Dimebag Darrell: Taco Hell
>>> Kiss build to a final crescendo. Peter croons “Beth,” the second of three encores, triggering a loud ovation from the delirious crowd. But it was the danceable “I Was Made for Lovin’ You,” played earlier in the show, that scored a direct hit with this city where disco never really died. The show ends with Kiss wrapping things up with “Rock and Roll All Nite” amid a Fourth of July display of fireworks, near-miss explosions and the retooled lyric “you drive us wild, we’ll drive you lo-co!” Darrell spills his drink.
The musicians who still have their hearing and the use of their limbs return to the dressing room. “Now it’s time to do some serious drinkin’,” smiles Darrell, and everyone jams into the vans heading back to the hotel. The night finally cools down, but livers are just getting warmed up.
>>> Mexico’s Hard Rock Cafe is not unlike any of the other Hard Rock Cafes around the world, the only real difference being that there’s a giant album cover of Paul McCartney and Wings’ London Town hanging above the fireplace instead of in it.
An autographed bass guitar donated by Sting that is mounted on a wall right next to the kitchen is badly marred, a victim of the swinging doors that bash into it every time a steaming burger it hustled out to a waiting table. Though the employees speak little English, they all recognize the international “drinky drinky” motion and quickly fetch platters of Coronas and shots of Jack Daniel’s and tequila for our table. The party goes into overdrive when Darrell, seeking to emulate his rock idols, swallows a mouthful of rum, lights a napkin, and blows a near-perfect “Gene flame” in the crowded room, spattering Linda McCartney’s face with alcohol and singeing some Wings memorabilia in the process.
>>> Gene and Ace stroll into the packed restaurant, nearly causing a riot. Gene, spotting the same gorgeous girl he leered at from the stage all night long, corners the lass. All eyes humbly watch the master go to work.
“Ace, dude—pull up a chair,” invites Darrell. Frehley seats himself between Darrell and this Guitar World correspondent, who is busy trying to keep from hurling up the several gallons of whiskey, tequilla and beer he’s recently consumed. The smell of smoldering nachos and chicken wings wafting up from the table is helping things along nicely.
>>> Dozens of locals crowd around the glass doors, no doubt impressed with their first glimpse of live, drunk rock stars up close and personal. Waiters are sweating to keep up with Darrell’s orders. “Hey, man, another round...get on it, son!” In a toxic alcoholic haze, I end up staring at the back of Ace Frehley’s head as he talks shop with Darrell.
The back of Ace’s head is no different from anyone else’s head, except that it’s Ace’s head. And where Ace goes, so does his head, presumably. There are so many things I want to ask the back of Ace’s head, but my lips feel like two pieces of bologna slapping together. Rex, sharing my plight, just shrugs and drinks another shot. Ace, a confirmed teetotaler, gulps down glass after glass of ginger ale (“It’s time to leave and get another quart...”) and spoons his way through several strawberry sundaes.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear Ace— his speech slurred, his eyes half closed—was getting drunk on ice cream. “Hey, Ace—how do you get that tone on the intro to ‘King of the Night Time World’?” asks Darrell.
>>> The restaurant manager enters the room bearing gifts—denim Hard Rock Cafe jackets, leather vests and T-shirts for all. Ace tries on several coats until he finds one that fits. Menus and cocktail napkins are passed around for autographs. Seizing the moment, Darrell corrals Ace into posing for a photo with him. “In case you haven’t seen it in a while...” Darrell lifts his shirt to reveal a colorful tattoo of Ace Frehley on his chest. Visibly impressed, Ace smiles and wipes some ice cream from his face.
“Hey, Gene—man, you guys rocked tonight!” gushes Darrell as everyone prepares to leave. Gene smiles, leans over, and kisses Darrell on the forehead. That’s about as much as Gene will get tonight: the young girl he’d been hitting on for the past several hours had to leave; she has to get up early for junior high school tomorrow.
>>> The restaurant has been closed for hours, but Pantera keeps ordering more drinks. Only when the bartender brings the tab does everyone decide to pack it in for the night. The bill comes to a whopping 4,100 pesos, and those who are able to stand without assistance make for the door without paying. Sykes hands a giant wad of currency to the waiter.
The kid looks like someone just kicked his pet burro. For all the high-rolling, Pantera and Kiss have stiffed him for a tip. Guitar World to the rescue. “Here,” I say, offering every bit of cash left in my pocket. The waiter gives me a funny look and walks away, no doubt unable to express his thanks for the handsome $6 gratuity.
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