What sort of twisted hall of fame is North Carolina cloaking from the rest of the world? Bad Brains, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Confessor, Corrosion Of Conformity, D.O.A., Fear, Fugazi, GG Allin, Husker Du, Lunachicks, Minor Threat, Mission Of Burma, Motorhead, Neurosis, Nirvana, Screeching Weasel, Sleep, Texas Is The Reason, The Dead Boys, The Exploited, The Go-Go's, The Professionals, The Replacements...Also Bo Diddley and Melissa Etheridge not to mention Prong, REM, and Sunny Day Real Estate. It's just an excerpt from the long list of bands who have charmed crusty drunkards at the Milestone.
Lots of indie rock bands go bald and then break up, but not so for Love as Laughter. They've been around forever and have been pretty active since their last record, Holy, came out in September. Sam Jayne is my roommate, so when they started a tour a few weeks ago I got to be roadie, merch girl, tambourine player, backup vocalist, designated driver, and tour manager-in-training. I fucking earned that $20 per diem!
Near the end of the tour we were exhausted. We'd eaten lots of BBQ pork and had all our clothing stolen. Our second-to-last night was in Charlotte, and since it was someone in the band's birthday our first stop was a strip club. After a few facefuls of titties, we loaded in at the Milestone.
The Milestone is your classic shithole bar that smells like spilled whiskey, stale cigarettes, and fresh motor oil, the latter most likely due to the array of motorcycles on display for sale in a corner by the bar. Andy the Doorbum (it's an official title) took it upon himself to give us a walking tour of the graffiti adorning this slice of punk history.
Originally opened in 1969, the Milestone soon earned a well-deserved reputation for being the spot in Charlotte for underground music and danger. It got so gnarly that it was closed down for several years in 1998 because the drugs and fighting got out of hand. It ceased being a place to see music and turned into a spot to cop dope. Reopened in 2004 and lovingly managed by former patrons, The Milestone is a relic of the old days. Every nook and cranny is covered with graffiti. Some by bands, some by fans. Peel away the layers on a column and you'll see an original Black Flag sticker. Look up at the ceiling and you'll see the Flipper logo. Two of the uber stoner rock nerds on tour jizzed themselves when they saw the Sleep graffiti on a doorframe. It's a little hard to tell what might be real and what might not, but I'd rather just stay a believer.
This place had about four Bad Brains tags plus a tag talking shit about Bad Brains. I don't know which side I like better.
The dude on the left is Andy the Doorbum. He takes more pride in his job than any doorbum I've ever met. In addition to having a legitimately awesome beard, he also plays weird dirty country music under the name of Andy the Doorbum.
So GG Allin was there. According to the website of the Milestone he just did a soundcheck, but he also tagged the ceiling. That's closer to him than most of us will ever get.
Andy the Doorbum told us that Johnny Ramone sprayed this himself.
You may get lucky and score old show posters from the vault. The staff gave us a bunch of beautifully printed High on Fire posters when they saw how nerdy a few of the dudes on tour were about the Sleep graffiti.
OK, so PiL probably didn't play here.
But the Mentors fucking did.
The moral of this is, if you are ever in Charlotte, go to the fucking Milestone. You may play for a crowd of four drunks (apparently the fetish party down the street proved too stiff of competition for us, according to the staff) but goddamnit, they'll be enthusiastic, grateful ones. And you'll be forever thankful, especially if you spend your stay there poking around the back rooms trying to find the remnants of the idols that passed literally through the doorway.