07:00 – Wake up – ermahgerd it’s hot!!! Bugger off, sleeping bag! Back to sleep for me.
09:00 – Everyone’s awake, we prepare to depart. This takes me longer than usual, on account of playing with the cats.
One of them tries to get into my bag. I make no effort to stop her.
Sadly, she seems to conclude that she’ll enjoy a far greater life here, than in Stoke-on-Trent.
There’s no argument to the contrary I could offer her while keeping a straight face.
Stay wise, kitties.
10:00 – We need breakfast, so dump our stuff in the van and plan to walk to the nearest purveyor of foodages.
10:10 – We’re walking past the aforementioned nearest purveyor of foodages. I don’t know why, but lack the effort or motivation to engage with the subject publicly.
I conclude we must be looking for somewhere very specific.
Not sure I’m even awake at this point, everything feels a bit hazy.
I swear my lungs have buggered off and been replaced with a phlegm factory. A phlegm factory covered in dust and bits of broken glass. Bugger me does it hurt to breathe today.
10:35 – We’ve walked past three places that were highlighted as prospective destinations, only to find they were shut. Ballache.
We’re now stood waiting for traffic to stop so we can cross the road.
I don’t know why we’re forcing ourselves to wait here, when there’s a dedicated crossing literally ten seconds walk up the road that we used moments ago to get to this side in the first place.
I ask Dani why we aren’t using the crossing, she’s as bemused as me.
Then wait some more.
10:40 – We go and use the crossing.
11:00 – We find ourselves back at the first bloody place we walked past.
I buy food, the world fills with colour and all is right again.
Except for my phlegmmy lungs and busted back.
7up helps. I heart glucose.
11:30 – We share our goodbyes with Petra as she makes her way back home to Liberec.
I’ve enjoyed her company and it’s always sad to part ways with people you don’t want to kill. Such a thing is a rare treat in this band.
On the plus side – there’s much more space in the van now. My dismay is short-lived.
Swings and roundabouts.
Thanks again for everything Petra! Attempted B&Es and all!
12:30 – We drive past an incredible view, of which I take some incredibly crap photos.
Not sure if we’re in Czech or Germany yet.
Bugger this, back is killing me and can’t speak without my lungs hurting. Going to sleep.
15:00 – I awaken as we pull into today’s destination, Weimar, Germany.
I assume this is where Weimaraner are originally from? It’d make sense. We used to have a Weimaraner, she was the shit.
I’d like a dog.
I digress. My chest still fills gross as hell (I’m blaming the potato rum) but my back’s feeling much better – it doesn’t hurt to move.
Since we’ve got three hours to kill, I elect to leave my bag behind as we enjoy some sight seeing, as to avoid incurring further strain to my spine.
Which is actually a bit of a shame because the town is beautiful. Having said that, with all due respect there’s no photograph I could take for which you couldn’t find a superior alternative on Google or Getty Images.
16:00 – Food time. We find a pizza place. Well, technically we find several, but this is Krupskaya remember. It’d be far too easy to just go into one that looks nice, so the place we decide upon of course concludes an hour of walking up and down streets with seemingly zero direction.
In fairness, this place does seem really nice and well priced, so I’m not going to knock the approach on this occasion.
I’m desperate for the toilet, but Matt has used the term ‘touching cloth’ several times over the past 30 minutes, so I let him go first.
Mistake, he’s taking forever. Bollocks to it, I’m going to use the ladies – I can look dainty when I need to and if anyone kicks off, I’ll sue them for assuming my gender.
I figure, that’s aloud these days, right? But then, I consider that might only be a plausible cause of action for anyone who isn’t a heterosexual white male – which I am (albeit borderline, according to Anna).
But surely that’d be sexist?
Ugh, I don’t know, man. This stuff confuses me, but peeing is as good a time as any to pause for thought so I don’t begrudge the time I spent postulating.
The pizza is awesome. So is the coffee. Feeling much better now!
17:00 – Alex and I determine that now would be the best time to find gifts for our better halves.
When we last went on tour (Ukraine, 2016), I bought Anna a child’s Tricerotops toy, which if I’m honest, was more of a gift for me.
Not because I wanted it, rather because I knew her reaction (somewhere between shock, horror, confusion and disappointment) would bring me great amusement – which it did.
Some may view this as harsh, but anyone who’s endured Anna trying to order anything off a menu will understand how little mental attacks like this are absolutely imperative to us not driving the other totally insane.
On this occasion though, I find myself compelled to buy her something a little more authentic and sincere. It takes just short of an hour, but I find the perfect gift.
It’s far more expensive than I’d like (ie: it isn’t free), but it’s worth every penny and I’m confident it’ll put a smile on her face, so bugger it.
Plus, I can bring this up next time we’re arguing over who’s paying for pizza.
I also find something quite boss for my niece.
Although it is bigger than Anna’s present… wonder if this’ll cause a fight?
Whatever – job done.
17:30 – Alex and I wander back to the van, as we still have an hour to wait before the venue opens.
Dani questions me about my approaching to drumming and I focus the conversation around my late drum teacher, Ken Adams. I still consider the guy in the same way I do my other ‘influencers’ (Raymond Herrera, Billy Cobham, the rest escape me right now), highlighting specifically how his approach to teaching jazz to me has informed much of the fundamental rhythm-structure within Krupskaya, though I wouldn’t consider jazz a blatant .
For the record: no, odd time signatures and “bah-BAH!” sounds in drum beats are not enough to constitute ‘jazz’.
I reflect on my desire to work with a teacher again someday, mildly concerned/aware of how ‘institutionalised’ and narrow I’ve become in Krupskaya being the only thing I really play anymore.
The conversation eventually concludes with derisions of Matt’s inability to use predictive text.
18:30 – The venue opens, in we go. It’s a squat which has been operating for over 28 years, really hardcore, authentic vibe.
Something is seriously wrong with my insides as I rush to find the bathroom.
I have to say, the toilets on this tour have been of an exceptional standard. I’m used to doors missing, seats missing, bog roll missing, locks missing – sometimes all at once. But this time, they’ve been relatively spotless and well endowed with paper throughout.
Sadly, none of that seems to mean a thing to my gut and what I inflict on the ammenities here far more closely resembles the dictionary definition of an exorcism than defecation.
That’s my last poo story of the tour, I promise.
19:00 – Drums are all set up, good to go. Everyone else is eating food and discussing history, which I proper can’t be arsed with.
Not that history can’t be interesting, I just need to be in the mood and right now, I’m in the mood to sit in silence and relax a little bit.
I take a moment to look at my kit, reflecting on the fact that it has joined me on every tour and every show for which we’ve provided drums since 2008, along with every recording throughout Krupskaya’s history, starting in 2006.
It’s a Tama Rockstar my parents bought for me as a gift back in 2004. In fairness, for all the muso noses it’s turned up along the way, I can’t fault the sound or durability – it’s sounded absolutely massive on this tour, as it has across our records and it still feels like it’s begging me to push harder with every beat.
I should’ve really taken better care of it over the years too, so will give it a proper clean and a hardware tweak when we get back.
It’s long overdue and well deserved.
21:00 – I feel like utter shit. I’ve reached the conclusion that playing like a nut case on the opening night of the tour didn’t so much annihilate my illness, as it did politely advise it to bugger off for a few days and come back with more violent intent then it ever had in the first place.
It also seems to have bought some of it’s biggest mates along, too – not a single body part feels anything but severe pain.
Everything aches. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak and sensitive to the touch. Tonight’s going to be interesting.
Or just crap.
Probably just crap.
I eat some almonds.
21:45 – First band hasn’t sound checked fully yet, not sure if there’s a problem with gear.
Play some more Dungeon Keeper 2 while we wait.
22:00 – Mist take to the stage, straight up, fast hardcore. The drummer does a few things I wasn’t expecting which is always nice and I enjoy the no-nonsense approach.
Lots of fun.
22:45 – Illl are up next and are absolutely blistering. When they start I’m expecting this to be a case of ‘same old, same old’ hardcore power-violence – but these guys absolutely rip and are totally on it.
The drummer hits hard, tight and fast, easing into straighter beats with ease and every last segment feels spot on for the work of the other musicians.
Well impressed. Boss stickers, too.
23:30 – We’re up and y’know what? Bollocks to feeling like crap – I’m going to absolutely nail this.
I’ve felt worse than this before and I’m not going to have my night ruined by my body completely giving up on me.
Yeah, that’s right! I’ve done this before, I’ll do it again – it’s all a question of confidence.
Confidence. I start to breathe confidence and feel it coursing through my veins.
It illuminates my soul, warms my blood and floods positive energy where moments ago, there was only self doubt and cynicism.
Confidence changes everything.
23:31 – Confidence changed nothing. Jesus Christ, I was wrong. I was so wrong. It quickly becomes apparent that my confidence was dangerously misplaced. I was such a fool.
I feel like I’m dying, I can’t stop the constant stream of phlegm escaping my gullet, the lights are burning my skin and all I can hear is how apauling my foot work is.
I feel like a drunk, ginger skater dancing on ice with one leg.
Worse still – it’s a left leg, and I’m right footed.
We’re not even a third of the way through the first song.
Please, please god let this end quickly.
I don’t want to be here any more.
23:36 – We make it to the end of the first section, I feel like I’m choking on sand and can’t tell whether it’s phlegm or snot ozzing off the front of my face.
Oh god, it’s both.
Water… I need water.
I grab my bottle and unscrew the top, desperate for rehydration.
It’s sparkling and goes everywhere.
I feel like a waterfall is pissing on me and laughing about it at the same time.
I have sweat and sparkling water in my eyes. God, it stings!
Argh, there’s more snot, my facial hear feels like it’s been wazzed on by Slimer (from the original Ghostbusters – ie: the only Ghostbusters).
This has become a very surreal experience, awfully quickly.
I try to focus.
I could just nail a fried egg sandwhich.
22:55 – As we go into the final break of Clouds Over Pripyat, a drum stick flies out of my right hand and annihilates Riley’s beer.
An entire room and it picks the most inconvenient two squared inches of space to land.
This truly is one of those nights.
00:00 – We make it to the end, I hang my head in shame and remain on stage to pack everything away.
00:30 – With everything in its place, I stumble towards the bar and am accosted by several people in absolute awe of the set we’ve just played. The shock knocks me for six.
I enjoy good feedback, especially when it’s from folk with questions about the musicality who have clearly analysed what we were doing and are interested to learn more about our approach.
It’s a nice bit of icing on an otherwise nut-ridden turd cake.
01:30 – I retire to the bedroom on a much, much appreciated, huge mattress.
I promptly have a severe coughing fit during which I almost vomit several times.
Which has geniunely never happened before.
Not exactly how I was hoping to end the night.
I’ve enjoyed this tour and it’s been good to get back into the feel of things before we embark upon grander adventures in future. That said, I’m ready for home.
I’d be excited for my bed, if I didn’t know full well that the bloody cat’ll have claimed it.
Maybe I could strangle him.
Shouldn’t be thinking like this.
One more cough.
Bed time, 4 rlz.
Thank you, Weimar!!