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Scrawled on a crumpled sheet of paper, barely legible: "Tim, John, Misha, I can't do this anymore..."

































"They were rooting for us, it was amazing. They were pulling for the underdog."

mossback.jpg (20886 bytes)

And then there were two...

Men of Porn finally made it to Omaha to a rousing crowd of about 100 at The Junction March 28.

Unfortunately half the band was missing in action. Lead Pornster Tim Moss and guitarist John Wolf explained how the band fell apart in St. Louis, about a week prior to the Omaha show, and how they managed to continue playing the tour until they reached Omaha.

"Our drummer was kind of a head case," Moss said of Brian Pollard, a fill-in drummer who had been recommended for the tour by bass player Misha Avrushenko. "He takes medication, which we didn't know, and he was kind of weird. He was okay for the first few days, but the rest of the tour he hung out in that back corner of the loft." Moss pointed at a nook in the very back upper corner of the band's storage truck.

"We had just finished playing the St. Louis show and I went into the bar to settle up, when Misha came back with a note that Pollard had left on the front seat of the truck."

Scrawled on a crumpled sheet of paper, barely legible: "Tim, John, Misha, I can't do this anymore. I'm going to see a shrink this week because my head's a fucking mess. I swear to god almighty nothing's personal. I'm truly sorry."

The three went back into the bar to figure out what to do next. Members of Lost Goat, who had been touring with Men of Porn, offered to fill in, when suddenly Avrushenko also decided he'd had enough. His motives were never clear -- maybe he missed his girlfriend or he was tired of being on the road -- regardless, he was through with the tour.

"We took Misha back to his parents' house and threw out the options again, even asked him to sleep on it. He wouldn't do it. He'll pulled out his cabinet and that was it," Wolf said.

It was a shock to Moss, who has played with the 27-year-old Avrushenko for two years. "He said the tour wasn't good," Moss said. "He said when he saw the note that it put the nail in the coffin of his musical career."

What did the band do next? Naturally they found a strip bar and proceeded to get loaded, Moss said. Erica Stoltz, Lost Goat's bass player, volunteered to step in, along with Lost Goat roadie and merchandise man John Michaels on drums. It meant learning Men of Porn's songs as they went. Michaels hadn't even been behind a drum set in a year.

Before the Chicago show, Moss announced that two members of the band overdosed the night before and that Stoltz and Michaels were filling in. The announcement immediately turned the crowd in their favor. "They were rooting for us, it was amazing," Wolf said. "They were pulling for the underdog and we ended up selling over $100 in merchandise."

The makeshift line-up and the OD cover story worked for the remainder of the tour. For Omaha, original Ritual Device bassist Jerry Hug and drummer Jeff Heater filled in for part of the set, eventually switching with Stoltz and Michaels.

The Junction show was classic Porn. The band took the stage after heavy sets by Omaha's Ravine and Lost Goat. A crowd surrounded the stage as Men of Porn ripped off a set of its typical thick-as-sludge rock songs, most of which were off their American Style CD. Sitting in the back, behind the throngs near the pool tables, were Moss' mom, stepfather and grandpa.

The Omaha show would end up being the last stop on the tour. Since it was Lost Goat's last scheduled show, Men of Porn had no one to fill in for shows scheduled for Denver, Portland and Seattle. All were canceled.

Moss said word quickly spread back to San Francisco and friends in other bands have volunteered to help out when he reenters the studio and for an April 6 bay area show. Wolf said the tour ended up being a success, despite the awkward situation. "We did the best we could," he said. "In the end, it wasn't a turn for the worse, it was a turn for the better, especially in the long run. It was real rock-and-roll for sure."

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Published in Omaha Weekly April 6, 2000. Copyright 2000 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


































"He said when he saw the note that it put the nail in the coffin of his musical career."