Day 18/show 13/Basel, Switzerland
We woke up today and walked back to the van. Then we hit horrible traffic going out of Marseille. The drive to Basel was 7 hours. When we crossed into Switzerland we got stopped at the border. They asked if we had anything to declare and we said no. They asked us if we “make music” . We said yes. Then they sent us to a line where they didn’t check the van or our passports, but they charged us 40 euro for a sticker so we could drive on their highways.
Here is where I will tell the truth about Europe and everyone calls me a complainer. If you are a small band like us you will be lucky to break even in Europe. A lot of people say “you’ll never want to tour anywhere else” and “bring lots of merch." So far, this is not true. I honestly don’t care about losing money or anything like that but the amount of tolls over here is insane and I don’t see breaking even being an option. Everyone also is not as merch crazy as people say. There have been good nights, but tonight we sold 1 record, that’s it. So don’t be fooled. Just because you are from the Unites States doesn’t mean you are automatically a hit in Europe (I always thought this was bullshit anyway). I’m gonna close this statement by saying I appreciate how nice everyone is. Every night we get fed, a place to sleep, and sometimes breakfast. It's also perplexing to me that anyone likes my band, at all, what so ever.
We got to the venue around 9 and dinner was waiting for us. Fresh fruit, nuts, salad, curry vegetables and spinach on a tortilla. It was awesome. Heiko booked the show for us and took care of everything, he is a great dude. This venue is one of those wonderful European venues that you eat, play, sleep, eat and shower at. The venue is called Hirscheneck. The first floor is a bar/restaurant. Bands play in the basement with a small bar. This show was a bar show. More so people hanging out and not really into the show. They watched us and everyone was nice but it was just the vibe I got. After the show I went upstairs to the awesome shower/internet combo. Tomorrow's drive is the shortest drive since the UK so I am amped on being able to walk around either city. The drive the day after today is 1 hour so that is even more exciting.
Day 19/show 14/Lugano,Switzerland
Woke up today and had breakfast. It was some tofu, bread, and a bunch of different spreads. Then everyone took forever to shower so I just hung out in the venue/apartment. It was some 4 floor, 700 year old building. It was such an awesome place. Then we drove to Lugano. The drive was only 3 hours and it was thru the Swiss Alps. The drive was soo beautiful. It reminded me of how beautiful Western Canada is. We got to the venue and got a tour. The venue is a squat called CSOA Molino. Its like a compound of 6 different buildings and it insane to me that this place exists. One building is a small room for bands to play. One is the big room for bands to play. Across from that is the café/library. Above that is the movie theater. Then people live in another building. There is graffiti everywhere and this place is crazy.
We skated to the skate park down the street, and that was equally as crazy. One side was this x-games street course. The other side was 6 bowls that were all intertwined. Between them was a building for people to hang out in. Pretty cool town we’ve got here.
Fabio booked the show and was a super nice dude. Tonight we had potato gnocci for dinner and it was awesome. This place is still mind blowing to me. The show started super late, like 11:30. The room we played in was one of the coldest rooms I’ve been in. I used to sell T-shirts outside sports events at night in the middle of winter and the cold of this room got to me. I played the whole show in my jacket and hoodie. The first band started and they were called gokurtrussel. They were a grindcore band and were pretty good. There were over 100 people at this place tonight and maybe 40 watched them. The kids that did threw ladders and shopping carts around the pit and went wild. The WitchTrap played. About 10 people watched both of us. Everyone here was here to get fucked up and fuck other people up. That’s cool it’s just not my thing. The saviors of this show were the gokurtrussel dudes and the potato gnocci. If you sound like Municipal Waste, come play here.
Day 20/show 15/Milan,Italy
Today we woke up in the squat in Lugano and then drove 1 hour to our next show in Milan, Italy. Short drives are always awesome. We got to the venue and then skated to the center of the city. The people who lived at the squat told us that we shouldn’t walk or skate there and we should take a train. Probably skated over 10 miles. Milan is a nice city. Back at the squat we drank a lot of tea and waited for dinner. Around 9 we had some pasta and bread with sauce on it. It was pretty good. The show started late, around 11. Earlier in the day one of the dudes who lives at the squat told us the show wasn’t gonna be that good because there was another all local show happening in another squat as an anniversary for the squat. He also told me that he tried to get the shows combined and the other squat said no, This has happened with a lot of places on this tour. I thought hardcore and punk rock were supposed to be about community and such, guess I was wrong.
This brings me to my next point. Europeans are brutally honest about the shows they book. If I were booking a band I would never tell them the show I was booking for them was gonna suck. This has also happened many times on this tour. People have said that “That town sucks for a show” or “Sorry, I think the show tonight isn’t gonna be good”. Most of the time they are wrong. Tonight they were wrong. The show was in the basement of Villa Vegan. It’s a small room so it's not hard to fill but tonight it was overfilled. The first band was named Holy and they also booked the show. They were sick. Then Witch Cult played and people enjoyed it. Beartrap played and it was pretty cool. 2 seconds ago a cat jumped on my head from 10 feet above me and now I want to go to sleep.
Day 21/show 16/Rome, Italy
Woke up early today to drive to Rome. The show was supposed to be a matinee. It did not start till about 7 or 8, not a matinee at all. The drive wasn’t that bad, but of course there was a 40 euro toll to ruin the day. Got to the show and sat around for awhile. Danillo booked this show and he is a nice dude. The show was in the Bencivenga squat. This show was kinda like the Lugano show, more people watched us both this time tho. They also made BearTrap replay half of our set because it was too short. I hate when bands play for too long so this always blows my mind. More of a party atmosphere than a show but that’s the way it is sometimes. Tomorrow is Padova, Italy. I think we are wakeing up early to go into the center of Rome.
Day 22/show 17/ Padova,Italy
Today we woke up early to drive to the center of Rome and see the Coliseum. The ruins around it are insane. I was standing outside a building where people used to get eaten by lions for other people's entertainment. I wish this still happened today. After that we drove to Padova, Italy. Playing 2 and a half sets last night must have caught up to me because I slept the latest today and slept on the floor of the van for most of the ride. We got to the show and it's in a venue called Seven Live. It's in the middle of nowhere. It’s 2 buildings. One is the venue/bar, the other is a practice space/studio. Pretty cool so far. The owner is nice and fed us some pasta and rice. We were also given the biggest loaf of bread we all have ever seen. The 2nd best part is the fruit and nuts. The best part of the meal is blood orange juice. Sica booked the show and is a very nice dude.
The show started around 9 and its on a Monday night so I was worried it wouldn’t do to well. This was one of the best shows so far. There were a lot of people, they all had a good time, they bought stuff, we got paid well and it was a Monday night. After the show we drove a few minutes to the city center and we are staying with some of Sica's friends. Tomorrow is Ljubljana, Slovenia. After this show we have to start crossing borders and worrying about being extorted by cops and having our merch seized. This is where the real struggle starts.