70,000 tons of Metal days 3,4 and 5.

This is the day we arrive in Turks & Caicos in the Caribbean… Or as the band adopted “Perks and Caicos”. Don’t ask!

 

It’s another slow to start morning, but looking outside the window boosts my enthusiasm greatly. We’ve docked, we are in the Caribbean. Shane, Justin and I drag our asses out of bed and head for breakfast. From the ship you can pretty much see the entire circumference of the island. But nothing inland looks as inviting as that beach. I’ve been to Hawaii, Mexico, Jamaica, Australia, New Zealand, Miami and I have never seen water this blue.

The first building you walk through off the dock is the gift shop. Good thing I might have forgot to buy something. Always wanting your money don’t they?

We initially veer right, but the beach didn’t go very far, and I was more interested in the left. After all, that’s where the music was coming from, and they were playing metal, so that’s where we’ll find our kind. These street kind of remind me a downtown Disneyland in Orlando Florida. (In recent news Exodus was banned from playing at the venue there, for being too metal I believe)

There was lots of bodies on the beach, beautiful people one and all. It was my idea of a perfect day, perfect weather. We found Byron and put down our stuff, Justin and I could hardly wait to jump in the water. It was some of the best water I’ve enjoyed swimming in. So warm and blue. You could even open your eyes under water with no sting and see well in front of you.

It’s funny seeing metal heads “Out of their element”. Seeing so many on the beach dressed in black with tattoos or wandering around Jimmy Bufffets ‘Margarita Ville’, you couldn’t help but think that this was a pretty cool scene.

Bjorn from In Flames walked by, he said they were going to the pool behind Jimmy Buffets. I told him there’s a perfectly good pool over there (pointing towards the ocean).

I spent the better part of my hours with the guys in Cryptopsy drinking beer and pina coladas on the beach and getting sunburned. I took my beer into the water swimming with it over head and for my first time, trying a chug under water. It works!

I met Flo (Cryptopsy) about 7 years ago, and was always of fan of his playing. Since then we’ve become friends and peers. It’s a life affirming thing to share these surreal experiences with fellow players and to know we are all just people, good at what we do but still always striving to be better. This time on the beach is what our rocking pays for.

It was time to head back to the boat. A night on the island would have been great, but we had to go, and the clouds came rolling in around that time so it made it easier to leave. I can’t help but think if we did stay that some people may have been lost entirely.

We weren’t playing that night so it was dinner time. Nile played that night, they were on fire. If your band is only as good as your drummer then they are one of the best death metal bands on the planet.

That night at Karaoke was well attended and plenty of people putting in for songs. Not wanting to wait through 20 people, I slipped the DJ a ten and he bumped me up in the list (My first time ‘Greasin’ somebody, I still had to wait about an hour to get up there). I figured no one else did any Zappa on that cruise, so always needing to do what no one else is doing, I opted to sing “Dirty Love” off of Overnight Sensation.

“I Don’t Need your sweet devotion, I Don’t want your cheap emotion, Just whip me up some dragon lotion For you Dirty Love”.┬áReflecting my more hedonistic feelings on the act of sex.

Shit I got sun burnt again. Booze and too much sun do not mix well. By the end of the night I experienced what could be described as mild toxic shock. Bedtime.

Thursday is the last full day. We play at 4:15, right after Cryptopsy and during the George Kollias clinic. The show was in the “Spectrum Lounge”. Smaller than the outdoor stage but classy. I wasn’t sure if many people would show. But it was a blowout set. We packed the place, I’d say it was better attended than our first show (no surprise 4:15 pm easier to make than 4:15 am)

We played very well and the energy was excellent. Two guys dressed in Tuxedos, people waving around Canadian flags and singing along. When we finished, a group of concert goers sung us our national anthem. It was a great climax to our live presence on that ship.

Oh yes, later that night we made plans to meet at the fine dining restaurant. It was separate from the buffet where everyone normally went. It was a legit high end place with 4 course meals etc, all free! AHAHAH.

Cam, Sara, Kiel, two strangers and I ended up at a big table with Oliver, Youri and Chris (drunkris) from Cryptopsy (boy they’re sure mentioned alot)

Salad, Salmon, Steak, Potatoes, dessert sampler, wine and fine espresso. Does it get any better? Also was hilarious to see yet again metal heads where you wouldn’t normally find them. Guys dressed in medieval clothes with face paint on being ushered to their tables while they yell out “DINNER, DINNER,DINNER!”

It was a great end to the festivities. That and seeing Flotsam and Jetsam. Not a whole lot of people there, but Shane and I really enjoyed the show.

That brought us into Port the next day where we said our goodbyes to people. The line to leave the boat was stalled for about 15 minutes and people were getting impatient including myself. An employee to reassure everyone said “Don’t worry folks, we are just waiting for the line to start moving again”. NO SHIT CAPTAIN OBVIOUS!

At the airport we ran into Steve Gibb, son of Barry Gibb from the Bee Gee’s. We had met Steve a few years prior when we played a show with Kingdom of Sorrow (Jamie Jasta from Hatebreeds side band in which Steve played guitar.) He was on his way with his family to Australia, where he would be playing several shows on guitar with the Bee Gee’s. Cool lineage indeed!

I mostly drank wine on the flight home. I don’t fly so well so half my time in the air I think a crash is immanent. The End.

Musical highlights from the cruise include Doro, Sabaton, Kreator, Immolation, Holy Grail, Cryptopsy, Nile, Dragonforce, Flotsam and Jetsam, and hanging with good friends. All in all I would go back even just as a concert goer. It was a surreal time I will never forget, our heavy metal adventure on a cruise ship.