Another heavy travel day: Bratislava through Austria and Slovenia to Italy. Some stunning scenery along the way and something particularly awesome about driving through mountain clouds with Black Sabbath playing. Soundtrack of my life.
Rolled up in plenty of time at the great venue. The crew were amazingly hospitable and helpful. Great sound, great crowd, great show. Plus the dinner menu was ridiculously nice!!
We planned to head off early after our set to our hotel near Venice to get a head start on the miles to Rome. Of course, the best laid plans….
It seems that the oil cooler on the van decided to commit suicide right outside the theatre. So the van was buggered! Made an interesting spectacle for all the crowd leaving the gig and we made a few friends 🙂
But…oh shit! What now?
To our rescue came Operation:Mindcrime. Between Susan Tate, Ty the production manager and Ingo they offered to take our backline leaving us free to hire a car for the next few shows until the van can be repaired. The awesome local sound man then found us a hotel and here we are still in Trieste until morning. Mark celebrated by the unusual gesture of standing on his bed and going through it, crashing to the floor In his underwear accompanied by some fruity Lancashire language 🙂 But all in all it worked out well…so far. Let’s see what our options are tomorrow.
Huge thanks to the headliners for being so cool. We would have been screwed without them.
Met up with Operation:Mondcrime and the duo Fire and Water (who are absolutely fantastic). Anyway, local crew and promoter were very very nice as we’re all the band people. Ingo is TM; we met before on tour 🙂
Gig went very well – great crowd who were awesome to us. Everybody here is über friendly.
All in all a blinding start. Plus, the Deputy Ambassador from the British embassy bought me a beer 🙂
I must be getting respectable.
Brief diary because I’m knackered. Trieste next \m/
We left Stuttgart and chewed up the miles; past München to the Austrian border near Passau. Huge traffic jam the other way as the Polizei had a roadblock up, but we sailed through. Then just hammered through the length of Austria to Slovakia. Now in the hotel in Bratislava – cool little place, with a bar that has beer at €1.25 a pint. Nice 🙂
Relatively unadventurous day. My sole moment of mystery was guiding my esteemed I.C.O.N colleagues through a lunch menu. With my limited German I successfully explained what they were buying. Then I attempted to buy a meat sandwich for myself – and left the building with an entire leg of roast pork. I suspect my linguistic skills failed me…
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….