But first alas we must start yet another roasting and boiling hot day with no shade. And our soundtrack for this morning gives us Mambo Kurt and Rockbitches. I was kind of intrigued by the name imagining some sort of awesome German Rockabilly punk get up, smashing us across the face awake with double bass and catchy riffs and 50’s styling dazzling us with light weight fun in the morning sun. Instead we got some lame cheap looking group that apparently goes round all the festivals in Germany and opens up, a comedy spoof act that I can only imagine might translate for us as The Mighty Boosh? Although even the Germans themselves who were busying our stand all day looked shamed and apologised.
Music wise the day was a blah for me. I looked forward to NoFX, The devils Blood, As I Lay Dying and Sodom, but nothing could capture my excitement because that was all reserved for Slayer.
I covered a hung over Ben and Kim for a couple of hours quite happily, pleased that I was able to make up for my absence yesterday.
The stand was doing really well, a constant stream of custom, plus re-stocking and re-hanging of t-shirts that were getting lose in the wind that had out of nowhere picked up later in the morning, meant that we were kept busy. Visits from Janet and Meeri, who became our glamorous assistants helped keep lagging spirits up, and when Kim and Ben rose all was back to good times! Hangovers gone, the stand doing excellently, and it is our last day. As much as this weekend has been both epic and amazing and crammed full with good times and hearty partying, I will not be sad to see the sweaty morning starts and the long arse working days gone. And I’m totally over toasted sandwiches.
I slope off backstage to see if the Slayer camp has arrived yet, with me a couple of boxes of heavy duty pain killers for my touring friend BC3, Kerry King’s guitar tech, who had asked me to, since his back was doing him in with their gruelling tour schedule.
I get to behind the main stage and cannot get further without a better pass or some basic knowledge of German, and stand there stumped for a minute. Slayer’s truck is half unloaded of equipment by the back of the stage, but no BC3 in it. I spot an old friend Simon, who used to be in Cataract and is dating my friend Therese, and beckon him for help. Bless him if he doesn’t go back in to the artist area and bring me out the security guard assigned to Slayer. I get walked back to Slayer’s private back stage area, as this massive dude tells all the security that I’m fine, and feel like such an important nobody I can’t help but start strutting and pouting behind my sunglasses. Then I hit an uneven patch of grass and nearly twist my ankle. Serves me right eh. If the strutting and pouting was in any way effective, pretty much everyone back there saw me stagger. Fail. Still the point is, I’m now in Slayer land!
Slayer, on the other hand, are not. The only one there at this time was the production manager, taking care of business all over the place. I’m way too happy to see him in comparison with his surprised yet nonchalant greeting towards me. Fail 2. He’s confused as to me being here, as have most the bands been that I’ve gotten to hang with. Which is great, it can only be a good thing to be seen out and about round Europe working different things and not just in London right?
I catch up with him for a bit and ask if he needs help with anything. He declines, so I push off back to the Earache merchandise stand and put in another 3 or 4 hours of ace sales time. And then the itchy feet start again, so yet again I’m off backstage to see if my friends have turned up. And they have! Win. I spot the tour manager across the way, cleverly sitting in the shade of a port cabin and go join him, catching up and chewing the cud…teasing with the on going ‘when are you going to hire me as your assistant?’ questioning which I always know the answer to ‘never’. He’s all like ‘have you seen Kerry yet?’ and I’m like ‘nah not yet’. ‘He’s sitting next to you’. I turn to my right and sure enough, Mr Kerry King…legend himself, is stretched out chilling in the shade.
I collect myself, and say hello, we chat for a bit and then he asks if tonight I’m going to join them after the show for shots because last time I didn’t. Kerry fucking King gives a shit! Holy fuck I nearly fell off my chair no word of a lie. I’m all trying to be respectful at the invite yet blasé and cool when out walks Dave Lombardo, on route to watching NoFX from the side of the stage. And he’s pleased to see me too! Dave is cut from the same troublesome cloth as me of course and I’m over the moon to see him. Hugs and excited hello’s out the way and he’s off with BC3, turning back and asking if I’m coming too. ‘I don’t have stage access dude’ is my reply. ‘Fuck that, come up with us’ is his reply. Have you any idea how much I nearly burst with happiness at that precise moment!
These guys are so fucking down to earth it is not even possible for me to explain how much so. They are so unaffected. Just dudes in a band that love seeing other bands as much as us ordinary folk do. Fucking epic. The next hour is a dream like daze of going up the stairs to the side of the stage, actually on the stage, with BC3 and Dave Lombardo, and watching NoFX. Not all of the set, I watched like 3 songs and then went back to the merchandise stand to put some time in before Slayer played. BC3 gave me his pass so I could get back on stage again and I hurried back to Earache petrified that some one was going to spot it and swipe it.
The next hour as NoFX finish up, set change happens, and Slayer get through the first handful of songs is agonising. I’m on the store, selling merch, trying desperately to contain my excitement. And the air is weird. You know like just before a storm when it’s been really hot and humid and you can feel that there is about to be a tremendous storm of epic proportions?
Finally I’m running back to the steps up the stage, petrified once again that BC3’s pass will either get nicked or when I get to the bottom of the stage steps, the security will see right through me and confiscate it. Of course they didn’t, he looked too busy not roasting in the now gone down sun to give a shit about the little things in life!
And there I am. Slayer are in my top 5 favourite bands of all time. I’m standing on the stage, to the side with my friends watching them play an almighty ear destroying set and there is lightening streaking the dark sky and the mosh pit is going crazy! Every hair on my body is up with goose bumps and I check myself. This is one of the most amazing times of my life. 14 year old me would be so stoked to see how well she does in the end!
After the set, of which I get to see all because I don’t have to rush off and prepare the bands dinner like when I worked for them at Hellfest, we all go back to their VIP area and hang out drinking till they have freshened up. Shots upon shots, stories and tales, copious drinking done, and Slayer are whisked away to the next lucky venue. I just stand there, in a daze, trying to take the last couple of hours in. Looking around me at kerry King’s empty dressing room with my friend Therese in awe of the conversations had. Kerry has even told me to take as much of the rider as I can, for me and my friends back on the merchandise stand. What a hero eh!
I truck back to Earache loaded with as much booze and mixers as I can carry. And plenty of still water of course!