maanantai 5. marraskuuta 2007

No sleep 'til bedtime

We made it back alive! Who would've thought... The last gig of the tour in Lubeck was a blast. Everyone was smiling the whole day, as we all knew that there'd be last-gig pranks all over the place during all three sets. Drone had been playing a bit of Eye of the Tiger before the last song of the set for the whole tour, so we decided they need a boxing match onstage to go with the tune. Gagball was the sexy lady with the "round 1" sign, Silver was the referee and me and Niko were the fighters. Besides that, Norther's sound engineer messed with Drone's intro, which made sure the guys knew the name of the game from the very beginning of their set. They also got their share of "cymbal stealing" and other must-have's...

We got the messiest stuff of the three bands: Juffi and the drumset were covered in nuts, chips and just about everything else during one song, oranges and apples were rolling to the stage during another... during Showdown I got hit in the face by a wet softball, which the Norhter guys were throwing onstage for a while. Niko couldn't sing half of the song, he was laughing so hard. Pete from Norther tried to mess around with my effect pedals, but got frustrated when he realized I didn't really give a damn. During Snake Skin Saddle Mutz from Drone joined us onstage once again, and decided it would be a good idea to lift me on his shoulders during the solo. Must've looked funny, even tho the lead sounded like shit. But even with all this extra nonsense, we thing it was one of our best shows ever!

And then the headliner... From the very beginning of Norther's set their stage water was replaced with vodka, so the guys were pretty much drunk for the whole show. Silver decorated Kride's mic with Gagball's used sock, which almost made Kride throw up as he was trying to sing his part. All of us six-stringers ran onstage with our guitars during C.U.S. for some guitar aid. And then there's Frozen Angel, which Norther smartly left for last: Amoral and Drone had bought two pairs of angel wings, princess skirts, small fireworks etc the previous day, to transform Niko and Gagball into two beautiful, hairy frozen angels. Shaving foam is perfect as fake frost, btw. The show ended with all three bands onstage singing Michael Jackson's Heal the World. It was breathtaking, to say the least.

And there it was, the last gig of 20. It was all emotional backstage, everyone was happy yet sad it was over so soon. We said bye to a couple of guys who'd be leaving straigth from the venue, the rest of us would take the bus to the airport.

One more afterparty on the bus, guys getting all misty-eyed to Bon Jovi's Always and Mötley's Home Sweet Home... We didn't sleep for that many hours before it was 11am and time for us to get the hell out of the bus, which by then was parked in front of our hotel in Hamburg (we would fly back to Finland on sunday the 4th). Last goodbyes with the Drone guys and back to sleep. Later that night some of us went out to party for the last time in Reeperbahn, while other's hanged around the hotel. We flew back the next day, and besides us having to pay 200 euros for overweight it was just another hung-over flight.

The tour was so much fun it's ridiculous. Thanks to the killer crew and our fellow bands for being such great and fun company. We miss you already! And thanks to all of you who came to see us and showed your support, we appreaciate it. Hope to see you on tour again soon... -Ben

Amoral setlist (all gigs except Salzburg, where we had to leave Decrowning out):

1.Leave Your Dead Behind
5.Denial 101
7.Snake Skin Saddle

perjantai 2. marraskuuta 2007

Mama I'm Coming Home...

Here we are, at the backstage in Lubeck, the very last gig on this tour. Jukkis (AKA Cousin It from the Addams Family) from Norther is bothering me, and I have to figure out something smart to tell all y'all from the last few days. Luckily the other Amo-Apes promised to help me out...

After Wien we played at Frydek Mistek, in the basement of an elementary school. It was funny to load in the stuff while kids ran around wondering how come their yard is full of tired-looking rockers. The gig was fun, small crowd but they seemed to like the set. We got challenged to a football game by a couple of locals, needless to say we got our asses kicked severely. We stayed at the venue partying with some good people until it was time to get on the bus and head back to Germania. -Ben

After the load in me and Silver walked around and checked out the hoods of Munich for nearly 2 hours... We weren't in downtown so it took us a while to find anything interesting and another while to get back to the venue. The show wasn't as good as the most of this tour, but I think (hope) it went down pretty well to some people... If I remember right, this was the night we watched two different Bad Boys movies, the action comedy and the other one with Sean Penn in it. Back to Czech Republik. -Niko

Prague was a city many waited for on this tour. After the load in 4/5 of amoral and 2/4 of drone headed to see the sights. We walked around for 2 hours straight. Beatiful city it was. Bridges n' rivers n' stuff. Nice! Dinner was a in a very nice restaurant and we had civilized business conversations with the norttiboys. The gig was fun. Audience was truly wild! All the bands were obviously very happy with the evening. Afterparty was held at the nearby park by our main dudes Drone and their friends that had travelled to Prague. Night consisted mostly of a drinking game called Flankyball (too complicated to explain, but it was funny!) and observing some hilariously drunken locals falling around the park. The tour manager decided it would be a good idea to leave 20 minutes earlier, when the cops showed up... -Silver

Back in Germany again, this time Berlin. I had catched the cold some days earlier, so not much partying from my part recently. I didn't even have the interest to go around for a walk in the center like the other guys, just hanging around in the backstage/bus. The gig went horribly from my part... I didn't have a place to warm up with my pedals, so all the faster double bass parts went "floating". If you know what I'm talking about, good. If not, all the better :D Actually I've done numerous shows without warming up at all, and all the double bass parts locked in. But now, my legs seem to be over stressed or something. The other guys were complaining as well, that the gig wasn't really our best. Anyways, I got some compiments from the audience, and Heikki from Norther told me that I played better than never before. WTF?!? After the show some of the guys went to a disco, while the nerds, including myself, decided to stay in the bus. The wireless internet connection of the venue was working there. Oh, there was a great kebab place right next to the venue. Total Döner!!!!!!!!!!! -Juhana

tiistai 30. lokakuuta 2007

28.10. - Wien, Arena

Yeee-haw! Let's get crazy on piss n' puke! Today's venue stank like hell because there had been some relentless punk rock party the night before. The situation was actually so bad that we had to wait for some 3 hours while the local crew was trying to clean up the place before we could start the load in! Luckily the backstage was in another building so we didn't have to eat and spend our time in that smell. They even had a washing machine so we could launder like crazy. We actually have some cheese-foots in the bus so their socks were definitely first in line!

The gig itself went down a-ok. It didn't smell anymore and the sound was surprisingly great. On the stage at least. -Niko

27.10. - Salzburg, Halloween Metal Festival

From the mountains of might we rode onwards to Salzburg. Our red dragon of steel already rested beside a fellow nightliner of Gorefest, as our soldiers of metal found their way to the battlefield one by one.
The day was to be a festival so we weren't the only rockstars in the venue. Daytime went very smoothly for us, because we didn't have to do a soundcheck and there were a lot of local stagehands assisting the event. The venue was packed with around 800 maniacs all hungry for metal. The audience was unanimoustly declared the fanatical of the tour so far and our sound was told to be one of the best we've had. Partying continued through the evening at backstage and around the venue once again. -Silver

A word from the editor...

Damn, we're getting lazy with these blogs... the last week or so has been a little foggy for everyone, so you'll excuse us for not giving a detailed report from every day anymore. But let's see, highlights from the past few days include a delicious chocolate cake we got from old friends in Reichenbach (they also took me and Niko to town for a milkshake, good timez!) and the breath-taking landscapes in Chur. The gigs have been great and the partying hard, too bad we're getting close to the end... -Ben

maanantai 29. lokakuuta 2007

24.10 - Pratteln, Z7

Ahhh... the lovely Z7! We played here last year so we kinda knew what to expect: good showers, delicious catering and a big venue. And this night's show was something completely different from that of last night; the stage was huge, the stage volume was almost too low and just like the Finns in Formula 1, we did our best but some tehcnical difficuties made it pretty hard to rock out with your rooster out... -Niko

The theme of this night's afterparty was the king of pop himself, Michael Jackson. Even though "Thriller" is the ultimate classic album, it's "Dangerous" that most of us listened to back in the beginning of the 90's, so that was the one we chose to be played through at a not-so-resonable volume. The highlight of the evening was definitely the song "Heal the World", spiced up with a 10-piece hippie choir. Again, we got a lot of kudos next day from the people who were trying to sleep upstairs. Jacko, thank you for your music, we love you man! -Ben

keskiviikko 24. lokakuuta 2007

23.10. - Saarbrucken, Roxy

Finally back in business! After a long and gruelling day off it's time to rock again. We get in the venue (called Roxy, how cool is that?), and everyone marvels at the sight: probably the best backstage ever! three showers and a couple of bathrooms, all CLEAN, two separate backstage rooms, a lounge, a big dining room and a perfect internet connection... what more could a punk rocker ask for? Well, a good stage sound is one: it's funny that with a backstage like this, the stage itself wasn't all that, with loads of problems with feedback, low frequencies etc. Oh well, at least we'd be comfy before and after the show...

The gig itself was a bit of a headfuck. The first couple of songs were just horrible: none of us could hear ourselves on stage, we fucked up all over the place and the small crowd didn't seem to be all that into it. But our magnificent lil' monkeyboi Niko grabbed the audience by the balls and turned the gig into a victory. Around the third song the audience was all the way up in front, headbanging, cheering, the whole nine yards... So what started as a crappy gig turned out to be a killer one instead! We even had Mutz from Drone on stage to sing Snake Skin Saddle with us, good timez..

We must've done something right, as for the first time on this tour the tour manager walks into our backstage after the gig and hands us our own bottles of Jägermeister and Jim Beam. Which is highly appreciated, of course! Time flies as we're singing Bon Jovi on the bus, drinking BananaMeisters (our new favourite drink, banana juice and Jäg sure do mix well!) while driving towards Switzerland. I've seen a mil... thousand faces, and I've rocked them all! -Ben

tiistai 23. lokakuuta 2007

22.10. - Day off in Saarbrucken

Whoa! A day off. We didn't know what to expect from such a thing since we hardly ever had any off days on tour. We hadn't any expectiations from the city either, but it turned out to be quite big in the end. Thank god we had our local sidekicks Felix and Mutz of Drone with us. We got a lot errands done (washing laundry, eating kebab, buying a strap-on, socks, dvds...) and had a good time goofying around the city. -Silver

maanantai 22. lokakuuta 2007

21.10. - Frankfurt, Nachtleben

I’m pretty good at sleeping late. So good that most of the times I wake up, the bus is already empty of people. Well, the upstairs at least.

Today, the only reason why the bus wasn’t empty already when I woke up, was that we arrived to the venue at 15:30 or so. The fact that people were drinking until the early morning hours the night before could also have something to do with it. When we got to the venue, it was a quick snack in the backstage followed by an even quicker load-in. Everyone had more or less hangover (or "ruotsinlaiva-fiilis" like we say in Finnish), so during the Norther soundcheck (which, by the way, seems to be a pretty long procedure) we were just sitting around with a coffee in hand and reflecting on yesterday’s happenings.

The gig was actually really good tonight, the audience was active and seemigly enjoying our show. A lot of photographers also, so we did all the possible rockstar poses imaginable. We had a shower option in a nearby hotel, so we headed there straight after the gig. As there was only one shower, and I got the last turn, I was sitting in the hotel lounge for about one hour. As I finally got in the shower, the Norther gig was already finished. That means I missed the equipment packing part, booya!

The rest of my evening was spent in the bus playing Far Cry on my laptop, while Silver played his PSP across the table. To top out the gayness, Kride from Norther came to the next seat with a cup of tea in his hand. No trace of yesterdays drunken madness. It’s good to have a balance in everything, you know? Before heading to my bunk I took a quick look to the upper lounge, where people were watching Scarface. -Juhana

20.10 - Schweinfurt / Alterstatt Bahnhof

Many went to bed early last night and just as many were full of energy when it was time to wake up! We were all eager to start the load-in hours before the get-in time, which was actually pretty creepy. But as I was one of them, I didn't mind. Some coffee, a few tomatoes(!) and an apple and we were ready to start the action. All right guys, let's do this! At the same time a friend of the crew came to say hello and brought a water cannon with her. I don't know what's going on with Ben and Jukkis (Norther bass), but they had a wet and wild war going on! And boy, that sure was fun to watch for the rest of us! After the load-in, we checked out da hoodz and what a nice castle they have here in the Porktown. And fresh air! Feels good to breathe in something else than smoke and sweat every once in a while. Which reminds me, Ykä and I have had the ugliest smelling stage shirts since the beginning! My god how they stink! Gotta find a laundry service during the day-off after tomorrow... Norther guys bought a small amplifier (don't want to promote the brand, but I can tell you that the amp is really small and rhymes with "lube"...) from a local music store but we didn't make it before they closed the place. Damn! We did buy some boring stuff though (toothpaste, clothes, etc..), but the coolest moment today was definitely when some local old lady came to Juffi at this mall and made him smell some shampoo! And we didn't understand a word...

The show started out fairly modest but got much better till the end. After our show, I spotted a biker-guy who was forbidden to get in because he had a pet rat on his shoulder! Now how cool is that? -Niko

19.10 - Leipzig Hellraiser

Morning came bleak once again in old Eastern Germany. The gig had been moved to the smaller room of the venue so inside it was gonna be hot as hell. Nothing much happened during the day since we all stayed at the venue all the time. The surroundings looked too scary for us. We sat at the backstage listened to some eurotechno, soundchecked at some point, all the usual. Drone were on fire once again and I think we did good too since the audience really warmed up during our gig. The load-out a.k.a. "packing the trailer" was tight as hell. Some baboons stayed up again drinking, digging music but surprisingly many went to bed early. -Silver

perjantai 19. lokakuuta 2007

Hannover, Musikzentrum

I have another one of those Bon Voyage moments, when I walk in the venue still half asleep and realize I'vee been here before. Musikzentrum is a cool venue, with big backstage areas and a nice big stage. We're at Drone's home town, which the boys decide to celebrate by throwing everyone a big BBQ-party in the parking lot. Damn, do these Germans know have to have a good time or what? Ribs, sausages, mushrooms and everything in between gets grilled and eaten by the hungry hippies. A huge thank you to Drone, the soundcheck was so much more enjoyable with our tummies full of meat...

I remembered finding this coolest little cemetery when being here last year, it was like something straight out of a Tim Burton movie, with crooked crosses and tombstones on a small hill. I really wanted to go there again, but of course it started raining the second I start to get my jacket on. so it's another day sitting at the backstage and fighting the other 18 people for the internet cable, wicked! Well, it's showtime pretty quickly, time to get our boogie on.

The gig goes well, big crowd, great sound on stage and a warm response from the Hannoverians. The good mood carries to the afterparty, which is done old school style: Drone's homiez came to the gig with vans, which we use as boomboxes to blast Pantera for the whole neighborhood to hear. It's cold as hell but no-one lets that bother them. We stand outside until 2am sippin' beer and getting to know Drone's posse, which are all good people, until it's time to leave. The party continues on board until the small hours. Our karaoke versions of "Kiss From a Rose" and "Summer of '69" don't seem to amuse everyone, as (for the first time on this tour) the bus driver decides to pull over and remind us we're not alone on the bus. To which Norther's Pete replies "but we're having a party, this is normal". End of conversation. I find myself nodding in my seat at around 7am, and decide to go to bed before I pass out downstairs and wake up with my face decorated with a black marker... -Ben

torstai 18. lokakuuta 2007

Hamburg, Markthalle / Marx

Morning in Hamburg was bleak. The venue was a big old concrete building almost right next to the Hamburg’s main train station. It was raining and the overall mood was very hungover, since some of the party animals had stayed up until 9 o’clock. Soundchecks and everything went fine, although the venue’s PA system suffered a bit from the electric field of the railroads’ power lines. The audience was great, one of the best so far. Today we also got a new dude in the bus. Norther’s guitar tech Fraggle joined the tour and he seems like very nice guy. After the gig and a free peek at Dokken that was playing next door, some headed to the Reaperbahn and the others spent the evening drinking at the bus. –Silver

Ok, I have to take over, as I don’t believe Silver quite understood the coolness of Dokken being at the same freakin’ venue on the same freakin’ night as us. I was hanging around at the venue when Silver came and asked me “do you know who’s playing in the room next door tonight?”, which I didn’t. And when I heard it was Don himself, I started praying that we wouldn’t be onstage at the same time as “Dream Warriors” was being played next door. So Immediately after our gig I run through a mexican shower, change my t-shirt and run to see if I have already missed all the good stuff. I get in, some band I don’t recognize are just finishing the set. I ask a local old school rocker who’s playing next, and he makes my day by telling me that Don will be on in about 15 minutes! We talk for a while about who’s the guitarist in Dokken these days, and the dude is really dissapointed when I inform him that George Lynch is most definitely not in the band anymore. Oh well, the “new guy” plays like a monster too. Don himself was a bit of a let down, as he left out all the high parts, leaving that to the bass player. But still, it was killer to hear classics like Breaking the Chains and Prisoner of Love live... Good times. Ok, enough about Dokken, let’s see if anyone else has anything to say... –Ben

I didn’t see Dokken, I didn’t go to Reeperbahn and I didn’t get wasted. But I did eat 2 Hamburgers in Hamburg! You gotta have it man. –Niko

Zzzzzz....zzz... –Juhana

keskiviikko 17. lokakuuta 2007

Essen, Turock / Eindhoven

Ahh, I recognize these hoodz! We played this venue last year with Dark Funeral, so we have a good idea about the backstage and surroundings. There's this big-ass army/rock/goth shop close by, where the guys immediately run to as soon as the load-in is finished. Niko buys himself a pair of nasty latex pants for 10 euros, nice! It's in these pants (and a killer cowboy hat) that he'll climb on stage later that night to introduce Drone, who we are all good friends with by now.

We hear that there's some "important" media in the audience tonight, and decide to rip their faces off with our best gig ever. Well, in the words of our main man Ice T: "unfortunately...shit ain't like that!". I have never had this many problems on stage as tonight. Before we even finish the first song, my sound starts to fade in and out, and finally my rig just goes silent. I try to go through all the possible cables and connections to find the problem, but it's no good. Juffi and Ykä jam on some funk licks while I try to get some, any, sound out of the amp. Finally we get it to work again, only now I have no pedals to work with, nessessary stuff too like my tuner or a noise gate. Oh well, I'll manage. A couple of songs later, I break a string, and have to play the rest of the gig with Silver's backup seven-string, which feels really foreign in my hands and I play like shit because of it. I can't wait for the set to be finished... Worst gig ever, at least for me. The other guys seemed to do ok, so I can only hope the crowd forgave the technical difficulties and had a good time.

Can't really comment on the aftershow madness, as I had some important email business to take care of for the rest of the night, and add to that the crappy feeling from the gig I decide to take a night off from partying. The rest of the bus handles that part like the champs they are, so the nessessary rock n' roll balance is kept. I just find it refreshing to hit the bunk as early as 1am for a change...


Now, do you know what I really hate in the morning? Waking up in a bus with 20 sack-gagging metalheads? Nope. 20 drunken idiots screaming in the back lounge? Nope. 20 white guys just outside the tour-bus pretending to be black, and having a fukkin’ congo & bongo & whatever tribal drumming lollapalooza for hours and hours, while you’re still trying to sleep? Well... the the last one is the winner. And that’s exactly what happened today.

After crawling out of the bus I realized there’s a huge marathon-happening going on in the city (Eindhoven), and the tribal drumming was supposed to raise the spirit of the participants or something. Sounded more like summoning some evil African gods to me. On top of the cake, there was some bad-ass wrestling match going on in our venue, and people were cheering when two guys dressed up in their underwear were throwing each other around in the ring. Straight to the dome biaaatch!!! Anyway, the weather is damn fine. Like t-shirt-fine. On comparison, it was snowing when we were sitting at the airport 2 days ago in Finland.

The venue today is pretty killer, and we have plenty of time to do soundchecks and make sure that everything is fine. I’ll get back to ya when the gig is over... right now I have more important stuff to do. Like waiting for the dinner to arrive and blast some electro-music backstage with my man Niko...

...booya! The gig went fine, and damn it was hot on stage! I had sweat running into my eyes, which almost made me cry like a baby. Frank from Pearl Europe had come to see the shows, so I was chatting with him whilst cheking out Norther. They seemed to deliver a tight gig!

Back in the bus we had a nice little party. The intoxication was getting little out of hand though, people were acting like some damn monkeys or something. At some point I found myself in the upper lounge, where I passed out. Luckily I didn’t get any paint on my face, like Marcelo from Drone who got black marker all around his face the second time on this tour already. Maybe he will learn, and crawl into his bunk from now on...

Leeuwarden, Pop Podium Romein

Gagball, first log, day 2 of the magical mystery tour.

I wake up, tired and slightly worn out after last night. Where am I? What am I doing here? What have I gotten myself into?

3 and a half weeks ago, what seemed like a normal wednesday afternoon was about to change the course of my life as I know it. I got a call from Niko, who has on his way to a few gigs with the big A'L at that time. He asked me, what I was about to do in the near future. I was doing nothing and I also told him so, which led me to ask him about his reason for asking me. He responded, that they had had some sort of a Spinal Tap situation with their bass session man and they needed someone to play bass on the European tour. Would I do it, I was asked and then told that the tour would begin in three and a half weeks.

'Whatever it takes, I'll do it man.' I told him.

My feet began to tremble fericiously and my heart began racing at least 220 bpm per hour. Something that I always wanted was now offered to me on a snake skin platter. My dreams were actually coming true. Being a fan ever since I first saw them live in 2004.

But anyway, back to the bus... I almost hit my head on the bunk ceiling. I crawl downstairs - yes, we have a funk ass pimped up super dooper doubledecker bus with us - and there's already someone awake. Last night everyone got to know one another and to me it seems, that we have a nice and interesting bunch with us.

We arrived to the first town, Leeuwarden, and the first thing we all notice is the narrowness of the streets. We get out of the bus in front of a local fancy hotel and just as we've gotten our gear on the way to the venue we hear a fierce blasting of several car horns. A dozen cars pull over in front of the hotel and lots of finely dressed people get out. It's a wedding in progress. We're getting totally ignored, except for a couple of people complimenting us on behalf of our bus.

Our venue is an old place, dating back to 1639 that had been used as a church in the olden days. Old school. We set the stage and kill time for the next couple of hours.

I was a nervous wreck before the gig. Everyone was just telling me to calm down and after a while of psyching out I get just anxious instead of nervous. Then our intro hits the speakers and we hit the stage. 'Let's do this!' It's an action packed 45 minutes, with almost a couple of broken jaws with both Niko and Silver tripping over a couple of times on stage. The crowd warms up after a couple of songs and we've got 'em by the balls before our set is over. We prevail.

I've sweat atleast 2 liters out of my system and I feel relieved. I'm now looking very much forward to the rest of the tour. After packing up I head to town with the locals for a nice cup of coffee, with 'slagroom', whipped cream that is.

Over and out.


lauantai 13. lokakuuta 2007

First day

The alarm goes off at 7am, I have slept for maybe three hours. It's raining like hell. Fuck it, I'm calling a taxi...

We have agreed to meet at the practice place at 8am, where we'd do the final packing (clothes, fagbags and light stuff to the cargo, CD's and Boss pedals on the plane with us in our backpacks) and take a cab to the airport, where we'd catch a flight to Hamburg. The previous night was spent at the same rehearshal room weighting our stuff, trying to make it all stay withing the 100kg we can take on the plane without extra charges. It quickly becomes obvious there's no way this is possible, it looks like we'll have to pay for at least ten extra kilos. Well, there's nothing we can leave out, so we decide to try the good ol' "smile nicely to the check-in lady and pray for mercy" -method.

At the check-in, we are told we have a tad over 20kg overweight. I do the quick math in my head, and wait for the lady to announce that we owe them 200 euros, but lo and behold! Our cute little tired smiles do the magic, and she lets us off the hook! Thanks Blue 1, we'll name our next album after you!

We enjoy some overpriced coffee to pass the time, and meet up with 2/5 of Norther + two crew dudes, merch-captain Vemmu and Sound engineer Qiffe. Norther's Pete and Heikki seem to be in a good mood about the tour, as are we. This should be fun. The rest of Norther (Kride, Tuomas and Jukkis) are still in Sweden mixing their new album, and are gonna fly straight to Holland tomorrow for the first gig. We'll fly to Hamburg, Germany, where we have the nightliner waiting, go pick up the Drone guys and the backline from the ICS offices and then head to the first venue in Holland.

The bus is absolutely killer, best we've been in so far. There's old Snoop Dogg and P Diddy passes hanging by the driver, so that should tell you how pimp this ride is. If it's good enough for Snoop, it's good enough for us! We meet Miriam the tour manager and David the driver, who both seem like good people. We pick up Drone, who we all get along with instantly, and start to drive towards Holland. It doesn't take long for someone to put on some Mötley Crue, and that's all it takes for the chitchat to start rolling and the beers flowing. The bands bond though mutual love of cockrock, Prince and Pantera, and so the tour starts with a kick-ass first night party...