Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Last weekend I was sat at Helsinki Airport, nursing an arse of a hangover, waiting to board a flight home to Stockholm. We'd played the Tuska Festival the night before and it being the last Victims show for a while, the night had been a wet one.
To compound the cack feeling ravaging my body, but also to put it into perspective, I received a text message from Gordon Speedhorn that brought with it some tragic news. Our old touring buddy Jamie “Jammer” Airns had passed away.
Now anyone who knew Jammer would attest to the fact that he was a BIG man. My immediate, natural reaction,apart from one of shock, was to ask if it was a heart attack. It wasn't. He'd died due to injuries sustained from a car wreck. The rumours are that a lorry had jack-knifed into his car. For some reason, that just seemed to make things even worse. That life canend so fucking suddenly, so violently. But then again, maybe it was better to go that way, if it spared him any suffering. Jammer never came to after the wreck so I guess we'll never know. One can only hope that it was so.
I first met Jammer when Speedhorn toured with his band, Medulla Nocte. It was one of Speedhorn's first nationwide tours. The shows weren't always greatly attended but fuck did we have a blast! I'd first seen Jammer in action when the Nocte played Channel 2 in Corby, and like I say, he was a big man and it was hard not to notice him. The stage in Channel 2 was pretty small and that night they just built the drum kit around him as he sat on his stool, and there he sat until the show was over. The amazing thing about Jammer is that despite his size, he could trash the fuck out of his kit for hours on end. He was a hell of a hitter.
During the Speedhorn/Nocte tour we became good friends, all of us did. Our paths crossed countless times since then, notably when the guys started Murder One and John Speedhorn took over from the late, great Johnny Morrow on vocals. Just writing that makes me realise how fucked up it is that two of the original five from Murder One have now left us... It's hard to believe that Johnny has already been gone so long.
I have some great memories of that tour we went out on back in 2000 or whenever it was, and a couple of them make me smile to this day. I remember the show in Chelmsford when, after a string of poorly attended gigs, we finally thought we were onto a good night when an hour before doors, the car park outside the pub was already full of metallers, seemingly waiting to come into our show. “More fucking like it boys, should be a tidy show tonight!” Jammer and the Nocte guys always said “tidy”, it used to crack us up. Low and fucking behold though, by the time we'd finished sound checking, a big coach turns up and whisks the crowd away. It turns out they were all off to a gig in London to watch a big local band who had a gig there. Gutted for a moment, my gaze immediately caught Jammer, who was sat there with a big smile across his face. He could see the humour in it. That taught me a lot right there and then. We ended up salvaging that night by giving John Speedhorn a Mr. T hair cut, using gaffer tape to make a template to shave around.. John thought it was funny until the hair clippers ran out of battery and he had to walk around for a few hours looking like a right knob whilst the battery charged. I think that's how it happened anyway.. He had the do for a few hours in any case..
Another night we were in Yeovil, and being the young tearaway's that we were, someone had invited some girls backstage. Everyone was pretty drunk and sure enough before long the letches were out in full force. We were stood hanging out with this one girl when for some unknown reason, she suddenly flashes us her left tit. We all stand there shocked for a split second, but like a fucking flash out of the blue, Jammer has appeared beside her and has his lips around her nipple! She of course screams, “Ergh get off me ya dirty bastard!”. Jammer just stood there smiling, looking like a cheeky puppy, totally chuffed with himself. We all pissed ourselves laughing, as did the girl in fairness to her.
My favourite memory of Jammer though has to be at a show in Brighton, at the infamous Free Butt pub. We had so many good shows at that tiny venue down the years and the show with Nocte was one of the best. It only took about seventy people to pack it out and this night there must have been one hundred in there. Anyway, there was this sofa that was parked up against the back wall of the venue and on this particular occasion, Frank Speedhorn was sat there drinking a beer and doing his best, as usual, to take the piss out of everyone around him. Jammer walked by him and said something to him, taking the piss back no doubt, Frank then retorts with something along the lines of, “Shut it ya big bastit!”, all in good spirits of course. Jammer stops in his tracks, turns around and then parks his arse on him. You could barely see Frank, you could only hear him wheezing for air as Jammer sat on him, laughing his tits off.
I'm gutted to hear that he's gone. I'm gutted for his best mate, Cat, who played with him for so many years in both Nocte and Murder One. They really were like brothers, and they fought as much as they laughed with each other, but like brothers, they were always there for each other. When I think of Jammer, I will always think of him sat on top of Regan with that cheeky schoolboy grin spread widely across his face.
Rest in Peace Big Man.