Chris Cote toured with Green Day and has the branding on his ass to prove it.
"It's pretty visible still," the singer/bassist of San Diego's Kut U Up said of his Pop Disaster Tour memento (see "Blink-182 Whip Out The 'Tommy Lee' In Attempt To Beat Green Day At Tour Launch"). "It's not bubbled up like a frat-boy branding. I took pretty good care of it."
As a sort of initiation ritual but more just out of boredom, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong branded Cote with a billiards bridge heated by cigarette lighters. The act was caught on camera and is among several comical scenes in "Riding in Vans With Boys," a documentary executive produced by Blink-182's Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus released this week on DVD.
"I've seen the movie a couple of times and I think it's pretty funny," Cote said. "I don't really regret anything. I mean, at first, I was like, 'Damn, why did I brand my ass?' But now I'm like, 'That's a really good story.' And now Billie kind of owes me for life. He's supposed to get a Chris Cote tattoo, but he never did."
"Riding in Vans With Boys" is the brainchild of DeLonge and Hoppus, longtime friends of Kut U Up who were coincidentally looking for a project to launch their Resting Bird Entertainment production company.
"The guys are so funny and charismatic and they get into situations by the nature of their characters," Hoppus said in a statement. "We were just talking about how funny it would be to have a camera follow them around and then we were talking about the tour and then the two kind of merged."
With Pop Disaster around the corner, DeLonge and Hoppus set it up so Kut U Up could perform in parking lots throughout the tour. They enlisted Matt Beauchesne, who worked on the Blink-182 DVD "The Urethra Chronicles Vol. II: Harder Faster Faster Harder," to direct.
"We were gonna be on the tour for two weeks and over time we realized like, 'F--- it, let's go on this whole tour and try to do something really cool and see what transpires,' " Beauchesne said. "I came home and we had 400-plus hours of footage and we really found the movie in that footage, which was cool."
It took Beauchesne and editor Jeffrey Motyll three months to go through the tapes and another 13 or so to edit them together. "There was footage I saw that I didn't even know
was shot," said the director, who is also friends with Kut U Up.
Constantly shooting Kut U Up meant Beauchesne often found himself in harm's way, like when the bands were hitting golf balls full swing in a small brick room. "A golf ball to the forehead would definitely do it, but at that point I don't think we were thinking about it," he said.
"Riding in Vans With Boys" also features DeLonge's "marriage" in a Las Vegas chapel, complete with drunken band members with markered on moustaches and fake French accents.
The documentary is not all dressing-room food fights and groupie nudity, however. Along with performances from Blink-182, Green Day, Jimmy Eat World and, of course, Kut U Up, the movie is a social experiment that shows exactly what would happen if an average Joe band spent two months with two of the biggest groups in rock.
"I think it's a true representation of what it's like to go on tour for the first time," Hoppus said. "I think you learn through Kut U Up how much fun it is, how much hard work it is and how amazing it is all at the same time. It's a window into what life on tour is really all about."
Resting Bird Entertainment is already talking about making a sequel and is even meeting with producers about a TV version of "Riding in Vans With Boys."
Cote is in for either.
"The interesting thing would be to see what happens after this comes out, to see if we can use this opportunity to do something more," he said. "And also we're a lot better now than you see in the movie. In the movie we were awful."