Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Santiago in the studio

This weekend just gone, I was in the studio with my band Battle of Santiago, mixing what will be our first lp. I say “mixing”. It was actually our old friend Zqaty who was doing the mixing, we were there, generally getting pissed.

We returned to the woods of Värmland, to Silence Studio, to mix the songs we recorded last October. I don't why these things always take so fucking long but they do. Zqaty is a busy guy and he's also a complete flake, so the studio booking had actually been postponed around five times between December and this weekend. Anyway, we finally made it. The aim was to mix twelve songs in three days. Zqaty assured us that wouldn't be a problem...

I arrived on the Thursday morning. I worked all day and night on Wednesday and then got the train from Stockholm to Arvika, departing at 6.15. I didn't get a wink of sleep during the four hours I spent in my bed. So I was pretty fucking tired when I got to the studio since the train didn't offer me any sleep either. The other guys were all awake and chirpy when I got there, except Patrik, who as normal, was fast asleep in his bed. My good friend Paddan sure likes to sleep...

I jumped into bed with him, spooning him in the process, and bade him good morning. Without even opening his eyes, he just kinda mumbled “Hey Gaz...” No wonder we call him Mr. Haze. He can fucking play guitar better than most people I know though...

We hung out with Zqaty for a while in the morning, going through the plan, listening to Zqaty harp on about some new philosophy on life he has, or something to that extent. The man just rambles on in his charming, wasted way and I pretend to listen. So the plan is fours songs a day. Zqaty says he can mix at about three hours a song. He thinks it's best that we sort of stay out of the way whilst he's doing all the technical stuff and then we can join him when a mix is up and we can say what we want changed. That was the plan. It would change dramatically by the end of the day.

Zqaty spends that first day, locked away in the control room at the mixing desk, smoking weed and fiddling with faders. We're upstairs in the house section of the studio getting drunk. That first day turns into evening and still the first song's mix is waiting to be heard. We catch a few bits here and there but nothing is ready to work on yet. We carry on drinking upstairs...Evening quickly turns into night and we've made our way through a bottle of Scotch Single Malt, twenty four cans of Crocodile Beer and a box of red wine. We're all pretty fucking boats by this point. Zqaty is still downstairs twiddling away. Well, we're behind schedule it seems. It's around midnight and we're all rapidly crashing. I haven't slept in around thirty hours and I'm pissed as a fart. The guys all start drooling off towards their beds and I'm on my way too, but somehow me and Patrik end up in some deep, drunk conversation in the kitchen and I feel a second wind coming on. After chatting for the best part of an hour we decide to grab some more beer and head down to the studio to see what's happening. Time to get into studio mode.

We get down to the control room and check in on Zqaty. This man is a legend, he really is. He's never phased or worried by time. He has no idea what the word “stress” means. He's sitting there, happy as you like, smoking a joint, as if everything is perfectly fine. It turns out he now has a new plan.

He's getting a mix together for the entire record. When that's up, all that needs to be done is some detailed tweaking for each song. Zqaty is re-assuring us that this is a much more efficient way of doing things and that all is fine. He's got a mix of the first song up and he tells he's almost ready with it. He lets us hear it. By this time though, Patrik and I have fallen asleep, open beer cans in hand, sat upright. Snoozing.

I have a vague memory of coming around, heading back up to the kitchen, me and Patrik enthusiastically ranting on about Fugazi's album, Steady Diet of Nothing, and then falling asleep in my bed with that album playing on my Ipod.

I wake up the next day to the sound of the song that Zqaty had spent the entire day and night mixing. It's on the stereo on repeat and Patrik is sat upright in a chair, sleeping. I realise then that I've been hearing that song in my sleep all night...

Day Two begins with the determined decision that substantial progress will be made today. I get out of my bed around 11am. and am greeted by an ever cheerful Zqaty. “Ah, good morning! Great, everyone is up, so we can make an early start on things!” He seems genuine when he says this. I'm far from shocked though when he makes his way down to the studio for the first time that day at 4pm and starts working on that very same song again...

We head into the woods and climb this really impressive cliff that is hidden by them, right behind the studio. We get to the top, look out over the glorious scenery of the valley below and crack open a can. Day Two follows almost exactly the same path as Day One. Zqaty in the studio listening to a distorted bass drum, us either up the on the cliffs drinking beer, or playing pool, or hanging in the kitchen. When I wake up on Day Three Zqaty has gotten through four songs, although we haven' heard much of them yet and there is some contention between the band as to the mix details of each song.

Zqaty is an absolute genius when it comes to sound. No doubt. As is often the case with genius though, it brings an element of madness along with it. He gets so lost in the music and his work that he takes on, that he's sometimes hard to reach. He gets involved to the point that he acts almost as if he's part of the band and that it's his record. I have a problem with this and find myself suspicious of everything. I've always been the same when it comes to these situations. I'm always really guarded and defensive when it comes to my music. I don't want anyone fucking with it too much. The thing is, I do really like Zqaty and I want to trust him to get the job done. Johan Victims told me once that Zqaty was without doubt, Sweden's most talented sound engineer. Without doubt. He's also completely unemployable! Johan had Zqaty working for him at Debaser for a while, but it didn't work out...

So Day Three arrives and we're all hungover to fuck! And there are eight songs to mix in one day. Zqaty assures us it's no problem. His plan is to work through the night without sleep and get it done. The trouble with that plan though is that it leaves no time for us to listen to each individual mix and change the things we want changing. We all decide that morning that we're gonna stay sober and get the job done. I actually believe, for a short while, that that plan will be carried out. For a short while. Until Tompa starts mumbling suggestions about driving into town and picking up some beers for himself. This is quickly latched on to by Patrik who says he could probably have a few beers too. The rest of us play innocent and say that we're not drinking. Tompa and Patrik head off in to town whilst myself, Erik and Olle head off for a walk in the woods and grab some much needed air.

We all meet back at the studio an hour or so later. The fuckers have bought a twenty-four pack of beer and another box of red wine. We head up the cliff with a couple of cans each...

Zqaty actually does spend the next twenty-four hours mixing the record. Twenty-four hours straight, give or take some time for dinner and the odd joint. What an incredible individual he is. We spend the night getting drunker than any other night previously. It all starts when Erik suggests we play the game Quarter, which basically leads to the five of us getting through almost a whole twenty-four pack in the space of an hour. And then we have the wine and Erik has some of his Jelzin vodka left. He had brought two and half bottles of the cheap French piss with him.  Yes, French vodka!  He'd bought them from a friend who had found them on the street, having apparently fallen off the back of a truck...

I wake up Sunday feeling the hangover shame. Surely I'm getting too old old for this nonsense...

Zqaty, looking like the walking dead, hands us a cd with the mixed tracks on it. Although there are some minor details to be changed, that will need another half day or so in a studio, in Stockholm, he has for the most part, pulled it off. It sounds great and we're all really happy with how it's turned out. Quite what our presence was required for, I don't know.

We hug Zqaty goodbye, tell him to get some sleep, and head off in the car back to Stockholm, the mystery of Zqaty no closer to being resolved. I still can't work out if he's a genius, or just a complete and utter bullshit artist.

Either way, I love the man...

Click here for more pictures...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Some Victims Love...

I'm sitting on a train, headed in the direction of Arvika.  I'm on my way to Silence Studios to meet up with the rest of the Battle of Santiago guys, and we're going to, at long fucking last, mix our first album.  Excited about getting it done.  But more on that in a short while...

I'm on this train, knackered, after almost exactly nil hours of sleep last night.  I always have a hard time sleeping when I know my alarm is set at an ungodly hour...I much prefer meeting 5am on the way to bed, not on the way from it.  Anyway, I was cheered to notice a sign on the train informing me I can get on the internet for free.  I was cheered even more to see our friend Dave Witte, from Municipal Waste/Discordance Axis/Burnt By the Sun (the list goes on), has went and got his Victims tattoo done.  He told us on tour that he was going to but I wasn't sure he would.  Nice work indeed Mr. Witte!

In response to Dave's Victims love, Jon got himself a Waste tattoo.  I called him Saturday afternoon to find out how it had gone at our friend, Kalle Blom's tattoo studio.  "I'm never getting tattooed again!  You can't imagine the pain!"  He was lying on his sofa, half drunk, trying to numb his agony at the time of telling me this.  He ended up getting three tattoos done that day, all band stuff!  Waste, Nasum and a Manowar tattoo on his shoulder/collar bone, which had been the main offender apparently.  He's got quite a few now but he moans just as much every time he gets a new one.

Anyway, welcome to the club Witte!  We're all very touched at Victims HQ..

Monday, April 19, 2010

So That Was Record Store Day 2010...

A big thumbs up to everyone who came out and bought a record on Saturday! 

I had a great time playing records at Sound Pollution, especially since Bonden brought his little, portable turn-table.  It was fun playing a bunch of 7''s!  Although it was an early start, a big, strong cup of the black stuff shook off the cob webs and the two hours I played flew by.  I met a bunch of friends and had a great time hanging out.  A top day all in all.

Mass Hysteri were great too.  It was really fun watching them play in a packed out record shop.  In true DIY style, they were playing Göteborg later that night too.  Stellar work!  Last Days of April also played a fine little accoustic set, including a lovely version of Lemonheads The Outdoor Type.

As I said, Record Store Day is a hugely important event for those of us who care about the future of the record shop.  There is nothing quite like popping into your local indie store, hanging out with friends,  chatting about the latest releases, new re-issues, new bands and up-coming shows, and then buying a record, taking it home and listening to it for the first time. You will never get this from a computer file.  A world without indie record shops would be a fucking depressing place, so don't let it happen!

It was heart warming to see a bunch of young kids, hanging outside the shop before opening time, waiting to get in.  I'm told by friends in the industry that physical record sales, especially vinyl, are on the rise for the first time in years, so maybe the future is bright after all.  Lets hope so! 

I of course picked up a couple of records before I left too.  I picked up the first Mass Hysteri lp, a re-issue of My Bloody Valentine's Loveless album, the new Roky Erickson album and an Axe 7".  Chuffed!

So once again, thanks to Bonden for working so hard to make Sound Pollution a great part of Record Store Day.  I hope you had a few beers afterwards!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pete Steele is Brown Bread

Woke up this morning with a big fucking spot on my lip. That sucked.

That was just the start of a bad morning. Whilst surfing the net and drinking my morning tea, I read the news that Pete Steele had died of heart failure.

Now, mine and Pete's worlds are two very different places indeed. But for a few weeks in December 2007, our worlds came together. Speedhorn supported Pete and his band Carnivore on a European tour. Who didn't we play with really? Anyway...

We didn't exactly fit the bill musically on those shows, but from the very first moment we met Peter Steele, we knew it was going to be a fun tour.

We had driven to the first show in Essen, Germany in our trusty van Betty. We were stood around the venue in the car park, early on the day of the show, wondering when we'd get our first glimpse of the legendary Peter Steele. Jay was obsessed with the Playgirl spread he'd done and wanted to know if his dong really was that big. We'd only been standing there a couple of minutes when Pete comes slumbering out of their tour bus with another couple of people. They come walking towards us and we're thinking, “right, here we go, let's see what this is all about...”

Pete kinda comes charging at us with the other people hanging behind him. Fuck me, he was a big bastard! He stoops over a very small feeling Raging Speedhorn and asks us, “Who's the bass player?”. Our bass player, Little Dave, steps forward.

Pete then pulls out a bottle of Vodka from his big army jacket and thrusts it at Dave, “You want some breakfast?”. It's 10.30 am. We all crack up laughing. Dave takes the bottle from him and nervously takes a swig. Whilst he has his lips around the bottle Pete then says in the most matter of fact way, “I just had an AIDS test yesterday....positive.” By now we're all pissing ourselves laughing.

Another five minutes of banter ensues, about us being Limey bastards etc., and then just before he heads into the venue he tells Dave in a more serious manner, that if his equipment ever goes down whilst we're on stage playing, then just plug straight into his gear. He then tells the rest of us that we're welcome to anything from their rider. From that moment on, I had nothing but respect for Pete Steele.

So reading the news today that Pete had passed away from heart failure at the age of forty-eight was indeed a sad blow, if not an all together unexpected one.

Without a shadow of a doubt, I have never, in my life, witnessed any other human being drink as much as that man! On his rider, every day, he had at least three bottles of fine red wine, a bottle of single malt, a bottle of vodka and as many beers as you could wish for. And most days, he got through the fucking lot of it. He would have his wine with him, up front on stage, on a box next to his bass equipment , and he would be drinking it mid song. He had a big rubbish bin somewhere hidden at the back of the stage, that he could use to puke up in. And he never missed a note. He was an awesome bass player!

He treated us like sons on that tour. Weirdly enough, it seemed to me he treated some of his own band and crew like shit, but to us he was a true gent. And he had made the time honoured mistake of inviting us to whatever we wanted from his rider. But even we, on this occasion, had met our match. There was no way we could keep up with Pete.

Joking aside though, it was sad to see the state he was in sometimes. I became good friends with Carnivore's tour manager, Lotje, and she told me that he barely ate on tour. She would put food out for him each day, so he'd have something to eat on the tour bus when he woke. But each day he would stir at some point in the afternoon, get out bed, puke up and then start drinking. This one time, he told one of our guys, completely serious, that he drank to escape his own thoughts. And you believed him. He was an incredibally intelligent man, underneath all the nonsense. It's was sad to see a man of his stature battling with inner demons like that.

So, although I'm saddened by the news, I'm not surprised.

It's weird looking back now, that our paths crossed for a short space of time. And although the shows for our part, were rarely more than luke warm, we still had a really fun time on tour.

I have one memory of Pete Steele that will last with me forever. And it is this.

During the entirety of the tour, he would have this small, steel tool box with him. He carried it everywhere. One time in Copenhagen, we were sat in their dressing room partying with Pete and his booze, cracking up, when Pete stands and says he's going to have a shower. He picks up his tool box and takes it into the shower room with him, as if it's completely normal. The Speedhorn guys all stare at each other, and then burst out laughing. What the fuck has he got in that tool box. The mystery goes on for the entire tour. Pete's tool kit...we imagined no end of wild stories.

And then on a day right towards the end of the tour, we're sat around in a communal band room chatting away, Pete sitting silently on his own with his thoughts, off to the side, as he did so often, with his tool kit on his lap. He gets up and walks out for a moment, leaving his tool kit behind. “Right, this is our chance!”, we think. We shoot over to the tool box, open it up and look inside. It's contents...a neatly, plastic wrapped sandwich. And that was it. He's most likely been fucking with us the whole tour...

Pete, you were a gent and a scholar. Although your music never meant much to me, that tour will live with me forever.

R.I.P. Big Man.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Record Store Day

My good friend Bonden, who works at the legendary Sound Pollution record store, where I've been known to loiter on occasion, asked me if I wanted to be part of this great day on Saturday and play records in the store.

Well of course.  Record Store Day is an important day for us collectors, and Sound Pollution as always, is proud to be part of it.  I'm not sure what time I'm playing records, but there are some other cool dj's spinning the wax too, so come down and hang out for the day, listen to some good music, and then buy it!

The name of the band of course is simply, Victims, but I'll let it go this time...

Now everybody go out and buy a record on Saturday!  From a record store...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Good Coffee/Bad Coffee

I happened to be in Jakobsberg Centrum last week and in need of coffee and a quick bite to eat. A little stressed for time we ended up in Wayne's Coffee. Wayne's is normally somewhere you can trust for a bog standard caffeine fix.  I thought..

As it was, we'd already tried the 7-Eleven next door, only to find it wasn't a 7-Eleven any more and didn't sell anything close to resembling a sandwich.

I've been to the Wayne's on Götgatan a few times and never had any problems there so naively assumed we'd be ok with Jakan's version. Wrong!

First off, we go inside to find a woman behind the counter on the phone, chatting away to a mate about something trivial. There is another guy wandering around behind the counter looking lost. Jen decides she wants a cheese roll that they have in a basket on the counter and a latte. Easy enough, I tell her I'll get it and she heads back to the car.

I stand there for a couple of minutes whilst the lady on the phone continues to chat away. Lost guy finally approaches me and takes my order. At least, he takes my money. I order two lattes and a cream cheese bagel from the trusted Wayne's menu. The guy then mumbles something to me about not being able to make the bagels and points to Phone Lady. I guess she's going to take care of it. The guy goes back around the counter and sits down with a friend, who is happily munching away on a sandwich.

Ok...what the fuck is going on here?

Eventually the phone lady hangs up and comes over to me. She shouts over to the Lost Guy, asking him what I'd ordered. I stand there, feeling invisible whilst the two break into argument around me. She asks him why he hadn't made my bagel to which he replies “I don't know how you do the bagels...” Jesus Christ...how do these people get jobs? There are educated people here in this country, who have fled from their war torn homelands, who can't even get cleaning jobs here in Sweden, and I'm faced with this pair of turds. They should be forced to give their jobs to the far more deserving...

Anyway, the woman eventually asks me what I want on my bagel, to which I repeat to her, cream fucking cheese. She mopes off and goes to work on my bagel.. “Just cream cheese?”  I don't get it... On the menu, under the bagel section, it clearly states Cream Cheese Bagel. I tell her I want that bagel on the menu. “Do you want any salad on it?” “Yeah I want salad!” The fucking thing costs 40 kronors, of course I want salad on it.

She farts around for about another five minutes until she eventually places a cardboard box in front of me, looking at me like I've just farted in her kids face. Thanks. She then goes to start serving some other girl behind me when I'm forced to butt in and ask where my two lattes are. Cue another argument with the other useless arse of a man who took my order. She asks him why he couldn't have at least made my lattes for me, to which he replies, “I don't know how to make the lattes.” It's embarrassing by this point.

The woman grumpily makes my coffee's, hands them to me, I run from there as quickly as I can , back to the car where Jen is waiting, looking somewhat amused/confused..

I get in the car, open my cardboard box only to find yet more disappointment. What I have before me is not a Cream Cheese Bagel. It's a fucking Cream Cheese Bagel Kit! Two pieces of bagel bread, cut in half, a tub of cream cheese and a bunch of salad thrown on the side. I have to make the fucking thing myself. “I don't know how to make the lattes...” Seriously?

Wayne's. You're off the list!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Punk Rock Stories: A Nightclub in Nurnberg

We had been on tour for about two weeks. Bob had been moving us along in his old, worn out tour bus each night, slowly but surely, along the motorways of Europe. It had been two weeks since we'd left Corby. It seemed like an age ago.

We were having the time of our lives. We'd been partying every night and day since we'd left home for the first show in Helsinki. We were living the dream. It was the first time we'd been outside the UK playing shows. The tour dates read like a wish-list of every city I'd ever dreamed about travelling to as a football obsessed kid, ten years earlier. Helsinki, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Berlin, Munich, Milan...when I'd first saw the confirmed dates, I almost shit myself...

Obviously, you put six young kids from fucking Corby on a tour bus and send them to Europe to play shows in front of eight hundred people every night for seven weeks, give them all the booze they can drink and whatever else they want to get their hands on...well things are going to happen. We couldn't believe we'd been lucky enough to fool someone into backing our band. It felt like a big joke that would end at any given time, so we just had fun and took the complete piss wherever we went. In a very humble way, we just didn't give a fuck. We were certain it would all be taken away from us as soon as somebody in a record company suit clocked on that we were just a shitty hardcore band from Corby. So we enjoyed every day on tour to the absolute maximum. At least, that was the plan...sometimes it boiled over into something else.

Although Bob insisted he liked us all, we had been trying his patience. He'd been driving each night whilst we'd be above him, blasting music, stomping around, fucked out of our minds on booze. It was mayhem on the bus almost every night. We'd already had the incident with the police and the service station...and it hadn't slowed us down in the slightest.

Every show on tour was amazing. We couldn't have asked for a better support slot. We played in the middle each night. The first band were Nucleus, who were friends of Biohazard from New York and were out teching for them. They were great guys and we got on with them like a house on fire. They played a bluesy type of stoner rock. It was fun watching them each night, and then by the time we'd hit the stage the place was always pretty packed and the crowd was buzzing. It was perfect. Every night you'd come off the stage, hyped, ready to get some booze in you and hit the night.

The longest leg of this tour was the stretch in Germany. I think out of the fourty something shows on the tour, fifteen of them were in Germany, and they were some of the best shows I have ever played.

Now we were nearing the end of the German dates. I'm not exacly sure where we were but it was somewhere down south. I think it was Nurnberg...

For the last few days, Roddy, our guitar tech, had been going on about these weapon shops he'd been noticing all over Germany. They were apparently commonplace there. You'd be walking around some city centre, looking for record shops and pubs, when a small shop with a window full of weapons would appear amongst it all. Roddy had first spotted one a few days ago and since then we'd been noticing them more and more. It seemed it was easy enough to buy a big fucking sword or a gun, a ninja star, what have you. At least the window displays in these shops suggested as much.

Roddy was really excited about the whole thing. He'd been going on about buying a can of mace since he'd spotted that first shop some days before. He'd finally plucked up the courage this day in Nurnberg and bought himself a small can of the stuff. We all though it was ridiculous. Mace is illegal in England, and we didn't understand the point of him buying it. Roddy being Roddy though, just wanted one. He thought it was cool. And if it's legal in Germany, then what the fuck?

Our manager Dave, who was out with us for the entire tour, and was Roddy's oldest friend, told him he thought he was a twat for buying it. He didn't want him travelling over borders with it. This led to a big arguement between the two of them, much to our amusement...

The last few days Bob had been driving long hours, longer than he was really supposed to. So this night we'd decided to keep the bus parked up outside the venue. We only had a short drive to Munich the next day, the bus could keep a power line to the club all night and even better, there was a night club on the other side of the car park, open late and filled with girls. We were more than happy to be staying for the night. And of course, we were concerned that Bob should get a proper nights sleep for once.

Poor Bob.. The night before we'd convinced him to let us dye his hair. He'd joked about dying his hair red like all the ”silly sods” that came to the shows we played. We egged him on, saying he wouldn't have the balls to do it. Being a proud Yorkshire man, he took us up on it and last night Gordon took on the job. Bob actually seemed pretty chuffed. Of course, Gordon fucked it up and Bob's hair ended up a kind of light pink. It was amazing. He had hair like the character Dungeon Master character from Dungeons and Dragons, bald on top, long around the back and sides. And Gordon had dyed it fucking pink! We all pissed ourselves but Bob, to his credit, laughed it off. He seemed to actually like it. It was like we were bonding with Bob.

At the start of the tour Doug, our tour manager, had overheard him on his phone, moaning to his boss about us...”I don't know, bloody Speeding Racehorse or something daft like that..” being the snippet of conversation he had happened upon. He didn't enquire further, he just walked off laughing.   Just two weeks down the road with us though, he seemed to be falling for our rogue charm.

We really were happy to let Bob keep the bus parked up outside the club all night and get some sleep. We were gonna play the show and we were gonna party, and then head on over to that nightclub. That was the plan.

The show was fucking ace too. It was a great stage, great sound and we were in the zone as the Yanks would say. The set was rolling along in auto-pilot, the crowd was going wild. It was awesome for us. We'd never been to Europe before, we hadn't even released our record out there yet, and the crowds were loving it. I came off stage absoultely buzzed.

Myself and Tony grabbed a few beers from the dressing room and stood side stage watching Biohazard play. We got on great with those guys and it was fun watching them. They put on a good show and as always, there was a party atmosphere in the air. Tony and I hung out side stage, singing along, swigging back the beers. I knew I was gonna get drunk tonight and that it was going to be fun.

When the show was over we packed up the gear from the stage and got the bus loaded as quickly as possible. When we were done, Bob went to bed and we went back inside the venue. We hung out in the Biohazard dressing room for about an hour. Their dressing room was full of people every night after the shows. There would be friends, promoters, industry people and most importantly, girls. And then there would of course be us, hanging around both the girls and Biohazards booze like flies on shit. Billy Biohazard had made the mistake of telling us to help ourselves to their booze on the first night of the tour. We'd happily been doing so ever since.

The night was rolling along into the early hours. The Biohazard bus was leaving on a 2am call. They wanted to get to Munich early and have the day there. We planned to spend the next day in bed hungover. So those guys left whilst we finished off whatever booze was left in their dressing room. It was around 2.30 when we finally left and headed off to the club.

As soon as the fresh air hit me I realised I was pretty fucking drunk. We walked across the big car park to the club on the other side and put on our best straight, sober faces for the bouncers. Either we pulled it off or the bouncers just didn't give a fuck, but they let us in without any problems. We walzed in and meandered through the packed dancefloor to the huge bar on the other side of the club.

The place was absolutely packed. Techno music blended with terrible Euro pop was blasting out of the sound system. We hung out on the edge of the dancefloor, keeping ourselves in close proximity to the bar. Looking back, I don't know how any of us expected to pull any girls. We were all steaming drunk, very young, very English and we'd been hitting it hard on tour for two weeks solid. Simply put, we must have been a horrible gang of little wankers. The kind of arseholes I would detest if I met them today. But that's the problem, we were young and we thought we could get away with whatever we wanted to. And although we never truly meant any harm, we just didn't ever think about the consequences of our actions. We would have to wait until the next tour to be taught the lesson we so badly needed. But that is another horrible, horrible story...

So there we are, fucked up, grinning like cheshire cats, enjoying ourselves splendidly in this techno/euro pop nightclub. What could go wrong?


I needed a piss.

I was very drunk and I really, really needed a piss. As it always does, it just hit me like a freight train...Panic. The club was as said, absolutely packed. We were on one side of the dancefloor and the toilets were on the other side. A dancefloor packed with about six hundred heaving, German bodies stood between me and that toilet. Now of course, I built this situation up in my drunken, young mind to a far higher state of panic than it actually needed to be. But I was convinced that there wasn't a chance in hell I was making that toilet without pissing my pants.

Stupidly, I told the other guys about my desperate situation. Why on earth I thought I'd get anything like sound advice from that bunch is beyond me. Frank's immediate thought was that I should piss in the empty pint glass I was holding in my hand. After debating this back and forth over the time it would have most likely taken me to make my way to the toilet, I finally succumbed to group pressure, wiggled my cock out and filled my pint glass with piss. Not once did I stop to think about what I would do with it when I was finished...

What followed blurred by in a surreal flurry of chaos, the whole event lasting no longer than a couple of minutes..all of it occuring in a drunken slow motion.

I stood there, in this packed night club, with a pint full of my own piss, wondering what to do. I didn't want to get caught leaving it on the bar-top. If I placed it on the floor it would have lasted all of two seconds before something kicked it over me, such was the cramped conditions of the club. No. Not an option...

I think it was Frank who first suggested it. ”Throw the fucking thing on to the dancefloor!”. Before long, everyone was in my ear. I was unsure. Even in the state I was in, I knew it was a bad idea. But the booze in my system would eventually aid the pricks in my band to convince me to do something truly stupid. I don't know to this day what the fuck I was thinking but I threw that fucking glass. The only crumb of sense that went through my head in that split second was the reasoning that the glass was made of plastic and wouldn't damage anyone.

I threw the glass. I attempted to throw it into the middle of the dancefloor but it was the most pathetic throw you would ever have seen. The glass flew straight into the back of some big German bastard, who at the time was stood no more than a couple of meters in front of me. Thud. Right into the fuckers back, all over his Ralph Lauren shirt, or whatever he was wearing. He turned around in an instant and upon seeing my shocked face, clenched his hand into a fist and aimed it right at my face. Now, obviously, I would have deserved a fucking beating for my actions. I'm happy I didn't recieve one but I would have truly deserved it if I had recieved one.

Just as this big ox of a man is about to plough his fist into my chops, Roddy, from out of nowhere, rips out his can of mace and sprays it into the poor cunt's face! He goes down screaming, hands over his eyes.  I'm standing there completely fucking shocked, not quite believing what has just happened!  I'm looking at the poor German man-beast on his knees and I don't even notice that Roddy is still spraying this can of mace. Although now he's aiming it straight up in the air. Before I understand what is going on, the music has stopped, the lights in the club have been turned on and we're all being carried out in a sea of panic. They're evacuating the club and it seems like everyone is coughing and confused.

I remember everyone in the band pissing themselves laughing as we're carried out the club in a sea of people, our feet barely touching the floor. We pour out of the club, past the by now screaming bouncers and into the car park. What the fuck is going on? We leg it to the bus, half laughing, half stunned. We get onto the bus and start shouting at Bob to get up. ”Bob, we have to fucking get out of here! Now!”. Bob is not amused. - ”What the fuck have you cunts been up to now?”.

Bob to his credit, is quick to react though. He's straight up out of his bunk, into his driver's seat and gets the bus moving in impressive time. He hastily manouvers us away from there, out of the by now crowded car park, in nothing but his white briefs. And his hair is pink...

Just as we're pulling away from the club, we see those familiar red and blue lights, flashing as they come charging into the car park behind us. We sit in the bus, stunned. Nobody speaks for a few minutes. Eventually, our manager Dave offers the question, ”Did that really just fucking happen?” The lot of us break out into nervous, stunned laughter. A safe distance from the mess now behind us.

Dave was pretty pissed with us, although I sensed a hint of a smile in his eyes. Kind of like an angry parent telling off his cheeky kids. The funny thing is, in a couple of nights time, it would be Dave's turn to hang his head in shame, although that's another tale.

As I recount this story, I am far from proud of my actions. I'm still stunned by the actual events. It feels like a lifetime ago since those early Speedhorn days. Long before we all grew up into the respectable adults we are now. It was so long ago. We were so young and pretty stupid most of the time. But we were finding where our boundries were. The truth is, the boundries for most bands in that situation are always pretty flexible. At least, that's what you believe when you're there, living it.

I can only be grateful today that we made it through those idiotic times unscathed and that we didn't kill ourselves or anyone else along the way. Not everyone gets away with as much as we did. As I said though, worse was to come and eventually we would get our comeuppance.

But that is another tale. For another time.