Monday, April 6, 2015


Actually felt pretty good when I woke up this morning.  Well, good is a stretch I guess, not good like you wake up at home feeling good, but good on the tour yardstick.  Tired, but functioning.  I slept up in the loft next to Luc and a turntable that was just lying around on the mattress.  Slept okay, although there was an episode in the middle of the night when I woke up freezing and I spent what felt like about half an hour, groggily wriggling around in my sleeping bag, trying to find the best possible position for maximum warmth. Eventually it dawned on me just to zip the fucking thing up.

The shower this morning was most welcome.  Amazing how a bit of warm water and soap can rehumanize you.  Somewhat miraculously Kev seems to be in pretty good shape too, fuck knows how.  We head into the kitchen to find Stachel busy baking bread and brewing coffee.  We sit around the big table and have breakfast together, this warm salty pretzel bread hitting the bullseye.  It’s literally some of the best bread I’ve ever tasted.  Nothing like a good dose of salt in the morning.  We start talking English slang, the Swedes fascinated by it.  Luc pulls out a text that Kev wrote to him when we first started the band, a list of slang words with explanations following them.  Provides some good entertainment to accompany the coffee.
We’re under no stress to get away today since we can’t get into the venue in Leipzig tonight until six and it’s only a drive of about three hours.  We decide to pack the van and then go for a walk over to Stachel’s place to pick up a box of our first seven inch that he put out.  We sold surprisingly well in Stockholm.  It takes a while to actually get out of the building though, the door from the small, dark gig room to the street is rusted shut.  Apparently there’s a knack to it but Stachel doesn’t know it.  Whilst standing around waiting to get out Henrik asks me to take a picture of him holding a can of energy drink called Magic Man.  Seems he’s an avid fan and is in the process of collecting data on the various types he finds on tour, making a points system that will help him decide at the end of the tour which is the winner.  Eventually the door is kicked open and sunlight pours into the room, we load out.

Once packed we take a walk over to Stachel’s, Ronnie and Dan Bass joining us, along the river.  I really like Bremen, it’s a cool little city.  We cross the river into the part of town where Stachel lives which is a really picturesque area with rows of streets decorated with trees and plants, a lot of the houses have vines growing on them, really nice area.  It’s deadly calm here today, I guess the fact it’s Easter Sunday has something to do with that.  The walk takes longer than expected so by the time we get to Stachel’s we pretty much have to turn around and head back.  It’s nice to catch up with his flat mate Micha, albeit it very briefly.  Really nice girl.

Records sorted we head back towards the venue, this time taking a different route via the old town.  The guys are waiting to get going by the time we get back, a bit later than expected.  Still, we’re in no rush.  We say our goodbyes to Stachel, making plans to hang out again soon, and then it’s time to get to Leipzig.  The trip today is somewhat quieter than yesterday, although the booze is floating around, I’d say it’s more trickling than flowing today.  We have a row of five bottles in the compartment in the passenger door, it’s literally like a little bar.  Ronnie drives the first section of the trip, a pattern emerging there  I think, but then Luc takes over, much to the scrutiny of Sticky.  Sticky explains to Luc he has two rules for the driver, “One: always indicate when changing lane.  Two: Brake before the exit on the motorway and not on it.”  Luc asks him if it’s okay to drink.  “Of course, you still gotta live” reasons Sticky.

Once we get going Luc slyly asks me, “What did Sticky say? I couldn’t understand his Skånsk accent.”  Henrik is sat up front with us and we enjoy a mix of Herätys and Dag Nasty on Ronnie’s iPod, the odd chant of “Sprit, sprit, sprit” coming from the back now and again.  Dan Bass isn’t too impressed with Henrik’s bartending, having to repeat his request for booze.  “Mr. Crappy Bartender” soon becomes simply Crappy, and with that Henrik has his new tour name.  After a while, Sticky, who has been sat reading his book at the back of the van, pipes up, “Crappy, can you send some sort of potent booze?  Nothing under forty percent please.”

We arrive at the venue, which is a small pub on the outskirts of the city centre.  We had a pretty nice bit of city sightseeing on the way, we drove past this huge stone building that looked like the Reichstag or something, as well as a couple of churches.  There isn’t too much around where the venue is though, but that doesn’t really matter, doors open in an hour anyway.  Everyone tells Luc he did a good job, that he passed the test.  Sticky arrives at the passenger door and offers a different view though, “I’m going to say you did okay, a couple of points that we can take later, but let’s not do that in front of everyone else.”  Piss taker, love him.

We’re all fucking starving by the time we’ve loaded in.  Foolishly, having had nothing to eat all day, I opt to accept Stix’s offer of a pint.  It tastes heavenly to be fair, but it goes straight to my head.  I literally feel pissed after half a pint.  Need food.  The venue is really cool though, this little wooden room with a bar which has a high ceiling with a think balcony around the perimeter.  Pyramido have a quick soundcheck and just as I’m wondering how this works with the neighbours across the road, metal shutters slowly roll down over the big windows, blocking out the world outside.  They blast out a bit of punk, which we  label P Beat.  The sound is really good too.  Sticky said last time they played here the place was packed.  Leipzig seems to be one of those places that always has well attended shows, one of the bastions of the German punk scene.  The stage is tiny so we’ll be on the floor again tonight, if there are as many people who come to the show as Sticky is sure of it should be a sweaty little show.

Once soundcheck is sorted it’s time for food, not a moment too soon.  The backside of the bar has a little extended wooden room, and outside that is a beer garden that has a vegetarian Mexican truck called Tacopolypse, with this woman who looks just like our friend Annie in Nottingham, of the Annie’s Burger Shack fame.  We’re welcome to order whatever we want from the menu, I’m absolutely delighted to see they have Jalapeno Poppers.  I order myself a batch as well as a burrito they call The Beaner.  Ronnie orders something called the Despair, which simply claims to have everything in it.

Whilst we’re waiting for the food a friend of Pyramido’s turns up, his band, Derbe Lebowski, are playing with us in Potsdam on Friday.  They’re on tour right now and playing another show in Leipzig tonight.  He says the tour has gone really well, apart from their show in Prague last night when absolutely zero people turned up.  We’ll see how it goes for our show there tomorrow.  The food arrives and take it inside, far too cold to eat in the garden.  The Poppers are pretty stingy, just the job.  The burrito is delicious too, fucking big though, I can only manage about two thirds of it, although it pales in comparison to Ronnie’s, who is sat there shaking his head, “This is going to be a mistake…”

Cue food coma.  You go from being absolutely Hank Marvin to so stuffed you can hardly move.  Still, the hit from that beer has waned, thank fuck.  We decide it’s a good idea to get a round of vodka in, we have a band bottle in the bar, digest the food a bit Stix reasons.  He comes back with a tray and a broad smile.  The shot takes me a bit by surprise, it’s bigger than I thought.  I’m not sure how I feel about this.  Luc and Kev look positively horrified about the situation.  Like it or not, I need a pint to wash down the vodka with and before I know it I’m a mixed feeling of tipsy and desperately stuffed.  Rookie mistake on many counts. We’re on in an hour.

Sure enough the place is pretty rammed by the time we start.  I take my place on the floor, backing up to the crowd that is right up to the small stage, the Pyramido guys right beside me.  Normally I’d be fucking buzzing about this show but that burrito is still punishing me, I can tell the other guys are feeling the burn too.  Still, once we get going the usual energy comes back.  I think I’m a little bit drunk, the energy is there but I’m playing a bit sloppier tonight.  When we play Nervous and I do the scratchy noise solo, the only one I can play, I go into this stupid hoppy dance, my arse rubbing the punk behind me.  I clock Stix who is laughing at me.  Afterwards I wonder what I’m playing at.  The show is definitely bordering more on the controlled chaos side of things, but the buzz is there, purely due to the fact that the room is so packed and you’re actually stood in the crowd playing.

Afterwards I ask Luc how the gig was for him, he says he feels weird from the vodka, says he blacked out during one of the songs and missed a couple of notes.  Stix is conferring that it was a bad idea to eat so close to the gig, I can only agree.  We head to the merch room to get some air where there are a lot of people milling around.  Seems like we’ve sold a couple shirts and the tapes are now sold out.  When Pyramido start up the show we grab a couple of pints and head up to the balcony to watch the guys.  They sound solid as fuck again, really cool seeing Ronnie swathing around in the crowd screaming in people’s faces.  We have a great time up there watching them.  Dan Guitar, who is now called Rappy for some reason, clocks us up on the balcony and gives us a big cheesy wink as he caresses a chord.  Between songs we’re up there shouting “Sprit, sprit, sprit!” and Luc shouts, “Vafan vad bra ni är!” in his Brazilian tinged Swedish that sounds ever so slightly camp.  Sticky looks up and gives us the thumb, “You guys are okay.”

The guys have a great show, totally owning this night.  When they wrap up their five song set people are shouting for more.  To our surprise Ronnie looks up at us and says, “This is a song by an English band, it’s for these cunts up there” and they blast out a Discharge cover, keeping a Pyramido edge to it.  Fucking magic end to the set.

Not long after the set another round of shots comes out and I’m feeling pretty boats.  Stix is stood behind the merch table with Ronnie’s XL Neurosis hoodie on, hood up, looking like he’s in Sleaford Mods, shouting a lot.  I get talking to some punk kid at our table who is looking at our patches, one that Ragnar designed which has a girl with a knife through our head, he asks us if we don’t like women, we tell him that we like everyone.  We then engage in conversation for a while, nice guy.  He tells me his name is Toast.
I don’t really remember much of load out, apart from the fact that we didn’t really help that much, just stood there tarting about, laughing and dancing.  And then when we’re outside we’re offering random people on the street drinks from the bar.  The drive over to the squat where we’re staying doesn’t take long but long enough for a party to get going.  Luc stage dives from the back amidst the nonsense, he’s proper sauced up.  He asks Sticky if they can have sex.  “No” replies Sticky.

“Why not?” Luc asks, a little hurt I reckon.

“I’m boring in bed” explains Sticky.

“I like boring sex” counters Luc.  And then we all break into chant again, “Boring sex, boring sex, boring sex” And then Dan continues, “Missionary position, missionary position”.  How Ronnie deals with this I’ll never understand, driving a bunch of pissed idiots around all the time.  The squat we’re staying at is huge and we’re up on the top floor where there is a dormitory with bunks.  I’m too pissed to sort a mattress out, the one I’ve been allocated on it has a stain that looks suspiciously like blood.  I end up crawling beside Kev on his mattress and cuddle up for some sleep.  It’s freezing and I’m fucked.  Fucked.

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