Thursday, November 22, 2012


After the long escape from the van the day before in Chicago, I was really in the mood for some more sightseeing, now that we'd had a taste.  It's not even so much the sightseeing, I can spend long periods of time looking at the most banal things, it's more the chance to take in some fresh air and stretch the legs.  What a difference a day and a couple of hundred miles make though.

When we stepped out of the van behind the club in Cincinnati it was mid afternoon, although the grey sky could have fooled you into believing it was later.  We were parked up in a small, public car park that belonged to a block building that housed the club as well as a few shops.  It looked like Canada Square up the Exeter estate in Corby, and anyone who's been there will know that that particular place is a hell hole...

Still, I was up for a walk so I asked Dutch how far we were from the city, downtown or wherever the action was.  “You're in it” he replied without a hint of sarcasm.  I told him that I was going to go for a walk, he warned me not to go on my own and not to talk to anyone who approached us in the street.  “This is not a nice place...”.  He was deadly serious.  What the fuck?

Even though it was great walking around Chicago with the boys yesterday, taking in the sights and all, sometimes it is nice to break away from the pack and just head off on your own.  It didn't seem like that would be a wise choice today though so I convinced Kev to follow along with me.  I couldn't believe that the area we were walking around was the downtown area of Cincinnati, I had the feeling Dutch just couldn't be arsed with us all fucking off before load in.  I've since learned though that not all US cities are like New York.  A lot of the time the downtown area is just where the corporate district is, the skyscrapers are just tall office buildings and at night time the place is dead.  I was learning more about this country every day.  I don't know where the nightlife or the shopping was at in Cincinnati, but these streets we were walking were truly uninviting.

One thing I've learned about the USA is that behind all the gloss there is a lot of poverty.  It was there before our eyes as we walked the blocks that lay in the venue's radius, the area seemed to be bleeding poverty from it's veins.  The streets were lined with dilapidated terraced houses, the sidewalks were cracked and defeated.  It looked more like Poland during the Nazi occupation than the streets of a city that belonged to the planet's wealthiest nation.  The “American Dream” must be the biggest fucking scam a government has ever pulled on it's people.

We walked around for a half hour or so, but every corner turned seemed to reveal the same depressed expression.  As if feeling a need to at least do something with our venture we went to a petrol station and bought a snack, and then headed back to the venue.  On our way back some young guy with his hood pulled up crossed the street towards us and mumbled something about drugs.  I don't know if he was buying or selling but we got the fuck out of there without saying a word.

We'd been getting the Eyehategod song together during soundcheck and it's starting to sound good.  I was looking forward to pulling it off at a show and getting Brian up on stage with us to play it.  It wasn't quite ready yet though.  The club tonight was a large, basic room with a floor sloping down towards the stage and a long bar along the right hand wall.  I had a hard time imagining where the people would come from to fill the place but sure enough, it was pretty packed by the time we went on.  We had a pretty good show too, we didn't take a lot of abuse and there were a few hardcore kids down the front moving about.  There was of course a contingent of death metallers stood towards the back looking bored or worse, smirking at us, but that was standard by this point.  The margins for what classes a good show had been widened somewhat...

We hung out Chris at the merch stall as Soilent Green played their set.  They truly impressed every single night.  Chris is a nice guy, we'd gotten to know him pretty well by now and it felt like he'd taken us under his wing a little.  He was telling us that he thought we were a great band and that he'd be interested in helping us out in the States.  He told us that he thought we should get Bianchi to fuck and get someone else involved.  He couldn't believe we were wasting our money coming to the States only to play on a tour that was so obviously ill fitting for us.  To be honest though, we didn't fit whatever bill we played on.  We knew what we were getting ourselves into on this tour and we couldn't blame Bianchi for that.  We all jumped at the chance to travel around the States getting pissed for free.  We knew fine well we'd be fighting the audience every night.  It wasn't the first time I'd heard people from other bands advising us on how we should steer ourselves, but in all honesty, I was starting to feel lost and disillusioned.  I was sick of the fighting.  And even though we might not have been battling with each other as regularly by this stage, now that Frank and Tony had left the band, it seemed we were still fighting everyone else.  I was growing tired of it.  I didn't mind fighting the blockhead, death metal crowds, that was fun, but there were small signs that things were once again going sour with the label and that was fucking taxing.  Some of the guys seemed to be chuffed at the thought of Chris helping us out, but I was just feeling jaded.  Maybe it was just the tour, the booze and the lack of sleep taking it's toll, I don't know...

We sold a bit of merch tonight anyway and Lasse was far happier.  It was a lot easier for him on night's like this when the merch table was in the actual room we're playing and everyone is hanging out.  We had a few beers after the show and by the time the show came to a close the heavy atmosphere we'd experienced earlier on the streets of Cincinnati had washed away.  Dutch was still on his toes though.  He'd been sat in the van all night, saying he didn't trust leaving it out back with nobody to guard it.  He sure as fuck wasn't planning on staying the night and told us in no uncertain terms that we'd be leaving as soon as we were loaded in.

We headed off with a pack of beer from Nile's van and chilled out in front of a film as Dutch drove a couple of hours down the highway.  Sean, the singer from With Passion joined us, telling us he was sick of travelling with his band.  We told him it was cool to hang out with us for the night.   Dutch pulled into a service station an hour outside of Cleveland.  We were staying here for the night since the club was in a busy area of the city and there was no parking until load in.

Of course, the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland, so Dutch took us there for the afternoon.  I wonder how many times he's been there with bands?  I have to say, I didn't think I'd give that much of a shit but truthfully, it was a pretty great museum.  The first thing I saw hanging on the wall was Johnny Cash's guitar.  I guess I am a  music geek deep down because that impressed the fuck out of me!  There was a lot of other fun stuff to look at too.  What is really cool about the place is that if you have a tour pass with you, you get in for free, and free is always good.  As an added bonus, it was situated on the shore of the lake as well as right next to the Cleveland Browns stadium.  Water and sports stadiums are two things that I always love to look at, there is just something about them that brings a certain harmony to my being...  So far I was liking Cleveland a lot more than Cincinnati...

The club was in the middle of the downtown area, right in the middle of everything.  The place was buzzing.  Nice to be back in civilisation again.. The club itself was right up our alley as well, small stage in a small room that fit around four hundred people inside.  It was more a bar than a club in actual fact.  The room where the gig would take place was one of a few different rooms housed within the same complex, with an upstairs bar and a smaller games room beside.  I was looking forward to the coming evening, it had party written all over it.  I could sense that everybody in the band was on the same wavelength...

One very weird rumour doing the rounds tonight was that Will Smith and his wife would be coming to the show.  Apparently they were big fans of Soilent Green!  Fucking bizarre.  It seemed to be the subject on everyone's lips for the early part of the evening.  Of course, they didn't show... but it was funny how everyone seemed to be buzzing about it when they thought it was happening.

After load in was done and Nile were finished soundchecking, Jay had wondered into the sex shop beside the venue to check it out.  This is not something he does to gain a laugh, and it's not something he is embarrassed by.. the boy likes sex and everything to do with it, simple as that.  Hilariously whilst he was in there browsing some scud mags, he noticed Ghost Tramp from Nile shadily walking about the joint, obviously not wanting to be seen.  Jay joyfully slides up beside him as he's stood in an aisle looking at something or other and greets him, “Alright mate!  Nice place eh?”  Ghost Tramp looks mortified and for a moment Jay thinks he's actually going to pull the classic Woah, where am I?!  line, or whatever else would quickly spring to his rescue, but he doesn't.  He just puts his head down, red face burning a hole in the floor at his feet, mumbles back a hello and makes a sharp exit.  Jay is obviously delighted by this.  After picking up a couple of mags, he hurries back to the club to tell us and we all piss ourselves laughing.  Poor Ghost Tramp...

The show tonight is one of the best of the tour, definitely up there with Orangevale and San Antonio.  These smaller places normally help us out.  The room is packed when we play and the crowd kicks off.  Nothing like a small, sweaty show to rejuvenate the soul.  We've pretty much got the Eyehategod cover together by now, although it wasn't quite ready for tonight.  We're hoping it will be ready for tomorrow.  Shame, it would have went down a storm tonight.

When Soilent play I can barely get in the room to see them.  It's fucking wild in there and the wake of the mosh pit seems to be lapping all the way to the back of the room.  It really has been theirs and Hypocrisy's tour for the most part.  Ben is furious after the show since yet again Nile have commented on how many different designs of shirt they're selling.  The Nile merch guy, this big guy who looks like Sloth from The Goonies, has been pretty cool up to now, but it's obvious his employees have been on his back about keeping the other bands it tow.  You can tell as he awkwardly asks the Soilent guys to take a few shirts down.  What the fuck is this all about really?

At the end of the night we all head to the bar upstairs where there is an after show party going on.  It seems like all of the bands are in attendance and most nearly everybody is having a good time.  We're letting loose on some cocktails that we're getting at a very friendly price.  I end up pretty steaming as do the rest of the boys.  This girl called Sarah is at the party.  She used to play drums in Kelly Osborne’s band, before Osbourne was forced by her manager to fire her.  It was all filmed and shown on the Osbournes tv show.  Anyway, she's here and unbelievably Kev has hooked up with her.  It all gets a bit hazy late on in the night, but I remember Kev and this girl making out with each other in this little pink, den room off to the side of the bar.  It turns out it's some VIP booth.  We're denied access by some meathead security guys but we all stand by the entrance, pissed and pointing at Kev as he sits there with this girl on his lap, the usual stupid grin on his face.

When we get back aboard the disco bus, ready to leave for our next destination, Kev is nowhere to be found.  He finally turns up and we give it the standard “Waheey!” chant, but Kev is having none of it.  It seems he really liked her and not only that, he got her number.  He swears she's a really cool girl, despite the Osbourne connotations.  Despite his protests, we spend the rest of the night taking the piss out of him.  I can't actually recall if he ever did see her again.. I have a vague memory of their paths crossing one other time but I'm not sure..

Having had a dose of the tour blues in Cincinnati, Cleveland had provided me with the boost I'd desperately needed.  That's touring for you I suppose.

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