For me, going to Europe has always been akin to jumping in a time machine. Just walking around over there, you get a sense of how old so many of the structures are… to say nothing of the actual streets you’re strolling on. In most cities, you get a sense that you are breathing the same air as the 15th century townsfolk were – the cobblers, poets and fieldworkers – walking past imaginary candlelit windowsills, way before electricity.
This trip, it was summertime in Sweden and Norway for a quick tour with Lita Ford and company. It was all about cool gigs, gracious people and timeless eye candy.
The Art of the 24-hour Travel Day
This particular trip was bookended with travel days that were the better part of 24 hours. Traveling with a shitload of gear, dealing with monstrous layovers and the inevitable delays… it’s all part of it. Just gotta roll with it… and have great music on your iPad and plenty of cool books on your Kindle app!
First stop was Gothenburg, Sweden…
I played a black DW kit for the first two shows. People will sometimes ask about my “main kit” and why I don’t play it everywhere, all the time. These days, when you’re doing a bunch of fly dates (as opposed to traveling by bus and truck), it becomes logistically impossible to drag a full kit around. Instead, our tour manager arranges for the promoter to provide a kit, based on certain parameters. And since I already work with DW in a pedals and hardware capacity, I’ll often play their drums for a lot of these shows.
Had a full house of rowdy-ass Swedes in a mid-sized club. Great energy at these smaller places.
The nearby gym was actually closed on our show day due to a soccer game that night (what the fuck?), so I had to get my ass out of bed early the next morning to catch a workout before lobby call. This is the one constant in my life on the road – at all times – in any part of the world. Love hittin’ those weights!!!
…and I continue to be impressed with the European’s superior cleanliness in the public toilet department. It baffles me, actually, since I’ve grown up with the disgusting public toilets in America. Lift the fucking lid, guys! Good Lord! (And I know you American gals aren’t much better. Yes, I’ve seen your nasty-ass restrooms, too…)
Another packed house in Malmo. Love this pic. Our bassist, Marty O’Brien, tripped during the gig, did a half-way rolling somersault, then wound up back on his feet – all without missing a note! Impressive. (Should also point out that, along with Lita – obviously – we had our usual line-up for this tour, which includes Mitch Perry on guitar.)
The Skogsröjet festival was a big, loud and sweaty affair, just as you might imagine. Lots of hellraisers, with a good time had by all…
As usual, my quest for vegan food on the road is an ongoing affair. Fortunately these days, folks are becoming more familiar with the concept, and I continue to see the actual word – in English – more and more. It’s a beautiful thing, and I enjoyed several exceptional meals over there.
This was from a veggie restaurant, with a mainly vegan lunch buffet. Loaded up my plate with all of their vegan offerings. Damn good, people!
Even in the sticks of Skogsröjet, there was a lone vegan meal reserved for me in catering, thanks to our detailed rider (a band’s requested particulars for a gig), and the diligent follow-up from our tour manager, Pilgrim.
In Malmo, the chef went all out with this teriyaki tofu, veggies and rice dish. This shit was off-the-hook! And believe me, I told him about it.
Still, my on-the-road staple remains The Ultimate Meal smoothies I have everyday. Two scoops of the magic powder in a banana/mixed fruit smoothie, at least once, but often twice, per day. The best. (Notice my Australian blender with the Euro power adapter? Thank you, Brett Garsed!)
Off to Norway
After the festival, we all enjoyed a total of four hours (!!!) at a hotel in Norrköping, before a brutal 7:00 AM lobby call, and an 8-hour van ride to Jevnaker. Here’s one of many impromptu vids I did along the way, just capturing a particular moment. Thought I might share one with you. Just 37 seconds…
It struck me so odd, how light the sky was, so late at night.
Then, here I am the next morning at 7:00 in front of the building from the vid. Do the math, and you’ll see that it was another less-than-three-hours sleep night. So be it! That’s life on the road, my bitches!
Once we hit the hotel in Norway, this kick-ass lake was just a football field’s length away. Sweet…
For the Jevnaker show, I played this old school Yamaha Recording Series drum kit. Kind of cool, and very nostalgic.
Here’s a brief solo excerpt from our last gig. Very responsive crowd in a jam-packed club. Always a rush…
And that was it. A great last hit, followed by NO sleep that night, followed by another 20-plus hour travel day back home, followed by several days of a whacked-out sleeping schedule, followed by more playing in the US!
It’s all good…
Until next time,