Sunday, 29 April 2012

Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Rome, IT

Sunday 14th Nov – Rome, Italy

We got to Rome pretty early having done most the drive the previous night. Trud’s old friend James who was living in Rome with his girlfriend Alessia was there to greet us. They’d brought us wine! 

(L-R): Louis Walsh, Trud/Ben, Trud/Ben, James, Alessia

He said since living there though he’d found no sniff of a Metal scene in the area, so I didn’t know what to expect tonight. Cathedral were also in town and we wondered why the shows hadn’t been combined, but apparently the different musical styles would pull totally different crowds in Italy with little crossover appeal. 

We set off for a look around Rome before the show. Italy’s my favourite country in Europe to visit, if it weren’t for the police bastards I’d happily move there, but it’s never been my favourite country to play. But anyway, we went for a long walk and saw the coliseum and the statue of Mussolini and a load of other sites, then we went to a traditional family run restaurant. 

The seafood linguine was fuckin lovely, I only wish Italian venues provided food of this quality instead of totally overcooked pasta with tinned tomatos and soggy chips. Had another look around the place, and saw the famous fountain where if you throw a coin in, supposedly you’ll return to it one day. Trud took this to mean that if he threw one in and didn't go back, he could do whatever he wanted forever with zero comeuppance and couldn't die, but we couldn't get close enough for him to try because it was surrounded by superstitious types throwing coins in, possibly for the same reason. We had this lame photo taken of us instead though.

Anyway, the gig was another odd one. There was a local band opening and things started to run late. There were also technical issues which meant we went on even later, and the stage was made out of sections that moved apart due to the rumble from our instruments which saw me doing the splits and looking down into a gaping hole a few times. We had a good bunch of people at the barrier though and it was a decent show. Trud decided to go with his friends to the Cathedral show, but I was so totally exhausted I gave it a miss and just headed to wherever it was we stayed. It was around this point that I noticed the pebble that had been on the step at the back of the van since leaving Tim’s house had either fallen off or been stolen by some negative vibe merchant. I was gutted, it had been with us so long and I’d hoped we’d be able to take it back home again for a memento.

Misery Index/Grave tour: Vincenza, IT

Saturday 13th Nov – Vincenza, Italy

This was an odd one. We pulled up to the 800 capacity venue and were immediately taken with the Pit Bull Terrier puppy that was running around the place. Gorgeous little dog and very playful. Come to think of it, the mutts we met on this tour stick out the most. 

Sadly though, this was to be the first of a few shows where we would go onstage while people were still at work, and in cities where people like to head home, relax, have dinner with the family, then head out much later that meant a pretty small turnout for us. Probably the lowest of the whole tour, this one. I carried the dog onstage with me for a bit of company, but he soon ran off into the audience. Must have got stage fright. I’d been told he’d spent the Misfits gig the previous evening sat onstage by Jerry Only’s feet looking up at him while he played though, so maybe we just weren’t good enough a band for him to join. Dog’s gotta have standards! But there were a bunch of guys stood grinning near the front, and when we started one of them opened his coat to reveal a very old Gorerotted shirt. So this gig was for them. Sometimes we meet people who say they liked Gorerotted but don’t like the Punk aspect of what we do now. Sometimes we meet people who say they like The Rotted but never cared for Gorerotted, and sometimes we meet people like this who have followed us from day one and are still here with us. Always nice, that. Afterwards, we sent Trud into the crowd to do some Terry Tibbsing of the EPs, and remarkably he sold quite a few. Maybe the place just looked dead because of the size and all the hiding places? We said our goodbyes to the owner who was a real cool Punk/Hardcore guy -and to his dog of course- and started the journey to Rome.

Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Bolzano, IT

Friday 12th Nov – Bruneck/Bolzano, Italy.

We woke up at a decent time to head to the next show in Bruneck/Bolzano. I dunno if that means it was between 2 towns or that the town had 2 names, but this was a weird fucking place! It’s Italy, but everyone speaks German. I guess it used to be part of Germany or Switzerland maybe, and most people seem to consider themselves German still. As is always the way in Italy, as soon as we crossed the border we were flagged down by the police. We had to show him our passports, driver’s licences, papers, insurance documents, then when he found no problems he did an inspection of the van instead. We always try to be polite and friendly to people we meet, but this guy was a proper, proper arsehole. Italy has the most twattish Police and customs people I’ve ever encountered, it must be in their training. We were soon sent on our way after he radioed through to base to make sure none of us were wanted for anything that he could arrest us for, and we arrived at the venue which was about as stale and soulless a venue as you’d find anywhere. All glass walls, metallic furnishings and just too clinical for a Metal gig, it looked more like a leisure centre and the small area it was in reminded me of Milton Keynes. The stage was huge and the room was brightly lit and carpeted if I remember right so there was fuck all atmosphere inside too. After the set -which went OK- I went upstairs to the backstage room. Let me tell you about backstage rooms these days. Forget all that Motely Crue shit of drugs, midgets, groupies and scallywag behaviour, go into most backstage rooms and you’ll be met by a wall of guys on their lap-tops, checking their Facebooks or watching dull as shit Yngwie Malmesteen guitar solos on YouTube, then complaining that the signal’s weak because everyone else is doing the same. So, after a pretty uneventful evening we headed for our hotel. I was driving, and a sign said ‘Stop’, so I did. Police came from nowhere to ask me why I’d stopped on the yellow line. “Because the sign says stop?” I replied. Cue much shouting in Italian German. “You want me to move it?” I asked “NEIN!!!” they all shouted. Again, they checked our shit, for some reason stole Trud’s backstage pass laminate for their personal collection, tried to pronounce my surname a few times, then told me to move the van immediately or they’d arrest me. Utter, utter cocks. Our hotel was really nice but clearly owned by a strict Catholic family, none of who I had to deal with which is always a relief. But I nearly knocked off a twice-as-big-as-life-size Christ on the cross that was hanging on the stairway with my bag. It must have weight at least 200kg and would have done a lot of damage to whoever was behind me. So that was it, after my altercations with the Italian/German Gestapo and Jesus H. Christ himself, I was ready for bed.

In German Italy, both are second class citizens

Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Ljubuljana, SI

Thursday 11th Nov - Ljubuljana, Slovenia

I have to confess that I knew nothing about this country, other than the fact that it was former Eastern Bloc and is where they host Metal Camp every year. We went for a walk in the town and it was a really nice place with really friendly locals, so much so that I'm planning a return trip for a long weekend at some point in the future. The venue was part of a squat type youth centre in an old disused army barracks, and as well as our show there were a few parties going on in and outside of the other buildings too. We were staying in a large house on site that a lot of bands that pass through stay at which meant no drive after the gig, which in turn meant we could all get hammered. There was some real cool artwork and sculptures in the complex and the whole place had a good DIY vibe to it.

Tonight was another great gig, with some really retro looking young guys with funny hair, ill-fitting clothes and huge moustaches dancing down the front. I loved playing this place and hope we can get back at some point. After the other bands left in the nightliner, we stood outside getting drunk and met various people from the other parties when we spotted Trud’s long lost older Slovenian brother who we dubbed Mattias Trudski. He had the same crap hair as when we first met Trud, a crapper moustache and was totally and utterly cunted. He could hardly stand and was either trying to unlock his own bike or steal someone else’s, it was hard to tell. He finally got it unlocked, took a piss all over it then attempted to push it over to us. He drunkenly muttered something in what might have been Slovenian, so we said “We don’t understand dude, we’re from England” to which he replied “Ahhhh, England!!! Rik Mayall? Birmingham? Pet Shop Boys?” Nice to know our nation is famous for more than just crap teeth and the Royal Family. We told him to be careful with that bike as he staggered off, to which he replied “Bicycle least of problems!” What a guy.

Trud was particularly taken with the dragon statues

Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Vienna, AU

Wednesday 10th Nov – Vienna, Austria

I always enjoy playing Austria. The crowds are good, the people are great and Vienna is just a beautiful city, classy and well worth a visit. We got there pretty early so we decided to pay a visit to our old buddy Alex Wank from Pungent Stench. Alex owns a shop called Totem which sells underground Metal and Industrial music as well as merch, and adult and occult books.

He also now has a Pug which growelled at us any time we stood too near to Alex (he’s got him well trained!) 

Bought the missus a Burzum record bag and a book on body piercing which was full pictures of surprisingly unattractive people with coach-bolts through their foreskins and labias. We hung out for a bit, then found a really good family owned restaurant for some quality food before heading to the venue. 

The show was great as it always is in Austria, we need to get there more often. Martin and Greg from Pungent Stench came down with the guys from their current band Hollenthon, as well as various people we knew from festivals like Kaltenbach and it was really cool to see them all again. All in all, the day was great, having seen a good bit of the city and hung with some old mates. At the end of the night some of the guys went out drinking, but I decided to stay in the hotel we’d been given. Got woken up in the early hours of the morning to hear Trud, Nate and Louis Walsh having some drunken argument, in the bathroom. Told them all to shut the fuck up, then tried to go back to sleep as one of them turned on me. Cool.

Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Ostrava, CZ

Tuesday 9th Nov – Ostrava, Czech Rep.

Another familiar face promoting tonight’s show, this time Tomas from Intervalle Bizarre. It was pretty full when we went on and the crowd were really into so it was a great night and I looked forward to coming back the next Summer for Obscene Extreme, (which, despite Tim cutting the end of his finger off a couple of days before and having to have it sewn back on was fuckin wicked as expected!):

But anyway, back to tonight. We went for a little walk and found an Irish bar. I have no idea what appeal Irish bars have outside of the USA where pretty much everyone claims to be either Irish or Sicilian (or sometimes both!) We gave it a miss and I can only assume we found a Czech bar selling some really strong shit because again, my memory from here is blank. All I remember was the next morning when we got charged for a door we’d damaged. Not because we’re cliched dickhead wannabe rock stars who smash hotels up, but because someone accidentally walked into it in the dark and left a massive dent in it. Lame.

Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Bratislava, SK

Monday 8th Nov – Bratislava, Slovakia.

"Anarchogram CDs - TALK TO ME!!!!"

Our first ever trip to Slovakia meant a quick stop to buy a road map as the Sat-Nav we’d been using didn’t go that far East. I decided to leave the driving to the others while we were in this country, I can’t follow maps or directions for shit. I did a share of the drives on the tour, but the majority of it was handled by Tim and Nate because both were more used to driving on the wrong side of the road (and it IS the wrong side of the road). Louis Walsh can’t drive, and Trud point blank refused because he didn’t have the confidence or something, so instead he had the Terry Tibbs job. This meant he had to be a dodgy but charismatic bald headed salesmen each evening, and he’d go around the venue trying to sell our EP to the punters in person rather than wait for them to come to the merch stand. Some of the guys in the other bands found this amusing, but the fact was we completely sold out of the first pressing of the EP doing this and had to have them re-pressed in time for our Israel tour at the end of December. So anyway, we arrived at the venue, it was cool seeing Martin again and we ate what up to that point was the best venue food of the tour. Venue food is often shit, it’s the bare minimum that people can get away with offering. I’ve never understood why Italy for example –a country with possibly the finest cuisine in the world and that takes pride in mama’s homecooking- always gives bands the shittest food they can. It’s like they’ve actually gone to some effort to make it appalling. But this was really nice, probably because the venue was attached to a café/bar. The show went well enough, the crowd was decent but merch sales weren’t great for anyone here. A lot of bootlegging goes on in the former Eastern Bloc and I guess official shirts are too expensive for most of them, even though we always try to sell our merch as cheap as we can. We’re not out to earn millions from our music, but costs need covering so what we do make goes back into funding tours, recordings and things like that. People who say that it’s fine for them to download a band's complete back catalogue because “bands can make money back through merch” have a) obviously never been to Slovakia, and b) are unlikely to own shirts by every band who’s music they’ve downloaded and liked. 

Anyway, this was one of those nights that we decided to leave soon after our set to start the drive to the next show and stay somewhere en route. You see some really fucking stupid driving on tour, you're bound to when you clock up that amount of miles, and on this night we saw some asshole over taking a truck in the opposite lane and force a car ahead into the hard shoulder where he did a 180 degree skid and smashed all his lights and mirrors. We stopped to see if he was OK or needed any help but he had a big smile and said that he was fine. Most people would be shaking and pretty freaked out after this kind of crash, so I guess he was used to it. It didn’t fill me with much confidence for the rest of the journey so I drank some beers while watching ‘Hot-Tub Time Machine’, which wasn’t crap as you’d expect, and was actually pretty cool. Apparently Jon Cusack took the lead role as soon as he heard the title and without even finding out the plot, such was his confidence in the idea. I sometimes buy CDs on a similar basis.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Munich, DE

Sunday 7th November - Munich, Germany

Trud and Tim’s quest for free booze seemed to have worked. Our alarm went off and they weren’t in the room. Maybe they’d got up early and were out having breakfast I thought? Of course they hadn’t, what am I, a fuckin' moron??? They’d been up all night drinking. About 15 minutes later, they fell into the room, totally and utterly hammered, and I mean beyond paralytically cunted. 

“Boys, we’re leaving in half an hour” I said.
“Yes, yes, yes, we’ll do it when we get to the venue” they replied and went to sleep. 

You can usually wake Tim up and make him move when needed, so we did, but Trud was a little harder and needed a bit of encouragement in the form of duvet stealing, rib kicking and leg dragging. He tried to fight back, pathetically due to his exhaustion and drunkenness which had me in hysterics, he was really trying the poor sod, but we eventually got him and Tim into the van, where they both climbed into the single bunk and went to bed. I have no idea how both of them managed to fit in there. You can sleep one person in it diagonally because it’s kind of a square shape, but they’re both over 6 feet tall and neither of them are likely to win any Mr Thin competitions any time soon so fuck knows what kind of yoga they had to do to fit all their bits in there. It was a long drive and they slept soundly the whole way, almost too quietly. I was a little worried that one of them might have a trouser accident, but lo and behold there was no trouble there, remarkably, and when they fell out the bunk at the other end, despite looking and feeling like shit, they seemed OK. I remember nothing about this gig I’m afraid, nothing at all, the venue, the people, nothing, which probably means it was average, or I was off my head. Most likely the former. Maybe the latter. Fuck knows. I think this is the night that we were given a weird abandoned building to sleep at though, next to a school. We had camp beds in a dusty basement with corridors that reminded me of the old hospital in Silent Hill 2, and I half expected to see dead nurses walking toward me as I headed off down one to get a shower. But unfortunately, nothing sinister or untoward happened and we all slept soundly. Slovakia tomorrow, our first time there and the gig was to be put on by our old pal Martin from Sanatorium, so we were proper looking forward to it.

Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Almost Poland...

Saturday 6th Nov – Berlin Pt.2: Reluctant day off

Woke up at a decent time feeling surprisingly OK after last nights excesses. Unfortunately though, the van had been playing up a bit and when we tried it in the morning we realised there was no way it was going to get to Poland and back, it was gonna need some serious work done on it (It was new to us and needed a bit of TLC to turn it into the hardened touring wagon it is today). I’m no mechanical expert, but I believe the technical term is that it was ‘knackered’. It would be better to try and do this work in a large German city than at the side of a motorway or in a small town in Poland, so we reluctantly had to give the gig a miss and spent the day making some repairs. Nate and Tim are pretty clued up on mechanics, so they got to work. Trud and I arranged with the nice lady at the venue that we would stay upstairs again that night, and a guy we’d met the previous evening had told us that Napalm Death, Immolation and Macabre were in town, so we texted Shane Napalm and he kindly agreed to stick us on the guestlist.

So after a look around Berlin, which is a really cool city and where we saw the famous Brandenburg Gate and a peaceful protest rally with bands in the park nearby, we headed to the show and were ushered straight in when the staff at the door saw the passes from our own tour we had dangling from our trousers. Just as well really, it meant we avoided the pat-down by security which would have been trouble, as for some reason Louie Walsh was carrying a knife. We caught the last song of openers Waking The Cadaver’s set. I’d never seen this band before, just seen them being slagged off on the internet. They were playing some kind of Devourment-esque, bouncy Death Metal which I’m told is called ‘Slam’. It wasn’t the kind of thing I’d listen to at home, but it seemed decent enough live for what it was. Then Macabre came on. We’re all massive Macabre fans, especially of the Sinister Slaughter album which is totally unique and a classic that everyone should own.

Although they had a few technical difficulties and their set was nowhere near long enough, it was a great show. Afterwards, we headed backstage -again by flashing our passes from our own tour- and were offered some beers by the Napalm guys once we got through. Trud and Nate had toured with Macabre when they were in Screamin’ Daemon, and Tim had Tour Managed them, so they introduced me to Nefarious and Dennis The Menace and they all got reacquainted. Cool guys, Dennis was totally crazy, and hard to keep up with. Really funny dude and pretty eccentric. Corporate Death walked past and the lads said hi to him but he didn’t seem to have a clue who they were or what was even happening either. My guess is he’s medicated himself with acid one too many times as a youth. After shooting the shit for a while, I headed out to watch Immolation which I had to do from the side of the stage. The best place to watch a band is always from the front, but the 900 capacity venue was completely rammed and you couldn’t move for shit, no exaggeration, everyone was squashed together like tinned sardines. It was a complete sweatbox too. Immolation played a great set as always, then Napalm Death came on. Still one of my favourite bands of all time, I think I own 14 CDs and 4 vinyls by them and live they’re untouchable. So after their mind blowing set of classics old and new, we said our goodbyes and headed to a café over the road for some food and bumped into one of the dudes from Morgoth, who had reformed and were to play Deathfeast Open Air the same day as us the following Summer (which you can read all about in a previous blog). We got the train back to the venue we were sleeping at and after a few quiet beers upstairs, Trud and Tim headed back down to the same club as yesterday and tried to blag more free drinks while Nate, Louie Walsh and I got some much needed rest.

Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Berlin, DE

Friday 5th Nov – Berlin, Germany

Bonfire night in England, which meant our better halves had to keep all our cats in back home in case any little shits out on the streets decided to stick fireworks up their assholes. It’s not an event I celebrate, I don’t see anything even remotely good about burning effigies of Guy Fawkes who had plotted to blow up the Houses Of Parliament. Anyone who did that to the Government today would be my fucking hero, even if it was for religious reasons! Oh yeah, you know that myth that when Guy Fawkes was caught and tried for treason, he was strapped to Big Ben (the bell at the top of the tower)? Apparently he had his genitals placed between the bell and the hammer, then had nothing to do but wait for midnight to strike. It’s said that his screams could be heard above the muffled chimes for miles. Well, that’s a load of bollocks. He was executed 250 years or so before Big Ben even existed and was merely tortured for information, then jumped from the scaffolding to his death before he could be hung, drawn and quartered (pussy!) 

Anyway, where was I. Oh yeah, Berlin tonight, Always a pleasure playing for the crazy Germans again! It was Friday and the crowd were in the mood to party. Before we'd left, I’d decided to pace myself for this tour and so hadn’t been getting drunk every night, but tonight I thought sod it, we’re in Berlin and it’s Friday so I got nicely tipsy, and after a cool chat with Arsis’ drummer about the New York Hardcore scene he'd been a part of for a while, we hit the stage. We had a really good gig and hung out with some cool people afterwards. The venue is in a complex with various other nightclubs and at the top there’s a floor with a lounge area and bedrooms for us to sleep in, so after the show was over and the other bands’ nightliner had rolled on to the following night’s show in Poland, we went to one of the clubs where they were having a Rammstein night, which basically meant screens showing Rammstein videos while their albums were played back to back. I guess Germany is pretty proud of what must be it’s biggest band since The Scorpions (who I’m told are pretty unpopular in their home country?) Our British charm worked pretty well on the barmaid it seemed and she spent the night giving us free drinks, which for me meant lots and lots of Bloody Marys. Eventually, I headed off totally hammered to get some sleep before it got light and hoped the next day's hangover wouldn't be too terrible...

Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Kassel, DE

Thursday 4th Nov – Kassel, Germany

Tonight was several floors upstairs in a large industrial building if I remember right. There was a huge shirt stand that evening that’s run by Shindy Productions who we’ve known for a few years so it was good to see a familiar face there. The show went pretty well, the crowd, as is usual for the opening band on a week night, were sober when we went on and some kept a bit of distance between themselves and the stage, but by the end they were pretty warmed up and a bunch of them came forward. We got some really nice compliments after, and I met a few Gorerotted fans, and as is the case sometimes with Gorerotted fans who come to gigs that we happen to be on, I was told “I didn’t know you sounded like THAT, I read on the internet that you were blah blah blah.” It’s a bit of a shame this, I have no idea who goes around saying we’ve toned down or that we play a style of music that we don’t, or why people who claim that Gorerotted was their favourite band ever haven’t bothered to check out what we’re doing now for themselves, but by the end they got what it is we do and why we are now The Rotted instead of Gorerotted [CHECK HERE FOR A FULL EXPLANATION] After the show, we were given keys and directions to a flat that we’d been offered for the evening. All I can say is wow. This place was one of the best decorated flats I’ve ever seen! 

Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Hamburg, DE

Tuesday 2nd Nov – Bochum, Germany

Since this tour, my favourite pair of jeans that look like I've sat in a pizza have stopped fitting me. Lame.

Tim and I played this venue on both the Decapitated and Pungent Stench tours we did in the Gorerotted days. It’s 2 rooms, one big, one small and once again we were in the small room. No one was in the big room that night, but I remember on the 2003 Pungent Stench tour that during load-in through the big room, I watched a bit of Kings Of Leon sound checking for their gig the same night. The large foyer outside contains a bar and leads to both rooms. It’s also where merch is sold, so on that particular gig we were set up next to KOL’s considerably more impressive stand and I sat there playing “Guess Who’s Come For The Mormon Soft Rock Gig And Guess Who’s Come For The Death Metal Gig.” Not the most fun game in the world, but touring can get pretty monotonous and it killed a few minutes. Oddly enough, I actually managed to sell a Kings Of Leon fan a Gorerotted shirt because he thought the design was funny. Another 10 Euros in the pot. Ker-Ching! But anyway, tonight was pretty cool from what I can remember. We played our set to a good crowd, then went for a walk in Hamburg. The venue’s in the Red Light district I think. I like seedy areas, always loads of shops selling knives, tobacco and booze, some cool bars, and a few dodgy characters. And of course the porn cinemas and wank booths (neither of which I or any of the others visited. We were on a tight budget and could only afford knives, tobacco and booze.)

Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Bochum, DE

Tuesday 2nd Nov – Bochum, Germany

After a hearty breakfast courtesy of Cherie and meeting her son Russell who’d popped over, we left and arranged for them both to come see us when we hit Tilburg at the end of the tour. We’re always very grateful to people who help us out like this, it makes a huge difference to us when we can eat and sleep well. We arrived at the venue and sound checked while a beautiful, huge white German Shepherd dog slept at the front of the stage. He looks more bored than we were by the experience, which took forever due to the desk needing to be completely repatched.

I liked the place, it felt like an actual music venue with some character to it and wasn’t full of adverts for mobile phones and Rockstar fucking energy drinks!!!! Soon after our set, our manager Louie Walsh arrived to join us for the rest of the tour. Louie Walsh isn’t his real name, but we called him that because he was our manager and is Irish, and he said things like “Oi t’ought it it waas a gree-at performance” and “Lads, you really mee-ade t'at Motorhead song yer own.” But unlike the real Louie Wlash, to my knowledge he’s never been accused of sexually assaulting a young man in a public toilet. He’d instead been working on the Annihilator tour for 2 months and just came straight here to join us. We now had a merch guy, and he was in fact the 3rd merch guy in the touring party. I honestly don’t know why a tour like this needs 3 merch dudes, if we’d all chipped in on the fee we could have had 1 guy doing everyone’s, but Arsis had brought their man over to do theirs, and Petri from Finnish Grinders Feastem was doing Misery Index and Grave’s. I’d met Petri years earlier at Summer Breeze festival where I’d shared a joint with him, he’s a good fella and Feastem played Obscene Extreme with us the following summer. They’re a kick ass Grindcore band, and you should check them out!

Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Zaandam, NL

Monday 1st Nov – Zaandam, Netherlands

Outside the van at Cherie's house and already knackered and weakened 

The first show of any tour means my favourite job: Merch sorting! Totally tedious, counting things out and putting them into piles, then setting up a display and making signs. Weakening. After soundcheck we had a bite to eat and were soon onstage. It was a Monday night and of course we went on at 6:30, half an hour after the doors opened. I wasn’t expecting much, but although the 600 capacity venue was by no means full, there were a decent amount of punters through the doors and we went down pretty well. Spent the rest of the evening doing merch and chatting to some of the guys in the other bands. They all seemed like nice enough fellas. I also got my first experience of each band. The Last Felony play chaotic, modern Death Metal and I couldn’t really hear what was going on if I’m honest, but they went down pretty well. Arsis play technical, melodic death/thrash/glam which isn’t my kind of thing either, but like The Last Felony they did their thing pretty well and the crowd liked them. Grave came on next and I knew they’d be my favourite band of the tour. They’re often referred to as one of the Big 4 of Swedish Death Metal, but I was a lot less familiar with them than I am with Entombed, Dismember and Unleashed (I’ve since remedied this though!) The guys played a great set of Old School Death Metal and I ended up watching a good portion of their show every night that I could. Misery Index closed the evening and pummelled us with a really cool dual-vocal Death/Grind assault, high energy and very tight. Overall, the mix of styles the 5 bands played was a pretty good variety. There’s nothing worse than a show where all the bands sound exactly the same. So the first gig was over, no major technical issues for any of the bands. Some of the venues on this tour were providing us with places to sleep, and on others we had to sort ourselves out. Tonight was one of those nights, and luckily our good friend Cherie from turned up and kindly offered to let us sleep at her place. Cherie has a photo studio and climbing wall in the basement of her house which meant a massive crash-mat for us to kip on. She offered us a load of beers when we got in, so we sat around for a bit drinking, then had a very comfortable night’s sleep downstairs.

Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Leaving day

I wrote this one in retrospect using nothing but my memory and photos. Some of the details may be a little patchy in places, but this is the tale of 4 weeks in a van in Europe.

31st Oct – Leaving day:

The last time we’d done a 4 week tour we were on a Nightliner, which meant someone else drove a massive bus towing a trailer while we partied in one of the 3 lounges or slept in our bunks, but as we were a last minute edition to this tour, we were not only opening every night, but also driving ourselves in a van, which is never a problem for us because while a Nightliner with bunks and 3 lounges is all well and good, they’re always crowded places and you don’t really have your own space. The guys in The Rotted have known each other for years now though and are comfortable enough around each other to know when to leave someone alone or to tell someone to fuck off, and we know how to be considerate and not irritate one another too much. 

So there I was, sat outside Greenwich Station waiting for the van to pick me up. We’d decided that rather than hire a van for 4 weeks, Tim was going to buy one, kit it out the way we wanted it and would then start his own Driving/Tour Managing/Merchandising business. I jumped in and saw that he’d been pretty busy. In the back was 2 rows of seats facing each other with a table in between, a flat screen TV, a media drive with shitloads of stuff to watch, a bunk for 1 person (or 2 as it turns out, but more on that later) and in a separate section was plenty of storage space for all the gear and merch a touring band needs. It was comfy and spacious enough. I got settled and we headed for the ferry port. The idea was to have a night in Bruges because it looked really nice in a film we’d seen (‘In Bruges’) and it was en route to the first show the following evening. Things didn’t turn out like that unfortunately, as the only affordable place to stay that we could park the van in was a Formula One hotel on the outskirts of a nearby town. On finding that it would have been a very expensive taxi ride in to Bruges or an evening of one of us staying sober and having to piss around with finding somewhere to park, we jumped on a tram and went into the local town centre instead, the name of which escapes me. After a hearty dinner, lots of Belgian ales, and watching a very dramatic, flamboyant Skinhead beating up a sign while his girlfriend tried to calm him down before the police arrived, we headed back to the hotel in a fairly drunken state. Belgium’s not one of my favourite countries to visit, but they make some good fucking beer over there! I volunteered to sleep in the van while the other guys took the 3 beds in the tiny hotel room. For those of you have never been in a Formula 1 Hotel, they’re cheap but pretty basic, and they always smell of semen. If all you want is a bed for the night and can handle the smell of aged love-juice, they’re perfect for a party of 3 as they consist of a double bed with a single bunk above it, and a sink for pissing into. As it’s bare minimum though, breakfast is never included and neither are towels, so many’s the time I’ve had to use a sheet to dry myself after a visit to one of the nearby showers, walking with the sheet wrapped round me to look like some drunken, bald, tattooed Greek toga wearing dude, or sometimes in just my underpants. I think my most favourite occurance to happen in a Formula 1 hotel ever would have been back in the Gorerotted days. We were in Belgium and a certain band member (you can probably guess who if you know the guys well enough) sat on the window ledge nude and got me to hold him round his chest as he dangled out the 2nd story window and had a quick danger wank. Sometimes I look back on my life and wonder how the hell something like that could seem like a normal, every day event at the time. How we didn’t get arrested, injured or killed that day is a mystery that still plagues me to this day. Needless to say there was none of that funny business this time around...