Sunday, 18 October 2009
It’s snowing! This time last week we were just setting out on tour, driving to Dover and now we are deep in the North of Finland and it’s fucking snowing! Not a bad way to start your Monday all in all. Wake up in a motor home with your clan, outside the venue you rocked last night, get ready and drive off through Finland to do it all again! Hell yeah that’s how we roll fuckers!
Then I fall asleep again, and when I wake, no more snow. Fuck. Snooze you lose. I stay in ‘bed’ drifting in and out of consciousness till I finally pull my lazy arse self up and get in to a fit state to clean up in yet another service station wash room. Get this, Lyall and me only go and spot a Moomin comic hidden amongst all the other crap on the magazine shelves. A genuine Finnish Moomin comic!
Back on the road, we enjoy the last of the Finnish scenery before driving through in to Sweden where suddenly it’s all doom and gloom and dead babies everywhere. Jokes blood, it looks the same as Finland did!
Lyall, Ben and me pull over and get out to take pictures of lakes ‘cause we’re well gay for tourist snaps and then scurry back in quick cause it’s fooking freezing.
Sweden is pretty fucking rad so far, and once again, just as I start to drift off, we reach the venue. We are an hour early to when they let us in so again, Lyall, Ben and me take ourselves off on a wander so we can get some fresh air and stretch our legs. Take in the sights and generally not be cooped up in the motor home. We bumped in to Victor from Entombed and he’s up for coming for a run with me, which is cool cause the lack of exercise is doing my head in.
L.G had stuck his head in the driver’s window when we pulled up and had asked us for a ciggie, still not on top of that whole quit smoking thing huh. He points which way we should go for a wander and once parked that’s just what we do.
Mike just died.
I was in the middle of writing this in the dressing room when….I don’t know how to write this yet.
We are going home.
Mastodon’s ‘Crack the sky’ album is playing through the ipod. We are somewhere in Sweden, making our way from pretty far north back down again.
I keep drifting in and out of napping dozes. Last time I was awake, less than an hour ago, there was no music. I don’t know if that was because we weren’t ready for music. To have an artist propel us in to their story. To be suggested how to feel, what to think about.
None of us know how to feel or what to think about and at the same time we are feeling so much and thinking about everything.
This motor home, this small and claustrophobic space feels so unbearably empty. Stiflingly heavy. The silence will not quieten down so that you can hear yourself think. So you can try and attempt to register what the fuck has happened. But maybe that’s a good thing for now. Maybe that’s your head not letting you compute because it knows that you can’t handle the conclusion.
And so the numbness is bombed repeatedly by raw emotions, and these bombed repeatedly with numbness throughout every waking hour. Waves of awareness at what has happened hit you and you can see it in each persons eyes. Raw and red. Stinging from tears and insomnia and emotion and pain and shock.
This motor home feels like it’s stuck in this one time. Like we have been reliving this day for weeks. The same roads that led us through spectacular scenery a mere week ago now seem monotonous and never ending. This journey home where none of look like we want to go anyway.
Nine hours of this. Lyall drove us through nine hours like this. The first part was the worst. The burning absolute fucking agonising pain of leaving Mike behind. Trying to control the tears but they run free when they please. Everyone is exhausted. Just gone midnight we pull in to a service station to sleep. The absolute emotional exhaustion is a blanket over the whole motor home.
Wednesday. I think it’s Wednesday. The tour seems a million miles away. A million years away. There’s a gentle, subdued and eerie calm about us today. Texts are coming through but I’m loathed to pass on messages of condolence. No one has talked much yet. Mike and thoughts of Mike are being kept within each of us individually.
It’s like we need respite for a bit, ‘cause we know that if we vocalise anything to do with Mike, the rawness will come screaming back. There is an elephant in the motor home and no one is willing to point it out. Nobody needs to.
Two films, two books, god knows how many albums and a worryingly in depth and intense discussion over beer about tea and how to make the perfect cuppa, gets us through the day. We have made it to Denmark. Lyall drove us a further 11 hours away from the pain.
We have reminisced about mike. At some point today that became O.K. With trepidation. By the end there is laughter following silly stories about good times with Mike. We are massively relieved and at the same time pained to get on the ferry and leave Sweden. We stand on the deck and watch it disappear and say goodbye to him.
I get news from Victor that two major Swedish newspapers have covered it. The headline for one is ‘Rock star dies on tour’. He is going to keep it for us so that we can pass it on to his family. Word has come through of all the coverage, that a fund has been set up. I feel like this helps in some small way.
Tonight we will spend in a trucker’s lay by. I would usually say that it’s a perfect location for a horror movie but we are already in one.
We are nearly home now. In Holland. I can’t wait to get out of this fucking motor home and at the same time I can’t face the daunting task of being at home. Apart from knowing that the wound that we have done our best to dress while it heals, will be ripped and torn opened again when we have to face the reality of normal life and everyone in it, where as so far we have been cocooned together away from all that, there’s also the mammoth task that I for one am in no state to handle. I left everything I had in London frozen, safe in the knowledge that I’d be gone for a couple of months. Now what?
The guys feel like they have lost a limb that they can never get back. I feel like I’ve had my insides ripped out and stuffed back in and nothing sits right. How can anything else matter? How can anything else possibly matter right now?
Of course Mike can answer that. He already has. Mike died out on the road. On tour doing something he loved.
Mike and me were chatting earlier in the week about touring and how you cannot describe it to people who haven’t experienced it. We were banging on about how much we love going on tour, how much we love being on tour.
Mike didn’t die on the sofa, in front of the T.V watching some one else’s life playing out while talking about what he wants to do, what he’s going to do. He died while he was experiencing his own adventure. He was out there, chasing his dreams, he knew that they won’t come to you while you waste your life away doing nothing about them.
What happened to Mike could’ve happened to him while he was at home doing nothing. But he wasn’t. He was about to play a rocking fucking gig, on a European tour with his band, his mates, his brothers and he was living his dream.
I guess what I mean is that you don’t know when your time is going to be up, and I for one am going to do my damnedest to make sure that I’m as rocking as Mike when it’s my turn. As cruel as it sounds people, tick tock, tick tock.
We just reached Dover. God I wished it was the 24th of November and there was six of us.
R.IP. Mike. x
And….we’re back people. Not gonna lie, just had a bit of a gathering round our gaff, the ol’ motor home with some of the crew and Entombed guys. Just how we roll…what!?
Tonight fucking rocked. Yes sir it surely did. Bad side though, I think I have a bit of a crush on some one on this tour and that’s a big ol’ fat no NO! Good luck me with that one eh.
Sold enough, drank enough, head banged enough, chatted enough….and so on and so forth. As I said, tonight was fucking A. Last night in Finland, land of the Moomins too, so I’m glad it was able to leave an impression, lord knows last night was wank.
The drive to the venue had been particularly mundane. No snow, just rain. There had been lovely snowy vistas apparently but it was proper early and I had still been asleep. Fail.
You know the score by now right? Service station stop, shit, shower ( baby wipes ) brush teeth and coffee. Thing is, the washrooms in Finland are badass. The toilet cubicles have little showers in them, they are always clean and that’s because people seem to look after their facilities better than us Brits. Bit more respect for each other. I have been trying to remember not to litter, to put my fag ends in the ashtrays outside and that, cause that is what people do here. It’s dead odd.
Also, I’m doing well on the ol’ food intake so far. It’s really easy when you’re on the road to eat utter shit all the time. Especially if you’re with men. They can, for the most part eat whatever they want, faster metabolisms, us girls cannot keep up with this if we don’t want to get all wobbly fat fucker on ourselves with volcano’s all over our faces.
Worryingly enough, I’m actually eating better on this tour than I do at home. I eat a couple of pieces of fruit a day, always found backstage, which I cannot afford at home. A proper meal at night, at home I get something worse cause I’m working at the pub so it’s shit from Sainsbury’s or some other crap dependent on how I’ve done on tips. Other than that it’s nuts and ham sandwiches. Sometimes crisp sandwiches. Score. I reckon if it wasn’t for my obscene alcohol intake every night, I’d definitely be losing weight on this tour!
The venue tonight is in Oulu, and in our tour book, it has the biggest capacity. 2500. It’s a massive warehouse type thing outside and when we walk in we are greeted by a fucking massive stage in a huge space. Wow. There’s a heavy, black curtain down the far end that cuts off the whole room. Behind that is another stage, the little runt brother of the big macho one. We will be playing on the runt one. Ouch. Apparently if it was a weekend night then the bigger stage would be getting used but Sundays are never busy enough.
It’s an early start tonight so rush rush time. I dump the merch stuff at the stand and go sit on the Evile equipment to finish writing up my blog, send emails and all the rest. The equipment keeps being taken from under me and soon I’m crossed legged on the floor with my laptop on a box in front. Dressing rooms give you cabin fever, and after the motor home I need space, lots of space. Tom, my merch buddy comes by and ruffles my head and says Hi to us all, I’m so chuffed I get to work with this dude every night.
We find our dressing room and once I’ve got my fucking writing out the way I head in there. I wrote on my own in the venue while Amon Amarth sound checked so I could concentrate, rather than get distracted in the dressing room pissing about with the guys.
I’m really running low on time now, I get dressed, make up on, hair brushed and shovel some food down in light speed time. The merch stand gets set up, we got more space tonight and it looks fucking sick. Evile are on the table again but actually it doesn’t matter, it looks great all laid out and I think it would get lost if it was up on the wall with the other two bands stuff.
Enough time for a quick smoke and sit down back stage in the loading area, where there are loads of old sofa’s against the walls running the length of the ramp while Evile finish up sound check and Bam….doors open time.
While I was setting up the last of the merch stand, the dude from Apocalyptica who plays the cello comes over and has a browse over the Evile stuff. He has been guest starring on the last three nights during the Amon Amarth set cause he was on one of they’re albums or something. He only fucking buys both albums! No shit, I was like I’m pretty sure you can just have them, and he was like I’m pretty sure I should pay for them though and I was like your call dude. What a fucking legend!. The guys were proper stoked.
So, I have already sold by the time the first of the customers comes up. Good times. Olle, the drummer from Entombed, Victor the bassist and some one else who I’m mot sure of hang out for a while with us, getting a t-shirt for their mate and we cajole Victor in to doing a beer run for us. Poor Tom is parched over here. We laugh cause it looks like it went straight over his head. Bless him he only comes back with two beers a bit later on.
Allow me to introduce you to some one though. Miss Beer Nazi. Seems you can’t have alcohol near the front door or some fucking shit, Finnish policy. Ooh I think I smell a jobs worth. So Victor has to turn around and go back. Me and Tom are well bummed out. Fuck that bitch though man. ( The venue crew informs me later when I’m banging on about it that she’s actually a very nice girl. I’m sure she is but she was a fucking cock to us and needs to drop the ‘tude. You ain’t Demi Moore in G.I Jane love. I could kick you in to next week easily.)
Like I said though. Fuck that. I got Lyall to go back stage, empty some water bottles and fill them up with my Raspberry Vodka and lemonade and bring them over to us. Safe blood, Tom and me got wasted right in front of Miss Beer Nazi all night long, Ha!
We are selling more tonight. Lots of hooded sweats and beanie hats for Tom and L.P’s and all sorts for me. Me and Tom, of course are having the (your mum)* time our lives. Well not the time of our lives but we’re having quite a good fucking laugh.
The Evile boys get proper bummed out during their show, apparently the immediate audience were totally non moving, non reactionary which is weird cause for the rest of the night they are asked for a whole bunch of autographs and pictures. Go figure.
The gig is over and the packing up is under way. Everyone is chilled and cool, ‘cept Mike who is feeling ropey. I help pack up the merch stand with Tom, who has a much greater amount to do than me with my two boxes. Then I piss about. Yeah, just piss about really. Get a ride on the trolley off one of the venue crew and shenanigans of that sort.
I’m pretty fucking drunk I reckon. I’m inviting whoever I walk past back to the motor home for drinks and then completely forget and after mincing around outside having a ciggie with some of the crew, am quite shocked to open up the motor home door to find people in it!
We got Victor from Entombed, Steve the stage manager, the soundman Paul and Amon Amarth’ drum tech! Full house!
Drinks all round, we’re having a fucking blast. Stories are being spewed out left, right and centre. Just as we are about to continue with more drinks…… bus call. Can you Adam and fucking Eve it?! Jeez time flies when your having fun eh. The guys all hop off and over on to they’re bus and before you know it they are gone and it’s just us left. Ho hum.
*Ben wrote that. Let me explain. Not much to explain really but he has reminded me of something I have forgotten to add so far. Your mum jokes. All over the fucking shop on this tour. We are all over them like a rash. See what he did? I turn my back for 5 minutes and he’s written it on me blog the cheeky begger.
Sunday, 4 October 2009
When I wake up, the motor home is pulling in to a service station and I rake myself together and stumble out bleary eyed with the rest of the band. We slope off to the washrooms to clean up, brush teeth, baby wipe wash and the like. Top up on petrol, bread and ham and back on the road.
Finland is just so fucking beautiful toady. The sun is out even though is freezing and the scenery makes you sure a grizzly bear will scamper across the road at some point. Don’t think that will happen since it’s not bear Country but you still expect it. There are warning signs for Moose but we never spotted any. L.J from Entombed assures me we will definitely see reindeer at some point, and probably hit one. Errmm…nice.
The other bands are already at the venue by the time we pull up. It’s a massive hall that looks like a run down disused school in the middle of nowhere. We are feeling more and more like we are in Black Metal land.
The venue is fucking sweet, massive with a phat stage and loads of seating and tables dotted about the place. Members of bands and crew are scattered about doing their things and chilling out, killing time. It is split in to two parts with crowd barriers. One has the bar within its enclave and is for the adults, the other has the stage in it and is for anyone without a drink. All ages gig. Interesting set up.
I can’t help noting the set ups of the venues we visit cause I have worked in live music venues for years and am always intrigued to see how other places rock it. Bit of a fucking geeky thing to do but you never know when you might find a cracking idea you can take back home and claim as your own eh!
Victor, bassist from Entombed is walking in from his their bus when we arrive so hellos all round and he shows us in. Hello’s and hugs to the rest of the people we have gotten to know a bit so far and it’s straight down to the business of unloading all the gear.
Me and Tom, my merch buddy are at the other end of the hall to the stage. Looks like I’ll be getting table space only again tonight, no worries, it looked pretty sweet last night so I know I can do it.
Steve the stage manager is stage left fiddling with technical stuff and shows me wa blow with that. Amon Amarth have stage left and Entombed and Evile have stage right. He tells me where our dressing room is, also sharing with Entombed, poor lads!
First task, as always is getting online on the wi-fi and answering emails, sending reports and figures and writing to the familia to let them know I haven’t been gang raped yet, I’m in one piece and that all is well. I think we are all really aware that we are sharing with the mighty Entombed and so no one looks massively relaxed at first.
Our dressing room is up some precarious steel stairs stage left, fuck I bet I end up stacking it on these bad boys. The room has windows over looking the stage with curtains across. Later on I will be peeking through them watching a bit of Entombed without realising that the singer from Amon Amarth is next to me doing the same. We are still not chatting freely with the AA massive. They are the lions and we are the cubs type thing.
Entombed are fucking blinding blokes. Tonight I get a chance to chat with them a bit more and they are a proper laid back and easy going bunch.
Dinner is burrito’s or tortilla or cheeseburgers and chips. My burrito is the best one I’ve ever had, not a fan of Mexican food , find it too rich so probably this was a really shit one. Wash them down with a beer and sweet as a nut it’s wash time.
Seriously feeling like a right scum fuck toady. The shower has no door so I take over the whole locker room making sure everyone knows I’m in and that it’s out of bounds till I’m done. Matt is the nearest to it, pissing about on his guitar so I double check with him that he’ll make sure no one goes in. Victor lends me his hair band, the one bloody thing I forgot and I’m good to go.
That shower was like heaven. I did not ever want to leave it. Running short on time though so bish bash bosh it and crack on with making myself up so I don’t look and feel like I been living in a motor home for the past week.
Merch stand is set up pretty much the same as the night before, sound checks out the way and it’s doors open time. Bigger capacity tonight and after doing so well last night I’m feeling kinda cocky.
Fucking shouldn’t have. Check this out. I sold nothing for the first hour. I literally wanted to kill myself. I’m selling Entombed and Amon Amarth but no Evile. Finally after an eternity of pain, I start selling. By the end of the night I have nearly reached the labels target, thank fuck but I’m hoping and praying that this will be the worst sales night or we are screwed and I’m going to have to go on the game.
There are a whole lot of absolutely wasted Finns coming in and Tom my merch buddy is looking pretty strained too so there’s nowt else to do but pull out the vodka and beer. By the time Entombed come on stage we are both merry and taking the piss out of the idiot drunks who keep falling about the stand and trying to barter prices down.
I skive off the stand a whole bunch cause there is nothing to do, no one at it for huge periods of time, and go for smokes out the dressing room window, drink, watch the bands and check my emails, but generally skive, it’s just too depressing.
Evile leave the stage after they’re set to the crowd chanting ‘more more more’. Fuckin A. I get a lot of creepy drunk men asking me if I want to come have a drink with them, jeez, it’s like being behind the bar for fucks sake. I wouldn’t mind but they’re not fucking buying anything, just wasting my time. Buggers.
The staff there are fucking genius, and after all is packed up I hang around and smoke with them, people are so friendly when your out on the road and not from around their parts. Tonight we were very definitely in Black Metal land. As the kids walked past I wondered which ones have burnt down churches and have serial killer tendencies. Quite a fun game as it goes. I’m pretty sure I nailed it on a few of them.
Me and Tom have for sure bonded now. He is a fucking winner and I’m well chuffed I get to hang with him every night. My new drinking partner.
I got to chat with Alex form Entombed tonight for the first time too. The fucking coolest guy. We chatted about family and tattoo’s and travelling, he has this kind of quiet Shaolin monk vibe going on. All wise and knowing but with smiley eyes. He seems kinda unapproachable on meeting, but he is proper fucking laid back and helpful and totally has time for us Evile minions.
L.J is also a number one legend. He is just the fucking sweetest guy. Well chatty and friendly. He’s quitting smoking so isn’t buying them and now and again will pop up on the scrounge for one, all apologetic like. Funny as fuck. I got to meet the drummer too, who’s name I can’t spell, Ollu or Olli? Well funny guy. And Victor, although not reliable for a beer run, is the sweetest guy. Tom and me pull him up on his hair. It’s fucking long man! We are standing at the merch table deep in conversation about it for far too long before catching ourselves, laughing at how gay we are and shrugging it off with shuffling feet and drinks to mouths.
Basically a really cool group of mother fuckers, which is sweet cause all this can be a bit daunting.
It’s pissing it down with rain, I have no idea how all those people got there, and how the hell they all got home but its lights out and off to the motor home. Ol is already in bunk, Matt and Mike are making sarnies and Ben is stomping around cursing, trying to get his broke arse phone to work. Lyall is chatting away and all is as it should be as we get ourselves tucked in, gas heater on, ready for another much needed sleep, all be it cold before we do it all again tomorrow.
Saturday, 3 October 2009
A whole lot of fucking waiting around now folks. We all make the most of the free wi-fi but then that’s done and boring, there’s only so long you can stay on facefuck banging on about how you’re in Helsinki. I send my merch info and post my blogs from the last couple of days and generally just sit behind my laptop watching all the goings on. Oh and I’m drinking. Good times. Amon Amarth eating, Amon Amarth chatting, Amon Amarth watching DVD’s on their laptops. Entombed eating, Entombed chatting. Entombed watching DVD’s on their laptops.
Outside I had met a few more people, one of whom is Steve, the stage manager and guitar tech. Small world time, I know him from years back when I was a bouncer at The Devonshire Arms, and more recently the Big Red. Diamond fella is Steve. Had a catch up, turns out like so many of our British men, he found himself a gorgeous Swedish girlfriend and moved over there.
So Amon Amarth and Entombed will know that I was a bouncer, this helps in my bid to get taken seriously as one of the crew and not a groupie, since I am the only girl on this get up.
My merch buddy for the tour will be Tom, from Sweden. Previously done merch for Machine Head and that level of players so I’m excited to see what I can learn of this dude and also nervous to make a good impression. I go and introduce myself to him and explain that he is the Jedi to my Padawan self. I think he thinks I’m a fucking lunatic. We are gonna get on just fine you’ll see.
Again, I cannot set up Evile merch until Tome has finished setting up Amon Amarth’s and Entombed. So it’s more fucking hanging around which means, more drinking. We finally get to hit up the buffet, by which time we are fucking starving. Rice, chicken, salad and bread . I pile my plate up high and go up the balcony with a beer to watch Entombed sound check while I eat my dinner. Not a fucking bad way to live eh!? The chicken is the most amazing thing I have eaten in a long time and Entombed are sick.
I ask Steve if he can point me in the right direction for a Dentist when we get to Sweden and he calls the Amon Amarth singer over, who has apparently just been himself. This is getting twilight zone stylee. Does a visit to the Dentist with Amon Amarth await me? What la fuck?
I fuck off outside for a tab and to collect myself and then set up the merch stand. Evile have to sell at the same price as the other two bands, which is a bit nerve racking. There is no wall space left for me to hang t-shirts so I present everything as best I can on one of the long tables. Evile sound check and by the time they have finished, doors are open and there are loads of people buying merch and waiting to get in to the gig area.
In the short space of time before Evile play, I pass both the labels daily sales target and mine!. Holy fuck, what a fucking relief. I’m also helping Tom with sales of the other 2 bands, since I’m not going to get all arsey when a customer asks for that and not Evile stuff. That makes no sense to me. Every merch stand I’ve shared before, this is how I’ve rolled. You help each other out for an efficient night with maximum sales for all.
Tom seems perplexed by this, so maybe that’s not the way on a tour of this scale but I’m grass roots so whatever, that’s how it is rolling and by the end of the night he an I have shared booze and the bonding is done. We are brothers in merch arms. We fucking ruled that night and I know that for Evile we surpassed our sales target 3 fold. SWEET! Still, don’t count your chickens too soon or something, I’m not going to assume that every night will be this good.
All the bands rocked the fuck out of that Finnish venue and the mood was ace by the end of the night. Everyone was drunk and happy. Mike more so than the rest. Mike managed to cane his entire bottle of vodka, what a fucking legend.
At some point during the night, Tom and me are sell sell sell all over the shizzle when down the stairs in front of us saunters Mike, who starts jigging away like he’s Christopher bloody Walken in the Fat Boy Slim video, a cheeky little glint in his eye. Right up to us he comes, and smiles at us both, pointy finger dancing about on the spot “ I’m dunk” Yeah you are!. No shit Sherlock! Ha! Fucking legend. He amuses us for a bit then swaggers off elsewhere to bring joy and festivities in to the heart of others. Funny drunk Mike.
A couple of hours later, one by one I get reports of the rest of the band that , yes indeed, Mike is drunk. So drunk that he has passed out in the dressing room after puking down himself and is rolling around on the floor. Then an ironing board fell on top off him and he just lay there laughing his arse off along with the other guys who were watching the whole sorry affair. Bless. What a bunch of fucking losers, you gotta love it.
We pack up and I hang back to help Tom clear up. There are random drunk as fuck Finnish people dotted around the venue. Finnish people like a drink man, very funny bunch. I’m quite drunk myself by now and we debate going to a rock bar round the corner.
It is fucking freezing, so we pour in to the motor home parked outside behind the other bands night liner and put the gas heater on while we figure out what we are doing. Ben is drunk *and has already gone off to the bar with a bunch of people. Ol has gone to bunk and Mike is passed out cold in the front seat. Apparently he had opened the door earlier to be sick but fell out instead. Win.
We get a knock on the door and it’s Steve. In the end we didn’t go out. We sat there prompting Steve for tales from the road, the man has worked with everyone. We heard about Anthrax and Slayer and all sorts. Suddenly I’m feeling drowsy, either a contented tiredness or too many painkillers on copious amounts of booze. No matter, I’m done for. A quick ciggie outside and time to make up the bed.
We all nestle in with our gas heater on and sleep. It is 4.30 in the fucking morning people. Gods honest truth I thought it was about 1.30. That’s how fucking amazing tonight has been.
* Ben: “ I wasn’t fuckin’ drunk!”
I don’t think anyone slept well on the majestic Galaxy. The pillow we each had disappeared under any weight and the bunks were well uncomfortable. This is coming form a bunch of people who have just spent the last week sleeping in a motor home you know! Of course it didn’t matter all that much, we had to be up and out by 6 AM and in our vehicles waiting to pull out.
Finland. Land of crazy Metal heads and expensive booze. And Moomins most importantly. I bet Moomins fucking love Metal. They must do, probably black metal or some such kind. A Moomin mosh pit. Now there’s a thing to see. I might get that tattooed on me next time I’m drunk.
Sorry, I digress. We are now in Finland. Ol is asleep, shockingly, Mike has taken himself off to Matt’s bunk and Lyall is at the wheel. Matt, Ben and me are chewing the cud.
We reach an interesting conundrum and a realisation that none of us ever thought of. After talking about having sisters and brothers and how much you used to fight when you were younger it comes to our attention that sister hitting is really the only acceptable form of physical violence towards women.
Like, if you were to say “oh yeah me and my sister had a massive fight and I chucked my drink over her so she kicked me in the nads, so I jumped her and Chinese burned the fuck out of that bitch and wacked her upside her stupid fucking head”, you wouldn’t be shocked and like ‘what the fuck ’ at all right? But if you were like “ oh yeah me mum slapped me cause I was rude to her so I slapped her about a bit”. Not o.k. Same goes for “I beat my girlfriend / daughter / Nan / any woman. But your sis’ is o.k. Weird.
We all sit there with furrowed brows thinking this through for a while before committing to standing by such an outlandish claim, but I think we are all quite confident that for some bizarre reason it is indeed o.k. to be physically violent towards a woman as long as she is your sister.
Even more shocking than this sudden realisation is Matt has a can of cider. It is 7 AM ish and Matt and Mike are drinking cider. Wonders never cease. God I’m fucking proud.
After this I take me self off to bed. Ha! Not because I was so shocked and outraged by the sister-beating thing, was just feeling a bit sleepy is all and have a big night ahead.
I tried the bunk above the drivers seat and found it surprisingly comfortable, like being in a little tree house. It had always looked well claustrophobic but now I’m pissed I can’t sleep up there all the time. The boys are all still talking and fucking about with music. We had gone through all of the Bill Hicks that Lyall had on his ipod in Sweden and were back on to random song changing. I stretched out with my Lester Bangs book and after a couple of pages gave up and shut my eyes.
When I woke we were parked outside the venue in Helsinki and the guys were getting their stuff together to go for a wander. Ben needed a new drum skin and all of them wanted to bask in the glory of unbearably hot women everywhere. I was all snug in my bunk so fucked it off and left them to they’re boy time.
When they got back I was over the whole bunk thing and itching to get out with cabin fever setting in so off we went back out to a Metal shop they had found with a signed copy of the new C.D to give to them and some flyers to litter the town with. Dunno why, tonight is sold out motherfuckers!
We bump in to the singer from Amon Amarth, who has just bought himself some bed linen for the night rider they are all on cause apparently the sheets are “scratchy”. Awesome.
After hanging out at the Metal shop for a bit, we stroll back to the venue to unload but see the pecking order has changed my friends. Evile are now opening not headlining, bottom of the ladder so to speak.
This means we cannot unload till the other two bands have, obviously Evile sound check is last and we cannot eat till they have eaten. We meet the tour manager, Wolfgang, who seems pretty cool and definitely knows his shit. He wants to know who is in charge and so Lyall goes off with him to see the dressing room and get the lowdown. We will not directly communicate anything to Wolfgang but will go through Lyall. This is to avoid confusion, not because he is a cock. He isn’t, this is just a really good level of organisation and professionalism. What a fucking winner. I already like him.
Our dressing room is the laundry room. Sweet, we get all our sweaty clothes and take the opportunity to do a bit of washing! The rider is lots of beer and a bottle of vodka for Mike, the bassist. Mike is going to get fucked up tonight. Hell yeah he is.
Friday, 2 October 2009
2 AM. We are still driving. Well, Lyall is. The ferry port is ahead of us, where the first of three ferry rides awaits us. I am going to try my hardest to describe to you the following hour but I’m not sure you will ever truly believe what Evile, Lyall and me experienced.
We had left Ol asleep in his bunk once we had been shuttled on to the ferry, got out and headed up for a wander. I was still dressed in my merch outfit, in hindsight not the best idea but it just didn’t cross my knackered mind to put some proper trousers on.
As soon as we get in to the main area of the ferry, where the food court is, we notice something. This boat is only carrying lone men. Truckers and the sorts. A whole lot of immigrants. There is a smattering of women with children. None of these people look Danish, where we are heading, or German, where we are leaving. They look like ghosts. And this is the ghost ship.
Nothing is open. Most seating areas are closed off. The ‘trucker lounge’ is open, with a tele'. Seriously, it is called the trucker lounge. Only truck drivers are allowed in it.
People are just standing around. Lone men. Turkish, Algerian, African, al sorts. They are suddenly roaming around in packs. And I am there, in my fucking shorts. I have high denier thick black tights on, you know the ones. Doesn’t matter. To these men, I have prostitute written all over me. I don’t think I even have that about me actually. I think I have dead in a ditch use my body as you will written all over me. I can see it in their eyes. I am a hole.
I know right, I’m being over dramatic. No. I hoped so, but no. I turn to the guys and they all have shock and fear on their faces too. We are walking down a corridor looking like rabbits in headlights. Really slowly. It’s like time has stood still. It’s that bit in the Western when the saloon doors open and everyone stops drinking and turns and stares at you. It’s the mother fucking Green Mile.
I had Lyall and Ben in front of me and Matt and Mike behind me, we had just come from upstairs where we were hoping to find some seats in a corner where we might be less conspicuous but alas all we found was ‘Rapist lounge’ with a bunch more dodgy lone men, some were bigger than me and I’m quite a length.
So back downstairs and along the corridor. I can’t believe we didn’t get mugged or attacked, seriously. It was proper laree. There we are at the end of this corridor of terror, and we have nowhere else to go. We aren’t allowed in the Motor home while the ferry is moving so for the next half hour we just stand there, with our backs to the wall shaking our heads in disbelief and cracking wise arse jokes and probably quite racist ones in hushed tones at each other, then sniggering under our breath. We debated the possibility that they were as petrified of us as we were of them, if they were just as startled and just as intrigued by us. But no, I'm afraid not. I have travelled a lot and seen a lot and I know a stand off when I see one. There was nothing nice about the vibe on that ferry. The Rape Ferry, as it shall be referred to forever more.
As we scarpered back to the motor home, looking over our shoulders, we joked about how Ol had slept right through it all. Then someone pointed out that they might have found him, he could be mutilated and violated in his bed, and it would all be our fault for leaving him alone on the Rape Ferry.
Of course when we got back in to the safety of the motor home, Ol was tucked up fast asleep and I hid behind the curtains till we were far, far away. We still speak of the Rape Ferry with fear in our voices today. Thank fuck we are not going the same way home.
Shortly after this and about half a dozen chain smoked ciggie’s later, I asked Matt if I could take his bunk for a couple of hours shut eye and took myself off to the bunks. When I woke we were stationary at a service station and everyone was asleep except Matt. I gave him his bed back and curled up on a seat till Lyall woke up. Freshened up in the ladies bathroom and threw some jeans and a hoody on. The climate had changed, we had finally reached Sweden.
The drive through Sweden went like this. I wrote thousands of words while sitting up front chain-smoking with Lyall. The others slept, played computer games or stared out the windows. Now and again I would do the same. The landscape of Sweden for the most part was trees. Miles upon miles of massive trees. We stopped a bunch of times, I had to shit 3 times that drive. 3 fucking times. Jeez. We grabbed a MacDonald’s, where Lyall and Ben met some random guy from Derby, who now lived in Sweden with his girlfriend.
Other than a massive choppy lake that we drove alongside for at least half an hour and reminded me of The Pacific Coast Highway, there really wasn’t anything notable of our Sweden drive. We got to the ferry port in good time and boarded the mother ship of all ferries, the Galaxy.
Now this is a fucking ferry. We park up, collect our overnight stuff and walk past a night liner to the stairs. We are not the only band on board. We suspect that Entombed and Amon Amarth may well be here somewhere too.
We have 2 cabins, 3 bunks in each. You can just about swing a cat in them so we are feeling spacious and posh. Well, I am anyway. After freshening up, Lyall, Ben and me get straight down to business. Duty Free. A fuck off bottle of raspberry vodka and a whole heap of tobacco later I’m good to go. The boys settle on a crate of cider and we all knock some back in our cabin before hunting out some grub.
Dinner tonight consists of over priced meatballs, sauce and smash. Not bad, will be hard to get drunk after this though. Dammit. Schoolboy error. Next is the hunt for Internet connection. Yawn. It is available in all public area bars so we set up and switch on. And wait. FOREVER. My fucking Spectrum was faster than this.
After a long and frustrating time I give up and go find the bogs to get rid of this bladder full I been sitting on for far too long. I walk past what looks like The Entombed massive and sure enough when I get back to where me and the guys are sitting, they are too. We all meet and introduce ourselves, mainly through the Bassist, Victor, who Evile know from previous tour days and before you know it we are kicking back chatting about the tour.
Parting ways due to an obscenely early start ahead of us, all seems well in the camp. Except my fucking mouth. My teeth on the left side feel dangerously like they are loose and once again, I am in fucking agony. Still, at least I have a litre bottle of Vodka and we aren’t on the Rape Ferry.
So we made it through the night people! No one got mutilated, tortured or chased around the desolate space that we called home for the night. Winners. No, we slept like babies and got up needing shits and net use. All but Matt, the singer got our shit together and headed up the road and round the corner to find a café and an internet café that we had been told was near by.
We stopped at a pharmacy and I stocked up on painkillers, Mike got some mouth gel for his outbreak of ulcers that were attacking him viciously and then crossed the road to the Internet café. It is exactly like the ones you find in Kentish Town and that. Some old Muslim dude pointed us to a couple of filthy desks and me and Ol set to on updating everyone with wa blow in the Evile camp. We made it swift cause the toilet really was number one priority.
On the walk back we talked of how Matt had better of got up and prettied up the motor home. Set the table for breakfast and be wearing a piny. Of course he wasn’t. The motor home is still not too smelly and messy though, it is only day 3 to be fair though eh.
We hit a service station and go about our business and then off we go, Hamburg just a 4 or 5 hour drive ahead of us. We all had little naps, Matt and me took turns sitting up front with Lyall, listened to music on the forces radio and before we knew it the docks of Hamburg were looming up ahead of us.
Lyall had been cursing the road we were on, saying how it was always congested and traffic jams ahoy cause of the docks and I didn’t really pay him much mind till I saw with my own eyes what he was banging on about.
Hamburg on entry is quite some fucking sight. Massive fuck off cranes on conveyer systems run the lengths of the docks. Gigantic fucking ships loaded with unbelievable amounts of container crates wait to be unloaded or loaded. Impressive railway lines and highways criss cross all over the shop and it all has this weird sort of grace about it.
I am just staring out the window with my mouth hanging open as we hit the Elb tunnel that cuts under the water and soon we are back out and within 10 minutes we are pulling up outside the Ballroom, the venue for tonight.
It’s a shame that we didn’t have any spare time, Hamburg is definitely a place that would be ace to have a wander round. As it was we were kinda late, so got straight to it, unloading and setting up for sound check.
Drone were already there and the singer was his usual obnoxious but charming self. My merch buddy, Costa was all set up so I cracked on did my thing while the band set up.
This place had the dressing room downstairs, which was fucking huge and had showering facilities so as soon as I had the merch stand done I grabbed my girlie shizzle from the motor home and waited till Lyall got done with his cleaning time.
Let me explain how the land lies at this point in the tour. Till this point it had been all about baby wipes and sinks at service stations. We have only been out 3 days now but you feel scabby proper fucking quickly when you’re on the road. On top of this we have a big ol’ drive ahead of us starting immediately after this gig, going through the night, right through the next day, the following night, till Friday. So everyone wants a shower. Next opportunity will hopefully be on the ferry from Sweden to Finland. But who knows.
So, while the guys sound check I get Lyall to put the door that was leaning against the wall, back in to the doorframe behind me and wash, shave and fake tan. By the time I get out I am refreshed and dressed in my slutty bar clothes, now slutty merch selling clothes and the guys have finished sound check.
Evile don’t fuck about when it comes to sound check. They bish bash bosh it. They all take turns showering and the rest of us hunker down around our laptops, making the most of the wi-fi. Loads of emails from the record label await us, interview times given for when we reach Helsinki and queries over merch sales.
One of the frustrating parts of touring is the incessant need to be online ALL THE FUCKING TIME. See, now days everyone has a blog to write for….daily. And, the record label expects updates on everything….daily.
Two things. First off, you don’t always get the luxury of wi-fi. Also, when you do get it, it’s when you are at the venue and therefore quite tied up with the job at hand, putting on the gig that you are there to do. It is hard to understand that when you’re at the other end and not on the tour.
Secondly, you are on a fucking tour man. It should be about scandalous debauched rock n roll living, not sitting around bent over your fucking laptop doing the ‘paper work’. I mean fuck. Seriously, by the time reports have been done and sent and updates made to this that and the other, you haven’t the fucking time to let loose and make some fucking legend stories that will follow the band for years to come! Still, here I am, writing. If I’ve just shattered any dreams and illusions don’t worry, I am also currently drinking. For the team eh.
Dinner tonight consists of pasta with tomato and basil sauce. There is a whole lot of plate and not so much pasta. I cooked better than this at Uni', and I can’t cook for SHIT. Who cooked this? Were they not aware that they were cooking for two metal bands and the crew, 6 people of which are relying on this as they’re only meal of the day before a long gig and an even longer fucking drive?
On with the show, empty stomachs or not. Doors open and a smattering of people come in. Bad ticket sales don’t dampen the metal spirit and the show kicks off strong. The owner of the club is not down with the smoking ban and so everyone is lighting up lie it’s the nineties. Hell yeah, I chain smoke all over the shop with my merch buddy, drinking and dancing and head banging.
Evile have a front row of head bangers tonight instead of a bunch of prom queens and so the set is filthy and raw and strong. I get some great footage on the camcorder, mainly cause some dude came introduced himself for filming all these big band names and pushed his assistant towards me who took the camera and went about getting crotch shots and close ups and all sorts. Genius.
She had said that from the side I look like Cyndi Lauper and he said that from the back I look like his mate Mike. I made him buy me a shot for that. Touché.
Lyall had taken himself off to bed after ‘dinner’ and as soon as the gig finished we started packing up and our promoter took him a coffee to wake him up. I came in just under the labels target so was bummed out but who was there bought something so what can you do?
There was a fella who had missed Evile play twice, once in Bradford 3 years ago when his car broke down and once when they were supporting and the whole gig had been cancelled. He was pretty fucking cool, bought some stuff, so when Mike came upstairs I introduced them and mike took him off to the dressing room to hang with the band for a bit. Of course they were for the most part busy on the laptops doing work, which probably killed the dream a bit for him. Ha!
All packed up, goodbyes done and off we go. Well, we get jammed down a one way cobbled street with a taxi coming our way but after that….whoosh, we are outta there. Other than Ol, we all stay up, drinking and chatting and pissing about. Me and Matt take turns playing D.J and generally the mood is one that we are all in this together, side by side. Lyall has to drive for two days and there is no way on gods earth any of us will see him sitting up front on his own for any of that. There’s one of the other beauties of touring for you. Comradeship.
I hate to bang on about winey fucking ailments all the time but you have got to fucking know how much I am freaking out about my mouth here. It is fucking face splittingly killing me with pain. All I can think about is how I have to get through a little under a month before we are back on a weeks break and I can get it fixed.
Till then I am hoping that my heavy self-medication of hard liquor and painkillers wont do me too much long-term damage. We are driving to Osnabruck in North Germany and I am miserable. I am finishing this tour. I can’t believe its only day two and I ‘m already thinking that I might have to go home. I am not going home. Everyone is a bit frazzled after our bad sleep night and the band seem quietly subdued. Later I realise that this is nerves. Tonight they will play they’re first European headline gig and are quite rightly a tad dubious about the whole thing.
I take myself off to a bunk at the back for some sleep, I cannot keep my eyes open any longer. When I wake up…. I feel cool. I mean, I’m feeling kinda good here. I just slept a good couple of hours, proper good sleep. Nice little dream and everything. My mouth isn’t hurting so much. Fuck yeah bring it the fuck on, she’s back. I make an executive decision that along with painkillers and drink, a positive attitude will clear this right up. From this moment on I will tell myself that my mouth is getting better.
Welcome to The Bastard Club. I know right!? You have got to see this place, it’s like if Biker Grove was built by the Beastie Boys and Motorhead coming together with some Anarchist squatters and thought that they should give something back to the world by putting something together ‘for the kids’.
This is in my top favourite venues list along with The Bannermans in Edinburgh. It’s basically a massive old warehouse covered in graffiti. At the front is the foyer area, where you pay to get in. It’s like a little bus shelter, shack thing covered in old posters advertising bands playing there, stickers and more Graff. There is a gym bench against the wall facing out and in the corner, an old fucked up stuffed armchair with no legs. An upturned metal waste bin is where someone sits to take the money. There are some skaters scattered about having a smoke.
You walk through in to the gig area. The stage and merch corner is here. Other than this there are some old three-piece suites lying around that have seen better days and loads more posters and Graff. Up the stairs at the side is the bar. It runs the length of the room down one side. Down the other side is a Perspex wall with some tables and chairs. Through that window is a massive fuck off indoor skate park! Past the stage, through a door is that skate park, the toilets, a fuse ball table and some really fucking dodgy looking steep stairs. Up these is the dressing room. Again, everything is covered in old posters of bands who have played there, Punk, Metal, Hardcore, all sorts. And a ton more graffiti.
When we arrive there is a skateboarding lesson going on for little kids. Lines of little 5 year olds or something are taking turns to go down a ramp. We are all cooing over this until it is pointed out what a shame it is that kids cant just be kids but are now being pushed by their ‘cool’ parents in to doing shit like skate boarding when they look like they have only just learnt how to use a toilet.
The bar is laid out with stuff to make sarnies with and there is lovely German beer in the fridge. After a quick break and wander round we unload and start setting everything up for sound check.
I get my first look at our merch and go through it taking out stuff with Lyall to use for the night. I make up signs and a sales sheet and then tart myself up in a bid to not look like I’ve been in a motor home for the past 48 hours. Then I go and perv at the skaters who have taken over the park now lesson time has finished. Sweet.
The support band turns up and unloads too, Evile have met them before so there’s chatter and those who haven’t met are introducing themselves and shaking hands. Drone will support Evile tomorrow night in Hamburg too, and then one last time further along in the tour. After Evile sound check, hot food is put out along the bar. Dinnertime is rice and some kind of broth/stew thing. Dunno what it was but it tasted it well nice. We sit in the bar and watch the skaters flying up and down, up and down while bolting down our grub.
Some final bumming around, tweaking and finishing touches and doors are open. Drone play an awesome set, I seriously enjoyed like all but a couple of songs. They seemed proper tight, very lively and fun to watch. By the end of they’re set I was looking forward to watching them again at Hamburg. What a touch.
The singer was a right funny little fucker. Kept banging on a bout cocks and had his video camera out taking quite obvious shots of my cleavage, his eye level. Can’t blame him really, they are fantastic. He still got several slaps though. Think he may have enjoyed that too, can’t fucking win sometimes I tell you.
Evile merch is selling fucking brilliantly even before they have played which is sweet cause we still don’t have the new album with us.
They get up on stage and open with Infected Nation, a song from the new album and immediately a circle pit starts up. Everyone is fucking crazy for Evile from the start which is awesome cause they got they’re first 1 hour and 20 minute set to get through so need all the give back they can get.
Me and Lyall have a good laugh at the expense of some girls down the front who are just standing there swooning around and sweeping their hair back now and again looking thoroughly bored. They looked like they were at a fucking school dance waiting to be approached by some dude. Why do girls do that? Well I mean I know why, they want to catch the attention of the band in some really gash attempt at playing groupie. Girl if your arse is going down the front you need to get gnarly, get down with your bad self sister, no ones going to ask you backstage if you look like your standing waiting for the fucking bus love.
Merch is still selling and soon enough I’ve hit the record labels target that we have to meet if we are going to cover petrol and food expenses. My target is higher though so on we go!
Evile pull out all the stops and both them and the crowd are dripping in sweat going crazy at each other. Skaters wander through every now and then to get to the park and for a brief minute you can see them fall off they’re pedestals of cool as they crash down and get violated by some good old fucking thrash shenanigans. They collect themselves and saunter on looking slightly bemused.
The set finishes and the merch table picks up again. My target is met. Win. The guys chat to audience members and start packing up equipment. The European promoter helps us load up and we get it in the trailer quickly in the pissing rain then retreat back in to our motor home for the night. We are sleeping outside the venue and pushing off in the morning to Hamburg after locating an Internet café to check emails, send info and post blogs.
For now, we hunker down, knock back tasty German beers and watch a DVD of Big Train. I go outside for a ciggie and all is quiet and dark ‘cept for a little light on the outside of the warehouse. It’s still, raining and kinda creepy. There is laughter coming from inside the motor home, so I flick my stub, step up inside and tell the guys how we are prime candidates for a fucking blinding horror/ slasher movie scenario right about now.
“A Band a long way from home, an empty warehouse in an abandoned and disused waste land. They think it’s a safe place to sleep for the night. They were wrong. From the makers of “Not more Gore Porn 1,2 and 3” and award winning “Stuck in some Eastern block Country with some hot chicks who turn out to be chemically enhanced mutant robots” comes this Summers sickest horror to date. Petrol money will be the last thing on they’re mind by morning……if they make it that long…”