Late last year, HEAVY had the honour of being invited on board the Royal Caribbean to join Rock The Boat 2023 and moonlight as journalists by interviewing bands on board.
Admittedly, it was a little outside of our comfort zone with a more rock and blues-orientated line-up, but you know what they say? You talk to one musician, you talk to them all.
Actually, I have never said that myself or heard anyone else say it, but you get my drift.
With artists and bands like Jimmy Barnes, Jon Stevens, Chocolate Starfish, Sarah McLeod, Bob Spencer and Daryl Braithwaite among our intended victims (sorry, I mean interviews) HEAVY knew we were going to have to stay on the ball – and possibly not dive too deep into our drinks packages too early in the day.
The HEAVY team included myself and Jimmy Glinster as interviewers/shit talkers and Squirty behind the camera, and to say we had fun and many unexpected adventures is not even close to covering it.
Lucky for you (but maybe not us), Jimmy kept a tour diary, of which we will be publishing daily entries over the coming week. Kick back and enjoy our tales of life on the open seas.
Rocking the boat!
Day 2: Up Early For A Buffet And A Brew
Well, not too early, but Squirty and I got up for our first buffet breakfast of the cruise while Krispy was still sleeping off last night’s debauchery. Squirty ran off quickly to get the interview room sorted, which also just happened to be the fine dining room. I caught a quick glimpse of Daryl Braithwaite as I was sipping my orange juice, but I didn’t see any horses, so we are safe for now.
After we finally got Krispy out of bed and up to the buffet to get him fed we made it to the Chef’s Table, a very intimate and invite-only section of the boat which will also be doubling as HEAVY HQ during our interviews and first up we had The Australian INXS Show featuring Dellacoma Rio which was followed by a chat with John Carson and Chris Gilbert from the Lecia Louise Band, the Steve Edmond’s Band and the Bob Spencer Band. These guys are busy this cruise but don’t seem to be having trouble slipping to the bar for a quick drink with us every time we run into them. I won’t spoil the fun here, though; you’ll have to wait for the interviews to be released to see what kind of state we were already in by noon on the first full day of the cruise.
After the interviews, we headed up to the Pool Deck and watched LECIA LOUISE from the upper level. Lecia was rocking out again with some serious guitar skills, while Johnny Carson & Chris Gilbert kept the rhythm section pumping on drums and bass. The small PA was pushing some serious power to the upper deck and the sound was on point. It was a killer show with a mix of originals and rocking covers. More about that later though when we sit down for a chat with Lecia!
We lost Squirty at some point who was off looking for an SD card reader so he could do some work with the recorded interviews and clear some space for some more, so Krispy and I hung around the pool a little longer to catch the Steve Edmonds Band who put on another rocking show. You should see this blokes musical resume. I reckon it’d be quicker to ask him who he hasn’t played with, which I might do when we sit down and have a chat with him over the next couple of days.
Krispy and I go for a hunt to track down Squirty when I got stopped by the Captain who told me it’s lucky the back of my Heavy shirt had a T on the end of it and not a P. He was referring to the T in Shit and commented that it wouldn’t have been very good if we f@#ked the ship up. For those who don’t know, the HEAVY shirts have F@#k Shit Up in massive print on the back of them, and yeah, we were a bit of a conversation starter and photo opportunity on board. The conversation with the cap’ led to drinking and my 8 or so Long Island Iced Teas from last night.
He then asked if we purchased the drink packages, which we had, and he said he might need to cut me off, or they are going to lose money. Sounds like a challenge to me!
At some point we hit Centrum for the Rod Steward Show, and as it turns out Krispy is a closet fan! I also found out that his mum originally wanted to call him Rod Stewart, which would have made him the heaviest Rod in the business. On a serious note, I admittedly and quite embarrassingly knew all the songs.
In a quite unexpected and random encounter, we ran into Jordan McDonald from The Art, who is also the bloke that used to book all the bands at Sydney’s world-famous Frankie’s Pizza who said he played last night with Mi-Sex. Krispy and I looked at each other in a state of confusion, as if to say, what the f@#k just happened? Honestly, one of the last people we were expecting to see onboard, but in a way it kind of made sense with the numerous other world-class musicians performing.
And that right there was a reminder to check the app for the headline appearances because it turns out we missed our only chance to catch Mi-Sex. Lucky for them, though, they’ve not got 5 days just to enjoy the luxury of the cruise. Oh, and the rock, it’s all about the rock!
Squirty managed to track me down, and we headed to the Pacifica Theatre for The ZEP Boys to catch their Led Zeppelin covers show. I have no idea what happened to Krispy at this point, but what happens on the boat stays on the boat, and he had no choice, so it’s likely that he was probably somewhere on the boat and another stage checking out another band. The Triple Marshall Full Stacks on stage were pretty impressive, but what about the band?
They kicked out hits including Lonely Time, Good Times Bad Times – which needed more cowbell – Over the Hills and Far Away, My Time of Dying, Misty Mountain Hop, Moby Dick complete with the hand-played drum solo, and Stairway to Heaven which got a little bit too creative for my liking. Funny story though, apparently the drummer went out for a piss at the start of the song and got locked out of getting back onto stage. He made it just in time to kick off in the crucial moment of the song. They then teased the intro of Bron-Y-Aur Stomp before kicking into Cashmere following up with Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker and then ending with Black Dog complete with pelvic thrusts to the rhythm of ah huhs / yeah hehs.
And that my friends is probably the longest you’ll ever hear me talk about a tribute band. I promise I won’t do it again. Well, maybe not because there is a lot of them on this cruise and some of ‘em aren’t too bloody shabby.
After stuffing our faces for a late lunch one more time at the buffet, we head down to Centrum to catch HAXAN. And yeah, you got that right, it’s only mid-afternoon and this boat’s already rocking. Haxan’s vocalist and axe woman may have just stolen my trophy for the youngest person on board, and I’m not even kidding. I’ve read up on this all-female act from South Wales, England and their description said that they are an original band, but this time around they seem to be punching out a heap of covers, including Stayin Alive and Physical. Rocking heavy covers of them, that is. Physical actually seems to be played to I Was Made for Loving You, which was an interesting but very successful mash-up.
They also took a punch into Ballroom Blitz, and I was instantly taken back to Wayne’s World, where Cassandra (Tia Carrera) takes the song to a whole other level of sexy. After those nasty little covers, they punch into some originals, but you wouldn’t notice if I didn’t tell ya, and nor did the packed house who just kept on partying. But wait, what’s this … Barracuda? F@#k oath it is, and the vocal performance is as intense as the original, if not more. And chesty Loraine who just appeared in the front row seems to agree as she dances and sings along, temporarily stealing some attention from the band. They close the set out with a Neil Young track, apparently so anyway, I had to ask though because I had no idea.
Hopefully we can get these Welsh Girls in for an interview tomorrow because they very much seem like an exciting newcomer on the heavier alternative rock market. And so far, they are probably the closest to a HEAVY magazine band that we’ve come across.
We hang around in Centrum a little longer to watch some of the James Morley Band who blast out some cover tunes including Tie Your Mother Down, Panama which the guitarist absolutely nailed the solo in, Heroes and I Want to Break Free.
As we head over to the Colony Club, we stopped on the way through at the Schooner Bar and took a minute to have some random chats with Lecia Louise and Chris Gilbert. I couldn’t figure out who was more pissed, Chris or I, or whether the boat was actually swaying or if it was just us. The boat was definitely rocking, though, in more ways than one. And we were definitely both pretty pissed.
The Australian INXS Experience kicked off shortly after in The Colony Club and I knew every song, and most of the words to them, but I didn’t know the names of the songs. The room was packed, and everyone was enjoying themselves. It’s 11pm now, and no one seems tired but me, though.
We slipped back out to the Schooner Bar for Bourbon Street and their set kicks off with a harmonica and Krispy f@#ks off quicker than I’ve ever seen him move before. What follows, though, is an explosion of blues. The cougars all over the place love it and are up the front dancing their arses off. I’m sure if I knew the words I’d be singing along because these songs are catchy as f@#. I’m also sure that some of these songs are covers, but I have no idea what any of them are. Probably because they are all played with heavy blues overtones, making them sound much like originals of the band.
As I finish my 10th Long Island Iced Tea for the day, I decide I should probably drag my old ass to bed. On my way out, I hear the party keep rocking behind me, and it’ll keep rocking until 2am.
Not this old bloke though, he needs a very long nap before round 3 tomorrow.
Come back tomorrow for Day 3: Sunday is Fun Day!