Write Yer Ane Zine

Words about DIY punk; records, shows, interviews, whatever.

Month: May, 2015

Incoming; June Visitors!

Firstly, thanks to everyone who has been in touch this month, bought records from us and that came out to our only show of May with our friends Sweet Empire, Irish Handcuffs, Terrafraid and Shatterhand. Things pick up a notch with the arrival of summertime and things get pretty busy between now and Book Yer Ane Fest IX at the end of November. We’ll be announcing the first batch of bands and releasing a limited number of Earlybird Weekend Tickets for £20 on Monday 15th June, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Lastly on the shill front, we still have some MTAT Half Season Tickets available for £50 which gives you entry to ALL SHOWS and ALL DIGITAL RELEASES this year. Bargain of the year. Grab one now before they disappear.

Before all of that though, we have some incredible shows coming up in June;

the scandals final2

The Scandals are a four piece punk band from New Jersey in the finest tradition of their home state, combining gritty street punk with street-wise rock’n’roll poetry, coming over like The Bouncing Souls/Lifetime getting down and dirty with Ted Leo and Bruce Springsteen. These dudes are a blue-collar band that live in the van and on the road, with lead vocalist Jared often taking to the road acoustically during band downtime. The band formed in 2004 and they’ve spent most of that time on the road, developing the kind of intrinsic tightness that only a life lived in close quarters can bring.

It’s testament to their character that they’re coming to play the only Scottish headline show of their European tour on an off-night from their UK dates with The Gaslight Anthem, and are driving from Peterborough en route to Belfast in order to do so. Our man on the scene Billy Liar has assured us that The Scandals absolutely killed it at the Rotterdam Riot last week and I’m very excited that the band will be playing their first ever Scottish show in Dundee this coming Saturday.

They’ll be joined by a premier league supporting cast of locals too. Maxwell’s Dead are celebrating their eleventh (11!) year as a band and will be on suitably riotous form when they hit the stage for their first Dundee show in a while, alongside Robot Doctors who will be marking almost one year to the day since the launch of their “Time Will Tell” album (which ye can get for free download right now). Opening the show will be Fife Young Team street/dubpunx Salem Street who bring their wise-beyond-their-years reggae/punk jamz to Buskers from fresh blowing Nice’N’Sleazy Festival away.

This should be an absolute banger of a sweaty Saturday night rock’n’roll show. E-Tickets are available for a fiver and it’ll be six quid on the doors, which open at half 7. Please get down early to cut loose for all the bands!

Gab De La Vega

The following Friday (June 12th) sees us return to Cerberus Bar for the first time since hosting Wank For Peace back in April and we’re delighted to welcoming Italian straight-edge vegan punker Gab De La Vega for his first visit to Dundee. Gab is a veteran of the European DIY scene, the founder of Epidemic Records and full-time punk rock activist and educator. In recent times, Gab has stepped away from fronting his long-time hardcore band The Smashrooms to take up arms with an acoustic guitar, taking a rootsy Chuck Ragan/Tim Barry-esque stripped down approach and uniting it with his uniquely poetic punk rock philosophy.

Gab will be joined in Dundee by the wonderful Paper Rifles, who continues to grow as an engaging and powerful performer with every show, seldom-seen Dundee emo-punks Lachance who will be playing a super-rare acoustic show, and by Tragical History Tour. THT will also be joining Gab at the preceding Scottish shows in Glasgow and Edinburgh on June 10th/11th respectively.

This show is entry by donations on the door please with the first act (THT) kicking off at around 8pm.

Fur Coats front_1000

Friday June 12th is also NEW RELEASE DAY!!!

We are mad stoked to be involved in the release of the brand new “Short-Brain” 7″ EP from Chicago pop-punks The Fur Coats in collaboration with two of the coolest punk rock labels around in the shape of Drunken Sailor Records (UK) and Rad Girlfriend Records (USA). The record comes on beautiful translucent green vinyl with awesome full colour artwork from the wonderful WOLF MASK as well as lyric sheet, digital download code and free MTAT stickers!

The record is currently streaming exclusively and in full at New Noise Magazine. Check it out here!

ajj2

Rounding out our hat-trick of bad ass shows this month is one that we’ve been waiting for for quite some time. We are absolutely overjoyed to finally be bringing the wonderful Andrew Jackson Jihad to Dundee. Sean Bonnette has long been one of our collective favourite songwriters and they are personally a band that I have long admired. I had the pleasure of playing with AJJ during one of their first UK tours a good few years ago (playing the 13th Note in Glasgow) and it’s been incredible to watch them grow into one of the most essential bands in punk rock.

It’s extremely heartening to see a band grow organically whilst retaining everything that made you fall in love with them in the first place, only even more so. They’re one of the biggest punk rock bands in the world right now and it’s our absolute pleasure to be hosting them in Dundee for the first time. This one kinda feels like a home team win!

AJJ are joined on this UK tour by Hard Girls from San Francisco. Signed to Asian Man Records, Hard Girls are a kick-ass indie/punk three-piece in their own right as well as comprising the backing band from Operation Ivy’s Jesse Michaels in the seminal Classics Of Love. One of the most accomplished bands around, Hard Girls provide perfect foil to AJJ and their coming together should make for one of the most exciting tours of the year.

Furthering the Asian Man connection, The Murderburgers will also provide support at what will be their first Dundee show since the annual Book Yer Ane Fest rammy. Opening the show will be the mesmerising Terrafraid who will be playing tracks from their new record “Suadade” as well as prime cuts from last year’s classic “Despondent”.

There are still a limited amount of e-tickets available for £8 here. Please note that no physical tickets will be sent out and that your name will be added to the WILL CALL list at the door of the venue. All ye need to is give your name at the door of the gig and your name will be scored off the list and your hand will be stamped.

If you would like a physical ticket, please grab one in person or over the phone from Groucho’s Records in Dundee. Tickets are £8 also but will be subject to booking fee. Alternatively, physical tickets can be bought directly from us in person at any forthcoming show so just come grab one at the distro table.

It’ll be a tenner on doors so we’d encourage ye to grab an e-ticket if ye want to save a couple of quid for drinks. Of note, all shows at Buskers are 14+ so do please bring ID if you intend to purchase alcohol. Anyone found purchasing alcohol for those under 18 will be kicked out of the venue, so please don’t do that!

Finally, please note that TINS FOR TUNES will be in operation in support of Dundee Foodbank at all shows!

Should be a great month. We’d be stoked if you’d come join us!

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“The Frankie Stubbs School of Economics”

Disclaimer; the views expressed herein are purely my own and are not necessarily representative of the collective beliefs/feelings of MTAT Records.

My intention is not to throw anyone under a bus; that would be an exercise in counter-productivity; and it is not my place to make judgments pertaining the booking practices of others. This piece is purely from my own perspective and any beef should be directed towards me (email please) and not my comrades.

byaf first

There seems to have been a lot of talk and controversy on the internet recently about charity gigs and benefit festivals. It’s not just been one or two people talking about it, it seems to be a polarising topic and many people across the punk and wider music scenes have been engaged in debate about the rights and wrongs, do’s and don’t’s, yes’s and no’s surrounding charity events and benefit gigs. I’m not here to tell anyone that they’re right or wrong, people are free to do as they wish, but I aim to address how we do things with Book Yer Ane Fest.

Hosting Leatherface at Book Yer Ane Fest V was one of the highlights of my life. When we started BYAF back in 2008, there was never any goal in mind; we just put a show together for Joey Terrifying that ended up as an all-dayer. We wanted to contribute positively to a local charity that meant something to us, that cause being Safe-Tay, following on from the great work done by our friends the PCC that they had started with the two Motionfests in 2006/7. The fact that things have evolved and developed as they have is equal parts good fortune, serendipity, perseverance and hard graft; “be good to your punk scene and your punk scene will be good to you” and such capers. Sometimes when you gamble, things turn up trumps. Other times, you’re in the shitter. As I seem to be fond of saying; ye cannae enjoy Premier League glory every week, there will always be the shitty 0-0 away games in the rain in deepest, darkest February; not every show can be a 300 troops through the door sell-out.

We always strive to support charities that mean something to us personally and, specifically, we aim to work to benefit charities that work in our locality. Yes, we have done (and will continue to do) benefit shows for wider international organisations such as Doctors Without Borders, the Haiti Earthquake Appeal, Skateistan and many more, but I feel it is equally, if not more, important to engage with charities that do essential work on our doorstep; Safe-Tay, Tayside Mountain Rescue and Dundee Foodbank specifically (check out TINS FOR TUNES for more information). We also aim to do benefit shows year-round, rather than just on isolated occasions. This is something that was always been woven into the fabric of what we do and something that we will unapologetically continue to do. It’s not about scoring points or being seen to be doing something, it’s about engaging with and supporting local and national communities and the people who undertake the often thankless tasks associated with charity work. I have volunteered for charities for most of my life, donate personally to charities that I support and do everything I can to support those that need supporting. This has nothing explicitly to do with punk rock or music but with who I am as a person. This doesn’t make me any better than anyone else, it’s just my view of the world and something that I personally feel needs done. It’s also not something I feel compelled to crow on about at length, so I’ll leave that part of it at that.

However, when it comes to charity shows, specifically BYAF, it’s a slightly different kettle of fish. As things have grown and evolved, our expenses have grown. It’s a fairly tricky operation to book, accommodate, feed and water 40 odd bands from across the globe, many of whom may be on tour, and keep everybody happy and fulfilled when you’re trying to make money for charity. Sometimes we’ve had success, sometimes we’ve been met with failure. Some BYAFs have made a couple of grand, some have barely made a couple hundred. In total, we’ve raised over eight grand for Safe-Tay and the causes they support. We also continue to do shows and work with them throughout the year; from including literature from the Samaritans with our merch orders to hosting awareness-raising shows. This is something we will continue to do without an end in sight and for nothing more than the desire to do so.

To address the point at hand; to me, there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to booking bands for charity benefits. Obviously the aim is to make as much money and create as much awareness for the cause as possible, but it’s also imperative to remember that there is no benefit for anyone involved if there aren’t the bands playing that people want to see. From my (our) end, the aim is always to provide an interesting, diverse yet complimentary line-up that is reflective not only of eclecticism but also cohesion of message and intent. There are bands that we’ll never book (insert countless thousands of names) and we’ll never book bands aren’t in some way knowledgeable about what BYAF is all about, or at least interested in developing an understanding, as it’s hardly quantum theory, it’s a fucking DIY punk benefit. Essentially, any careerist bands that are looking to make fat cash can get fucked as it’s never going to happen. On another point, local bands generally know what they’re getting involved in and we strive to be unambiguous with all bands when it comes to booking BYAF; it started as a local charity all-dayer and in my heart of hearts, that is exactly what BYAF remains.

When it comes down to it, we will never pay any band more than we paid Leatherface for BYAF, hence the “Frankie Stubbs School of Economics”. I’m not going to discuss specific sums of money but Leatherface came out for a fraction of their usual cost and were absolute gentlemen about the whole thing. Leatherface are also one of my favourite bands of all time and if ever there was a band that I’d have made allowances for, it would have been them, but they responded positively and were more than happy with what we offered. If it’s good enough for Frankie Stubbs, it’s more than good enough for whatever flash-in-the-pan indie rockers that are this month’s flavour or some broken down rehabilitated punk dinosaurs that were barely relevant in the first place.

Bands for benefit shows have to be taken on a case-by-case basis; there’s a world of difference between the need to have expenses covered (a basic necessity of the touring band) and bands being money-grabbing arseholes. I know for a fact that a well-known band took a four-figure sum for a recent festival that actually lost money. To me, that’s bullshit, especially when said band took to social media and crowed on about how great of a cause they were supporting. So great of a cause that they saw fit to deprive the charity of any profits for the festival. To me personally, as a “musician” and “promoter”, such actions are unconscionable. I understand all the “but they’re professionals and need the money” blahblahblah; I call horseshit on that as no band NEEDS a grand to play a show, whether it’s a one-off, part of a tour or otherwise. That said, we’ve had instances (rare, to be fair) at BYAF when bands have “held us up” for more money than was originally guaranteed; those bands will never be asked back and are on the shitlist. Most bands, however, are more than keen to support the cause and get involved, and most are more than happy to be involved.

I often get asked about how best to get bands on BYAF; for locals it’s simple – come and get involved in your local music community, contribute something positive other than bitching and moaning, and actually do some research before getting in touch (I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve posted the FAQ). For touring/national/international bands, it’s case-by-case. If we can make it work, we will, but no one band is bigger than the festival itself. BYAF is generally a “cowpunk family” affair; it takes more than just one person to make this shit work. We also don’t book bands for BYAF that we wouldn’t book a regular show for. For me/us and everyone else involved, ye have to be sensible and realistic about things, but that works two ways. For example, we collectively need to realise that it’d be foolhardy to book Flavour of the Week and The Tasteless Scoots for a grand and hope for the best while only paying Respected Punks and The Internet Darlings fifty quid to drive from London or wherever.

Anyways, long story short; it’s called Book Yer Ane Fest so I’m in no position to tell people what to do and what not to do when it comes to booking their own shows/festivals/benefits/whatever. What I can say is that we strive to be open and honest with the bands that comes to play for us, let them know in plenty of advance what it is we are doing and what we are trying to achieve and that they’ll have a rad time with an attentive (and appreciative audience), will be well taken care of and their presence greatly appreciated. Finances (or the lack thereof) are always negotiated well in advance so there are no surprises for either party. If any band, regardless of “status” has issue with it, we just won’t book them. It’s that simple really.

We aim to provide a quality weekend of diverse DIY punk/hxc/emo goodness for a reasonable price whilst supporting charities that work within our local communities. I hope that is something that we achieve every year. If we fail in this objective, I feel that we have ultimately failed in our mission. This year the price for BYAF is going to be slightly higher than in previous years. This is unavoidable as we no longer have the run of our own space (that’s an entirely separate issue, which we’ll get to soon), but we still operate on the same premise and the objective remains the same. If bands/punters have any issue with how we operate, then they can feel free to let the boots do the talking and stay away or go elsewhere or, indeed, book their ane fest.

It’s important to be realistic but it’s also important to keep things in perspective. Ye can’t expect Recently Reformed 90s Nostalgia Band to play for a door deal any more than ye can expect Super Hyped Local Rock Stars to be grateful for their slot, but there is a middle ground where everyone can be happy (or at least contented) and everyone, specifically the charity, can benefit. That, after all, is exactly the fucking point of a benefit show; not ego, not earning fat cash, not taking the piss.

With all that said, a limited number of Earlybird Tickets for BOOK YER ANE FEST IX will go on sale on Monday 15th June alongside the announcement of the first batch of bands. Ye can ensure your entry to BYAF IX and all other shows this year by grabbing a MTAT HALF SEASON TICKET for £50. Now that’s a fucking bargain.

As Biohazard so eloquently put it; THERE IS NO BLACK AND WHITE, ONLY SHADES OF GREY.

Terrafraid; European Tour Diary (April 2015)

Terrafraid are one of Dundee’s finest musical exports comprised of some thoroughly good dudes who I’m glad to call my friends. When I saw that singer/songwriter/mastermind Gavin Luke Ross was looking for a task with which to occupy his time on the treacherous bus journey from London to Dundee, I noised him up about writing a tour diary for WYAZ. Thanks a lot to Gav for taking the time to do so.

I’d strongly recommend downloading the “Despondent” album. Not only is it a Scottish DIY dream-pop masterpiece, all proceeds go directly to the Scottish Association Of Mental Health. Terrafraid were my personal highlight of Rock The Tay this past weekend and kudos must go to Not Another Wild Goat Promotions for organising a weekend of shows to benefit SAMH also.

Terrafraid EU Tour Diary (April 2015) by Gavin Luke Ross.

When most people hear that you are going on tour and that you frequently do so, the sort of image that they seem to conjure up is “wow, you must have a fair bit of money to go to all them places” or “you must be so organised!”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just ask any touring musician.

tour poster

Setting off for London:

It wouldn’t be a proper “first day of tour” without some sort of moment of panic. No matter how prepared you are, even sitting around that morning bored at the thought of “I’ve done everything there is to be done, now I’m just waiting around until I have to leave”, it always ends up in running/dashing in some form with a close call of “that could fucked up the whole tour…”. In my case, it was my doctor forgetting to put my prescription ready to collect & take away with me before leaving, even though I spoke to him a couple of hours beforehand to be safe. So it resulted in turning up there 30 minutes before me and Sean’s 11:00am bus to London to see why they hadn’t called me back yet, as a couple of hours had passed and it was drawing nearer to our bus leaving. It was then that they were dashing around the place in panic at realising they’d forgotten. As I eagerly awaited in the hope of “I can still make it”, I eventually got the prescription and took it over to the collection point. They informed me “it will probably be about 15 minutes if that’s okay?” I looked at my watch, seeing it was 10:42am, & in a moment of panic I texted Sean “I may not make it back home, may have to run to the station! Take my things! I’ll meet you there!”. It was worrying the lack of reply, but luckily it only took them a few minutes before calling my name. Luckily, I live close to the doctors, but sprinted back home with 10 minutes left. As I got in the door, I seen a note in my kitchen; “gone into town for travel snacks, I’ll meet you at the bus station. Sean”. It was then that I remembered Sean’s phone was broken, so he wouldn’t have seen my text. After that brief moment of “close call…” I grabbed all my things & ran to bus station with the passport (double then triple) check with the running thought of, if there was anything I’d forgotten, “fuck it!”. Luckily, I made it just in time with Sean waiting at the station. All I thought of the close call was “typical”.

The journey consisted mostly of sleeping on the bus o the way down. A long bus journey is always a breeze when the bus is fairly empty, because you can lay down across your 2 seats with your legs up in the opposite sides seats. We had our bags containing clothing to last a couple weeks, so it was t-shirt pillows as an added bonus. Plus, earphones are always the top saviour of any journey for any length of time. Sean, sadly, discovered his were broken after the bus had already began its journey.

We met Jason at Victoria station as he had went ahead to London the day before. We all shared a dread at the thought of what the night had ahead of us. The sleeping conditions of the floors of Stansted airport. We were right to dread it. It was the middle of the night and there were close to a hundred passengers sprawled across the floors of the airport. We would wander around trying to find a spot for ourselves, which wasn’t easy. Purely for I was more fixed on needing caffeine, for the less than usual amount I would normally have due to the day long journey, and our hunt for food. It was easier for Jason and Sean to be able to find snacks available for vegetarians, but for me, trying to find something suitable for a vegan was like trying to find a new rare species. Clearly to Stansted, I was that new rare species.

We would find a spot to sleep on, where Jason had his sleeping mat (as his hand luggage was the size of King Kong’s fist, so had such luxuries in there. He had forgotten that we had all this stuff arranged and waiting for us in Sweden) and Sean settled for emptying his bag of clothes to form some sort of laundry mattress. I stayed awake to drink my coffee and continue the hunt for something edible. We had to move when we realised we were resting/sleeping in the front of line to check in for a flight to Spain. So we walked like zombies to the next available spot. I managed to get some rest for a minute, until an airport women walked around yelling out to everyone to get up. She did so in such a rude manner. “The airport is officially open now. Come on! This isn’t a hotel! Get up!”. Fair to say, she made a hundred sleepy enemies very quickly. We just walked from one side of the room until she fucked off then we walked back to where we were then went back to sleep. Other people in the airport choose to do the same thing. Viva la revolution. ✌🏻

airport

After getting through security ( giggling immaturely at Jason being frisked; uou have to when it happens to someone else), we saw there was a lot more offer food wise. Well, not for me. All I could purchase was a souvenir box of Oreos. We had a look in an electrical goods store. All, of course, over priced and we have no intention of purchasing anything, but then it’s just the sort of bored shite you do when waiting around in an airport all night (that and tanning all the free aftershave on display). We made our own amusement and Sean set every tablet, iPad and such wallpaper background screens to images of his face. The staff may or may not have noticed or cared. If you worked in an airport electrical store at 4:30 am and still had to wear a purple shirt/tie, you probably wouldn’t care either.

Sweden/Denmark:

The flight was easy enough as I slept through it. I sat near the front of the plane while Jason and Sean were sat next to each other near the back. Unfortunately, Sean didn’t have such luck with getting a sleep on the flight, thanks to ‘Little Billy’. ‘Little Billy’ was a long blonde haired little Irish boy sitting behind Sean who spent the flight keeping himself entertained by kicking Sean’s chair profusely and being loud. Asking his dad;

*insert Irish accents
Little Billy – “Daddy, how high are we going!?”
Daddy – “Alllllll the way up to the stars Little Billy!”

This became a running joke throughout tour. More funny for those who weren’t Sean, who would look back with dagger eyes at every seat kick Little Billy delivered. The dad could possibly sense Sean’s impending explosion. But eventually Sean did get to sleep though, wearing my eye mask I lent him to sleep better without the light. But when the plane hit the ground, Sean leaped with the fright of his life ripping off the eye mask wondering where he was, then trying to calm his nerves. I’d of given anything to have that moment filmed.

We were collected by our friend Olle from Gothenburg, who was filling in on bass for us for this tour. We quickly went straight to the practice room in our van which was the van being used for the tour. As soon as we had arrived, Sean’s bag straps snapped and it fell to the floor. We laughed.

We were so exhausted from the long day/night/morning of travelling that we gave the songs a once over, as it was the first time we had ever played them with Olle who learned the songs before we arrived, and after going over each song we immediately suggested we go find food. The only thing nearby the practice space was a subway so we swung around there for some verge pate subs and coffee, as I was just dying to eat something that wasn’t an Oreo biscuit. Sean had reservations about ordering anything at all due to his limited money he had in his account. Although seeing us all order, he couldn’t resist the urge so did the same. We just got our sandwiches and coffee, he made the instant regrettable decision to also purchase a cookie. If someone at a food counter offers him such an item to go with his food, he will cave. Even if he can’t afford it. As soon as he joined us at our table he was trying to grasp with why he bought the cookie and that he really couldn’t afford it. Swedish prices, it was the most expensive cookie he had bought in a long time. It may have cleared him out. Especially as he purchased (only the day before) a £30 vapour stick package for smoking. It was a very spur of the moment purchase which he instantly regretted, asking me how long I reckon it will be before he either loses it or breaks it. I gave it a week (more on that to follow). He tried looking to the positive side though in that it will be a nice sugary treat for when he is to drive to Copenhagen in an hours time (which he knows, the rest of us will be using that time to sleep). He didn’t see the funny side however when Jason would hide his cookie when he went to the bathroom.

We returned to the practice room and just quickly went over everything once more for Olle’s sake, as we were just in a rush to get going for how tired we were, so then loaded up the van with what we were bringing from our end then set off for Denmark. It was after we left Gothenburg that I was woken up by an angry driving Sean, punching the inside van roof screaming “I FORGOT MY FUCKIN COOKIE!!!”.

We got to Copenhagen and met up with Forever Unclean (Lasse – Vocals/Guitar, Troels – Bass & Leo – drums) at their practice space (which is an underground bunker by the way! Truly awesome) and loaded the full back line in before heading off to the venue. It was great to catch up with them and look forward to the next couple of weeks ahead with them. We got to the venue, it was our first time seeing this one, as we had always played other venues before in Copenhagen, and it was fantastic; set up like a log cabin. Like a vegan hunters log cabin theme. He people were lovely and the food was magnificent. Sean spent a lot of the evening asleep in the back room where there was a bed. The dreadlocked girl who owned the venue woke up Sean who was asleep in the floor in the middle of the room and asked “would you like to sleep in my bed?”. He woke up dazed and confused and said “fucking….yes”.
The show kicked off a great first night and we spent the night at F.U bassist Troel’s flat. There was little sleep on my side that night, as it was that night we discovered Jason’s anti-snoring nose straps were useless.

Forever Unclean

Forever Unclean

Germany:

A gig for the following day had fallen through, which we were aware of in enough advance before tour, but we had a place to crash that night in Hannover. It was a shame to have a day off only on day 2 of tour, but the past 48 hours had been hectic for us Scottish bunch so it was quite nice to have a day to relax and take it easy. More so, for me to make the most of the fact we were in Germany, which is just generally awesome for vegan food. Our host for the evening took us to an amazing pizza place that served incredible vegan cheese & polony pizza, so we sat in the outside of this restaurant eating like kings. What followed was a pub crawl of all the nice places surrounding the area that our host liked to attend.

I was the only person on this tour who no longer drinks alcohol. The first show the night before marked exactly 10 months of being sober for me, so this tour was my first one abroad without alcohol. I would make up for it with chain smoking and caffeine drinking as everyone else would get drunk. As everyone would toast to shots or get in the next round I would distract my attention to elsewhere, like my phone, going outside for a cigarette or thinking random thoughts of where we would be going the next day and such. It’s easier to just zone out than be too focused on the surroundings of alcohol in all its forms, prices and mostly the enjoyment others seem to be getting out of it. It would be a challenge over the course of the next couple of weeks, as there isn’t any getting away from it, so it is all down to how you handle it. The next couple of weeks would test that.

Lennestadt was the next town to play in. We set off with a number being hungover. I myself was exhausted, from the lack of sleep. The snoring party was in growing numbers and when everyone is drunk, it is much easier for them to pass out cold. Being sober, and a seriously light sleeper, it was near impossible to rest with such earth-rumbling, ground-shaking explosive sinuses belting out like drums amongst a tribe through the night. I’m not one to talk, any little sleep I did get, I would snore too. Endless smoking will do that. But it was rare that I did, as it was rare that I slept. Lennestadt was a beautiful town, with a twin peaks vibe to it. We could see it was clearly a very religious town, and that sparked off the running jokes throughout tour how much Troel is the spitting image of Jesus Christ. The venue we were playing in was also a Christian centre I believe, but you would never think it at night when the local gig goers would come by to get wasted and watch the bands. Local band Living & Fading opened the show brilliantly, they were super nice guys and great live, I recommend checking them out! A personal highlight for me was seeing an older gentleman there who was the spitting image of a German Ed Begley Jr. Nobody else got the reference for not knowing who Ed Begley Jr was. It was beyond infuriating, because it was insane how much he really did resemble him.

We were lucky enough to stay in a glorious house with a beautiful balcony that has a gorgeous view of the surrounding snowy mountains of this town. We were off to a perfect start for sleeping conditions. Jason slept in the attic whilst I slept in a bedroom. We made a pact so I would have a Jason snore free night to try sleep. Unfortunately, Jason wasn’t the only snorer, so the room that a few of us shared was pretty noisy regardless. Still though, the time spent in this lovely home with lovely people and their hospitality made it a nice night over all.

The next day we played in Saarbrucken. It was a lovely place that hadn’t put on much gigs before, but were so welcoming and had a great atmosphere. It was just us & F.U playing. The majority of the gigs were, which was a first for me in doing a tour where the shows weren’t with a line up of local support to bring in audiences. It showed that these towns had plenty of people who came out to shows (even weekday ones!) to see music coming to town, which was a very enlightening sight. That night, after we played, everyone was hanging around the venue to drink up the free alcohol on offer and just have fun hanging around the venue. I would take the opportunity to rest with some alone time by going for a walk and chilling out in the van until we left. I would be social too, but after a few nights of being surrounded by a group of guys having fun drinking, some time to relax was needed away from it. I generally find myself drained & mentally exhausted without it. Being around groups of people in general tends to have that effect. Not in any way to be anti social or not enjoy the company I am with, but more so that I can enjoy it much more by having my own space to regain energy to then participate in the fun we have together. Otherwise, it can be quite emotionally hard too. Waiting outside in that van, I had a little cry. Not at anything in particular or any reason/person, but just because I felt I needed to. In a week of being on the move endlessly and with new people and environment every day, it felt like I just needed to get it out of my system so I could move on. This would come up some nights, purely for relief to just let it out there so that I can start afresh afterwards. Otherwise, it would all suppress. The place we were staying at that night had 2 dogs and a cat, so I perked right up by then to have fun playing with them in all their fun energetic madness. I would wonder if they would be more confused by what I say, being that they are more used to hearing German, but then I quickly stopped as I would be aware that I tend to over think things like that too much.

cat

Switzerland:

That night was another night off and on our journey we realised we didn’t have a place that was best on the route to stay over, but luckily F.U brought their large tent, so it was going to be a night of camping for us, which we were excited about, as we have never thought to go camping on any previous tours! After stopping by France for some food groceries, finding a spot was quite a mission t, as most land is owned and suitability was quite rare. A camping site wouldn’t let us in because we didn’t have a “camping card”. Asking where we could get one resulted in said informant telling us they have no idea. We would keep moving location to location. There was one spot we found, but given that there was used toilet paper and condoms, we realised it was more popular a spot than we first thought. Time was getting on and we realised we had at least an hour until sun down and we’d rather not put up a tent in the dark. Managing to get online briefly using Jason’s phone, we found that there was a cheap camping site about 30/40km away, so we aimed for that as our last shot. Getting there it had become dark, there was nobody at the front desk so we asked a fellow camper walking around. He suggested we just go ahead and drive in, set up tent and settle it in the morning (or leave early before they catch on and drive off scott free). There was drinking happening from all the guys (I went wild on peach ice tea) and we had a fun talks. I was amazed how well I seemed to sleep in there. But then again, I wrapped my scarf around my whole head/face with my hat pulled down and sleeping bag over. Everyone else seemed to have a cold night. Sean at some point just went and slept in the van. I was the first one up bright and early so managed to go on a coffee hunt and use the shower facilities.

The drive to Switzerland was just heaven. The most beautiful sights to behold. A lot of journeys would be sleeping in the van, but this one was worth staying awake for as we would drive through the Alps and be blown away. Arriving in Chur, we would be in amazement at the surroundings of these surrounding mountains of this town. It was all just generally very photogenic from every angle. We were put up in a great hostel not far from the venue. It was huge and we couldn’t be more relieved at the gift in the form of beds and showers. The venue itself, Tom’s Beer Box, was incredible. Again, it was just us 2 bands playing, but we were amazed before tour to learn that we would be paid 400 for this show. Especially, being a Monday night, which is when they tend to have most shows (!?). After hanging out at the venue and setting up we were taken to a nearby restaurant/cafe where we had a nice meal. I can’t quite remember the name of my dish, but the waitress seemed very shocked by my insistence of “yes, withOUT cheese”. When it arrived then it was a nice meal, although basically tomato-ish bread with salad. Still, the poshest bread I’d had in some time, it was grand! We finished up with coffee and we were brought complimentary shots of some drink (I didn’t have mine, so gave it away). It seemed to be hit or miss. As we walked back to the venue, Lasse whispered to me “did you hear how much we are actually getting tonight?” “No?”. Let’s just say, it was relatively much higher than 400 we originally thought. We couldn’t believe it and thought surely not! For just us two bands? Apparently, Switzerland has a lot of money to throw away…

The show was fantastic. The locals were fun, energetic & surprised us with having a Monday show go down so well. Not long after playing, I went back to the hostel to relax & catch up on sleep while the rest stayed out to party. Seems they had quite a wild night ahead of them…Late at night, I heard them come back & enter our room drunk. They decided there was still fun to be had out on the streets of this small town so off they went. I vaguely remember hearing them come back later that night even more drunk, but I was too half asleep.

The next morning I heard about all the events the night before & how they were nearly arrested. It seems on their drunken adventures, they had come across a building, with drunken curiosity, saw that the door was open. They went inside wondering what this place was, only to discover it was actually the Chur courthouse. Before they knew it, they heard speeding cars and sirens. They went back outside to be surrounded by police cars, while they played the ‘dumb tourist’, saying that they thought it was their hostel and it was a mistake. They were all just thankful that they all happened to come up with the same excuse to tell, so they were sent on their way. But it looked like they had all sorts of fun the night before after I had left the venue. I saw photos of Sean having a go in the wheelchair of the girl who was at the front of the floor all night as both bands played, and plenty more of everyone dancing with the locals.

sean alps

Slovenia:

Slovenia was another great place to play, with a beautiful town and beautiful weather.
Throughout this tour during our set on each show, I would make an announcement about The Scottish Association Of Mental Health and that it’s who we support with album sales, and requested if there was such a charity like them that they knew of in their own country I would love to hear about it. It was in Slovenia that Lasse got a phone call to inform him that a friend back home had taken his own life. It was heartbreaking to say the least to hear such news. I didn’t know this friend that they were speaking of and had never met him, but it was a real eye opening matter for a lot of us, which would lead on through the rest of the week with myself having conversations with the guys about mental health; the stigma surrounding it in which like the circumstances with their friend, nobody had any clue that there was anything wrong. SAMH is an organisation that helps one speak out about it, and  seeing/hearing of these things in other countries was so tragic to know of. I wondered what they had to turn to, and how the people of these countries coped with or without such support from such organisations. It made for a lot of bonding and opening up amongst ourselves. I still think of this friend of theirs. I know they all will never forget him.

We were warmly received by the locals. I was so surprised how known we seemed to be, in that our name was becoming more known in Slovenia. At one point, during the end of our first song Sean’s amp broke. So to stall time while his head got switched I played a solo song, “Where There’s Warmth“, to the crowd. We always joked throughout tour about how we would be received to the punk audiences on this punk tour when our music is unashamedly pop influenced. I figured an acoustic ballad would be a strange choice to go down with (in an amusing sort of way), but was surprised when Sean informed me afterwards that a girl approached him saying she was glad she got to hear that song live as it was a personal favourite. It was then that we really pleased to think of the crowds each night and how open they were to the realms of punk rock; what it is and what it stands for. Heart.

We spent after the show outside most of the night, chilling out in the beer garden area by the entrance as the locals watched late night football. I was automatically drawn to a stray cat that had come over to play and we all gathered round like amazed children and swooned at its very sight. It was so very hard to leave it behind but we headed off eventually and stayed over in a large squat building that night. I tried to sleep as the rest of the guys explored the hallways, given the haunted mansion look of it all. I would have done he same if I wasn’t so tired. It did have a fantastic run down Stanley hotel vibe going for it.

The next day was spent having a walk around the streets in the sun looking for second hand stores to do some shopping. We were determined to make the most of it, as Sean had always gotten the most ridiculous/wonderful outfits out of Eastern Europe shops like that and we were determined for more. He bought himself a new shirt. Well, by shirt, I mean top half of pyjamas. The woman selling him it seemed very confused.

band

Croatia:

So back to the organised musician part, we all fuck up! When others I’m with do, I laugh it off. Mostly glad that it wasn’t me. But a lot of the time I will fuck things up royally. Little things, but you have to laugh! Early on in the tour Leo realised he had forgotten his passport, which would have been needed to enter Croatia. He had tried everything up to that point in calling the nearest embassy and such but nothing was of any use, so we would continue with our plan to smuggle Leo in.

Of course, we didn’t do that. We’d heard that a valid form of identity was all that was needed so would attempt that. So we arrived at the border and we accidentally pulled into the wrong lane, which maybe got us off to a bad start with the current officer, then we all provided our passports and Leo provided his driving licence and such, but he was having none of it. He was clearly in no mood for coercing and told us to be on our way. So turning back around, we stopped by a little cafe for coffee and to think of our next move. Our first thought was to go to the next border and just try there. But with the thought of perhaps this grumpy officer giving the heads up to the other border about a bunch of punk scots amnd Danes on their way, F.U insisted we go ahead without them, play the gig, get the money then come back and collect them. We eventually settled and agreed that was the best option, as Leo had already informed the promoter of the plan. It meant they also got to have a nice night out in the nearby town too.

So ahead we went. Getting through the border this time seemed to be much easier. That same officer wasn’t there, instead was another one who was in a booth, and when handing him the passports, he just asked “where’s the other ones?” “Ah, we ditched them” “ok” and off we went. On reflection, we could have probably just had F.U in the back seat…

We arrived at the venue. It was an enormous building. A squat-like building that seemed to serve many functions inside, like rehearsal spaces and even dance classes for children. We got into the room we were playing in and realised we were the only band playing that night. The general sort of gigs they tend to have there were a bit heavier than our sort of thing. One guy in his mid to late 40’s who was hanging around in the room after we had set up, waiting for the sound guy to arrive for sound check, was making conversation with Jason. Now, if you know what Jason looks like, it’s quite easy to make the mistake which this gentleman certainly did. He told us;

“I must go now! BUT! If you boys be on around 10pm, I’ll be back! I love to see some fucking good proper crust! All these punk kids trying to tell me what what fucking hard stuff is, no! I want some fucking real heavy crust shit!! Look forward!”

Oh boy was he going to be disappointed….

As we hung around waiting for the sound guy & for food to be ready, Sean was on their computer (I should mention that Sean’s mobile phone has been broken for some time. It ONLY works if it is plugged in) trying to find a place to crash that night at someone’s house that he knows, as our drive that night (including picking up F.U from the nearby town) would be about 8 hours and the venue wanted us to go on around midnight. This seemed to be a normal time for gigs to start there, as the pubs would close and that’s when people would come along (or that was at least the logic in my mind). We managed to talk down to 11:30 for going on. It was around about the middle of playing ‘Is It Worth It?’ That I noticed the look of confused horror on that middle aged crust punks face.

The show was super quiet. The sound guy was awesome and definitely gave us the best sound out of the whole tour, but unfortunately there were just little numbers there. We didn’t care though, we just wish we could of stuck around to hang out all night there with those who were. Coming off stage, the promoter gave us money he got from a whip round of donations from the folk who were there. Incredibly generous people! Being late, we packed up super quick and stocked up the van to go pick up the Danes, staying over at a squat in Germany that was halfway to our next destination. It was when carrying the final things to the van that we saw the crowding herd approaching the venue coming to check out the gig….I could only assume the pubs finally closed by then….fuck….

We were lucky that we didn’t attempt to smuggle F.U in on that second attempt, as on the way out, it was flashlights in the van from another grumpy bugger. Having our passports checked like they were Rubik’s cubes. The officer asked Sean “spring break?”. We informed him we were musicians (not frat boys…) then he just quickly “oh ok. Bye” and we were gone. Collecting F.U, Lasse informed us that it wouldn’t have worked anyway, as he’d noticed that night that his passport was a month expired.

gav alps

Back to Germany:

The squat we stayed in that night was built with bunk beds which were wholeheartedly appreciated. We were so lucky to have such good sleeping places throughout this tour, not one rough night! (minus the snore battles that sound like a flemy minefield). It was perfect for regaining energy to get to the next venue; our buddies’ rehearsal room/venue space in Nürnberg, which I last played at 5 years ago. This place was run by the awesome guys in Money Left To Burn and had a long cherished history for its use as a punk space. It was saddening to hear during that tour that the guys had forced down on them the decision to be out of there by September due to the noise. Same old story, eh? At least we got to have a great night there once more. After our set, we took the opportunity to just have some fun. I got on the drums & others would pick up instruments and we jammed a linoleum cover. Sean got up to play a solo set at the insistence of the owners. He didn’t know what to do so played singalong covers of Cher’s ‘Believe’ (you can find that on YouTube) and Ronan Keating. Also jamming out Metallica riffs. Eventually I went up and did my cover of R Kelly’s “Ignition (also can be found on YouTube) and an Osker song. There was more folk going up and jamming, making it a party. The party continued late into the night until people went out to the nearest bar. I stayed in to sleep. Although everyone was back after 15 minutes after realising the bar scene there wasn’t quite so upbeat as they hoped.

Frankfurt turned out to be a fantastic night ahead too in terms of place, people, food, the whole package! The venue was literally next to the border of Poland. I was in Germany, then nipped over to Poland to buy a pack of cigs. It was strange, but lovely to see Poland for the first time. Nice to say I walked there too. It took me 20 seconds.
Theshow was full and after playing, parties proceeded. Lasse had some super hot chillies (no idea what kind, I don’t know chillies very well, but insanely mental is how I would describe them based on everyone’s reactions). Everyone did the challenge on camera of taking these chillies and proceeded to suffer immensely from it. I did not participate, I just filmed gem all & laughed my arse off at the state of them. Not long after, I decided it was time for getting away from it and rest. A lot of bars were hard for me on a personal level. A serious struggle. Back home, anxiety had limited me to how often I could be out in public or any forms of crowded atmosphere. I couldn’t handle it well, just given how late we were into the tour, I hadn’t been in this kind of position in a long time, as I had gotten so used to living in seclusion and being on my own in my own safe environment. It was a major worry before coming on this tour how I would cope and if I would even be able to cope at all. Some nights felt like I couldn’t and if have to take a little private time to myself. That night was the most daunting and heavy hitting, feeling struggles to express anything and not knowing what to express. It was only a thin curtain separating me from the rest of the venue & drunk folk, as I would switch the lights out & lay in the dark trying to forget where I am & fall asleep. But I’ve never been a great sleeper in general, and it doesn’t help when you see that it is 5:30 in the morning and you can hear Sean dancing and singing along to “Who Let The Dogs Out” as it blasts in the speakers. They are all having a good time and it is essential that whatever I am feeling is personal and should not be a burden on them. That’s where the guilt lies mostly, which makes it harder to shift when you have no way of letting it out of your system or retreating to your safe place when you are miles away from your bedroom.

Eventually more started to fall asleep but I decided to move into the back room where it was further away from the blasting speakers. Although it was near 6am so it was pretty light, but my biggest regret; Jason was passed out on the floor. Given the choice of them blasting speakers playing bad 90’s synth pop and Jason’s sleeping nostrils, I should have stayed in the other room. A thrown pillow and hitting of a cow bell did nothing.

By the time everyone got up I was like a zombie. I just needed coffee and a cigarette more than anything. Several of both on repeat. The others seemed surprisingly fresh. Possibly because before going to sleep they had a swim in the German/Polish river, which gave them a great buzz and woke them up quite a bit. Our host laid out a massive table with a massive breakfast buffet out in the sun for us. Not a whole lot was vegan and I was far too light headed to do much talking, so I just grabbed some rolls knowing I had my own fillings and such for them for the journey in the van. Loading up the van, an old lady in her car was trying to get out of her street which was blocked, so Jason moved bags and such out the way to help her car get through. To his surprise, the old lady got out of the car and approached him with a fruit basket and some fruity sweets. If this was the local hospitality, we were loving it; sweet old lady locals.

We got to our next venue after trying figure out how due to road works. F.U told us how they remember playing there 3 years ago and those same roadworks were there and have been ever since. Strange. We pulled in to the venue and, as we are getting our things out the venue, Leo nipped inside to find the promoter. He comes back out and says “they are playing your album in there and there’s a cat on the bar”. I thought I’d misheard or didn’t understand the metaphor, until I realised he was being literal. I went in and there was a cat resting up on the bar. The cat seemed to justice this venue and had his usual resting spot up on the bar. Already, this was my favourite venue.

They, by far, served us our best meal; a huge dish of home made vegan meatballs, steamed vegetables, so much. It was glorious. The room upstairs we were in was great with its high built bunk beds. It looked like the most comfiest spot yet. I even took the couch while everyone took the beds, as the couch looked like even the most comfiest thing I’d sat on in some time. It was that good. We played that, an emotional night, as it was our last show with Forever Unclean. We had a fun night doing our final singalongs to each other’s sets, but for me and Sean it was another early night, a chilled out evening for the long journey the next day, to Copenhagn then Gothenburg.

tour over

We dropped off our Danish brothers in their home town and said our farewells. It was real sad, as they were by far the most incredible people and best tour buddies. We really connected on a lot of levels and loved spending the time we had together with each other. I still sit their songs on repeat in my head and you better believe I am bringing them to Scotland!

We headed up to Gothenburg to play a secret rehearsal room show to friends of ours, but time was getting on. It was a struggle to know if we would make it. We’d get there for at least 10pmish, mostly with the hope of going around the corner to the vegan pizza restaurant. We were so insanely hungry that we would consider playing just one song so we could run and get our pizza. Obviously joking around, we got there and played through our set for friends and had a lovely catch up. They even brought us clean socks and vegan cake!! (Thanks Svetlana & Petter!) but sadly, we got round to the restaurant and they were no longer cooking. You could buy already cooked pizzas, but not vegan ones. Heartbroken.

The next day, I had to get a morning flight back to London. The plan was that me and Sean would fly back together, he already had his flight booked well in advance. I booked mine in Saarbrucken. Asking him if it was the morning one I should book. Obviously, he wasn’t paying much attention, as I learned a few days later it was the night one I was supposed to get. So it was a whole day in London on my own trying to figure out what to do. After my phone battery dying when landing, the first couple of hours were spent in a coffee shop charging my phone and contacting buddies from our last tour, members of The Exhausts and Petrol Girls, then I made my way to their house to hang out. Sean wouldn’t arrive at their house until near 3am, then we set our alarm for 6am to get up and grab our bus back up to Scotland.

Oh, also, about Sean’s vapour stick, I was right. It broke within a week.

Thank you so much to Gavin for sharing his tour story with us. Terrafraid play Redd Suite, Dundee on Monday 18th May with Sweet Empire (NL), Irish Handcuffs (GER) and Shatterhand before supporting Andrew Jackson Jihad (USA) and Hard Girls (USA) with The Murderburgers on Saturday 13th June.

sweet empire