Early start from London; 7am out the door – early ferry from Dover to Calais. It’s great to be back in France, though strange to see the extra barbed wire and police units everywhere; not to mention sprawling camp next to the port. Anyway, we hared along the coastal road in France to Belgium, through one brief checkpoint and turned left at Brussels. We decided…or at least I did because I was behind the wheel and so had my hand on the navigation tiller…to head south through the Ardennes towards Germany.
Yes…anybody familiar with my Second World War historian side will know that this was the hallowed turf of the Battle of the Bulge. Amazing to pass by scenes of bravery and tragedy like Stavelot, Malmedy, Bastogne, and the compulsory visit to Helmut Dollinger’s Königstiger 213 from Peiper’s spearhead attack. Amazing history to be up close to.
We trucked on into Germany, passed an eight car pile up in the pissing rain and screeched to a halt near Stuttgart, 14 hours after leaving London. So this fact required an immediate beer, or two…or three. An excellent restaurant which was a working brewery…food, beer, back to the 24-hour bar in the hotel…crash in time for kicking out at noon and on to Slovakia. Apparently we are actually here to play music 😉
Yes, I know…we’re not on tour yet. But we are gearing up for it so it’s as good a time as any to start waffling about the upcoming shows. It’ll be nice being back in mainland Europe. The last time I played anywhere over the Channel was with the last incarnation of Iron Knights at Swordbrother’s Festival. Great festival that was; really well organised and run. Met up with Shadowkeep there too which was cool as I hadn’t seen them for years. Anyway….
We’re kicking off in Bratislava, Slovakia, and headed out a few days early to give us time to get there without breaking our necks, or breaking the trusty van. There are a few tough days of driving coming up for Reece and myself, but it’ll be a good time I’m sure. Might have to detour here and there; there are things to see again like Countess Bathory’s castle and the occasional King Tiger or Panther tank. Might have to have a bumble along the Siegfried Line at some point as well.
Fresh Wincent ammunition has arrived, the small white Mapex kit (as opposed to my normal double bass beast) is ready to go. I figured it was best to use the small kit as we’re not really sure about stage sizes and you can bet that we’ll be in a hurry to get the gear on and off stage at various points. It’s the same beautiful Saturn kit anyway as the other one and sounds bloody fantastic. Still using the textured heads on this one instead of my normal clear ones, and I’m sure it has a ‘fatter, warmer’ sound to it, so I’ll probably leave them on.
Time to pack; essential drum gear, unlimited number of Motorhead T-shirts (maybe even some other bands!), hip flask with emergency Captain Morgan’s or Fireball…purely for the cold of course.
Will try to keep the tour diary up to date. Rehearsals tomorrow…Onwards….