"Wild Wild West"
A rock-n-roll tour diary by Manny Montana, European booking agent extraordinaire for Adam West. This was written during the September 2001 European Tour and was originally published in three parts in French fanzine Dig It!
This is a "pocket-version" of the 11 days I spent on the road with Adam West on their 2001 European tour. It was a trip made of great moments, ranging from deep sadness and distress (the NYC and Pentagon bombings occurred while they were on the road) to fun and laughter of true Spinal Tap proportions! I'm glad to call these people my friends.
Jake Starr: Vocalist, and brain behind the wonderful Fandango Records. Jake is one of the nicest people you're likely to meet in the punk-rock circuit. Certainly one of the most friendly and cooperative people I had the pleasure of working with. Spares no efforts to get his band going in the right direction. Some people might credit him with an "ego-attitude" but nothing is further from the truth. He's a guy who's doing it for the fun of it all. Loves his cat "Isis" more than anything else.
Steve: Bass player and rock and roll animal. Behind his "outlaw-biker" façade is a man who is quite shy and if that would be possible, even a nicer guy than Jake. Is very fond of his dog "Scooter," also called the Franken-dog. (This dog must have the world-record when it comes to the amount of stitches one dog has!)
Kevin: Great guitar player and a real musical addition to the band. Likes to talk. A lot.
Ben: Replacement drummer for Tom Barrick who could not make it this time. Great drummer. Quiet person. (Note: Tom Barrick has since quit the band for "family" reasons. For whom the bell tolls... Ben might join full-time now.)
Thursday Sept. 6: Vera-Groningen/Holland
I got on the road early this morning as I have to pick up the band at Brussels National airport. I'm still somewhat jet-lagged as I got home just some days before from the USA. I enjoyed 2 weeks in the company of the cool people from Jack Black, Polyplush Cats, and of course Adam West where I stayed first at Steve's place which came complete with house-ghost etc. Quite an experience. Later I stayed at Jake's place where the "Manland" is located. Jake says every man should have a "manland." Manland is a room where you keep all the stuff which you cherish. So in Jake's case it contains tons of rare vinyl/posters/books/toys/t-shirts . . . it's Punk Rock Heaven
Back to Brussels: The band was already at the bar ( it's 9 a.m.!!!) and everybody seems to be in a good mood.
They had a little scare when their guitars where missing. After looking around for an hour they saw some Sabena guy pushing a trolley around with their guitars on it. The guy was simply talking to some girls and didn't seem to be knowing/caring that the people who the guitars belonged to where probably freaking out because their stuff wasn't among the rest of the luggage! A strike broke out just as they got there, so nobody was really cooperative. Nice! Welcome to Brussels, Africa.
Ok, we get the stuff in the van and get rolling towards Holland. 4-hour drive with some stops. Steve would take this opportunity to start drinking his 6-pack of Leffe (dark).
It's the first time I get to go to the Vera Club in Groningen. It's one of the most famous clubs around. Everybody played there. Upon arrival we stress out because we keep circling in a big circle around where the street of the club is and doesn't seem to find the right way. Every street around it is either a bus-lane or a pedestrian walk-way.
So, after 30 minutes of driving around like fools, we simply drive upon the pedestrian walkway and drive up to the club. Cops spot us but are cool about it when we explain the situation.
We load out quickly and are all impressed with the nice location. Great PA, concert hall and a fantastic back-stage area and apartments (complete with fridge, TV, balcony, 4 showers, etc.) These people really know how to receive bands on the road.
The bands starts setting up while me and Jake start rolling all the shirts in Fifi-mode (a fifi is a rolled up t-shirt, which when covered with hot water can feel like a very moisty vagina!!! Lesson 257 of the Punk Rock touring book. Please use your own imagination when it comes to using this) and labeling them according to sizes.
Soundcheck. I immediately notice that everybody is ready to ROCK and they can't wait to get on that stage to rip it apart. This is a class act and damn SOLID!
We get some chinese dinner (very good!) and relax backstage where the fridge is filled with goodies.
Show time. The band roars into the set . Some 150 people showed up, which isn't bad if you consider that it's their first ever show in Holland. They get rocking and the crowd starts going apeshit. They finish with "Deuce" from Kiss. Awesome!
We hang out after the show with Evert Nijkamp from the Grunnen Rocks website. One of the most interesting and complete sites when it comes to punk/rock music.
Steve and I head out for some food and end-up in a Pita-bar where we get some kebab. It's around 1 a.m. and the streets are crawling with people. Steve (and so am I) is astonished at the quantity of good-looking girls here.
When we're done we find a pub near the Vera that is still open. It's a heavy metal bar and the music is pumping. Some people recognise Steve and start a discussion of which we don't understand a word as they're obviously quite drunk.
We get back to the Vera and tuck-in for the night. I have a room for me and pass out instantly. Sweet dreams.
Friday Sept. 7th - La Zone - Liège-Belgium
After an excellent night and a fabulous breakfast, spirits are high and we all look forward to the show tonight. I told Adam West a lot of this club as I played there a few times with the Buckweeds and did quite some shows there for other bands. It has always been a great party that ends somewhere in the very early hours with a shitload of drunks passed out on the floor everywhere you look. The club is run by very cool people who are really into rock and roll. They live and breathe it. Tonight I also hook up with my fellow band-mates of The 1's. We're doing a few shows with Adam West and I'm especially looking forward to the show in La Zone.
The drive is a pain in the ass. We cover the 400km in over 7 hours. It seems like everything Dutch that had possession of a couple of wheels was out on the road. On exactly our stretch of the highway. I love it. Not!
Allright, we get to the club after driving through the city-centre using and abusing every bus and taxi-lane we can. I feel like a tourist. Some people stare at us in disbelief as we manoeuvre around in true Starsky and Hutch style! Gotta ride on . . .
We're greeted by the people of the club. It's a self-run club with a bunch of volunteers. They sometimes have different political (amongst others) views as I do, but hell, they know how to throw a party and to ROCK! Which is basically what we came here to do, right!
Harti, the 1's guitar player, is already here so we soundcheck a cool version of "Bomber" by Motorhead. Ben is sitting in on the drums as our drummer didn't get here yet. It's cool. I don't like long soundchecks anyways. It's always the same. You soundcheck forever and the minute you step onstage, the sound sucks anyways. But here, usually the sound is a real killer. They fully understand the concept of "loud music!"
Adam West soundchecks and it's awesome. Their sound is a killer and we're all excited about the oncoming show. It's the first show of the new season, so the place will be packed!
And packed it is! Over 200 crazies go mental as we hit the stage; it's just like playing with the Buckweeds all over again. Only faster. Only harder. Only better.
We run thru our show like a rollercoaster and some of our songs seem to go down like a bourbon down my throat. It's a great show and we have the classic stage invasion going.
We do now a little routine as presenting the band with totally fake names. Tonight, Harti is Michael Schenker, our drummer is from South Africa and I am the evil brother of Jon Bon Jovi! Let there be ROCK!
We split after a monster rendition of Bomber. Dish (whose partly responsable of our success in this town - he also does the TeenAge Head posters) jumps on stage and sings the song like his life depends of it! Great! Lemmy would have loved this.
Saturday Sept. 8th - Wild at Heart - Berlin - Germany
We wait for DY to return to Liége to head out to Berlin, via a stop in Aachen/germany to pick up some strings/drumskins/effect pedals at a local musicstore.
It's a smooth drive to Berlin, spoiled only by the rain which will be a constant during this part of the tour. Nice summer.
I had told the guys this was one of the best clubs in Germany. Run by Ulli (of Church of Confidence) and his wife Lea. The club is wildly decorated and has a real good sound. On top of this they have one of the most broad range of cocktails known in the western world. I say YUMMY! If you go there, check out the Caïparinhas! I say, double YUMMY!
We get there at around 6 after a quick drive through the city centre to show the guys the Reichtag and the Brandenburg gate. Two sites worth a detour. And they're right next to each other. Perfect.
Berlin is probably (as far as I know) the only major capital in Europe where you can park your car almost everywhere. There's always a spot somewhere.
My theory is: most of the people that live here don't need a car as every other major city in germany is at least 400km away.
Most of the tourists that come here come by train or plane. So there's not really a lot of traffic going on if you compare it to let's say, Paris, Brussels, Madrid or London.
We soundcheck and go to get dinner at a nearby Turkish kebab-house.
Apparently the night before there had been a wild party that lasted until today 1 p.m.! So most of the club loyal visitors will only start showing up late. The bartenders don't look too healthy as well today.
At some point David, a wild Scottish expatriate, comes in and the place is on fire immediately. I know the guy from having slept at his place with American Heartbreak a few months earlier.
If you don't know him, he'll freak you out. He's loud, obnoxious, in your face and he drinks a whole lot!
He's been living in Berlin for some 7 or 8 years and seems to be like a fish in water here.
Jake freaks out when the guy gets in his face and starts talking in a loud Scottish accent that probably even him doesn't understand! I love it!
I tell Jake, when David gets his vocal rollercoaster further down in the club, that he's a really sweet guy, and that he just sounds loud etc. But he's way cool. Jake doesn't believe me of course, and I don't blame him.
David comes back and insists we sleep at his place tonight. Jake watches in horror when I agree to it.
He says, "What the fuck?" I reassure him and tell him he'll be treated like a king at his place. Which is quite true. He, and his girlfriend Sabina, always get up early and make a phenomenally good breakfast. It's one of the best on the touring-circuit without an inch of doubt.
David asks me to go to another pub down the road to have a beer there. On the way there I meet another friend, Humberto Pereira. He's a promoter that does the TeenAge Head shows in the Hannover area, but lives in Berlin. Cool! We all get to the pub and get some free beer. David seems to be world famous around here.
Halfway thru my beer, Ulli, the Wild at Heart owner, comes in the pub and tells me I have to go as I must get my ass onstage. He heard David took me for a drink so he knew we were at this place.
We rush back to the club and I have to go onstage immediatly. No setlist, nothing. Oh, well, let's rock . . .
The place is only half-full for the reasons I described earlier but the place start filling up as we play. But it's hard to get them moving even if they apparently like what we do. So, I just decide to do the Comedy-routine (talking bullshit to people in the audience. Always works). At one point I ask Harti, The 1's guitar player, as he's a German, to translate what I say to the crowd. It's hilarious.
We finish our set as more people are coming in.
Adam West takes the stage and get straight in the face of the audience. At first they all stand back and response is rather cold. But Jake is a crowd-teaser and gets them to move closer and shaking their butts! They play a great show and end up doing a few encores.
Earlier on, Adam West received a couple of boxes which contained their brand-new CD. They sold like hot cookies.
After some heavy cocktails drinking and fun (a bar-fight!) we headed off to David's place. Everybody was exhausted so sleeping was no problem. Kevin's heavy snoring didn't bother me at all as I passed out instantly. It was real cold during the night. It was still early September but the temperature didn't exceed 5°C the last few days. The weather is all fucked up in the North. I'll never get used to it.
Sunday Sept. 9th - Backstage Club (Free and Easy Festival) - München - Germany
We're up early as we have a long drive to München. David and Sabina make us a fantastic breakfast and we would like to hang out in Berlin to go to the flea-market and visit some sites, but the show must go on further down the road. The weather is even colder than the day before. It's freezing cold and raining non-stop. Depressing.
The routing for these few days is a bit crazy, but when I was offered the chance to play at the Free and Easy festival again with my band and Adam West, I didn't hesitate. It's Sunday and we'll have a great show, so off we drive . . . Last year I played there with the Buckweeds to a full hall of crazy Bavarians. It was a night to remember so I was looking forward to tonight . . .
The first half of the journey was going smoothly. Although there was a lot of traffic, we were heading down south pretty fast with the TeenAge-Head mobile. We stopped somewhere north of Nuremberg to get some food. We had been sitting in the van for some hours and wanted badly to stretch our legs. So we went to this crazy rest stop. It was a lot of floors up to the restaurant.
Everybody was in high-spirits and making stupid tour-jokes.
We were standing in line to pay the cashier. It's a girl. Not bad looking. Jake and I stand right in front of her when I notice she has a name-tag on her shirt and apparently her name is "Romy". . . I read this and say, without thinking (because, as all you rockers know, you have to set your mind on position "off" when you're on the road if you wanna keep going ) "Romy! Why don't you blow me?" The girl watches me, obviously not understanding what I'm saying . . . She mutters some questions in german, so I repeat my question . . . this time, it gets to her, and her beautiful German white skin flushes all the way to "ketchup-red." Jake who is standing next to me almost dies with laughter!!! What a gas...
We eat our meal and I inquire to Jake what he's eating . he tells me it's a "Hintches-schnitzel" (some sort of porc-flesh) and adds that it's a "fine kosher Jewish meal" at which we all double up laughing and don't stop for the next 10 minutes. Now, people start looking at us in a weird way. We are surrounded by Germans who are on a day off and thinking off a quiet good meal at their favourite truck-stop and here they are confronted to a bunch of rockers apparently going out of their minds! You gotta love rock and roll, right?
Ok, after recuperating from cramps to our stomach from all the laughing we head back on the road, thinking the rest of the journey will be a piece of cake as we're over halfway. Visions of relaxation, free cocktails and good food brings us comfort.
A few kilometers down the road, we hit the first "Stau," meaning traffic jam. It's an accident. Ok, we lose about half an hour and drive on. Traffic is getting to be real intense. What's up with all these Germans on the road? Where are they going? It's Sunday for chrissakes, they should be home, relaxing, in front of the TV. Damn. No, they're all here. On this road.
Traffic is getting denser by the minute when we pass Nuremberg and now we hit some road-works which are narrowing the 3-lane highway to two lanes and then to 1 lane . . . now, we're standing still. As in NOT MOVING! I hate this shit. We lose an hour again. Then another hour. It's getting to be ridiculous. All these people on this road on a Sunday afternoon. What are they thinking???
Now, do not think this is one of a kind thing here. This is ALWAYS like this on a Sunday. I've driven through Germany on sundays and it's always this crazy! Not as intense as today, but always a shitload of people on the move. Where are they going, dammit?
We get to München around 7:30 pm. We've been driving since 10 a.m. Almost non-stop! I miss the road-junction to get on the "ring" because some stupid jerk cuts me off just as I'm about to take the exit-ramp . . . I fucking explode as this is NOT what I need right now . . . now we're forced to drive on this other road where I don't know shit where it's going. All I know it's in the wrong direction! For several kilometers, we try to find a way to turn around, but there simply isn't one. We end up taking an exit that takes us into town but at the opposite of the area where we should be. I've been here once before, but we were coming in from the south and now we're coming from the north. So, I have not a clue where the hell I am driving to. I know it wasn't that far from the Olympic stadium, so we head in that general direction. After a while, I think I recognise the neighborhood. I see a parked police-car and decide to ask the strong arm of the law for some directions. They should know , right! Well . . . the cop tells me to take the second left and then the first right and it's there somewhere.
Allright! We do that, and of course, it's not there. The cop sold me a load of bullshit. We stop at a gas station and ask the nice girl working there if she has a map on the town. She does. She shows us the way and it's really not that far but it's tottaly fucked up to get there. The cop was totally sending us in the wrong direction. You gotta love it!
Ok, we get to the club at around 8:30 p.m. . . . way too late as we should have been there at around 6 p.m. So, I'm totally stressed up from driving over 10 hours in a row thru traffic-jams, pounding rain, etc. Another day at the office! We get the stuff unloaded and hurry up for soundcheck. We soundcheck fast as we don't have a lot of time. The PA is huge and I couldn't care less for this soundcheck. You know what I think of soundchecks by now.
On top of that, just like last year, the soundman is continually playing this Belgian band "Deus" thru the speakers . . . what's up, man? You only got one record or what? It's ok if you like this band, but don't stress everybody out and play this fucked up piece of crap CONTINUALLY when there's a punk show going on here!!!!
So, we're done by 9 and get our dinner straight away. No time to relax a little and let off some steam by walking around the grounds and taking in the scene. As on this tour I'm driver/tour-manager and player in a band, I'm continually harassed by people asking me questions. On top of this the support band, didn't bring shit to play on. They obviously were thinking it would be OK to use our gear! I don't think they fully understand the dynamics of touring. The singer of the band (Dogs of Lust) is a cool guy but the others seem to be totally lost by what's happening around them.
Ok, we had dinner and now have a few minutes to relax before we have to go on. I wanna get me a beer. And, oh surprise, just like last year, the beer is WARM!! This is one of those things about Germans I don't understand. They don't understand the concept of COLD BEER! It's simple, take beer, open fridge, put beer in, close fridge! 4 steps. Simple. Right?
What freaks me out the most is this: we sit here in this nice backstage and there is a big fridge standing there. A working fridge! And the beer is next to the fridge!!! Why can't they just put the beer IN the fridge? Why put a fridge there if you don't put anything inside? Beer in fridge! Coke in fridge! Water in fridge! PLEASE!!!! Have mercy . . .
Besides this little details everything is fine. We get some good Chicken-Curry (which most of us will regret eating for the obvious reasons . . . try playing a punk-rock show just after eating a hot curry, and get back to me, ok?)
Ok, after the Dogs of Lust have done their thing it's our time. With all the speeding up, answering questions etc., that had to be done before the show I don't even have a set-list. We hit the first song and I hear nothing. None of my monitors are working and frankly, I don't care. I don't feel like having to ask a million times to the soundguy to adjust the level of them, so I just play without hearing anything but guitar and some drums. I feel tired, and just can't shift to a higher gear to get the show going full-throttle. Harti plays like a bad motherfucker and he rocks! DY pounds the drums like a crazed maniac, but I simply don't get into it tonight. Fuck. I am not concerntrated on the show and now, some month or so after the show, can't remember of anything special that happened during the show. I go and sit at the merch and we sell some stuff. Sadly I can't sell some records from the 1's as it only is being scheduled for release a couple of months from now. But we'll be back in Munich in January 02, so we'll get the chance to sell them some stuff then.
Some guys come up to me and ask me some questions about the Buckweeds! I think I wasn't exactly a nice person to talk to that evening, and the Buckweeds aren't on top of my agenda today, so the discussion turns short. Sorry guys . . .
I meet up with some local friends who put out a 'zine (Schenckelklopfer magazine I think!!??) . Good to see them again. I finally managed to cool some beer (which I finally ended up on putting in the fridge - of course, everybody, including the Germans, are taking some beer out of the fridge now, but can't be bothered to put back some more once it's empty! Nice. Thanks!) , and I head out to the merch place again which is situated on a platform at the back of the club and where the view of the stage is perfect. I look forward to check the Adam West show from here. Doing nothing but drinking some cool beer and looking at Jake and the boys kicking the shit out of the Bavarian crowd! Souds like a good plan, right? Well, to me it did, but not to some Germans standing just in front of the merch-booth. One guy gives me shit about our t-shirts because it has a star on it, and it resembles the Soviet-star. What the fuck . . . it's just a star with our name on it and it says "PUNK ROCK!" Is that a political statement you moron? Fuck you . . . I tell the guy to get out of my face and leave me alone, but he's too drunk to understand what I mean and gives me this while bullshit rap about communism that I don't care to listen to anyways . . . FUCK OFF! I end up by saying him that in my other band we had an iron cross on our t-shirts, so there is no way somebody could pin me on some political symbol preference. It's just a rock and roll t-shirt, buddy. You don't HAVE TO buy if you don't like it. It's just here, hanging on the wall and those who want one, buy one. Get it? No he doesn't . . . Whatever. Then some other guy asks me a question and I have no idea what he's talking about. This goes on for a few minutes. I tell him repeatedly that I'm very sorry, but I don't speak German that well. Finally another drunken buddy of him lets me know what it's all about. The guy wants to go in the merch-area to sit down and roll his reefer. Now, that's hilarious. And you want me to call a taxi to take you home, Sir? Anyways, I tell the guy to hurry up because I don't want him and his drunken buddies to give me shit for an hour if I say no. Of course, it takes him forever to roll the fucker. By now I missed the first few songs of the Adam West show. I fulminate! The sound is great! It's huge. The band absolutely rocks and the people love it .
Now that the drunks are out of the picture at the merch booth, some Latina chick (Picture J. Lopez WITH tits!) is dancing in front of me, and I have trouble concentrating on my job (doing the merch, ya know?) at the same time! She twists and turns and then takes of her jacket! Wouah, now, that is a nice view . . . You gotta love rock and roll . . .
But, back to the show. Jake's voice starts to be fucked up. Four shows in a row, jet-lag, and totally fucked up temperatures are taking its toll and he sounds like Lemmy with throat-cancer. Pretty bad. He manages to finish the show and feels like shit afterwards. The best is not to talk until the next day when this happens. Which he does.
After the show I do some business at the merch-booth with Steve and Jake and we finally have some time to relax.
I remembered from last year that there was this great cocktail-bar (actually it's in a Tent) where they served fantastic cocktails. So with Harti, we decide to go there and have some. I order Caïparinhas and they go down smoothly, baby, yea! We slowly get drunk and it feels great. All the stress from the day is flowing out (now, do I sound like a fuckin' hippie or what?) We chat a little with the crew of the club, then take care of business . With Jake we were supposed to get some compilation CDs from the festival on which both bands appear. The girl from the label says she doesn't know how many she's supposed to give us, she has to call her boss! - Well it's 1 a.m. and we don't need this shit. I start harrassing her and ask her if by any chance her name would be Romy? Now, Jake knows what is coming next and turns all red and joins the conversation faster than Michael Jordan goes from retirement into active playing. He smooth talks the girl and she gives him 10 CDs -- Let's get the hell out of here -- We get off to the hotel.
The hotel is really nice. Right in downtown Munich. We all wanna hit the showers and a good bed. Pretty much everybody is exhausted from the long day. I hook up a room with Steve and get in hibernation mode instantly. Goodnight.
Monday, Sept.10th Aachen - Germany at Musikbunker
Great breakfast at the hotel put everybody in a good mood. Today is a long drive to Aachen/Germany, hometown of Harti, 1's guitar player. We won't play with the Adam West guys tonite because drummer DY had to leave after the show to get back on time at his job. Sucks. So from here on I'm just being the road-manager, which basically consists of looking after four US-born babies! Just kidding!
The drive is long but goes smooth. The weather is great (probably the only day it didn't rain like hell from the whole tour) and the traffic is OK.
We get in Aachen around 5 p.m. and head straight to the club. The Music-bunker is a real trip! It's a WW2 air-shelter. The walls are enormous and it looks indestructible. Some bomb-impacts from direct-hits still can be seen. They look like they merely scraped the building. It's a fabulous experience.
Inside the bulding is a real maze of corridors. The city wanted to destroy it a few years ago, but some people decided to save it and they made a huge musical complex of it. It contains two concert halls (a big one, and a small one) and at least 100 rehearsal spaces for all the band from the Aachen neighborhood. Great place.
Adam West has to play in the small hall which is like a bar with a stage. 100 people in here and it's full. A month later I'll be back here with American Heartbreak who will play in the big hall. It's a Monday, so we don't expect too much. There is nobody to handle the door, so with Jake we'll take turns to do it.
Some chick turns up with her boyfriend. She would prove to be quite a nutcase. From what I remember (!!!) she was from Poland. Although it could have been another country . . . She seemed to like Jake and me from the first moment she got there. Talking to us from the first minute on a whole array of subjects going from the weather to sexual preferences! During the support act (Harti's other band - Torpedo Twisters) I was sitting at the merch and the chick decided to give me a back-rub. She was actually good at it. Trying to concentrate on the job while a girl gives you a backrub while her boyfriend sits a bit further, is a strange experience, especially when she started nibbling on my ears and whispering some XXX comments! Hell, what a crazy woman! I decided to take it easy because I didn't want to get into trouble with Mr Boyfriend who seemed to enjoy himself. But you never know with those freaks!!! Later Jake would get the same treatment and we would exchange looks and die of laughter. This seemed to please her and she would double her efforts to please us. Hilarious stuff.
At some point, the La Zone/Liège club people got there and it was the start-sign to party .
Adam West kicked ass as usual and the 60+ people there were really into the show.
Some usual post-show debauchery went on (consisting on telling some 17-year-old girls some horrible sex-stories . . . but they seemed to like it) and we went to a wel-deserved rest around 1 a.m. Next day was an early-bird so we all went to sleep instantly. Good night.
Tuesday, Sept. 11th - Drive to Copenhagen-Denmark
This day would turn out to be one of the most strange days out of my life. A day that would go from carefree, good-humored spirits, to a very sad and depressing mood, where words did not come easy and faces could tell a thousand stories . . .
We left early again as we had a 700 km trip to go to Copenhagen. Today there was no show. There were two shows in Denmark on the program (the other one being on 15/9/01) but for some weird reasons the local promoter didn't book the shows.
We were speeding down the highway, somewhere between Hannover and Hamburg. I guess it was around 3 p.m. My cell phone rang. It was DY, The 1's drummer. He told me an incredible story. Did you hear about New York? About Washington? The World Trade center has been hit by two planes. Same thing at the Pentagon. Thousands of people are feared dead. I said "what!!!, stop joking. Where is the funny part?" . . . still not believing him DY described the scenes he was watching on CNN. He seemed not in a joking mood, so I started believing it, but couldn't really grasp the importance of what I was hearing.
At this point, all the members of Adam West were looking at me like I was a total lunatic and had gone mad. I explained them what I just heard from DY. Of course they could not believe it. This is just impossible, right? We switched off the CD and started looking for an English-speaking radio station. As there are a lot of US army bases in Germany we were sure to find one. We searched for several minutes and it was all German . . . we didn't understand much, but we could hear that they were talking about the World Trade Center, Washington, NYC etc. . . So, it slowly descended on us that this was all for real. We finally found a British Forces radio station! But they were broadcasting a culinary program about how to make a French "baguette"!!! This was totally surreal. Had evreybody gone crazy? Was this a bad dream from which we would wake up soon? No, it was all very real . . . After looking for some English on the radio for another 10 minutes we were about to give up when we came across the British forces radio again . . . they had switched their programs to those of BBC world. Now we got the full drama. We heard about the Twin Towers collapsing. The creepy details about the planes flying right into them. People jumping out of windows and exploding like pumpkins. Gruesome details. This was all happening right now in NYC, USA, land of the free. What was happening? Then came the broadcast about the Pentagon in Washington DC. All the official buildings of the Capitol were being evacuated. More planes were still missing and it was not improbable that they would hit the White House.
Everybody in the van started to turn white and expressionless. These guys had friends and family working in the Pentagon. Their world was falling apart and they were on a road somewhere in Germany. Far from their families. We listened some more to the horrible stories until we could not take it anymore. Ben switched the radio off in total disgust. I totally could understand his reaction.
We were now driving at 80 km/h and still slowing down. We were in a total trance. We probably crawled on the highway for another hour until I took the decision to stop at a truck-stop and try to get our thoughts together. I told them that we could do three things. Continue to Copenhagen and try to find out what was going on and contact their families. Go back to my place in Belgium and try to regroup after a few days off. Or drop them off at the nearest airport where they could try to catch a flight home. But home seemed totally cut-off from the rest of the world. The radio had said that all flights were routed to Canada or had to turn around. The USA was totally cut-off from the rest of the world. This is one of the most gruesome reality checks we ever had!
Anyways. We were driving now close to the ferry-crossing to Denmark. It seemed like a trip to the end of the world. Ready to fall off at any time.
We got on the ferry and tried to get more info about the attacks. We found a big TV that was screwed on to a wall of the boat. It was switched on "Eurosport" and showing some boxing match. This seemed totally surreal. The world was about to be set on fire (so to speak) and these truckers were watching some dumbass boxing game.
We found a guy from the staff (some geek with a bunch of stripes on his shoulders) and asked him if it was possible to switch the TV set to CNN or any channel where they showed some news. Eurosport was probably the only channel NOT showing the New York City and Washington DC disasters.
I explained to the guy that these guys (Adam West) were from DC and that they'd like to know more about what was happening back home.
The guy looked at me, and said "No!" - I was totally struck by lightning. Looking at him with an open mouth! I asked again, not certain if he understood what I was asking. I was not asking to put it on the porn-channel or anything, just some news channel that was showing the MOST IMPORTANT FUCKING EVENT IN THE WORLD SINCE WWII!!!!! The guy looked at me like I was a piece of shit stuck to his shoes and said again "NO!" . . . I turned white and was ready to kill the asshole! But what can you do when you're confronted by pure, untainted stupidity? We just turned around, totally disgusted by this prick of a human being. We wished him a painful sickness . . .
We went to grab something to eat and were getting in a better mood with the intake of some alcohol. We walked around the boat and finally saw, in a corner of the bar, a small (like a pocket-version) TV showing some news . . . It was in Danish (I guess). But it was on this ridiculously, small TV-set that we saw, for the first time, the planes hitting the WTC Towers. The buildings tumbling down and the Pentagon in flames. It was just like watching Godzilla/Die Hard-type movie . . . only far better. If this would have been movie-stuff, people would say it was overdone! But this was real, but it just couldn't be. It was. We watched, totally transfixed by the horror of it all for five minutes. Then it was time to get back to the van as we had arrived on the Danish shores.
The rest of the evening in a nutshell: Got to Copenhagen (beautiful city) to Loppen, a local club where the promoter was waiting for us. The Paladins were playing. They just got in from LA. Got a few beers. Admired the local beauties (I can't start telling you how beautiful the women are there!) Caught up with Helle, Burnouts bass-player. Got to the promoters place and watched CNN all night! Lights out!
Wednesday, Sept. 12th 2002 - Örebro - Sweden:
Alright. We wake up in a different world. Widely known now as "post Sept. 11th." But you know what? We wanna rock and roll and get this shit out of our systems. The band wants to play bad and enjoy a good day of Spinal Tap-ish touring. Sounds like a party to me.
We drive over the brand-new bridge (although we had trouble finding it as it seems not everybody in Copenhagen knows where the hell the bridge is exactly!) - It goes from Denmark to Sweden. Before you had to take a ferry and lose quite some time. The sight is quite amazing. Ok, Swedish customs. We've gotta get out of the van and they start searching for drugs! They know we've been in Christiana the night before. Christiana is like a town within Copenhagen. Anything you like and that is forbidden, you'll find it there.
We tell 'em we're good guys and don't do drugs. We're just a band trying to make it to the next show.
The officer asks me if Adam West is a big and famous band? I say "Hell, no!" Because if I said yes, they'd try to get free CDs and t-shirts . . . I know all the tricks.
Alright! This is Sweden. Land of the roaming mooses and a million lakes. The weather is sunny and we're in for an easy, comfy, trouble-free ride ! Until we get a call from the promoter of tonight's show. Apparently, the place were he wanted to do the show just changed its mind (I mean, the show is today and this band is coming from US fuckin' A!!!) and he had to relocate the show to a youth center. Ok, that seems cool enuff for me.
It gets stranger when he says that the youth-center is a sort of "straight-edge" center and that he doesn't expect a lot of people there, so if we wanna cancel we can. He'll still let us stay at the hotel etc.
Fuck that shit. We're on our way and we wanna rock! No matter what.
The traumatising day we all lived the day before has to be purged. We all need to get over this one way or the other. And as we're in the business of rocking, we wanna put on a rock-show tonite, baby!
The few gas-station stops we do are mostly spent, besides taking gas and taking a leak, reading Swedish newspapers (no Inglez here, Señor!) or at least watching the pictures from the tragedies that happened over in the US as nobody of us, surprisingly, speaks any Swedish.
The images are impressive and nobody can grasp what we're looking at. People jumping to their deaths from incredible heights. People running away from a deadly cloud after the WTC's towers came tumbling down. The planes crashing into the buildings. Shot second by second . . . unbelievable. We can't even start imagining what must have gone through the minds of the people trapped on the top-floors of the buildings. Knowing they were going to die for sure. Same thing for the people on the planes. Some of them made last-minute cell-phone calls to their loved-ones. Preparing to die and leaving a message of love on an answering machine. What can I say?
Anyways, we get to Örebro. Seems like a nice little town. We go around a few streets looking for the club. We see some posters up for the show with the new location. As it has been raining like hell the last few days we know they were just put up today. This tell us 1) no promo has been done for the shows and 2) we see no posters for the location where the show was supposed to be. Meaning: we're fucked. Nobody knows there is a show on tonight. We find the club which is situated next to a great posh hotel. We are greeted by two nice girls who are, they explain us, responsible for the catering tonight.
We meet the support act, Rickshaw. They'll be touring with us for the next three days. Cool guys.
We're setting up the gear. There is a PA system, but no PA-guy to be seen in the club. So we do it ourselves. Nobody of us has a clue how it works so we start pushing buttons and trying all the channels until we have SOUND! We don't know how to get the monitors working. We find out later that they're not hooked up to the mixing desk. Rock and roll!
The local promoter walks in. He runs a local label and a record store. He seems nerveous about the show. He fears not a lot of people will show up (later we'll find out that nobody in the town knew that Adam West was playing that evening. No promo was done. Nice.) It's 8 p.m. and we eat the food the two girls made for us. We're starving so we are not taking into account that it doesn't taste that good. Touring-rule #715: never bitch about the food you're getting for free.
OK, showtime for Rickshaw. A fantastic grand number of 10 (ten) people have shown up. The place can hold like 150-200 so it sounds like a fucking cavern.
Anyways of the 10 people there are 8 great looking girls. And they're squatting around the merch-stand where I am sitting. Nice panoramic view.
Rickshaw play some typical Swedish hard rocking punk-rock n roll. They're OK. The minus is that they have a keyboard player. He doesn't fit the band at all and we can't hear anything he plays anyways. There is a God after all. They play loud as hell and everybodys ears are hurting. I start distributing ear-plugs to the girls who put them into their ears (of course!) straight away.
Despite the fact there is close to nobody here, Rickshaw rock hard and good. Some technical problems happen with the bass, but all in all it's a fine show from these guys.
Not willing to stay here forever, Adam West hits the stage immediately after Rickshaw. This is the first show after all ths shit in NYC/DC happened and they are eager to get it out of their system. They hit off hard and take no prisoners again. Jake struts around like a maniac and nails down a great show. Too bad only 10 people can see it.
All 10 people are dancing and going nuts. This turns out to be good fun after all. Jake spends most of the show jumping around in the club, leaving the stage to Steve, Kevin and Ben who deliver a background wall of noise. As far as they are concerned they're playing a headlining show at the Madison Square Garden.
Ok, shows over. Everybody in the house buys records and shirts. Very cool. We chat a bit with the girls and then we load out the equipment. We're going to the promoters' record store to get paid. He pays up without a problem.
We head to the hotel and we run into some of the girls that were at the show. Cool. They're going to a club and ask if we feel like going with them. Of course we say no. I mean, yes . . . At the club some rockers hang out and we find out some of the guys from the Peepshows are here. Way cool. Beer floats (expensive as hell - but we need some drinks) and friends are made. The Peepshows are furious. They didn't even know Adam West was playing tonight. They're fans of the band and can't believe they missed the show! "Why didn't you play in this club????" they ask. Well, ask the damn promoter. Apparently he isn't known as being the best organiser of shows and I guess it shows . . . oh, well.
I start chatting with some of the girls (Sara and Tina if I remember well . . . I should) and the conversation is going great. So great they invite me to their place. One of the girls still lives with her parents. She tells me I must be silent. Very promising, no? While walking to the place, they decide to change the plans and choose to go to the other girl's apartment. We get there and . . . (this part is classified XXX. I'll tell you if you pay me my weight in Jack Daniels.). I love Sweden.
Thursday, Sept. 13th 2002 - Gothenburg - Sweden at Sticky Fingers:
Waking up in a single bed with two Swedish girls is a pretty damn fine experience! I strongly recommend it. It's only 8 a.m. and I think we must have passed out around 6 a.m. after doing the triathlon for a few hours. I stumble out of the bed, walking over vinyl, CDs, clothes and the damn cat!!! I say bye to the girls who are still pretty much in a coma. I find my way out and hope to find the way to the hotel where the rest of the guys are. It's raining (what a surprise!). It's pretty cold and I realise I'm walking in a city of a country where I don't now anything about. Pretty strange feeling. Anyways, after a 10-minute walk I find the hotel and get to the room where Jake is. Jake gives me the "you lucky bastard" look! He was chatting with one of the "catering" girls from last night's show when I left the club. Apparently he didn't go all the way. He asks me what happened with me last night. I give him the rundown of my night. Jake needs a real cold shower after I finish talking. Poor guy. I realise Kevin is not in as well. A few minutes later he stumbles in the room. He has been sleeping in the van and is all fucked-up! He went out with some of the Peepshows guys and some girls. He went back to the hotel at around 5 a.m. but of course it was locked and he didn't have the key. So he climbed into the back of the van (parked right outside of the hotel ironically) and went for a short, uncomfortable sleep.
We all go for showers and head for the breakfast room where we discuss last night. Turns out we all had a good time and it was exactly what we needed to get our minds cleared with all the bullshit happening in the USA at the time.
The Peepshows told us the Burning Heart Records offices are in town, so we decide to walk to it. It's pouring rain. Kevin told us he had seen the place the previous night and is leading the way. Now I know not to follow Kevin when he leads the way. We end up walking in the rain for an hour. We're all wet and are NOT amused.
Finally we ask a young kid punker that's walking around. We then just take the van to go there. Enough of this rain. We get there in a few seconds (thanks for the walk, Kevin!!!) Nice offices. We are introduced to the guys there and take a look at the shop. A lot of this stuff is not distributed in the States so the AW guys buy a shitload of CDs here.
Alright. We pick up the gear. Jake tells his sweetheart from last night goodbye. Some more shirts are sold and we get on the road. It finally stops raining and we enjoy a nice drive all the way to Gothenburg.
Sweden is a real beautiful place with a lot of open spaces where all you'll see is a moose wandering around. Some of the places look exactly like postcards and the architecture of the houses is amazing.
We get to Gothenburg. A nice looking, though very much industrialised town, on the west coast of Sweden. It's not that easy to find the club so we call ahead to get more explanantions. We find the Sticky Fingers club without too many problems.
Alright! Cool. Great stage. The bar/club can fit around 400 people I guess. There's a PA, and oh surprise, a sound technician! Miracles happen.
We load out, get the stuff onstage and meet up with the Rickshaw rockers again. They had left during the night from Örebro. This is their hometown. So after soundchecking they take us for a little stroll in the city. We can't help but noticing this town has only supermodels. I will regret this later in the evening . . .
There's a big record store and we dive in to buy some fresh noise for the tour-van stereo! Well, new is a big word . . . I end up buying a remastered version of AC/DC's "Powerage" album as well as Thin Lizzy's "Bad Reputation" and Kiss' "Love Gun." Other stuff bought is Queens of the Stone Age (big fave of Steve), some Iron Maiden and the rest I can't remember (for your info . . . as these holy words are written it's already March 02. Since the Adam West tour I've been on the road with American Heartbreak, The 1's/Polyplush Cats, The Mansfields and Darlington, so excuse me if I don't remember everything clearly . . . although I clearly remember the supermodel part!!!) We hit a bar and are amazed at what a beer costs here . . . there is no way you can get drunk in this country without going bankrupt!
We get back to the club where everything is getting ready for the show. There are 3 bars in the club. One in the hall next to the entrance and where the vestiaire merch area is. One in the back of the club (a big round one where you can walk all around) and one in a room downstairs. This is the ROCK bar as the DJ there is spinning excellent rock tunes by Skynyrd/AC/DC/Ted Nugent/Journey/Judas Priest/Cheap Trick, etc. I'll spend most of the post-show evening here with Steve . . . enjoying the rock and the "view."
After the most expensive meal I EVER had, I get ready to sell some shirts to the local rockers. It's only 7:30 and already a big line of people is queueing outside the club. The girl working the ticket booth next to me is, you'll guess by now, a stunning beauty!!! As the people trickle in, we notice that 80% are girls . They have a mandatory vestiaire-rule here, meaning you HAVE to leave your jacket at the entrance. Gentlemen (I leave the ladies out for once), this is as close as it can come to paradise. One after the other they take off their jackets as they get in . . . and they're close to naked underneath. Jake, Steve, and I are looking at this with our mouths opening wider and wider and . . . We've never seen that many good looking girls at the same spot at the same moment. Thank you, God!
Honestly, I had heard this from people who had been to Sweden and told me the most beautiful women on the planet live here and I was thinking nothing much of it as I thought they were bragging about the fact that they had been to Sweden . . . but, people, hear me out here and if you want to believe only one thing I'm saying, it's absolutely, 100% the total TRUTH!!!
The place is absolutely packed (I guess close to full capacity made it inside and make it feel like a sauna. Now I know why the girls wear close to nothing in here! But I'm not complaining) and Rickshaw takes the stage to rock out. They again play a good show, but I'm having more and more doubts about this keyboard player they use live. Second show in a row I don't hear shit he's playing, and I start to get the feeling there might be a reason behind this (of course the reason is, as you'll agree with me, that keyboards SUCK in punk-rock).
Between the sets I get onstage to fix some stuff and help to switch the backlines, get the stage ready for AW. Checking the microphones and we're ready to roll.
Jake hits it with 100% energy and the band deliver a wall of sound. This is probably the best show on the tour so far. Most of the songs from "Right On!" are delivered with a unique punch and it's a one-round knock-out! The crowd loves it and the dancefloor gets filled with slamming bodies. Everybody is breathless due to the heat and the intense noise of Adam West's rocking stormtroopers.
The show is done and the "disco" starts immediately. No time for encores. The owner wants to cash in and sell as much liquor as he can. Business as usual. The sound of The Cure and other crappy 80's bands hit the sound system and everybody in the house starts flooding the dance floor. After finishing the merch, Steve and I head to the bar below where they play some real rocking music. The place is crawling with babes and we have only a choice of "speaking" partners . . . TeenAge Head Music seems to be known here as well as some guys from a couple of local bands come talk to me and ask for tours, etc. They give me their CDs and I am straight with them: 95% of the bands that ask me for a tour I have to say "no" to. If I could say yes to every band I like, I would have to do at least 100 tours every year. This is impossible of course, so every now and then, a band gets dumb and gives me shit about this. Everybody wants to be the "happening" band and go out on the road. I can understand this as I'm coming from that same water-pool. But hey, I'm doing what I can for a few bands and that's more than most people can say for themselves.
After some serious alcohol absorption, we're ready for the dance floor. We head upstairs and find Jake and Kevin dancing away on some post-disco beats. What a hilarious sight. It looks so funny that we decide to join in. Pretty soon we find ourselves dancing with a bunch of female AW fans . . . after a few minutes we get all to talk and drink some more together. We're getting tired so we propose, gallantly, if they wanna come over to our apartment ( Jocke, Rickshaw singer, gave us his apartment to stay for the night). The girls start talking between themselves for a minute and the answer is "Why don't you stay here a little bit? We're not 'that' kind of girls." I think they meant "groupies." We have another drink with them and decide to split the scene. Bye to all!!! We drive thru Gothenburg hoping to find something open as we're all hungry. Nothing. It's all closed down. It's 2 a.m., but you would think that in a major town like this you would find something open. No.
We get back to the apartment, defrost whatever we find in Jocke's fridge (sausages and pizza! A rocker's meal). We're all pretty tired as we didn't have a lot to sleep the previous night. I don't think it took more than two minutes before everybody got in hibernating mode.
Friday, Sept. 14th 2002 - Stockholm - Sweden at Tantogården:
In the morning we awake to a mystery. A piece of paper is taped to the inside of the door. It's written all in Swedish so we don't know what it says. Obviously somebody came in (we didn't close the door), wrote us a message and left. We have breakfast and when Jocke gets in we hand him the piece of paper to see what it says.
He reads it and starts laughing out loud. We look at each other in amazement and wonder if he's gone suddenly mad???
The story goes like this: At around 3 a.m., the girls, who at first decided not to come with us to party at Jocke's apartment, changed their minds and felt like "partying" with us after all. Only, when they got there they found us all asleep. They say most of us were snoring and in deep sleep. Nobody of us heard anything (thanks to exhaustion and ear-plugs!). So, they left us a little note saying that we all looked so sweet while sleeping that they didn't want to wake us up. Whoa . . . we go nuts!!! The girls came after all and we were goddamn sleeping! How tragic . . .
During the drive to Stockholm, we all wonder at what exact point those girls decided that they were "that kind of girls" after all. It'll remain a mystery forever. I have one regret. We threw away the piece of peper. We should have kept it as it was unmistakingly a major element to be added to the Big Book Of Rock And Roll-Road Stories.
The drive is smooth and we all enjoy (mostly me as everybody else is passed out) the Swedish countryside.
We get to Stockholm. We don't have a clue where the club is. Stockholm is built on several islands, so going from one place to another is not really easy. But we don't have a problem driving around the town a bit as the city is truly beautiful. Finally, as we keep driving in circles, we call the club to see if they can give us directions. Fatal mistake. The guy at the club tell us indeed what signs, etc., we must follow but this poses an enormous problem. Between how we "read" a word in Swedish and how they "pronounce" that same word there seems to be a world of difference . . . so, nothing the guy says to us makes any sense. We're on our own. We decide to stop at a gas station and ask the clerk. As the Tantogården is a quite well-known place, he should know. And, eureka! He does know. By chance we're just a few streets away from the club so we get there pretty fast. After that when we get there, besides the local promoter, there is only one other person. It's Nick Royale (Hellacopters) who came by to greet us. Nick and Jake are good buddies as Jake toured with the Hellacopters a few times in Sweden. The Tantogården is a great little building. The whole club is in wood and the crew is alright although a bit "over-professional." It seems this will be one of the last shows at this place as it will close down to be demolished and make place for some new buildings. The club is surrounded by a beautiful park with huge trees. There is a summer-stage outside for out-door shows. Real nice place. The previous evening the club held the Safety Pin Records party. Kiké from Safety Pin Records is in town and will surely make an appearance.
Rickshaw also show up. There is a 3rd band on the bill. Forgot the name. They weren't too bad, but had a HUGE ego-trip going. In their heads they were already bigger than Guns 'n' Roses, who appeared to be their big idols. Fools. It's the type of band that comes in and drinks all the beer from the other bands and eats all their food and then tries to get away with it. Of course, when I saw them, I know what we had on hands here and I made sure to "secure" the Adam West food and drinks under lock and key! Rickshaw weren't so smart.
The local promoter looks to be more and more nervous. I ask him what's up? He tell me that he has to pay $1500 to the club before he can give any money to us!!! I look at him with an open mouth. He thinks I didn't understand him correctly, so he repeats his statement. Why the f**k didn't he tell us that when the show was booked???? We knew we had a % deal going. But if we had known the amount he had to pay to the club we never would have agreed to the show. Scandinavia proves to be a major money-losing pit. It was a lot of fun but real expensive fun!!!
I tell this to the band and of course they get all pissed off. Anyways, Jake knows this is a real important show for them here tonight as the whole Stockholm rock scene will show up and every magazine in the country will review the gig. During the night, the Robots, Hellacopters, Backyard Babies, etc., will show up to party with the band.
As the club and stage are made mostly of wood, the sound is great! The soundcheck is going great and they sound loud as hell. Before the show I chat with a Japanese girl I met when I toured Japan a few years ago. She was apparently living in Sweden for a month and was good friends with the Hellacopters. It's a small world indeed.
Rickshaw play and it's more of the same as the two previous shows. Good show but the keyboard guy fucks it all up. He's a nice guy, but keyboards just suck in this type of music.
As were sitting at the merch table with Jake, Kiké storms in! Jake knows him as they have some records exchanging deal going on between Fandango and Safety Pin.
Showtime! The room is quite full (close to 200 people) and there is a good vibe in the air. Adam West delivers the goods from the first song on. Kick ass hard rocking punk! The sound is excellent and the crowd loves it. Jake is all over the place striking the "rock" poses! Steve and Ben put on a wall of sound and are tight as hell! Kevin's solos are perfect tonight and the band seem to be on a roll. This is by far the best show on the tour. They get some encores and Nick Royale comes onstage to do "Deuce" (the Kiss song) with them. The crowd goes bananas. A million flashes go off and a classic rock moment was lived.
After the show we mingle with half of the Scandinavian rock royalty.
We're, of course, being ripped off by the promoter who doesn't pay us shit because he had to give all the money to the club. Typical moron. At least we're doing good business with the merch, which is a small consolation.
On top of this all, the local promoter has no place for us to sleep so we prepare for a long night of partying.
Some girl comes and asks me what our plans are for the night? She's the girlfriend of the guy who did the PA (he did an excellent job.) I say "Well, we just got in town and don't know where to go!" She says it's no problem and she asks us if we'd be interested to go to a private party thrown by the local Hell Angels chapter at the Stockholm Hard Rock Café. I look at Jake and we go "HELL YEA . . ." But we have to go in 30 minutes. So we round up everybody and tell them to hurry up with loading the gear in the van. We have the chance to go and party and spend the night with a bunch of cool people in Rock-town Stockholm. You would think that we'd all be thrilled to go, right? Well, no . . . Ben and Kevin say they would prefer to go to the hotel the promoter told us to go to (where it's cheap.) I say that it's a 40 minute drive to go there and that we're not even sure that there is some room vacancy as the night-clerk doesn't answer the phone. But, no, they don't wanna party and they want to go to sleep. No party. Of course as I have to drive I would have to go and bring them there first and come back to Stockholm for the party. With Jake we decide to do this. We'll drive them to the hotel and come back. Simple plan? No again. This ride turns into a nightmare. Two girls whom we befriended during the evening say they know where the hotel is and decide to drive with us to show us the way. Wrong decision. Although being awfully cute, they know less about driving in Stockholm than I do (and I have never set foot in this town before this day!!!) The 40-minute drive takes 90 minutes. During the drive I call the Hells Angels girl at the Hard Rock Cafe to tell her we'll be late. She says it is no problem.
Ok, we get to the damned hotel, and OF COURSE, it is fully booked!!!! We check two nearby hotels. Same thing. Only thing to do is drive back to town and check for a hotel for these two guys. Ben goes nuts and says the now immortal words "From now on I want to know what the sleeping conditions will be before the show - the show itself is only of secondary importance to me!" Jake looks at me as thinking "You kill him, or I do it first???" We're lost for words. We're in Stockhom on a beautiful night. We have a bunch of girls with us and we're going to a PRIVATE PARTY with the goddamn Hells Angels and he and Kevin want to go to fucking sleep?????? I am truly amazed. We head back to town and Steve decides he's had it and goes off with the guys from the Hellacopters. We're stuck with Ben and Kevin and try to find them a place to stay at. All the hotels are full. By now it's close to 3:30 a.m. I don't feel like going to that party anymore, because we'll look like a bunch of idiots now going there as it's probably almost over. I go and have something to eat with one of the girls. When I get back, the situation is still the same. No place to go to sleep. With Jake we can go to the girls places, but there is no place for two extra people and we don't feel like "sharing!"
At that moment some old acquaintance of Jake stumbles out of a club. It's an ex-girlfriend from some guy in the Backyard Babies. Jake explains to her the situation and invites us to stay at her place.
She's totally out of it (as in: stone-dead drunk) so I get ready for another hell-drive in Stockholm. We wait for her boyfriend who happens to be a total moronic idiot. During the (over one-hour) drive to the girl's place, our nerves are being pushed to their limits again. The girl is so drunk she can't remember the way to her place. We have to stop at a gas station because she needs to go and buy some beer. Like she needs it, right? The situation is so damn desperate and ridiculous that I start to make fun of her openly. She's so stupid-drunk she doesn't get anything I tell her.
We finally get there. It's in a Stockholm suburb and it's an all-flats area. Not too bad.
We get our asses in her apartment. It looks like a bomb went off in here! There isn't a single space on the floor where there isn't a beer-can, clothing, toys (yes, she has two kids) and assorted trash from the last couple of years.
We are shown our room. We have to sleep in the little girls room. A sweet nine-year-old is sleeping and we try to make the least possible noise in order not to wake her up. This is apparently not bothering the mother. She goes on partying with her boyfriend for a few hours. First playing some loud music. He turning the TV set up full blast. We are treated to some fine Swedish hardcore videos. After that the couple starts fucking themselves. This with all the doors open and with making the most noise possible. What a world.
We wake up a few hours later. The little girl is sitting in a corner of the room. Silently playing with some toys. We feel sorry for the girl because she's living in these tough conditions. We get up and want to leave this place as fast as possible.
The mother wakes up and wants to make us a coffee while still half-naked. She looks like shit and is shaking all over. She needs her drugs. A junkie-mum. Perfect.
I tell the guys to hurry up so that we can get the fuck out of this place. We're sure that she means well, but she's totally fucked up by years of drug abuse. We thank her anyways for her hospitality and drive off in the sunset. We pick up Steve at the club. He spent the night with some Hellacopters guys. He seems well rested. Unlike us. We say our farewells to Rickshaw who also showed up. Let's go.
Saturday, September, 15th - drive to Copenhagen-Denmark - Day off.
Nothing much today. Smooth drive across this beautiful country. Everybody is sleeping most of the drive. We spend the night at Anderz' place again as he didn't book a show for today again. We're pissed because a ton of bands cancelled their shows because of the Sept. 11 events and we are here without a show. Sucks.
We eat in an Indian restaurant. It's damn expensive here.
Sunday, September, 16th - Cologne - Germany at Underground.
We got up early and were on the road by 9 a.m. It's a long drive to Cologne, but we're kinda happy to be back in known territory. The Scandinavian leg of the tour was a money-losing operation. It was a lot of fun. But you don't take the fun back home, right?
The drive is ultra smooth until we approach the Ruhr area. I explained the German Sunday-driving situation before. From Dortmund on we hit traffic jams. Cars for miles and miles. Can't believe we drove all day without a problem and 50 kilometers from Cologne we're at a standstill. Of course, it starts raining like hell. Just to make it all more fun.
After Dortmund, I decide to switch highways. I drive in the direction of Düsseldorf instead of following the Cologne signs. It pays off. No traffic jams here and we're at the club in no time.
A great buffet is ready and we attack it like a pack of hungry wolves hunting down some sheep.
We meet up with the Dogs of Lust from Germany (see the Munich show.) They'll do the support for Adam West on the rest of the German shows.
The Underground is a real cool club. Mitch and Ralph do a good job here. But the Cologne people are a bit jaded as they have a million shows to choose from. This results in poorly attended gigs and not a real rock and roll spirit.
I meet up with Lisa. She's in charge for the show today so I have to deal with her for the food, etc. That's not a big problem as she's one hell of a beautiful girl. She's from Norwegian descent. She's stunning. We'll end up becoming good friends during the evening.
We also meet up with Ursula. She'll continue the tour as driver as I have to return home to get back to work.
We set up the gear and get lazy. The last couple of days were hard and it has taken its toll.
Dogs of Lust play an unispiring show and I spend some time with Lisa, her sister, and Harti (1's guitar player) and some more friends that turned up. We get in a partying mood and what at first looked like it would be a dull evening is turning into a fully fledged rock and roll party, baby!
It's show time for Adam West and they hit it hard. The stage is quite big and Jake uses every square inch of it. Steve and Ben deliver the goods. It's a heavy show and the crowd loves it. Not too many people showed up, but they all rock out and I'm kept busy at the merch-table.
The atmosphere is relaxed and we all have an extremely fun time.
After the show we continue the party at the central bar of the club. It's packed and we are all gettin' drunk. The support band, for whom it's the first time they can go on the road with a "big" band, are in heaven. They drink all they can as it's for free. This is going to result in one of the funniest episodes of touring life I ever enjoyed. Although it sounds very funny afterwards, at the time it happened we were close to killing a silly German. Ok, here goes . . .
Most of us go to bed at around 3 a.m. The band apartment equipped with bunk-beds is located at the club. By 3:30 a.m. we're all dreaming of castles/dragons and beautiful princesses we have to save. Don't we all? Right?
At around 4:30 a.m. I hear a strange noise!? At first I think it's part of my dream. But it's a weird noise that you're not supposed to hear in the middle of the night. I lift my head and I see something so strange I think I must have a nightmare.
One of the Germans from the support act stumbled from his bed. Totally drunk. Took a couple of steps in the general direction of the toilet. Whipped out his dick and started pissing. Not really a big deal you will say? No. But, he's standing next to Kevin's bed (Ursula, the upcoming AW driver sleeps on the top bed) and he's pissing right on Kevin's legs. I look at this in total horror and frankly, not believing this is happening!!! Kevin still is asleep. He's in his sleeping bag, so the urine is slowly drenching it. A couple seconds later, when the piss finally starts getting thru the sleeping bag and his legs start feeling wet, he wakes up suddenly, lifts his head fast and smashes into the iron-bar from the top bed. Ouch!!! Imagine waking up like this, huh? Once the stars are disappearing in front of his eyes he tries to get out of his sleeping bag as fast as he can.
During all this, the German is still pissing on him and apparently sleeping. By now there are two people screaming at him and he's still asleep Only when we get up and everybody else awakens does he go away . . . to the toilet. There is piss EVERYWHERE now. Kevin's bed and sleeping bag are totally soaked with it. Now it's all dripping on the floor and while we got out of our beds trying to get the lights on, we are all standing barefooted in the piss!!!! Now, do you think I'm pissed off? HELL YES!!! A couple of chaotic minutes later, the pissing German returns. He's awake now. We tell him "Why the fuck did you have to do this?" He looks at us in total amazement and says "Do what???" At this we're close to killing him. We explain to him what he just did and he has the balls to say it wasn't him!!!!! We tell him we watched him while he was pissing on Kevin. "No, no, it wasn't me" he says, gettin' afraid of us screaming at him.
Ursula, for whom it is the first night with the band, is totally horrified. Poor girl. Her very first night with a rock band and this happens!!! I would run home and not look back. But she's cool and now one of the best TeenAge Head Music drivers on the planet. If you happen to see her on the road somewhere. Give her a hug from me and tell her you read the story. She'll have fun that everybody in France knows this!
Anyways, back to the peeing German. All the other Germans are now awake also. Still drunk. I scream at the top of my lungs, "You're all a bunch of fuckin' amateurs. You're fired from the tour. We didn't drive all day to have you pissing on somebody of the band!" I must look terribly frightening to them because they all herd together in a corner like scared sheep. Damn, I'm mad!
Kevin and Steve can't take it anymore. After Kevin took a shower to get all the Germanic urine from his body, they take off into the night . . . only returning at 7 a.m.
Jake sleeps during all of this. He'll admit to me later that he was awake but didn't want to get involved in this most funny episode. Jake, you're gay!
Of course, nobody sleeps for the rest of the night. The guy tried to wipe the floor, resulting only in spreading the piss all over the apartment. It stinks like hell.
Next morning is hell for the guy. Now he's totally sobered up and I tell him he has to come with me to go and see the club owner and explain to him what he has done. I don't want Adam West to be blamed for all the mess so I force him to go and apologise and offer to pay for all the trouble.
The guy is crying like a little kid. This is the worst day of his life. Imagine. You're a guy of some 23 years old. You pissed on a guy. You drenched the bed with it. And everybody wants to kill you. Now!! His pride is shattered forever. He sobs and sobs as we go to se the club guy (Ritchie from Screaming Apple records.) He bursts into more tears when he comes face to face with Ritchie. He can barely understand what he's saying. Honestly, it breaks my heart, but hey, this will be a good lesson for him. I hope.
He has to pay for a new mattress and for Kevin's laundry. On top of this, he has to pay Kevin 50 DM for his trouble. An hour later, Kevin will walk into the breakfast room with a brand new camera . . . that was money fast and well-spent!!!
Anyway, today I have to go back home. Work is accumulating when I'm on the road and there are a million things to do.
I go to the railway station and the last tour photos from me and Adam West are taken. I'm sad leaving this party behind me.
I won't get back home early though. The Sept.11 attacks still have the world in its grasp. When I'm entering the railway station building there is a bomb-alert and the whole place is immediatly evacuated. What a lucky guy I am. I'll spend the next four hours outside, waiting on whatever will happen with a few other thousand people.
I'll make it home at around 8 in the evening.
OK folks. That was it. I hope you enjoyed my little tour-diary here. I'm not much of a writer, I know. But I hope I had you smile a few times and gave you a little insight of the wonderful world of touring bands. Thanks to Gildas Cospéréc, Sylvain Coulon and the whole Dig It! crew for letting me fill some of their pages. Hopefully I'll be able to write a couple more for you in the future.
See you on the road and thanks for coming!
In the name of the rock and the holy roll,