Every rock musician who picks up a guitar or set of drumsticks dreams of sharing a stage with their idols. Very few musicians and bands ever get that opportunity.
But Owensboro’s Factory Damage have had a little more success than the average band; over the past seven years, the band has played shows with major-label metal bands such as Exodus, Powerman 5,000, Warbringer and Malevolent Creation.
On Jan. 29, Factory Damage will play the last show of the band’s career in Louisville when they open for thrash metal legends Anthrax at Expo Five.
“For me, it’s a dream come true,” said band guitarist Ed Young. “If you had said to me when we started this band seven years ago we would be opening for Anthrax, I would have said, ‘you’re dreaming.’ ”
Life in a local band anywhere is difficult — there aren’t any lavish backstage parties, tour buses or bowls of M&Ms with all the brown ones picked out for aspiring garage bands. Instead, hungry local bands can look forward to loading and unloading their own gear, traveling in cramped, overloaded vans and constantly scrambling to find gigs.
“Opening for Warbringer, we saw them pull up in a cargo van (instead of a tour bus),” Young said. “Right then I realized, ‘this is a whole lot harder than anyone thinks.’ ”
Young said the constant search for new shows to play wore the band thin over time. “There’s no metal scene” in Owensboro, Young said. Most local bars require bands to play cover songs.
The band decided to call it quits in September. “It didn’t end on a bad note,” vocalist Chris Hedges said. “We needed time for our families. The stress and hassle of trying to constantly book shows took a toll on all of us.”
“We’re not teenagers,” Young said. “We’ve all got jobs. My kids are getting older, and I don’t want to miss any of it.”
The band was scheduled to play its last show in Louisville opening for Down — a supergroup of sorts containing former Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo and members of Crowbar and Corrosion of Conformity. But life intervened and Factory Damage had to bow out of the gig.
But the band didn’t want to end their career on a low note. So, when Young learned the Louisville music promoter Terry Harper had booked Anthrax, Testament and Death Angel to play Expo Five, he asked Harper if the band could join the bill.
“Terry was really understanding” when the band dropped off the Down show, Young said. “When I saw Anthrax pop up on his website, I had to ask him, because Anthrax was a huge influence on me.
“Terry has been really great for this band,” Young said. “I guess he likes us.”
Getting ready for the show has been a challenge. Some members of the band, such as longtime drummer Scott Doughty, are unable to perform because of work. To fill out the bill, the Young and Hedges recruited a drummer and bassist from other local bands.
“They’re picking up (the songs) really quickly,” Hedges said.
“We’re practicing pretty much nonstop,” Young said.
Although the band is retiring from music for now, there’s always the possibility of getting back together in the future, Hedges said. But, if not, the band is calling it quits with no regrets.
“We’ve had a lot of fun doing it,” Young said. “There have been more good times than bad.”
“It’s almost cliché … but when you get out on the stage, all the stress (of life) is gone,” Hedges said. “The show hits, and it’s awesome.”
“It’s a whole other world when you get out there (on stage), whether it’s 20 people or 500,” Young said.
Anthrax, Testament, Death Angel, Factory Damage, Stonecutters, Overload and Maltese Cross will perform at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 29 at Expo Five in Louisville. Tickets are $25. Factory Damage is selling tickets to the show; for tickets, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.ticketweb.com.