By request of ZT’s Pawel Palica, guitarist Mark Thömas Baker of US Sabbath worshippers ORCHID has kindly issued ZT with an exclusive tour diary covering their euro-dates with Serpent Venom and Seamount. See below!
Day 1: Upon arriving at Frankfurt airport on October 20th, we realized we didn’t really know what we were supposed to do. We knew Oli would be picking us and Serpent Venom up, but we didn’t know where or when. After sitting around and stressing out for a few hours, I paged Nick from Serpent Venom. He called back and said they were in the other terminal and that Oli would be there soon. We headed off to terminal 2. Finally we meet. Oli is there and we meet the SV guys in person and head off to Wurzburg. After a few hours, we arrive at the club. Wow, a shitload of stairs to carry gear up and down. I think I nearly fell down them at least 6 times. Turned out to be a great first gig on Euro soil. Great crowd and got the nerves of first night over with. Freezing cold in Wurzburg after the gig! Fuck! Off to our rooms to finally get some rest after being up for 28 hours or something like that. Jet lag!
Day 2: 5 hour drive to Halle/Salle in the East of Germany. For everyone except Oli, this would be our first time over that way. We arrive at the club, very small but very cool vibe. Reptiles and fish everywhere. A glass ceiling. No real stage, the singers will be on the floor at eye level with the crowd. This turned out to be a great gig! All the bands were well rested and destroyed the place. Really great crowd getting crazy all night. They let us stay and drink until 4am or so. Or I should stay they let us stay until Paul from SV broke the mannequin. Hahaha. I suppose she had it coming, just standing there still and staring at all of us all night. Lol.
Day 3: Off to Oberhausen…we arrive in Oberhausen a little before 6pm or so. First thing I see is Phil Swanson walking towards me telling me there’s an internet café right across the street that I can Skype from. Oh hell yes, finally hope to see my wife and boys on the computer screen. After spending a few minutes trying to figure out the German keyboard, I’m able to hook up and video chat with my family for the first time since I left. Such a relief! I can play this show tonight with some relaxation inside. The show is a fucking madhouse. So much smoke, so little air onstage. Must be 110 degrees onstage with no oxygen. Crazy crowd. Very fun night. Very chaotic onstage. We must learn to control the stage and not be swept away.
Day 4: Tilburg! Less than a 2 hour drive the next day! Woo hoo. Tilburg is a great place to visit, beautiful city, very metropolitan. Little Devil was small, reminded me of the size places we play in San Francisco. Not a huge crowd tonight, but they filled the small room and were really into it. We played 3 new songs tonight instead of the normal 2! Fuck, I think we played every song we could tonight! After the show hooked up with the White Widow and took a little trip…;)
Day 5: Ghent Belgium…another short drive into Ghent. Got to the club and loaded in. Oh yeah, another internet café right across the street. Skyped with my wife and feeling peaceful again. So hard to be away from my family. The room is a rectangular, concrete box of ear punishment. Serpent Venom destroy all. I’m glad at some point every night during their set that we don’t have to follow them. So crushingly heavy. After the show we party in the streets until early morning and then head back to our room. On this night, Theo, Gaz, and I are sharing a room at a Bed & Breakfast right around the corner. The next morning we awake to a rainy day and a very nice breakfast from Linda, the owner.
Day 6: Bremen Germany…a longer drive today up to Bremen. We arrive at the Blues Club and get loaded in. It’s a much larger, cleaner stage and club than we’ve had the last few nights. Patricia brings us a hearty, traditional home cooked German meal. So good. She’s an angel. The gig was pretty mellow. Some people came out. The Melvins were in town as well, so we lost some crowd to that. Enough showed to make it fun though. Some enthusiastic head banging up front.
Day 7: long drive into Poland today! No one in our entourage has ever been there. We arrive in the early evening and are very happy to see a pretty large, nice club with a big stage. The promoters here are incredible and have hooked us up with hotel, meal, etc…very professional. Dinner at the hotel and then back to the club where they are waiting for us. Polish maniacs go crazy for all three bands. You can tell that the people here really appreciate bands coming and playing here. Some told me they traveled 8 and 12 hours to attend! Wow! Incredible to hear this. A standout night on the tour for sure. We go back to the hotel and continue to get shitfaced drunk. Not even sure what time I make it into bed. Dr. Theo made me drink a potion and take some pills to fight off the coming morning’s hangover…Hahaha.
Day 8: the long drive to Nuremberg…much history in this city. As we drive into town, we go right past the stadium where the Nazi party held its huge rallies for many years. The building we will play in tonight is a former SS barracks. There are many large bullets holes still visible in the brick walls out back. Nuremberg seems to have a much larger “Stoner” presence than the other cities we’ve played. Lots of bellbottoms and scraggly long hair. Our scene! Haha. We play a good set, but by this time in the tour, everyone is either sick or getting sick. Paul from SV has the flu, I’ve got a serious cold coming on, Theo is totally fucked up. I didn’t see anyone drinking very much tonight. Tomorrow is a much needed day off. We go ahead and make the 2 hour drive to Wurzburg tonight instead of waiting until the morning.
Day 9-11: Back in Wurzburg for a few days. A hard earned day off before the festival on Saturday. A great chance to see the city and take care of some shopping and finding gifts for the family. I also took this opportunity to shave off my tour beard and have a clean face for the festival set. Haha. I think everyone intended to head to Posthalle for the first night of Hammer of Doom, but none of us actually made it. A huge Chinese feast between Orchid and Serpent Venom and then off to a pub so the London boys could watch some footy on the tele. A pretty mellow night. Saturday begins with my room phone ringing and Theo on the other end telling me he’s totally fucked sick and needs me to get him some things from the pharmacy. No problem mate. I bring him some meds and arrange to come back and get him before our set. Walked down to the fest with Nickel through the park. Met some other folks on their way there as well. Serpent Venom crush the big stage and after they’re done I grab a cab back to the hotel to get Theo ready. He’s doing a little better. I’m a little worried but I have a feeling he’ll be ok once we get onstage. Soldiers keep fighting. The set goes over great. We played a pretty short set, but it was effective. Put the cap on the tour with some interviews and a good night hanging out with Lord Vicar, Serpent Venom, and some other nice people that we met. The “House of 150 Beers” pub was more like “House of 78 Beers” after we stumbled back to our rooms. Tour over, much success and a lifetime’s worth of friendships and memories. We’ll be back in April.
Thanks for dropping in!
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