Day 9, April 17 – Toronto, ONT


When Ministry’s leader can’t manage to have fun in and around a show, so also, for the rest of the band, the crew, and I’m afraid the audience too… ‘Twas less than memorable. Not bad, mind you, but when a band has the potential to be darkly overwhelming on a cellular level, and then they merely rain ugliness… It feels almost (pardon me) normal.


I’d easily deduced what missing element might be the cause of Al’s grumpiness. And after the concert, back on his bus, shaking and sweating, he confirmed. Even when you’ve got a doctor dialed in who’ll ship you needles and dope, or a dope substitute, mistakes in routing will cost you your physical and emotional well-being… Ministry’s front man’s a little drug sick, even though he’s holding Dilaudid, Rohypnol, Bupranex, Methadone, Valium, and one or two other withdrawal avoidance tinctures, that I’ve never heard of. There is no pharmacist who has more knowledge about being/staying fucked up (good n’ fucked up) than Al.


But when it’s heroin you crave, anything else is going to work not so well. We’re back out of Canada, but it’s a long drive to where a concierge at some hotel in Providence, RI, will likely be holding a package marked: “Auntie Minerva’s All Natural Soap Factory.” But it will contain: “Week two emergency medical supplies.”


In Al’s current dissatisfied state, this tour seems a waste of his time, my filmmaking intentions are a waste of both his and my time, and Toronto deserved no better than tonight’s lack-bluster, detox-crippled performance. That’s how that goes… Dope sick = all life sucks. If you’re in my sick life, then you certainly suck. Even if there’s 10,000 of you, and you bought my T-shirt.


I told Al that the last time I’d been in Toronto, I too had been sick for smack, and the Rush video I was directing suffered irrevocably from my spastic lack of focus. Amazingly, the time before that, that I was in Toronto… Alannah Myles, “Black Velvet” video… I was in full shaky, sweaty, heebeegeebee withdrawls directing that one too, though the video turned out to be a hit anyway.


A junkie missing his dope will not be amused or heartened in any way by stories from another junkie who also missed their dope, back in the day, and so, Al bids me goodnight: “Unless this story ends with a Royal Canadian horse mounting Ms Myles, I’m going to call it a day.”


Doesn’t seem like the Vodka I’m swilling as I write this, could ever have the kind of soul-snatching pull that heroin did. But I’m aware by now, that that thinking is just the devil’s chiding: “You got more fucking faith in me than you got in yourself… Keep drinking you fucking pussy!”


Sphinctour dialogue of the day: Paul Barker, my film partner Jeffrey, and I share our hopes for a mood-swing free future.


Paul: So when are you leaving Jeffrey?


Jeffrey: Soon seems good… Before Miami I think.


Paul: So Doug… You wanna room with me or with Al?


Me: Well, let’s see… He’ll be just off his period. When’s the next full moon?


Paul: It’s actually more complicated than that. Al seems to cycle with the moons of Saturn… Three times a month. And everybody else must cycle around his cycle… See?


Jeffrey: When does the moon get to cycle?


Paul: When the whole thing goes around the sun. Everybody in Ministry gets to menstruate once a year, ‘cept Al. Al gets 36 lady’s times a year.


Me: You’re all so close, like sisters. I assume it happens together…


Paul: Just before Halloween… Very bloody.


Me: I’ll room with you Paul… At least until October.