In the second installment of our new series, we’re hearing more of bands’ tales of woe and wonder from their travels.
This week we spoke to Axes to get a sense of whether they have half as much fun offstage as they appear to have on it. As it turns out, even for the happiest band in math, there can be such a thing as too much of an after-party. Meanwhile, And So I Watch You From Afar rue a false start (and sorry end) to a lengthy European road trip, and also make a cameo as Caspian recount some very unusual hard-drinking debauchery…
Paul (guitar): We were on tour and we were playing in Brussels – it was our first ever European tour and it was great. We had some really good food and everywhere had Leffe on tap!
The guy who put us on, his band had just toured in the UK and he was in shellshock over having to sleep on floors and scrape by without the arts council funding they get in Europe. So he was like ‘we’ll be sure to look after you when you come over here’, which is just what you want to hear – it was all looking good.
He offered us to come back to his after the show, have a few drinks and chill out. So we drive back to his place and he invites all of his friends…his sexy girlfriend’s there… everyone’s dancing…it’s really, really good fun to begin with.
And then, later on, we’re just getting more and more hammered, the girlfriend says to us ‘I hope you guys are going to be alright because you’re sleeping in this room where we’re partying right now’. And it was this tiny little room now covered in fag ash and beer bottles. There was a big queue of people coming down the stairs and the air was thick with smoke. It was like an opium den!
Anyway, to cut a long story short, eventually everyone filters out and we say to this guy we want to go to bed and he says ‘the beds have been broken’. So we had to sleep on the horrible, horrible floor.
We were really pissed, so there was no way of driving. So we were forced to make up this horrible make shift bed out of all our stuff.
But when everyone else was gone, our host just stuck around and started playing loads of music. It was now 7:30 in the morning, our ferry was at 11 and we just needed to at least grab a nap. Eventually, we were like ‘dude, can you just turn the music off now, we’re a bit pissed off with this’.
From there it just sort of escalated and from this nice guy he turned into a really nasty drunk. He went full Apocalypse Now: he ended up blaring out this awful music, sitting and glaring in our faces with a head torch on and cigarette in his mouth. It was like he was torturing us!
Stacey (guitar): Eventually I managed to end it by slamming the record player down and just telling him, looking him in the eye – ‘enough!’.
Jeion (guitar): However, once we get off in the morning and get in the car we find everyone in Brussels is just staring at us from the streets. As you can imagine, after only 45 minutes or so of sleep, this started to make us all really paranoid.
Anyway, after a short while, this guy comes over to us shouting, ‘Hey! It’s Brussels No Driving Day! What are you guys doing?!’. That’s apparently a thing. And we were just like ‘we don’t fucking care, we want out of Belgium now!’.
And So I Watch You From Afar
Chris (drums): There was this one time back in 2009, we were touring with Clutch in the UK and we finished up the run of shows at the Cockpit in Leeds. Our next show was this festival in Austria a few days later. And we realised that the next night Metallica were headlining. So we thought we would try and go a couple days early to the festival and turn up in time to catch the headline set, even though that meant an 11,000 mile drive the next day, right after the last night of the UK run.
And we did it, we slogged it all the way, only to turn up and be told ‘you can’t come onto the site yet, you’re not playing for another 2 days’. We had no idea about how these big festivals were run at the time. We ended up just spending the night in the van and then the next day we just got totally slaughtered to make up for it.
Johnny (bass): The morning after the festival was pretty crazy too. We were shattered after playing and thought it was fine to try and get some sleep in a layby before driving back. However, we got woken up with a knock on the window glass and realised it was the Austrian police demanding to see a permit which apparently you need to park overnight at the roadside.
And to pay this fine we ended up having to follow them to the nearest town to get the cash because their card reader wasn’t accepting our card for whatever reason.
So we ended up with a police fine on top of not seeing Metallica and it was just such a huge hassle.
We were convinced the police guys were laughing at us as we pulled away, actually. I have a feeling we might be the only people that they’ve ever actually caught and made pay up for breaking that law!
Philip (guitar): The last time we played with And So I Watch You From Afar, before ArcTanGent, was in Manila in the Philippines. We were walking around with them in Downtown, which is this really wild place with lots of energy.
We went to a bar wanting to get a pint and we walked into this bar and there was this big boxing ring. So we were like, ‘this looks cool, some guys are going to come out and box’.
And these 2 dwarves came out, like, ready to go! And the bar owner calls out, ‘we need a referee!’. Being six foot seven, I was immediately chosen and ended up refereeing eight rounds of this dwarf boxing match.
After each round with neither of them going down, I was made to buy them jaeger bombs! The other guys were on the sidelines… I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody laugh that hard!
Stay tuned for more tabloid worthy tour tales in the near future…