

Dan: The first 2 bands played super short sets and I’m thinking there’s no way we’re playing. I tell Hugh to text Roberto to ask him if we’re playing and he says we can’t play here but there’s an afterparty with NOFX at another bar and we can play there. NOFX takes the stage looking really drunk with Fat Mike telling the audience how drunk he was, being all obnoxious and they finally start the first song. The barrier breaks and the audience rushes the stage. Fat Mike says, 'well now we have to stop and fix the barrier' and the staff is out there trying to get everyone off the stage and you can see Roberto up there texting away during the crisis. Now we’re thinking that it was a good thing that we weren’t back there getting in everyone’s way. NOFX had never played Monterrey before so they broke out all the classics. It probably wasn’t the tightest set they’ve ever played, but a good show either way. When it was all done I thought, well there goes the show, we were supposed to play it, but we didn’t.

Mike: After the show I’m out on the street kind of bummed and Hugh is the same, so I told Dan I was going to go up to the hotel room and get all of our CDs and we’re gonna give them all away. On my way out of the hotel I saw Fat Mike and I walked up to him going to give him a CD and saying, ‘Hey Mr. Fat Mike?’ and he just makes a noise like, ‘unnhhhhh.’ And I go, ‘Oh that’s OK.’ I give Dan and Hugh some CDs and stickers and we give them all away. Now I’ve got all these kids giving me all kinds of NOFX merch to go and get signed…

Dan: Because there is two big security guards guarding the entrance to the hotel and only people that are staying at the hotel can get in.

AU: And that’s you guys!

Mike: Yeah, and they think I’m a big deal, so I tell them I’m bringing in these five items and going to see what I can do. When I go in Fat Mike is basically passed out on the couch with his ass hanging off it and looking like he’s about to melt into the cushions and the other three members took off with some hookers and a bag of coke, so there wasn’t going to be any after party actually involving NOFX. Their camera guy starts telling me to get the fuck out, so I went back outside and the kids were so bummed. I told them, ‘You know what? Fuck NOFX. Big Bon Jovi fuckin’ punk rock star, here’s Fat Mike,’ and then I did my impression of how he looked on the couch and they said, ‘But we love him!’

Dan: I’m handing out CDs and meeting all kinds of rad people, and finally Roberto shows up. Then Hugh’s friend shows up all loaded with a hot friend who is instantly all over Mike and Roberto ushers us all into a van to take us to the after party. If NOFX hadn’t melted down we could have played there, but instead these guys both have hot chicks dancing and kissing them and I’m laughing to myself thinking, you know it’s not that bad. Roberto told me he’d meet us for breakfast the next day, take care of our bills and get us a ride to the airport, but sure enough, he never showed up.


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