Craig Pinto being "escorted" to safety by South African Police.

Chapter 1.  "Let's do it!"

        In the early spring of  1990, The Pencilnecks decided to embark on an ambitious three month tour of Europe in the late fall of that same year. They felt they weren't getting the respect and recognition they were due in the States, so they thought a tour of the ''Continent,'' would give them the big break they so richly deserved. Over the course of the next several months and many gallons of Safeway Vodka, they mapped out that fall's venues. All this was planned without the help of any real tour professionals except, via long distances phone calls, their English ''Booking Agent,'' Justin Thyme, from Piltdown England.

        They got his name from a ''friend'' of the band, who as it turned out, had a personal vendetta against guitarist Tom "Tommie" Mason. He thought, although Tom has always denied it, that Tommie had slept with both his wife and teenage daughter, at the party honoring the occasion of their tenth wedding anniversary. While it has been verified that the three of them disappeared for roughly an hour that night, Tom claims they just went off to play Parcheesi.

        So, their British representative, ''The Piltdown Man,'' as they affectionately called him, who was supposedly hard at work setting up the tour dates throughout the various countries, arranged for a triumphant, Conquering Hero's New Years Eve gig at the foot of Big Ben for the final night of the tour. He was promising huge, nightsky searchlights, the likes of which London hadn't seen since the Battle of Britain, midnight fireworks, live TV coverage and perhaps, even a surprise visit by then very young Princess Diana.

        Periodically throughout the planning, Justin requested and received, sizable certified checks for 'working capitol,' amounts that band will still only reveal to their various accountants and bartenders. They found out later that he was working out of a phone booth with no contacts whatsoever other than the ones in his eyes and, a certain jealous husband from Fremont, California.

        Their then manager, Kevin Morrison, who was skeptical of the whole tour concept anyway, wisely suggested a smaller, ''Tune Up'' tour. He pleaded that they weren't ready to play the 'big rooms' and perhaps a short 'practice' world tour - the third world to be exact, would be prudent. Mexico, South America, maybe even Africa and the Middle East if time allowed.

        This would serve several purposes, he argued. They could work out the bugs of touring and adjust to ''life on the road,'' at much less financial risk. It would give them access to a captive audience, starved for entertainment and presumably, more appreciative. Finally, it would keep them out of the harsh spotlight of the mainstream music press until they were really ready for the 'Modern World.' In his 1995 autobigraphy 'Beneath The Fray,' Kevin states, ''The jerks reluctantly agreed, but not because I was right, nooo..., but only because we had no other gig's lined up. Dumb bastards.'' This was nearing the end of their working relationship.

        It should be noted here that this naive and arrogant 'Modern World' attitude, which they all adopted, would play a large role in the ensuing nightmare, not to mention the Voodoo and headhunters. Of course, the nearly naked dancing ''cage'' girls in Baghdad, Iraq that some say precipated the Gulf War Crisis, didn't help, but we'll get to that. Since most of their European Fall Tour was now fully booked, or so they thought, they hastily pushed the two-month ''Third World Tour'' up to July/August of '90. They wanted to be finished and back home by Setptember for a full month of recuperation before heading over the ''Pond'' to play Belfast on October 1st, the opening date on the ''Real Tour." Needless to say, there was no need for the boys to rush back.

Chapter two soon. "Mexico or Bust!"          Return to Home            Picture