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.

1 comment:

  1. Would have loved to have come down last night but was feeling like crap due to having caught bloody kev's cold... bastard! Anyway, hopefully catch you guys next time... enjoying the blog by the way - good work son!! Laters, stu.