Zsa Zsa Gabor once said: ‘I’m a good housekeeper, after every divorce I keep the house.’ This may seem a little strange, but this quote seems to reflect me as well somehow. I’m just 21 years old so I haven’t experienced that many personal divorces, but I do have some very special experiences that I just cannot forget. Here’s one.
Since the ninth of December, I have a new personal metaphor; the couch. It was at that day, that DemonDust, Buzzin Hornet and I were heading towards Haarlem to have an interview with Chimaira. It was on the same day, that the Eastpack Build To Resist tour was held in Amsterdam, including Agnostic Front, Napalm Death and Hatebreed. The day before, I drunk a little bit too much so I was a bit fuzzy and so was DemonDust as he told me at our arrival.
It was cold that day, so you can probably imagine how happy we were to see this free coffee machine at the backstage area. As the two of us helped ourselves with the traditional Dutch addiction, Buzzin Hornet kept himself busy with the press management of the band. Because of this, he knew pretty fast that we had to wait a while before the band would show up. That was fine by us, we had the opportunity to prepare ourselves a little bit more and drink some coffee.
There just happened to be a couch in front of the coffee machine and we took place almost immediately. It was a fine couch, placed in the middle of the wide hall. On the one end of the hall there was the dressing room for Chimaira with a shower on the opposite side. The dressing room for Hatesphere and Dark Tranquility was just at the right of the couch, with another dressing room to the left. (with the toilets placed in front of it) At the other end, there was a stairs to the stage. On that couch, we sat down. (until the interview was held) Since it was so cold, we were allowed to stay backstage after the interview, since the venue was still closed. So we helped ourselves with another hot black friend and sat down again.
I think I could have made a documentary that day. While DemonDust and me were sitting there, every member of Chimaira, Hatesphere and Dark Tranquility woke up, walked through the hall, burped, watched tv, helped himself with a little snack or was just joking around. It was really nice to see the musicians showing up with tiny little eyes, going to the shower, refreshing themselves and so on. Everyone was very friendly and sometimes they stayed for a little chat. DemomDust talked with the guitar player from Hatesphere about his review on Metalrage and I had a little chat with the members of the other bands that were playing that day.
After an hour or so, the two of us thought it would be a nice idea to go outside to smoke some weed. After we stood there for a while, Kevin Tally himself showed up, just asking if we knew the location of his favorite store in this town. We could do nothing but have quick answers and watched him throwing the remaining of his banana away as he ate the last part of it (I have thought of walking towards it and slip on it just so I could say I slipped on Kevin Tally’s’ banana) . Stunned as we were, we went back inside to watch the ritual of musician waking again.
We sat back down on our beloved friend, as Jim entered the venue. He was joking around and thought of taking a shower. He wandered around a little bit, tossing with the guys from Hatesphere, and decided he had to become fresh again. After he got back, he saw DemonDust rolling another joint. He said: ‘Hey guys, be careful with that’ ‘Why is that?’ DemonDust replied, ‘You want to join us or something?’ ‘Well sure, let’s smoke some weed he said.’ Oh my god, my mouth started to become as wide as Sesame’s cave. DemonDust also managed to say to Mark: ‘Hey man, your bass player is getting stoned tonight’ on which Mark just replied: ‘Well, good for him then.’
Because Buzzin Hornet told us not to smoke inside the hall, Jim took us somewhere else, the touring buss. As we entered I saw it was actually quite nice, a little dark maybe but relaxed and friendly. We went upstairs and sat down on a couch (the second one) in the form of a Jacuzzi; a round couch with just one opening. As we were sitting there and talked about the tour, about Holland and weed, I just returned to myself and said: Siem, you’re actually sitting in the touring bus of one of your favorite bands, smoking a joint.’ Can you see that picture? Unbelievable. Jim told us about how Chimaira is doing, when they should return home and he also showed some music from ‘Mike Jones’ which he had on his mobile phone. We had a very relaxing time there for like 20 minutes and after that, dinner was ready so the guys had to eat and we had to leave.
There was actually still one other thing. Buzzin Hornet came to us and said: ‘Well guys, I have a surprise for you. How about going to Amsterdam after the show with Jim and Matt to hang out with the bands that have played there?’ Stunned as we were, we said: ‘Sure, why not?’
So the show began; first Hatesphere, then Dark Tranquility and finally Chimaira, and the three of us had a great time. Afterwards, me and DemonDust went outside while Buzzin Hornet went to pick up the guys. We just hat to wait a little bit and there they were, ready to go. (in shorts actually, with minus 7 degrees or something) Because we had to play this game which decides where everyone has to sit in the car (I’m still not quite sure how it goes, but anyway) I had to sit in the middle with Buzzin Hornet driving, Jim in the front seat and DemonDust and Matt next to me. Oh, I loved the trip to Amsterdam. I actually had a great seat on, again, a brilliant couch, and we talked about musical interests, we showed the guys from Chimaira some Dutch music (Textures, Agresion etc.) until we finally got into Amsterdam. A little walk to the Paradiso brought us at the backstage area of the Eastpack Tour. And there they were; all these musicians that I have so much respect for, who have been around for so long, and who have paved the roads for so many others. They were just drinking, laughing, tossing around and smoking all kind of different joints. (it’s Amsterdam after all, right?) At first, I was even a little afraid, because everyone talked pretty loud and I thought they could be aggressive or something. But pretty soon, the bass player of Agnostic Front came to me and I felt amazing:
‘Hey guys, what’s going on?’
‘Oh, well, we came here with Chimaira after their show in Haarlem.’
‘Oh, Chimaira, that’s great. How was the show?’
‘Well, it totally rocked actually. Unfortunately, we couldn’t be here tonight to see all you guys.’
“Yeah, that’s stupid. You’re Dutch?’
‘You know Maastricht’
‘Yeah, sure. I’m actually studying there.’
‘You know Backfire?’
‘Of course, M-Town Rebels man’
‘You know Richie?’
‘Well, not personally, but I’ve heard a lot of him. Unfortunately he isn’t with us anymore. I saw a brilliant documentary once about his life and death.’
‘Wow, he was a great guy. I invited him to New York once and took him to the Yankees. We had a great time then. blablablablabla’
I’m not sure what he was saying but I’m sure it was great and lots of fun. During the rest of the night, when I came across him he said nothing less than: ‘Heeeyyyyy!!!! Maastricht!!!! Come here man!!! Wanna have a beer?’
Me and DemonDust than lighted up another one and took a seat in the dressing room of Hatebreed on a white warm couch. In front of us, there were some groupies with some musicians I actually didn’t recognize but I stayed quiet for the next 15 minutes, just watching everyone having a very big smile on their face, shaking hands with us, making jokes, asking where we were coming from, talking about musical interests, drinking and smoking. It was incredible, first some guys from Hatebreed showed up, than it was Napalm Death, they were coming and going while we sat down and watched the happening. I could have never thought I’d experience the fact that everyone is supposed to be family within the music scene but it really is. Everybody knows each other and is really interested to hear you talk about your interests.
At two ‘o clock or something, it was time to go so everybody packed their bags. I can still sea Richies’ friend picking up his suitcase with wheels and this little plastic bag with decorated clogs. ‘Say hi to Richie from me, will ya.’ ‘Sure, I’ll do that. Have a great tour.’
So, DemonDust, Buzzin Hornet, Jim, Matt and me went back to the car and drove all the way to Utrecht, where the touring bus of Chimaira would show up. We took a seat on the couch again and talked about the evening, listened to some music and made jokes.
When we got in Utrecht, on this huge parking lot, we smoked another one and talked mainly about the current tour and listened to the band of DemonDust and waited for the bus to show up. It took him like an hour so at about four ‘o clock we said goodbye and went off home.
From that day, the ninth of December, both the couch and heavy music have a different meaning for me. They’re not just objects or something you can rely to. No, they make me believe that this world isn’t just as bad as we are ought to believe some days. I mean, it is so easy to be negative about almost everything that a lot of people seem to forget the appearance of joy in their life. Just look around, how many people are complaining about their own life and situation they got their selves into. Just try to put some energy from the good things you’ve experienced and successes you’ve accomplished instead of judging around and blaming everyone but yourself. If the guys I’ve met on the ninth of December taught me one thing, it’s that you should enjoy the great things in your life, and cherish the things that are important to you. That’s all, but it could lead to great experiences that I should carry with me for a very long time. Heavy music, to me it is a way of keeping myself busy and dealing with life. And when I’m just relaxing on a couch, I will remember so.
Now, it is the 15th of January and I’m in Helsinki for my exchange student program. The reason that I’m writing this is, is because of another experience I had a week ago, at the date of my arrival. I was picked up by someone who showed me where my apartment was located. We chat a little bit on our way and when I entered the room, the first thing I saw was this little…..you know. There was no single thing that could give me a better welcome than that. I felt home immediately.
Thanks to DemonDust and Buzzin Hornet