MORC – Day 1:
Took the shuttle from my hotel to the cruise port, sharing with a bunch of people who were going on other cruises.
When we pulled in to pier 29, it was crystal clear which cruise THAT was. :D
People with long, black hair, piercings, tattoos and band t-shirts everywhere…there was no doubt about it. The old folks turned to me going: “There’s your cruise! Looks like fun! We should go on that one!”
The check-in was a dream, I breezed right through. I wish it was like that at the airport! And I was once again reminded that people in the US love my hair…! :D
The staff opened the doors to my deck, said we were welcome to go to our cabins now. Still so breezy I could barely believe it. Last year we had to wait for hours for our cabins to be ready. “My” attendant knocked on the door and was pissed that I was already in the cabin but I told him they actually let us in. He said that the door was open, which means that they are about to clean it. Okay, yell at your colleague who let us in, not me, angry little man.
I took a walk around the ship, met people I knew, just enjoyed the vibe. :) These are my people, this is my music, this is my trip. Soon we will be far away from the real world rockin’ out to our favorite music for days and I love it!
The first band was supposed to be the “secret sail-off band”. I already knew who it was but I wanted some good footage so I stayed – and they were horribly late. Nobody informed us about what was going on, and time just dragged on as if we were waiting for freaking Axl Rose or something. Unfortunately, it killed the vibe. You sail off, the ship starts moving, people waving, the loud horn honks as we’re leaving the port – and you’re in the right mood for some music action! But…there is none.
It got dark before anything happened and by then most people were already at the bar or doing something else. The secret band was a reunited BulletBoys, which to me wasn’t of much interest. I was tired, my party-vibe was gone so I just thought…fuck it. I’m going back to my cabin.
I couldn’t wait to just chill. I had barely taken two steps inside my cabin when the angry little attendant knocked on the door. He didn’t say what he wanted and just almost pushed his way in, going “can I come in?“.
It was so creepy. I got scared to be honest. He had already cleaned the room so what was he doing in here now? It was dark outside and there had been no people in the corridor, so it felt quite uncomfortable, to say the least.
“I’ll make your bed comfortable!” he said and pulled out the tucked in corners. I was still standing there wondering WTF?
He finally left with a fake smile and handed me his business card.
I’m one of those weird people who considers a hotel room or a cabin my home away from home, and as such, I value ONE thing, and one thing only – and that’s my privacy.
I hate people coming in when I have my private belongings in the room, I hate people knocking on the door when I want to sleep or when I just want to be left alone. So this morning I put the “DO NOT DISTURB“-sign on the door and that’s staying there for the rest of the cruise. The annoying little man better not try to talk to me for the rest of this journey, and he better stay out of my cabin too unless I need toilet paper or whatever. Geez. They want their tips, but that was a very blunt way to go about it.
Anyway, today will be a busy day. :) Joel Hoekstra, Rick Allen, Y&T documentary movie on pool deck and then the band starts playing right after.
British Lion w Steve Harris. “Photo experience” with Steve Harris. The Atomic Punks. Doro. And I have to see Paradise Kitty of course lol!
My PT would have been proud of me by the way, I took the stairs from the 4th floor up to 11th yesterday and decided I won’t take the elevator on this cruise unless I’m in a hurry. So I did the same this morning when I went for breakfast. Stairs.
Been eating healthy too. Salad, veggies and a chickpea Indian stew yesterday, scrambled eggs and oatmeal for breakfast… I’m doing okay so far! :D
We’re in the middle of nowhere, just ocean everywhere I look. This is relaxation alright! <3
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!
Steve Harris’ British Lion visited Malmö last night. I’m guessing they arrived the day before – I passed the club KB (Kulturbolaget) on my way home from work and saw the usual “Beat The Street” buses outside. So, their day off was possibly spent in ice-cold Sweden. What a drag. :)
Met up with my friends Mari and Henrik outside KB pretty early, basically cause I didn’t want to go home and get all drowsy – it’s better hang outside the club and yap a bit until the doors open. And you never know with these things – there could either be two people in line – or there would be one of those “around the block“-type of lines.
For the record – it was NOT the latter….
It was embarrassing to see the lack of people. It was cold as fuck and it was a freaking Tuesday, but if there is ANY rock’n’roll in people, they should have been there when they got this once in a lifetime opportunity to see the godfather of metal bassists, a living legend, STEVE HARRIS – IN A SMALL CLUB IN MALMOE. That’s never going to happen again. How anyone would want to miss that is beyond me. I’m guilty of almost bailing myself, until it dawned on me what I would be missing.
It’s a bit fashionable right now to dislike what Steve does outside of Maiden with British Lion. Nobody dares to say that they like anything about his new project, but honestly… it’s definitely not that bad.
I think that the problem is pretty much what Gary Moore experienced when he tried something very different from what he was known for. Critics loved “Still Got The Blues” – fans absolutely hated it. Metalheads don’t like change. It’s like you’re a traitor, like you’re leaving your group, the place where you belong.
And the problem is to “reprogram” yourself to think of Steve Harris as a brilliant musician who can and wants to do something different, something that doesn’t sound like Iron Maiden. But it’s hard. The man IS Iron Maiden, so I totally understand why he’s having a tough time winning people over.
I’ve always been more of a Priest-fan anyway, I’m not the typical Maidenhead. So, unlike many others (maybe) I went to the gig with an open mind, not expecting anything at all.
I was just curious what he would do with this new thing and on a small club stage. The scenario was just weird – I’ve only seen Steve on the greatest stages of the world, never anywhere remotely as small as this.
I didn’t know the songs, I didn’t know the band, I didn’t know anything – and sometimes I actually want it that way. You tend to experience stuff differently when you are just there as a curious spectator with no expectations whatsoever.
And I have to say – I don’t care how much shit Steve has had to take from reviewers and fans, British Lion put on a great show. I had a freaking great time and I loved seeing the band just playing because they enjoyed it, totally unpretentious, regardless what anyone thinks.
The songs? I think that if this had been performed by a new, unknown “rock band” and not Steve Harris & co, it would have been easier for people to take it for what it is, and appreciate it. Cause the songs were not THAT horrible. My god, I’ve read so much crap online since he released this album, and the only Swedish review I’ve read today pretty much pissed on it as well, but I truly believe it’s mostly a matter of psychology.
I was in the front row, because I wanted to experience Steve Harris doing his thing up close when I had this unique chance. I don’t regret it for one second, and the band gave it their best – I don’t know if you’re missing those small details if you’re way in the back (eye contact and seeing the slighest change in their facial expression) but the point is – they managed to entertain me eventhough I hadn’t heard the songs before. And as we all know, that’s not an easy thing to do.
I very well know I’m going totally against the stream here, but …sometimes somebody has to.
It wasn’t Iron Maiden, but I wasn’t there to see Iron Maiden (I’m seeing Maiden this summer, so I’ll get my fair share of Run to the hills in a few months anyway…) I was there to see something different and I did.
Happy belated birthday mr Harris and thank you guys for a good evening at KB!