Friday, January 29, 2010
Snow storm, sold out show and meatloaf!! The meatloaf was amazing, along with the sour cream gravy, man! Saw a lot of good friends tonight. Marcus of Disfear took me out for some nice beer before the show. We split a Nils Oscar Barley Wine. Fantastic and also 9.5%, thus the split. I had to play still.
Show was great, best set of the tour so far!
Lobby call was 6:30am, so I had a Nils Oscar smoked porter, which was also very good, and retired.
I rode with Victims so I could get to Stockholm early the next day, get tattooed and see some things. It was a cold day with lots of snow, traffic and reports of the skiing competition happening on the radio. Stopped in Malmo to drop some things off and grab a meal. I had a falafel with fried Haloumi and hummus. The Haloumi was incredible and also something I've never experienced. It's a type of goat cheese from Cyprus I'm told.
After the long ride, the night ended with Johan, Ronnie and myself in a Mac circle while I started the exodus of my own fan page for Facebook. I'm waiting to get home to finish it, it's exciting and my discography is proving to be a lot of work.
They usually make Hamburgers at the Hafenklang and I was betting on it and skipped them for lunch due to that hope. Chili was tonight's meal. Not bad. Show was sold out, people were going crazy and there was the "rando" annoying guy, getting on stage and unplugging our equipment and being a drunken hanger on pain in the ass as well.
The after party, held upstairs, was the best one so far. Good tunes, good people and one hell of a ping pong game. The game was played like so. 15 people, 15 padles, one ball and one table. The ball was served and the line rotated clockwise to strike the ball each time. If you missed or hit the ball out of bounds, you were eliminated. The final two played a best of three to determine a winner. It went on all night and never got boring, what a game!
Drove to Nunberg, watched a bunch of podcasts from the Vic Firth website. The Vic Firth site is probably the best educational site for drumming and percussion out there. Wolfgang Haffner and Dafnis Peitro are my newly discovered hero's! So much talent and character...AND inspiration.
Got to hotel and I had a Doner Box for dinner. Doner box was filled with french fries, chicken and some kind of Thousand Island dressing. It was ok, but not great. Choices were slim that evening.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Killer, espresso from the hotel before departure. In Treviso, I had very good pizze and amazing pistachio and chocolate gelato. I also managed to locate the piece to my Bialetti machine that I’ve been missing, and for just over a euro! During the ride, I revisited the Dillinger Escape Plan catalogue, while listening to a new track of theirs as well. I also realized how great this band still is to me and how most of their clones that followed the Dillinger handbook so closely, fail to hit the mark.
Todays meal was really great, all the bands ate family style at a long table. There was chicken, pork, fried cauliflower, broccoli, fried olives, au gratin potatoes, salad and some really great mushrooms. The meal is a huge part of moral before the show, I’m convinced. It sure showed as this was of our finest moment as a group on this tour tonight. A combo of being happy, full, playing the songs are their correct speed (not too fast, which I’m usually guilty of) and the crowd soaking it up and all over like a sponge. The crowd was raging….many people on stage at once, through the whole set.
Tonight’s after party was spent at the hotel bar, sharing Grappa with Matt (our wonderful promoter), his buddy and the native Transilvanian desk clerk. The conversation topics were like a sonic pinball machine and ranged from Obama, to illuminati, vampires and 2012 on how the Mayan calendar is wrong . Debates ensued about the original 10 month a year calendar and the 12 month one we currently adhere by. It was hazy by that time though and bed was on my mind over all.
Coffee & Donut were today’s kick starters. Kongh once again fills my speakers as we drive along on the way to Bolonga, spying all the grapevine fields and enormous mountains. I love Italy for many reasons. I fell in love with coffee in Italy and bought my first Bialetti machine in Bologna, which was considered “mission impossible” at the time by my hosts. “It’s Sunday and lunch time, nothing is open”. They were baffled when I appeared with one in hand from literally right around the corner.
The food in Italy is of sheer excellence, filled of passion. I haven’t really ventured down the wine road yet since I’m a beer enthusiast and I’ll say, recently Italy has been cranking out some really special beers. The Baladin Brewery are making waves in the US, but are also pricey due to Italy’s export taxes. The Italian people also LOVE their metal and hardcore music and show appreciation to the fullest when we play. It’s a wonderful feeling.
Dinner was spectacular, pesto pasta perfectly done and rotisserie chicken that blew my mind. Probably the second best chicken I’ve ever eaten, with the first being in Puerto Rico.
The show was great and people “went all out”. Simone our promoter always takes care of us. Oh, I also received some nice gifts from my friend Francesca in the form of Beer and Cheese. Wonderful Parmesan and special beers “Nora” and “Super” from the Baladin Brewery. Lucky me.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
The Bosch super building loomed ahead of us as my soundtrack (Kongh from Sweden) provided the perfect companion for “The Road” esque conditions, since I’ve been here. As Mike Hill would say, it’s a “lifetime of grey skies”. Minus the looting and cannibalism and not nearly as drastic as it sounds, it’s been dreary from the start.
180. Hardboiled eggs and coffee for breakfast this morning. Munich (home of the Silver Surfers and more importantly the most breweries per capita in Germany)…finds us at the same club once again. Vegan food will be provided again. Not that I’m complaining (think Vigo), bring on Italy.
To my joy, the food wasn't vegan. It was a meat lasagna and it wasn't too bad, kinda sweet. I'm pre-show posting due to boredom. I changed and tuned my drum heads, re-synced my ipod and have time to kill. I'll probably jump some rope in a bit. My goal is to jump 1000 times on this trip in one day. Maybe the first day off.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Yogurt , cereal, coffee and gas station Bockwurst are today’s breakie. The audio hat trick starting (while driving beside the Berlin Wall) off the ride is: Dillinger Escape Plan’s, Irony is a Dead Scene, Nachtmystium’s, Black Meddle Part 1 and the classic Napalm Death’s, From Enslavement To Obliteration. F.E.T.O., never lets up and is my favorite Napalm album by far. I remember reading a review in Thrasher Magazine saying “This is the fastest album ever”. So I ran out and got it straight away (on cassette), came home put it on and was bummed. You see, the first track is a stretched out, torturous doom laden, depression fest. I took it out , shelved it for a few weeks and decided to give it another go while doing something in my room. We’ll, needless to say, the first track ended, the second kicked and I was in love with a new sound I’ve never heard before. It was dirty, it was noisy and most importantly, it was fast as hell! In fact, the fastest thing I’d ever heard at that point. I proceeded to worship it form there. It only takes one listen each once and a while to be reminded of the brutal power this album possesses. I just cranked it in my headphones and am currently air drumming along, ha! It will put a small dent in today’s ride.
The halfway point finds me listening to Dim-Mak’s, Knives of Ice, (which in my opinion is the catchiest progressive extreme metal out there with top notch playing to boot. I say this ‘cause there are songs here, not just a display in ability like most of today’s extreme metal.) watching some really great Wolfgang Haffner drum performances and a meal at a rest stop called Kohlroulade. Basically, a ground meat stuffed cabbage with gravy. It was very good and not the Burger King option.
Show was good, well attended. Vegan stew was tonight's meal. I passed and went across the street to the Korean place, where they had dog on the menu. No woof, woof here, I'll be honest the foodie in my wasn't up for it after the long day. I won't rule it out, but tonight simply wasn't the night. I opted for the beef bulgogi instead. Wasn't bad, but wasn't great.
Sit-ups, Push-ups, shower. Breakfast of scrambled eggs, with meat and a small bowl of oats and yogurt. Coffee, water, load. Michal is on board again driving and it feels like just yesterday. Berlin bound, the first selection for me is Socrates: On The Wings. Great, old Greek, psych music with adventurous, great borderline self-indulgent songs that grab your interest the whole time while flexing musical muscle when needed. A touch of blues in there too. Good stuff.
Tonight, even though it says in house meal, I will head over to the Russian Restaurant, Gorki Park. Their dumplings, very similar to pierogi, are some of the best I’ve ever had and certainly can’t find anything close to them anywhere near me.
During the ride to Berlin and Morbid Angel listening marathon, I realized we aren’t going to be as close to Gorki Park as I thought, Bummer! I hope it’s not too far . We’re almost to Berlin and while keeping up to date with the latest Facebook news pieces via phone, I noticed Crossfit posted their WOD (Work out of the day) and it looks fun. 10 Rounds of 10 push ups, 20 sit ups and 30 squats for time. Should be doable, so I’m anticipating our arrival . My goal is to bang out load, equipment & sound check and move on to the work , before dinner and doors. That’s a perfect world though, we’ll see!
My plan worked, got my work out in, ate some Thai food (with broccoli, cause I’m trying to eat greens each day) and even managed to get some time in on the ole’ practice pad before the gig. The first show cobwebs were there, but hey, that’s normal. The crowd was full and full of beer, crowd surfing and the man who got the mic chord tangled in his hair so bad, we had to take a break to untangle it. There’s always someone or something that makes each show unique.
Three films, a TV program, one crappy meal and I arrived in Frankfurt at 6:35 am. Luckily, there was an early supermarket close to the hotel. I stocked up on gasless water, chocolate and a meat patty similar to a hamburger and napped until about 6pm. I arose hungry and hit the Mongolian BBQ next to the supermarket. It was a total score and had everything you could have wished for from fried to raw and from Kangaroo to Squid. Wanting comfort, I went for Beef, Shrimp, Mushrooms, lots of garlic and Spinach with other trips for chicken and broccoli. No noodles, no rice, no filler as I’m trying to eat green and lean this time around. I’ll cave here and there for things that I just plain can’t get regularly, and rightfully so of course.
Coffee will have no sugar and I’ll lay off the bread a bit, even though the euro bread is really great. The UK will have the “nothing fried” challenge, and what a challenge it will be. This tour is an experiment for me with hopes of maintaining a scaled regiment of the crossfit class that I’ve been attending for the past month.