Dani's Tour Blog
Voices from the Daftside - A tour diary of sorts.
Dani Filth aged 13.5
Part 3 - 18/12/12
Yes, hello vitamin D! This is the first time we've seen the sun in quite some while, despite the fact it is sallow, even a little bit of t-shirt weather makes all the difference. The venue is cool, like an aircraft hangar and the day is spent lazing around outside and preparing for the show leisurely... So much so that we garner an early soundcheck once Caroline has risen from her coffin, all the more bedraggled for her ordeal a few days before. Still, she is on the mend, thank God for small mercies and the band are back up to full strength once again.
The large auditorium affords a few of us to watch the rest of the bands tonight from the shadowy confines of the rear of the venue unnoticed. And what a difference being in front of the speakers makes! A killer sound and some ripe performances from all the bands makes for some good viewing and definitely gives us a push towards our own inevitable performance, bad health notwithstanding.
A great show once again with an awesome sound and we're all happy again, spending the aftershow seeking out a hidden shower and then mixing with fans outside the backstage area, those who have endured the hour or two waiting for us to soak under piping hot water for a change.
The second day in Italy is in Milan and aside from a trip to the local supermarket with Caroline to buy Tom from Godseed a birthday present (you can never fail with a good bottle of booze), it passes quite pleasantly in the venue undertaking the usual day's shenanigans before a killer show full of anger and grit. The audience are awesome again, and the other bands play well, a show afforded by the side balcony that runs along the venue to an upstairs lounge at the back, where the support acts are situated for the best part of the day.
After the show we all head up there to celebrate not only the King Of Hell's birthday, but the last show of the tour for Darkened, who unfortunately are only doing the first half of the tour, the rest belonging to a band from Cyprus called Blynd. Milan is Darkened's city, so their parents have supplied home made wine, cheeses, meat and bread for the evening and everyone chats and parties until the venue eventually shrugs us off when the drivers are ready to leave at the designated hour of two am, destination France.
It's a shame that Darkened have to leave the tour as over the last three weeks or so we have grown quite accustomed to their brand of symphonic black metal, but we have kept contacts so people may be seeing them play with Cradle a lot sooner than one might think. For the time being the show must go on, which is a little ironic, seeing as due to a booking error by the promoter, we now have three days off before our next show in Santiago, Spain on the first.
Three days off, the first of which is spent in Montpellier France where we undertake a signing at the local Virgin megastore, which goes well and for once we receive some freebies for our troubles. There are some really nice fans here and we spend the best part of an hour chatting and signing before heading out, for a bit of shopping in the Christmassy atmosphere of the town square, before a taxi arrives to whisk us to an 18 Euro all-in buffet in a restaurant.
It is my wife's birthday today and she has a bit of a surprise planned back at home with her girlie friends, so I'm constantly keeping in contact for most of the evening including two slightly inebriated conversations halfway through the night, having retired to the aisle to watch a horror movie and devour a series of snacks.
Next day I awake around two to find myself being immediately summoned to walk around the beautiful and historic port of San Sebastián in Northern Spain, with its ancient back streets and medieval castellations, sandy beach and quaint shops, all of which are pretty much closed for siesta, so it's at least a few hours before we find somewhere open to eat. Still, a pleasant day spent in the fresh air, getting soaked twice but enjoying the five, six hours roaming with t' lads.
Friday is a very productive day spent on a campsite just outside Gidon, nestled between the hills with nary a soul to bother us for the best part of the day spent eyeing laundry, eating at the restaurant, catching up with online work, dyeing my hair, showering twice and generally chillaxing the day away as the rain poured biblically about the chalets and wooded hillocks.
As the evening drew on, and following dinner in the once-desolate dining area, other people began showing up for a Friday night meal and soon the atmosphere started feeling cosy, nestled around chatting and watching Spanish TV in the bar area with young Daniel ( as he has come to be known), Caroline Campbed and Vinnie, our lighting guy. The night soon blossoms past Midnight and with the shutting of the bar and the gentle bill paid, it's a nightcap back on the bus with an emotional Caroline before hitting the hay.
Santiago is an island in the midst of nearly a week. And what an island she was. First off we awoke to the sound of cars screaming past the bus as we were parked next to a car rally, then we were herded into a van to take us to the venue, which was located down streets too small for our voluminous Jawa Sandcrawler to navigate. But what a cool picturesque city!
After an afternoon of becoming acquainted with our dirty stage gear,the venue (which used to be an old picture house) and a lengthy soundcheck on a fabulously dry stage, the idea of some local Spanish cuisine saw Big M, Paul and I rove about the old historic town, with its Harry Potter wizardy lanes and ornately decorated churches and cathedrals in search of some Paella and seafood. We were not disappointed by either and it was with some reluctance that we return to the venue for an early show.
Rotting Christ have disappeared to join the Barge To Hell heavy metal cruise in the Bahamas - lucky swine- so they are absent from the next five shows, rejoining us in Switzerland. Caroline, the cheeky swine, has renamed me Vintage Daniel as opposed to Mr.Firth's Young Daniel, so I have decided to kill her after the show.
The gig is another corker, we absolutely and utterly get into it for the exceptionally up-for-it crowd here tonight. And we have to, as Godseed unfortunately have to cut their set short after only four songs due to Gaahl suffering from a sore throat, another blight to the touring life.
Blynd are interesting, a death/ thrash combination with some awesome melodic guitar parts amid the onslaught of brutal drums and vocals and are a worthy addition to the line-up now that Darkend have returned to their plumbing jobs, though hopefully not for long.
Anyhoo, the show is killer, some of the fans travelling from Portugal and beyond to see us here tonight and we retire to the backstage area to shower and make the usual mirth, with Geir and Tom from Godseed (and Temple Of The Black Moon) really drunk and making us grin with their singing and dancing. The trip to the bus is divided, so James and I decide to hang back to leave with the crew and take advantage of the wi-if on the balcony. When we do eventually get shuttled to the bus, it's to arrive to find some kids broken down in a van, so we opt to help get them started again, near killing ourselves in the effort to push the beast towards an incline to get it rolling. Thank God it starts, albeit with a few grumbles along the way and we retire for the evening safe in the knowledge that we have been of some use to someone, and that we played a killer show, stranded as it was in the midst of five days off.
The next two days are spent on a campsite just outside Madrid and are fairly relaxed and non-eventful, most people opting to rent chalets, as off season they are pretty inexpensive and make for a nice change. Mine is down a side street away from everyone else it seems and has a lounge, kitchenette, bedroom, bathroom and most importantly of all, a washing machine! Plus the weather is warm and clement, so much so I sit out on my front stoop to stupidly feed a little kitten that comes pattering by. Stupid because just as soon as I manage to tempt it with a sliver of ham, eight more cats appear out of nowhere and suddenly I've got an Alfred Hitchcock movie on my hands!
That first day was basically spent eating and drinking at the local restaurant and enjoying the obligatory bonfire by night. The second, having woken on my own for the first time in months, was first spent enjoying the sun with breakfast and music, then a handful of us pirates (Big M, Mikey monitors, Paul and Tom from Godseed who arrived late last night with the support bus, a new one we thoughtfully decide to doctor with the word WANKER morphing from Hanke) decided to head into Madrid to do a spot of sightseeing.
We have a few hours before being picked up, so we decide to stroll about the centre of the city, from the Plaza Espana to the Prado Art Museum, a place I intend to visit tomorrow with Young Daniel. A very nice afternoon is spent walking through the park, then the bustling shopping area with its newly sprung Xmas markets. The night is spent gorging once again, another Pikey fire, then an early-ish night as we are leaving at eleven to hit the gig for midday load-in.
I fucking love Madrid! What an awesome day! First off its straight into the venue for some loving then me and Young Daniel (tm) make tracks for the art gallery, some half an hours walk away. I love this museum and visit it every time I'm in Madrid, it's got some astonishing masterpieces but I especially love it for one room in particular which houses my two favourite paintings (aside from Giger of course) Bosch's The Garden Of Earthly Delights (which I did my thesis on for my art exam) and Brueghels Triumph Of Death. Then there are a whole wings of other treasures, including the black paintings of Goya, which are all gathered again in one room.
After a few good hours spent perusing and marvelling, it's a walk back for soundcheck, another quick trip out to a record store (I can't believe I found 'Battlescarred' by Blood Money here, I've been looking for it for years, both off and on the net!), and an Egyptian Temple the Spanish decided to relocate, which James leads us to investigate.
Dinner is buy-out at a gaudy Mexican restaurant with Young Daniel and Tom (of Godseed and Temple Of The Black Moon status, I promise I'll stop introducing him!) and then it's not long before the show is underway with two days of pent up wrath emerging throughout a great performance, the crowd being exceptional. Afterwards it's a cold shower and a bit of signing outside in the street before heading back to bedlam.
Barcelona. Well, we're miles away from anything remotely interesting but the catering is ace, the venue is accommodating and we manage to cadge a lift from a punter to visit an electronics store and purchase a laptop for our ongoing issues with our projection system, which still isn't up and running due to some interface problem. The only interface problem I see is that of the idiot back in England who has been leading us on a wild goose chase for the last five weeks hunting down some invalid serial number.
Dinner is down the road at a cafe/bar and is an enormous plate of four wursts mit chips, a little strange for Spain I appreciate, but nice nonetheless and stomach bloating.
Anyhoo, the gig is another fantastic one, and the Spanish audience, though a tad sparse due to the severe economic clime here, are fantastic and we have a thoroughly enjoyable show and get to meet some really nice people who patiently wait for us to shower and scrape up our backstage desecration.
Wednesday December 6th is a travel day and a boring one at that, as we have to traverse France on our way through to Geiselwind in Germany. Still we get to stop for a spot of lunch at a service station and then later, when we arrive at the venue there is a 24 hour trucks top with huge festive portions. Sated.
Today we find out that the gig is actually a mini festival with , Macabre, Psycroptic and The Amenta joining the bill, which is nice. Snow has fallen and the place adopts a romantic Christmassy mantle as the day passes as per normal, save that dinner is back in the huge portion truckers restaurant and a visit to a nearby sex boutique yields an impromptu dildo buying session. One for my wife, one for Caroline ( she bought her own, after a lengthy -excuse the pun- window shop) as she is now all about the gushing orgasm, or so she says.
The show is awesome and we get the chance to watch the new bands from the side of the stage, which is a bit of a trip down memory lane as I was (and still am) a fan of Obituary and Macabre, whom I tap up for a cool Albert Fish dressed as Killers Eddy t-shirt. We play really well tonight, thus extending our good gig run to double figures and the crowd is really packed in and loud.
Afterwards we hang out with the other bands, promoting James to have a 'who's got the most sunken-in eyes?' competition with Trevor Peres. Today is his birthday (35 again) and he is brought cake, novelty truck stop tack and above all, booze. Hence he is drunk. A lot. Which is fun. I also get a chance to have a whizz on the back of a young fan's newfangled gizmo wheelchair which can, and does, reach a top speed of 20mph down the slippery snow covered street. Brilliant!
At last the night ends with the news that we have to leave, despite the party atmosphere and the fact that Macabre are shit-face drunk and everyone is having a rollicking good time. Bugger!
Still, we have two more shows on this run, so tomorrow, as the old adage goes, is another gig day...
Kiss my Bochum. A crisp winter morning, a supermarket next door and a Xmas street fair before descending to the club in the depths of this old brewery. Still, backstage is anything less than claustrophobic as at the bottom are tunnels, which are pretty high, and all the backstage area is linked and cluttered with a myriad of photos taken from magazines and tour posters, giving a information overload almost everywhere you look. Best bit is side of stage,which houses the tittie wall, which is pretty self-explanatory and a bit tortuous this far into the tour. The catering woman is lovely and the food too tidily prepared for the likes of us, so all is good despite the lack of seeing daylight for the rest of the day. The day passes slowly, too slowly really, so a lot of web browsing and review reading goes on before our time to grime once again as the hour crawls towards 9.30, a relatively early show on account of the club afterwards.
Not as great as I had hoped as I had a good gig but a lot of problem with the smoke from my machine in the enclosed tunnel and it was monstrously loud on stage, rendering in-ears white noise. The problem was addressed and sorted, but it was one of those gigs for me, everything appeared to grate although everyone else seemed to think it was ace. Hence I had an hour of sulking with pizza and a few beers before some Godseedlings came to drag me into the club part for a few funny tequilas and a strange bloke who wanted Tom and my signatures on either arse cheek.
Tomorrow Switzerland and the promise of great food at the Z7...
Part 2 - 6/12/12
Sweden is cold. Still, the venue is close and labyrinthine, there are early showers and clothes washing facilities, nice food and some nice solidarity after the sluggish day off.
The door to the bus still entrances me with its jet propulsion hydraulicsthat threaten to clamp you against the bus's metal bosom should it catchyou, which it really fucking tries to do every time I try and shut it. It's like a carnivorous door on the Death Star!
The day is spent doing laundry, though truly it is Mick who is supervising the odd sock here, the grimy pair of jeans there. There are some interviews, two by phone, two face to face; a great dinner, showers, Internet, the basics of life, thus we were happy for a while....
The show is really good today and sound-wise it's as near to dammit perfect. The other bands also perform really well as there is easy access to the side of the stage, affording a good view of the proceedings. Our show goes really well and it's with some exultation that we return to the dressing rooms for the perfunctory showers and wine, after show pizza and catching up with a few old friends.
Tomorrow is a travel day on the ferry to Finland, John our merch guy'sbirthday and as we have cabins for the day (and an extremely early start), no doubt there will be a few bevvies in one of the bars, surrounded either by under age drinkers, or overage drinkers, depending on what boat we win.C'est la vie hippy campers!
Yesterday was fun, especially our self-contained Buck Rogers Iso-cubes way below the waterline in the hull of the love boat. Sleep was inevitable but we set our alarms for a one o'clock meeting at the bar to drink hideous aniseed shots and lager pints, then reconvene to the disco to watch some muppet play cover tunes for the old folk who throng the boat like harbingers of death.Back on the bus we listen to music over a few beers and chat, eventuallyconjuring forth a saviour out of a strange nozzled pan which becomes thefigurehead of our warped sense of humour... The Red . Who is he, where does he come from? What powers does he possess in this dark corner of the world? Why, he could be anyone... And so he is. Anyone who dons his mask becomes the formidable Red Helmet. Protector of the innocent, wherever they may wander.
Some people think that life in a touring band is all hams and plaques. I can assure you it is not, especially when you start getting ill as I did today here in Tampere, Finland. A stomach bug isn't all that you say, well it bloody well is when you have to sing and you're dehydrated for all the using of the toilet and nauseous to boot. Still, the venue is sold-out, there is a sauna downstairs in the subterranean hive along with a wipe-clean fuck bed, we have an in-store signing to undertake and again, the food is really good once we return from our session at a local record store, though times are definitely a-changing as there are no freebies for our troubles. Looks like I'll have to order the new Kiss album off t' Internet on my return...
The stage is a little odd as it seems to go round a corner so that James is actually pointing a different direction to the rest of us but the audience is great, even though we drop a couple of songs due to my erratic tummy problems. In fact everybody here is cool, from those who come out to the signing to those who serve us extra lashings of ice cream and sprinkly bits for our dinner. The day ends with the aforementioned sauna, all the band cramming in for a good long dousing, with the lads in towels and Caroline in what appears to be a 50's Bathing suit. The bus doesn't leave until really early in the morning so the guy's and Gaahl in Godseed wanna party but I slouch off to the bus, sign a few bits and bobs on the way and crawl into bed to watch a Hammer Horror movie before slipping into a haunted, restless sleep. I fucking hate being ill!
Welcome to Hell (sinki, that is). Well, them Helsinki, we Well Stinky!
Good venue here today, one that's sold out for tonight's show and thedressing room complete with woodland scene wallpaper is a sight for soreeyes after the long climb up several gruelling flights to arrive at it'sbachelor pad surroundings.
Today Metal Hammer are flying out to undertake a day of following us about, taking photos and interviewing us for the zine back in England. And that is exactly what happens, even following us to the signing session in a huge record store ( still no freebies mind, just rocket fuel coffee and a whole bunch of interesting fans who throng our impromptu signing area with it's faux leather seats, reminding us more of a chat show host's interviewing platform).
Food is devoured back at the venue, I undertake a video interview in thebus, my friend Tomcat arrives to see the show (he actually lives back inSuffolk, but is Finnish and has been working on the Katatonia tour which has seen a few bus problems, which is unsurprising as we learn that it is indeed the infamous Sweat Bus from last year's European festival dates that actually broke down on us too... Though their problem seems far more severe as apparently it actually caught fire with them on it!).
The show is slightly problematic as there are small issues with the in-ears but this is rectified as the show goes on and the audience anyway are a saving grace as they are maniacal this evening, with the aforementioned sold-out venue really raising the roof. We haven't played in Helsinki for a few years, so the response is pretty epic and knowing the Finnish, there has probably been a teeny weenie bit of alcohol consumed. We retire to the comfort of the dressing room after the full set is demolished, to hang out with friends and to chill after so hectic a day. Damn those flights of stairs! I pity the poor Crewdle!
Today is quite bland and my mood for the most part is black, partly due to shrugging off this illness, mostly due to the bleakness of the surroundings and some ongoing issues with the stage set (the projectors still requiring an operating code). The ferry ride across to Latvia is ignored by most, preferring a few more hours in bed to moving, then it's an arrival to somewhere that is strangely reminiscent of the film Hostel. Still, we make the best of it, and the show is a really bloody good one as the fans here are intense. Before taking the stage however, we head over to a restaurant for dinner through a throng of deserted buildings and ominous looking side streets where fans, already gathering, are drinking.
Today is also Paul's birthday, we manage to organise a cake, but anythingelse is out of the question else I would've taken an impromptu slog aboutthe shops looking for something to cheer him up with (he is ill as well and subsequently the set is slashed by a couple of tracks to compensate).Godseed aren't playing tonight either, something to do with their drummerflying to Oslo for some other prior engagement, which is actually a smallblessing as backstage is minimal to say the least. Still, this is a killer show, really old-school in its intensity and vibe and everybody is vibrantly happy once we leave the stage to the strains of our outro music. There are fans all about the bus, but we don't mind a jot seeing as its a rare visit we pay to Riga, though I'm that shattered, I fear I may have developed Riga Mortis!
Our day off was spent mostly travelling and being halted at the border,which has always been problematic for Westerners. We're there for a fewhours being rigorously grilled (the last time we didn't even make itthrough for the show as the government made sure we were held up, as rockmusic at the time was, well, outlawed) but eventually we make it through the drug dogs, iron and visa scrutinising, eventually heading into Minsk around five pm having watched movies to death and stopped at several questionable service stations.
The club we're playing is open for a show, so we all head inside for a few drinks and some food which is brought up to a table for us. The club is actually a converted cinema and dead modern, aside from the lack of toilets.The band are a bit like Mogwai and appear to be a teenie band as the hordes of emphatic girls are testament to. Still, no complaints there, better than looking at hairy blokes all night. The night winds up with us still in the club, a few beers and some pizza and then it's time for me to hit the sack with a really good book ( Justin Cronin's 'The Passage') for a change.
Last night was great, the sleeping part of it wasn't. Because the heatingwas on full tilt to combat the intense drop in temperature outside (minus 28 amidst the freezing fog), everybody was either bunged up or snoring like trolls. In despair at not being able to sleep having woken around four, I first tried moving my bedding downstairs, then to the back lounge (which isn't a back lounge as such, more a storage room whilst the extra driver is on board) but to no avail. In the end Klaus the bus driver is awoken (Tim Burton to me) and the upstairs heating is switched off so everybody can breathe. Subsequently everyone is a bit knackered the next day as sleep was erratic and nasal.
Still, we're at the venue so a lie-in can be had. Food hasn't arrived come 2 o'clock, so Big Martin orders all the Crewdle out and then proceeds to kick off in true Scottish fashion. Keeping out of the way for most of the afternoon aboard the merry ship of tools, the opportunity to watch the crowd build up is afforded me, plus the bus is spotlessly tidy for once, lending it a homely glow against the gathering dusk.
There are no other bands from the tour on this particular show, just a local support, so the show is fairly early, though the crowd take so long to file into the venue that stage time is put back anyway. Everybody is in high spirits as sound check went excellently, so the show really kicks off in formidable fashion and the crowd goes berserk. In fact, this and the following show in the Ukraine are the best of the tour thus far, with 'The Forest Whispers My Name' being added to the set for posterity.
Afterwards a large chunk of the crowd hangs around the venue for autographs and the band are so mobbed that a security detail is employed as well as our crew puffing their chests to help out, and a slightly nervous young Daniel Firth suffers a baptism by fire when he is thrown out to the baying crowd, and the door locked behind him.Tonight, it would seem that, 'Belarus, Belarus, can you do the fandango?'does apply.
Next day was a long crawl to the next show. An early border (we were four hours being checked through, with the rudimentary drugs dog, t-shirt payoff and much standing around and smoking of cigarettes that every business deal seems to be accompanied by, happening). By the time we wound through the sprawling city of Kiev to our destination, it was four thirty in the afternoon in a thick and dismal soup of grey concrete suburbia. This is the same venue we played first on the Russian tour of 2011 and its a cool auditorium with a lack of backstage toilet faculties, despite the size. Still, there some weird scaffolding that stretches behind the stage so Iclimbed up there during Godseed's set, fully made up, like some creepy phantom hanging about in the eaves.
There only being one toilet (with a dismal shower inside it), everyone had to use it, so the queue was one of those you had to be near it at all times for entry, else it was hours of finding it locked, each time more annoying than the last, dying for a poo. Again. Can't possibly be anything to do with the barrage of cabbage intake recently.
The show was awesome, fired up from having watched the other bands perform.The stage was big but uneven, so a magic carpet was provided which plugged the trippy edges.This was definitely one of my favourite shows as the crowd were awesome, and there was a real special energy in the venue, especially from the females.Afterwards it was all shits and giggles for a while before a few of thelocal speciality with a few fans at the bar with Daniel and James. Thoughnot Jack and Daniel. Really nice people here all round.
That night we set up a travelling disco aboard the bus as the promote rDmitri and chum are accompanying us onto Poland and unfortunately thepalatial suite is out of service so they have to sleep on the couch. Which they do way before the last vestiges of the human race ascend to bed. Hence why the next morning they awake to childish things like monocles, cocks and swastikas markered on Dmitri's face. All in good fun though as Dmitri and chums are fab.
Next day is a travel day spent mostly in bed like some fat pupating moth, as the countryside outside grew darker and darker. There was talk of a cafe at some stage, for food, as they accept the Euro, but what we eventually found was infinitely better. In the midst of such a slow, lazy, often necessarily dull day, the cafe Beda (Translation, trouble) was like walking into a winter wonderland. It was entirely styled like a log cabin, with wooden ornaments, statues and antlers hanging everywhere, all lit up like Christmas with traditionally costumed staff on hand. And the food... Pardon my French, but 'fuck me' it was good. And massive. And cheap. I ordered Duck in a cranberry sauce with dumplings and vegetables and what I got was a swan.Literally, it was huge. James shared the mega platter of meat with thepromoter and when it came out dancing in flame, it was like some kind ofMedieval banquet being delivered to the table. There was even a wholetrotter in there amidst the meat empire, set upon a regime of mass roastpotatoes. It took four very heavy doggy bags just to salvage what theycouldn't eat between them!
We were only there for a couple of hours, yet, between the dark hours oftravel, that place shone like a beacon of hope upon us, weary travellers on the road to nowhere. To see such lit up faces feasting in silent delight, well it was enough to make one self sick! Still, it really was an amazing place and well recommended should you be travelling anywhere between and Warsaw, anytime soon.
Poland. Typically Polish, this first show is in an old military barrackswhich is overly warm and underly decorated, being very reminiscent of Silent Hill or again, Hostel. There is an awesome shower though that features lights, a radio and of course, though not always optional, hot water.Catering is as per, though dinner is good and there are clothes washingfacilities, so much so that one of the rooms becomes a part time laundry,complete with hundreds of t-shirts from practically everybody on the tour.
The show is another blinder, and the crowd, as always, is maniacal here in Poland. We carry on the new-found tradition of playing The Forest Whispers My Name in addition to rest of the full set and leave the stage enraptured by the response.
Afterwards, everybody gathers for a few drinks in the common room with the other bands and various friends who have braved the weather to see the show.A few good hours are spent larking about (we're not kicked out until after three) and everybody disperses, happy and quite possibly, drunk to the gills. Fortunately I am not, so I make the rounds to find everything that has been left behind, which in this case is my phone which Caroline rings for me to (very luckily) find under someone's discarded trousers. Christ, imagine being without your lifeline on tour! Nightmare central!
Next day finds us in Krakow, late as usual as we try to find the bloodyvenue. Still, when we do, there is some nice vegetarian catering and ourfriend Beatrice who has travelled from Switzerland to see us. This seems to be a bit of a hippy commune and is very reminiscent of Berlin for somereason, but I really like it and the people are very friendly and helpful.After a great sound check dinner is served, which is amazing, and wegenerally hang around backstage, occasionally braving the balcony to watch the bands in full view of the audience. Still, it gets them fired up.
The gig is one of the best on the tour for sure, and we have a merry bloody time on stage going through the motions and playing an ultimately killer show. The crowd are a little strange in temperament, but I guess it's in their genes as the response is raucous after each song. Afterwards, and after a much-needed shower (I come off stage looking like a Coal man), I reconvene with Tom and the Godseed/Rotting Christ chaps in the venue bar, signing autographs and generally chilling out and having a wee laugh with the lads and some straggling fans who insist on buying vodka shots.
Today is the Winter Gods Of Metal in Zlin, Czech Republic, the only day of the tour that we play a festival which boasts Nile, Morbid Angel and Kreator amongst others, with nearly 6000 people present. The day is passed in the warm bliss of backstage coughing a lot, the bug still prevalent amongst these touring buddies. The catering here is awesome, plenty of fish and veg, red wine and weird vending machine orange juice and the time is spent bumping into people we've known from the past (such as Karl from Nile and Dave from Morbid). As its a festival show, we are on stage a lot earlier than usual, eight o'clock to be precise, but disaster strikes with a vengeance as we go on as Caroline is struck down with a stomach virus and exits the stage to be sick almost as soon as we start, resulting in us having to leave our show four songs in. Nightmare!
Still, Martin (whose locality this is, and whose girlfriend is here to see him), subdues the bemused audience in Czech, explaining the situation, and thus preserves our musical honour. It is a very sad state of affairs but one that unfortunately can't be helped, such is life on the road falling foul to the filthy fingers of illness. The main concern is Caroline's health and fortunately there are medics on hand who manage to calm her down and give her something for the pain, although she does spend the next two or three hours tearfully curled up in a knot in the dressing room. Still, we are afforded the opportunity to watch both Morbid Angel and Kreator from the stage during the course of the day and afterwards get to hang out backstage with the guys, with Dave from Morbid still trying to sell me real estate as he does every time I see him, and despite the horror of the abandoned show, the night turns out to be a good one, spent in some awesome fellow metal company. Oh and thanks to Mille from Kreator for the limited edition CD, one that I have been expecting from our American distributor since bloody June!The slackers!
Anyhoo, all's well that ends well and we leave Zlin to return in a few weeks with a show in Prague to make up for tonight's disappointment. I say all's well, but that isn't totally true as the singer from the first support act Darkend (watch out for these guys, they're really good) has been drinking vodka since leaving the stage around lunch time and is now near unconscious, being dragged around the place by his band mates, who have quite a job keeping him upright as they cart him off finally to the bus.
Today was a day off (Sunday 25th) and we decided to spend it recovering from the events of the previous night somewhere between safe and tranquil. What we got was Sunday bliss, in a small camp site just outside the beautiful city of Gratz in Styria. Anyhoo, today was a godsend. Still blighted by this bloody cold that several people have fallen victim to, at least today provides sunlight, beautiful rustic surroundings, a block of clean showers with Austrian radio playing gently in the background and a local restaurant set in the village that provides us with two excellent meals. One at lunch when we were feeling a little out of place amidst the booked Sunday Lunchers in the posh dining area, the other around seven when we'd recovered sufficiently from the previous sitting. This time we were situated in the buffet area, which was like a huge bird cage housing only a smattering ofcustomers, being served by a nice girl in traditional dress while John from Merch told stories from his scandalous boxing promoting past.
There was time for a mountainous country walk, lengthy showers in the warm empty shower cubicles and a roaring camp fire which we sat around right up to the bus's departure at midnight. Fortunately we had permission to burn stuff, so we immediately proceeded to discover quite a supply of seasoned logs under a tarpaulin and managed to keep the fire roaring for around six hours, from early dusk right through an untended dinner break and onto a clear night of moon and watchful stars, listening to Black Sabbath and drinking tea.
Tomorrow, through the noble Alps and onto Italy!
Well hello vitamin D!!!
Part 1- 15/11/12
I'm surprised that I even made it as far as the tour bus considering the hectic week that led to it's to chaotic beginnings.
Chaos heaped upon chaos. But in a nice way.
The week of doom really started in the previous Friday taking my wife Toni and Daughter, Luna (plus chum) to Thorpe Park theme park for one of their Hallowe'en nights, highlights being the Saw ride, Nemesis Inferno, Oblivion and the new (and utterly fantastic) Swarm experience, which is a roller coaster shaped like an alien fighter craft that swoops about a track that goes ballistic all over the place, including under a downed Boeing 747's broken wing, then skittering upside down and across the side of a lake. It looks even better at night when it's all lit up, like a meandering electric
centipede against the brooding sky. Fortunately the weather held out for a really magical day in, under and around some of the coolest breakneck rides around and the place just got better and more atmospheric at night when the zombies came out to play.
The weekend was equally packed with a Halloween bash and a family
get-together to fill it in, Monday was album launch day, so TV with Scuzz and further ISDN radio linkage -a two hour train journey into London- which also gave me the opportunity to meet up with Ross Bolidai, the director of Lilith Immaculate and now the director of the forthcoming 'For Your Vulgar Delectation' offering, all planned for shooting the upcoming Saturday, to finalise the storyboard, pick the lead actress and generally shoot the shit.
Tuesday I had interviews but managed to squeeze in a rehearsal in the morning and catch the new James Bond movie at Cineworld in the afternoon with my wife. Great stuff indeed and highly recommended, but I'd like my wife back after please!
Wednesday was Hallowe'en, that most magical of nights, (also known as my wedding anniversary) which, again, was spent in London, but this time in a plush hotel by Tower Bridge and London by night courtesy of The Tombs at London Bridge ( a horror walk-through which, amid the many tombs and tunnels beneath the railway line, was genuinely fucking creepy) and a mystery tour aboard the necro-line Ghost Bus ( an Old fashioned black London bus painted black and once used for ferrying bodies out of the city, allegedly). Both events were brilliant fun and conjoined by a few beers in the Sherlock Holmes pub on Northumberland Avenue made for a great Hallowe'en and wedding anniversary. Plus the sex was pretty good too!
Next day, following a big London fry-up, we wandered around the Victoria and Albert museum with all its fabulous Empirical treasures, them took a cab to our costume maker's flat in Finsbury Park to try on my battle suit for live.
A fine meal across from the Queen's royal barge followed, with a journey home via Luna's friends to pick up the girls, then it was a movie in front of the fire to round off the festive fun.
Friday began the start of my pre-tour panicking but not for long as once again I was being whisked away to London for some radio spots and the Cradle Of Filth launch gathering in Soho, in the cellars of a nice antiquarian pub/club. Much mooching was to be had with journos, friends and the suchlike and much quaffing of the vine before heading home in a taxi, train, taxi before the hectic scheduled excitement of the next day.... The much-anticipated filming of the second video from our latest album.
Paul drove the worst hire car I have ever seen, a Daewoo Tin Can up to Oxfordshire where we were shooting in the grounds of Brian Eno's ex-wife's country house, a copse of woodland and a field where a smattering of vehicles were all parked up when we arrived around two in the afternoon.
Make-up was a bit of a squeeze as costume adjustments, prosthetics and actress dressing were all being done within the tiny confines of a wheel-based camper, but we managed. The true Olympians that we are. The toilets were actually constructed for the day from left over prop parts from the last Star Wars movie and were actually not too bad considering the later chill and the natural decomposition that lay beneath.
Make-up was pretty lengthy due to the scarred prosthetics that had to be applied, but fun as the guys and girls were really easy to get along with and the experience was new. I'm not going to give too much away about the video as its premise is pretty simple but really fucking cool. In a nutshell, it's a long scene from a horror movie set in a forest, with living nightmares being finished off in a succession of ways by the beautiful young heroine of the piece. That is until the end of the game being played behind the scenes is finally, and quite horribly revealed. This one is gory and sexy and very much directed by the song that rolls upon it. Shooting all hours of bonfire night in an illuminated wood surrounded by graves and fog/smoke hovering in the freezing air was some final Hallowe'en week experience! Thanks to everybody on set who made it possible, especially the effects guru who'd worked on everything from Krull to Batman, who had me shot full on-in the chest with a Handgun.
And yes, we set someone on fire in this one!
Cradle of Filth - 'Creatures From The Black Abyss' Winter Tour 2012 e.h
Dani Filth- vokills
Paul Allender - guitars
James Mcllroy - guitars
Daniel Firth - bass
Caroline Campbell -keys/ female vocals
Martin Skaroupka -battery
The Crewdle Of Filth
Martin 'Big M' Lamb -tour manager
Rupert Shaw aka 'Vinny' - lighting
Matthew Rowley - out front noise
Michael Horrod - monitors
John Finch - merchandising
Michael 'Mick' Reed - drum tech/stage manager
Darren Miah -guitar tech
The tour almost didn't start at all as the bus was eight and a half hours late to arrive at Springvale, where we had gathered after a small banquet at the local gourmet pub. The wee hours were passed either asleep in a van or watching Red Dwarf down in our toastie rehearsal room. Anyway, the bus finally arrived at a quarter to three, we hastily packed the bays and trailer and set off, very few of us getting off for the ferry across to France, favouring the quite roomy bunks we'd successfully picked for our hamster-like future sleeping marathons. Though the aisle in the sleeping areas ( now known as Saville Row, as opposed to the usual Bummer's Alley) is a tad thin, so it's one person down it at a time, else it's a tight, unfriendly/friendly squeeze given your persuasion.
And obviously the delay in being picked up by the German Bus Company (not really their fault to be honest), meant that we arrived almost the same amount of hours late at the venue. The afternoon, what was left of it, being a bit of a mad scramble to get the stage set-up and the band sound checked before the paying public were let in. Still it was managed just in the nick of time and although we were a little ropey on a few small parts due to the
rushed set up, we played pretty bloody well for an opening show and small issues aside, we really enjoyed blasting through the set. Plus the self-operated under lighting/ smoke machine works a treat, providing I don't blind myself and fall from the stage.
The other bands I thought were awesome too, Dark End sound a lot like us in our youth but with a Mediterranean edge, Rotting Christ are getting more epic with every album I swear and deliver a really powerful set, whilst Godseed are all blistering black metal and sluggish pomp.
Afterwards we hang out with the other bands, my friend Tom from Temple (Of The Black Moon) plays bass for Godseed and several other guys are known from my visits to Bergen too, so some reunion is called for before bus call and a journey of a mere few hours to Leeuwarden, the next date in Holland.
The venue today in Leeuwarden is a pew-ridden old church and is situated down a cobbled side street in an attractive part of town, all posh eateries and dustless Antique shops. Time is spent preparing properly the evening's entertainment, considering the lack of time the night before, though there is enough time afford a walk about and a visit to a local coffee shop.
After a lengthy sound check, dinner is served upstairs in a beautiful little restaurant/bar and for the first time this year I feel all Christmassy, especially with hung lights twinkling down the narrow old streets. Festive sap that I am!
The show is awesome, but stupidly loud despite the new drum screen we have to combat any encroaching Tinnitus onstage and the crowd are pretty manic tonight. We're still finding our feet live-wise, yet the set is solid aside from a few tiny mistakes here and there, though there still is the problem of our video projector not working. We must get the hard drive fixed or a new one bought in the next few days.
After the show we shower and drink wine as the audience (and our blood) thins and the circus is once again packed up for delivery into another country, eventually trolling our way back to the comfort of the bus and its cosy, warm lit interior full of chat.
Today in Osnabruck I walked through the adjacent forest at the back of the club and climbed to a lofty position on the hill by way of a dried up stream, utilising the boulders for grip on the climb. This afforded me a great view from a jutting rock and a perfect place to sit and listen to some inspiring music. Trouble came when I felt my buttocks were going numb and I decided to descend to the golden leaved forest below, as the way back was pretty precarious. Still, I made it with only a grazed heel and a poke in the eye by a passing twig, then it was back beneath the awe-inspiring canopy of the Autumnal forest. And who should I spy whistling along a winding track? None other than young Daniel Firth, out for a similar stroll or some other nefarious business involving a spade and a freshly spayed body.
The venue here is really special as it used to be a circus tent across the road, before being rebuilt in its own image. What we have is a round venue with a lot of interesting looking hanging beasties, such as a Pterodactyl and an enormous bat, some ample catering and the aforementioned forest surround.
The show is good yesterday's volume having slightly roughed our edges but not too much, making for another adrenaline fuelled hell ride through material past and new. The day ends with a few drinks on the bus, or else spent in the whirl and rush of the Darkwave disco that the venue metamorphoses into come midnight.
Denmark is colder, much colder, though the Train club in Aarhus is modern and clean, plus the food here is exceptional. Proper al a carte. Meat, fish, more meat, all cooked to perfection. Plus there's canapes and some delicious rhubarb crumble pudding for afters.
The day begins with the perfunctory cleaning and coffee injected straight into the eyeballs, then it's a jaunt round the heaving town to find a suitable present for Ms Campbell's birthday (33 today, again!). After a few hours impatient fretting I at last come upon a perfect gift from the band and crew. AC/DC monopoly! And in English, which is also useful! Still, Caroline loves it when she eventually crawls out of bed in time for an early soundcheck, which sounds really good now that we have the small issues with
noise contained; so that's all that matters!
The show is a really good one, best thus far in my humble opinion, how cool the crowd's reactions are, we are cooking on gas mark 13. Afterwards it's the rudimentary showers and load-out in time for the Saturday night discotheque that takes over from the live club.
A few spins later, strutting my stuff on the dance floor, it's back to the bus for a few drinks, chats with the support acts and a film in bed ( Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy, only slightly interrupted by the continuing rolling over to relieve a dead arm as the bus lollops along on its way toward the early ferry to Sweden, and the promising spell of two days off. Before bed though, we stop along the way at a services and decide to take some weird-looking pictures atop a floodlight, having obviously had a wee smoke in the
First day off is a travel day, well-spent at the cafe bar on the ferry, then, for the most of the day, ambling in conversation about the bus, reading or in bed. The second day is no better really, as we're parked up outside the venue here in Sweden for power and water and not a lot else. Some of us go sightseeing, some lurk about the bus awaiting the toilets and showers to be opened, and some of us don't surface at all. A meal is taken at a local Thai called Phucket Island ( I thought that was Great Britain's acronym)!) and the day is over really before it has begun, as it gets dark rather early and the basic needs of survival here, beyond the wild frontier, are at least slightly catered for.
LG from Entombed stops by for a brief visit as he is recording a track in a studio in the bowels of the venue and there is an offer of a free ticket to see the local Hockey game, but I'm not sure of anyone took up his kind offer. Bed beckoned with another movie (Sexy Killer) and the promise of a lengthy night's deep sleep in preparation for the morrow and the first Creatures From The Black Abyss show in two days...