Wednesday, August 17, 2011


It's absolutely pissing down. Torrential stuff. We can barely see more than ten meters ahead on the road. I've barely ever seen rain like this! And I'm a fucking Englishman! We're literally just passing New York City on the way to Albany. Lightning flashing and thunder overhead, Ghost on the stereo. It's quite cosy really. We just passed the Manhattan skyline to our right a while ago. Looked pretty cool against the gloomy, dark grey sky. Johan is taking photos with his Iphone, trying to capture a picture for our next album cover.

We're still a couple of hours normal driving away from Albany, but it's going to take a lot longer than that in this downpour. It's a later show in a bar tonight though so I don't think there is any real stress. This will be the first show of the tour that is our own. I've never been to Albany before. I have no idea what to expect, although Matt is in optimistic mood. Despite the rain...

We've been listening to Johan's new band that he has together with Uffe and Marcus from Disfear, called Svält. They've recorded four songs at Stefan Henry Fiat's studio in Stockholm. I'd previously only heard them without vocals a while back when we were at Stachel's place. It's now mixed and mastered and the vocals are all done. It sounds stunning. Heavy as fuck. Looking forward to getting the vinyl of that when it comes out.

A while back we passed a flash warning sign on the motorway. It read SILVER WARNING and then on the line below had the model of a car and a registration number. Matt told us that this is a warning to other motorists to look out for the car on the road and call it into the police if sighted. A silver warning is apparently code for a kidnapping, meaning that car has a kidnapped child on board. What does that say when something that horrible happens so often that they have a specific warning code on motorways for it? It's a weird country that's for sure.

Fuck this rain really is something else. Looking forward to getting to Albany.


We're going to get to this show pretty late tonight. We're hitting storm after storm. We turned west off the New Jersey Turnpike and away from the storm we were in there, only to drive head on into another. Matt just said that he drove with a band through a tropical storm in Louisiana last year and this rain right now is worse than then...I'm guessing that's not good.

We called ahead to the club and they didn't seem too stressed. They told us they'll have food waiting for us when we get there, and weed if we want it, which we don't. I appreciate their relaxed attitude all the same though.

Later still:

We got to the show just around eight pm. The bar, Valentines, was a little drinking hole with an area at the back end with a small stage. There were a few people hanging around outside when we pulled up. The rain had finally stopped, although it was evident that Albany had seen it's fair share today. We loaded in through the front door, set up merchandise and tucked into the vegan stew the promoter had made for us. The promoter, Jay, a really big, tough looking guy, although really friendly in nature, seemed to be hoping we'd smoke weed with him. No thanks man. They did have some really nice beers on tap though and the barmaid was super friendly. I bought myself and Johan a pint of the local IPA. What else?

As we had been driving around the venue looking for a place to park, Matt told us a pretty funny story about Andy from Sista Sekunden, who he'd driven on tour over here a while ago. Apparently they were pulling out of Chicago one early morning, the guys all in the back sitting quietly, Andy up front with Matt. The silence in the van was eventually broken when Andy raised the question, “Hey Map,” as Andy always called Matt, “What do you think the people will be doing today?”. As Matt looked at Andy in total confusion, pondering how to tackle this question, Andy then turns his attention back to the side of the road and then exclaims, “Ahh! I see two ducks!”. With this Andy just goes back to silently staring out of the window. The guys in the back all pissed themselves laughing whilst Matt, who is a pretty straight up guy, looked on bemused. Fuck knows what Andy was on that day? As far as I know he's straight...

The turnout for the show tonight wasn't huge, but it was ok for a wet Monday night in Albany. I've heard that Albany has a small but tight-knit scene. We had about fifty kids here tonight. There were four bands on the bill, the first being Jay's own band, the second were a female fronted band who were pretty full on, she had a piercing shrill voice. I thought they were pretty cool. The third band on the bill were guys we'd played with before, albeit in their old band Iron Hand. This band is called Oil Tanker and they play crusty d-beat, very full on. Their guitarist, Upton, is this black kid with dreadlocks who destroys on the guitar. Awesome. They're all old friends of Matt's from Connecticut. I stood in the crowd with Matt and really enjoyed the show. They even threw in a cover of a song by one of Matt's old band, The Total End. Matt looked pretty stoked.

And then it was our turn. As Oil Tanker did, we also set up on the floor in front of the low stage. It was around eleven by the time we started. The fifty or so people who were there were gathered around us in semi circle, but keeping their distance. The thing with me is that the more room you give me, the more I'm going to throw my guitar around like a tit. I went fucking crazy during this show and somehow kept it up during the entire set. There is a certain atmosphere from shows like this that bring out these performances in me. It's almost like, the less the crowd moves, the more I do. At one point I clipped Johan headstock with the headstock on my new Gibson SG and I think I put it into the PA speaker grill a short while later. As soon as I did that I thought to myself that I should calm the fuck down. Acting like this probably isn't the best idea since the crowd just moved further and further back, although at points they did start moving and then I left the space to them. I don't mean to act this way, it's just a reaction. Anyway, all in all, the show was good fun. It was pretty stuffy in there, and I was dripping with sweat by the time we were done.

After the show was over, I went and sat behind the stage by the entrance to the toilets. A guy, who introduced himself to me as John, told me that I hit him in the balls with my guitar. I told him that I was very sorry about that but he told me it was no problem at all. We then sat there for a while talking afterwards. Really nice guy.

After the show I hung out with Paul, the Oil Tanker bass player, drinking a beer by the merch stall. Pretty slow night for merch tonight and the pay wasn't huge from the door, but that's the way it is over here sometimes. Matt said the other day it's getting harder and harder. Anyway, Paul is a really good guy and it was fun hanging out for a while. He gesticulates a lot when he talks and at one point he knocked his beer over, spilling onto our records, although there was no really damage. He felt bad but it wasn't a problem.

You could tell it was Monday night since as soon as we were done the place just emptied. After we loaded out we sat around and drank a beer with the staff at the bar who were all really friendly. Jay the promoter was asking me about what's being going on the UK with the riots, he was genuinely interested. I didn't really have that much to tell him although the more we spoke about it the more wound up I was getting. I guess it's been big news everywhere since John from From Ashes was asking me the same thing yesterday.

We are sleeping at Jay's place tonight. We've been sitting around watching an old Sheer Terror video from 89' or something. The need for sleep is hitting me pretty hard now. I felt drunk after three beers tonight. I guess I haven't really eaten a whole lot today and I only slept for four hours last night. I feel really bad because Jay is such a nice guy offering us this hospitality, but he has a couple of really long haired cats and I'm super allergic. I go to bed down in the large room at the front of the house, which has a full size pool table in it. Jay has lent me a sleeping bag, and I've doubled that over to cushion my back from the hard floor beneath. There is a huge ball of cat hair under the pool table. Andy and I debate asking Jay if we may hoover the floor but decide that would be rude.

It's surprisingly comfortable on this hard floor. Jon is in the sitting room, playing that Sheer Terror video stupidly loud and drinking whiskey with Jay and his friend Pete. Johan has joined us in this room now and has just told Jon to turn it down. Thanks for that pappa. Just what I was thinking. Going to sleep now.

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