Darin Wall was only in America for five years before he took a bullet for metal. 

The Canadian transplant, who currently plays bass with Seattle-based Greyhawk, tackled an armed assailant as a crowd made its way out of the band's show in Boise, Idaho in the fall of 2021. He suffered a gunshot wound to the leg and, being the middle of COVID in the middle of Idaho, the hospital didn’t even have morphine when he arrived. 

It was one hell of a way to spend his 41st birthday. 

By January 2022, he was back up onstage and finishing the tour, upon Dave Grohl’s custom throne, no less. Yeah, he's kind of a superhuman. And totally worth getting on a ferry to chat with. 

Getting up and the crack of dawn to boat over to Bremerton called for a special wake-and-bake edition of Stoned & Starving and also required an exceptional weed and food pairing. Fortunately, Bremerton is poppin' right now. There is sanctioned public graffiti and resale shops filled with vintage, faux Chanel, and we easily found both breakfast and bud that went above and beyond right across the Manette bridge.

Saboteur's magic. Ma'Chell Duma

Saboteur is a daily limited-run patisserie in the most nondescript space you could imagine. Wall found it the old-fashioned way, without the internet and by spotting the long line out the door. 

If you were to use the internet in your search for “amazing pastry Bremerton,” you’d find Saboteur is a hero in disguise, a Michelin-starred super-bakery in a Clark Kent location. Everything about the pastry at Saboteur is superior. The savory ham and cheese croissant boasts a piquant gruyere, salty ham, and layers and layers and layers of flaky goodness with that distinctive, shimmering lacquer that indicates just how much butter each slender ply holds. 

The bakery’s sweet brioche is light without giving up any structure and seems mostly sweetened after the bake, with both crackled sugar and giant crystallized lumps that let you experience each as a different texture. The filling lets the fruit do the talking and the pastry cream gives high-quality freshness without either leaning on sweetness.

“Being a chef for so long, one of the things I appreciate about places when I go out to eat is the craftsmanship,” Wall told me as we prepared to dig into our makeshift picnic on the Bremerton waterfront. “This is a lot of effort, and a lot of care, a lot of attention to detail, and a lot of training.”

You might be wondering how these could taste any better. Well, right across the street you’ll find Buddeez, a tiny weed shop with a nicely stocked selection, a super sweet staff, and a jackpot location. 

I’m a frequent smoker but I’m also someone’s mother. I don’t need to smoke on things that require a mini blow torch—dabs aren't my bag. But there, buried deep in the Budeez’s pre-roll menu, I found an intriguing alternative, Dank Czar Rosin Rolls, which are dap strong but embedded in a pre-roll. It required refrigerated storage and had a timed smoking/shelf life, but promised a superior buzz. Like Wall, Dank Czar pre-rolls have a Marvel-esque origin story, too. They use a specialized, heat press extraction method that makes the concentrate’s trichomes sing. It is also chemical-free and solventless, requiring that refrigeration for maximum freshness. Wall found the bud and rosin “mellow and smooth with gassy notes and citrus combined with sweetness.” I could really tell there were no chemicals in the joint’s flavor, making it one of the cleanest concentrates I’ve ever smoked.

We imbibed at about 9 am and by 9:30 I was losing my phone, train of thought, and general professionalism. I was high in a way I haven't been since moving to Seattle and discovering quality weed 20 years ago. I spent almost two hours in a Bremerton park getting it together to make the ferry home. Dank Czar is heavy-duty and exactly what we needed before we got into a heavy conversation, jacked on pastry and premium smoke. 

Recently, on Twitter, someone floated the question that at some point every American will unfortunately have to ask: “Who pays your medical bill if you are the victim of an active shooter?” The answer is the State where the tragedy happened, in Wall’s case Idaho, via the Victims Defense Fund.

“The bass players of Seattle stepped up,” Wall recounted. Both Krist Novoselic and Jeff Ament gave generously to Wall’s recovery. In the media frenzy following the event, he jokingly told a radio host he’d finish the tour “on Dave Grohl’s throne,” referring to the Game of Thrones-esque guitar-laden throne the musician used when touring on a broken leg in 2015.

Listeners took it seriously, and through a game of rock ‘n’ roll telephone, Wall ended up getting a call from Grohl, who happened to be backstage at the VMAs. They talked for a long time about the shooting, music, and Grohl’s post-Nirvana metal project Probot. The throne was delivered shortly thereafter and made its Spinal Tap-y debut on the stage at El Corazon.

The two met in person at the opening of Climate Pledge Arena, where Grohl's band deflowered the brand new venue and Wall had helped with the fire security system. It was then the throne was returned. 

Wall’s been a chef, excels at homebrewing, and works in fire safety, but this year, music is foremost of all his endeavors.

“Greyhawk has a very busy year— we have three more festivals to play this year (Armstrong MetalFest, Mad with Power, and LA’s Gates of Metal) as well as some PNW shows, and we plan on recording another full-length album. All the while, I have a secret power-metal project I’m working on with some heavy hitters I know internationally. We hope to reveal that this summer and release an album next year. I’ve also reconnected with my old stoner rock band in Canada and we hope to release a couple singles this year and take it from there.”

The shooter’s trial recently concluded (though an appeal is scheduled) and Wall is ready to move on with life and art. 

“I’m glad it’s done, I’m glad everyone was okay, and no one died. That’s the best you can hope for in that situation.”

Saboteur Bakery is at 2110 E 11th St in Bremerton. They're on Instagram at @saboteurbakery.

You can follow Greyhawk on Instagram at @greyhawkmetal and get their records on Bandcamp.