Thursday, March 29, 2012

On The Road Again...

Five am. I hate five am.

Even though spring has officially arrived in Stockholm and the days are starting to pull out, when the alarm on my phone went off this morning it was still pitch black outside. Five am..

I had at least managed to sleep for around five hours. And with today's journey ahead, there would be ample time to catch a few more winks. I left home with my unreasonabally heavy bag, I've never mastered the art of travelling light on tour, and headed down to the station at Sundbyberg. I'd planned to meet Jon at the back end of the train. We're meeting Andy and Johan with the van at Årstaberg.

I've been looking forward to this tour for a while. Work has been pretty stressful recently and all I've been thinking about is getting away and relishing not having to answer my phone for a while, just getting away with the guys and playing a bunch of shows, drinking some beer and hooking up with a load of friends. Although, this morning, that feeling, at least for a short while, had completely distinguished. Jenny has just came back from the States, and now I'm leaving. Bad timing.

As soon as I sat in the van though, things started to feel better again. Back on tour... Fourteen years of doing this and it's still a great feeling.

Today would prove to be pretty uneventful, which is exactly what we required since all we had on the agenda was a long journey... The first show is tomorrow night in Rotterdam. For once we're getting the longest journey of the tour over with at the very beginning. We've printed our merchandise at a company in Hamburg and we've had it shipped to our friend Micha's record distro in Hannover, where we also have some gear that we left at the end of the last European tour. The journey down to Hannover took about fourteen hours, with a few stops along the way, the compulsory lunch at Max in Jönköping, the bridge from Malmö to Copenhagen and the boat from Rödby to Puttgarden in northern Germany.

First stop was Finspång though, where we picked up our friends Tormented, who are the opening band on the tour and who are also sharing the van with us. We arrived at Rockbageriet, the music venue and studio where the guys rehearse, around eight am. After readjusting the pack of the van, making room for Tormented's gear and merch, we sat down with a cup of coffee for a few minutes.

I met Claes for the first time a few weeks ago, at the release party show we had at Kafé 44, and I met Drette, the singer, a long, long time ago, when I first moved here, although he didn't really recognise me. The other two guys, Robban and Jocke, I'd never met before but they seem like good guys. I took an instant shine to Jocke, the Tormented drummer. As we were sat drinking coffee and having a chat, Jocke sat engrossed in a game on his iPhone. Robban asked him what he was playing. “Snake” Jocke said without breaking his gaze. We all cracked up laughing.

The journey down to Hannover, as said, was uneventful, apart from some pretty rough wind just the other side of Jönköping, and even though in total it took fourteen hours, it didn't feel that long. The guys in Tormented are a funny lot, and there was plenty of laughter during the hours on the road. I have the feeling this is going to be a fun tour. I'm looking forward to seeing the Black Breath guys tomorrow too, haven't seen Eric since he came in to the studio and played some guitar on our last record.

We decided we'd book into a cheap Formule 1 hotel for the night. We had been speaking to Micha about the possibility of staying with him, but since we'd have to split ourselves up between his place and Nico, another friend who works at Punk Distro, we decided it would be less hassle just to pay for the cheap hotel. After a long day it would be nice just to park the van up and get into a bed. The rooms only cost twenty nine Euros a night, and we can easily sneak a couple of us in and share some beds, making it even less costly. I felt a little guilty though when we mailed Micha after we'd booked the rooms online, and he got back to us saying he'd sorted out beds and some food for us upon arrival...

We made a final stop a couple of hours outside of Hannover, in the vain hope of looking for some sort of real dinner and if nothing else, the chance to take a piss. After already eating a Max veggie burger for lunch, a packet of crisps and a yoghurt for tea, I was hoping for something else than McDonalds. We decided to just leave it, even though they actually did have a veggie burger on the menu. The Tormented guys were straight in there though. We stood around outside and waited for then, enjoying the fresh air and the chance to stretch our legs. Eight pm, and the sun was only just going down and it was still pretty warm out. Considering we've been on the road since six am, I felt pretty awake.

We got back in the van for the final leg, Johan taking the wheel back from Claes (the two pappa's in the band have assumed main driving duties on this tour, an arrangement I'm more than happy with). It was soon dark and I felt asleep to the hypnotic mangle of Mayhem's De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas album. It's funny, I must have only slept for about twenty minutes but awoke feeling as groggy as if I'd slept the whole night. As I stirred and gathered my bearings, Jon shunts a small bottle of Jagermesiter my way. No thanks mate, I'm good. Jocke, sat behind me, happily takes a sip though. I put Neurosis' Enemy of the Sun and close my eyes again, the smell of Jagermesiter and snus humming from Jon in the seat beside me..

It was just before ten pm when we arrived at the hotel. I was hoping we'd be able to find something representing an actual meal, but it was not to be. These cheap hotel's are always on the outskirts of the city and this place was no different, being located in some industrial estate beside a dual carriageway. The only options were Burger King and a petrol station. Johan and I resignedly walked into Burger King and placed an order, only to be told the card machines weren't working and they could only accept cash, and cash we didn't have. I was almost relieved.

We walked back over the road to the petrol station where the rest of the guys were and picked up a sandwich and a couple of cans of beer. The picture of the sandwich on the menu on the wall behind the counter promised Camembert and lingonberry, in reality it was fart-warm Brie and jam. The two cans of Budvar were exactly as advertised though, cold and smooth on the taste buds. Exactly what the doctor ordered.

We finished the night off with the beers and some packets of crisps, hanging out in the room Claes and Drette were sleeping in. A perfectly relaxing way of ending a long day on the road. Tomorrow we're picking up the remaining gear at Punk Distro before making the rest of the journey to the first show in Rotterdam. Only about four hours. No problem. I really need to get a proper meal in me at some point soon though, hope we can find somewhere decent for breakfast tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Playing snake on iPhone, now that is epic. Made my day, thanks =)