I play drums for Rivalries, London Diehards and UnderclassUK.
Read my experiences rehearsing, gigging and recording drums with these bands along with anything else I wish to share on the subject of drums.
2 nights ago Rivalries played at Astbury Castle, the most awesome house lived in by the most awesome people in the not quite so awesome south London.
The highlight of the evening though was Rab the Dog. I care very little for animals in general, and dogs especially, but this guy was pretty awesome and he topped the worlds first (i have checked and this is fact … FACT!) mammal pyramid. It’s all in the video below.
We are taking donations to hire a giraffe to help form the next pyramid, anything you can spare will be gladly received.
Peace and paradiddles
First of all I need to say a few things about Friday 24th May and the week that followed.
On Friday 24th May Rivalries released a music video for Built To Last exclusively on the website for the music magazine Rock Sound. The video is the post below this for those that haven’t seen it. The video was so fun to make all of us in Rivalries were both excited to release it and full of anticipation about its reception. The fact it was exclusively on rocksound.tv over the bank holiday weekend was a bit of a big deal for us and should no-one watch it could mean Rock Sound loose any interest in us in the future. Well … I can’t go into figures, but the video was the most viewed page on the Rock Sound website that day. That put a massive smile on all our faces over the weekend.
The following Tuesday we released the video on YouTube and got an even more phenomenal (for us) response. We honestly thought a few mates would watch it and that’d be it. By the end of that week we had over 400 views and that number continues to rise, 758 as of Tuesday 18th June. So, to everyone involved in making it … Jaz, Katherine, Luke, Emma, Davey, Cat, Natasha, Laura, Mike, Nic, Kane, Alfie, Ren, Perkie, Mariam, Lydia, Daniel, Katie, Marie, Danille, Asha, Cameron who came up to Oxford to be in it (sorry if I’ve forgotten anyone there) plus Tommy, Neil and Vince (the band) and finally Anthony who came from France to film & extensively edit it! You are all awesome!
Right so jump forward to two weekends ago and The London Diehards (minus Tom because he had better things to do) flew over to Bremen to play for a promoter whose name I can’t remember. I know it’s run by Sven but the company name escapes me.
Anyway Steve picked Tel and myself up around 10am (hooray, no 5am get up times) and we drove up to Stansted. The journey was quite painless. I’m reading World War Z at the moment in preparation for the film that comes at the end of the week (I prefer to have read the book first so it isn’t spoiled by the film) so I spent most the journey reading that. We got to Stansted, parked up and got the bus to the terminal where we instinctively went to the bar. At this point I was still on the wagon so I skipped the Guinness breakfast and continued reading. Ciaran arrived soon after and dished out copies of the new split (Live Bad and Die Hard - my idea that was) that should have been available when we were in Sweden. They look awesome. Digipacks are my fav casing for CDs and these are no exception.
Security was, as always, a simple affair. Although Tel did get pulled up for having too much moisturiser. Personally I think they were suspicious because he has it disguised as hair gel!
Steve was served cigarettes by a man in a kilt, unfortunately there were not pictures of that, and we went (instinctively again) to the bar. I’m convinced the only reason they tell you to get to the airport 2hrs early is to coerce you into spending money at the bars. There’s one for you conspiracy theorists out there.
When we finally went around to the gate we bumped into my good friend, ex band-mate and mentioned above in the list of video extras, Alfie and his girlfriend Iza who were on their way to Poland for 2 weeks. Unfortunately neither of us had the time to wait and catch up as our respective flights were boarding.
Ahhhh Ryanair we meet again. In truth Ryanair isn’t a terrible flight it’s just so damned uncomfortable, who ever invented the seats must be a sadist, and the pilots seem to just dump the planes out the air back onto the ground without any grace. Other than that the job gets done.
We arrived in Bremen at about 5pm local time and were meet by Sven, Hoggie(I think that’s his name) and a lady I can’t remember the name of. Didn’t even see her after we arrived at the venue.
En route in their people carrier we were offered Becks (I declined) we discussed the different types of Becks, we drove past the Becks brewery and generally just had a big Becks filled car ride.
As soon as we arrived at the venue we sound checked. I was using the the drummer from Bruise Heads gear, he has an odd choice of breakables. The snare is terrible. So flat, open, hollow, there is no top end or crack to it, it’s like the shit tin snares that come with starter kits with names like Power Beat! Snare aside he has a strange choice of cymbals for an Oi band. All Staggs (nothing wrong with that, I love Stagg for cheap, no nonsense cymbals, best low end brand!) but he had a 12” splash & 14” crash plus a little 12” china. I’m used to 18” 20” & 21” sizes, it took a bit of time to adjust but thankfully the small sizes worked. I think probably because they were Staggs. Any other brand probably would have been terrible. The ride he has was amazing. Like my Z3 mega bell only a lot cheaper! I’m going to buy one as soon as money will allow which basically means once I have bought the next gen iPhone as soon as it is announced and the new MacBook Air, which I am probably going to buy tomorrow because temptation is starting to prove a little too much.
By the way I am a massive Apple enthusiast, they are simply the best computer hardware & software manufacture. Anyone that want’s to dispute that, be my guest. I watched the Apple WWDC Keynote Monday last week and I’m extremely existed for their new products. Especially OS Mavericks, it shits all over Windows!
While on that subject. Gutted Microsoft, they have been making wrong turns for years. Internet Explorer (the worst of all the web browsers), Vista, Windows 8 & now XBox One. This is really the start of their demise. The only thing going for them (XBox aside) is that they are cheap. Actully that’s not quite true. Their software is expensive and constantly being updated but as soon as more offices start to make the switch to Apple (it’s happening slowly), Microsoft is fucked! No-one is going to buy XBox One … every XBox 360 owner on every forum and article I have read is going to make I the switch to Playstation and I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft makes some serious U-Turns on the system either before or shortly after release.
Anyway, back to Bremen …..
I bent my front door key out of shape trying to tune the horrible snare with the horrible old school flat head screw driver tuning lugs and still failed to get it to sound any good!
Next we were shown back stage (which was actually behind the stage for once) where we were showered with nibbles, booze, and later food.
On the booze front there were 2, very large chiller draws full of Becks Gold. There must have been 2 crates in each draw and later on in the evening when all the booze ran out, they were topped up … I love European shows
Food arrived from a catering company no less, this is how you treat a band ladies, gents and promoters alike, you pay their travel, their accommodation, give them more beer than they can drink and hire a catering company to feed them. Awesome! It was some sort of meat in soem sort of sauce with an assortment of veg. The best bit was the potato in cheese sauce, like cauliflower cheese but with potatos. It was also go good everyone (London Diehards and Bruiseheads) had two plates worth, before the final band (Schusterjungs, had arrived. I hope we left them enough :/
The next few hours passed by with me continuing to read World War Z and it’s at this point I decided to throw myself from the wagon and start drinking. It was free booze that I figured would only go to waste (haha) if I didn’t partake so I went head first into what I assumed would result in the mother of hangovers the next day. Waiting for things to kick off which they did around 8. I set up the merch table while Bruiseheads played and instantly had a queue form for tees and CDs - Europeans love buying merch - which kept me busy until we went on stage.
Apparently the sound at the front of the stage was pretty shit, only really hearing drums, for me though, for once, I could hear everything quite well and all in all we played our best. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, to the point that one fellow was moved to try and steel a fold back monitor … each to their own.
Once we came off stage I was back on merch, selling nearly everything out and disappointing a lot of people by running out of mediums and larges … not because we had all the mediums and larges we have, but because Ciaran didn’t pack them all, the tit.
When I finally got backstage I was tasked with signing drum sticks, not as uncommon as you might think, and finally got the chance to sit down. I joined Tel for what we hoped would be a quiet rest before we carried which is when the King of the German Skinheads came over to talk about anything and everything. I call him the King of the German Skinheads because he was a big mo-fo, and this is the nickname we gave him, though no-one quite remembers hows to pronounce his real name, Casse Waker or something like that. From this point on there was no shutting him up. From now until we got a cab home he was talking and talking and talking, even when Schusterjungs came off stage and everyone else joined us back stage he kept on. I’m sure it was lal very entertaining stuff, I even tried to teach him to drum at one point because he was asking how, and I stupidly thought I could teach a 50+ year old drunk German the basics in 5mins! Ha! When I should him a paradiddle, Right Left Right Right etc … he started boxing the air! Nutter!
By about 1am we were ready to go, a cab was called for us and we went to the hotel. We had been given reservation numbers to punch into a code at the front door to get in and then again into our room doors. Being drunk we had trouble reading the numbers and entering them into the keypads, so what should have been a fairly simple operation felt like we were breaking into the hotel. Especially as we had a room each and had to go through the process 4 times.
By the time I fell into bed it was 2am and I was asleep almost instantly, only to be awoken at 8.30am by Tel texting me asking if I was going for breakfast. Bugger getting up yet my head said and I went back to sleep.
About an hour later I woke up feeling absolutely fine, christ knows how that works but I got up, showered at went to catch breakfast before it ended as I released I was quite hungry. God I wish I hadn’t bothered. It was quite literally a bread and butter meal, with little more than bread, butter, some other sandwich spreads and orange juice. Maybe it’s because I was there half an hour before the end and they were out of all the good stuff, maybe its because it was a really cheap Ibis hotel and it was a shit breakfast. For 7 Euros!!! Glad I wasn’t paying.
Tel’s mate who lives in Bremen came to meet us for a coffee before we left and was still unable to get my name right. The entire nighe he had been calling me John … don’t know where he got that from and I didn’t bother to correct him. As we got into cabs to go back to the airport we shook hands and he said he’d add me on Facebook (not that I use it too much) and I told him that he was welcome to try. I would now comment that it would be good luck finding a John who doesn’t exisit, somehow he did manage to find me … how do people do it?!
The trip to the airport took no time at all, considering the journey from the venue (10mins from the airport) to the hotel took ages so we were about an hour early and they wouldn’t let us through to air side until it was time. It was a really small airport so they don’t just let you through to the otherside (literally just through a glass door) until 2hrs before the flight otherwise it’d get really crowded. As we would soon see.
We sat in McDonalds until it was time to head through and once we did we sat at the little cafe opposite our gate people watching (Cairan fantasising about what he’d liketo do sexually with the more attractive ones) until it was time to board. We were due to board at 2pm for a 2.30pm flight. At 2pm the plane hadn’t even arrived. at 2.30pm they announced it was delayed for some reason or another and this went on for at least an hour, probably a bit more, until we finally saw our plane arrive and pull up to the gate.
We jumped in the queue and not long after we board the plane. The plane, incidentally, which had been sat outside another gate the entire time we were at the airport. Fuck knows what that was about!
Unfortunatley for Ciaran he didn’t get to sit next to any of his much desired and fantasised about passengers, instead he got stuck with a lady so large she had to have a seat belt extender. How someone that size fits into a seat on Ryanair is beyond me, they is barely room for me and I’m not all that tall or big!
I slept for most the journey back which to be fair isn’t long and we landed around 4pm local time. The same time Steve’s car park ticket was due to expire! Marvelous. We imagined big yellow clamps and large, unfriendly, privately contracted men with small nasty parking tickets once we arrived back at the car. In fact we experienced the complete opposite. Unicorns! No not really unicorns, although they would have been cool. We explained the flight had been delayed to the man at the car park exit barrier and he let us through. How nice of him :)
And thus ends another trip away with the London Diehards.
This Thursday I am playing closer to home, at The Intrepid Fox in Tottenham Court Road with Underclass. It’s Free! Last time Underclass had a gig I crashed the car. This time I’m taking the tube. Hopefully that doesn’t crash!
Peace and paradiddles.
Last Saturday London Diehards played at Bedford Esquires with SUPERYOB and Citizen Keyne. Terry had surgery on his knee a few days before so couldn’t make it along with us, which left Ciaran having to pick up vocal duties and me on backing with Steve! I try to avoid to backing vocals while drumming, apart from the fact I can’t sing, it’s one extra thing to focus on while playing.
Anyway we’re skipping ahead. First and foremost my main focus of the evening was the series 7 finale of Doctor Who. Any other series I could possibly have waiting to watch it the next day but this year Moffat is been a genius setting up this story arc from the first episode and with an episode title ‘The Name of the Doctor’ (50 years in and we only know the name he choice for himself, “The Doctor”) I simply had to watch it if not when it aired, then as soon after the air time as possible to avoid any spoilers on Twitter, which I haunt relentlessly! @quinn_drummer to follow me.
We arrived at the venue around 5.30, unloaded and me and Ciaran walked around to the hotel I’d be staying at, less than 1km away. It’s a really boring story why I was staying at a different hotel to everyone else, the simple version being that when we booked, the Travelodge didn’t have enough rooms for everyone so we booked another room at another hotel. Being closer to the venue I opted to stay there so I could dash back and watch Doctor Who before we played.
Anyway, we checked me in and went back to the venue to sound check which went smoothly. Emily and Hayley who were running the sound were very impressive and very professional. I only point this out as they were both quite young, definitely no older than me which is unusual for sound engineers which are generally of an age with years/decades of experience and even then they can be pretty bad at what they do at times.
We finished sound check at 7.45, just as Doctor Who was finishing airing so I made a bee line for the exit, whist everyone else was off to the pub for beer and a burger, I went to the chippy (2 sausage, chips, buttered roll and packets of mayo only £3.80!!) grabbed dinner and briskly walked back to the hotel. Luckily for me the hotel had free (and very strong) wifi so I didn’t have to suffer a huge 3G data drain and low quality video so I quickly signed in, loaded iPlayer and watched intently while I ate.
Jump to 45mins later … WHAT.THE.FUCK! Anyone who has seen the episode will know what I am talking about. I shall leave it at that.
I quickly showered and made it back to the venue around 9 to catch the end of the Citizen Keyne set. As I walked through the small car park I noted how many people were stood around outside. BAD FORM PEOPLE, BAD FORM. As I got inside it seemed there were more people on the stage with the band than stood watching. BAD FORM PEOPLE!
2 songs later and Citizen Keyne were finished and once they were off, SUPERYOB started to set stage ready to play. Mick, their drummer, is left handed, and owing to a bit of a tricky tom arm on Citizen Keyne's drum kit I had to help swap it over. Tom, Citizen Keyne's drummer had removed the right tom arm from his bass drum mounted tom stand (I wish more people with a 1 up set up did this) to create more room for his ride to come over his kick drum so we had to move the only arm from the left soft to the right. I realise that I am appealing to a very small demographic at this point, i.e. only drummers know what the fuck I am talking about I shall simply say that it was a bit more difficult that it would ordinarily be, so I helped with the set up change.
SUPERYOB played superbly, they are always such a pleasure to play with and unlike most shows where I am itching for a band to finish playing to I can get on stage, I am always wanting more from SUPERYOB and never gets antsy to play.
10mins before their set finished I headed back stage to warm up. Until about a year ago I always used to go on stage cold, but now I wouldn’t dream of going on stage without having spent 10 or 15mins drumming through some rolls and rudiments to get the fingers moving, a bit of stretching to loosen up the arms as I play infinitely better having spent those few short minutes getting into the drumming zone as it were.
I shall let the few songs below speak for themselves as to how well we played. Considering we were missing our front man I think we did really well.
1 thing I will say is that the crowd were fucking miserable! About half a dozen people at the front really enjoying themselves then 5 paces behind them 100 people just stood, watching, like a gold tournament. BAD FORM PEOPLE, BAD FORM. This was nothing to do with us. The crowd was like this all night. Why pay £10 to see bands play if you’re just going to stand around and watch emotionless.
Once we had packed up we headed downstairs as Frankie was doing he solo piano set for those wanting to stay on into the early hours. About 15mins into his set around 12.20am 5 boys dressed like 1 Direction walked into the bar while I was stood outside with Andy, Mick and Tom. 6 mins later they walked out again. I was very impressed. I didn’t think they’d last 30seconds.
As I’m still not drinking I made my way back to the hotel shortly after, showered and climbed into bed. Unable to sleep I watched Doctor Who again. WHAT.THE.FUCK! And finally fell asleep listening to some Podcast or another. Always fall asleep to Podcast these days!
What felt like 5mins later I woke up at 8am for breakfast, which was a nice if not generous Full English then headed to my room to wait for the lads to pick me up for the return journey to London.
I managed to finished reading Good Omens on the return journey. I started reading it on the way to Sweden and it took me 2 weeks as I found it a slow burner, but it was a good, humorous read. Pratchett and Gaiman’s take on the Apocalypse with a little social commentary regarding religions role in society. As it was recommended to me by @_LisaRose_ I shall therefore thank her and recommended it to you. I will say though that I am a lot happier now I am back on the Stieg Larsson series, with his second book, ‘The Girl Who Played With Fire’.
Anyway, enough of my gig reviews and enough of this blog post.
Nest up, Rivalries release our music video on Friday at 2pm so I shall be posting it here as soon as it is live.
Also, Underclass UK release our Live and Loud album on Friday so will be posting links to where that is available.
Peace and Paradiddles.
Waking up at 8am again for breakfast Ciaran gingerly pulled himself out of bed having only got in about 2 hours previously. Steve was a little better off but not much and Tom, having found his way back to the hotel and spent the night with Ciaran and the rest drinking all night didn’t even stir so was yet again left behind while the rest of us went to breakfast.
I’ll spare you all the excitable description of what was on offer again, it was exactly the same as on Saturday (and I imagine every other day of the week) and it went without incident. We saw a few rather hungover faces from the night before, most sitting silently nursing black coffees and as soon as everyone was finished it was back to the hotel room for a couple of hours kip before leaving for the airport.
Having not been drinking and having had a relatively early night, I was bouncing off the walls with energy so decided to go for a wander around the shopping area to see if I could find a new bag to replace my one with the busted zip. The first thing I noticed was how quiet Norrköping seemed, quieter than usual, by this point it wasn’t even particularly early, about 10am, but unperturbed I walked the 10mins up the roads to the shopping parade and found it more desolate than the opening scenes of 28 Day Later. There wasn’t a soul around and not a single shop was open. I walked the entire length of the street that had all the shops on and found that none of them opened until 11am. We were due to be picked up around 11.30 / 12 to go back to the airport so I wasn’t going to have the time to come out again before we left. My only hope would be that I would be able to find a bag at the airport. I turned around and went back to the hotel.
Slowly people were starting to come around, and after a short while everyone was up and ready to leave for the airport. All except Tom who was still passed out. We found out later he had drunk the best part of a bottle of bourbon so he can be excused.
The rest of the morning was just waiting around for the pick up, which came around 11.45. We piled into the mini-bus, Tom in toe this time and set off on the 2 hour drive to Stockholm.
Unfortunately I am unable to recount much of the journey to the airport as I fell asleep but I imagine it was all tree, McDonalds, hut in the woods, trees, McDonalds, hut in the woods … rinse, lather, repeat.
Upon arriving at the airport we said thanks and good bye to our drivers, and headed into the terminal. We printed our tickets and while Steve, Ciaran, Tom and Terry went to check their bags in, Sean and myself went on the longest walk around an airport to find a bag! First of all the main shopping area of the airport before going through security was at the other end of the terminal to where we were so we had to traverse that first. Then the first shops we came across were little cafes, news agents and gift shops. After walking a similar distance again we came to a shop that sold suits, shirts, shoes etc and some travel accessories. Most bags the had were of the highly expensive leather variety that only someone with a black American Express card can afford. They did have a few light suitcases, but I didn’t want one of those, and a couple of back packs. Lovely, one of them looked really cheap, I though I could get away with spending £10 on a bag to get me home then pick up a better, more robust and suitable bag (I carry my kick drum pedal around in it when I have to) in London when I had the chance in the week. Not so my friends. This bag, which in no way looked any better than the rubbish I used to sell on Romford Market that we would buy wholesale for about £1 and sell for £5 was 600SEK … thats about £60! I shit you not, Sweden does not understand the meaning of the word cheap. We should have worked this one out on Friday when Steve paid £7 for a pint of Guinness. Twice.
We headed back to the security gate, met up with the others and headed through to air side. What I had forgotten about security gates is that you have to remove your jacket so, as we went through, my Blink 182 jacket with the lyrics to Family Reunion plastered all over the back was visible to the entire line waiting to get through. For those of you not familiar with the song the lyrics go like this:
Shit piss fuck cunt cocksucker mother fucker tits fart turd and twat. I fucked your mom (sic).
This caused great amusement to the SUPERYOB boys behind us in the line, and probably great offence to everyone else but fuck it!
Air side and in the duty free area I went in search of a bag yet again and came up with the same results!
We had a brief sit down for some lunch (Terry and Tom were very impressed with the indoor smoking chamber they had in the airport) and we were off to our gate.
Within minutes of reaching the gate we were ushered onto the plane and about 5mins after that the plane was ready to take off. Not because we were late and the last ones on board, but because we made up about half the passenger list. When we checked it it seemed most of the seats had already been assigned so we took was looked to be some of the last remaining. This must have seemed the case to a lady who, shortly after we sat down, claimed her seat between the Terry, Steve and myself on one side of the aisle and Ciaran and Tom on the other side. I quipped that she had drawn the short straw and got a very unimpressed look from her as she took her seat, only to realise shortly after that the rest of the plane was near empty so promptly moved away from us to sit on her own. Sensible girl.
This is as busy as the plane got with us lot sat at the back.
Another nap on the plane and when I woke up we were halfway home. I showed Steve how to play Flight Control on my iPad but he soon lost interest but as soon as we were flying over British soil all our attention was focused on where exactly we were. Not correctly figuring it out until we were about 100ft off the ground above the runway at Heathrow.
It was then just a case of getting through UK Boarder Control which is a piece of piss as you would expect for a UK citizen, except that opting to use the automatic passport scanners believing them to be quicker, it actually took longer as there was more of us to go through so the few people that had old passports and went through the normal security check of a man looking as the passport photo, looking at the person presenting the passport and waving them through, was actually much quicker.
Once through we collected our bags and headed for the tube and the long 2 hour ride across London and home. It really says something when it takes just as long to traverse London as it does to fly 900miles. What it says I’m not 100% certain. Is it that London is so vast it takes so long to travel across it? Or is that that air travel is better than London transport. I suspect it’s a bit of both.
Along the way we parted company with Frankie, Lee, Mick and Andy, bidding them a farewell until we play with them again in Bedford on 18th May. Changing at Holborn Terry, Tom and myself left Sean, Steve and Ciaran to it on the Piccadilly Line while we headed to the Central Line and eastward to Essex.
Tom was dead set on changing at Liverpool Street to get a pasty so he and Terry left me to the last part of the journey as I had started the weekend, on my own. awww!
Having been travelling for 8hours I was in no mood to cook so grabbed some food from Marks and Spencer when I arrived back in Newbury Park and sat down immediately to watch Doctor Who.
So (that’ll piss Ciaran off) that was my time in Sweden with the London Diehards and much fun was had. As mentioned above we are in Bedford on 18th May then off to Germany on 8th June. Expect updates on at the very least the Germany trip. Don’t forget I am on Twitter @quinn_drummer so you can follow everything I am doing drum wise and in life in general on there. I tweeted the whole time in Sweden and put together a Storify of the Sweden specific tweets that you can read here
I also have some filming to do on 12th May (tomorrow as I write this) for Underclass and more importantly than any of that we are waiting on the final edit of the Rivalries video to be sent over. We had the first edit earlier in the week and it looks fucking incredible. Anthony has done such a brilliant and professional job putting it together words cannot describe it, so I will let the video speak for itself once it is released, which should hopefully be any day now.
Peace and Paradiddles
Before I talk about the events of day 2, gig day, I need to go back to day 1 and mention something I had forgotten about that we noticed upon entering the hotel. It had a free to use shoe shiner. Now you might be wondering why a bunch of old punks and skinheads would give a damn about a contraption built for lazy city folk and I’ll tell you. Skinheads, traditionally, love to dress smart. Pressed Levi jeans, ironed Ben Sherman shirts buttoned right to the top, and sparkling polished boots or loafers. Terry is world famous for polishing his loafers before going on stage and this little machine saved him the 10minutes he usually spends meticulously making sure that should a vampire stare into his shoes you wouldn’t see its reflection. I am actually the exception to this rule. I prefer grubby, worn in, well used DMs over a pair that look brand new, but hey I’m punk, I like to break the mould. Even in my own circles.
Anyway moving on, after everyone stumbled back to the hotel room pissed as a fart at 2am (again, myself being the exception) we promptly arose at 8am and went to breakfast, hangovers in toe (myself the exception). Now normally cheap hotels offer a limited buffet breakfast, usually 2 maybe 3 different items to last you through until you get back to your hotel room where you crack open the bag of travel sweets you packed to stave of the hunger you built making your way back to your room. Not Hotel Centric though. They had on offer, Bacon, Eggs (boiled and scrambled) mini meat balls, mini sausages, bread in about 12 different varieties, a toaster, 3 different types of butter, cold meats, 2 cheeses, pickles, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, and various other salad and sandwich based fillings, apples, bananas, pineapple, melon, yoghurt, a dozen different nuts and berries and half a dozen different cereals. Orange juice, apple juice, tea and coffee. That’s just what I can remember, I am sure there was more.
Learning my lessons from the day before, and knowing it was unlikely I’d be eating again until we reached the Thai restaurant that night, I stocked up on breakfast. Cheese, ham and salad roll. A mini fry up of sausage, scrambled egg, bacon and toast, and a selection of fruit and orange juice. Sorted. I wasn’t actually that hungry when we arrived at the Thai place and that is testament to how much I was freely allowed to eat in the morning.
It was at this time I casually noticed how attractive Swedish women are. I’ve been to Sweden before, to play Kuggnäs festival with the London Diehards back in 2011 and with a few exceptions (the girl Tim was shagging behind the stage at 3am while we hunted high and low for him so we could go back to where we were staging, being one of them) I found the Swedish girls to be relatively average. Certainly not the pinnacle of beauty that I had been lead to believe they all were. Maybe I was too busy batting away what seemed to be the entire right wing skinhead contingent of Sweden at the time, as they always seem to gravitate towards the band despite not one of us having a fascist bone in our body.
Anyway I digress, Swedish girls, in Norrköping are very attractive. That’s all there is to it.
After breakfast we headed back to the hotel room. Tom started to go over the set as he had only had time to join us for 2 rehearsals before flying out, I read a bit of my book and discussed learning drums with Steve who has bought himself an electronic drum kit to, in his words, have a bit of a bash about and Ciaran annoyed us all with shitty metal music.
Having noticed that the tattoo shop next door to the hotel wasn’t open on Saturdays I instantly wanted to get some new ink and set about trying to find a place that was open and would take walk ins. I Googled it, I asked on Reddit, I asked the heavily tattooed guys from PST and even at the hotel reception, no-one could answer my question. So at about midday, myself, Ciaran, Steve and Tom set about a little wander around Norrköping to find an open tattoo parlour. We must have found 6 in half an hour, all closed, none of them open at the weekend at all. In fact all of them only open standard office hours. What is that about?! What tattoo shop isn’t open on a weekend? Unless it’s to do with licensing, of local laws prohibiting it but I would fully expect any body offering a service to open at the sort of time the people that would want to use that service to be able to. Me and Sean disagree on this. He believes everything should be closed weekend, nothing should be open. But then what about the majority of people that work Mon-Fri 9-5 and can’t get to the shops, or a tattoo parlour or anything else of that ilk during the week? I won’t bore you with the full discussing it’d take too long, but I’ll leave you to make your own minds up about that one. Needless to say I came back from Sweden with the same about of tattoos as I arrived with.
By the time we got back to the hotel, we had about an hour or so before leaving for the gig. We were getting picked up at 4pm so we could go to the restaurant (a word I have not yet spelt right the first time during these last 2 blog updates) have dinner, Thai buffet, lovely, and then soundcheck.
We all tumbled into the mini-bus and off we went. I made a mental note to memorise the fairly short route as again, I wasn’t going to be drinking that night and decided that should I want to leave early it’d be best to have a rough idea of which way to walk. As it turned out I didn’t leave early but if anyone should need directions from Hotel Centric to a decent Thai buffet I am the man to ask.
We arrived, ate, again really decent grub considering it was all free (well free to us, I assume someone was paying for it) and waited for soundcheck.
It was during soundcheck that I was taught the hard way that if you are ever offered to bring your own equipment to a gig, no matter what the hassle, do it. Nothing ever beats your own snare and cymbals. As it goes the snare drum wasn’t too bad. A brass 14x3.5 drum with a worn but tight head once I gave it a little tuning and all in all it didn’t sound too bad. Until I started to ghost note on it then all subtleties were lost completely! It was the cymbals that were god forsakenly awful.
If anyone has ever heard of or has any information regarding the company that makes these cymbals, please please please let me know. I have asked around and no-one seems to know anything about them. Even Google only had one result and that was a guy playing one. Not even a wiki entry!
Should you ever come across them avoid them at all costs.
The 18” crash (there were actually 2 identical ones there, fuck knows why) had no volume, no sustain, just a dead, flat, stick hitting a sheet of scrap metal sound that cut through none of the music. London Dieheards are an Oi band, all the bands that night were Oi bands, we need loud cymbals!
The 14” hats were equally as quiet, especially when closed. Open they were audible off stage but only just. I have since seen video footage, below, that suggests they were a lot louder than they seemed during sound check
The 20” ride wasn’t too bad. Best of a bad bunch. Half decent ride action, bell was solid, crashed loud enough to cut through 2 guitars, bass and vocals so I ended up playing of that one cymbal most the night.
After soundcheck I sat and felt sorry for myself that I was missing Doctor Who back home, until I discovered Sean was a fan from his childhood and we discussed it for a while.
Finally it was time for SUPERYOB to take to the stage. The last time I saw SUPERYOB was back in 2010 I think when they had their anniversary bash up at the Bridge House 2 in Canning Town. London Diehards also played that night as did Underclass, who I was drumming for at the time before the 3 hiatus, and it was where the band first saw me play and ultimately lead to me replacing Cherry when he left at the start of 2011.
I remember nothing of that night, least of all SUPERYOB, but I can tell you now they are a fantastic band. I wouldn’t even call them an Oi band. Much like the London Diehards they have a sound that isn’t traditionally related to Oi, London Diehards have elements of Punk Rock and Metal and while SUPERYOB are, as far as I am concerned from Saturdays set, Punk Rock through and through.
From here on out I have no comments on what the other bands were like as I payed no attention to them what so ever. Sorry guys. London Diehards were on third and as soon as we came of stage, as always (ever the modest) we were surrounded by people telling us how good the set was, how much they enjoyed it, they’d be more than welcome to run security for us at shows (why people always think we need security I don’t know) getting pictures and generally wanting a chat so I didn’t have the chance to see the rest of the bands play that night.
Anyway, for your viewing pleasure, ‘Organise’ (why is it always Organise???) filmed from the side of the stage on Saturday night.
A special shout out to Anika (I hope I spelt your name right) for grabbing me a glass of water before going on stage! I didn’t have the time and she kindly
offered did as she was asked, so big thanks to her!
The gig went pretty smoothly despite not being able to hear a thing on stage. I couple of mistakes here and there but the good thing about these sorts of shows is that the audience is too pissed to notice or care so win win!
The time after the show was a lot of the same. Chatting with people, knocking around back stage, Tom trying to fix the zip on my bag that broke that night (the open bag I had with me in Sweden) and failing, so that I meant I had to carry my bag around, clutching it closed for the rest of the night and the whole of the journey home Sunday.
I met a guy called Cucumber, theres Anika of course and her boyfriend Steve and a girl from Noyköping that persistently asked me about right wing Swedish and German bands in Swedish so I couldn’t understand a word she was saying, until Niklas (is that right, or is it Nicholas?) translated , asked her why she was fascist (because her room mate is apparently, amazing!) and then told her quite plainly that the right wing, and right wing bands in particular are not welcome at PST shows and that they would never have anything to do with them! Good lad!
As the night draw to close I was standing chatting to Ciaran and Terry when a bloke came up to me and told me he liked my chest tattoo. Thanks very much I said, do you like England then? Oh yes he says, I love it. Great I say, where are you from? He tells me he is from Finland and the conversation goes a little quite so to be friendly I ask him what his plans are after the show! BIG FUCKING MISTAKE THAT WAS. It turns out the guy had approached me to chat me up, which I found out we he started gazing at me and at one point trying to rub/hold my cheek with his hand. I quickly made my excuses and did a runner, hiding back stage. It was only later that I felt sorry for the poor bloke, he had probably be plucking up the courage to come and speak to me all night all for me to hot foot it out of there as soon as his intentions were clear. Still, I was the only one to have any potential of any action that night so at least that’s a bonus.
Shortly after we all rounded up and got in the mini bus back to the hotel. All except Tom who had gone A.W.O.L. so we left him behind, much to the horror of Lee, the guitarist from SUPERYOB who very nearly demanded we turn back and go and get him, feeling guilty for taking up the last seat in the bus and leaving Tom on his own. We very quickly decided that it was Tom’s initiation into the band. If he could make it back to the hotel of his own accord he could stay in the band. I am pleased to announce that by morning when I woke up he was in his bed fast asleep so Tom is now officially a member of the London Diehards.
Once we got back to the hotel, I went to bed listen to another podcast while the rest of the guys went and drank themselves silly until about 6am!
That’s it for day 2, will write and publish day 3 if not tomorrow then certainly this week.
Peace and paradiddles
So (that’ll piss Ciaran off*) you’ll be forgiven for thinking not a lot has been happening recently owing to the sparse updates. Rivalries have had plenty on, a few gigs, some song writing and the video I wrote about a couple of weeks back. Underclass are putting the finishing touches to our Live and Loud album which will hopefully be ready at the weekend. I decided a little while ago that while all these events are interesting, unless there was something truly worthy to write about I wouldn’t. I could write a post about every gig, but in 99% of cases it would read something like “arrived, sound checked, played, went home, XYZ were great bands to see, thanks to these people for putting it on” repetitive and dull. Which is why I am only writing about the the exceptional events surrounding life behind the drums.
Anyway, weekend just gone, Fri 3rd - Sun 5th May 2013, The London Diehards were in Norrköping to play the 10th Anniversary show for Pretty Shitty Town (PST), a Punk and Oi promoter in Sweden. These are the guys putting out the split album London Diehards recorded tracks for a little while back, and the CD (4 fold digi pack, my favourite casing for CDs) was due to be released at the show, but due to some fuckwits at the CD pressing place that don’t know their audio formats from their arse that hasn’t happened yet.
We left on Friday morning, a 10.30am flight from Heathrow which meant getting up at silly-o’clock in the morning to get there. Heathrow might be London’s biggest airport, and I might live in the greater London area, however I am completely the other side of London to Heathrow and it takes 2 hours to get there by tube meaning I had to leave at 6am to get there 2hrs before the flight was due to leave.
With the gig being on Saturday night, and a looong day travelling day I loaded my iPad up with plenty to keep me entertained. Books (specifically Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman) films (Girl With The Dragon Tattoo as I finished the book on Thursday night) the latest issue of Rhythm magazine, the 4 part Star Trek Into Darkness comic book prequel to the film and an assortment of Apple and Tech podcasts that I listen to. This helped pass the tube journey, (and subsequently the outbound flight) quite quickly. Having left home at 6am, dressed for summer, but in freezing early morning temperatures, I arrived at Heathrow at 8am to be greeted by Ciaran and Steve (London Diehards) Sean (our manager) and Franky, Mick, Lee and Andy from SUPERYOB who were also flying out to play the same show and after waiting a short time for Terry (who turned up with half his wardrobe for a 2 day trip) and our new guitarist Tom (who turned up with his guitar and no pants, at least he has his priorities right) we headed to check in and make our way through security.
It’s at this moment I realised what I always realise at this point and that is that airports are shit boring places. I know they are there to server a function, but they could make them more interesting couldn’t they? And make the free wi-fi easier to access! Anyway, while everyone had a fry up in the Weatherspoon’s I got sushi from the YoShusi next door, because sushi is cool and I imagined that it’d be the last healthy thing I ate until Sunday night. It wasn’t!
The flight was uneventful, I read some of Good Omens and all of the Star Trek comics which got me even more impatient for the film which I am going to see at midnight on Thursday :). 2 and a bit hours after take off, landing 15mins early we arrived at Stockholm airport and were greeted by ABBA … well ABBA puppets. Now I like ABBA, but these things are a little creepy, you certainly want them in your bedroom!
Once we landed Tom and Terry realised that Sweden doesn’t in fact use the Euro and had to change all their money into Swedish Kroner and we were met by Matias and Lisa to drive us back to Norrköping, which is 100miles south-west of Stockholm, so it was a 2hour drive, lengthened by the fact we hit a shit load of traffic so it was more like 3hrs by the time we got there.
The drive was pretty
interesting dull. We saw some trees, a hut in the woods, and a couple of signs for McDonalds. This was within the first 5mins of leaving the airport. This pattern then repeated over and over and over all the way to Norrköping. Only 2 things of note actually happened that are worth writing about. First was passing a sign for “Tom Tits Experiment” which upon discovering it was a science museum of sorts, and not the saucy, touchy feel display of mammary glands we initially thought it would be, we soon went of the idea of diverting for a quick stop off, purely for full-cultural-experience-sight-seeing reasons obviously. The second thing was that in Sweden, Gothenberg (which we saw sign posted all along the way) is spelt Göteborg which Steve instantly creased up laughing when he thought it was pronounced Goaty Borg. Lisa, our driver, did tell us how to pronounce it properly, and I did promise her I’d remember it, but I didn’t. Sorry Lisa :(
Arriving in Norrköping we went straight to the restaurant we were to have dinner at that night. It was called Lilla somethingorother and it seemed far to nice for a bunch of old skinheads to be dinning in, but PST had booked us in and ordered all the food in advance so it wasn’t long before we were tucking into the best food I have eaten in ages! Grilled steak and chicken in a cheese and mushroom sauce, with potatoes, chips, and bread and a small assortment of other veg on the side. On the journey from the airport I was ravenous. Obviously sushi isn’t particularly filling and by the time we ate it had been about 8hrs since I had eaten so I was pretty hungry. But dear god I am so glad I had because this food was well worth the wait! Everything was cooked to perfection and to my surprise relatively healthy which is always a bonus when on the road as you tend to eat the quickest, easiest and worst food possible.
Now I’m not a health
freak fanatic, but I am perpetually held to ransom by my digestive system so have to be careful what I eat if I don’t want it playing up. This includes alcohol and I had decided before coming that I wouldn’t be drinking for the entire trip, (in fact I put myself on the wagon a couple of weeks ago after a boozy night turned nasty the next day) and I didn’t. I need to hand in my punk membership card and join a yoga club I think!
After dinner we went to this big booze outlet called Systembolaget, a Government controlled outlet and the only place you can buy alcohol with a % higher than 3.5 that isn’t a pub, bar or restaurant. Obviously, as I wasn’t drinking I didn’t buy anything, but I did browse around and noticed some especially interesting drinks on sale.
Firstly, Carlsberg in black cans!
Secondly, Motörhead branded larger (there was also a Kiss branded drink of some description in a can)
And finally every Punx drink of choice
We were then dropped off to our hotel, Hotel Centric, a lovely little gaff right in the centre of the city. I say city, it’s about 2 steps across and about as busy as polluted fish pond, but it is still, by definition, a city. Franky was doing his solo piano set in a bar next door to the restaurant that night so everyone showered, changed and started drinking before going out. Except me. As I wasn’t drinking I decided to stay in on the Friday night to avoid any temptation to taste the barley, hops and water goodness. Instead I watch The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the original Swedish version with English subtitles. You can’t say I wasn’t immersing myself in Swedish culture, having only finished the book the night before. That passed the time and it was soon midnight so I went to sleep. That is until Ciaran called about 2hrs later asking me to let him and Terry in. Then Steve arrived and promptly fell asleep on the bunk below mine. Steve snores like a right bastard so I put in my headphones, put on an episode of Macbreak Weekly and fell asleep to the sounds of Leo Laporte, Rene Ritchie and others discussing the week in Apple news and with the thunderous sounds of Steve’s monstrous snoring serving as an annoying back drop. I say annoying, it’s annoying in the same way trying to sleep in a trench while the battle of the Somme goes on around you is annoying.
So (that’ll piss Ciaran off*) that was day one. I’ll write day two up, the day of the gig and all the closed tattoo shops, later in the week.
For a quick and brief read of what happened over the weekend, you can ready all my tweets chronologically on Storify, here.
Peace and paradiddles.
*So (that’ll piss Ciaran off) - to explain … Ciaran is adamant that it is grammatically incorrect to start a sentence with the word ‘so’, so just to prove him wrong (and to piss him off) I am doing it as much as I reasonably can.