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First show Day of Overkill tour

First show Day of Overkill tour

So we show up to our first gig in Hannover, our gear hasnt shown up yet, we are sharing guitar amps and drum kit with the first 2 bands, us being the 3rd, right before overkill. I Recognize Bobby from Overkill. He’s smoking, talking to people, and is laughing, a good first sign overall when people from veteran bands seem approachable. The 2nd band Purified in Blood gave off a great vibe immediately. Their English was great being from Norway, and what’s like a few beers and rocking out to get to know someone. They would turn out to become close friends throughout tour, as is known to happen from time to time.

Justin and I leave to go scope town, I find a  store to buy some good old fashioned hefeweisen. The one with the monk on front, with some banana juice on the side. A delicious combination my good friend Cam Pipes hipped me to. Our gear showed up about 30 minutes before  doors. It was a good first show. Better late than never.

Day of Arrival on our Europe tour with Overkill

Day of Arrival on our Europe tour with Overkill

Europe October 2012 Overkill

So again I over packed for Europe, I never seem to learn for I’m convinced the things I bring are nesseccary. For the most part they are, being a drummer, I need cymbals, adequate supply of sticks, triggers for a consistent kick sound, spare skins (they cost about twice as much in Europe at least). Not to mention clothing, toiletries, snacks, iPod, book(s), spare pair of shoes. Doesn’t sound like much but it adds up when you put it into one backpack.
Although I have improved since my early days with the band. One of my first Europe trips to “cut down” on the number of checked baggage, I put multiple items of gear into my bass drum case. This was double inefficient.  Of course it became oversized, and was also quite overweight, both of which we all paid for in money and backache.( ah it wasn’t so bad)
We arrived 9 hours later direct from Vancouver to Amsterdam. We have The day off there before getting picked up the next morning by the tour bus to go to the first show in Germany.
Well after waiting for our rooms, a euro cheese burger, some beers, 20 minutes rest we catch a cab to the center of town around 4:30 pm
Our merch guys/ tech Brian Seely was on fire as is usual.
Seely: “Driver we’re going to the Bulldog Cafe on this side of town”
Driver: ” Okay sir”
4 minutes later
Seely:”Oh it’s the one on this side of town actually buddy.”
Driver: ” I don’t know if I can, I have another fair, I’ll see what I can do”
Seely : “Well don’t see, just do it. Thanks buddy”
I haven’t really met anyone who can be so aggressive and kind at the EXACT same time. There was more of this to come, especially in Prague. Oh boy
We arrive at the Bulldog. Everyone excited to hit a cafe. (my alternate plan was to venture off on my own to the Dutch resistance museum to view my great uncles war medals, but the place closed at 5)
We go inside, this place is pretty cool. We buy some quality smoke and quality beers.  I opted for tea.
A band of metal musicians carry a certain look and attitude that cannot help but stick out in most places. People start asking us questions, who are we, what are we doing here? And it goes from there.
The bartender is cool, he lets us put in requests. I write down Zep Kashmir and ACdC Whole Lot of Rosie. He finds me a live video version of Rosie played over the tv screens.  It’s a nice vib. A few tokes come my way, fun briefly turns to anxiety. I go out for air, not helping, back inside, the things people are talking about bug me out too. Talking about my state to Cam helps and we’re back to normal. (that same feeling would occur again. Smoke, exhaustion and malnourishment don’t mix for this guy. But like everything in life, it passes)
Onto the next thing, a canal tour, my 5th time to Amsterdam, first canal tour. It was beautiful. Seely brought on a 6 pack. Good thinking.
The tour prerecorded commentary had a reoccurring theme. “This place was built by rich people, it remains a expensive place to live, take a good look, you will likely never live here.” in so many words. (I’m guessing it was not built by the sweat and toil of the rich!)
Return to the hotel for a Early rest and 5am pickup.
Justin and I typically share a room on the road. He wakes me up in the middle of the night and turns on the light.
“Look at my skin, it’s covered in bites!”
This happens to Justin from time to time, but further inspection reveals bed bugs. We gather all our stuff and change rooms, for another soft 2 or so hours of sleep.
The bus picks us up, it’s Bjorn! Our old bus driver from 2008 on the Exodus tour. It’s good to see familiar faces when abroad. We pick out our bunks. I try to sleep in the middle section of the bus, away from loud snoring and people who scream in their sleep (we really do have both on this trip). But alas on a bus they are never too far away. We get some much needed sleep before our first gig.

Masked Rider Book Review by Neil Peart

Masked Rider Book Review by Neil Peart

My blog on Neil’s book “Masked Rider” 

 
So I just finished my second of Neil’s currently 5 books. Ghost Rider was my first, I can’t say enough good things about that one and Masked Rider was no different. 
Perhaps my opinion is colored by my love of Rush and drums. But there is 1% mention of both those in this book. It’s just a great travel adventure book. 
 
Taking place in november 1988, The scenario is interesting and diverse in itself. Several weeks on a bicycle trip through West Africa with several strangers, with no promise of food, water, shelter or even safety throughout the trip. Like his other books, or even Rush lyrics, his observations of situations, other people or even himself strive for objectivity. His commentaries delves to the root of the subject, be it motivation, ego, social interaction etc.
His knowledge of African history is also enlightening, from ancient explorers, traditions, catastrophes, colonization, religion or political structures.
Nothing seems to be overly romanticized in these pages. Bugs, bad roads, digestive distress, conflicts within the group are not overly condemned but plainly stated. The joys are mostly the little things. The smile on little kids faces, the view at the tops of hills, coasting downhill, reading in the shade, or of course, food and water. These seemingly trivial events are refreshing to read about from a world class performer/poet. 
 
His experience on the receiving end of prejudice towards white people is another interesting read, as is the amount of Africans who never had heard of African American slavery. 
 
At times he includes passages from his two books he reads on his journey. “Dear Theo: Van Goe’s letters to his brother” and ” Aristotle’s:Ethics.” 
 
Dear Theo struck me the most, as Van Goe seems to vent his frustrations and perspectives to his brother on life, art, and being an unappreciated artist. They are brave and inspiring words, knowing he remained ultimately unappreciated in his time, and knowing his real lasting effects came after his death. Giving some appreciation to the idea that our attempts in art and life may seem continuously fruitless and or disappointing, but their effects have an unaccountable influence in the times that follow. 
 
The book more or less ends with a flight out of Africa, but the real charm isn’t in the ending but the details of the journey. 
 
I’ll finish this with a passage from Dear theo, as Neil did in his book, as it is too good not to include.
 
“Oh, Theo, why should I change myself? I used to be very passive and soft hearted, and quiet; I am so no more, but it is true I am no longer a child. These days are full of anguish that can be neither diverted, nor stilled. I tell you, if one wants to be active, one must not be afraid of failures, one must not be afraid of making mistakes. Many people think they will become good by doing no harm; that’s a lie, and you yourself used to call it a lie. It leads to stagnation, to mediocrity. 
You will say that I have no success. I don’t care; to conquer or be conquered, in any case one is in emotion and action- and those are nearer being the same thing than appears. Just dash something down if you see a blank canvas staring at you with a certain imbecility. You do not know how paralyzingly it is, that starting of a blank canvas which says to the painter: you don’t know anything. Many painters are afraid of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the real passionate painter who dares. 
Life too always turn towards a man an infinitely vacant, discouraging, hopeless blank side on which nothing is written. But however vacant and vain and dead life may present itself, the man of faith, of energy, of warmth, who knows something, does not let himself be led astray. He steps in, and acts, and builds up – ruins, they call it. Let them talk, those cold theologians! ” 
Great Read
 
My next book of his I will read is “Travelling Music: The Soundtrack to my Life and Times”.