“Accidentally” Smoked Angel Dust? Well, Yeah, But…

And I kind of liked the streets of Baltimore.” – Bobby Bare. 

From 2008 to 2015 I spent every Memorial Day Weekend documenting an event called the Maryland Deathfest. I made three films there: Maryland Deathfest: The Movie – vols 1, 2 and 3. I could write a book about the many adventures and debauched times during my tenure in Ballermore, as I like to call it.

For those unaware, Maryland Deathfest is an annual death metal festival held downtown Baltimore during the last weekend of May. Sponsor free, and curated by two awesome gentlemen, MDF occupies a unique “build it and they will come” cultural space that welcomes worldwide fans of extreme music to come and partake.

And partake I did.

I took a cold, 30 minute shower. I drank as much beer as I could to normalize the effect of the PCP.

Part of the Deathfest festivities, of course, involved ingesting copious amounts of booze and drugs. Now I’ve never been a hard-drug connoisseur, but weed, well, come on…sucking back a joint or five and pounding cold beers whilst Brutal Truth are destroying a crowd under the hot Memorial Day Weekend Maryland sun? That’s my kind of trouble.

“Hey man, you wanna blaze a joint with me?”

It was day one of the festival when I was approached by an unassuming dude in a Pig Destroyer t-shirt.

Slightly (very) hungover and without any THC of my own, I jumped at the chance. Bro-bro pulled out a cannon from a pack of smokes and sparked it.  We meandered over to a parking garage and through drags of acrid smoke parlayed in metalease about whatever shit we thought delivered total heavisoty.

“This is good stuff, thanks man,” I said to my new pal. The joint was done.

“Yeah man, my pleasure,” Bro-bro mumbled through a stoned grin, then added, “just wait ’til that dust hits.”

“Dust? Wassat?” I was starting to feel a bit weird – my teeth felt buzzy.

“PCP, dude,” Bro-bro casually informed me, “I always make my joints wet.”

That’s when the panic kicked in. Hard. I began to sweat like a juice-pig and I could hear bat wings fluttering when I spoke. I was officially tripping balls. Big hot, streets of Baltimore, concrete Jungle, 90 degrees with the humidex balls.

The hotel. I had to get back to the hotel.

I made a bee-line from the parking garage to Saratoga St. I passed by people I knew gathering for the fest without saying a word. I had to go about 10 city blocks up this major hill, then over and across St. Paul, up to the Delta, where I was staying. It’s about an 11 minute walk, which in PCP time equals about six years.

As I schlepped my awful body up that impossible climb, I caught a glance of myself in the reflection of a parked car window. I looked like Captain Howdy in a baseball cap. “NO!” I remember shouting at my wan reflection, catching the attention of a nice family decked-out in matching Baltimore Aquarium T-shirts.

And for some reason my feet were wet.

I looked down at my shorts and saw a growing wet spot at my crotch and streams of hot piss pouring down my legs onto my feet, and the sidewalk. A highpoint. Onlookers aghast I moved on.

“Sir, you can’t smoke in here.”

I have no memory of the rest of my journey to the hotel. I was just suddenly there in the lobby. I had no shoes, no wallet and I reeked of fear-sweat and urine. A lit cigarette dangled from my lip. I tossed the butt outside and approached the counter with clenched teeth.

“Hi, I’m a guest here and I lost my wallet and my key card. I’m diabetic (okay fuck honesty) and I’m going into an insulin crash…I need to get into my room so I can take my medicine.”

The poor woman looked me up and down, unsure of what to make of me or what to do. In my head I sounded like Bobcat Goldthwait. It seemed like an eternity. People were starting to stare and for the first time I noticed the soles of my feet were black and bloody.

“Mr. Hall! I got you, come with me, please.”

A voice of salvation was speaking to me from heaven. The clerk who checked me in, as it turned out, recognized me and took pity. I’ve never been so relieved. I entered my hotel room and flopped on the bed. Somehow I still had my phone. I texted my producer.

“Accidentally smoked PCP. Please bring a case of beer and a sandwich to my hotel room.”

I took a cold, 30 minute shower. I drank as much beer as I could to normalize the effect of the PCP.

I was back down at Deathfest by about 7pm.

I caught Asphyx perform their first show in the USA. Some teenagers had managed to climb up onto the highway overpass to watch. That felt right. 

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