Tuesday, April 17, 2012
I stir sometime around seven am. There is a presence in the room. I turn over to find Jon stood by the door, rubbing his hands together, stirring into space. I ask him what he's doing but he says nothing in return, he just stares in my direction with that stupid drunken smile on his face. I turn back over and drift off back to sleep.
I wake again about an hour later, this time in need of a piss. I climb up out of bed and head to the toilet. Jamie is crashed out on a sofa in the hallway. When I come out of the toilet once again I'm faced with Jon. The fucker is still walking around in a haze. I again ask him what he's up to. Again, all I get is an empty gaze. I can't be arsed with him and head back to bed.
Not surprisingly Jon is nowhere to be seen at breakfast at eleven, the time we'd decided with the guys from the venue last night. The swine is nowhere to be seen at load out either. Elijah tells me he'd tried to wake him, even pulling the “Come on Jon, we're going bowling!” but even that hadn't stirred him from his drunken abyss. He finally arrives by the time we've loaded the van and have been waiting on him for a half hour. He sheepishly sits up front next to Stachel, who is driving the van for the trip to Hamburg. Robban is sat in the back, seemingly still drunk and nursing a bad knee.
We've been on the road for about an hour when Ronny calls. It seems their cymbal case is missing. Fuck. We've obviously loaded them into the trailer that the Black Breath van is pulling. Andy says he's pretty sure they had an identical case to the one Jamie has. After some three way communication between the two vans and Ronny who is back at the venue, we arrange for the Black Breath guys to meet them somewhere on the road to Pyramido's final show in Hannover. Sorry about that Ronny boy.
We arrive at the Hafenklang, one of our favourite venues in Europe, a couple of hours early. With Black Breath delayed, we call Daniel, our good friend who runs the venue, and tell him we're going for a walk for while. It's a sunny day and I'm only too happy for the fresh harbour air. We take a walk up past the Reeperbahn into the back streets of St. Pauli in search of somewhere to eat. It's always hard when you're walking around in a large group looking for somewhere to eat. We end up splitting up in to two groups, with Drette, Robban and Andy splitting for a Chinese restaurant. The rest of us end up in what can only be described as a fucking dreadful Italian pizzeria/restaurant. The owner, who seems charming at first with his loud booming voice singing along the loud Italian music, soon gets on my tits. The food is shite and all. I order a pasta with Gorgonzola cheese sauce that is watery and tastes of absolute fuck all. Still, as Swedes do, we all thank the fucker for the food when he clears the table. There is some weird, old Swedish guy hanging about who seems to want to befriend us too. He asks us what we're doing here and when I tell him we're in a band he asks what kind of music we play, then looks at Jon and hazards a guess, “Jazz band?” He's either taking the piss or completely out of his box. I don't know what it is with this guy, but he's giving off a very slimy aura. Jocke and I decide he's here cruising the Reeperbahn, the thought of that turning my stomach more than the food I've just eaten. Before we leave, the owner forces us to drink a shot of booze, on the house. I really don't want to but at his insistence take the sickly liquid in. It's not that bad to be fair. We thank him and then leave, happy to get the fuck out of there.
We meet the others outside the Chinese restaurant up the road, hoping that they've had it just as bad. Robban looks chuffed though whilst he raves about the food. Bastards.
We see something very disturbing, outside a bar just a couple of doors down the street. There are some flowers and a candle burning, with messages of grief for a girl named Anna. The glass in the door is cracked and there is dried blood on the pavement. Fucking horrible.
As the rest of the guys take a walk down the main road, Johan, Jon and I head down to the harbour to get some fresh air. The venue is just along the road and it's a much nicer walk this way than along the Reeperbahn. As we're heading to the club we spot a submarine in the harbour that has been transformed into a museum. Jon and I can't resist, but Johan abstains and heads back to the venue. I didn't know it before, but Johan has claustrophobia issues. I guess that goes hand in hand with his need for control of everything.
The submarine is awesome, although it's fucking tight. Crazy to think people could work on these things, under the water for months on end. I don't think Johan would have enjoyed this, but Jon and I have a great time.
We get back to the venue just in time for Black Breath's arrival and we load in to the venue. We're playing the larger room on the lower level tonight which makes for a far kinder load in, something my aching back appreciates. After load, we just sit around upstairs, flaking out on the sofas. I'm so fucking tired. We all are. We only have three shows left. The thought of playing Stockholm on Tuesday and then leaving again and travelling all the way back down to Italy now sends shudders through me. I almost feel sorry for the Tormented guys who are doing just that, but they seem in good spirits. I guess it's just the closer you get to the end, the more tired you allow yourself to feel. Those guys still have a couple of weeks left so there's no point in them even thinking about home yet..For me though, as soon as I find myself with nothing to do, home comes to the forefront of my thoughts.
The food at the Hafenklang is wonderful, as always. The three bands sit down together and enjoy it in the upstairs room where the second stage is. I'm knackered by the time I've eaten dinner, bloated and ready for bed. I assure myself that I'll get an early night tonight. The band flat is in the next house and I tell myself as soon as the stage is packed down tonight I'll be heading straight there.
We sit about in the small dressing room beside the stage waiting for Tormented to start. There are quite a lot of people in the venue so it should be a good night. I just need to find the energy for it from somewhere. We get into a conversation with Mark about the ages of everyone. The Black Breath guys turn out to be a lot older than I thought they were. I thought they were mid twenties but most have them have turned thirty. Mark then tells us something quite amazing about Elijah. Apparently he'd forgotten how old he was. When they'd been at the airport on the way over, Jamie had a hold of everyone's passport as they were checking in. He looks at Elijah's passport and says, “Yo Wizard, I thought you said you were twenty nine!” Elijah looks at him in total bewilderment and says, “Yeah, I am dude.” Jamie then informs him that according to his passport he's thirty one. “Whaaaaat?” a totally scoobied Elijah replies. Classic Wizard.
For a Sunday night, there are a lot of people in the building tonight. I stand near the front and watch the Tormented set hoping that I'll find some energy through them to take into our set. But as I stand there nodding my head in appreciation of the music they're playing, my head feels like it's going to roll off my shoulders, such is the ache in my neck. I'm fucking aching everywhere right now so it seems.
In all honesty I find our set a struggle tonight. There is plenty of noise coming from the crowd, if only a little movement, but it is Sunday night so you can't really expect too much. It's not like I ever fucking mosh when I go to gigs, I'm too old, so I can't really complain anyway. Saying that, I actually got in the mosh pit when Fucked Up played in Stockholm a few months ago, when they finished the set with Police, but that was plain embarrassing. Anyway, the biggest problem with the gig for me tonight is that the stage floor is as slippery as an ice rink. It's hard to get into the gig and just let go when you spend the entire set concentrating on not falling on your arse. Claes was down the front with a beer in hand for the entire show and he seemed to enjoy it at least. Jon said he had a good time too, it seems like the last few shows have been really good for him. If the slippery stage did it's best to ruin my night, at least the sound on stage made up for it. It makes a hell of a difference when you can hear everything else that's going on around you.
I miss most of the Black Breath set since we're sat in the dressing room discussing end of tour stuff. It's Claes' last show tomorrow in Lund and it's ours in Stockholm, so there's stuff we need to take care of. Feels kind of weird hopping off a tour before the end and I guess it's going to be really strange after the Debaser show in Stockholm, to just say goodbye to everyone and then just go home..and that's that.
We've decided on an easy night tonight, with an early rise tomorrow and the drive to Lund for what is an early show. So it's to my surprise when I go out to catch the end of the BB set and Johan is at the merch table drunk, looking chuffed. It seems he's been on the shots. As soon as I start laughing at him, Daniel is over to us offering another round, this time myself included. What can I say? Daniel is such a nice guy, it would just be rude to say no to him. A few shots later, washed down with a couple of beers and all of a sudden my easy night of blissful sleep is in danger of going down the drain. We watch the end of the BB set, there are a lot of people watching them and the buzz is in the air. It's always a fun time at the Hafenklang, the staff are a great bunch of people and it always ends up with an after party. Andy does well though, he heads off to bed around one am. The rest of stay up, drink another couple of beers although they're starting to feel heavy again and are no longer slipping down the throat with the same ease, and play some fussball again. It's been the in thing on this tour...
I get into a conversation with a nice guy called Will, who is from the States but lives in Hamburg now. I ask Johan later which band he was in, Johan thinks he was in Hellshock but he's not sure.. The staff start to close up the bar and the Black Breath guys are talking of going out in town. More often than not I would tag along, and then immediately regret it. Claes is really up for it, but I'm tired and rely on past experience for once and decline the offer. There is a bit of baiting for a while but I hold out. If we had a short drive tomorrow then maybe my answer would have been different..
The guys head off into the night in search of an open bar. We head back to the band apartment with the intention of going to bed, but it doesn't quite work out that way. Johan, Stachel, Jocke and I hang out in the stairwell and over a couple of bottles of beer fall into deep conversation. The time just disappears and before I know it, it's almost four am. and the guys have arrived back from their night on the town, completely bummed out because they ended up walking around for ages and not finding anywhere to get a drink. Oh how many times I've done just that.
Johan and I finally call it a night and head to the dormitory. I'm sober, Johan is pretty drunk. We end up chatting some more by the bunks, quite loudly and totally inconsiderate of our boys who are trying to sleep. Andy's irritated voice snaps out in the dark after a couple of minutes, “Seriously, shut up!”. That's the end of that conversation. The other guys are still making a racket out in the hallway though. I guess that's one of the downsides of sharing a dormitory...
I soon fall asleep though, a little disheartened at yet again missing out on valuable sleep but at the same time, glad for the hang out we had with Stachel in the stairwell, it was a nice end to a long day. They're all long days I guess...