Down With The Rudy's (featuring David Draiman)
It was the Austin show on the Dream Theater tour, when all us Trivs decided to meet up with our friend David Draiman from Disturbed. David, at that time, lived around the Austin area - and having been buddies of ours since about 2005, we figured a good hang was in order.
The first time I met David was back on what I think was the Danzig show in Chicago… or maybe it was Roadrage with Machine Head and Chimaira… either way - he was at the show, and we all had a chance to meet. Having always been a fan of Disturbed (I saw 'em back on one of their first tours when they opened for Danzig and Six Feet Under at the House Of Blues Orlando, and every following time they ever played the central Florida area), I was pretty taken aback to find out that David was into Trivium. Back then and to this day, I consider David to be one of Metal's best singers and frontmen alike. His voice is iconic and instantly recognizable - with a range that spans some serious octaves. Pitch-perfect live-performances and a hell of a presence on stage are also a constant with Draiman.
It was a quick chat that first night, but from then on, we'd occasionally run into each other over the years during one-off's and festivals and such. Years down the road, we were finally able to do a proper tour with Disturbed in Australia alongside As I Lay Dying, shortly before the release of In Waves. Shortly after that Aussie run, we found ourselves on another tour with Disturbed in the States on the Mayhem tour.
On Mayhem, I was able to perform with Disturbed on the Dimebag Darrell anniversary - I even managed to… well… fuck my cameo up! The verses were intended to be traded off by David and Sully Erna (Godsmack), with the whole tour doing the chorus and back ups - well here comes ol' Keech (unaware of that arrangement) coming in 8 bars early on the second verse… "Run your mouthhhhh while I'm not arounddddd… it's easy to achieeeeevvveee!!" Then David politely taps and me says "Dude! You're early! And that's Sully's verse…" We both chuckle, I stop and hurry back to the side of the stage and await the chorus. Oops.
On the last date of the tour, we traded contacts to keep in touch - and in Austin we'd finally be able to share a meal (and the meal is always the best way to properly kick off a reunion).
We show up, sit by the pool and share some drinks together - where we chat some top secret stuff (can't share yet, my friends), and then it was food time. We all pile up in David's car and head over to Rudy's, what he described as… a gas station BBQ restaurant… I was puzzled and stoked at the same time. When we show up, we see Rudy's is exactly that: a massive gas station, but only where the convenience quik-e-mart outta be, it's a big-ass BBQ restaurant.
We essentially order every cut of animal there: sausage, ribs, pork, chicken, brisket, all the southern sides and greens and mayonnaise-salads you'd expect, and a half a loaf of white bread in the plastic. Now this stuff is good… damn good. Having been to Iron Works on a more recent visit to Austin during SXSW, I gotta say Rudy's definitely is better than Iron Works. Simple, down-home, unpretentious BBQ that's still juicy - not dry.
As a great meal is for the first time between friends - I was super stoked that this little BBQ-joint in a gas-station would be bringing Metal-frontmen and band-mates together. We got chatting about others times we've had good meals around the globe, chatting the early days of touring from both ends… horror stories of pre-bus days; issues of little-to-no stage space as a first of 4 or 5 bands; all the good bits that only people who've shared that same insane heartache could possibly sympathize and laugh over with you.
We rolled out of our bench in a meat-coma and headed back to Draiman's pad where we grabbed a car back to the venue for our show. All in all, it was the kind of day you don't ever forget about - sharing beers and BBQ and Metal and stories with friends.
After the show, me and P walked far into the campus area by the gig to hit Vert's Belin-inspired Kebap. The place offers free beer, however it was non-alcoholic or Budweiser or Bud-Light… we passed. We both went for the Chicken Kebap - pretty darn good. It was interesting that at the restaurant, on their menus, they tell you how the Kebap or Kebab was created in Berlin. I always assumed Turkey - but nope: Berlin. Kebab shops in the U.K. and Europe are everywhere and typically exactly what you need to mop up all that booze in your belly after a late night pint or 20. Think of a Kebab as Europe's taco or burrito stand.