Words: Brandon Cocard
3pm, or 15:00. Touching down at Zurich International Airport and I’m kicking myself for not sleeping on the flight. Swiss air has some great movies on demand. Needless to say I binge watched all the best adrenaline pumping new releases. I was staring at my little screen and drooling, like a dog watching its owner eat a plate of rib-eye. Soundcheck is in an hour and it's going to be a close call depending on whether or not all of our gear showed up. Whenever I check into an international flight I’m never sure if I’m going to see my bag again. I’ve lost so many bags, at this point I feel like it's a coin flip. Lucky for us ALL of our gear is there waiting for us at the pick up, and I get my second wind. We race through the airport and through customs, which is just a guy standing there and waving saying “Enjoy Switzerland,” and jump in a cab to head strait to the first stop of our European adventure.
For the next 10 days we will be traveling by tour bus and playing a show every night. 10 cities, six countries. This is a fucking dream come true for all of us. I never dreamt I would get this opportunity to send it through Europe on a double decker tour bus and play rock and roll every night for unsuspecting Europeans, and here we are…jet lagged and jittery with excitement. I’d imagine thats a pretty similar feeling to doing speed balls. I wouldn’t know though I’ve never done heroin.
We get to the venue with no time to think or slow down. We are immediately thrown into the mix of setting up gear and sound checking for the ghosts in the room. Aaron leans over to me mid riff and yells in my ear, “This Venue is Huge! How many people will show up tonight!?” I look at him and shrug, carrying on with whatever bass line I’m playing. At this point we had already played 12 shows in the US, right before the Euro tour…so now we can rip through our whole set without even thinking twice about it. We have all the information stored safely in the back of our brains like a stash of squirrel nuts in a tree. The sound check is over and all the sound guys are nodding their heads in approval. It must have sounded good but I can never tell in a venue that big because all the sound just shoots out into thin air. We all look at each other with that look that says, “I’m starving.” Yea lets get some food.
During the US tour the band decided to sign a blood pact to not partake in any drinking. I was secretly a little bummed on this because I love having a few beers before I play a show to loosen me up, but being in a band is like being in strange little family and for it to work you all have to support each other. The overall consensus of the band was:
We will play better if we are sober
We won’t forget the changes in all the songs if we are sober
We will get along better if we are sober
And I’ll be dammed, all 6 of us did not touch one drop of alcohol on that US tour. It wasn’t easy, but we did it. That being said…Now we are literally in the land of the best fucking beer in the world. And going to Europe and not drinking the beer is like going to Disney Land and not getting your picture taken with one of those guys walking around in the Mickey Mouse costumes. We sit down to eat some schnitzel, and i’m the first to leap off the sobriety wagon. “I’ll have a beer,” I say. To which the group replies, “I’ll have one to!” Wise choice boys. We cheers, we drink, we eat, and we all look around at everything like we can’t believe this is happening. Like it's some dream we are all afraid to wake up from. We are in Switzerland right now to play music! This is Insane!
Back at the Venue the Absinthe movie is playing and we opt out of watching it because we’ve seen it so many times already. We enter through a back door which leads you up a few flight of stairs and into the “green room.” The green room is the chill room where the musicians hang out in before and after they play a show. Every proper music venue has one. I’m so tired I feel like I’m going to pass out standing up, but I fight through it. Jet lag is a bitch. We hear a roar of applause coming from the stage and it's safe to say the movie is over, and we all shoot an excited grin at each other. Our tour manager busts open the door like Cosmo Kramer onto a Seinfeld set and says, “You guys are up!” Judging by his enthusiasm and excitement, there must be a shit ton of people out there. We hear a guy on the microphone saying something in German followed by, “EEEEEAAASY GIANT!” And this is what we walked out to.
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