Saturday, January 30, 2010


The next couple of days are going to be tough. These last two nights in my own bed could not have been better timed.

Again, it's funny how time takes on it's own dimension when you're on tour. It was only ten days ago I kissed Jenny goodbye before the first leg of the tour, here we were again this morning. For me it felt like I had been gone for a month or so, for Jenny it probably felt like ten days...Not so strange that everything gets warped when you drink every day, eat sporadically and sleep is nothing more than a fleeting friend.

Since Jon lives close to me, we'd arranged for the guys to pick us by the pizzeria at the corner of my street. For once the weather forecast was spot on. It had indeed snowed all night and travel conditons were looking shitty. Funny how the weather people always seem to get it right when they predict shit weather. After waiting for a while in the cold, Ronnie finally came trudging up the hill in the new van. The other guys came walking up behind him shortly after, saying something about the van not making it up the hill in the snow, with them in the back of it. That can't be good, surely?

We have another extra passenger with us today. Martin, who played guitar in At the Gates, and nowadays in Slaktattack, is travelling with us to Oslo. He came up on the train from Göteborg yesterday to hang out for a few days. The van is pretty cramped as it is and I'm wondering how we're gonna fit, but Martin ends up driving most of the way to Oslo, which is no end of help to Johan and Ronnie, who have it tougher than the rest of us over the next couple of days.

It takes a while to get out of Stockholm. For a start we have to get out and push the van back onto the main road, since it's stuck on the side street Ronnie had pulled into to let us in. Unbelievable! Feels like I've been here so many times... We do eventually get rolling and for a while the weather clears up and the roads don't look too bad. We make our way to Karlstad without incident, Martin at the wheel, cracking us up with some old stories. This van is definitely a lot warmer than the old one, which somewhat makes up for the lack of room in the back.

We stop for lunch at Max, Sweden's favourite fast food restuarant. As we're sat around eating, Johan mentions that he noticed the front tires are looking pretty worn. We decide we should check it out before we carry on, just to be on the safe side. We can see there is a tire place just across the other side of the motorway, so we head over there. The place is called Johnny Däck, which simply translates to Johnny Tires, and Jon thinks this is great. He insists on speaking to the people at reception on our behalf. He walks in and introduces himself as ”Johnny Victims” and politley asks to see Johnny Däck. The joke seems to be lost on the guy sitting behind the desk. We think it's great though.

A tire guy, don't know if it was Johnny or not, comes out and takes one look at the front wheels and explains to us that we have summer tires on the van. In this fucking weather! Thank you once again Mr. Van Hire! Not only is it illegal to be driving around on summer tires, it's highly dangerous. Johan calls the rental company once again and explains the situation. The guy who runs the rental company must be sweating every time Johan calls by now. By the time we get home, they're going to owe us money!

Johnny Däck don't have the replacement tires we need as it happens. We try three other places before we find the winter tires we need. And then we're on our way again. It's obvious by now we're gonna be late for the get in at the show. I think the venue will understand though, given the conditions we're travelling in.

Having left Stockholm at 8.30 this morning, we finally get to the venue in Oslo around 7.30pm. It's dark and snowing and we do't even have time to piss before we load in. Of all the beautiful cities we've already been to on this tour, Munchen is the only place we've had any time to hang out in. You go to all these great places and a lot of the time you don't get to see fuck all. Looking back, I'm grateful for the tour bus days we had in Speedhorn, that gave me the chance to explore and see a bit more.

We get into the venue after loading into the backstage area and I go check out the room. First thing I notice is that the place is by far the biggest room of the tour so far. I'm not sure I like the look of it. The second thing I notice is that the band currently soundchecking has Faust, the original drummer from Emperor (who served time for murder), behind the kit. The third thing I notice is that they're terrible. Still kind of cool to see old Faust banging the drums though, even if he looks like a school teacher these days.

It feels wonderful to finally be able to get into the dressing room and chill out for a while. I think the Municipal guys are at their hotel. Lucky bastards! After relaxing for a while I go off in search for an internet connection for my laptop. I somewhow get myself trapped inside a stairwell. Total Spinal Tap moment. I walk in and head upstairs, back to where I think the bar area is upstairs, and find myself on the wrong side of a locked door, whichever way I go. Even the door I came through has locked itself. It seems you need a card to unlock these things. I'm probably trapped there for around ten minutes, and I'm starting to need a shit. My mobile phone has no reception either. Just as I'm wondering what the fuck I'm gonna do, someone opens one of the doors, which happens to lead back out on to the snowy street. Totally confused I stumble, freezing cold, back into the venue the way we'd loaded in.

I get to check my mails. I immediately regret it. The first thing I notice is an email from Speedhorn's old accountant, with the heading, Speedhorn tax, urgent! My stomach turns over. This is the last thing I need now. I thought I was done taking responsibility for that fucking band. Thankfully, although the issue at hand is gonna cause me some hassle over the next few days, it's nothing major. Well, it kind of is, but our very kind, former accountant Tansy, who hasn't been paid for years, is helping us out with it, free of charge as usual. What an angel she is. How a hardcore band like Speedhorn ever got to the point where we needed an accountant is beyond me. Another weird chapter in the history of that band.

I head back down to the dressing room and hear that Faust's band is playing. They really are awful. I can't even bear to go and look. Another band plays after them, some band from Ireland who have now signed to Earache Records (why, oh why?). This band aren't my particular cup of tea either, although the Municipal guys seem to dig them. They seem a to be some kind of joke metal band to me, and the problem with that is that it's rarely funny, and even rarer that it's any good. Of course Municipal do things with a lot of tongue in cheek, but at least they have great songs to back it up. I head back into the dressing room and slump into the sofa, the bullshit with the UK tax authorities still playing on my mind.

It turns out the guy doing the in-house sound tonight is an English guy called Rob. It also turns out that he recognises me from the Speedhorn days. He tells me that he was at the shoot for our first video. Not only that, he tells me he did sound for us years ago at a venue in Southend, called Chinnery's. I didn't have the heart to tell him that it was one of the worst gigs we ever played, largely in part to the awful sound we had on stage. I hope it wasn't him doing monitors that night in Southend... We chat quickly and laugh about the size of the world, as you do, and then we get on with the gig.

It's a strange show tonight. For a start the stage is fucking huge. There is a big barrier seperating the crowd and the band, and everything feels a bit dead. Even though the crowd is a fair size, the show feels like hard work. It seems the thought of the journey over the next couple of days is weighing down on everybody. I break a string during the third song, meaning I have to take it a bit easier for the rest of the set, which doesn't help the energy I'm lacking on stage tonight. We get through it ok though, and the gig is by no means a failure, it's just missing the buzz we've had the last few days. I think we've most likely been spoiled by how good the shows have been for us on this tour so far.

Martin was standing side stage during the show, and when I came off afterwards complaining it was hard work tonight, he laughed and told me he though it was awesome, saying the other shows on the tour so far must have been out of this world in that case. This is something I've experienced many times down the years. Somtimes you can come off stage really pleased with the gig and buzzing, only to find out someone else in the band feels they had a shit show. And vice versa.

Anyway, we cpack down and take advantage of the backstage shower whilst Waste play their show. Jamie, the Hatebreed singer, is hanging around in the dressing room. He seems like a nice enough guy. Our good friend Marco is also in town and hanging out, so I catch up with him for a while before I head out to the merch and relieve Ronnie so he can go get some sleep before we head off into the night.

There is this one really drunk guy who buys a hoodie from me. He's babbling on and I can only make out about half of what he says. I figure he's bought an lp earlier this evening from us, one of our limited tour edtion vinyls, and that he's coming to the show in London in a few days. I ”chat” to him for a while and then he leaves. He returns shortly afterwards, telling me he's lost the record somewhere and only has the cover left now. He staggers off again shortly thereafter, threatening to punch out whoever has stolen it from him. Steaming!

A while later Jon comes up to me. I think he's a bit drunk. He has his jaw dropped open and he looks extremely happy. Apparently he's just been introduced to Knut from Turbonegro, who is one of his favourite guitar players. Marco works for Turbo quite a lot so he made a dream come true for Jon. Apparently upon being introduced, Knut made a bowing gesture to Jon and told him he loved the show, to which Jon just walked off in stunned silence with a huge smile on his face. I once spent an evening with Knut and Happy Tom in Stockholm, when my good friend Joe was over, recording their album. It was a great night and they were real friendly guys. As most people know, Knut had gotten cancer a couple of years ago. He seems to be doing really well now though.

Since Dave is using our drum-kit tonight, we have to wait until Waste are done before we can head off. Not that we want to miss them play but ideally it would make sense for us to get out of here as soon as possible. I pack up the merch after they are done playing. I head backstage and the dressing room is packed with people, the vast majority being young girls. It seems like we're missing a party tonight but I don't think anyone cares.

We need to go. Next show is in Birmingham in two days time. We have to make it to Calais by 9.30 am Saturday morning, to catch the ferry we have booked. We've got six countries to travel through between here and there.

We load the van around 1am. A couple of the Waste guys come out and hug us all individually, telling us to drive safe. I'm looking forward to seeing them again in Birmingham.

We drive away from Oslo, Martin at the wheel again. It's snowing heavily...

1 comment:

  1. what do you have against school teachers?!