We’re a few days into 2014 already and I never really had time to do the usual look in the rearview mirror to summarize what 2013 was like for me.
Compared to the past 5 years, it was less eventful than usual, and a lot of it has to do with my father’s passing. I cancelled some gigs I had planned to go to and well, just wasn’t in the mood for anything really, but there were still a few highlights in 2013.
January started with Gothenburg Sound Festival where I met up with FIREWIND-drummer JO NUNEZ who was playing with NIGHTRAGE.
Shortly thereafter, I went to the US to see a few FIREWIND-shows and meet up with the new singer KELLY SUNDOWN CARPENTER for an interview at the Gramercy in NYC. Went to Atlanta and the Masquerade as well, pretty cool venue.
Got stuck in a blizzard the day I was supposed to fly home from JFK via Toronto, and made it home in the very last minute. Drama!
Swedish bands CRAZY LIXX & H.E.A.T played at KB, show got interrupted by the fire alarm and the club was evacuated.
Went to beautiful ICELAND with my friend Henny, that was a trip I won’t forget anytime soon – Iceland is a fairy tale country and I hope they never let the ways of the “outside world” change what they’ve accomplished. It’s amazing.
[This isn’t even Photoshopped – it actually looks like that!]
Gigs, there were a few. IRON MAIDEN played at Malmo Stadion, I spent all day in line to get a front row spot. Well worth it!
MEGADETH played at Vega in Copenhagen, they had just released Super Collider and played the title track from that album live for the first time. Dave Mustaine also brought a kid up on stage, not a usual sight at Megadeth shows. :)
STEVE HARRIS and his British Lion played at KB in Malmo, and although the attendance was low, to say the least, it was insanely cool to see a musician of his caliber that up close! I got dust from his sneakers in my face when he stomped on his monitor, he was THAT close. It wasn’t as bad as people say, the band had a good time and that’s what I remember the most.
Another memorable gig was PAUL GILBERT in Gothenburg, at Sticky Fingers. Been a fan since forever, Paul is amazing. There are some fantastic shredders in the world, but Paul is unique. I love his goofy style, his dry sense of humor, his playing, his way of interacting with the crowd… It was a great show.
After Apollo Papathanasio’s departure from Firewind, I decided to keep track of his other projects, so I went to Hamburg, Germany to visit my friend Su and see Apollo with SPIRITUAL BEGGARS. A few months later made a last minute decision to see the band in Thessaloniki, Greece as well.
Apollo also visited me in my home in Malmo for a video interview and a nice lunch. Awesome dude.
Of course, there were a bunch of FIREWIND shows this year as well. Rock in den Ruinen in Germany, SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL, and of course, the tour of AUSTRALIA. I opted out of all other shows because I needed the $$ for Australia.
SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL was a weird festival this year, it was only days after my father’s passing, but I had to go to fulfill my duties to Sweden Rock Magazine and also to my friend Su who was visiting from Germany, SRF was her bachelorette party.
Memorable interviews: DAVID COVERDALE (WHITESNAKE), love the man, he rocks!
[A short clip from that interview]
And finally meeting LITA FORD for the first time ever. She was great, I’m glad she didn’t turn out to be a bitch.
Also saw her shows in Gothenburg ad Sticky Fingers and Malmo, KB.
Went to the UK twice in May to see WHITESNAKE, Thunder and Journey. I could see Whitesnake a million times and it still never gets old. :)
GUS G came to Malmo for the SWEDISH METAL CONVENTION, had a great time with him and Andy R, thanks to Pontus for bringing him to the convention. Also met Tallee Savage and her sister Amanda, Jorn, Anders Johansson (YNGWIE, HAMMERFALL) and a bunch of other people.
(Anders Johansson (Hammerfall, Yngwie), Pekka and Gus in the VIP-room)
Gus G and Paul DiAnno:
Straight after that…business class with Emirates to Sydney via Dubai, went on a safari, met koalas, saw the first Firewind show of the Australian tour, continued to Brisbane, met up with Clint, flew to Adelaide and then finally Melbourne. Stayed there for a week after the band had left. Met a few more koalas and then some really nice people at his BBQ party.
The free BAR in business class at my Emirates-flight to Sydney. :) It didn’t suck. ;)
Came home, got another tattoo and saw BLACK SABBATH in Copenhagen.
An old friend, singer of the Swedish sleaze-band NASTY IDOLS, Andy Pierce, passed away at the age of 45, something that I still can’t quite grasp…
Finished my year in the US visiting friends and checking out two gigs that I wrote about in my previous blog, both Savatage-related.
That was it – in a nutshell. Less travel than usual 2013 but I’m already looking forward to the Steel Panther European tour in the spring and Gus G’s solo-debut! Welcome 2014!
The Firewind tour here “down under” in Australia, finished two days ago in Melbourne, and I have to say that the guys, without a doubt, left a lasting impression on the Aussies. The shows in Sydney and Melbourne had the largest venues and crowds, but even the smaller gigs in Brisbane and Adelaide were memorable because the crowds were very enthusiastic. Great audiences everywhere – a very good rating considering that this is Firewind’s first visit here.
There are so many things to write about and I still haven’t quite landed in normailty – there’s been stuff going on 24-7 ever since I got here, would get anyone’s head spinning, not to mention a jetlagged Swede..!
It wasn’t that bad though – I just went on my Blue Mountains/koala tour straight away when I arrived in Sydney, and kept myself busy ever since. The real jetlag hit me after about 3 days when I just felt sick and not even my caffeine chewing gum helped much. It was the same with the guys in the band – they were all hit by that jetlag at different times.
There’s photos, videos, memories, stuff to tell enough to last for a WEEK, but I’ll just have to get back with all that and just share a few of my favorite pics this time. I’ll have like 16 hours on my way from Melbourne to Dubai to write more about this Australian trip, so – it’s all coming!
Last day at work today – and now the fun begins! :)
I’ve started to pack a little for my Australia tour. People drop their jaws when I say that I will be travelling to the other side of the globe with only a carry-on that weighs a maximum of 7 kilos… ;) I hate carrying bulky stuff around. The less shit I have to drag around, the better. And I know how to make it work by now.
Might have to rethink my present to my Melbourne-host possibly, weighs too much, lol. But other than that, I’ve got all the essentials: Energy gum (survival kit #1!) , travel-adapter, camera, extra batteries, memory cards, sunglasses, sunscreen, makeup, clothes and an inflatable pillow. I’m good to go!
The reason for this light packing is that I will be flying from place to place once I get there and I have no patience standing there at the luggage carousel watching people’s suitcases go round and round and round forEVER….! Drives me nuts. I just want to grab my stuff and go. Hence the carry-on solution. :)
My first plan in Sydney was going to be a wildlife-tour to the Blue Mountains, about 45 minutes outside of Sydney. A day-trip out to see wild animals (been dreaming about KOALAS for weeks!) but… the wild fires there might stop THAT plan. Maybe it’s just as well, I might be dead tired, who knows.
Then the first Firewind show in Australia, out of 4. Here are the venues!
MANNING BAR – SYDNEY:
SECOND SHOW – IN BRISBANE, AT THE HI-FI:
THIRD SHOW – FOWLERS LIVE – ADELAIDE:
AND FOURTH – AND LAST AUSTRALIAN FIREWIND SHOW – THE CORNER HOTEL IN MELBOURNE:
I will be blogging as much as I can of course – providing I’m not so jetlagged that I just want to crawl into the nearest bed and pass out, but shame on me if I do!!
THESE will be the places I’m about to see, and I’m very very excited about it!
AND of course…SYDNEY:
Hopefully at least one of these too!
The trip starts on Monday… but there’s a bit of cool stuff happening here BEFORE that too.
The Swedish Metal Convention – with a bunch of great artists and metal-related exhibitions!
GUS G – JORN LANDE – ANDERS JOHANSSON (YNGWIE, HAMMERFALL) – CRASH DIET – CRUCIFIED BARBARA – PAUL DIANNO (EX-IRON MAIDEN)
I remember the first convention, it was ambitious but rather small. Still, not bad at all to get SEBASTIAN BACH to visit, among others.
My interview with Baz from that convention:
The second year, I was shocked to see how much the convention had grown – as were many others. People who are now in as participants and sponsors, biggest online-record store in Sweden GINZA and of course, SWEDEN ROCK. Last year had people like DORO, UDO, MIKE TRAMP and Jesper from D.A.D visiting – plus the largest IRON MAIDEN collection in the world. It was interesting for sure.
And this year – let’s see how it goes, they say that third time is always a “win or lose”-situation so I’m hoping that it will be a major success!
If you’re in Malmö this weekend, here is the schedule for the convention!
*** PROGRAM 2013****
Saturday conference room
15.30 – 16.30 Guitar Clinic Gus
16.30 – 17.00 Q&A Gus
17.00 – 17.30 Q&A Crashdiet
17.30 – 18.00 Q&A Jorn Lande
12.30 – 12.50 Crashdiet
12.50 – 13.20 Paul Dianno
13.20 – 13.40 Jorn Lande
13.40– 14.00 London Based Hellfire
14.00 – 14.30 Gus G
14.40 – 15.00 Crucified Barbara
Sunday conference room
12.30 – 13.00 Q&A Nicki & Ida
13.00 – 13.30 Q&A Paul Dianno
14.00 – 15.00 Fashion show
12.00 – 12.20 Paul Dianno
12.20 – 12.40 Ida & Nicki
12.40 – 13.00 Jorn Lande
13.00 – 13.20 Crashdiet
13.20 – 13.40 London Based Hellfire
The departure to the Firewind-shows in Australia is getting closer. The habit I obtained back in 2011, to travel across the globe to see Greek virtuosos Firewind, is now taking me all the way down to the continent “down under”, the land of the koalas and kangaroos!
It’s a trip over 9 time zones, taking me across two (or 3, depending on how you count) continents and 16,036 km, 9,964 English miles, 8,659 nautical miles (I had to look it up)….
I’m super excited about it, because for ONCE in my life, I really don’t know what to expect! I know Europe and I know the USA well enough. No big surprises there, just slight differences, but all in all, it’s pretty much all the same place… But THIS? Everything is backwards!
And THIS time, I’m not going to travel like a backpacker to keep it as cheap as possible. Not when I have over 30 hours of travel-time to deal with.
If there’s EVER a good time to spend a little extra on a trip, this is it. I’m travelling like a QUEEN this time.
That Emirates business-class is something I’m really looking forward to. Lie-flat bed with built in massage and your own mini-bar, and a 23/7 open bar with snacks and drinks, luxury-style entertainment system, award winning food, private driver, lounge… The works! The super-long flight will NOT suck, for a change.
And – best of all – most likely no screaming babies in that part of the plane. :))
[The bar in Business Class :) I will have a rainbow-drink with a little umbrella in it, please!]
I’ve had a great time travelling around to see Firewind the past two years.
My biggest heroes are all those classic bands, you know, Judas Priest, Whitesnake, Sabbath, Ozzy… But when it comes to live shows, I’ve never been disappointed at the Firewind gigs. They can change band-members all they want, the energy is always there regardless – every single time.
Even the “big” bands have bad evenings sometimes. But I’ve never seen Firewind suck live – not even once. So, it’s safe to travel to the other side of the world to see a few shows. I know it’s going to be the thrill of a lifetime! :)
AND, I’m really excited about meeting my Australian friend Clint from Melbourne, who will join me in Brisbane for this tour (I’m off on a wildlife-safari in Sydney the day after my arrival, so no time to socialize there, unfortunately).
He’s been following me online since my very first website back in 1997, a good friend that I’ve been talking to regularly through MSN-chat (now Skype) so it’s about time that I met the guy in person! :)
And there will be yet a few memorable Firewind-shows to add to to the list. This is “the list” so far – started counting with the Ozzy-show in NYC which is where it all began!
It looks like an insane number of shows, but I’m loving every second of it!
I get to travel, see things, experience all kinds of adventures and most of all, I get to see great rock’n’roll shows all over the world! What could be better than THAT!
24 days to go! :)))
|December 1, 2010||OZZY||Madison Square Garden||New York City||USA|
|January 7, 2011||Firewind||Relentless Garage||London||UK|
|June 11, 2011||OZZY||Sweden Rock Festival||Solvesborg||Sweden|
|June 15, 2011||OZZY||Olympiahalle||Munich||Germany|
|June 17, 2011||OZZY||Rockhal||Esch-sur-Alzette||Luxembourg|
|June 25, 2011||Firewind||Graspop festival||Dessel||Belgium|
|July 6, 2011||Firewind||Kaftanzoglio stadium / 2310 festival||Thessaloniki||Greece|
|July 8, 2011||Firewind||Sonisphere festival||Knebworth||UK|
|August 9, 2011||OZZY||Ergo Arena||Gdansk||Poland|
|August 11, 2011||OZZY||Smukfest festival||Skandeborg||Denmark|
|September 10, 2011||Firewind||Moho Live||Manchester||UK|
|September 11, 2011||Firewind||Cathouse||Glasgow||Scotland/UK|
|September 12, 2011||Firewind||Sub 89||Reading||UK|
|September 16, 2011||Firewind||Rock Temple||Kerkrade||NL|
|September 17, 2011||Firewind||Biebob||Vosselaar||Belgium|
|September 18, 2011||Firewind||Underground||Köln (Cologne)||Germany|
|October 9, 2011||Firewind||State Theatre||S:t Petersburg||Florida / USA|
|October 10, 2011||Firewind||Masquerade||Atlanta||USA|
|October 12, 2011||Firewind||Gramercy Theatre||New York City||New York / USA|
|January 14, 2012||Firewind||Fuzz Club||Athens||Greece|
|June 2, 2012||OZZY||Malmö Stadium||Malmö||Sweden|
|June 4, 2012||OZZY||Westfalenhalle||Dortmund||Germany|
|June 22, 2012||OZZY||Graspop Festival||Dessel||Belgium|
|July 13, 2012||Firewind||Bang Your Head Festival||Balingen||Germany|
|July 18, 2012||Firewind||Mylos||Thessaloniki||Greece|
|September 14, 2012||Firewind||Moho||Manchester||UK|
|September 15, 2012||Firewind||Button Factory||Dublin||Ireland|
|September 28, 2012||Firewind||Knust||Hamburg||Germany|
|September 29, 2012||Firewind||Godset||Kolding||Denmark|
|October 4, 2012||Firewind||Underground||Cologne/Köln||Germany|
|October 5, 2012||Firewind||Hedon||Zwolle||Netherlands|
|October 6, 2012||Firewind||Biebob||Vosselaar||(Belgium)|
|December 15, 2012||Firewind||8Ball Club (10th Anniversary shows)||Thessaloniki||Greece|
|December 16, 2012||Firewind||8Ball Club (10th Anniversary shows)||Thessaloniki||Greece|
|February 3, 2013||Firewind||The Masquerade||Atlanta, GA||USA|
|February 6, 2013||Firewind||Gramercy Theatre||New York, NY||USA|
|April 27, 2013||Firewind||Rock in den Ruinen||Dortmund||Germany|
|June 7, 2013||Firewind||Sweden Rock Festival||Sölvesborg||Sweden|
|October 31, 2013||Firewind||Manning bar||Sydney||Australia|
|November 1, 2013||Firewind||The Hi-Fi||Brisbane||Australia|
|November 2, 2013||Firewind||Fowlers Live||Adelaide||Australia|
|November 3, 2013||Firewind||Corner Hotel||Melbourne||Australia|
This year has been pretty slow so far, travel-wise – by my standards. And the reason is that I wanted to do something DIFFERENT this time. Instead of travelling all over Europe and occasionally to the US, I figured that I want to go to AUSTRALIA. But as I’m not the “touristy” type, I was looking for a good excuse to go – and I got it! :-)
The band that gets me out there on the road most of the time (it’s a great band to follow if you’re into the whole travelling-thing, cause they’re out there most of the year, all over the place) – FIREWIND, is going on a short tour to Australia in October/November. And I’ve just bought my ticket to go see those gigs. Woo-hoo!
And this time, I’m really making it a trip to remember. I chose to travel with Emirates – voted Airline of The Year 2013. And I’m booked in business-class.
If I’m EVER going to spend money on travelling in business-class, it’s for a trip like this where you’ll be spending about 30 hours in a plane! You want to be comfortable for that.
So I booked that, and started reading about all the benefits, and it starts even BEFORE I board! I’ve been so excited all day about my forthcoming Aussie-trip!
Complimentary chauffeur that picks me up to drive me TO and FROM the airport! How nice to arrive somewhere and have someone waiting for you with your name on a sign! No standing in line fighting for taxis…..! HEAVEN!
You get access to the business-lounge at Copenhagen airport, Dubai airport….
You can breeze right through security in your own fast-track (same goes at check-in).
The seats can be turned into real, flat beds (and has built-in massage and all!). Your own large work-table, entertainment-system, Wi-Fi on board, complimentary champagne, drinks – a menu to choose from anytime you want…
I mean, the list goes on. If there is EVER a good reason to pay up for this kind of luxury, it’s when you’re travelling for more than 24 hours. :)
Take a look at this presentation of their lounge and business-class seats!!
I got my “local” Australia- flights sorted out as well – this is my route:
Sydney – Brisbane
Brisbane – Adelaide
Adelaide – Melbourne
4 gigs in 4 days, I have NO idea how I’m going to cope, cause I suspect that the jetlag is going to knock me out… I’ve never gone east before, so I will most likely be beat…. However, it’s just another adventure, but an Adventure DeLuxe!
I love all the planning, the hotels, the detective work to find addresses, the best ways to get from the airport to the hotel, from the hotel to the venue, from the venue to wherever… I mean, all that stuff is so much fun, I get such a kick doing the preparations!
I should be working with this full time, but it just never happened that way.
If there are any up and coming bands out there looking for someone to plan their tour – gimme a shout!
I know how to find the best options at the best prices, I’ve been doing it for myself for years already, this is definitely my turf. :)
Also looking forward to meeting my long-time online-friend Clint from Melbourne, this trip will absolutely, totally rock! :))