By Jake “Haggis” Wiffen
Saturday, September 5th – Paris
The bus came to a shuddering halt and we were all ejected into the middle of the street right in the centre of Paris. The trailer had to be unloaded while cars swerved past, someone had to watch the gear to ensure nothing went missing into the hustle and bustle of down town Paris.
Once the gear was safely in the venue, my eyes widened as I realised we were in a 200 year old theatre less than 100 metres from the Moulin Rouge. I could almost taste the skullduggery that had gone down on the second floor balcony of this seedy velour covered theatre.
We were all given money for a buy out diner. My Euros went safely on cheap half pints of Black Russians in a small wine bar just up the hill from tonight’s venue. The show went off and as we left the stage the crowd were ravenous in their thirst for more. Tom, Blanch, Cam and I decided to hit the strip and get some Parisian culture, 20 minutes later we were arguing with a strip club bouncer for a refund due to the fact there was no live sex act as clearly advertised out the front, 10 minutes after that we were back at the wine bar sinking beers and Black Russians. Nice place is Paris.
Sunday, September 6th – Bordeaux/day off
We’re in some kind of campervan paradise. There’s a kidney shaped pool and all the bands are making use of the fact the sun is out. I have never seen such a mass look of wonder, amusement and sheer horror as our travelling circus descended on this once luxurious park.
A day off for a singer is exactly that, a day off. I spent the day unsuccessfully, trying to get a lift 2 hours away to the town my wife is in. In the end I was forced to settle for an hour-long Skype session. Everyone else went out to some bars. I had a few brews and got some rest in. Around 1am everyone came back and once again hash was the word of the night as the lads all stood around like roosters fussing over a fresh caught worm.
Monday, September 7th – Bilbao
I woke up after passing out in Bordeaux to find myself in Spain. After a look around I found out we were pretty much in an isolated industrial area. The highlight of the show was when I split my pants mid set, revealing my cock ‘n’ balls, on full display for the audience, which I thought went unnoticed until I was sent the gig review a few days later where the writer described the incident as me revealing “the noble of man” to the front row. Classic Google translate.
Tuesday, September 8th – Madrid/cancelled
I was woken up by Cam after driving for what I thought was 7 hours only to be informed our trusty old gear trailer had snapped an axle and we were still actually in Bilbao at a mechanics and we would be here a while. We found a smoky little Spanish pinxos bar about 100 metres away from the mechanics and got stuck into some beers. 2 hours later we were told tonight’s show was cancelled as we would never make it in time. I was bumming until we all realised the fridges were fully stocked, the tunes were cranked high and everyone kept their spirits high by way of an arm in arm sing along, Toto and Journey again.
Wednesday, 9th September – Barcelona
Anyone who has been to Spain knows the beaches are not to be missed. Besides the fact they are beautiful there is also tons of topless beauties soaking up the rays and there is always a handful of gypsies selling cheap cervezas right on the sand. The day was spent doing only that. The night was spent sweating our arses off on stage and cooling down in another little heavy metal dive across the street, this one came complete with fake autographed guitars by the likes of Dokken, Van Halen and Satriani. I never realised Satch was endorsed by Samick. Spain is rad.
Thursday, 10th September – Bordeaux
It’s a weird and wonderful thing to load gear into the iron belly of an old steamboat, still afloat though moored and kitted out as a venue. I must admit the general consensus for this gig was not good, though we knew ticket sales were high aided by the fact Jägermeister were throwing a staff/free shit party on the boat. The thought of playing loud as f*ck rock ‘n’ roll in a steel walled room seemed absurd at best.
The gig actually was nuts. The sound was immaculate and the crowd were frothing over each band. I got to spend the day with my wife wandering around the inner streets of Bordeaux. One of the hardest things about being in a touring band like Dead City Ruins is missing family and loved ones. Sex Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll…yeah f*ckin’ right mate. Not here, not in this reality. It’s work, work, more work and 40 minutes of rock ‘n’ roll a day if ya bloody lucky!
Friday, 11th September – Marseille
I woke up at about 1pm in searing pain. Turns out loading/unloading the gear and thrashing my head back ‘n’ forth every night has not turned out well for me. The tour manager has rigged a free massage for me so that’s where I’m off to first.
The street that holds the venue is pretty ghetto. Luckily, the osteopath is only 100 metres away. I check in, get me kit off and proceed to get stretched, cracked and bent every which way by some burly French bloke who tells me my back is pretty much f*cked. He then tells me he had the bass player for Sepultura in a while ago and likens my back to his, a bloke who has been in the game a lot bloody longer than me.
The club owner has organised a fancy dinner for us across the road, so we crawl offstage after a blistering set, towel our selves down and head into this place for some grub. I’m sat at a table with what seems like unlimited red wine and a full spread of tapas. Craning my head to survey the patrons and inner surroundings of this French/Spanish style gem I realise just how loud our table has gotten. Screams of “holy f*ck, try this shit” and “pass the f*ckin wine” are spewing from our group like toxic smoke from Chernobyl. The bloke with his date just across from us is not impressed. Almost every woman has her eyes glued to her plate in fear of locking eyes with any member of this sweaty booze hungry catastrophe.
Marseille is known as a rough town. It’s the first city heroin lands, pre-cut, before being stomped and shipped around mainland Europe. So its safe to say there’s more than a few guns and bad dudes. Knowing this we all decide not to push our luck and stick close to the bus. Besides, that the bloke with the nice restaurant is still shelling out free drinks…fool!
Saturday, September 12th – Driving/day off
7am and still in Marseille, outside the venue. I’m stuck here until 2pm. Through my blurred vision and throbbing head I remember we still have a day room at some hotel 10 minutes walk away. A shower and some morning air will fix my stomach. I smash the door release button and grip the wall as the hydraulic door hisses open. The morning air, though rank with city stench, is a welcome addition to my current state. I make tracks to the hotel, still wobbly in the legs and not really sure my brain is working.
When I walk through the lobby of the cheap hotel I realise breakfast is on. I sneak a plate and quickly consume some sort of cake and 2 large bowls of watered down Java. The desk chick asks me something. Sweaty and red eyed I mumble some made up language. I can’t tell if her eyes portray fear or understanding. Either way, she slowly steps back and leaves me to it. I make my way upstairs to room 501; shower, shit, shower again and make use of the fresh made bed. When I wake up I know the only thing that can save me is a dirty, greasy and spicy as hell Turkish Durum. Luckily I find Cam stumbling the streets in this morning haze looking for the exact same cure.
The rest of the day is spent driving, stopping at servos and scrounging unsuccessfully for beers. The bus has not been this beer less and quiet…Ever.
*Photos courtesy Dead City Ruins.