Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Energy Goes To Europe: 11-27-08 - 12-14-08

The journal entries from Nov 29 - Dec 11th are me recalling what happened, as opposed to the others which were written the day/night of the entry. However, all of this was written while I was still in Europe:

Me freaking out on the plane

November 27th - Solothurn, Switzerland @ Kofmehl:

We arrived in Frankfurt Germany this morning and Conor's bass got lost in the luggage system somehow. We stuck around the airport for a while filing a report, and then we met up with Chris from Slapshot outside and walked to the bus. The bus has 17 or so bunks that are pretty comfortable. It has 2 lounges and a dvd player. When we were driving to the show today it didn't even feel like we were traveling, it just felt like we were in a room talking. Im a little messed up from jet lag, I've been sleeping off and on. I don't know what the shower situation will be like every night, Chris said we are afforded the opportunity to shower each night whether it be at the venue, or at a hotel, so hopefully that's true. I don't know if I'll be able to wear much makeup either because of the cramped quarters and lack of a mirror(and makeup for that matter) I guess its not the end of the world, but I like to try and look good every night. Whatever happens happens I guess. I also don't know where I'm going to be able to warm up every night seeing as there's always going to be people in the bus and backstage. Again, I'll just have to figure something out I guess...

Post show:

First show was fucking terrible, we sounded like shit, I almost threw up, and no one cared that we played. Not one person bought anything. And everyone stood 10 feet back the whole time. There were about 50 people there.

November 28th - Lucinico, Italy @ Pieffe Factory:

I just woke up from 16 straight hours of sleeping. I would feel fine if I had been eating at all this whole time. I feel weak already from a lack of food and nutrients. I already wish I wasn't here. It's raining outside and it's cold in the venue. The food they have for us is just bread and fruit that I can eat....oh yeah and potato chips....ughhh. I'm so hungry its not even funny, and I have to play a 45 minute set every night. I bet I'll pass out onstage one of these nights. No one speaks English here, this makes our last tour seem like such paradise. I'd rather be in our cramped van driving around America where I know I can stop anywhere and get something to eat than be in this giant bus and be on what seems like another planet. Maybe my attitude will change, who knows.

November 29th - Rimini, Italy @ Boulevard Club:

"Heavy Metal Disco Night" as everyone called it. It was a club that had had many rooms, and many different types of people. Dan tells me that apprently during the end of "Contact" I "made some girl fall to her knees" I didn't see it happen but I'll take his word for it. It was a good show, I really felt like the emotion in the music was conveyed well through our live performance that night. Me and Keith had a talk with Joe about him having to improve his confidence. Joe, Keith, and I went for a walk but it started to rain so we had to run back. Firestorm, Roots, and I Will Be Heard, were all played at the club and people were dancing to it. It was more like an actual night club than a venue. A good show either way.

November 30th - San Giorgio In Bosco, Italy @ La Gabbia:

This is the night that Joe's guitar got stolen, we are certain it was by a member of the band Anger, seeing as he was the only one backstage when it happened, and he had been complaining about how much he hates America and was being extremely loud, rude and obnoxious. He was kicked out, and apparently on his way out, must have grabbed Joe's guitar and split, we tried finding him and/or the guitar, no such luck.

December 1st - Munchen, Germany - @ Backstage:

Funeral for a Friend played next door with Cancer Bats. This building had many buildings in it. Hard to explain. Me, Joe, and Keith walked to a gas station. Our dinner that night was pizza, it was good, but it took a while because they accidentally sent it to us with cheese so we had to send it back and wait for them to get us what we ordered. The show this night sucked. We just flat out played bad and no one cared. The shower was ok, but like every other shower on this tour, it left me soaking wet all night because of tiny towels, and no room to put your dry, clean clothes while you're showering. We joked about how no one likes us after the show, and brought up the idea of making our next cd a comedy album, and that maybe that would go over better with the crowd than our music does. We are pretty miserable.

December 2nd - Jena, Germany - @ F Haus:

This was the first show that I ran into a mall with an ATM. I took out 110 Euros. I don't think I bought anything though. We found another mall with a grocery store and got some chocolate. I found a pay phone and tried to call Julia but couldn't figure out how to use it.

Tonight's show felt like a battle of the bands at a high school because of the extremely high stage. Watched Slapshot sound check with Bigmouth Strikes Again. I tried new food, couscous to be exact. It had vegetables in it. Julia is always trying to get me to try it and I never wanted to, but starvation forced me to this time. During Slapshot's set a fight started, so I got out of the way and went outside because I had nowhere else to go. I was expecting it to be brought outside like im used to seeing, but it never happened, so I went back inside and watched the rest of the set. Mike from Slapshot encouraged me to stick with music because he had seen a lot of terrible bands get huge and "we are by no means a terrible band" he said that with our sound we shouldn't be playing strictly hardcore shows, and that we should be spreading it out amongst more melodic bands just as much if not more than with hardcore bands, I couldn't agree more.

December 3rd - Magdeburg, Germany @ Blow Up:

Small, smokey club, no room onstage, we played like shit, couldn't put any emotion into the set, because I had to remain stationary due to lack of room on the stage. A band called "Anti-Cops" played. The backstage area was across the street in a separate building. Food was terrible and it looked like vomit. This is where I ran into the first internet cafe where I called Julia at work and talked to her for a while, then she transferred me to my mom, and then back to her. I had to have the drummer for All For Nothing translate my request for me because I couldn't seem to get the right instructions out of the guy behind the counter because he spoke little to no English. It cost me a little under 5 Euros.
We walked to a mall with a grocery store in it. We were backstage and laughing about Stoughton and Ziggols, and talking about Town Spa and how much we wanted to go home.

December 4th - Warshau, Poland @ Progresia:

New driver started today.

Joe got in an argument with our tour manager about his bunk. I got a bunch of tour posters from the venue because our name was in the Samhain font, and it looked like an old school Slapshot flyer. Me and Joe went for a long walk by ourselves, there weren't many places to go. One kid was into it the whole time, and towards the end someone joined him, but we were unsure if he was mocking us or not. Whatever, I'll take mocking over indifference any day, at least that means they noticed that we played. I had pizza that night, and had to pick the corn off because for some reason, over here, apparently they are under the impression that Americans put corn all over everything. The grocery stores over here even have frozen "American Style Pizza" with corn all over it. Very strange.

December 5th - Berlin, Germany @ SO36:

When Joe woke me up he said "hey we're going to the Berlin Wall wanna go?" and seeing as I'm in Berlin, I say "Yes" so we walked there, I didn't say much because of how tired I was. We got there, it was a wall, we stayed for a minute then left. Its an important piece of history and all, but what's left is just the remains of a wall, it wasn't as exciting as we'd anticipated. It always seems like things are more exciting until you do them, or see them. Nothing really "wows" me anymore. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to be taken back by a historical landmark, and maybe it will happen sometime soon, but in this particular case, it didn't get me too excited. We went to a grocery store where I discovered "Alpro Chocolate Pudding" I was very excited, I had to ask someone who spoke very broken English to read me the ingredients and they said "are you asking if this is vegan" I said yes, they said yes. I always assume no one will know what "Vegan" means. Joe and Dan said that some punkers almost mugged them, but they got out of it somehow, I didn't catch the whole story. I got to use an internet cafe and call home. We went to a vegan restaurant (the first and only of the tour) and I got a tofu burger with a large fry, 2 shakes, and a chocolate muffin. It was awesome.

I was very excited to play this place because it is where Slapshot recorded their only live album "Live at the SO36" and I actually got to play with them there. Choke even announced the song "Firewalker" the same way he did on the live cd. It made my night. I had also known that Henry Rollins had played there with Black Flag as it was mentioned in "Get in the Van". I then found out that the new Misfits, Bad Religion, Lars Frederiksen And The Bastards, Nofx, and a LOT more had played that stage before us. When that happens I always feel like I have something to live up to, so I keep that in mind while playing. I thought we played good. I don't think Joe felt the same way. Apparently there were some kids mocking us, in I guess what you could call the "front" seeing as it was no different than any other show on this tour in the sense that the crowd was standing very far from the stage. There were like 450 people at this show. We sold 2 records. I don't think we sold anything else. After we played Dan kind of said something to me about not talking well in between songs, which I know I'm not good at, but I feel like my intensity and emotion while playing the actual music should more than compensate for that. It bummed me right the fuck out. Him and Joe insisted they weren't trying to "call me out" but it sure felt that way. I told them they have mics and could easily talk to the crowd themselves if it's that much of a problem. What bummed me out was the fact that a lot of people come to ME and says that the thing that's "wrong" with our live show is that Dan, Joe and Conor don't move around at all, or have good stage presence. And that I do fine. They never tell me that my lack of talking in between songs is an issue. It just really bummed me out, and that's the last thing I needed, to somehow get even more depressed. What I do or don't have to say in between songs shouldn't matter, it should be about how we present the music. I have no problem with them not physically throwing themselves into it the way I try to, that's their thing. I encourage them to, but I understand that when the time comes (if it does) then it will happen, and that nothing can be forced. They did however say that to me, that if the time comes when I can talk well between songs then that's that, but until then you can't force it. So at least were on the same page as far as that goes, but again, it just bummed me out.

December 6th - Steenwijk, Netherlands @ De Buze:

Me and Conor got in an argument onstage this night, I'm not really going to get into it, but it happened and I was pretty angry.
Walked around a nice area, didn't shower because Keith said the water pressure was terrible. Got Skittles for the first time while we've been here, because the Skittles in Europe don't use gelatin. The houses in this town were close to the street and really nice. It was awkward walking around because when you were on the sidewalk you were only a few feet from people eating dinner. It was just something I'm not used to seeing. Some guy called Choke a "fagot hairdresser" and he just laughed it off. Mark seemed really pissed because the guy heckled them throughout their whole set, Mark then asked me what happened with me and Conor because their roadie Josh had seen us arguing so I briefly explained it to him. We just chit chatted until Dan came in and told me I was being accused once again for not helping load out, when in fact, no one had started loading out yet. I hate people.

December 7th - Enschede, Netherlands @ ATAK:

Outside of a train station, brand new building, good shower, All For Nothing and Energy shared a dressing room. Really good sound in this place, the stage area was a little too small but good enough. They faced the amps inward instead of facing the crowd. They had Vegan ice cream for us tonight, it was awesome. Went for a long walk with Keith, Joe, and Dan. There were miniature ponds with stones in them that Joe and Dan jumped around on. Listened to Pork And Beans by Weezer on my phone, then my hands were too cold.

December 8th - Kassel, Germany @ ARM:

Very festive place, Joe smelled the best smell he's ever smelled, and the scent of black licorice in the air. There was an indoor mall that had a coffee place with free internet internet access. We read briefly about singer of Last Lights' death. During tonight's show the sound guy only mic'd the bass drum. Joe feels we sounded the best that night, I felt my performance was below satisfactory due to a lack of space to move around onstage. The sound guy liked our cover of Operation Ivy's "Knowledge* one guy was up front towards the end, said he liked our sound, and that we reminded him of The Offspring. Backstage was a separate building in the back with a digital combination to get in. Good cookies with chocolate swirls. Choke told us about when he saw The Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana, when Nirvana had just recorded Nevermind, and they weren't famous yet, and how he was hanging out with Dave Grohl that night and that they were friends from Dave's days in the D.C. band "Scream". Choke said that The Smashing Pumpkins were better than Nirvana that night.

December 9th - Frankfurt, Germany @ Batschkap:

Woke up early to switch buses, went back to sleep.
The show was in the downstairs of a coffee house, sound was awesome, Joe rates an A plus performance, they played "The Misfits" Project 1950 twice over the PA before we played and that got us talking about The Misfits quite a bit. There were a group of kids that knew a lot of the words, but didn't sing along until the very end when we played Streetlights, it was the best part of the tour. One kid got onstage and was very excited and then somersaulted offstage. He talked to me afterward and said that "we may not be typical hardcore, but we offer a lot of emotion and he likes that". This was one of 2 nights that me and Keith stayed up talking all night. There was a huge mall, 3 H and Ms, one of which I got skeleton gloves and a nice shirt. There was a porn store in the mall, Joe got horny and upset and had to leave. Joe had to use the bathroom while we were driving so bad and there was nowhere to go when we stopped so he was upset all night, and the bus driver started talking about heaven and hell and how he has the dark side with him along with other ramblings and psycho babble. This was where we landed, and it's also where we fly home from.

December 10th - Bremen, Germany @ Schlachtof:

There was an outdoor skate park right outside tonight's venue, Joe finished Lord Of The Rings: The 2 Towers, and started on Return Of The King. I was late for our set and had to rush inside and play right away, the set went good, one kind dove into other kids out of excitement during 400. I saw TSOL and Adolescents shirts in the crowd so I knew they might not totally hate us. I had a talk with Joe about not quitting and never giving up on this, then on the skate park bowl we came up with the idea of starting our own "Fiend Club" if you will. We brainstormed ideas, my brother hilariously suggested calling it the "Punch The Clock Club". Me and Joe got a good laugh from that.

December 11th - Hof Zedwitz, Germany @ Fernverkehr:

SPAD played a song called "EMO" with an "E" "M" "O" chant with them fake crying during the "O" and a song called "BITCH" they covered 7 Seconds' "Young Until I Die". We laughed hysterically about them and mediocre bands, and wondered why major labels don't sign the hilariously mediocre bands as a joke, and behind the band's back Market them as a comedy act. Or better yet, trick the masses into thinking it's good music. But then we realized, that's kind of how it already is. The stage was wet, it snowed, first snow of the tour, maybe the year for us, can't remember. The club was smokey, the meal was shitty, rice with tomato sauce, only sparkling water to drink, including during our set. Great cookies that tasted like Christmas. We had to walk to the shittiest shower in the middle of nowhere, soaked in sweat in the freezing cold, only to find out that there was no hot water. The crowd stood at least 50 feet back when we played. There was a slight delay on my vocals, I kind of liked it. Joe rated our performance this night a B. Joe was jamming around playing Tonight Tonight during our sound check, so the sound guy put on "Siamese Dream" and we stopped jamming, sat down, and enjoyed it under the heater blowing hot air from the corner of the room. I didn't eat dinner this night.

December 12th - Chemnitz, Germany @ AJZ:


Today I woke up having to use the bathroom, so I went downstairs and did, I then went back to my bunk to realize it is soaking wet in one spot...did I wet the bed? No, I look up, and water is leaking in from the ceiling onto my bed from all the snow because there is an emergency exit hatch right above my bunk. My bunk of course being the only bunk with a giant opening above it, only welcomes all this water into my bed. So I have been up since 11:30 am here, its now 1:45 I believe. So I've just been up reading A Dull Roar by Henry Rollins ever since then. That's probably not the worst thing though, maybe waking up, getting a good read in, and starting in early on a new day will be good for me.

Oh yeah by the way, its been a while since I've updated. I am still in Europe, I think the reason that I haven't updated much was because of how miserable and depressed I have been. I didn't want to make it seem like all I was doing was complaining, so I didn't update because all that has been going through my mind these past 2 weeks has been misery and loneliness. I will try and recall each night and give a run through of it all. I will have to ask someone slight details about each night to refresh my memory, because all the nights have blurred together in my mind.

I'm sitting backstage right now, the venue looks pretty good, big stage, what I think is OK sound, I don't trust my own ears though, only Joe's and Mike's and Mike isn't here. I'm starving, I didn't eat last night because it was just rice and sauce and it looked like vomit. I didn't eat the night before that either, for whatever reason I can't remember. I've just been drinking soy milk I've had saved and eating pudding and fruit. It's been rough not eating so much over here, but I have a feeling that this whole trip will earn me not only a greater appreciation for the things I have at home, but it will give me an even greater appreciation for touring in the United States. It's Friday, and Monday I will be home in Stoughton, MA.

The show tonight was good, I felt that good feeling I get after a good set rush through me after we played, so I know it was good. Mike from Slapshot took some pictures of our set, he's going to email them to me. Maybe I can post them with this update. I don't see why not. Me and Joe went for a decent walk today, but nothing was open. On this walk I discovered that Joe had never heard "Liar" by The Rollins Band. That caught me by surprise because that's usually the first and/or only song people know, and he owns Life Time and The End Of Silence, and has heard other songs. It just struck me as odd and I felt it would be worth mentioning. Also today is our last day in the bus because we're firing the bus company and driving in a van for the last day, and to the airport. Apparently the bus company has been really hard to get in contact with and there have been many complaints made by our tour manager Ronaldo, with little to no response, so I guess Slapshot is just saying "fuck it" and not paying them at all and using vans for the last 2 days. Good for them,if it all works out according to plan that is. Tonight was my third consecutive night with no dinner. I had a banana, some pretzels, an orange, and some soy milk throughout the day but that's it. I could really just go for a good hot meal. I guess I could be eating if I truly had to because the food is there, but I really hate a lot of food, and ever since I was young, I've always been afraid to try new foods, and for someone like this to be stuck in Europe with only one promised meal a day...this sucks. I wish I wasn't like this with food. It's not that I don't eat healthy, because I do, when I'm home, it's just that I don't like eating too wide of a variety of food. I really would like to change this though. I tried couscous and it wasn't that bad, and in California I tried some tofu/bean dish at California Vegan on Sunset Boulevard. I'd like to think that I'm at least trying, but for some reason I really haven't wanted to these last few days. What I really want is to just go home, eat some Town Spa Pizza, and be with Julia. My mom told me that when I get home, it will be one day allowing for jet lag, which is Tuesday, and the next day will be me and Julia's day where we're renting a motel (maybe a hotel, if Julia wants to pitch in some?) and then Thursday will be dedicated to setting up the Christmas tree at my mom's house with Julia. I can't wait. Its going to be so nice putting up the tree and watching Christmas movies with the fireplace going, and of course, as our annual tradition goes...have Town Spa Pizza. Just thinking about it actually just made my stomach growl.
My mom's boyfriend, Jim, got laid off from his job which means my mom is worried about money. I know that since she's a responsible adult, they will be fine. I just can't help but selfishly wonder if she's still getting me a MacBook. I guess its better this way, it adds to the surprise element of the gift. I'd prefer it this way honestly. It kind of makes me feel like I'm a kid again. Henry Rollins mentioned in the book I'm reading something along the lines of "all I need is an empty room with a notebook, a computer, and speakers to play music through." I was thinking about how a MacBook is all 3 of those in one plus some. It has a recording studio in it with a drum machine as well. Assuming that I am getting one, I can't wait. We play the Persistence Tour tomorrow. I think we're playing early in the day, maybe around 3 pm. Which means I will probably not get any sleep but that's OK, as long as I can push through the set, I will be happy because I know that there is only 1 more show to go. It will also be cool to see H2o again seeing as they are playing relatively early in the lineup as well. After the show, I'm pretty sure the plan is that we are driving to a hotel and staying there, then waking up, driving to the last show which is a matinee show I believe (it would make sense seeing as it's a Sunday) and then we're driving to the airport to fly to Philadelphia and then to Boston. Our flight leaves Frankfurt at 12:45pm and we arrive in Philadelphia at 3:50pm. There is a 2 hour and 25 minute layover, and then we leave Philadelphia at 6:15pm to arrive in Boston at 7:49pm, where Julia will be waiting for me with Eric and Josh. It will be so great to see them after such an extensive absence. We are all going to Town Spa straight from the airport too. There is just so much to look forward to that I have a feeling the next 2 days will drag by so slowly because, in my head, I want them to already be over so badly. I have decided not to switch bunks mainly because I don't want to talk to anyone anymore than I already have to, and I'd obviously have to bring it up to someone to initiate the switch, so I'm just going to sleep in wet bunk, whatever. I should probably actually go to sleep now, seeing as it's 3am and I am probably going to have to be onstage, warmed up, and ready to go in 12 hours. Goodnight.

December 13th - Oberhausen, Germany @ Turbinenhalle:

Its 6:39pm and H2O is playing right now. Earlier, I spoke with Toby and the guys from H2O and they seemed surprised at how constantly we've been touring when I told them that we basically haven't stopped since our tour with them. Toby told me about their upcoming tour with The Dropkick Murphys, that will be really huge for them. I am watching everyone's belongings because we have them all over the floor of the backstage area ready to be brought out to the vans that are on their way here. A couple of people from All For Nothing and Ronaldo went to pick up the vans or something, im not quite sure what's exactly going on, all I know is that Slapshot fired, or is firing the bus company today and the one guy who is the owner of the bus company is at the show tonight and is "looking for Slapshot" we were told to play stupid and tell everyone that we don't even talk to Slapshot and that we don't know what's going on. Slapshot are pretty funny guys. I have been a big fan of their music for years and I like them a lot as people so I'm really glad that I got the opportunity to tour with them, even if it didn't go so well for us.

Today I woke up wet, from the leak in my bunk, and immediately started gathering my things for the big switch from bus to van. I didn't get much sleep at all last night. We are staying in hotel rooms tonight, 2 people to a room, courtesy of Slapshot, so that will hopefully be relaxing and allow me to get a good night of sleep and a good shower. Tomorrow we drive in the van to Rotterdam, Holland where we play the last show of this tour.

Today is the Persistence Tour and we were the first band that played. We went on at 4:30pm. All For Nothing played after us, then War Of Ages, H2O, Discipline, Born From Pain, Terror, Slapshot, Heaven Shall Burn, Sick Of It All.

This place has a 3 thousand person capacity and it looks pretty packed. I thought we played well but I have no clue if people liked it or not. For the first half of the set I was really loud in my monitor, but for some reason I couldn't hear myself too well towards the second half.

We've been sitting in the backstage area for hours now because there is nowhere else to go. I feel very tired, hopefully I can just fall right asleep tonight.

I really can't wait to go home, I can't stress that enough. I can't ever remember looking forward to something as much as I am to going home.

Sick of it All played and destroyed every single band that played before them. Their guitarist is one of the most intense performers I have ever seen.

December 14th 2008 - Rotterdam, Netherlands @ De Baroeg:

Sorry about yesterday's sporadic updates, I spent the whole day inside the venue and updated randomly when I was bored. We stayed at a motel last night, 9 bedrooms for 17 people. I got a fairly decent shower in last night as well but the mattress was incredibly hard and the pillow was as big as an average throw pillow, so it wasn't the most comfortable night of sleep, but I'll take it. We just got in the van to head to Rotterdam which, according to everyone, should take around 2 hours or so. Luckily there's a DVD player in the van so....
as I started to type that we realized the DVD player wasn't working so it looks like we won't be watching a movie on this ride, oh well. Let's just hope everyone doesn't put on the worst music imaginable, as I fear they will.
I haven't eaten a meal in the past 4 days so I hope I can make it through tonight's performance without any problems.

When we dropped off Slapshot at the airport, Choke left me with some advice, which I took very seriously: he said that from watching me perform every night, that I need to engage the crowd more, and that when they turn on you, kill them with kindness, instead of getting all pissy and playing poorly. That was very good advice. I hope we can do a U.S. tour with them someday.

Looking back, I'm glad that I went on this tour, because it was not only a good life experience visiting other countries, but it gives me a far greater appreciation for tours in the United States. If I hadn't gone to Europe this past winter, I would probably be dreading Energy's 2 upcoming tours a LOT more than I am. So, for that, I am thankful, but I still don't want to go back to Europe any time soon.

Things always seem more glamorous in hindsight.

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