The recent White Lion tour lasted 1,5 month and brought us through 11 countries by traveling approximately 46.000 kilometers or 28.520 miles using 19 flights, 2 train rides and a bunch of bus rides. We played 24 shows and unfortunately cancelled 4.
GOING TO INDONESIA
It’s Saturday in Copenhagen. My bags are packed and I am ready to get ready. I had my obligatory couple of hours crying alone after having said goodbye to my son. I f…… hate it..! Every time I’m in this situation I promise myself that THIS IS THE LAST TIME..!
And especially this time as I was never eager on going to Indonesia at all. Especially after the Danes published the Mohammed drawings and I saw the Danish flag being burned all over the Muslim world. In Indonesia people seemed to be very upset about it and ready to kill a stereotype Western guy like me. Think about it, White Lion IS a prime target now that we’re playing rock’n’roll (a very western phenomenon) and being from the USA, Australia, Germany and Denmark. That cocktail’s gotta be perfect for a desperate Mujahedin warrior. I know I’m silly and until I became a proud parent, I wasn’t afraid of anything but suddenly death has become a partner in life that you’re afraid of just because you’re a parent – funny huh..?
I checked out the websites of the Ministries of foreign affairs in Denmark, the UK and the USA just to calm down myself. They all advised me to stay the hell out but in my other hand I had Tramp pulling me – and as usual – he talked me into going..!
I’m on a plane from Copenhagen to Amsterdam, Netherland, then shift to a plane flying to Jakarta with a stop in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore. I hate traveling alone but nevertheless this was what I was doing. I had the wildest butterflies during the whole trip. What would it be like in Indonesia? I felt like everybody was staring at me on the plane like I had the Danish flag printed on my forehead. I sat next to this Dutch guy and we had great conversations. As usual I didn’t sleep for 5 minutes during the long ass flight. The whole trip was approx 16 hours and when we were about to arrive in Jakarta my butterflies came back. He he, I must’ve looked like shit.
Tramp had promised me that there would be somebody to pick me up and take me to the airport hotel. I was worried about going through customs. I guess I’ve just seen too many American movies – HA..!
There was of course nobody to pick me up. I called Tramp and he told me to hold on. Nothing happened. Tramp and the other guys were on their way back from their first Indo-gig. They’d been here for three days while I was still working in Denmark. There were people everywhere and nobody spoke English – GREAT..!
I managed to find the hotel and booked a room. I was so tired and it helped to get a base with a TV, a shower and a bed. I drank the two beers in the mini bar – a Heineken and a Bintang hoping that they would do the job and make me sleep. Bintang is THE BEER that you drink down here and it’s an ordinary beer but very good though.
I knew that I was supposed to take another flight next morning to hook up with the Lion-camp but I of course had absolutely no information or say a plane ticket. I called Kurt who was an American dude living with his family here in Indonesia helping Tramp hook up the shows etc. Kurt had this Indonesian guy - that was supposed to pick me up - come to my room. He didn’t speak English but he had a piece of paper saying MR. CLAUS PETERSEN – WHITE LION. He had a plane ticket for next morning at 7:00 am. I called Kurt again and said that I insisted on having someone taking me to the gate and getting me on the plane and also somebody to pick me up at my destination (BANGKA – that’s somewhere on another island a little north from here)
I would then be picked up at the hotel reception at 6:00 am and brought to the plane.
It was time to rest. I haven’t been slept for some 32 hours and my mind was going. It felt strange being here. Nobody would leave the hotel or take a cab somewhere. That would simply be too dangerous. I couldn’t sleep and I tried so hard – but no go..! I stopped smoking two weeks ago and there were many times that I could’ve used a smoke but I hung on. The hours were ticking away and there was now only two hours to my alarm clock. I got up and started writing this. Anxious to face new frustrating challenges tomorrow…
I got back in bed and fell asleep at 4 am – to hours before the alarm clock at 6 am.
I woke up by the alarm clock. Man I was tired. I had a plane to catch so I took a shower and got dressed. I went to breakfast that started at 4 am but only had a piece of white bread and some slices of watermelon. I didn’t feel like squids and other kinds of seafood this time a day.
I went to the reception and wondered if this guy (the manager from the traveling agency) would show up and take me to the gate and he did. We went outside and jumped in an airport taxi and drove for like 5 minutes to a different gate at the domestic airport in Jakarta. The heat was overwhelming in this tropical area and it was humid as f…
We went to check-in which was basically a hall of chaos in our scale but perfect order in Indonesian scales. Of course nobody spoke English. Not even the manager – but he hooked me up and took me to a restaurant near the gate where I was supposed to board the plane. I still had butterflies but not half the size as yesterday. Everybody was staring at me as I was the ONLY gringo around for miles now. I just smiled back the best I could and mostly got smiles back again. Being stupid I of course still saw every Indonesian human being as my potential killer but stayed cool and calm because I knew that I was acting like a child.
At 6:20 am I boarded and sat in the waiting hall. It was nice and clean but of course very oriental – wonder why…???
At 6:50 am we boarded the plane. Before that I made sure to call Kurt and get ensured that there would be someone to pick me up at arrival at Bangka Island. I walked to the plane outside and again the heat surprised me. I have NEVER in my entire life experienced heat this massive, simply because the air is so humid. It feels like you just have to cut through the air. I had seat number 10a and sat by the exit doors in the middle of the plane. I was sitting with two gentlemen in their 50’s and they knew a little English. They were polite and asked me where I came from. I answered that I was German and I came from Hamburg. Why the fuck was I doing this…??? One of the men told me that he was in Germany when the wall came down in November 1989. We didn’t talk much but they were nice and made me calm. So was the plane and the stewardesses were quite good looking. As I was sitting by the exit one of the stewardesses instructed me how to open the door and get everybody out in case of an emergency. She was speaking English but with an extremely bad oriental accent.
The flight was 50 minutes and they served a croissant, a green cake and a glass of water.
The landing was kinda weird as if nobody knew where to land. I walked to the arrival hall and I spotted an Indonesian guy with a piece of paper. CLAUS LANGESKOV - WHITE LION. We made eye contact and I gave him the thumbs up. I was on Bangka Island, the time zone was as in Jakarta and I apparently managed to stay alive. There were two Indonesian guys – one with the piece of paper and the other was my driver. They wanted to take off immediately and have my bags sent afterwards. I said no and even though they had a hard time speaking and understanding English I made it very clear that we were staying waiting for Kurt. So I got Kurt on the phone and he was just at the departure hall trying to put Adam (my substitute bass player) on a plane back to Jakarta and Australia.
I met Adam and Kurt and it was kinda revealing to see some white faces amongst all the Indonesians. The drive to the Resort where the other guys were at was like driving through a different world. A chaotic mess and poverty was my first impression and then all the mopeds that people used for their transportation. The traffic drives left and is anarchy but everybody here seems to manage.
My driver didn’t know any English at all so the trip was kinda quiet. I took some video out the window while driving and took some pics too. Suddenly we were here at the PARAI POOL AND VILLAS RESORT & SPA and I saw Tramp coming to welcome me. The other guys came and took me to the cabin. It was a nice place. It was a resort and we shared houses two by two. There were a pool at each house, spa-pool and nice and big bathrooms too. It was airconditioned and it was nice to get a break from the heat. I stayed with Jamie and Troy and Henning was next door.
We went for some breakfast that was an outdoor buffet with various stuff to eat of all kinds. It was great to finally relax and get something to eat. I was tired and wasted but feeling ok. This place was pretty close to Paradise with luxury all around you. The beach was beautiful and the water was lovely
I met Ayu (Mike’s woman) and an Indonesian guy who helps out with the backline. His name is Nandar. He is a fantastic guy and I got to know him very well and love him like a brother. Nandar took care of our backline and helped us out with the sound etc. When he approached us he called us “MISTER” and then our name. I was of course Mister Claus – pronounced with the sweetest Indonesian accent.
Henning obviously taught Nandar to say “ALLES KLAR” which is German and means “EVERYTHING’S OKAY”.
While I was catching up with the lions at breakfast Nandar went to a nightclub called GALAXY CLUB and hooked up a PA-system and some backline for us to use for rehearsals after breakfast. The club was air conditioned but the equipment totally sucked. Lousy drums, a lousy guitar and bass amp etc. I plugged in the bass amp but couldn’t hear anything once Troy started playing. Anyway we rehearsed and got through a lot of the material with and without Tramp. We enjoyed ourselves and had a couple of Bintangs (beers) of course. After rehearsing we bought some more beers and spent the rest of the evening and night by the pool swimming and drinking beers while listening to some rock’n’roll from Troy’s iPod. It was late when we got to bed and I suffered badly from jetlag and of course couldn’t sleep.
I think I slept for 1 hour before I woke up and if there was something I needed it was sleep and rest. I got up and called people back home just to feel some compassion and empathy. I went back to lie down but still couldn’t sleep. It sounded like a thunderstorm was coming up. At 5 in the morning there was a wake up call from the reception. Jamie woke up and we both wondered why. We stayed up and sat on the porch and talked while it was about to dawn. I tell you – It only took like 10-15 minutes to light up the place and you could see that we’re close to equator now. Jamie and I couldn’t sleep. The thunderstorm was coming closer and suddenly it was raining cats and dogs. It was pretty heavy. Henning and Troy got up and none of us knew exactly when we were leaving Bangka Island. We all thought we’ve heard something about taking off at 10 am. But when we teamed up at the reception house the Tramp family wasn’t there..? I went to Tramp who now told me that we were leaving at noon. We went back to our cabins and chilled. Troy slept and Henning, Jamie and I went to the water and jumped in. It was a beautiful place - pure tropic and places like this that the advertising business always show in their commercials or adds. We checked out at noon and I paid our mini bars. The resort manager asked us to sign each piece of pre printed VIP paper to hang on his “wall of fame”. We all added a little comment and the manager had our pictures and we were ready to leave in the bus that was there to pick us up.
We got on a bus and drove back to the airport at Bangka City. Now it was a totally different way of traveling. Tramp and Ayu draw a shit load of attention and it suddenly became clear to me how famous they both are here in Indonesia. Especially together - like Beckham and Victoria. When we came to the airport Ayu’s manager solved the tickets – WITHOUT STANDING IN LINE. Meanwhile we were taken to the airport VIP section with air-condition and a buffet with food and cold beverages. We sat and chilled before some officials asked us to board the plane. The plane was packed and we were the last to board. People were taking pictures with their cell phones etc. You could tell from their surprised faces that Tramp and Ayu was something very special Even the police and other officials were running to have a picture of the family.
We flew the 50 minutes back to Jakarta airport where we had two hours before the next plane. We were going to Sulawesi which is one of the big Island out of the approximately 2000 islands we call Indonesia. Our destination is Manado which is north Sulawesi. It’s a Christian area – one of the very few in Indonesia who has the biggest muslim population in the world.
The airport in Jakarta was chaos. Even more people with their camera phones came for pics and this whole scenario seemed a little absurd to me. People also wanted pics of the band as it was a big thing to have White Lion in Indonesia.
To get rid of all the chaos we found a VIP lounge at the airport and had some delicious food and chilled.
After a couple of hours some officials came and picked us up. The plane was white and had LION written on it with huge letters. The flight was 3:15 hours and we were all kinda tired. We sat on the business seats away from the “riff raff” with special treatment and just enough space to keep your knees off the seat in front of you. I started to scratch some mosquito bites that I obviously got in Bangka Island. I shouldn’t have done that. Man I suffered from that the following days…
We landed in Manado around 11 pm and there were of course loads of officials to pick us up. They took us to a VIP section at the airport where they served some cakes and spring water while we all waited for some cars to pick us up.
We were there for like an hour before we went outside where a bunch of cars were waiting in line. There were also a couple of hundred fans outside waiting for autographs and pics. The officials wouldn’t let us talk to the fans and pushed us in the cars. We had police escort in the front and in the back and they had their sirens on all the time. He he this was so fucked and we had a laugh about it while we were driving..!
They took us to hotel GRAN PURI which was a very nice place. We didn’t have to worry about our luggage as it had already been taken care of and put in our rooms. There were bunches of people in the lobby running around with cameras and others trying to calm down things not knowing that they were only adding to the fuzz. Those were the people that wore shirts with a “FORD” logo. Obviously FORD was sponsoring our gig in Manado and these people were employed at FORD. Anyway they were VERY serious about their work and taking extremely good care of us.
Henning and I had room 623 and before going to bed the FORD guys asked us to join them in the basement bar for a drink or two.
They took us downstairs and placed us in the dark somewhere in a spooky club covered in Euro-disco – VERY LOUD. They brought us a can of Bintang beer and 4 glasses. Some girls came to us and told us that they were the band for tonight. At first I thought they were hookers but apparently they were right. They started playing and we (Henning, Jamie, Troy and I) sat in the bar. They played different stuff from Indonesian hits to Rage against the Machine, Nirvana and TILL DEATH DO US PART. Henning went on stage for singing the backing vocals but was quickly told NOT to by the FORD guys. We were NOT allowed to jam. We had a couple of beers and when the band finished we said hi to the musicians and they took their pictures with us etc. Suddenly the FORD guys came and stopped the whole thing. They started telling me to leave immediately. I told the them that I wasn’t going anywhere without the other guys and we gathered during the next couple of minutes and were escorted back to our rooms – WEIRD……!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We had discussions back and forth in room 625 (Jamie & Troy) about all this. Jamie has been to Indonesia a couple of times before and told us that this was just the way it works down here with the mafia and shit - that we were not allowed to hook up with the girls from the band etc. I personally believe that FORD is paying a shitload of money for our gig on Nov. 2 and that they wanna be in control of where and when we sign autographs and take pictures etc. We had one last beer and were told to team up for breakfast next morning at 10 am.
I didn’t sleep that well. The mosquito bites were fucked and all swollen and red – like huge blisters.
I went to the reception at 10 am and the Tramp family was already down there. It was all chaos. FORD guys were running headless around. We had fucked up their plan. There should have been a press conference at 10 am and now it was all delayed because we didn’t show up. There were the obligatory argue about where to put the blame for some 10 minutes while eating breakfast. But we weren’t told anything so how were we supposed to know?
An hour later the cars were waiting in line outside WITH the police to escort us of course. We were driving to the FORD head quarters for a press conference. They parked and we were escorted to the back through all the journalists and photographers. The FORD guys came with FORD shirts that they wanted us to wear but only Tramp did.
The press conference lasted an hour or so and most of it was in Indonesian. I answered one question and Mike did the rest. We ended up having the obligatory photo session with various people before signing shit etc.
The cars were waiting outside to take us to lunch at some exclusive fish restaurant some miles away. When we drove out from FORD headquarters an ambulance was coming up from behind. It had a patient inside but it was stopped so that WE could move on. It’s absurd and I’ll never understand the Indonesian way..!
The Fish restaurant was out-door and it was hot as hell but the food was okay. All the FORD guys were there and there were a lot of kids too. All the kids down here are extremely beautiful. I “talked” to some of them and played with them and had fun.
Tramp and I sat and had a nice brother talk and after a couple of hours we were leaving.
There were WHITE LION banners and posters all over town and the gig was sold out they said. In spite of that they wanted us to drive through town and announce the gig while we were standing on a pick up truck waving to people. There were cameras everywhere and guys were filming us 24/7 for some documentary to be shown on TV.
This was crazy..! Imagine standing on a pick up truck waving to people while a guy announces our gig NON STOP in Indonesian. It created chaos and huge traffic jam. Mopeds, cars and MC’s joined us and took pictures and smiled and waved at us. We even drove through the poor part of town where people live on the streets. I felt like being fucked in the ass by a giant but played the game as I was supposed to. It was like a bad dream that wouldn’t stop and it lasted at least an hour before we finally ended up at the hotel.
We had like 30 minutes there before they picked us up and took us to the venue for tomorrows gig. Of course Troy, Jamie, Henning and I had police escort driving there.
The venue was a big theater called MANADO CONVENTION CENTER and was placed by the water. The heat was extreme and the air condition at the venue was off. My mosquito bites were killing me and I could hardly stand. The PA-system there was crap and we were all tired from the weird experiences during the day and of course the extreme heat.
We messed around with the backline that was there and tried to make it work. There were of course people everywhere with their camera phones and shit. It sounded awful. The equipment had no power at all and it was frustrating but not a surprise. We finally managed to get the monitor system up to speed and were able to rehearse a bit. Around 100 people were watching us and it added to the frustrations and annoyed us. There were always people around us. We rehearsed some of the changes that we made in the set before Tramp showed up after a couple of hours to join in. We went through 6-8 of the songs and were ready to call it a day. The extreme heat had drained us all.
When all the cars - including the police - were ready we took off. We just wanted to go back to the hotel but the FORD people had arranged a dinner for us. Troy, Henning and I said no and a car took us back to the hotel. Man, my legs were damaged. I wonder what mosquitoes they have around here. I could hardly stand up anymore. I just wanted a shower and then go to bed. That’s what I did. Henning also. Troy and Jamie dressed up and went down to that basement club once again. The TV showed a Champions League soccer match on TV. Barcelona-Chelsea. The perfect sleeping pill…!!!
It didn’t take long before I was in my sleep..!
Woke up at 5:30 am all rested. My legs were still bad. Today is a gig day and I wanna be ahead and get the set list down. I went for breakfast and it’s a little hard getting used to eating pasta and meat sauce at 8 in the morning but I’m catching up. Henning came down at breakfast at 9 am and we did the set list together.
We met in the lobby at noon to go to the Manado Convention Center to prepare. We got all set and ran through some songs. We decided to put ALL THE FALLEN MEN in the set. The stage sound was pretty good for being in Indonesia. At 3 pm we were at MEMORA FM which was a radio station that wanted to promote a “SOLD OUT” show.???? However we did what we were supposed to do and made everybody happy even though the questions asked were boring. Jamie wasn’t with us because his amp fucked up during sound checks and he and Nandar stayed behind to get another amp for the show.
Then we drove to the SKY DINE & LOUNGE for lunch. Man, that was spicy and hot but very good. The staff at the Sky & Dine Lounge had their pictures every time one of us went to the toilet but as usual everybody were friendly and nice. We were finally at the hotel around 5 pm. It was time to relax and prepare for tonight’s show. It was great to do just nothing. Henning and I watched some soccer on TV. Arsenal-Everton. We should be ready at 7 pm and we all started getting up to speed at 6:30. He he - it’s good to be back with these guys. It’s like 5 girls getting ready to go out. You’d see things like nail polish in different colors, eyeliner, fancy clothes, shoes, boots and accessories and shit.
As we got ready the FORD guys kept calling us about the cars being late and they delayed our pick up an hour. Finally at 8 pm they picked us up. When we got to the venue there was the usual fuzz. People were EVERYWHERE with their cameras and camera phones. We waited for like 30 minutes while they cleared the support band from the stage and the intro started. RAINBOW’s “Gates of Babylon” and some edited classical stuff from the Dracula soundtrack came out loud from the speakers. The Lions lined up for the first band pic in almost two years.
People were screaming and there were 5 big screens showing a collage of white lion pics presenting the band during the intro. I was presented as Claus Petterson – he he..!!!
It was nice getting back on stage with these guys and we rocked from the very start. Better than I thought we would. Tramp looked and sang great and the band locked in.
Troy and I obviously never forgot the small ads we did on our last tour it just felt better this time. The heat was not that bad now that they somehow fixed or turned on the air-condition.
LADY OF THE VALLEY was our last song before the encore. But when we ran off the stage they turned on all the light. Nobody shouted for an encore even though the crowd was going wild while we played the set. After 5 minutes with a lit up room and total chaos and confusion we ended up playing the encore. The ballads are BIG down here and it was a blast to hear 4000 people singing WHEN THE CHILDREN CRY and YOU’RE ALL I NEED.
The best thing though was playing ALL THE FALLEN MEN. Man that song rocks live. After two hours of rock’n’roll we got off stage and backstage. Everybody wanted pics. After 30 minutes of hysteria and chaos Tramp, Ayu and I got back to the hotel with the usual police escort. I had a picture by the police car with two officers when we got back to the hotel. Every thing is possible when you’re a rock star..!
Troy, Henning and Jamie stayed there for another 15 minutes before they came back to the hotel. Tramp went to his room, Jamie and Troy went downstairs to the bar and Henning and I ate some food in the hotel restaurant. The FORD guys were there at the restaurant too but less tense and stressed now. The show was over and it was a success. I wanted to break the ice and the professional distance between the FORD guys and us and invited them to join us for a beer downstairs in the nightclub. They gladly accepted and we were now allowed to jam on stage and talk to anybody. No more rules. We had a lot of Bintang’s (beers) that night and even the FORD guys had their share. Jamie was on stage singing all the time and we had fun. At 3 am I went to bed.
The alarm in my cell phone woke me up at 9:30 am. I got up and went for breakfast. My stomach was a little funny after breakfast you know. I spent an hour on the internet in the hotel business center. 56k modem..! We teamed up for check out in the reception at 1 pm. The FORD guys invited us for yet another lunch and they were all wearing sunglasses. It took a while for all to get down in the reception. The last came at 2 pm and meanwhile we were signing some poster cloths and haven pictures taken as usual but this time with the FORD guys. We also did a small interview to a local radio station while we waited for the Tramp family to come down from their hotel room.
We then drove to a restaurant near the coast. Seafood was the theme and we got huge crabs and delicious food - the best I’ve had so far. I had a coconut with a straw as an appetizer and then came in all the wonderful seafood. We ate a lot and had a couple of Bintang’s. They showed us all the crabs and we had a great time
There was yet another TV station and they interviewed us by the water with the setting sun as our background.
A couple of hours later we drove back to the Manado Convention Center for rehearsals. We were all tired and drained from the heat and the heavy seafood when we lined up the instruments. After setup and shit we decided to only go through EL SALVADOR and IF MY MIND IS EVIL. The Marshall combo bass amp that was there died and there was a smell of “rehearsal is over”. We ate a little dinner downstairs before getting back in the cars (now without police escort because the show was over) We drove for like 30 min and were to a resort that’s placed by the water. Troy and I took a cabin together and Jamie and Henning had theirs. Troy went back to the hotel nightclub (where we stayed at). Henning came to me and said that Jamie was having the fever and shaking all over. I ran to the restaurant and bought a couple waters for Jamie and beers for myself and rang home. I’ve just had a shower and covered myself with body lotion that scares mosquitoes away. I’m getting up at 6:30 am tomorrow to visit some underwater active volcano or whatever it is..!
Up early having some improvised breakfast and getting ready for the boat ride. We drove back to Manado and ended up by a boat near the Convention Center. The boat was taking us to an Island and then to the reefs where we could dive and shit.
It was nice being on the water even though it was just as hot as on land.
Troy stayed back as he came home very late. Jamie had lost his fever and was with us. Of course the camera team was with us too. It took like 45 minutes sailing to where we could start seeing the coral reefs.
The boat – a catamaran - had like two boxes in the middle that could be lowered down in the water. In the bottom of the boxes there was glass so you could see what was happening under water. It was amazing and it looked like “Finding Nemo”. We identified several fish from that movie.
After cruising for 15 minutes we moved on to a little island called Bunaken.
There only lived 2000 people and there was really no power or anything. The population had small booths by the beach selling T-shirts and merchandise and there was a “restaurant” making various banana dishes. Even on that little island there was the usual fuzz just in a minor scale. We had some bananas and a couple of Bintangs. I didn’t have any bathing pants so I bought a pair at one of the booths. 35.000 rupees. It seemed like ages before we left the island heading back to the reefs.
This time we jumped into the water and snorkeled. Man that was fantastic. To swim with the fish is beyond any imagination. I loved it.
We did it for like 30 minutes before we moved on and docked with another boat. It was a kind of submarine where you could sit in the bottom of the boat. There were windows all over so that you could look out as we sailed along the edges of the reefs. It was a 45 minutes ride and that was also amazing. But it didn’t top the snorkeling that was nothing less than fantastic.
After the boat ride we sailed back to Manado. Everybody was tired and slept or chilled on the boat. It has been a fantastic day so far and that was of course to change once we got at Convention Center for rehearsals. We were three hours late and Troy had been waiting with serious stomach problems after that seafood restaurant yesterday. He had the diarrhea and looked like shit. We had a cup of coffee and some lunch before we ran upstairs for rehearsals where we ran through the whole set.
A couple of hours later the china man who owns the place (actually owns half of Manado) had some dinner ready for us. After that we drove the half hour back to that new resort called New Mokupa Resort. We had decided to get up early next morning and fly back to Jakarta to spend the last 4 days there in Indonesia. I went to bed around midnight and so did Troy and Henning. Jamie was drinking beers with Nandar just outside our house. I woke up at 3:30 am coughing. I had to go outside to not wake up Troy. I got back to bed again but could not sleep. Alarm call already at 4:30 am. We had check in at the airport at 6 am and leave at 7. I got ready to take a shower now that I couldn’t sleep but there was no water at all. In a few minutes the rest of the guys will wake up so I decided to stay up.
Troy woke up and we started packing. Suddenly there was noise from Jamie and Henning’s house. They were screaming and shouting and throwing things at each other. What the fuck was that all about..??? Jamie had apparently woken up Henning before time and that had triggered Henning totally. Troy and I were standing by if they were to get into a fight. But they managed to stay out of that. I so wanted to record it on my video cam but didn’t get it in time.
We teamed up at the resort restaurant and Henning and Jamie stayed away from each other totally. It was funny that after only about two weeks everything was falling apart. We had our pictures taken with the staff at the resort and left. When we came to the airport we went directly to the VIP section. Nobody knew what was going on and when we were flying out.
Ayu was on her cell phone all the time and she wanted to take another flight because of a huge forest fire somewhere on Borneo that we had to fly over. People were running around trying to deal with shit that none of us knew about. We were in a mental no-mans-land for a couple of hours before we boarded the original flight and left for Jakarta at 10 am. We were finally in the air and broke the flight into two by landing in Balikpapan on Borneo or Kalimantan as it is called these days. It was only 15 minutes on the ground before we were up above the clouds again.
When we arrived to Jakarta we drove to Hotel Athlete downtown and Tramp went to stay at Ayu’s place. The hotel elevator was broke so we sat down in the restaurant and had a can of beer – Troy, Henning and I. We ran to a close by mall and found a McDonalds restaurant and that was f…… great not to HAVE to eat rice..!
We bought some waters and Bintangs and went back for the hotel pool, a shower and an early bed. Troy and Jamie went out for a party..!
Not much to report really as we were in Jakarta and couldn’t get away from the hotel. We rehearsed at this studio 15 minutes drive from the hotel until early afternoon. Troy was feeling terrible shitting himself to death. He looked like ass.
After that we came back to the hotel pool where we chilled a bit. Kurt was there to visit us and we had some Bintangs by the pool in the sunset before picking up dinner at the mall. MacDonald’s of course and back to bed. I couldn’t sleep as my mind got going beginning to think about what to do once I was back in Denmark. I guess I slept for a couple of hours though.
Kinda like the same as the day before. Troy was feeling better though. I’ve also had the shits for a couple of days but in a much minor scale than Troy. There were rehearsals at noon and then o back to the hotel late afternoon. This was my last chance to get something special for junior and Tramp hooked me up at some store and I bought a X-box. It’s half price here. I paid 4.5 million rupees and got 2 remotes and 10 games. Man is junior gonna be happy about this. We got back to the hotel again after shopping some stuff. Jamie was in the bar again. The rest of just went down to the hotel restaurant to get dinner. Ayu’s sister Sarah was there with a friend. I had some salad and Henning and I got to our room where we chilled with a couple of Bintangs and a book etc. Tomorrow we’re going home and I can’t f…… wait..!
I got up quite early as usual and packed my bags. I had breakfast even though my stomach was still kinda unstable. Nandar was picking us up for rehearsals at 12:30 pm and Tramp came late. We rehearsed the set. I played like it was the first time I ever had a bass around my neck and it became a laughing matter – to me. Well I guess my mind was already in Denmark instead of being focused on playing White Lion songs. Troy, Henning and I were boarding the same plane home. Nandar took us to the airport - a one hour drive from the hotel - and gave us the last cruise through Jakarta. The pollution was massive and we were all happy to get away from the tropical heat. Nandar was happy and talking about penis enlargements etc. You can get anything you want here in Indonesia Mr. Claus – he said. It’s an amazing country..!
And Nandar’s right, it IS an amazing country..!
We finally arrived at the airport in time. We had our last couple of Bintangs and said goodbye to our new friend Nandar – a brother for life and perhaps one of the few people that I will remember for the rest of my life.
The flight – or my nightmare – was something that I just had to go through. I was looking at 16 hours sitting on my ass staring at nothing. I fucking hate it but I made it and suddenly we were in Amsterdam, Netherland. Henning said goodbye as he was boarding a plane direct to Düsseldorf in Germany. Troy and I waited for yet another two hours before we finally flew the last hour and 25 minutes to Copenhagen. It was nice to be back but cold. The sun was shining and it was kinda clear. It was 9:30 in the morning…
THE EUROPEAN TOUR
Was just days off at home in Copenhagen, Denmark. Henning and his girlfriend came to my place in the evening on the 9th. Tramp, Jamie and Troy stayed at the Hotel Fox near the Pumphouse where we’re playing on the 11th. I was back being a father and spending as much time with junior as possible.
It was the big day and the actual start of the tour (in Europe). I suffered badly from jetlag and got up early with my son. At 2 pm I went for my bass rig and we were at the Pumphouse at 3 pm. We loaded in and got ready for sound check. It was loud but rockin’. Everybody was excited. The show was almost sold out. After sound check I stayed at the Pumphouse just to get some peace and clear my mind.
We teamed up again at 8:30 pm. We were on at 9:15 pm. It was fantastic. The show was awesome. We kicked ass and the audience really digged it. I love playing Tramp or White Lion in Denmark – especially the Pumphouse. After the show I met all my homies. It was great to see them again and to get their feedback. After all it was a great night and I was back in bed at 3 am after driving around with my bass rig and all the other shit.
Got up early again. We were to meet in Copenhagen airport at 11 am and I was packing my stuff. I REALLY didn’t wanna go on tour again. I was worried about the situation within the Lion camp these days. It seems that the guys have a hard time getting along and that some are out on their own mission. All I want is to get out there and chill out and have fun with some of my brothers. I really don’t want another tour being a psychiatrist for weird minds on the loose. Anyway it is just a sense that I have and I’m sure it’ll be fine once we’re playing every night and busy with the tour.
Today we were going to Oslo, Norway. Henning and I left my place at 10:45 am driving to the airport. The guys were already there. We checked in and the flight was only 1 hour. We arrived in Norway at 2 pm and the guys that booked the show picked us up at the airport. We had like a half hour drive to Oslo Centrum and we stayed at the SAS Radisson Plaza Hotel. The cold Nordic air was amazing and a clear opposite to what we had in Indonesia – cold and dry air..!
Troy and I were in room 2217 because Troy just wanted to get off Jamie for a couple of days. Norway was cold – freezing cold. Troy, Henning, Jamie and I went for some pizza at a local restaurant. We were hungry and waited for so long just to get the wrong pizza (I did) and it tasted like crap. I ordered a pepperoni but got one with ham and mushrooms – Frustrating huh..???? After eating we went to the venue for sound check. It was a very small club. Like 250 people. The promoter said that 250 tickets were sold but there wasn’t. The stage was small and different from yesterday in Copenhagen. The sound was kinda crappy but acceptable. We played the usual LIVING ON THE EDGE and settled with that before we ran back to the hotel. Troy and I went directly to our room and chilled on our beds till pick up at the hotel lobby at 11 pm - 30 minutes before kick off. We hired a cab and drove to the venue. There were like 150 people there but they were all by the stage and very close to us.
We played very well. It was loud but compact as the venue and stage was so small. Time flied and suddenly we were done. Tramp was happy and did some meet’n’greet after the show. After that he left and the rest of us stayed there for a beer or two. We chilled with some of the locals and Troy and I got a cab at 3:15 am. We shouted at Jamie to come with us but he wasn’t coming so Troy and I just left for the hotel and a bed to crash.
I woke up at 9 am not knowing the exact time because it seemed dark outside. It was cloudy and actually snowing. I got up and went for breakfast. After eating Henning came down. He told me that he had to go for piss at 7 am and saw Jamie at the bathroom in his underpants. He was drunk out of his mind and still drinking beer, eating pizza and scratching his balls while looking at himself in the mirror – charming fellow huh..? I went back to the room and Troy was up. I hooked myself up for a hot bath in the tub – a big tub actually. There were nice oils and foam and it was GREAT..! After that I hooked Troy up too (…mom, I can explain it all..!) and we just chilled before meting at the hotel lobby at 12:15 pm.
There was a fucking fire drill at the hotel and the alarm just rang for like 20 minutes. Troy and I didn’t bother running 22 stories down but Tramp did with Isabel (his 1-year old daughter) and his Mac powerbook not knowing if it was a drill or the real deal.
We got on the train at 1 pm and started working through the budget and the merchandise etc. The train ride was 4 hours and it was a bumpy one. Some got a little motion sick but actually nothing to mention. It was dark once we stopped in Gothenburg, Sweden. There was of course nobody to pick us up. Tramp called the promoter and we grabbed some cabs and went to the hotel. The hotel was quite far away - like a 15 minutes drive from the venue. Henning was pissed because he was sharing room with Jamie and because it was a double bed and not two separates. After putting our bags in our rooms we teamed up in the hotel lobby. The overall mood was tense because of – well I actually don’t know. Maybe just because people were acting like clowns..? The venue – Sticky Fingers – was also quite far from the hotel. It was kinda small – 400 capacities – but it looked great. The stage was very high and the PA system was DB = great..!
There was an opening act and they of course provided the backline. Tonight I was going to play a PEAVEY rig. It sounded okay and we did the sound check. Henning was still pissed. Why I don’t know. After checking the sound we went back to the hotel. A local guy took us back now that the venue didn’t wanna provide us any transportation – That sucked..!
After a couple of hours we met in the lobby at 9 pm. I have already ordered a mini bus to take us to the venue. Showtime was at 9:45 pm.
The attendance was not that big. I’d say around 150 people. But the gig was great. The band is better that ever before and especially Troy is really kickin’ ass..!
We had a curfew at 11:30 pm so Tramp didn’t preach that much during the set today. Jamie’s gear of course dropped out now and then and feed our ears off. People really digged the show and there were a couple of well-known faces down there.
After the show tramp did some meet’n’greet. I said hi to the well-known faces (Danes) and settled the merchandise before we finally left the venue around midnight. Troy and I went straight to our beds and slept around 12:30 am.
I woke up at 8 am. The rooms have been cold ever since leaving Denmark and I can’t wait to get to the south. Today we’re going to the Swedish capital Stockholm. We’re playing in a club called KLUBBEN. Troy and I went for breakfast and did some internet right after that. I had a shower and we teamed up in the lobby ready to leave for the train station for yet another train ride. We had a three hours train ride ahead of us from Gothenburg to Stockholm.
It rained when we were picked up and it rained when we were dropped off. We carried all our shit down the track to the last wagon just to find out that it was locked and wasn’t opened until 5 minutes before departure.
The train ride was boring as train rides usually are but Tramp hooked us all up with a double Whopper Meal with coke. It darkened outside as we came closer to Stockholm.
When we arrived a guy was there to pick us up. It was of course still raining and we were supposed to go direct to the venue KLUBBEN and get ready there. We drove in a big Chevy to the venue. It was a cool place. There was a support band and we used their backline - GEMINI FIVE. The bass rig was shit and during sound check the FOH guy told me to take the volume down to almost nothing. That annoyed me and I offered to totally turn it off. We had a monitor guy and he compensated for that by adding volume to my monitors – I thought..! There was a curfew at 11 pm therefore showtime was at 9 pm. The place was not totally packed but it all looked great - like a classic rock show. The stage sound was crap and I couldn’t hear anything I played. That’s the usual deal when you have support. It’s always the headliner that ends up with the shitty sound because no one gives a shit about the next band when they just finished their own set. I really tried to communicate with the monitor guy but he obviously had his head up his ass. Then he wasn’t there for most of the set and got back on the last crash before going into the encore..! I cranked up the bass amp but nothing helped. It was too far away from me and didn’t have enough power. The gig was super though even though I was furious.
Henning had visitors from his band Jaded Heart. Their singer and guitar player are Swedish. We packed our shit and the guy with the Chevy picked us up and drove us to the airport hotel in Stockholm. It was a 45 minutes drive but I didn’t notice - I fell asleep. I was bummed when we arrived at the hotel. We had a flight at 8 am next morning so we had to get up at 6 am. It was now 1:30 am and I just wanted to get a bed for a couple of hours sleep. We all got a single room except from Troy and I. It obviously pays to be drunk all the time or to Whine and complain – then nobody wants to share a room with you and you get your own.
We didn’t get that much sleep and Troy and I were totally wasted when we woke up.
It was dark outside as Troy and I left our room carrying all our shit down from the second floor. Troy had a cup of tea as we were both struggling to stay alive. The camp was moving to Madrid, Spain this morning. Everybody seemed to be tired and nobody talked that much – except from Tramp starting his Mr. Organizer shit at 6:30 am. A mini bus came to pick us up and it was only like a 5 minutes drive to the departure. There were a lot of people at the Stockholm airport. Henning hooked us up with the flight tickets and we checked in our luggage. When we came to security I found out that my hair wax was still in my hand luggage. That’s not allowed in Europe to bring liquids and fluids on the plane due to all the fucking terrorists. This old Swedish lady she found it and took it. You’re only allowed to bring 100 milligrams and this is 150 she said. I argued that half of it was used but she insisted. Fuck that pissed me off. It’s an expensive wax and the only one that works in my rats maze hair. I gave her so much shit but she only got mad at me and finally threatened with taking me in. We sat at the tax free area and chilled. Troy was checking the internet.
It was time to board the plane for the four hours flight to Madrid. I sat by the aisle next to Troy. There wasn’t space for feet, legs or anything and they didn’t offer anything without collecting money for it - FRUSTRATING…!!!
Henning of course quickly found three free seats and laid down and got four straight hours of sleep..!
The only funny thing on this flight was one of the male passengers who had a huge hole in his black shirt and he didn’t know. Everything has an end and so did this flight. We were finally in Spain. We got our luggage and went outside where some dude with a ponytail picked us up and we were heading to Madrid center. We dropped off Mike at a local radio station for an interview. Mike was excited about being back in Spain where he lived years ago. On our way to the hotel we heard the interview on the radio. Mike was actually doing fine in Spanish. Tramp and Ayu’s daughter Isabel had a shitty diaper and the whole car smelled of shit. Finally we were at the Santo Domingo hotel in Madrid. It is as down town as it gets and very close to the venue that was by the PLAZA DE ESPANA. We had single rooms for the first time on this tour and my room (#126) was small but quite cozy.
We had like two and a half hours before we would be picked up and taken to the venue for sound check etc. The weather was nice so I ran out to locate some hair wax. I found a couple of products but they were NOT what I was looking for. I went back to the hotel and I lay on my bed and turned on the TV and fell asleep.
We teamed up in the lobby at 5:45 pm and drove to the venue. HEINEKEN. It was a cool place and kinda big. It was sold out they said and we didn’t know what to believe. For the first time on this tour I actually had an Ampeg bass rig and every one of us was hooked up the right way. We sound checked and it was loud but great. Marcus Nand dropped by. Marcus played the last Freak of Nature tour and both Tramp and Troy know him. I have emailed him a few times and it was nice to say hi to him in persona. We walked back to the hotel and I had another bath. I got dressed and Jamie came to my room and we went down to the lobby and walked to the venue. It started raining a bit. Madrid is a great city and all the restaurants and bars open at 9 pm.
The gig WAS sold out and it looked fantastic. Showtime was at 9 pm and we got ready to go on stage. The show was awesome. The crowd was digging it from the first minute. They were loud singing Ole-ole-ole..! It was the best club gig crowd I’ve ever played in front of. That’s the apparently the Spanish way. We all really enjoyed being on stage.
Tramp lost his voice at the end of the show and came off with a sore throat. He wanted to go to the hospital for an injection and had Marcus arranging things. We went for the encore and finished the show. There was a lot of fuzz when we got out. Every one wanted pictures and autographs and people were so nice. After the show we had some beers and enjoyed ourselves for the first time on this tour. We went to a late night tapas bar and chilled.
This was the first day off and I slept long. Henning and I had talked about doing some relaxing and sightseeing in Madrid. It was raining a bit outside and we walked to PLAZA DE ESPANA and decided to take the metro to see Estadio Santiago Bernabeu – which is the Stadium of Real Madrid – one of the greatest soccer teams of the world. It was huge – 80.000 capacity but looked old and worn out as it was built in 1902. We walked around it to see if we could get in there and of course that was possible. We just had to find gate 42 and that really took us a while. We finally got in and it was awesome. We started upstairs and went down to the dressing rooms, the pitch, and the bench before we ended up at the museum and fan shop.
It started raining again as we walked to a Burger King right next to the stadium. We decided to move back downtown and sightsee a little more. Apparently we ended up in several bars having a beer each place. It was great to just chill out and do nothing. In the evening we saw the Opera, the Royal Castle, Place Mayor and whatever important classic sights in downtown Madrid. It was kinda cold, humid and windy so we visited a lot of bars. Henning suddenly felt the impact of the beers and didn’t fail to amuse any of us. Late night we met Troy and went to Scooters which was a bar close to the hotel. We had a couple of Guiness and then went back to the hotel. Henning and I had one last Heineken each in the lobby and went to bed after that. It has been a long but great day and we were both tired.
I woke up at 8 am. We should meet in the lobby at 11 am to go to the airport and fly to Barcelona. I went for breakfast and had to pay 11 Euros. Holy shit..!!!! The local promoter pulled our legs not mentioning that breakfast WASN’T included in our hotel.
I had a bath and packed my shit. We went to the airport and the flight was at 1:50 pm. All these flights are tiring the shit out of me and I’m still convinced that this is my last tour. I’m getting too old for this crap. Tramp was in a bad mood – so was I and the whole fucking tour sucked. Finally we were on the plane to Barcelona doing a 50 minutes flight. I sat next to Henning and a black lady who took up so much space that she was hitting me all the time. Frustrating..!
We were in Barcelona and were picked up by a red head girl with a piece of paper with WHITE LION written on it. She took us to the hotel SILKEN and we all had a single room again. But we only had like 30 minutes before going to the venue for sound check. I just wanted to be alone but Troy found out that we had internet in our rooms and wanted to use my laptop. We drove to the venue APOLO and when we got there fans were standing outside. We signed shit and had a couple of photos and went in. It was the same backline as in Madrid. The same Ampeg rig. But it didn’t hook me up though. It cranked at very low volume and the monitors here in Spain doesn’t play that much low end.
Another shitty stage sound was ahead but I’m used to dealing with that. Tramp came and we finished sound check. We drove back to the hotel and had only like 1,5 hour before going back to the venue. Showtime was at 9 pm. Troy was spending an hour in my room using my laptop and I had a shower and a beer and got dressed. 8:30 pm in the lobby.
Tramp, Ayu and Isabel came just before going on stage and we drove to the venue. Tramp was pissed that the support band still played which is unfortunately the never ending story and the curse of support bands. I just went away and didn’t wanna get caught by any bad vibe at all. We got on stage and the crowd was great and we were kicking ass. The band is really great now. It was like the Madrid gig. The crowd was really into the songs and made a lotta noise.
Before the encore we had some minor arguments backstage before we were back on stage playing the last songs. As backstage wasn’t a place to be this night I walked out by the stage and helped packing down the equipment.
I had some beers and Tramp went back to the hotel with Ayu and Isabel. The boys were in a party mood but I felt like the hotel and a bed after a weird day.
I woke up around 9 am. We had a bus call at 11 am because we had a flight to Bologna, Italy at 13:15 pm. The weather was nice in Barcelona. Jamie looked like shit because he had spent all night doing whatever.
The bus left the hotel at 11:30. It didn’t matter anyway because the flight was one hour delayed. When we checked in the lady bitched about the overweight and we paid 750 EURO’s for that. In the transit area I bought a Barcelona soccer jersey for my son. Jamie was lying hung over sleeping by the gate. Nobody talked.
Finally we were ready to board the plane for the 3 hours flight to Bologna. The plane was not packed and Jamie found three seats and crashed right away. The rest of us chilled. Tramp had bought a new backpack and he gave me his old one. The staff at the flight was pompous and arrogant except for the cabin leader – a beautiful girl called Ida.
She was very nice and we talked because she was worried about Jamie and whether he was dying on the plane or not. She wanted to go to the show in Bologna. She lives in Padova very close to Bologna. I gave her my cell phone number because I didn’t get her name for the guest list (she never showed up though). Jamie and I nearly forgot our guitar and bass but the staff reminded us. When we got to Bologna we were supposed to hook up with a German driver – Misha. Henning knew him and hired him to do the job. At arrival there were this lady called Debbie. She was the promoter of the first show in Bologna. As we were so delayed the driver, Misha took us directly to the venue for sound check etc. It was a fucking joke. 4/5 of the stage was covered as a cage and the PA system totally sucked. On top of this the sound guy was a young girl who didn’t know shit about sound.
The whole thing was a joke and when Tramp came it all escalated. Sound check was frustrating as you can imagine and we just gave up and went back to the hotel. We only had like an hour there. It was a fucked day. On the way out of the venue there were fans waiting. There wasn’t any time to eat so we just dropped by yet another Burger King to get a load of double whopper cheese. I ate my menu in the reception in less than 10 sec. and got up to change clothes. We got back to the venue. It was packed. The gig was cool but bizarre. Backstage was bizarre. There were vagina paintings all over the pink wall and the blanket smelled like shit (you know, the smell of a thousand spilled beers and drinks mixed up with puke, sperm, dust etc etc).
The intro was on and Tramp had to take a shit. The show was of course delayed 15 minutes and Debbie (the promoter) only came down to argue all the time. It was show time and it was rocking. It was hot as hell up there and I was totally wet after three songs. The lights didn’t work and was flashing all the time like the light we all had in our rooms when we were teenagers. It was like being in a fucking amusement park somewhere in Eastern Germany. But the show was somehow great and the crowd digged it.
After the show Misha took Tramp back to the hotel and we had a couple of beers. Suddenly the sound lady came down and started to complain. We told her to fuck off because she kept on giving us shit and tried to teach us how things work. She of course ended up asking for a T-shirt and that’s when we told her to fuck off. Debbie (promoter) also kept coming annoying us with complains and odd questions. Good thing was that the two Italian brothers Massimo and Manuel were there. They had been arranging the next day gig just because they are big fans. I talked to them and to who ever else wanted to talk and chilled before we went back to the hotel. That was a weird day and we were all tired from the challenges.
Got up at 9:30 am for breakfast. Bus call was at 11 am. The two Italian brothers were there to guide the way to Trieste. We finally left around 11:30 am and it was like a 3 hour drive. The sun was shining and the spirit was great. The thing about the brothers is that they came to Munich for a Tramp solo show some three years ago I guess. I was the first to talk to them back then and they were HUGE fans of White Lion and Mike Tramp. They were very nice and I asked them if they wanted to be there when we sound checked. They were absolutely on cloud nine. They were hugging and crying while we sound checked and they recorded it all on their cell phone answering machines. Years had gone and Tramp and I have developed a kind of friendship with the two brothers. They have been to every show near Italy and they wanted White Lion to go to Italy on this tour. Therefore they arranged it themselves and here we were. It was amazing how much work they had put into making this happen. They were so much looking forward to this and were so afraid that their work wasn’t good enough. Their work was perfect.
After the three hours drive we came to a seafood restaurant near the water. Trieste is much known for its seafood. When we got there the rest of “la familia” was there - brothers, wives, children etc. and it was great. The vibe was so special and nice and they were all full of love. We sat at the table and had one delicious dish after another. It was fantastic. They served us great wine as well - spared no expense it seemed. They had even made a birthday cake for Ayu now that it was her birthday. It was wonderful and after a couple of hours we drove directly to the venue. It was a cool place – a theater. The Stage and PA-system was cool and it all seemed to be quite cool.
We sound checked even though we were tired from the delicious food, wine, dessert and Grappa. They took us back to a small hotel near the water. That was a joke. It was dirty and had a cat piss smell in the rooms. The wallpaper was totally from the seventies and so was everything else but it was the only hotel in town and this is just a matter of us being spoiled. We had a couple of beers and decided to get ready real quick and get back to the venue. Misha (the driver) took us there and the place was again packed. Massimo’s wife had made us fantastic food and lasagna. We were so spoiled and it tasted just perfect. It’s a good thing that I don’t live in Italy because I would become fat as fuck. The show was great even though Jamie acted like a drama queen because the monitors were totally changed after the two support bands. That’s life and what happens every fucking time you don’t bring your own crew. The crowd was a bit more silent this evening but that seems to be more common in Italy than what we experienced last night in Bologna. They loved it though.
After the show the Italian brothers were so happy. Everything was great and the crowd really digged it. Even Tramp came out to meet’n’greet this time. We had some beers and went back to the crappy hotel and slept.
I woke up at 9:30 am and went downstairs for “breakfast” - he he there was absolutely nothing except from some dry bread and some old yoghurt. I had some of it (not the yoghurt) and a cup of cappuccino.
Henning and Misha came down and also Jamie popped up. The Tramps checked out of the camp for a couple of days going to Venice. The rest of us packed our shit and got in the van and took off for Augsburg, Germany. We left the hotel at 11:30 am after saying goodbye to Massimo and his wife. It was a six hours drive and Jamie already started drinking beers. After a couple of hours we were in Austria. Then Henning and Misha lost directions and we were on a big time detour. We drove around without knowing anything – even the GPS didn’t help. The two Germans in front of the car wouldn’t stop and ask some locals because Germans obviously hate Austrians. This was quickly turning into a fucking farce. Troy, Jamie and I had some beers. We stopped to get some gas at this little joint where they also sold Frankfurter sausages with ketchup and mustard. We had some of those Jaeger mini bottles and a beer each. After that we drove up another mountain in the Austrian Alps. We even crossed a NO entrance sign and drove further up. Troy, Jamie and I were giving the Germans so much shit about their navigation. As we drove up the mountain the snow became heavier and heavier. And suddenly Misha didn’t wanna take us further up. This was so insane that it kinda became a laughing matter. We got out to take a piss and played in the show for a couple of minutes before we turned the van and drove back again
We kept on giving Henning shit and suddenly he just lost it. He was screaming and shouting like hell. Then we opened another bottle of red wine and Jamie ended up falling off the seat landing on the floor with a bang in his sleep (he didn’t even wake up). This was absurd. We landed at the hotel in Augsburg around 11 pm. That’s a fucking 11 hour drive instead of 6 hours as planned and it seemed that we crossed every mountain in the Austrian Alps. Troy and I shared a room and so did Jamie and Misha. Troy hit the wall right away while I started to count al the fees and merchandise money that was piling up in my bag. The hotel room was damn hot but I never found out how to turn off the heat. It was an ordinary hotel except from the fact that it was placed in the middle of fucking nowhere. And we were to stay here for three days..! No Internet and no nothing. I finally fell asleep after yet anther exhausting and absurd day.
I woke up at 5 am not knowing what time it was. Fuck it was another one of those nights where I would never fall asleep again. I only had a three hours sleep. I tried to hit the wall and it finally happened a couple of hours later. I woke up again at 10 am and went for breakfast. Troy joined and Jamie and Misha were already down there. The breakfast was quite cool with bacon and eggs etc. Henning and his girlfriend Verena who were together again here in Germany, also came down and we chilled and downed some coffee. Troy went back to sleep and the overall vibe was very relaxed. What else was there to do? I also went back to the room to catch up on some of the shit in this diary. Lobby call at 4 pm. Henning knows the guys supplying the back line and support for tonight. The venue is called SPECTRUM. We gathered in the lobby and took off for SPECTRUM. We saw White Lion posters all over town. The venue was great and looked like a real rock club. The PA system looked good but the support act wasn’t there yet. That irritated Troy and he mentioned that to Henning. Henning gave Troy shit back and then the alarm went on once again. Things eased up of course and the support guys showed up at 5:15 pm. The backline was up before we knew it and we sound checked.
The local crew was amazing and we had a soundman that Henning knew – another Misha..! It kicked ass and it was wonderful to for once work with some pros. We went back to the hotel. Jamie, Troy and I went down to the hotel bar to get a couple of beers and a game of Darts. The Darts didn’t work but the beers did. We got back to our rooms and got dressed and drove back to the venue. It was packed and I was amazed by the fact that we have been able to keep on drawing that many people to the shows.
After the show we did the usual meet’n’greet and had food and a couple of beers. We finally got back to the hotel at 2 am and the “party” continued in Jamie’s and Misha’s room. At like 5 am I was able to go to bed after having therapy talks with some of the guys after some minor distractions during the late hours.
I woke up at 10 am and wondered why Misha was sleeping on the couch in our room. Misha told me that Jamie had carried on all through the night till like 7 am. Smoking in the room and being wandering around like a hell raiser. I went for breakfast and went back to my room and I started preparing to go to do laundry. We met in the lobby at 11:30 am with all our dirty clothes in plastic bags. We found the laundry and there was an internet café right next to it. Cool because a wash took 2 hours. That’s the longest wash I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. We went to the internet café and checked mails and stuff. It took forever to fucking do laundry. 4 hours or so and Henning came back with the van to pick Troy and me up.
We wanted to go to the Dachau Concentration camp – or what’s left of it - just to get the vibe even though it was getting dark. It ended up being only Henning, Verena and I who went. It was a 35 minutes drive and it was dark and extremely cold when we got there. It was scary and especially the “ARBEIT MACH FREI” gate was scaring the shit outta me. This shit really happened. We browsed for 45 minutes and got back in the van.
It was freezing cold and we drove to a nearby MacDonald’s on our way back to the hotel. It’s around 8 pm and I really just wanna be alone. Troy was sleeping and he had wet laundry all over the room. He woke up and we talked a little before Misha and he hooked up and went out. Now I’m writing all this misery and just want some peace and clear my head. Tomorrow will be a tough day too going to Greece and play a show before going to Turkey. I had been a strange day and I was moody and kinda sad and just wanted to go home. I hate days off when there are more than one in a row. Then I’d rather go home and be with my son instead of traveling around like a clown in a circus.
I got up at 8:30 am for breakfast. We had a lobby call at 10 am because we had to move to Munich airport. Troy wanted to sleep instead of joining me. This day was to be living through yet another fucking nightmare. It was of course raining as we drove to Munich airport. We were going to Athens Greece and that was like a 2,5 hour flight. Henning was the flight-check-in-master on this tour. He collects all our passports and pick up the tickets. Then there are of course the usual couple of hours waiting before we’re boarding the plane.
One thing on the plus side of the day was the flight to Athens. The plane wasn’t nearly half booked so we had a lot of space. Then there was the flight over the Alps. That’s a beautiful sight. The mountains are so majestic and you can just catch yourself staring at them.
Anyway we landed in Athens and it was OF COURSE raining. There were the usual guys with the WHITE LION piece of paper to pick us up. We got on a mini bus and the driver wanted to take us to a restaurant but because it was already like 4 pm and we had like an hour drive from the airport to the hotel we told our driver to go directly to the venue – THE UNDERWORLD. It was getting dark outside but Athens is a cool city. Nice vibe and a city that never sleeps. There are about 5 million people in Athens. The venue was like a goth club. Kinda cool but also trashy. There was an electric chair and dolls with their head cut off and other kinds of shit hanging on the walls.
It was a small club like 300-400 capacity and then it would be fully packed. The stage was small and the drums totally sucked. There was a small Ampeg rig for me and I had to crank it up to even hear myself. I of course had no monitor. Troy and I browsed the streets outside. The club was absolutely downtown Athens and there were shops all around us. Meanwhile they were getting ready at the club hooking up the microphones and shit. It took then oceans of time and I was kinda pissed because I so needed a shower more than anything else. I just wanted to get sound check done and move back to the hotel. The sound guy obviously had a different opinion and he totally sucked. When he started doing the drum sound I thought it was a fucking joke. All mid tone and it just hurt my ears – like hammering on barrels. I kinda showed him that I was not satisfied and that he should get his shit together and not waste our time. However he was just one of those guys that had absolutely no talent at all and after putting op the Merchandise (Troy and I made a fucking fine merch booth) we just gave up and went to our hotel. So now we had an hour for food and a shower. We didn’t eat anything during the day so we really needed the food. They took us to their restaurant which in fact was nothing but a cheap burger joint. I had a quick shower and dressed up – man I’m getting fat…!
When we got to the venue the support band was still on. We went directly to our backstage and that was just a small dirty room with no toilet. So we pissed in some empty bottles just to avoid going downstairs to the toilet. The venue was totally packed – sold out..! There were some really hardcore White Lion fans down there and they gave us the best support you can ever imagine – That was fucking great…! Tramp was happy even though the stage was so small and the sound was totally shit. He he - Tramp even punched me right in the face in a break in LIVIING ON THE EDGE because he posed his arms. That’s how small the stage was. But I tell you the crowd went wild. Even though we agreed taking out TILL DEATH and YOU’RE ALL I NEED we ended up playing the last one anyway just to calm down the crowd a bit.
After the show Tramp ran directly to a car and went back to the hotel. It was late night and we had to get up at 5 am to be at the airport in Athens around 6 am. The venue quickly got the people out and I wanted to settle the merchandise right away. The merch guy ( a little annoying fat hairy asshole who only spoke Greek) wanted to settle but he never wrote down how many T-shirts he sold. I gave him my numbers and he obviously didn’t agree with me. He was going on and on in Greek and was very aggressive and loud speaking. The other Greek guys were shaking their heads and I quickly sensed that this would end up in another mess. I got so pissed at all the Greeks because they suddenly didn’t speak English or even tried to help me anymore. That little fat fuck ended up giving me 780 Euros when I should have had 1200. I don’t know how many times I must’ve said the F-word but I was furious. Fucking thief…! The local promoter couldn’t/wouldn’t help us and I gave him a lot of shit too. We packed their place for a lousy fee and they stole money out of our pockets…
It was like 2:30 in the middle of the night and besides stealing our money they also stole our valuable resting time. The Greeks apologized while I was still giving them shit. We went back to the hotel and Jamie wanted to go out for another run. I went to bed trying to get a couple of hours sleep. What a fucking day..!
I felt like shit when I woke up. I was so tired and still frustrated about the merch. theft last night. However we were moving on and our next destination was Turkey. Everybody looked like shit that morning and the bus drive from the hotel to the airport was a very quiet one. Nobody said anything. We already had the tickets so it was just a matter of handing in our luggage and wait. We were facing two flights. First from Athens to Istanbul and then from Istanbul to Antalya. The trip to Istanbul was almost two hours and when we got there the Turkish team was there to pick us up and go with us to Antalya. BUT we had to wait almost 5 hours in Istanbul and we couldn’t leave the airport. That was a drag after not having slept the whole night.
Everything has an end and so does waiting for the next plain. The flight to Antalya was only 50 minutes and the view from the plane over Istanbul was amazing. That is a fucking big city. 15 million people live there.
Finally we landed in Southern Turkey in Antalya. The weather was nice around 23 Celsius and the sunset over the mountains was beautiful. There was a bus to pick us up and take us to our hotel. It took like an hour and that was worth waiting for. The hotel was amazing. A giant resort by the sea with pools, bars, bowling, and restaurants - everything..! And it was all for free. Even the bar didn’t charge you. When we entered there were girls standing with flowers for Mike and they spared no expense.
The food was delicious and that’s exactly what I needed - a place like this to recharge your batteries. I even had a little balcony to my room. I tell you I was happy. The only thing that bummed me was that we only had like 2 days there. We went to the restaurant. And there was the biggest buffet that I’ve ever seen. All Turkish specialities and real yummy stuff. The design of the hotel was kinda Arab but mixed with European Architecture. I was in room 1241 with a view to the sea. Then we met Jamas who was the music coordinator at the hotel. He of course took care of Mike and talked about the future etc. There was a bottle of red wine in my room which I corked and had a glass or two. Man this is what touring should be all about. Jamas wanted to show us the JOLLY JOKER CLUB. That’s the venue where we’re playing tomorrow. Jamie, Troy and I got in his car and we drove there. It took like forever. Say 45 minutes. The club was cool. It was placed by the sea and was a restaurant & Bar with live music as well. It reminded me so much of the Malibu Inn in the States. The stage design was weird but pretty cool. The drums were on a very high riser and there was another level where Henning should be and the front level for Tramp, Jamie and me. There was a local cover band playing and they did a good job. Everybody was thrilled to see us and they gave us beers all the time. It of course ended up in us jamming with the guys and Jamie screaming his ass off. It was a funny night and Jamas took us back to the hotel around 4 am. Time to get some sleep.
I woke up around noon well rested and now that breakfast was over I went down for lunch. It’s a little heavy with the full buffet as breakfast though but I’m not complaining. After lunch I ran to the beach to find Henning and there he was lying in the sun like a tourist reading his book.
Oh I forgot to say that Antalya and the hotel we’re in is “little” Germany. This is nothing but Germans and all the Turkish staff speaks German and almost no English. It’s amazing and we gave Henning a lot of shit of course. Imagine that 18.000 Germans lives in Antalya – then there’re all the German tourists..! Tonight was a gig night and I ran down to the small shops near the hotel. It was clothes, watches, jewelry and shit like that and all copies. The Turks in the shops they are so up tight and they actually drag you in their shops with the opening question. “Where are you from?”. And then when you say where you come from they all know how to say something in your language. The clothes had no tags with prices on them. Everything was just “special price for you my friend – very special price only for you…” Yeah well, have I heard that song before huh..?
Anyway I ended up buying a pretty cool G-String shirt (copy) for like 40 Turkish Lira. When I came back to the hotel I very quick found out that its kinda too small and that I look like shit wearing it – that’s so typical me. Well I hate looking in mirrors these days because I gained so much weight because I stopped smoking. Holy shit…! And then there’s my hair. Fuck I hate having long hair. I look like a mix between a has-been-heavy-metal-singer and a simple clown – fuck..!
We had a lobby call at 4 pm and I went back to my room to chill and sat on the balcony in the sun with my laptop and wrote some of this shit. I was still fully enjoying the luxury that we were living in.
Henning called and we went for a cup of Turkish coffee in the bar. That tasted like crap. We were picked up and drove to the venue and when we got there like 45 minutes later the sun was about to set. Inside our Turkish crew had put up all our shit and we could slowly sound check one by one. It took like forever because the sound guy had to do the sound from the side of the stage. So he was running back and forth and using headphones all the time and that is not really a good idea. Tramp came with Ayu and Isabel. We did the merchandise and the sound and around 8 pm we drove back to the hotel.
It was a late show and show time was 11:30 pm. There was enough time to run for the dinner buffet and have a nice bath before putting on the black tight jeans and the new ugly G-String shirt. When we got to the venue the place was not packed. We have been so spoiled on this tour and of course we would also meet this. Antalya is a tourist place and not at all a rock city or even a place where they throw concerts at all. I’d say there were about 350 people in there which is not bad. When we started the stage sound was crap. Henning was so fucking loud and I could only hear him. Fortunately I had my ear plugs on. 90% of the crowd didn’t really know any White Lion song and just happened to be there because something different happened. I could see that Mike was kinda frustrated about it but we got through the set. I hated the gig. The sound on stage killed me and I might as well just have left the stage. Nobody would’ve noticed..!
After the show Tramp went back to the hotel with Ayu and Isabel. The rest of us stayed and had beers. All the audience very quickly got out and there were only a few there but we had fun and the vibe was cool. I counted the shirts. We sold 8 and there was 4-5 missing. That’s Turkey man. They steal whenever and whatever they can. We got back to our wonderful hotel at the small hours. Then we went down in the basement bar and I ordered a gin tonic that I didn’t even finish. I was so tired and I got to bed at like 5 am.
Woke up around noon and went to the buffet. Henning was with me and we met Troy too. The Tramps also came down and sat eating in the children section – he he. Troy and I went for the shops once again to buy some clothes. It was awful but we got some cool jackets though.
The weather was again very nice and Troy and I found Henning by the pool still sun tanning. It was a day off. Actually we should’ve got up this morning at 5 am and on a plane to Eskisehir. But we refused and the Turks fixed a night liner to pick us up tomorrow at 7 am instead. Therefore we suddenly got another day off and we were all very happy with that. In the afternoon Troy, Henning and I ended up in the bar where we basically stayed until dinner. After dinner back to the bar and then downstairs to hear Jamas sing cover songs. Holy shit, that was……special…!
After that we ended up at another Jolly Joker Club than the one we played. This was the small one and we were all jamming with the band again. So far I haven’t taken one single penny out of my pockets in Turkey. Everything’s paid for and we had a lot of beers and fun. We got back to the hotel around 3:30 am and I went straight to bed now that I had to get up at 7 am to pack my shit again.
Wake up call at 6:30 am and I was still feeling drunk and I quickly packed all my shit. I was all the time having the feeling that I forgot something. Before I knew it I was in the reception ready to move on. Henning was there too and he looked just as bad as I did. We saw that the night liner was outside so we quickly went for the bunks and fell asleep. The Turkish roads are very bad and I woke up a thousand times wondering why we were still driving. They’ve told us that the drive was like 3 hours and now we’ve been moving for 5 hours. I ran downstairs and Tramp was feeling sick in his stomach. We drove through the mountains and it was beautiful – kinda like the trip through the Rocky Mountains from Denver to California – but in a smaller scale of course. I sat by the driver for an hour and just enjoyed the view before I ran back to my bunk but then we were suddenly there. We were parked by a hotel called OTEL ANADOLU. Eskisehir is a big university city and the hotel was within the university borders. A lot of young people were outside. We were now back to normal speaking about hotel standards. We had single rooms though but they are very small. We had a lobby call for lunch at 4 pm so I had a couple of hours to chill. We went to a burger joint at 4 pm and to sound check at 5 pm.
The venue 222 PARK was huge. It was like a big Pumphouse or something and I’d say that the capacity is around 2500 people when it’s packed. The stage is in the middle and our Turkish guys did once again hook us up. We sound checked with the usual problems. Not many people here speaks English and it’s just a time killer when you always have to get a guy to translate for you. This was a very late show for a Monday night. Show time is at 11:30 pm. We drove back to the hotel to chill and relax. Lobby call at 10:45 pm. Henning had been complaining about feeling sick all day. Tramp’s the same and now Jamie said that he has the shits… Great, this is once again turned into a bloody Infirmary. After the show tonight we’ve got to leave right away with the night liner because we’re going to Izmir for another gig tomorrow and that’s like an 8-9 hour drive. I had a bath and started packing now that we had to go by bus just after the show.
We gathered at 10:45 pm and everybody looked dreadful with their pale faces and sleepy eyes. This was far from a rock’n’roll band and more like a joke really. Well at least I looked good getting fatter and fatter and with my hair getting uglier and uglier. Fortunately the drive to the venue was only a few minutes and when we got there the support band was in their last songs. It was a huge venue and there were approx 400 people. But it looked good and we never expected a big crowd here. Kinda like in Antalya. The stage sound was one of the best I’ve had so far. We were kinda like standing in front of the PA system and that was a better monitor than most of the other crap I’ve had. The crowd was wild and a few of them maybe too wild. They were dancing pogo and jumping around like punks. Many of the kids didn’t know the songs but they were still rocking. We played the whole set and stayed on stage before the encore because we didn’t wanna walk the long ass way backstage. It didn’t make any sense. Jamie was a little too eager and he fucked up in Radar Love but besides that we were rocking. Troy was playing Arbak’s drums. Arbak is a Turkish guy that played the drums with Demir Demirkan who toured with Tramp solo two years ago. It was good to see him again and his band was now supporting us throughout the rest of the Turkish dates. After the show we had the usual signing and photo shoots but we didn’t sell merchandise. I figured that we would have more T-shirts stolen than sold. That night I asked everybody that asked me to have a picture with me to have yet another picture – but with my camera – just for the fuck of it..! And here’s one of them with a new young WL fan in the making…
There’s also this Turkish rock’n’roller that joined our camp. I think his name is Mikki or Nikki. He has bleached his hair and speaks American English – of course tatts all over and piercings. I don’t know why he’s here but I guess he’s just another hang around. We drove back the hotel and had like 20 minutes to get ready for the long bus drive. At 3 am the bus came and we got on board (chaos) and found our bunks. We had a beer in the back lounge. Arbak’s band was also traveling with the bus so it was quite crowded.
I went to bed a little concerned about the 8-9 hour drive to Izmir. Concerned because it’s a hell of a drive if you can’t sleep. But I fell asleep and even though the climate changes sucks in a bus I managed to sleep the whole night.
Woke up because someone kept saying “SIR..! – EXCUSE ME SIR…!” It was Troy telling me that we were at the hotel in Izmir. The Palm City Hotel. GREAT..! I was totally off the planet but I got out the bus and checked in the hotel. I got room 1705 on the seventh floor. Man it was hot in there and I couldn’t open the window. I got another room and now I’m writing this waiting for a lobby call at 1 pm for some lunch. We were all in the lobby at 1 pm but in Turkey 1 quickly gets 1:45 because the bus never came. We had three cabs instead and they took us downtown. We drove by the water so that we could see Izmir all around the bay. It’s a big city but of course not as big as mighty Istanbul. We ended up at a restaurant withy outdoor service and they gave us delicious food. National Turkish dishes and it was wonderful. We all ate like it was the last supper while the Imam was calling for prayers that none of the Turks gave shit about. Well back to the hotel again and the next lobby call was 5:15 pm for sound check. I had to call Henning because he wasn’t in the lobby at 5:15 pm. Man he was angry because it fucked with his sleep. However we had to get going and we got in the van and drove to the big place. And man it was fucking big. It was like a big square sports arena. There could easily be like 6-8000 people in there. I asked for the ticket sales and they talked about 250 sold tickets. Uhummm….! The PA system once again sucked and our sound guy likewise. But you know – give and take and we’ll all rock…!
After sound check Troy, Henning and I went to the hotel restaurant and chilled with some Danish Tuborg beers and pizzas until it was time for showering and getting ready to rock.
We met down at the lobby and only waited for our new hang around Nicky. We just took off because he was obviously sleeping. Arbak and his band just got off stage as we were coming. There must’ve been like 350-400 people in the crowd. Everybody was running around. When we got on stage the crowd was screaming. When we started I once again noticed that the intro always sound better than the band which is frustrating. The monitors were of course changing and the lights were a catastrophe and in the fourth and fifth song the lights just went out. But they came back again and meanwhile Tramp focused some other lights at us now that none of the Turks seemed to give a shit. The crowd really digged it and they were shooting pictures like ever before. There were a lot of young folks too. We did quick meet and greet and the crowd was really eager to meet, say hi, take pics and have us sign shit. After an hour we went back to the hotel and had an hour before the night liner bus arrived. Ayu came down with Isabel who was vomiting. They all ran around and they took her to a hospital and maybe that was kinda hysteric. We finally got on the bus and left at 3 am. The road to Istanbul was 7,5 hours according to the plan but it was more. I woke up at 5:30 am believed that I’d been sleeping longer than I had and man that’s a bummer. There were so much noise on this bus and I took my iPod and tried to get back to sleep. Finally…. it happened..!
I woke op at 11:30 am as we were driving into Istanbul. It turned out to be a 9 hours drive including a 45 minutes ferry ride which I slept from. Everybody was up except from Jamie who was lying dead in his bunk. This is the Istanbul Princess hotel and it’s another 5 star hotel. My room 1002 was like a little condo and quite cool. Troy, Henning and I went for lunch at the restaurant. We had a couple of beers too and went up to see if there was a hotel business center which there was on the 24th floor but there was a conference and it was all occupied. We went to our rooms and I lie down on my bed and fell asleep till around 5 pm because the phone was ringing. It was Jamie telling that if we wanted to go out with Nikki there was a lobby call at 8 pm. I had a bath and just chilled. We went down to this bar that Nikki owned or whatever and paid for our own drinks all night. There were almost nobody at his place but there were an Australian couple making a magazine and the girl interviewed us. We stayed for a couple of hours and went for another bar close by. There was a cover band and the minute we entered the club Jamie ran to the stage grabbed the microphone and sang.
The many beers and drinks suddenly started to buzz me out and time flied. I can’t remember this but I was told that even I ran to the stage and took the microphone out of Jamie’s hands and started to sing. I of course didn’t believe it until I saw the picture above. Suddenly we were leaving and Henning was so irritated at Jamie. It ended up being Henning dragging Jamie out. Holy shit. This tour is for sure bringing out the worst in all the guys and there we were downtown Istanbul drunk fighting and acting like clowns. Henning and Troy left in a cab. Jamie walked off and I grabbed a cab by myself and went back to the hotel – I mean, that’s what I was told..!
Woke up around noon and I felt like a zombie. Didn’t sleep that well. I got Henning on the phone and we walked down for breakfast. Troy was there already. I was still so tired when Arbak suddenly called me. A couple of days ago we agreed on going to a tattoo artist that Arbak knows to get some ink. Man I didn’t feel like it but I didn’t wanna let Arbak down. I got Troy and we met Arbak at the lobby at 3 pm. The pope was in Istanbul and everything was blocked and the traffic was crazy. It took like an hour to go 20 km. I didn’t know what tatt to get but you could always get a star or something. The tattoo artist was a cool guy and he called himself Cha-cha. Troy started getting a heart with a scull and cross bones and shit. I settled on expanding my ALBERT tattoo with some fire flames. Man we were there the whole day. Cha-cha was a real artist and very skilled. When it was finally my turn it hurt more that usual and I don’t know why. Cha-cha did a good job though and he just did a flower on Arbak before going to a gig. Man we had a fucking great time Troy and I – having a beer, listening to some classic rock’n’roll (Rainbow & Maiden etc.) and at the same time under the needle.
Cha-cha was a bass player and played some cover in town tonight. We ran to a next door bar to get a beer. The owner provided us because we were in White Lion. Troy wanted to see Cha-cha play while Arbak drove me back to the hotel showing me some classic sights on the way there. I didn’t eat anything so I ran to the hotel restaurant and ordered a club sandwich and took it to my room. Now I’m sitting writing this and will be in bed in a few minutes – Rock’n’roll..!
Got up around 11:30 am because Henning was knocking at my door. We had a lobby call at 1:30 pm for sound check and Jamie, Henning and I went for lunch in the restaurant. The bus drive to the venue was of course like 45 minutes only because of the fucking traffic here in Istanbul. I’ve never seen anything like it before. YENI MELEK was the name of the venue and it looked great. It’s basically an old theater with two seated balconies and a lot of space on the floor in front of the stage. Troy wasn’t there. When we met in the lobby Troy just came back to the hotel and told me that he’s been puking and shitting all night. He looked really bad so I promised to do his sound check. And I did and it was kinda fun to play drums again. All the crew and the guys that know me was amazed that I could play the drums so well but they of course don’t know that I’ve been drumming for some 15 years back in time. Sound check was pretty quick because our crew and the local staff did a good job. We drove back to the hotel and I went for getting on line on the internet. Finally I made it to cyber space. After that I sat in my room with Tramp just talking for an hour or so. We discussed the future of the band and of course the new album. Lobby call for going to the venue is 9 pm and show time is 10 pm.
I was kinda worried about Troy because if he’s got some virus we’re fucked if it spreads to everybody within the camp. But let’s hope for the best. When we got to the venue Arbak told that he’s also been sick. One positive thing was that the venue was also sold out. Everybody was happy – especially our Turkish promoter.
We were looking forward to playing the show. Mike was interviewed by a rock TV channel in Istanbul. Ulf came by with Bonna and the vibe was great. The minute we walked on stage all hell broke lose. The crowd was screaming so loud that it’s beyond imagination. It was fucking great. The sound was good, the lights were good and everything was nearly perfect. They sang along and enjoyed every minute of the show. Holy fuck it was a blast. Tramp was extremely satisfied with this and when our show ended the screaming wouldn’t end. We came back and played the encore and it was fantastic.
After the show there was chaos back stage. Too many people really but eventually we pretty quickly got ready to get back to the hotel. I asked Henning if he wanted to join me in my room for an Efes (Turkish beer) and that’s what we settled on. We tried to buy beers at a gas station but didn’t succeed. We took beers from the mini bars and chilled while talking things over. Around 3:30 am Henning went to his room and I started packing a little bit and went to bed at 4:00 am.
The alarm clock rang at 8:00 am and I was kinda bummed that I only got 4 hours of sleep. We had a bus call at 9 so I got up and packed and went for breakfast. The bus was not there at 9 am of course – It’s Turkey…!!!!
And when it came, the Tramps suddenly wanted to eat breakfast real quick. Jesus…!!!!!!!
At 10 am the bus left the Istanbul Princess Hotel heading for Ankara which is the capitol of Turkey and a 7 hour drive away. I went straight for the bunk to see if I could just sleep during the ride or at least some of it. It all went well and suddenly we were dropped off some where and picked up by a mini van. The night liner could not take us to the hotel because it was too big for the down town driving. The long bus ride was apparently over.
I’m in room 209 and just after we all met to get some dinner. They took us to another Turkish restaurant but Troy and I only wanted to get some buy-out money and pick up some burgers at the nearest Burger King. It was great to taste a burger again. We browsed the streets and went back to the hotel just before going to the venue for sound check. SAKLIKANT was the name and it was pretty close to the hotel actually. Just a few minutes drive. It was a cool place and kinda like yesterday. The PA system was DB the monitors looked good and powerful. The sound check was awful though. The sound guy apparently didn’t know shit about making it sound right on stage and that was a bummer. We played LOVE DON’T COME EASY just to have it ready and up to speed if Tramp once should call it out. We drove back to the hotel on a down note because of that fucking sound guy – it looked like another night in hell. But the line out side was huge with people waiting to get in. Could this be another sell out..? It’s fucking amazing how we’ve been able to pack every house on this tour. I had a quick shower and probably my last in Turkey before going to Germany tomorrow. For once the hotel is place in the middle of Ankara and not in some industrial area. We have a lobby call at 11:00 pm and show time is 11:30 pm. Backstage is crap and we really didn’t wanna be there before show time.
When we got there the venue was only like ¾ full but al the Turks were amazed because usually it’s extremely hard to draw a crowd in Ankara. We had a little delay before show time and on stage the monitors sucked big time. I had to scream and shout during the first song to get somebody to tell the sound guy to turn down the drums in my wedge. Thank God that I for once had earplugs on this night. We skipped YOU’RE ALL I NEED and played LOVE DON’T COME EASY instead and even though I think that song sucks, it was kinda nice playing it again. The crowd was amazing as usual and screaming and singing as loud as they could. Once again I fully enjoyed how Troy and I play together. It’s fucking great and rocking as hell. After the show it was time to hug a lot of Turks after 10 days with 5 shows in their country. Our Turkish crew leaded by Melec did a fantastic job hooking us up like champs night after night and providing us with great hotels, food and transportation. Thank you guys – you rock..!!!
We met the rest of the crowd and signed and did pics and shit before going back to the hotel. We decided to have a couple of Tuborg’s in the lobby before bed time even though we’d just implemented a non-alcohol policy. It was already late but we had a couple of cans before Henning and I left at 4 am.
I woke up at 9 am by my cell phone alarm. I wanted to get some breakfast because this was a travel day. We were heading back to Germany today and it was cool to get back to a place where you can drink the tap water and don’t have to be that cautious. I had a shower before heading to our 12 pm lobby call. We were going to Ankara airport and the night liner should pick us up and take us there (1 hour drive). At the lobby one of the Turks was now hit with that serious stomach flu that was around. The rest of them looked like shit because they’d been out drinking all night. Some of them haven’t even slept. The van first took the luggage to the bus, then Arbaks band and the Turks and then us. I went straight for the panorama window upstairs and had a Danish Tuborg beer looking out the window during the one hour drive. We checked in the airport but had to pay 200 Euro over weight. We had like a couple of hours before the flight and we hung out. What else is there to do in an airport? The flight departure at 3:50 pm and it was 2 hours and 45 minutes. We had a couple of beers, brandy etc on the plane and I’m sure that Henning got a little buzzed. When we landed in Munich Misha was there to pick us up with the van.
Little Isabel was basically screaming all the way from Ankara to North of Nuremberg. Another annoying thing is that we’re playing Nuremberg tomorrow but stays in a hotel 40-50 km from there and even north from Nuremberg. That sucks. Just imagine how much time we’ll spend tomorrow on transportation back and forth to the venue – its fucking hours. The tour is starting to hurt now and people are tired and pissed.
FINALLY we ended up in a city called Erlangen in a tiny hotel. Henning went in to do the paper work and when I found out it was shared rooms I simply lost it. Henning gave me the single room and I took some washing powder and went to my room and did some laundry – you know socks and underwear. 15 minutes later we met at the lobby for some dinner. There was a typical German restaurant 7 minutes walk from the hotel. When we came there it was closed because it was a Sunday evening. Fortunately on the next corner there was a pizza restaurant – one of the better ones. We got there and ordered some pizza. We chilled and had a beer while waiting for the food. We were Jamie, Misha, Troy, Henning and I. We had some pizza and a couple of beers and chilled. The food was great and after some minor distractions we went to bed.
I woke up at 8 am thinking it was 9 am because I didn’t put my clock one hour back. I felt rested but still had yesterday in the back of my head. I went down for some breakfast and I was the only one down there. It was nice to have the continental breakfast again and the coffee tasted like coffee. I went back to my room to do some more laundry (black and dark wash). Henning was at a doctor with his ear and Troy and I touched bases around 12:00 pm. Our English support band for the rest of the shows (Crime of passion - COP) was here and I met them and said hi. We agreed on touching bases all of us once Henning was back from the doctor around 1:30 pm. In the afternoon the English dudes took Jamie and went for the venue HIRSCH in Nuremberg. We went for sound check at 5 pm. Tramp was with us. It was a pleasure coming back to Hirsch (the venue). I played there a couple of years ago with Tramp solo and the place is absolutely great. They’ve got great PA system, monitor system, a great staff and just a cool vibe. Everybody was happy because we were working with pros and the sound check took no more that approximately 20 minutes. The energy was good and the vibe was cool. Even Tramp seemed relieved. We met Scott there too and he was now to join the camp as well. Scott is one of Tramps friends from Melbourne and it was nice to finally meet him. After sound check we drove back to the hotel except for Henning who stayed at the Hirsch. We have a lobby call at 9:15 pm so it’s actually only a shower and the makeup that’s available before going again. Show time’s at 10:15 pm. It took 30 minutes getting to the Hirsch and it was of course raining. Everybody was ready to kick so much ass and looking forward to the gig. When we got there our support CRIME OF PASSION was just about to finish. The backstage is an old container build into the area behind the stage. It is smelly, dark and disgusting but very rock’n’roll. We were all ready and even more excited to hear that yet this night the place was fucking packed. Wow, in Germany on a rainy Monday night. We ran on stage just as RAINBOW finished GATES OF BABYLON as every evening before this one. The crowd was already into it. The stage sound has changes because of the audience. They always absorb the sound from outside the stage. The first half of the concert was great but not the best we’ve done so far.
Troy never really found his pocket and seemed to forget a lot of our internal stuff. Not that he played any mistakes we just didn’t lock in. Anyway when Henning and Tramp does TILL DEATH there’s always time to get off stage and start all over again. Troy complained about having an air bubble in his stomach. He drank too much water too quick. He went outside and puked and was ready for second half. We got a lot better and Tramp was on cloud nine. He was happy with the light, the sound and even the band got some words from Tramp. This was really his gig and he enjoyed it fully. After the encore he came to all of us one by one and thanked us and blessed us in a way I’ve never seen before. Man he was happy. We had a few beers before we went back to the hotel and had yet a beer. It was bedtime at 4:30 am.
Woke up at 9 am and chilled before having breakfast at 10 am. Henning, driver Misha, Sound guy Misha, Scott and Jamie also came down and I went up to room 202 for a long shower. There was no bath in this room. Lobby call at noon and we were off to Aschaffenburg. Tramp was taking Ayu and Isabel to the airport to put them on a plane to – whatever…. Nickolas from Bottom Row Production (our German promoter) took them. The rest of us met in the lobby and got in the bus and took off for Aschaffenburg. It was like a 150 km drive and we had to go extremely slow because our UK supporters were driving a normal car with a trailer and all the gear. They couldn’t drive that fast and we had to show them directions. It took forever. We finally ended up at a little hotel where the reception and restaurant was in one building and the rooms in another building across the street. I got room 26 which is the smallest cheapest little dump but there’s a bed a shower and a toilet so I’m not complaining. We went for sound check right away. The venue was pretty close which is like a 5 minute drive. It was a nice place with good PA systems, a shit load of lights and a good staff. Our support guys loaded in and got the gear on stage. Today there was another Galien & Krueger rig for me and I stacked them just to make it look cool. We sound checked and the sound was hmmmmm – okay..! Massimo came with his wife all the way from Trieste and they had a lot of pictures for us to sign. They are so sweet. We took them backstage and hung out and served them dinner. It was already 8 pm and show time was at 9:30 pm which meant a lobby call at 9:00 pm. I showered this morning so I just washed my feet and did my makeup and here we go – ready to rock..!
By the way the venue is called COLOS-SAAL which is actually a stupid name. It was a pretty cool backstage at Colos-Saal and we could not hear our support. The change over between support and us went pretty swift and before we knew it we were on stage. It was another packed house and Troy took off forgetting the intro once again. Actually I don’t really fancy the intro shit that we’re playing so I didn’t mind. The show was another kick ass show as Tramp said after the show. We’re very tight now even though we never found the mojo.
But it seems that every one of us has found our own way of playing the material and it’s very great and rocking. After the show we packed (Troy and I) and went back to the hotel. Troy and I had a beer in my room before we hit the hay.
Woke up at 8 am just by myself. I felt kinda rested and went for a shower and breakfast. We left Aschaffenburg at 11 am going to Bochum which is Henning’s turf. Henning was all excited about playing in his own area. We packed the van once again and took off. A couple of hours later we were at Henning’s place. That was on the country side like a farm. There were stables with horses and shit and Henning and Verena lived upstairs in a rented flat. Everybody found a place to sit and Verena served us coffee and some bread shaped like a man with a pipe. Troy went online and Henning was running headless around re-packing his shit for the last run of the tour. After a while Henning, Scott and I drove to town Ratingen because I wanted to buy a tank top now that I’ve grown that fat. Ratingen is a small town and there was a X-mas market and everything was illuminated. Henning bought us Gluhwine which is basically hot red wine with some cinnamon and snaps and shit. We’ve got that in Denmark as well – and it taste better back home I think. However we found a black tank top and got back home. We were already late and took off for Bochum in the middle of the rush hours. Fuck..! The venue (MATRIX) in Bochum was like 40 km far from Henning’s home turf and we nearly stood still on the freeway. We made a detour and got to the venue at 6 pm. It was time to get all the shit up on stage as quick as possible. Everybody was stressing out and especially Henning was funny. I did some laundry at Henning’s – just my stage clothes and I believed that they had a tumble dryer at the venue because I’ve played there a couple of times before – but there wasn’t. FUCK..! Kevin from Crimes of Passion lends me his hair dryer and I started drying my pants and shirt. Marix is a cool place and the backstage area is supreme. There’s a lot of different food and beverages and sweets and shit. They served some chicken in some spicy gravy with rice and that was fucking great. Yummy…!!!!
We did sound check and it sounded like ass. The venue is like a long tube build out of bricks so there’s absolutely NO low end at all. This would just be another night without really hearing me and with earplugs. Troy and I was also kinda bummed that we couldn’t have a beer because every venue has been told to remove all alcohol because of ….. well. Hmmmm…!!!!! We started getting dressed and getting ready for the show. Tramp got in with Verena and the crowd looked good – I’d say like 700 people. They were loud when we got on stage and we really played yet another kick ass show. They even sang very loud and kept on going OOOUOOOUOO after TELL ME. Tramp, Troy and I grabbed it and started playing again – Tramp even sang NO WOMAN NO CRY over the chords. We’re all adding here and there to the show and it’s just great. It’s a pleasure playing these days except for me having to fucking pull in my belly to be able to wear that tight black shirt that I bought in the US.
The show was over and the crowd was happy. I went down and said hi to Marianne and Marianne from Denmark and Holland. The guys packed because Henning wanted to leave the venue as soon as possible. Henning had arranged an after party at his local music bar in Ratingen and he was very eager on getting there. When we got in there were only like 20-30 local drunk heads and it was a bummer – especially for Henning. Well, we had some beers, Jaegers and shit and started to jam. Hell, I even sang a couple of songs with Henning playing bass. “What is it with me suddenly starting to sing every time I’m drunk..?”
I “think” we drove back to Henning’s around 4 am and we had a couple of beers and chilled before hitting the bed at 6 am. But I’d have to say that my memory is a little blurred here.
Henning woke me up at 10 am and I felt kinda drunk still. We were going to a café in town for brunch at 11 am. Henning’s mom was buying. We were all bummed and still kinda hung over. We packed our shit and went downstairs and talked to the horses. Misha (driver) came with Jamie and we were ready to go. It was a nice brunch and at 1 pm we picked up Tramp at the hotel and set off for Holland. I couldn’t find my cell phone and must have dropped it at Henning’s. Forgetting my cell phone annoyed me like hell. The trip to Holland was actually over before we knew it. It was only like 1,5 hours and we were at the venue DE BOSUIL. It was in an industrial area and is a very nice place. I think the venues in Holland have the same deals as in Denmark where the government supplies the money and then thinking that they’re doing a bunch for cultural purposes. The PA system, the lights and the monitor system looked great and we started to place the risers and load in our shit. The stage had a cool size and we quickly got it all set. The house tech was not there yet so we decided to go to the hotel and get our rooms and be back like 1,5 hour later. The hotel was like a small German Gasthaus but it was cozy. I had room number 16 all by myself and it was a single room with only one small bed. I was emptying all my bags to see if the cell phone by any chance slipped down there somewhere – but no..! I could only hope that Verena would find it quickly and post it express to Karlsruhe where I will be at in two days. We went back for sound checks at 6 pm and it was great – in fact much better than the last shows. The monitor guy was a cool dude who wasn’t worrying about how loud we are playing. We had some crap food that the venue provided and hurried back to the hotel where we had like an hour and a half before lobby call. Show time was at 9:30 pm. I had a long and nice bath and just relaxed before getting dressed for the show. Troy had some serious shit with his right elbow because he last night hammered it in the floor tom. It was all swollen and he was a little worried. When we were back at the venue it was kinda disappointed to see that it was only ¾ packed. I guess we’re getting spoiled on this tour. We played a decent show without a lot of energy. Everybody was still tired from last night and the crowd didn’t really help us a lot this time. Tramp was beginning to lose his voice but we made it through the set.
After the show Tramp wanted to go to the hospital to get a shot of Cortisone and Troy wanted to have his elbow checked. I settled with the promoter and had some beers to go for the hotel and we drove back. I was tired and only had one beer before hitting the bed at 1 am.
Woke up when Henning knocked on my door at 9:45 am. Breakfast was at 10 am so I got up and went down. Henning told me that Verena found my cell phone and would send it to Karlsruhe. That was good news. Tramp and Troy was also down and kinda alright. We had a lobby call at 11:30 am and had like an hour drive to VOSSELAAR in Belgium. Vosselaar was an extremely boring place and the venue BIEBOB was placed at some suburban road going to the city. We drove there and we loaded off all the gear and got the stage ready for sound checks. After putting all the shit up we drove to the hotel. I shared a room with Tramp. Tramps brother Dennis and his girlfriend Annette was there and we spend the afternoon talking some Danish catching up about the tour etc. Dennis and I had a couple of Stella Artois beers – they’re great – Belgian beers..!
We drove for sound checks at 6 pm and that was a disaster. The monitor guy was a Neanderthal and Troy and I just came to that point where we just stopped asking him to get the sound better. We were so far from something accepting that it didn’t matter. We had dinner at the venue and they served grilled chicken with fries. No wonder you cant loose weight on a tour like this with all the shit they serve us for dinner. However we got back to the hotel and I went to our room where Tramp was showering and I checked out some internet on his computer. Then I showered and went to Troy’s room when Tramp started to warm up his voice. Tramp actually didn’t have any voice and he was very concerned about tonight’s show. He didn’t talk to anybody the whole day. He just whistled and threw some hand signs. Last night in Holland he was at the hospital after the show getting a shot of cortisone and it didn’t seem to do anything anymore. We met at the lobby and drove to Biebob. The backstage was crap and those kinda rooms where people have been writing shit and drawing during the years. Tramp was tense and picking on Jamie all the time. It kinda annoyed me and I went out. Everybody was worried about the show because Tramp announced that he would only last 5 songs just before going on stage. The crowd was amazing – just fucking amazing..! They were so much into it and were loud as fuck. That helped on Tramp’s mood. Tramp of course lasted through out the show. He even did VALHALAH in the end even though it wasn’t really necessary.
The crowd was fantastic. After the show we talked about the lasting shows. Tramp couldn’t see himself finishing the tour and we started talking about canceling the 4 UK shows. Tramp was not able to make the decision himself so I pulled the plug and cancelled the UK. It was of course a big disappointment to the COP guys, to Jamie and Troy and Henning, to all the fans etc. But Tramp was in a state that I’ve never seen him before. I mean he’s spending the whole day worrying about his voice. He’s having oxygen and sitting with a steam machine for hours. He travels with more medicine and shit than you’ll find in a small town pharmacy so this is beginning to look like a joke and if we were stranded in the UK not being able to play the shows but having a lot of costs it would have financially ruined us. The boys in the band were out signing shit and Tramp had some friends downstairs. Then we escorted Tramp to the van and he took off for the hotel. The rest of us stayed at Biebob and had some beers. We stayed for another hour and a half before going back to the hotel. I ended up swapping room with Henning because Henning wanted to sleep and I wanted to have another beer now that Dennis was here. Therefore Henning went to Tramps room and I to Troy’s. We had a couple of beers downstairs. I felt relieved knowing that the tour was soon over.
I had a god talk with the guys from COP and they all understood. At 4 am I went to bed.
Had a wake up call at 8 am because we had a lobby call at 9 am. We had a shit drive ahead of us from Belgium to Karlsruhe in Germany. I went down for breakfast and most of the guys were there even though I was the first – as usual. Tramp drove with Dennis and Annette and the rest of us took the van. All the boys were kinda tired especially Jamie that didn’t sleep all night. He had been partying with Scott and the COP guys. We made a quick stop to fuel the car and Troy wanted to get some food from Burger King right next door but Henning said no because we didn’t have the time. Troy was pissed and gave Henning shit and Henning suddenly screamed back at Troy and here we go again. Well - we ended up at the Festhalle in Karlsruhe after some 5 hours drive. It was a cool place – a big place – like a theater. We loaded in and waited for the rented drums that didn’t show up. There was catering which was the usual white bread with ham and cheese. Finally the drums were there and Troy and I put up the shit. Tramp was at a doctor with his vocal chords and it was all shit. I wondered if we were ever gonna play tonight. Anyway we went to the hotel after sound check where I had a tiny single room with a tiny single bed but it was cozy though. I had like 2,5 hour till lobby call at 9 pm. I chilled, had a nap and wrote on this thing before having a shower and getting dressed. Ten minutes to nine Tramp called me and told me to meet him in his room. He told me that there was no chance that he could sing tonight and that he wanted to cancel the show. I called Nikolas from Bottom Row and told him to meet us in Tramps room. We talked it over but it seemed that Nikolas was insisting on having Tramp to give the show a shot or at least go on stage and do something. Tramp was frustrated and mad because he didn’t have a voice and was afraid that he would make a fool out of him self being on stage trying to sing the songs without a voice. The mood was extremely tense when we drove to the venue. The place was packed and that’s almost 1200 people. When we got on stage Tramp was REALLY struggling with the songs and I was positive that he was going to quit after LIGHTS AND THUNDER. We even ended the song instead of letting it fade into LIVING ON THE EDGE as we usually do just to give Tramp the chance to stop but he didn’t wanna stop. He kept on going without a voice giving Bottom Row shit in between the songs. I had perfect stage sound though – maybe the best on the tour so far but it was a bummer that Tramp was that out of his element. He told the audience in between the songs that he was sick etc and they cheered and were a great crowd. Tramp got a lot better during the show though but was only a shadow of himself. We made it till the encore, or zugabe as it’s called here in Germany and we did a very dynamic version of WHEN THE CHILDREN CRY letting the crowd singing the most. We ended up doing RADAR LOVE with the big ending – the grand finale. Tramp was in it and had a better vibe now. The last show was over and we did great on this tour – fucking great..!
We had a couple of beers backstage and packed our shit and went back to the hotel. The support band who was some German band called AXSIS were partying with us and they were nice. Dennis hooked us al up and made the hotel open the cocktail bar for us. We had a couple of beers and a couple of drinks before going to our rooms.
Woke up at noon because Henning was knocking at my door saying that we had a bus call now. I was late so I packed my shit and went down. Everybody looked like shit including myself. The spirit was high because we were going home. We had like a 10-12 hour drive ahead of us going back to Copenhagen. We were now only Misha (driver), Henning, Jamie, Troy, Mike and me. We drove by Düsseldorf and dropped of Henning. Fuck I was looking forward to come home and started to mark that another exhausting tour had finally come to the end. I drove the car from Hannover with Tramp next to me while we were listening to Pink Floyd. Our bags were definitely packed and we were once again riding into the sunset – but this time to go home not knowing if I’ll ever be out here again..!