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It has been said that the life of a rock ‘n’ roller on the road is hard – long hours in cramped conditions, poor food choices, next to no sleep, and very little money. In an effort to forget the trials and tribulations of this compromised existence, many rockers turn to drugs to keep them going. At 3pm in the middle of a day-long drive, when the whole group is in a collective state of sleep deprivation and in danger of passing out on the highway, instead of turning to uppers (or even energy drinks), Trees on Fire busts out the hot peppers.
On our way to North Carolina this weekend to play two shows, the TOF van was loaded down with the usual junk – sleeping gear, clothes, shoes, snacks, and of course Espo’s crap. This time, however, we brought along two baggies of the good stuff: habaneros, Thai hots, red jalapenos, and apaches. The melodious sound of “oooh, that’s hot” signaled the passing around of a bright orange habanero (carefully passed by the stem, eaten around the seeds) and a slower, more cautious reaction accompanied the sharing of those red jalapenos – a highly unpredictable and long-lasting burn instigator.
Once upon a time, habaneros were a feared pepper, at least for this drummer, but now they hold a place of esteem and respect in our crew. This is not to say that habs aren’t still feared – we studiously avoid the seeds and try hard not to rub them in our eyes like that crazy Indian woman I saw online smearing Jolokia peppers in hers. Though still hot, we eat habaneros on a regular basis now, so they have lost a little mystique, so to speak. Red jalapenos, on the other hand, are a bit more mysterious.
First off, they’re supposed to be jalapenos. You know, good old green, put-‘em-on-your-nachos variety peppers that, even when you eat them raw, won’t temporarily disable you. Red jalapenos, at least the ones from Espo’s pepper garden, are crazy hot and highly unpredictable, especially the seeds. Watch out for them suckers…
This “highly technical” description of pepper burn aside, the effect these little potent veggies have on the group is significant. Whereas caffeine takes a little while to settle in and make its presence known, hot peppers’ buzz happens instantly – the instant your mouth starts to tell your brain that you have lost all sense of reason. The burn takes hold on a visceral level first and quickly becomes all consuming (if you’ve eaten enough), blocking out all other sensations for a while. Once the mouth has recovered, a pleasant buzz takes hold, complete with head rush and a real feeling of empowerment. Okay, empowerment is a strong word, but you get the idea.
All of a sudden, the pepper warrior begins to believe that he or she can do anything. And this feeling can last for quite a while, often hours. I actually may have overdosed slightly on this trip, not from too much at once but from the big bite of red habanero I took while breaking down my drums at 2 in the morning in Blowing Rock, NC. My throat basically put up the white flag and told me enough was enough, so listen to your body peoples. I won’t stay away long, though. I’m addicted…and so is the rest of the band.
Our addiction as a band really started back in November (though we each individually enjoyed spicing up our food regularly). Espo’s father-in-law makes the world’s best hot sauce – Mad Hatter – which is loaded with habaneros and other peppers. Before a big show in Charlottesville at the end of last year, we used a straw to take sips of the hot sauce. The results were undeniable – hopped-up Trees jumping around backstage with incredible energy, then throwing it all on the line with a highly-charged performance. Little did those 300 fans know that we were in a completely altered state – peppered out of our minds.
So who needs hard drugs when you have hot peppers? But watch out, hot peppers are a gateway drug…you’ll want your food hotter and hotter once you start.
just something I found pretty stupid// or smart...depends on the reader..thought maybe someone would take the time to read it.
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