Wednesday, November 24, 2010

No. 1 - Corby

Of course it had to be Corby. Where else?

Over the years I grew to hate home town shows. Well, "hate" is maybe a bit strong, but they were a pain in the ass. London shows were just as bad, for the same reasons. There was always so much fucking around with these shows. People to see, friends to sort out on the guest list and the phone endlessly ringing. And then there was the fact that you're on stage playing to a room full of friends and acquaintances. The only shows that ever made me nervous were those shows. I could play in front of thirty thousand strangers without a second thought, but playing in front of thirty friends made me nervous as fuck.

I preferred the Corby shows in the early days. Before we started touring all over we used to play at a venue called Page Three, which had a metal and alternative music night on Mondays. We played there maybe four or five times. In those days, nobody from home gave a fuck about us. In fact, if there was any feeling at all towards us it was more likely one of disdain. We only encouraged that, of course. We went out of our way to be the outsiders. We looked down on all the idiot kids who were in to shite like “nu-metal”, who'd paint their fingernails black and wear eye-liner. We'd go up on stage, play as loudly and as slowly as possible and hope everyone hated us. In those days we had a five song set-list that lasted almost an hour. The set ended with about ten minutes of feedback.  Anything to piss of the kids wearing the Papa Fucking Roach t-shirts.

Anyway, as time went on and we started touring more and more, and eventually started appearing in all the national music magazines, our popularity started to rise. Even in Corby.

We always had a love/hate relationship with that town.

This show, at the Raven Hall, was the first show we'd played at home for a couple of years. It was going to be by far the highest attended show we'd ever played there. It used to make me laugh, because as soon as we started getting popular, people from Corby started sending emails to the band's website, asking us why we never played our home town. Even better, some stated that we owed the town a show. Unbelievable.

Anyway, we'd decided the time was right. We'd been touring for ages, we'd played the Ozzfest and were now touring on the continent regularly. I'll admit, we wanted to play a packed out show in Corby and show everyone who didn't believe in us from the beginning. Quite pathetic really, but deep down, that was the reason I wanted to play the show.  I guess we wanted to show off.

There is something about going home though. Even after eight years of living in Stockholm, Corby is still my home. And when I go home, I drink. Going home is now like going on holiday. My dad wants to go for a pint, my mates want to go for a pint, the first thing anyone suggests as a way of passing the time, is the idea of going for a pint. There isn't really a whole lot more to do. I haven't drank heavily for a long time, not since the early touring days of Speedhorn, but when I'm in Corby or around those home-town mates, the piss-head in me comes to the surface. I love going for a pint in an English pub. There is no other drinking culture in the world that is quite like it. And one pint normally leads to a few more.

Anyway, we'd been on tour just before this show at the Raven, so the gears were well oiled, and I felt confident that the show was going to go really well. There were a lot of people said to be coming, many of whom were old friends that I hadn't seen for a long time. It felt good.  The sun was shining on a glorious day as we sat there in the early afternoon, drinking pints in the beer garden at the Raven. I hadn't been this buzzed about a show for a while.

The set up for the gig was simple for everyone too. There were a few bands playing before us, but since it was Corby and there wasn't a lot of organising needed, our touring crew pretty much had the day off. So we all sat there in the sunshine, drinking beer and having a great time. Chuffed.

A few mates came by as the afternoon went on and the spirits were very high as the evening rolled in. I guess you might say we were all a little too relaxed.  You could almost definitely say we were too cocky. The beer just kept coming out from the bar and on to our table. We drank the entire day away. By the time the doors to the show opened at seven pm. I was pretty sauced, as was everyone else. But it wasn't until I was stood in the crowd watching the first band that it really hit me just how drunk I was.  But by then, more and more mates were turning up and the beer just kept on flowing.

We were going on stage at ten pm.

I have never been so drunk on stage...

I've played shows where I've had a little too much, but still been in a firm enough state of mind to realise I have to reel it in a bit, when the show has taken a bit of concentration to get through, but I'd been ok. I don't like playing a show drunk. I'm not the world's greatest guitarist as it is and booze certainly does nothing to improve that. Some people say that they play better when they've had a few, but not me. I know my absolute limit is three pints before a show, any more and it's pushing things. By the time we went on stage at the Raven, I must have drunk eight or nine pints! I was fucking steam-boats.

As I'm sure were the rest of the boys.

The place was packed with around three hundred people inside. It was buzzing. Now, I really only have a foggy memory of the show, something I now consider a small mercy. I think we open with Knives and Faces, which has quite a long intro riff played by yours truly. Even through my pissed ears, I can hear that I'm playing it sloppily.  The band come in with me and we're off.  To make up for the fact that I can't play very steadily, I put more energy in to going mad on stage, which of course doesn't help the playing, but I figure, fuck it, if it's going to sound like shit, it may as well look good.  SILENCE.

Half way through the song, the power on stage cuts out. It takes me a good few seconds to even realise. We stand on stage looking confused as a half pissed Roddy scrambles around looking for the power outlets. We stand there like dumplings for what seems like an eternity. Eventually the power comes back on and we try again.

Before we get to the end of Knives, the power goes again.

Fuck, this is getting embarrassing. Cue Roddy darting about behind the amps again. I'm so pissed that I can't quite register what is going on. Frank looks equally baffled. Gordon just sits there, taking the piss, playing some sort of jazz drum shuffle and winking at people. The crowd is starting to murmur... Another five minutes go by.

Roddy and someone from the venue think they have now figured out the problem, so again, we continue with the set. We decide that two half versions of Knives is enough though, so we re-start from the second song in the set. I think it's Redweed.  This song actually makes it through to the end.  I think we actually play it ok too.

But fuck me I'm drunk. I don't really know what I'm doing. During the third song, I spot my old mate Woodsy, who I haven't seen for ages, standing at the front of the crowd. Without even thinking about it, I just stop playing, swing my guitar around my back, step off of the low stage in to the crowd and give him a hug. “Alright Woodsy! What are you doing here?” I ask him, gleefully surprised by his presence. Woodsy had always just taken the piss out of me and the Speedhorn stuff. Corby love I guess. Anyway, I find myself in the crowd hugging him. He laughs and shouts at me through the noise, “Yeah I'm good mate, what the fuck are you doing?”. It's only then I realise. Shite. I laugh and sloth back up on stage and re-join the song.

That song over, I stand there trying to tune my guitar. It takes longer than it should. I look over at the rest of the band, and everyone is grinning. I only really know what's going on with myself, so I can't speak for the rest of them, but they all at least look as drunk as I feel. Frank looks particularly boats.

Before going in to the fourth song of the set, I tell myself to get it the fuck together. I spot my dad stood in the crowd and and my unconvincing smile to him is returned with a cringe. Need to get this sorted out. This actually is pretty embarrassing.

With that decided, I concentrate on making the rest of the set somewhat excusable. We're playing the fourth song, and with the added concentration it's actually sounding half decent. And then the power goes again. For fuck sakes! What the fuck is going on? Cue yet another long pause. Frank is babbling in his microphone to the crowd, John, far more sober, explains to the crowd that we're having “technical difficulties!”. No shit. Physical difficulties too.

The power is fixed yet again but by now my jovial mood is turning sour. I decide that if the power goes again, I'm fucking off.

We don't even make it through to the first chorus before it does indeed go again.

And then it happened... Now I like to think of myself as quite a calm, mild type of guy. I don't loose my rag very often but when I do, I kind of explode.  The Red Mist, my old friend James used to call it.

Every morsel of sense has no abandoned my thinking. I'm stood at the front of the stage as the power goes for the fourth and final time. I take my red SG (yeah the same one), and hurl it across the depth of the stage at my amp. It crashes head first into the speaker cabinet, which then collapses on top of my guitar. My poor guitar is now buried in the rubble of my amp, it's neck split in two at the bottom. Gig over. We exit the stage. I walk off the front, through the crowd and past my dad. I steal a look at him. “Well that was shite!” he says. I can only agree with him and walk out of the building.

I find myself outside in the car park, pissed as a fart, wondering what the fuck happened. Once the venue starts to empty I head back inside. The mood is a little sombre. I look over at my amp, which is still lying on top of my guitar. I attend to the sorry mess. We're all pretty drunk, and we're trying to work out what happened with the power. It's not long before we get an answer.

Frank, steaming, contemplates aloud to himself. “I took a piss in that room behind the stage, in the corner right before we went on. There might have been some cables lying around in there, I don't know, it was pitch black...”

Yes. Frank had pissed all over a mass of power cables behind the stage. The dirty, stupid fucker. We'd fucked our gig up, our big home-coming, we're gonna show Corby what for gig, because our singer took a piss on the power cables that hooked up the stage.

We're all so drunk, that we can only laugh at our own stupidity. We pack the van up and still pissed, I constantly ask Gordon if he is still my mate. I do this when I'm drunk and full of angst. He tells me not to worry about it, but I'm feeling “the shame”. The day after Gordon informs me that I rang him about ten times during the night, just wanting to make sure that we were still mates...

And that I think, is a fitting end to the list of the stupidest shows Speedhorn ever played.

I remember Johan in Victims asked me a question whilst we were on a ferry to Poland this summer, when we were travelling down to play a few shows. We were sat in the bar recounting stories, some of these shows were mentioned, and Johan asked me how the hell the band managed to function at all.  Like I said at the beginning of this count-down, I feel, for the most part, that we were a very good live band. We played over six hundred shows, and although these twelve shows were pretty ridiculous, most of the others were good shows, and some were great. Ninety nine percent of the time we delivered, and I'm proud to have been in that band.

It's just that the shittest shows from back then, provide the fondest memories for me now. And they're obviously a lot more fun to write about.


  1. This list has been absolutely fantastic reading - thanks a lot.

  2. Not sure you'd want to be reminded but that Corby show is one of the bootlegs I have and you can hear it here:
    You actually made it "through" 9 songs

  3. Nine??????!!!!

    How the hell did we make it through nine songs? Trust you to have this show bootlegged Neasan! I'm actually quite proud now, knowing we played nine songs that night. I think I'll leave it there and give listening to it a miss ;-)

  4. Gareth my dearest friend(along with Kev) never ever ever listen to Neasons bootleg, oh my god!

  5. Fitting end to a fantastic and hilarious series of stories in blogs (found through MySpace I think or

    And I agree, from what I saw, most shows were great, fun and rocking...let go, have fun and
    enjoy a pint (or too many).
    Remember two shows well; one show in 013, a off date to the Ill Nino tour. Solid
    good and loud show. Remember Frank jumping off stage to fill the gap between stage
    and the little audience that came out (and hand me his beer for awhile) and I
    remember the sore neck I had for days. Also remember someone taping it...
    Second, I remember the last show in Amsterdam. A far too short, but powerfull
    set. I remember getting pissed and offering you and Kev a beer, which I never
    got around to. Remembered though and kept my word, years later...
    Looking forward to the nex Victims record and blogs!
    Keep rocking!
    Greetings from the some guy with a can of Guinness in each hand xD