Monday, February 22, 2010


Jenny and I have been together for almost nine years, married for three and half of them. When we met I was playing and touring with Speedhorn, she with Misdemeanor. There have been long periods when I've been away on tour, as there have been times when I've been home and Jen away with the band.

Since the beginning we've been used to spending periods of time apart. It works for us. We're used to having plenty of our own stuff going on. When we have an evening on the sofa together, in front of the tv, it's heaven, for even when we're both home we're normally on different schedules. I've either been working nights or for the most part, fucked up hours since I moved to Sweden. Working in a bar or working at Globen humping equipment around for big dick bands, teaching kids how to play rugby! You name it, I've done most things since I moved here, except work 9-5 in an office. Jen works thouse hours now, so with me working in the bar, we're often like ships passing in the night.

Like I said, it's not always perfect but it works for us. I remember one time I was home in Corby for a few days. My mum was away on holiday for a week with my sister and a friend, leaving my dad at home. It was the first time in the thirty years they'd been together that my parents had been apart for more than a day. My dad, a big strong guy, boomingly loud most of the time, waited at home with his heart breaking. I remember being a little surprised to see him like that. I'd never seen him so miserable. At the same time it made me realise how amazing it is that they have a love like that, still as strong after all these years. I remember him muttering ”Never again..” and asking me how Jenny and I managed it.

Well it is hard, but as I said, it's been like that since the start. I mean, when we met we didn't even live in the same country as each other! At least these days I rarely work weekends, so we see more of each other now than we ever have.

So getting to the point. Weekdays I work nights, Jenny works office hours, 9 to 5. By the time I get home, after working an eleven hour shift in the bar, it is usually around 3am. I have a real problem heading straight to bed when I get home, I normally sit up watching the banal shit on tv that they only show at those ghostly hours, for at least a half hour, after which I'll go to bed and read a book for a few minutes before falling asleep with whatever book it is on my face, before starting awake a short while later, turing the light off and drifting back to dreamland, around 4am.

Jenny then gets up a couple of hours later. She'll be up and out with Bonzo around 7am. I would barely notice them if it wasn't for Bonzo routinely giving me a big lick in the mug, Jenny at the door to the bedroom giggling. I pat him on the head and drift back off. Jenny and Bonzo will be back about a half hour later at which point I'll be woken by Jen getting ready for work and Bonzo replacing her beside me on the bed.

In this thirty minutes or so of half sleep, that sleep where you're barely under the surface, I often have the strangest dreams. Sometimes verging on nightmare but more often that not, just odd. As I'm stirring in this limbo whilst Jen is getting ready and Bonzo is whining at her, not liking the fact that she's leaving, I often spout the weirdest things to Jen, sort of aware of what I'm saying but at the same time not. I hear myself talking nonsense but at the time it makes perfect sense to me.

Just a couple of days ago, as Jen was kissing me goodbye on the way out, I stirred and started babbling on about a bucket. She asked me what I was talking about and then I opened my eyes and made a gesture with my hands as if I was handing her an invisible bucket. I asked her to take the bucket and went to hand it to her. I vagely remember trying to hand her this bucket and then jumping and laughing when it wasn't there. Jen asked me what I was talking about, by now used to this routine, to which I grumpily replied, ”They're smoking in the bathroom for fuck sakes!” -”What?” replies Jen. ”They're smoking in the toilets and it's not allowed, get out!”.

At this point Jen gives me a gentle shake and I awake confused, since I was convinced about whatever it was I'd been saying and also that Jen had been having a normal conversation with me about it. That feeling of pure clarity lasts about the first ten seconds I awake, where I remember clearly what I've been babbling about, convinced it makes perfect sense, and then it dissapears and I only remember it because Jen recounts it to me, laughing her head off.

There was another time when I was stirring from sleep and Jen was trying to talk to me. I think it was a weekend and we had a day at home together and Jen was trying to get me out of bed. I was mumbling something back at her and as she was trying to get me out of bed, I suddenly, irritably chorted, ”I can't, the bloody tomatoes are holding me up!”. Jen almost choked on the tea she was drinking! ”I've been here for ages!” I was in some paralled dream universe at the time where I was in a supermarket waiting to put my goods through the cashier and pay. There were a few tomatoes in front of me in the que and they were taking ages, talking to the checkout person. Ridiculous, but it made perfect sense at the time.

I've been on the other side of this portal too and it is indeed a funny thing to witness. Gordon from Speedhorn used to say some funny stuff in his sleep. One of the funniest things I ever heard from him was one time when we were on tour in the States. We were travelling around on this really cool RV, which had a bed area in the back. It was one of the calmer nights on tour and we were travelling through the night. We'd all went to bed early and half sober. Everyone was asleep except me and Kev, who were lying in bunks across from each other, chatting about stuff. It was really peaceful and cosy. At one point, we drove over a bump on one of the notoriously shit US highways. This somewhat stirred Gordon out of his slumber. He shouts out a threat in the dark, in a weird cockney accent, ”If you fuck my mum in the arse, I'll fuck YOU in the arse!” Me and Kev looked at each other for a second in stunned silence, before rolling over pissing ourselves laughing. Gordon just snortles and chortles like a dozing walrus, before rolling over back into the darkness. Fuck knows what's going on in his inner psyche...

It makes me wonder what else we say in our sleep when no one is listening. It might be funny to record myself and listen back to it sometime. Then again it might be stuff that I wouldn't want to hear, or for anyone else to hear for that matter. I certainly wouldn't want anyone to hear me threatening random people with anal sex...

I wonder what dreams mean really?...

Monday, February 15, 2010


Well, what a start to 2010. I finally got home on the Monday evening. We had left Amsterdam Sunday morning. I spent all day Sunday in the van, hungover, feeling like shit! The Saturday night had been full on. The three weeks preceeding it had been hard work, but a shit load of fun.

It was wonderful to finally get through my door on Monday and have my dog Bonzo waiting for me, wagging his tail. We went out straight away and played in the snow with his favourite red rubber ball. Jen came home a few hours later and we lay on the sofa watching Mad Men. Life back to normal in a heartbeat..

Touring with the Municipal guys was an absolute blast.  I made some really great new friends during those three weeks together in Europe.  Talk is that we're going to reunite in the future, on the other side of the pond.

I took a load of photos along the way. You can check them out by clicking here.

I won't be updating the blog every day for the immediate future, I need a break. I'll be writing about stuff when something interesting happens that ammuses me, or severely pisses me off. So it won't be long until I'm back. I'll be continuing the archives section in the near future too.

See you soon,

Gareth x

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ieper and Amsterdam

Nothing like going out with a bang.

Last day of the tour, two shows, 600 kilometers, 7am get up. We'd been offered a slot on the Ieper Fest, Winter Edition as the tour was being booked. We'd worked things out with Waste's agent and the people at the Melkweg in Amsterdam so that we could play the festival in the early afternoon and then drive straight to Amsterdam and play the final show with Waste. We'd be arriving to the second show late of course, but we'd make it. It felt like no big deal at the time but this morning it felt like a bit of a mistake.

We had initially intended to drive through the night after the Amsterdam show, so we would make it home to Stockholm for the Sunday night. There was no way that was happening now. Luckily, we're not short on options when it comes to places to stay in Amsterdam, we have plenty of friends there. We head off early to Belgium, not really decided where we're staying tonight, just that we're staying in Amsterdam, somewhere.

It takes around four hours for us to drive from Sneek to Ieper. We get to the venue around midday and meet up with Björn from Rise and Fall, as we creep out of the van. He's a really nice guy and we spend some time chatting with him. He's a really big fan of Victims and as he's chatting to Jon he says, ”Man, you guys are the only ray of sunshine to this whole day”. Jon, mistaking Björn's meaning, replies ”Yeah, it's been foggy all morning but it's pretty sunny now.” Andy and I smirk at each other but don't bother to correct him, Björn kinda looks confused for a second. Jon staggers off into the venue in his normal, shaky old man posture. That boy...

The venue is a sports hall. It's a pretty big place which is sure to be packed out later tonight when Rise and Fall play the headlining spot. I'm not sure how it's going to be for us. Due to the fact we're playing Amsterdam later, we could only manage an early slot, at 1.40pm. I doubt the place will be rocking by that time. Another thing is that a great deal of the bands, and the fans, seem to be these macho hardcore types. Not our crowd. At all. But fuck it, the people who run the festival are good, honest hardcore folk and it's fun to hang out with Rise and Fall for a while.

We're the second band of the day. The first band is a band called Gunshot, or Smackdown, or something silly like that. They're awful anyway. Already, parts of the small crowd watching them, are begining to kick and punch thin air. The old kung fu routine. Here we go then...

By the time we hit the stage, the place probably has a good two hundred people in it. I'm sure by the time Rise and Fall play later, that figure will be closer to a thousand, but the crowd we have still feels more than ok. Despite the early stage time and the fact we're all a bit knackered, I think we play a good show. The stage sound is good, we have a lot of energy, and despite the crowd not moving too much, there is still plenty of noise from them between songs. Björn is stood down front, watching the set and nodding away. Jon notes to the crowd that he hasn't noticed any kung fu rotuines during our set. Funny that.

We pack down, grab a quick, cold shower and then go to get some food before we head off to the next show. As we're selling the last of the merch, we happen to catch a bit of the band after us. Now, I'm sure they're all very nice people, but they are absoultely awful! It's not even that the music is so bad, it's not good, but it's not that bad. No, it's their demeanour on stage. The two guitarists and the bass player are fine. Just normal looking hardcore kids. The singer is a vomitous looking creature, struting around the stage doing his best to look hard and evil. As evil as one can look with a silly perm and a big baggy t-shirt, sleeves cut off to show off his crap tattoos. What a turd. He's not even the worst of the bunch though.

I head over to the merch stand to find Ronnie, Johan and Andy stood there, watching the stage with their jaws gaped open. The drummer. The fucking drummer. He's this big muscular dude, covered in tattoos. He's playing the drums in the most over the top manner I've ever seen. He's got his top off, to show of his physique. He's flalling his arms around like an idiot, and his face has an expression on it that makes you wonder if he's getting his dick sucked as he's playing. It's truly awful to watch his orgasmic expression as he throws his arms above his head for every drum hit. I swear, he's one step away from kissing his biceps as he plays. I'm sure he's a nice guy in person, but on stage he is nothing short of repulsive.

Of course, the crowd are lapping it up. It's like watching the current in the sea build up into a white foam as the waves break. Most of the crowd are pushed far back from the stage, leaving a big gaping hole at the front. On the perimeters of this hole are people who are standing there, shaking themseleves up into a gradual frenzy. And then, at certain parts of a song, as if feeding off each other, they break out into a crazed kung fu routine. They literally stand there doing roundhouse kicks and windmill punches, into thin air, like they're fucking Bruce Lee or something. To me, it's absolutely bizarre to watch. The other people in the crowd, have to stand back and keep an eye on these idiots, for fear of being kicked in the head, instead of watching the shite band on stage. It annoys me that these kung fu dickheads actually become the show. It would have been fun to hang out and drink the wonderful Belgian beer we'd been supplied with in the dressing room, and to watch Rise and Fall tonight, but not if that meant having to suffer this nonsense for the rest of the day. We pack up our merch, say goodbye to the guys we know at the festival and then head off for Amsterdam.

It's another three hours in the van. We pull into Amsterdam around rush hour but luckily, make our way smoothly through the narrow streets to the Melkweg. This place has to be one of my favourite venues in Europe. Again, Dutch venues are always top notch. Proffesional. We're greetred by some rather stressed stage hands though, who help us load in directly from the street, through the crowd outside and onto the stage to do an immediate sound check. There is going to be a lot of people in this place tonight. Our show is almost sold out and in the bigger room next door, Mastodon are playing. Quite a night for the Melkweg.

We get through soundcheck pretty smoothly and the sound is excellent. As we're soundchecking with Lies, Lies, Lies, something really funny happens. Jon is a huge Mastodon fan and is really psyched about seeing them play later on for what will be his first time. Even better, he might get the chance to meet them since the Waste guys are good friends with them. As we're playing through the song, the Mastodon guitarist happens to walk through the room. He stands by the stage for a while, watching us, nodding his head in approval. When Jon notices him, on pure instinct, he turns off the volume on his guitar and then carries on miming along to the rest of us. We all piss ourselves laughing. He has no idea why he reacted in such a way, he just didn't want the guy to hear him playing. He really is a special boy, our Jon.

After soundcheck we head back to the shared dressing room we have with Waste, and sure enough, two of the Mastodon guys are there hanging out. Dave introduces them to us. As I shake the hands with the guitarist, he looks at me like he recognises me, but I don't say anything. Speedhorn had played one show with them in London a few years ago, and then they had hung out for a while at a show on the US tour. Sometimes, I'm a bit too shy to say, ”Hey, yeah we met before..” so I leave it. I'm not a superfan like Jon is, so I leave him to chat away to them, which he does. Albeit a little nervously.

It's a good enough end to the tour tonight, as far as the show goes. It's not the best show of the tour and it's the only show where it's only been us and Waste playing. So we play first and pretty early, but the room is filling out and we play well enough to get a good reaction from them. The Reproach guys have all come down to the show tonight. It's great to see them afterwards. They're down the front cheering us throughout the set. Nearly every night when Jon sings his song, Et Svart År, he always screams something at the crowd, in correspondance to where we are, during his solo part of the song. I crack up tonight when I hear him screaming, ”Kom igen era jävla hashtomtar!” tonight. It's only funny in Swedish though...

I hang out with the Reproach guys for a while after the show. They were supposed to play these last two shows on the tour, which would have been great, but they've had some hard times. First off, one of their good friends had commited suicide last week, so they were at the funeral yesterday. They had planned to play tonight anyway, but then Tim, the guitar player, broke his hand at work. Unreal. We hang out for a while afterwards and I don't even know how to tell them how sorry I am.

I meet some other old friends tonight too. The guys from My City Burning are all here. They played with Speedhorn on our final European dates before we split. It's fun seeing them again. We hang out for a while and watch Waste together, drinking a couple of beers. My other two friends, Martine and Lotje are also here tonight. They were part of Carnivore's crew when we toured with them a couple of years ago. Martine is working here at the venue, so I meet up with her after the show and give her a big hug. She's also had a really hard time this last couple of years. Soon after we toured together, she found out that she had a brain tumour. It was awful for her and everyone who knew her. The courage she displayed at that time truly inspired me. I have never witnessed such bravery. Thankfully she made it through those hard times and she was here tonight. It was great to see her looking so well.

My other friend Lotje, had kindly offered her place for us to stay at, which we happily accept. She misses our show but makes it down in time for the party afterwards. I'm by the merch stall as I notice her checking in to the building. Just as I'm about to go over and say hello I get stopped by some guy who comes over to me with a can of Guinness in each hand. He hands me one and then says, ”Thanks for a great show and thanks for the Speedhorn years”. I'm knocked back by this. I say thanks, feeling a bit confused by everything. I chat to him for a little while until Lotje comes over and gives me a hug. I guess Speedhorn left a mark in some way or another...

We hang out with a bunch of friends for a while after the show, the beer starting to flow. I go watch a little bit of Mastodon but the sound is so bad in that big room, that I only handle a song before I leave. I'm not really a big fan of their latest stuff, it's a bit too prog for me. I was never the biggest fan as it is. Jon is huge on them though, so I feel bad for him when he comes back absolutely deflated by what he'd seen. He mumbles that you should never watch your favourtie band play live...

Apparently the main guitar/singer guy had been pretty out of it on stage. Jon came into the room just as they're playing an instrumental part from the next to last song on their new album. This part is about four minutes long apparently. About half way through it the singer storms off stage to blast his guitar tech, for about five minutes, leaving the rest of the band on stage looking embarrased. He eventually comes back on stage and starts up the same song part again. They play through it, almost until the end, until the singer stops playing his guitar, telling the audience his guitar is in the wrong tuning. He storms off again and comes back with a new guitar. They play the same part again! Not only that, they have projected images that show behind them, that fit with each specific song. So they have to fix that each time they start the song again. I guess it's not a good night for those guys. Jon leaves gutted, the only thing he'd seen being the same song part three times.

Before we load out tonight and leave the venue, Andy and I share a last beer with Dave for this tour. Once again, he's been brought gifts from some friend. He shares his wickedly strong, chocolate stout with us. I'm going to miss Dave and the guys, they have been great tour companions.

Unfortuntaely, we don't really get the chance say goodbye to Dave, Lewis or Scotty properly. We load out the van and from there everything turns in to a drunken blur. When the van is done, packed out again through the busy street outside the venue, myslef and Tony head around the corner to a small, smoky bar which is pretty packed. I message the other gus where we're at and tuck into a beer. We're talking about doing a US tour together at some point in the future, I hope that is something we can work out time for.

I don't really remember much more. I remember the other Victims guys turning up along with Ryan and Phil. I remember drinking quite a few beers and then something about a shot of whisky with Johan...

I don't remember dancing with Jon and Andy whilst Johan played air piano intensely on the bar for five minutes. I don't remember Johan climbing on to the dashboard of the van and lying there, tucked in front of the steering wheel, whilst Ronnie is trying to drive us to Lotje's place. In fact, I don't remember driving to Lotje's place, or indeed, leaving the bar, whatsoever. I don't remember having my head out of the passenger window as we crept out of the small city streets, screaming at random people, ”Good job Amsterdam! Love your work!”, whilst high-fiving various pedestrians. I don't remember Andy being so drunk that he could hardly walk when we got to Lotje's place, bouncing off the walls of the apartment building's corridors like a ping pong ball.

I don't remember any of this. It's Ronnie who tells me, the next day. As he laughs and re-counts the stories of the night before, I'm slouched in the van feeling complete and utter dog-shit, proclaiming I'm never drinking again. The worst hangover for this tour has been saved until last, saved for the two day journey home.

It's been an amazing tour for us though. We couldn't have asked to have a nicer bunch of guys than Municipal Waste to tour with. I'm looking forward to re-uniting with them at some point in the future on the other side of the pond. That would be an amazing experience.

Right now though, I'm just looking forward to going home.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Woke up this morning, after four hours sleep, feeling like shit.

We were up at 8am to catch the ferry to Calais and then make our way to Sneek, Holland. A long day of travelling ahead. I'm really starting to feel it now. It wasn't even a hangover this morning, there have been a few of those on this tour, it was more just feeling knackered. Run down.

I drifted in and out of uncomfortable sleep for the best part of the long drive to northern Holland. When I was awake I had a hard time focusing on anything. Each of the other other guys in the band at some time or another during the day, would come up to me and pat me on the arm in a comforting way. It seemed like they were worried about me. They didn't need to be, I'm just a bit fucked.

We get to the venue in the small towen of Sneek and are greeted by some really friendly people on arrival. The Municipal guys were leaving after us this morning. I think they were out partying last night. The venue people tell us that the Waste will be here right before doors. There is a local band soundchecking as we get in and we're told we only need to do a line check. Wonderful. That means we can just chill out in the dressing room in peace and quiet for a couple of hours.

This venue is a really fresh building ran by proffesional people. Typical of the venues around Holland in my experience. This place is a lot like the magnificent 013 in Tilburg. We hang out in the dressing room drinking good coffee, not saying much to each other. I think everyone is feeling the burn a bit today. Only Jon is drinking beer and even he is taking it slow and easy. We're playing two shows tomorrow and we have yet another early get up. I can't deal with being hungover tomorrow. We'll probably have an end of tour party after the show in Amsterdam tomorrow night anyway.

We enjoy some good food from the venue's kitchen, a short while later the Waste guys turn up. They all look pretty hungover, even Dave was partying last night. We help them load in and then all chill out together in the dressing room, talking about the usual stuff. Tony is talking about bringing us over to Virginia for his Best Friends Festival in August, would be awesome if we could make that happen.

The show tonight felt way better than last night. Amazing really, here with these people in Holland, we get a two minute line check and the sound is fucking ace. Last night we soundchecked for an hour and it sounded dog shit. Strange. When the sound on stage is as good as it is tonight, the gig almost feels like it plays itself. We play really well and everyone is really pleased with the show. Probably has a lot to do with the fact that we were a bit down after last night. Tonight makes up for that. The crowd gave us a good response too, so it's all good.

The Municipal boys are already getting in the mood for the end of tour antics. Tonight, during our set, Dave and Tony were throwing fruit at us during the gig. Every time I looked over to side stage, I'd see Witte there, with a mischeivous grin on his face.

Not to be outdone, we've been planning ahead for tonight. We hit back with some oranges as they're playing. Johan creeps behind Witte's drum kit and throws an orange at him, which lands perfectly on his snare. To his credit, Dave laughs it off and then even pulls off some move, where he flips the orange off his snare, up into the air, and then hits it away with his stick, not even missing a beat in the process. What a fucking drummer!

When the Waste guys leave the stage with the crowd begging for encores, Johan sneeks up on stage and tapes bananas to all of their microphones and covers Witte's drums in cheese. They come back on to play a couple of more songs and they all crack up. The only one who doesn't notice is Phil, who is such a mellow stoner guy, he just gets on with banging his head to the songs. Only during the third song, when he has a vocal part does he notice. He almost swallows the banana down, as he's screaming away. He looks over at us, all confused. We're all side stage pissing ourselves.

Municipal seem to have a good show. Plenty of stage divers as usual, which is how they like it. Until people fuck their stuff up. One guy sort of falls from the crowd on to the stage, right in front of Ryan. I don't see exactly what the guy did but Ryan kicks him sqaure in the arse. The guy doesn't notice, he just stands on stage dancing. Ryan chases him, whilst playing his guitar, and kicks him in the arse again. This time the guy notices and runs back in to the crowd.

After the show is done and I have a wash, I drink the first beer of the day. It tastes good. It shouldn't reallly, but it does. It's been one of those classic tour days today. Feeling like shit all day, not knowing how you're going to get through the show and then as you hit the stage and the sound is great, something else takes over and from somewhere, you find the energy to get through it.

Whilst drinking that first beer after the show, I feel good for the first time today. I don't really know if that's such a good sign. I'll need a break when I get home. But tonight we're still on tour, and when Dave offers me a shot of whisky with him, I don't turn him down.

There's another really good distro here tonight. God knows how many records I've bought on this tour? I pick up a Conga Fury and a Talk Is Poison record tonight anyway, can't let them go. We seem to have made plenty of money from merch on this tour anyway, so I think my bills are covered when I get home, even though I'll get next to nothing in wages from work next month. If we did this well on tour consistenly, we could live off the band. That' never going to happen though. My days of wanting to go on tour all year round have long since past. I've done that. I like being home too much these days. Even work is kinda fun..

We hang out for a short while after the show and then we leave for the hostel. The Waste guys are staying at the same place and they want to hang out and party. Dave seems to be thirsty. I would love to but we're getting up at 7.30am to drive to Belgium and play the Ieper Fest in the afternoon, before driving back to Amsterdam for the last show of the Waste tour.

Nothing like winiding down at the end of a tour...

Friday, February 5, 2010


I'm woken by mum kissing me on my forehead. I feel like I'm ten years old again. It's a warm, safe feeling.

I'm so tired right now. It's been a fun few weeks but I'm really getting to the point where it feels like it's time to go home. Fuck knows how I used to handle months on the road at a time with Speedhorn? I guess that was ten years ago and I was indestructable then, or so I thought. Three weeks in the van is more than enough these days.

We have a busy day ahead. I force myself out of bed and into the shower, grab some quick breakfast and a cup of tea. It's always tea when I'm home, coffee the rest of the time. Anyway, we sit around for a half hour before heading off. I wave goodbye to mum and we're back on the road.

We have to stop by the Marshall factory to get my amp fixed. Typical really. I buy the amp from Jon before the tour, it breaks right before the first show and now I'll have it fixed when there's only four shows left. We drop the amp off with the good people at Marshall and grab some lunch at Ikea whilst we wait. It almost feels like we're home. Jon wonders if he can order his food in Swedish...

After an hour we head back and pick up the amp. It turns out it was the valves that had blown on it. They can blow at anytime really, just one of those things. The other guys take a walk around looking at all the old artist photos, framed and hanging on the wall. I think there is one of Speedhorn somewhere... I get the amp fixed super cheap anyway, so I'm happy about that. Johan gets his photo taken in front of the new Lemmy signature amp, so he's happy about that.

We get into London and weave our way through traffic, pulling up to the venue in good time. The Waste guys are here already. They had the day off in London yesterday. They went to see St. Vitus play at the Academy, lucky bastards. I guess we had a great show in Boston though, so I'm not that bummed. We load in just as the Waste guys are soundchecking. They're all childlike happy today. I think they missed us. We hang out chatting for a while backstage. Ryan is unsually talkative today. He's most likely still buzzing about the fact that after the Vitus show last night, he got to hang out with Wino.

It's great to see the guys again anyway. It's funny how one day on tour can seem so long. The intense family vibe you build on tour is like no other relationship I've ever known. You hang out with these friends every minute of the day for a few weeks and at times it feels like it's the touring party against the rest of the world, and no one else matters a shit. And then the tour ends, you part ways and normal life and feelings resume. I can't really explain it through the haze of tiredness I'm feeling right now, but most people who have toured a few times would know exactly what I mean.

Soundcheck today is an utter pain in the bollocks. It seems to take forever. The girl doing our sound seems to be a bit insecure, as does the guy doing the monitors. For a start, she won't let us have our amps loud enough to get the sound we play with, out of them. She's terrified of any volume coming off the stage. The monitor guy can't get any sort of decent sound either, everything just sounds like fizz. On top of that, Jon's mic keeps giving him shocks. It takes us an hour or so to find out the source of what's causing this, during which time Jon shocks himself four times. Hillarious! They tell him to wait while they sort it out, yet every now and again, he attempts to sing into it, only to reel backwards holding his mouth, looking, well.. shocked. This provides the rest of us with great ammusement, despite the boredom of standing around on a freezing cold stage.

As we were trying different options, trying to find the source of this shock, we had plugged Jon into Ryan's amp, to test the alternatives.. Jon blasts his guitar and the sound girl screams in panic, ”Turn it down!”. I have to explain to her that this is Waste's amp, and there is no way we are fucking with the settings on it. She looks truly baffled by everything. I know then, our show is as good as fucked tonight.

It's funny to see Johan telling the people working this stage exactly how to do their jobs, holding their hands through the process. Johan is a great sound technician and I can see the two who are working this stage looking embarrased a couple of times as Johan has to tell them what to do. We finally struggle through to the end of souncheck. I politely say thank you to the in house stage people, knowing fine well the sound tonight is going to be fucking shit!

We should have thrown Lewis some money to do our sound tonight. He has Municipal's amps blasting off the stage and it doesn't seem to be a problem, yet our amps are barely turned on. God knows what the sound girl would have done if she had been forced to take care of Waste's sound.

The bigger London shows always make me uncomfortable. I think it goes back to the days of when Speedhorn were headlining these venues. It was always so much hassle with everything. There are always a hundred people you barely know, who crawl out of the woodwork and want guest lists. The tiny dressing rooms are always filled with industry schmoozers. Being forced to hang around so many industry people, blowing smoke up your arse, always made me uncomfortable.

The guest list tonight has about seventy people on it. Surprise surprise. Thanks to Lewis, we manage to get some of our friends in to the show on the list anyway. The Regimes guys come down, as does Dave, my friend and former manager with Speedhorn. It's good to see the guys, albeit for a short while. We were supposed to be staying at Bloody Kev's tonight, but we figure it will take just as long to drive through the city to his place after the show as it would to drive to Dover, where our 9am ferry to Calais awaits. We decide on a Dover hotel.

I quickly say hello to the Regimes guys before I have to rush to the stage to set up. I get a surprise when I'm sorting my gear out. The band playing before us tonight was Gentlemen's Pistols. They are a really good, 70's blues rock kind of band. The Waste guys were buzzing about it since Bill Steer was the guitarist in the band. Of course, I loved Carcass when I was a kid like everyone else, and Steer came across as a really nice guy earlier on in the dressing room. The surprise I get as we're setting up, is that the guy playing guitar and singing in Pistols, and fuck me could he sing, is The Horror guitarist Atko! He's got a full beard and looks like he's come straight from the set of That 70's show. He says hello to me as I'm plugging in and I look at him and then, ”Atko?!” ”What the fuck?!” I didn't even recognise him. I'm chuffed though.

Anyway, we get on with the gig and the sound does indeed suck. I can tell it does out on the floor too. The gig feels like an uphill battle, even though we give it our best. Strings snap, the stage is big and it feels empty tonight. I remember when we played here with Speedhorn it was a weird gig. I've had reservations about this venue since the start of the tour. Talk about one extreme to the other. Last night's show could not have been any different. Or better. The one really fun thing about the show tonight, is that at times Dave is throwing fruit at Andy, hidden behind Jon's amp looking really cheeky. And then Tony runs on stage and starts skipping rope in the middle of the gig. Johan stood right in front of him, doesn't even notice.

The end of the gig comes as a relief. It's a shame, but it's too often been the case at these big London shows. I guess Victims isn't really a big stage band. There were at least quite a few crust punks in the crowd who seemed to enjoy it though. That's the main thing I guess.

We load of stage and I dry myself down before heading down to the merch area. Ronnie seems to be doing good business anyway, so we're still making money. I meet up with Dave and Kev and they tell me straight away the sound was weird. I of course knew that, but that confirmed it. I get it out my system pretty quick. We catch up on the Regimes stuff and the other stuff Kev and the boys are getting up to. I hang out with Bianchi for the most part. He's always got lots to chirp about and it's hard to get a word in sometimes, but he's always good fun to hang around. We had some great times taking care of Speedhorn.

The last time I hung out with Dave was in Stockholm when he was there on business.

He'd been invited over with a first class trip by the people who manage the band Moneybother. Put up in a top hotel in town, he's not one to snub a free trip abroad, although he had no idea what the people paying for the trip wanted from him. He invited me along, tempting me with a night out on the town paid for by his company credit card. A weird night ensued thereafter. We went to the show, met the band, met the people and then twelve hours later I woke up next to Dave in his hotel bed. Jen apparently had finally gotten me to answer my phone after numerous attempts. It was 6am and she was obviously worried that I hadn't came home last night as planned. I apparently told her it was only Dave I was in bed with and then passed the phone to him. Weird, weird night.

One thing I didn't know about that night until Dave filled me in tonight, was that I had also taken a piss on his hotel room curtains and then spent a few hours in bed drunkenly cuddling him. Haha! Booze is evil sometimes. We had been drinking together, rather rapidly, for about ten hours though. It's wasn't the first time we'd been that hammered together, it probably won't be the last.

As Dave was recounting this story to me, he was once again buying me drinks. He insisted that we all drink shots together, to which I replied, ”Dave, let's not go down this road again...”. He just laughed at me and paid for the tequila shots. I manage to put a stop to it after the second. I'm starting to feel drunk though.

Since we've decided to drive on to Dover and get a hotel room for the night, Dave, Kev and the guys head off pretty early and carry on their piss up at another pub. I say goodbye to them and head backstage, where I end up hanging out with Dave for a while, who is drinking an extremely good stout that he happily shares with me. I'm going to miss the Waste guys.

We load out the gear a while later and drive towards Dover. We're all a bit tipsy and we decide we're going to have a van party, to help keep Ronnie awake. What a bunch of mates we are! I want to play the second Sounds album, but Andy gets angry at the idea. Bloody music facist! I try to explain that it's an amazing party record but he's having none of it. We settle on From Ashes Rise.

About thirty minutes into the drive I can hardly keep my eyes open. We find a hotel next to the harbour and I go to bed feeling like shit. Tomorrow is another long day. I'm really starting to long for my own bed now. Two days left, three shows to play.


I woke up today minus yesterday's hangover but still feeling pretty worn down. The end of the tour is in sight and my mind is starting to drift towards the comforts of home. My own shower, my sofa, my bed, my records and of course Jenny and Bonzo. The last time I managed to get eight hours sleep in one night seems like a long time ago.

At least this morning we were in no stress to get going. We are playing our own show in Boston tonight, which is only a couple of hours drive from York, so we're good. I feel really tired this morning. I could have easily lay in bed at Snitch's all day long, watching the Family Guy dvd's we fell asleep to last night.

I get up and try to shower away the sleep. It works somewhat. After hanging out on Snitch's sofa drinking tea for an hour or so, we get our stuff together and drive in to York city centre. I was a little worried how we had left the van last night, since we'd had no choice but to leave it in a deserted street away from the apartment. You can't get a van down the narrow street Snitch lives on. Last time we were here with Speedhorn, John slept in the van and guarded the gear. But that was good old Betty, which at least had beds inside her. No one was in the mood to sleep in our freezing cold van last night! Thankfully the van was fine.

We head to the pub where Snitch works to get a bite to eat. I insist that Jon orders the same as I'm eating, which is the giant Yorkshire Pudding with sausage and mash with gravy. He takes it and is chuffed when it turns up. It's absolutely huge and delicious. Andy complains that it looks digusting. He has no idea what he's missing out on. I guess British cuisine isn't always for everyone.

After finishing off lunch, we all slouch in our chairs, completely stuffed. I think I could easily have fallen asleep, right there and then. I order some strong, black coffee in hope of reviving me. It kinda works.

It's soon time to say goodbye to Snitch. I guess it's going to be a while until I see him again since he's studying and doesn't have the money to spend on flights to Sweden. He talks about coming over for Midsummers, I hope he can. We say our goodbyes and drive off in the diredtion of Boston. It's a grey, miserable day. I'm starting to feel done with winter for this year. I heard yesterday that it was -22 degrees at home. I think I'm going to hibernate when I get back, until spring arrives.

We make the drive down to Boston in just over two hours. After today everything is going to start getting a little tougher again, as far as driving goes. If it's true that you don't get the same star treatement in the UK as you do on the mainland, it's also true that the drives are a lot kinder. Municipal are already in London having a day off, we'll be meeting up with them again tomorrow. Tonight we're playing a classic hardcore venue in a room at the Indian Queen pub in Boston. This place has seen some classic nights. Even Municipal played here on their first UK tour.

Tonight we're playing with our friend Luke's band, Burning the Prospect. It's their last ever show so it should be a bit special. Another friend of mine, Chris, is also here playing tonight. His band Jesus of Spazzareth is opening up. It's their last show aswell. And then there is Wolfbeast Destroyer, who are members of Prospect and a classic UKHC band called Urko. Tonight is going to be a lot of fun, if not a bit emotional.

Before we drive into town and to the venue, we meet up at an address Luke has given us, where we're going to be fed. It's a cottage in the middle of nowhere, which is a summer house that his parents rent out to paying customers. The idea originally was for us to sleep here tonight, but since I have to get my amp fixed at Marshall tomorrow, we're driving back to my parents house, which is a lot closer to the Marshall factory. It's going to be a busy day tomorrow. I was supposed to be taking the train from Boston to London in the morning to get tattooed from Marcus Regimes, but I had to blow that off because of my fucking amp too. Still pissed off about that.

Anyway, we somehow manage to force some more food down us courtesy of Luke. Most of us are still completey stuffed from the lunch in York a couple of hours ago, but we all make a good effort with the baked potatoes, cheese and beans Luke has laid out. A free meal is never to be blown off.

We sit there for a half hour or so, drink a beer, and then drive into town, following Luke's car through the dark, winding country roads into Boston town centre. It's snowing when we get to the venue, so loading out is a pain in the arse. We get the gear in as soon as possible, through the pub and up some steep, narrow stairs. Why is there always stairs?!

The gig tonight is insane! The room is tiny. Eighty people would easily pack it out. The show is on the floor of course, with the drums and the rest of the backline on a small stage. I have a great time watching Spazzareth play. There are plenty of kids here and they are all having a lot of fun. Chris is always fun to watch on stage, he's always full of good cracks between songs. It's too bad they are spiltting up, but Chris tells me afterwards that most of the guys in the band are starting something new together.

I'm not sure how but I miss Wolfbeast Destroyer. They must have played a very short set whilst I was downstairs in the pub drinking coffee. Andy tells me later they were great. Typical. I'm told there is a chance they might be playing Punk Illegal with us later on in the year in Göteborg, so maybe I'll get the chance to see them then.

There is no way I'm missing the Burning the Prospect gig tonight though. They play an absolutely immense show. The crowd is going wild for them, the singer spends most of his time in the air being held aloft, or jumping up and down like a madman. It's such a great show, and I'm dying to get on stage when they are done. The crowd are singing along to their songs and it's truly an awesome send off for them. The atmosphere is buzzing as I stand on a chair, watching over the crowd and loving every second of their set.

As we're setting our gear up, it seems most of the crowd have fled outside to get some air. We take a while getting our sound going but it still seems pretty empty in the room that was packed full when Prospect were playing. I suddenly fear an anti-climax to the night. Maybe everyone was here to see Prospect, they are from Boston afterall. Fears are soon erradicated when we start to make some proper noise. By the time Johan announces, ”Hi, we're Victims from Sweden”, the room is once again packed.

In fact, there is hardly any room for us to stand. People are completely on top of us. We start the set with Scars as usual. The room erupts. We're not playing in front of the crowd, we're playing in it. We're not even three songs on when Johan gets a glass thrown at him, hitting him square in the head. I don't think it was intentional on this occasion though. He seems to be ok and we get on with things. During almost every song the mic stands are getting ripped down by the surging crowd in front of us. People are grabbing hold of it and screaming along to the songs. At different points during the set both Jon and myself are picked up by the crowd and thrown around on people's shoulders and hands, the whole time trying to continue to play.

We play This is the End and the whole place goes mad. The atmosphere is amazing. Johan doesn't even get near his mic come chorus time, it gets completely taken over by the crowd. People are jumping off the small stage where Andy is playing his drums. At one point ten or so people build a human pyramid, right in front of Johan. I've never seen anything like it. They are built up on top of each other, all screaming mad yet somehow choriographed. They hold out for about ten seconds before the whole thing collapses down on to Johan's feet. As we're playing Victims in Blood pt. 5, during the breakdown part of the song, another bunch of kids are sitting on the floor in front of Jon, air rowing togehter, It's absolutely hillarious. It's the most fun I've had playing a show in a long time.

We play a couple of extra songs before finally finishing up the show. Afterwards we hang out for a while chatting to Luke and Chris and the other guys, we sell a shit load of merch and swap some stuff with the other bands. As much as the Waste shows have been amazing for us, a band like Victims needs these shows too. This is where we come from. After a few last goodbyes, we wash down a quick Newcastle Brown Ale before we start packing out the gear. The snow has stopped now.

We head back to Corby through dark country roads, finally getting back to my parents house around 2am. I get into that old cosy bed and fall asleep barely a second after my head hits the pillow.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Woke up this morning to the sound of my mobile phone letting me know I have a new message. It's Lee from the other room letting me know he's going to work in five minutes. I force myself out of the warm and cosy bed in his spare room. I don't feel as bad as maybe I deserve, or maybe that's coming later. Right now it's managable anyway..

I chat with Lee for a short while. He's made us up a goodie bag full of Scottish classics like shortbread, tablet, Irn Bru etc. I hug him goodbye before he leaves. I'm looking forward to when he and Kelly come to visit in a few weeks time. After Lee leaves, I go back to bed for a while, stepping over Jon, who is curled up, snoring on the hall way floor, on the way. I get the feeling we're not going to be keeping to our scheduled 11am departure time today. Fuck knows where Johan even is!

After pressing the snooze button on my alarm for the third time, I pull myself out of bed for good. Fuck, I feel tired! The end of the tour is in sight now and when it comes, I'm going to need a break from the booze for a while. The lack of sleep and healthy diet is really starting to tell now. When I get home, the gym needs a visit...

I go about dragging the other guys up. Jon tucks straight in to his bottle of Fernet, strill drunk, saying he's not ready to face it yet...Andy looks a bit of a wreck too. Big night for those guys last night. I can't even remember letting them back in. They said they'd taken a cab back but had absolutely no idea where they were going and just happened to spot the van, so jumped out of the cab. Apparently it had taken a while for me to come and open the door.

I force myself into the shower and try to wash away last night's booze. We sit around and munch on some of the treats Lee has bought us. I'm really chuffed to hear that the boys really dig the crumpets and the shortbread. Two things I always have friends bring with them from home when they visit Sweden. Love it.

Just as we're discussing where Johan is and wondering when he's gonna turn up, he texts us saying he'll be here in ten minutes. He turns up shortly thereafter looking like he's still a bit drunk. He's grinning like a fucking chesire cat. I guess he had a good time last night. We all throw a cup of tea down and then get in the van. I really want to stop somewhere and buy a bottle of Buckfast for my friends Linus back home. It's this insane fortified wine that all the Scottish wasters get pissed on. It gets you drunk really fast, really cheap. No wonder the Jocks love it. Unfortunately, the guy I ask at the supermarket about the beverage tells me that they no longer sell it. Apparently Bucky is only sold by a small amount of independent shops these days. I ask the guy if the situation with Buckfast and Scotland is that bad, to which he scoffs” Er...Aye!” So that will have to be one for the list when Lee comes to visit in April.

We get to Leeds a little late but true to form, Municipal are only just turning up as we do. They all look hungover too. Dave tells me that he missed me at breakfast this morning. I remember then that we had planned to meet for breaky at this really great cafe in Glasgow called Where The Monkey Sleeps. I totally blanked it this morning. Even as Dave reminds me now, it's really only a blurry drunken memory. There is no way I could have made it there for the planned 10am rendevous anyway.

The venue is absolutely fucking freezing inside and when we load in they are playing really loud music. Why would they do that? It's so fucking unnecesarry. And what's the problem with putting some heating on really? We get loaded in and laze around in the dressing room for a while. There is another gig on tonight, in the smaller room. We're sharing a dressing room with the other bands that are playing. We hang out with the singer from the band Twin Atlantic for a while. Seems like a really nice guy. It turns out he used to work as the bar manager in Nice n' Sleazys in Glasgow, the scene of last night's piss up.

When soundcheck is done, I head out into town to meet up with Snitch and my sister Carly. I'm really glad she could come to the gig tonight, we don't see enough of each other these days, since we both left Corby a long time ago. Her new boyfriend Nick was also coming to the show tonight. I was looking forward to meeting him for the first time. They seem really serious and I'm happy for her. Funny that the first time he meets me I'll be jumping around on stage like a knob, playing a hardcore show. I don't think Nick knows too much about that stuff so it'll be a fun experience for them.

I meet them in a pub accross the road from the venue. I feel hungover as shit now. Snitch has already been messaging me asking if I'm ready for a piss up tonight. I think I need a pint of Guinness. When I get into the pub and hug Carly and Snitch, I'm told Nick is at the bar buying me a pint of the Black Stuff. I love him already. Even though I've heard he's an Everton fan, with one gesture, he's made up for that indiscrepancy and won me over! That first sip of Guinness tastes dangerously good.

Nick is a really nice guy and we have fun chatting over a few pints of the good stuff. Jon turns up for a while and we get on with making ourselves fit enough for the show. After three pints of Guiness I'm actually starting to feel drunk again. That wasn't really the intention. Before we know it, it's time to get back for tonight's earlier than usual show. It's all a bit stressed when we arrive back at the venue. The first two local bands had played a little longer than scheduled. Surprise surprise. I hear the monitor guy moaning to his friend that we should have been on four minutes ago, I explain the situation to him and he shuts up.

We get going as soon as we can. The venue is packed out as per usual on these Waste shows. The atmosphere feels good too. I play totally shit for the first three songs though! I shouldn't have had that third Guinness. I flash back to a gig here with Speedhorn a long time ago. That gig was one of the only two shows I've ever played that I have absolutely no memory of, due to being completely steaming on stage! Strangely enough that gig at the Cockpit years ago also involved Snitch and Guiness. I'm determined to sharpen up and I do manage to get it together within a couple of songs.

The gig goes really well after that. People seem really into it. I really enjoy the show. I don't even break a string tonight, something I've managed to do at each other last five or so shows. There are a couple of guys down the front who really seem to be loving it, they keep offering me their Newcastle Brown Ale between songs, which I happily take. At one point Jon shouts out a song to the crowd, screaming ”This song goes out to all you colonising bastards!” He seems to have fallen in love with Scotland last night.

As soon as we play the last note, I make a bit of a deal of shaking Monitor Man's hand. He did actually give us a good stage sound, despite his earlier moaning. I dry of in the dressing room after the show and then go down to meet the guys. Carly is as pissed as a fart by the time I get down to the bar. She definately likes the sauce when she's in the mood. She really is hillarious and I love her to bits. They seemed to have a really good time watching the show anyway. We hang out for a little while longer but they soon have to leave since they're working early tomorrow. One thing that really makes me sick about my sister is that she never seems to get hangovers. I hate that. Anyway, they get going so we say bye. We're all meeting up in Hamburg for my dad's 60th birthday the weekend after this tour is over, so I don't feel as sad as I normally would saying goodbye to Carly.

We're staying at Snitch's place tonight, which I'm happy about since that measn we get to hang out properly. Snitch was the best man at our wedding and is like a brother to me. Like a lot of my good friends, we see each other far too rarely. We drink a couple of Newky Browns and watch the Municipal show. I've totally levelled out since we played and now it feels like I could drink all night and not get drunk. Sometimes it's like that after a big night. We have a good time watching the Waste as always. I have to crack up at one point when Tony lays in to the first two bands playing tonight. He wonders aloud why the fuck they are playing with bands like them. I think he's a bit pissed about them making the running order late with their earlier local hero band antics. I've seen it so many times by now and yet it still shocks me. These bands get a big show supporting a big band they most probably love, and they completley fuck it up for themselves by getting carried away and playing for way too long. I've even seen some of these bands play encores in the past. Don't they get it? If you are going to put the headlining band on twenty minutes late when there is a strict curfew on the club then the headlining band is not going to like you. I do feel a bit sorry for the guys in the opening bands as Tony basically calls them shit on stage.  Apparently the singer in the opening band had a fucking sword on stage with him though, so I don't actually feel that sorry for them.

We're hanging out by the merch table afterwards and I notice the bouncers are clearing the room really fast. This sucks for us since we sell most of our merch at the end of the night, as do Municipal. What a fucking club. All they give a fuck about is kicking everybody out just to let them back in again five minutes later for another fee, just to listen to some shit DJ playing shit music. We do manage to sell a litte before the enforced exodus but it turns out to be easily the lowest night, sales wise, on the Municipal tour. Annoying since the gig felt really good and we probably could have sold a bit.

One guy comes up to me on the way out and asks me if I was in ”Fucking Speedhorn?”. Johan and Snitch laugh as I tell him I was indeed in Fucking Speedhorn. He says that he spent his youth listenng to that band. I tell him what a waste of time that must have been. I'm joking of course but it seems to throw him a bit.

As we're loading out at the end of the night, Tony is storming around looking for Lewis. He's shouting about how he's never playing this club again. I guess he's pissed at the merch exodus situation. I understand. I mean, those guys are on tour all year round. This is what they do full time, and it's their merchandise sales that pay their rent. Again, I hate to say it, but it's the typical kind of treatment you get playing in the UK.

We head off shortly after the van is packed. We drive the thirty minutes or so back to Snich's place in York, via the 24 hours Tesco, where we stop to pick up some wine. We get back to his flat and drink a couple of glasses and play some FIFA 2010. The rest of the guys drop off pretty quickly whereas me and Snitch stay up until around 3am. We finally crash out watching tv a while later, not able to keep our eyes open any longer.

It's been so great meeting so many good friends on this tour.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I've been looking forward tonight since I first saw the tour dates a couple of months ago.

One of my absolute best friends, Lee, lives in Glasgow. We had a lot of fun together touring with Speedhorn. Lee at the drivers wheel and the merch stand, me on stage and tour managing. We hang out far too seldolmly these days, but that's grown up life I guess. Anyway, Lee and his wonderful girlfriend, Kelly, are coming to the show tonight and we're crashing at their place afterwards. Tonight was always gonna be fun.

It was nice to once again sleep in a bed last night. We also had the luxury of being able to lie in it until 11am. Since we were parked up at motorway hotel, we took advantage of the breakfast and coffee next door in the service station before heading up the road to Scotland. Everyone once again tucked in to a fry up. Always a top start to the day in my opinion.

The road offers some fine sights on the drive up to Glasgow, weaving its way through the Pennines and then the hilly southern borders of Scotland. As we're taking in the view, Municipal fly past us in their van. Mikel, their driver, is really hitting the gas. We salute each other as they pass, we even try to catch up with them for a while but we soon give up.

We pull up outside the back of King Tuts bang on time, and somewhow, once again, ahead of Waste. Fuck knows what they did once they overtook us earlier? I really like playing King Tuts. Glasgow is always a great gig as it is, but the people at Tuts are super friendly and make you welcome. An unfortunate rareity in the UK.

We load in through the back and get everything set up. We still have a couple of hours until soundcheck needs to be done so we chill out in the dressing room for a while. It's Scotty's birthday today. They had the day off in Birmingham yesterday and had been to see some wrestling. They seem to have a great time in Brum. Scotty seems totally fine today too, no hangover in sight. He tells me that he ended up going to bed early, around midnight, whilst Ryan kept the party going in his name until the early hours. That's a true friend right there.

Everything positive I had spouted earlier to they guys about Tuts nearly gets pissed all over by the sound guy a while later. I went in to the office to ask if there was a code for the wireless internet. It was apparently a painstaking task I had given the guy. He tells me that he just told ”the other guy” the code a minute ago. I enquire if he means Lewis, the tour manager, to which he just shrugs. ”Ok, but can you just tell me it whilst i'm here?”, to which he replies that he's already told two or three people the code...I wonder if he's joking as we stand there staring at each other. He just plain refuses to tell me. What an utter tit! If it's such a pain in the ass to tell people why don't they just stick a note on the wall in the dressing room with some fucking info on it? I thank him in the most over the top way I can manage and leave.

I go back down to the dressing room and tell the other guys about my encounter with the sound guy. Lewis just cracks up asking if it was Captain Happy I'd spoken to. Ryan pipes up, wondering what I'm talking about. He's delighted by my story and immediately trundles off to find Captain Happy, to ask him about the code. We crack up.

I don't know what Happy's problem was but thankfully his mood doesn't affect soundcheck. He actually sorts out the best sound we've had all tour. We thank him genuinely. I think he even cracks out a smile at this. I guess that must have caused him great physical pain.

Lee turns up a while later and we hang out for a bit, catching up on all the usual stuff. It's always great to see him. He's been shopping and bought us some treats for the morning. Sutff I'm dying to enforce on the Victims boys. Stuff like Irn Bru, crumpets, shortbread. Lee has fixed the lot. He even went and bought an inflatible mattress for us. What a diamond!

Although King Tuts is a small venue, they have this really ridiculous stage barrier, set up really far away from the stage, which really doesn't need much protecting. The place is pretty packed by the time we go on anyway. Lee had just got back to the venue, with Kelly beside him. Another friend of mine, Jamie, is also here somewhere. He sang in the band Ninth Circle, the first band Speedhorn ever toured with. We've been friends ever since. I've had a great time catching up with so many old friends on this tour.

The show is probably my favourite of the tour so far. Even though the stage is insanely hot, there is lots of energy from us. I have a great time playing the show. Jon is in great form too. As he introduces We're Fucked, he announces that this song should be Scotland's national anthem. I catch the bouncers pissing themseleves laughing at that. Most Scots I know have the fine trait of being able to laugh at themseleves. The gig continues on in good form and we get a really positve reaction fromthe crowd.

Once packed down afte the show and Ryan's speakers are set back up for him to use, I head over to Ronnie, in search of Lee and Kelly. After long hugs we hang out chatting to each other. Jamie is also there and he's kind enough to buy me a bottle of Budvar. It tastes like fucking heaven! We all have a great time hanging out and watching the Municipal set. At one point Tony exclaims that the barrier is the ”stoopidest” thing he's ever seen., saying that they could set Dave's drum kit up in the gap. I smirk to myself. It is indeed, a very silly thing.

After the show, we pack the van in somewhat of a blur and then take a walk down to my favourite bar in Glasgow, Nice n' Sleazy's. I tell Jon that he's going to love it, to which he replies ”We'll see”. Typical him. As it turns out, he comes up to me within in five minutes of being there and tells me that I was right. We're all pretty drunk now. Lee and Kelly hang out for a while but have to head off kind of early since they're both working in the morning. I'm disappointed but I understand. Besides, they're coming to visit in April so there will be plenty of time to catch up then.

They leave just after the Municipal guys turn up. Andy has bumped into an old friend from Nyköping, completely coincidentally. He's shocked and happy at the same time and they hang out catching up for a while. Johan has got chatting to some girl at the bar, they seem very into each other. I'm hanging out with Jon and Dave and the other Municipal guys. I have no idea who keeps buying me beer but they keep turning up in my hand. At one point I've got a beer in each hand and one on a table.

In the midst of all these high spirits, everyone's attention gets abruptly turned to some psycho guy who has taken offence at something Andy's old friend has done. He looks fucking mental and everyone kinda looks on confused. Andy's friend, Malkolm, looks terrifed and just stares at the floor. Psycho is telling him in no uncertain terms that he's going to kill him. I have to crack up when a drunk Scotty pokes his nose into the situation, in his typical mellow West Coast accent, ”Hey man, chill out dude”. Lewis shouts at Scotty and tells him to come back, pointing to where he should go. Experienced management there by Lewis.

Eventually a bouncer comes and ushers Psycho away, although even he looks worried. As he's being coaxed out he takes off his belt and holds it aloft in the air, explaining to Malkolm what he's going to do with it. Fuck sakes! He eventually leaves and we get back on with the party at hand. We're hanging out and meeting new people and the night feels good again. Andy comes staggering up to me at one point and tells me he's been knocked back at the bar. He looks absolutely shocked! I just laugh at him. I'm starting to feel really drunk myself. Ronnie nearly pisses himself laughing when he catches Andy, still looking shocked, trying to straighten himself out. He goes to lean on the bar with his elbow, only to miss and fall down, just about catching himself before he hits the floor. Brilliant!

Ronnie and I decide that it's getting late and maybe sleep should soon be considered as an option. I ask Jon if he and Andy are gonna come in the van with us back to Lee's, to which he laughs and shouts ”No! I really should but I'm not” at me. Ryan and Lewis have taken over the task of buying both Andy and Jon beer from the bar, since Jon has also been knocked back by this point. They are both amazed that they have been told enough is enough, in Glasgow. We leave Jon and Andy to it, both of them staggering about the place with smiles as broad as their faces. I don't know what's happened to Johan, well I kind of do, but I guess we'll be filled in with that particular gossip in the morning.

Thank fuck we have Ronnie out with us. Every touring band needs a straight edge friend driving them. I'm pissed and have the munchies, so demand that we go by the chip shop before we head to the van. I munch a portion of chips and cheese in the van on the way back to Lee's. It's only a short drive and we're soon back. Lee has set up all the beds, one of which I collapse into. Fuck knows how those other two tits are gonna get back. I hope Ronnie gave them the address.

A while later, in the darkness of drunken sleep, I hear Ronnie somewhere telling me to get out of bed and let the other two in. I guess they're back. I pull the sheets over my head and try to ignore them. Getting out of bed feels like an awful effort. I barely remember opening the door for them. Ronnie tries to explain to Jon and Andy that there are plenty of beds to sleep in, but both have by now lost the ability to listen. Andy crashes out on the small living room sofa, which is about half the size of the big bastard, and Jon lies down on the floor in the hallway. Fuck the dickheads, I need to go back to bed. I do just that, pretty chuffed. Both myself and Ronnie have our own double bed to stretch out in whilst Laurel and Hardy are out there.

Tomorrow is going to hurt. Sometimes it's worth it though.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Today is another free day for Municipal Waste, another gig for us.

I wake up earlier than I had hoped. Back in the room I had called my own for the first ten years of my life. I later moved into the larger room at the back of the house during my teenage years, my younger sister relegated to the smaller room I'm lying in right now. I don't know what it is but my mum has an amazing skill of making the most comfortable beds. Maybe it's the comfort of home, I don't know. I lie in bed for at least a good hour after waking though, just enjoying the soft matress.

The othe guys are spread about the house sleeping in beds my mum had so kindly fixed before we got back last night. I leave them to their well earned sleep and go downstairs for a cup of tea with my parents. It's great to see them as always.

The rest of the guys awake to an english breakfast ala mum. They all seem really satisfied with it. We sit around the tv for a while watching Andy Murray getting his ass scumped in the Australian Open Tennis Final by Roger Federer. We don't have to leave for Nottingham until at least 3.30pm today so we can take it nice and easy. Cups of coffee flow in and out as we sit around the tv watching the tennis. Wonderful not to think about touring for a little while.

My best mate Snitch pops his head through the door around lunchtime. He lives in York these days, we'll be staying at his flat on Tuesday night after the Leeds show, but he's he's back for the weekend visiting our home town. The lot of us, along with dad, head to the local pub around the corner for a Sunday lunch time pint. I've been telling the guys about this pub since we left from Stockholm. The Rockingham Arms, or the Rock as it's known to us, is my absolute favourtie public house in the world. It looks like something from a scene in Trainspotting, pure filfth. The regulars, who are there every single day, morning to night, are all faces I've grew up with. My Grandmother used to tend the bar's pretty rough in here and some people are intimidated by it, but I love it. The beer is tasty and most likely, the cheapest in the land. What more do you need? One lunch time pint turns into three. Johan and Andy decide to take a walk into town after the first of the pints, I wish them good luck and head back to the bar. Myself, dad, Snitch and Jon engage in conversation over another couple of the Rock's finest ale.

Sadly, time flies and before long we have to leave. I hug my mum and dad goodbye and tell them we'll be back on Wednesday night after the Boston show. I decide to guide the boys along the scenic route to Nottingham. As much as Corby could easily be described as a rough little town, maybe even ugly, the surrounding countryside is in my opinion, the finest in the land. The view from the top of Rockingham Hill over the Nene Valley, just as you leave Corby, is idilic English country. We weave our way through the villages of Caldecott and Uppingham and on through Oakham (my mum's home town) and Melton Mowbray. For possibly the first time since I moved to Sweden, I feel a pang of longing for my home land. Maybe I could one day return here, a house out here in this beautiful countryside. I don't know if it's just the fact that the sun is setting over a beautiful, clear winters day, lighting up the fields that spread as far as the eye can see, but I feel a longing I've never felt before. I sit up front in the van guiding Johan to Nottingham, staring at the passing scenery.

We get to Nottingham right on time to load in. Our friend Henry, who played in Army of Flying Robots and now plays in Dead in the Woods, who are alos playing the show tonight, meets us as we arrive. I'd heard from Kev that the Chameleon Cafe, tonight's venue, was a great new DIY spot. He'd been here to see Gasmask Terror a few weeks ago and was raving about the place. We load in trough the tight alleyway beside the neighbouring bar, and up through the narrow stairs into the tiny room we're playing tonight. The first thing you notice is that the PA is fucking huge! It's gonna be as loud as hell in here later. The other thing I happen to notice is the floor area we're playing on, behind the monster PA, seems to be laden with rubber mats. I can feel my legfs aching already.

We get set up, soundcheck, and then head down to the bar area downstairs and eat some punk curry. It's good, if not a little cold, but a meal is a meal, always. We have to go buy ourselves some beer, since the miserable old bastard behind the bar makes it clear we're getting fuck all from him, no compliments of the house. Nothing unusual per say, it's just typical British treatment. Maybe you really do get spoiled on the mainland, or maybe it's just that you just get treated like a human being there. Who knows?...

Anyway, instead of giving the old fucker any of our money, we head to the nearest Tescos and buy some beer and wine. We subtly tuck into it during the other band sets. Dead in the Woods are fucking amazing! I enjoy every minute of their set and swap an lp with them afterwards. Their guitar player Andy, who also played in Robots, is great on stage.

I check out the other bands in small parts, but spend most of the night talking to my old friend, James, who I grew up with in Corby. He plays in a band called Fists with his girlfroend Angie these days. It seems to be going well for them, they just played some shows with Obits, Rick Froberg's new band. I'm a little jealous. James sang in the first band I ever played in, Morphine, when I was fourteen years old. We have a laugh about the old days over a beer. He tells me he was worried before coming tonight that he wouldn't look punk enough. He tells me that when he first spotted me his fears were soon erased! I guess I'm not too much into that look myself, I'm more into buying the records than the safety pins and the boots.

As we're talking, a guy called Ben comes up and intoduces himself to me. It turns out that he plays in a great band called Jealous, whom Speedhorn's old bass player, Dave, had tried out for after we split up. Myself and Kev had highly encouraged Dave to join them but typical of him, he backed away. Ben tells me Dave said to say his sorry but he won't be making it tonight. Funny. I haven't heard from Dave in ages and knew nothing about his supposed coming to tonight's show. If I had know in advance, I certainly would not have been surprised by his failure to show up anyway. I love him, but he's a bit of a flake. I hear him and Jay have a new indie band together and have turned their backs on hardcore, well Jay anyway. I can't say I blame them after some of the experiences we had with Speedhorn. I'm still here though, and tonight I'm loving it.

I really enjoy hanging out with James. He seems really intrested in the crust and hardcore scene. We talk for a while about it. He's not really involved in it, but he's always been interested in different social scenes and lifestyles. He really enjoys the show tonight, as do I. There are about fifty people here and the atmosphere is ace. I had briefly chatted with Gords earlier, the Geriatric Unit singer. Andy had asked me if I thought whether Steve, their drummer and legend from his days in Heresy, would turn up. He does and Andy turns into the excited punk rock school boy he is.

The show is fun. There are a couple of typical punks down the front, giving it the usual interaction. ”Play faster!” and the likes. Everywhere you go you get the same crack. It seems to be a crust punk thing. They seem to love it anyway. At the end of the set I go to walk off, knackered and dripping with sweat, only to be blocked by this one shouter guy, who pushes me back on to the makeshift stage, demanding more songs. We oblige with Destroy and Rebuild and Another Way to Die, before finally finsishing for the night. I walk off and the first person that grabs me is Steve Heresy, who hugs me and tells me it was great! I don't think he recognises me even though we'd met a few times. He's drunk as usual. I tell him thanks and that Kev says hello, to which he looks confused, ”Oh, yeah yeah, great!” he says. Kev and Steve had played together in the short lived 666 Dead. They only released one 7”, which was fucking ace! We had the honour of playing a gig with them in the early Speedhorn days.

We hang out for a while, swapping records, buying records from the distro downstairs. Gords and I talk about doing some Geriatric Unit/Victims shows in Scandinavia at some point in the future. I hope that happens. I meet Andy later and he delightedly tells me he met Steve. Steve had also told Andy he loved the show and I think Andy's whole tour has just been made.

We pack out eventually, I say goodbye to James and we hang out with Henry and the DITW guys on the streets for a while. I think a few of them are coming to Boston on Wedensday. It will be afterall, Burning the Prospect's final show.

We get in the van and head towards Glasgow. We pull into a Travelodge somewhere just outside of Manchester. Johan and I share a room and a double bed. Neither of us mind. We lie in bed drinking tea and watching late nate news.

Today was a good day.


Although having to get out of bed this morning at 6.30am wasn't exactly ideal, we were all grateful for the few hours we had been able to spend in a bed at least. It was such a great feeling lying there last night that I hardly wanted to fall asleep. For one thing it was a comfortable, clean bed and for another thing, falling asleep would just accelerate time forward to me getting back into the cold van and driving onwards.

We drive the rest of the journey between Eindhoven and Calais without incident, arriving with fourty minutes to spare. The guy at passport control jokes with us over our passport photos, asking if we've all had plastic surgery since we obtained our passports. I turn out to be the only guy in the band that still resembles his passport photo. Jon looks really different in his. He'd sorted his passport out right before Victims played their first US tour and he was super paranoid about getting in, so in his passport he's all clean shaven and has a school teacher haircut. He could not look more different these days!

We get a real British welcome whilst queing to drive the van on to the boat. We pull up behind a car obviously inhabited by Brits. There are two of them packing crates of Fosters into the boot of the car. Jon is up front with Ronnie and he laughs about their choice of beer. ”Typical Brits” he chuckles. Next thing this other complete meat head gets out of the car and stares at Jon. I glance away for a second. When I return my gaze back at Meat Head I happen to catch him grunting the word ”Wot?!” as he glares at Jon. Jon cracks up. He thinks British thugs are fascinating. He loves it.

On the boat later he tells me about the full encounter with Meat Head. Apparently when the guy climbed out the back of their car and caught Jon gleefully staring at him, he nodded his head, chin out, eye brows screwed up. Jon tells me he returned the nod, to which he then recieved the enquiry”Wot?!”. I explain to Jon that the nod the twat had given him was not meant as a friendly greeting but as a threat. Chin out always means threat. Jon laughs with joy, chuffed he's just experienced his first run in with a complete and utter British twat!

We get on the ferry and head straight for the canteen. We're all starving and we prepare ourselves for England with a fry up breakfast. Fucking expensive though it is, it tastes great. Johan asks me if I think one will get a free refill on the tea we got with breakfast. Even though it was a ridiculously small cup of tea, I doubt very much they're handing out free refills. I explain to him that you get fuck all for free in England! We decide to go help ourselves anyway since there doesn't seem to be any canteen staff in sight. We take some free hot water and as we're walking back to our table, some silly old bag comes running over to us and starts shouting the price of the tea at us. I ask her with genuine interest, if she is really going to charge us for some boiled water when we just paid £9.20 for a fucking fry up. She then tells me if we're using the same tea bag then she supposes it's ok. Welcome to England!

As soon as we drink the last of the refills we've been so kindly allowed, the old bag runs over and whips the empty cups away from us. What a life some people have...

We arrive at the venue about an hour late, but since we never soundcheck it's not a big deal. I'm more than satisfied with our efforts in getting here from Oslo. The promoter meets us out back and tells us that Municipal aren't even there yet. We crack up. The fuckers flew from Norway and we still beat them to the show!

The promoter, or should I say, the promoters rep, is a guy called Dave who immediately asks me if I was in Speedhorn before. Turns out the second show he ever booked was a Speedhorn show in Oxford. It never ceases to amaze me how the whole promoter bullshit works in the UK. The promoter is never at the show, never available on the end of a phone on the night. All you get is a rep who has absolutely no authority to sort anything out, should any discrepancies appear on the night. Like, getting paid the right ammount of money for example. As it happens, Dave is a good guy and we have no such troubles.

It's a really high stage again tonight, with a weird feel to it. We are never comfortable playing to a crowd that is kept so far apart by a big barrier and a few burly security guards. The gig feels ok, nothing special though. It's pretty obvious to me that we're all a bit jaded from the last couple of days driving. Strangely enough, both Ronnie and Scott say afterwards that the show was really great and the crowd were kicking off. It didn't seem like that to us but then again, due to the lighting set up, all we could really see was the first row of people and they were there, obviously just claiming their space for the Municipal show. Again, funny how the bands perception can be totally different to the crowds'.

Another highlight of the tour so far was the fact that Violent Arrest opened the show tonight. There was talk of them playing the whole UK leg but that isn't happening unfortunately. It's great to see them play anyway. We share a room with them and they turn out to be a friendly bunch of gentlemen. Andy is particularly pleased to see them, he's a big fan. I see Andy near the front as they play, nodding his head and looking absolutely delighted.

Gordon and John from Speedhorn came to the show tonight, although not together. They barely say a word to each other during the night. John is here with a couple of guys from his new band and Gordon is here with his girlfriend Katy. Typical John, he hadn't even got in touch and asked about a guestlist for the show, he just turns up and buys a ticket. I had sorted Gordon and Katy out with some passes. Gordon had spotted John in the cue on the way in and taken great delight in walking striaght past him with his pass, grinning as he goes. Oh how I miss that band...

It was strange for me to be playing a big show knowing two of my guys from Speedhorn were in the crowd. They both loved the show, or at least that's what they tell me afterwads. I'm glad to see them. I catch up with John for a while by our merch table later on and he seems happy. I'm glad he's playing in a new band. He buys a Victims shirt and completely refuses to accept one for free, demanding we take his money. Typical him.

We talk with the Municipal guys about going for a pint after the show but nothing really materialises. We're all pretty tired and it's freezing outside and after hanging around with Dave for a while trying to work out a plan, we decided to get the van packed and go get some food instead. We end up having a pleasant sit down meal at the nearest Indian with Gordon and Katy. Perfect end to an English night out. The meal is superb and we have a great time catching up with our friends. At one point two guys fall into the restaurant, fighting with each other. The people at the restaurant pull them apart and kick them out. As we look on, cracking up at the scene before us, I notice the other patrons haven't even glanced up, they just get on with their meals as if it's all completely normal. I must have been away for too long. I quickly realise that it is unfortunately, perfectly normal.

After the meal we say our goodbyes to Gordon and Katy and get in the van. We're making the short drive back to my parents house to sleep. We don't have to leave tomorrow until late afternoon. Heaven.