Thursday, 28 May 2009

Legacy festival Germany - 2009 festival no. 2

Festival number 2 so far this year. Legacy festival Germany.

I've been to Germany maybe 5 times. One of the first times i went with a French Breakdance crew called CONNEXION to the Breakdance championships, then there was Popkomm, Wacken, and now Legacy.

Unfortuately i dont sprechen ze deutsch. I wish i did. I chose Spanish over German at school, and French overall, and at school i never had the desire to learn German.

Anyway, all i know is that this festival is somewhere near Dessau and that Lucy and i are flying to Berlin, and that we're going to have an adventure.
Just getting there, is going to be an adventure.

This is us with HRH the Queen's declaration that we can travel.
And Lucy looking confused upon arrival.
I think the best thing i can do is take you through this festival in a disused airfield, East Germany, in photos.

So as luck would have it we made friends with some random German metallers. Who all seemed to like folk music and play the flute or the bagpipes. This seems very popular in Germany. Along with Viking music and Celtic mythology. They all had Thor's hammer round their necks.
They helped us get on the right train and sat drinking and chatting with us. I don't know how much any of us understood of what was said.

Later that night its started to rain torrentially. This is the festival site, about midnight, torrential rain and the arrival of the Earache motorhome with Ben and crew to do the merch stall.

I ran around the in the rain. Lucy and i started drinking.
We met one of my favourite Germans - Bjoern Thorsten Jaschinski - he came and met us and plied us with alcohol and we laughed a lot and helped him with the Legacy signing tent. And the alcohol.
I errr.... disgracefully, fell asleep in the back of the motorhome.
But no worries. Bright and early (ahem) as the rain cleared away, the Earache stall was up and running.
And later that night more drinking...

We met up with our German friends from the train:

We made random new friends
We partied with Legacy, with Sabaton, with random black metal bands, with our new German friends, with Nuclear blast, with a piece of grass stuck to the lense of my camera, with stage managers, with Swedes, with Germans, with Romanians.
And then we tried to get Bjoern home to his hotel. Which was difficult. And involved falling over (on his part) and giggling (also on his part).
I got up early and got the train home on Friday - 2 nights in Germany is enough, especially when i'm going back tomorrow for Rock Hard festival!!
I love Germany!

Arghhhh! Pondering about ANGERRRRRRR!!!

I like to think that i'm quite a calm person, and that i rarely get angry. I'm more sanguine than choleric, i'm enthusiastic, i rarely get mad, i never get even. Well, i like to think that.

That's why when i do get angry i surprise myself. I'm not used to being really angry, and on the rare occasions that i do, i'm left with a horrible after taste and a labyrinth of whys to understand what made me get so mad.

More than the fact that i'm not naturally of an angry disposition, I don't believe in getting mad. Anger doesn't help anything.

However, nevertheless, in the back of a taxi a few weeks ago i blew up. Since then, i've been trying to wash out the salty stains it left in my mind like a snail's trail. I don't like it, its icky, and its not me.

But i'd had a really long day, i was exhausted, and i was just pushed a bit too far.

I mention this because not only is it the third time this year that i've got angry - which is a lot for me. But also because i'm currently reading "Further along the road less travelled" by M. Scott Peck.

I've read Buddhist texts on the practise of compassion, i've listened to teachings. But the book that has affected me the most out of any book you find the in "Self help" or "Spiritual / Religious" section of a book store (don't you 'hate' that term Self Help? Ugh) is "The road less travelled". Its understandable and really human in its approach, and i immediately related to the people and situations he described in it, and before my finals at University in England, it really gave me a new perspective. But the last chapter is all about grace. And its in the final pages of the book that M. Scott Peck emerges as an outright Christian. I mean, you understand that that's his background all the way through, but its not until the last chapter that his psychology and spirituality really come together. I loved "The road less travelled" as much for the things i didnt agree with as the things i did agree with. And now, after 6 years, i'm reading the next book where apparently i'm journeying further along this road. Apparently its an unending road. Although M. Scott Peck died Sept. 25 2005 - so in some ways his road has ended.

Anyway, i don't like his Christian approach to things. I don't like the "Hey God, is this what you want me to be doing now?". I don't believe in God. And that makes me feel bad.

But as i say, i like his books (that's M. Scott Peck's not God's) and i like his insight, and alot of the time he hits the nail on the head.

He says: "The anger centre in human beings works in exactly the same way as it does in other creatures. It is basically a territorial mechanism..."

He goes on to talk about our perceptions of territory and this got me thinking.

Perceptions of my territory. Personal, Physical, Professional, Ideological, Psychological and geographical.

" We are no different from a dog fighting another dog that wanders into its territory, except that for human beings , our definitions of territory are much more complex."

So after my little outburst in the back of the taxi, and some guilt about getting angry full-stop - still - weeks later i'm cogitating the ruminations and ripples of what made me get mad.

Contrary to what most Buddhist teachings seem to say, M. Scott Peck says its ok to get angry sometimes. There are situations where "after we think about it for a couple of days, we may discern that someone really did seriously violate our territory."
Apparently the difficulty is learning when to be angry.

Contrary to what M. Scott Peck says i do not find anger fun.
I am not searching for people to blame, i am not searching for people to blame, because i quite agree with the Buddhist thought that essentially all problems stem from my (your) personal perception of reality. The problem is in my mind. My territory, my mind.

Mr Peck continues later on to talk about bones.
In "medieval paintings of hell, in which you see this same kind of figure - a damned person gnawing on his ankle....

Buechner lists anger and compares it to gnawing on a bone. There's always a little more tendon, always a little more marrow, always just a little bit left, and you keep gnawing on it. The only problem Buechner says, is that the bone is gnawing on you."

Having this shock of anger stay with me for 3 weeks i thought it was because i was trying to analyse why.

The truth however, might seem to be that its actually the anger itself that's staying with me. I can remember all three times this year i've got angry. And none of those incidents leave me feeling cold, even if i think about them now.

SO all this thinking, that i thought i was good with anger and a calm person... actually im not. I'm gnawing on bones too. And now i'm blogging about gnawing on bones.

I think the real problem is my pride. My pride, my territory, it takes a while to heal. I gotta get over myself!

Hey wait! I've got a bone to pick with you!!!

Booked for Bhutan!!!

I have reserved...

not paid for yet...


My September / October trip.

Since my first plans, when i was thinking i might be able to take a month off, take the Trans-Siberian, go from Russia, all the way through Mongolia (on a poney), through China, to Tibet... things have changed.

Because i have a lot of work to do for the new Municipal Waste album, and the new Evile album, i can't really afford to take a month out of work.

Also, just the amount of planning it takes, especially when there are two of you, Birgit and I, trying to plan our dreams together... i dont have the time!

I am not looking at this as any kind of defeat, because i'm going to Tibet, and to Bhutan, and to Nepal. This year. But i can't do the Trans-Siberian this year. That's now next year.

So now, i am travelling alone - to meet up with a group - that is probably mostly consisted of people over the age of 40...

And i'm flying to Kathmandu on 26th September.

Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet.

Bhutan is apparently the happiest country on earth.

I just need to find the money and get it together.

Every night i dream of the Potala. When i have stress at work i think what it will be like to see the Keshav Pradhan

When i look at this photo it makes me want to cry. How amazing!!!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Sogyal Rinpoche

Its currently the International Buddhist film festival at the Barbican in London. Last night, after having spent the day sorting out Bonded by blood and Cauldron ( see updates on or ) and then interviewing Stuart Galbraith (of Sonisphere) on the show on I dragged Louise (of ) to see a film about Sogyal Rinpoche.
Sogyal Rinpoche. (No metal URL in these brackets)
Author of "The Tibetan book of living and dying" which he published about 8/9 years ago now. Its an accessible book about how to deal with death and how to live life better because of it. He always says "people say to me they are worried about dying, and I always say 'don't worry! You will die successfully!' "
He's a funny monk. Referred to as 'The laughing lama'
I went to his teachings when H.H. Dalai Lama was in Glasgow about 5 years ago and I not only found him easy to understand, but fun and full of enthusiasm. His teachings were one of my favourite I attended that week.
Part of his teachings are about preparing for death and how to care for the dying. I like the candid, honest approach. I hate the taboo of death. I don't think it helps the pain, the person, or the memory. He teaches death and life should be accepted as one thing - approached as u can't have one without the other - as opposed to collecting things and living like u will continue forever, or in the fear of death. Anyway, to be honest you're better off reading his book or seeing him teach than I try and explain it, cause I'm no teacher. I'm just in need of guidance sometimes. And I think its so important, especially working in this world of rock euphoria than I inhabit, to take time out and get perspective. Not only does it make u realise how insignificant rock music, rock journalism, etc are on the big scale of things, but also by looking objectively I realise how lucky I am to inhabit this world I work in, and how when faced with challenges that are stressful - its all in my mind and my approach, sort that out, and everything will be brighter.

So anyway, I'm a rubbish buddhist. Infact I'm not really a buddhist. I attended a week with the Dalai Lama in Glasgow, and I went on a retreat once. And I am, in many ways looking at me going to Tibet as a kind of pilgrimage (although I realise Tibet is not what it was - HH is actively encouraging people to visit Tibet). I can't (currently) meditate. I have no "sky like nature of mind"... Yet. Its a swirl of shit. And ideas. And cheeky thoughts. There's a tibetan saying about all water, if left undisturbed will gradually become clear - like the mind in meditation. Yeh... Errrr
I'm not one of those people on a hippy high about meditating. But I do realise my mind is my own worst enemy. Over thinking is my problem (one of them) - hence partying is my friend.
Partying or meditation.
Anyway, ill get there eventually. There's no rush and no stress on this quest. And even though I'm not strictly speaking a Buddhist, as I learn more I appreciate Buddhism more and I believe in the idea of us all being able to improve and the neccessity of training your mind.

~ I'm on the move - this was sent from my GooseBerry® ~

Friday, 8 May 2009

Cauldron and Bonded by blood hit the UK

Ughhh i've done it again
Alcohol and total lack of sleep and loads of Heavy metal!


Cauldron arrived in the UK yesterday with Bonded by blood and they've just left on tour this morning. We partied pretty much all night, including going to see SSS at the Underworld.
check out the photos on

I was so stoked to see both these bands, when you work with people closely who are a long way away and you only see periodically - and whats more you like them as people. Its always a pleasure to see them again.

Hence why i ended up with 2 bands, 2 drivers and Lucy staying in my flat last night. I think, I think, i may have surpassed my headbanger record count for staying in my flat. Winner.

I also got to see some of my favourite ladies last night - Olivia, Lucy, Phoebe and Louise.
Double winner.

Now i gotta get some rest.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

IN In the Loop

IN: In the Loop

I have been meaning to go and see IN THE LOOP for some time now. Not because of the rave reviews its been getting as this year's great political satire, but because halfway through, some friends of mine called CANNABIS CORPSE are playing in it, in a random bar in Washington D.C.

I've been to Washington D.C.

Here's me in November 2007 with Landphil of Cannabis Corpse / Municipal Waste

Here he is outside the Capitol where all the action takes place in this political comedy about the run up to the Iraq War

It's funny really on many levels

a) this is a BBC film. And they asked Cannabis Corpse to be in it

b) Cannibal Corpse were in Ace Ventura pet detective in a similar club scene

c) this film is mainly about English politics

d) I got to see Landphil on a big screen in Covent Garden. How weird.

When the club scene actually happened i freaked and screamed and threw my Minstrels in the air. Totally accidentally. I tried to take a photo but jumped too much and all i got was a blurry picture of what happened 2 secs later when the camera panned back to the bar where Anna Chlumsky (who once made me cry in My Girl) is chatting to some English drip (*spoiler - why would she do it with him, i mean really?)

So i guess Cannabis Corpse have all of 30 wonderful seconds on screen, not even that. Where you basically get to see Landphil and they play "Sentenced to Burn one".

But how fucking cool is that, they're in a movie - look at the credits! Hahahaha

Here's me with the remainder of my Minstrels after having watched the movie

And here's some random dude on the tube reading a paper with a big advert for the film on the back

Friday, 1 May 2009

Hammerfest day 2 and the return

Day 2 was gonna be busy. Although Evile played Friday night, their press was all Saturday afternoon, and Gama Bomb were due to arrive and play Saturday too, and do their press.

From previous experience, when Gama Bomb and Evile get together, or more to the point, Mike Evile and Gama Bomb, there's an uncontrollable chaotic love fest, where interviews will then go out the window... so one of the things i knew i would have to do, like when you have 2 naughty kids is keep them seperated until the work is done. Bless 'em.

So Lucy and i took a shift on the stall when we woke up. Here's the lovely Earache stall - stuck in the arcade where you couldn't bring alcohol in... (it moved later during the day - thanks security!)

I went to pick up Gama Bomb at the gate at 1pm. They mostly travel by public transport, even when on tour. Which i think is pretty awesome. And crazy.

Stupidly i'd arranged all the press for Gama Bomb and Evile to happen at the same time with the same change overs. Actually, i'm not sure if it was stupid or clever, cause i surely wasn't going to manage to do two seperate loads and better to get it all out the way. But it meant a lot of running about, which is... normal i spose.

I left Lucy on the stall with the dudes and took care of it. Both Evile and Gama Bomb are great to work with i'm really lucky to work with bands who (sometimes) listen to what i say, work hard, have great answers, and are a whole bunch of fun. Which is exactly what happened when i tried to get them to do interviews in a kids playground, multi storey ballpark. :-O Thrash bands all over the place, ball fights, obstacle course races in between BBC rock show interviews. Great stuff. Matt Drake decided that if Evile ever make it big he's going to build a ballpark in his house. Or alternatively make it a business if Evile don't work. Ballparks for adults.

Its such a shame we didn't get some of that Evile vs. Gama Bomb in a ballpark tomfoolery on tape.

Anyway, press done with 45mins to go before Evile and Gama Bomb's signing session, we headed to the canteen (bleugh), as i hadn't eaten all day, Gama Bomb needed to eat early because they were playing that night and all of us had been working press for nearly 4 hours. Also, strangely, the signing session was inside the canteen. I didn't realise this at first and thought that the queue outside was for the greasy fish n chips. But no! It was for Sepultura and our friend the amateur photographer Derrek (just kiddin he never took any photos and we were drunk and crazy and whatever anyway...-see Day 1 - Hey Derrek!). So anyway, we got some food and tried to eat quick in time for the signings. As Sepultura fans disappeared and Evile fans started arriving people wanted Matt to sign whilst he was eating so Lucy and i had to step in (Lucy was back with me now - yes guuurl!)

Then there was some mix up with Saxon's times for signing and they wanted Gama Bomb and Evile to wait, but i'd made them work all afternoon, and GB were due to play that evening, and they hadn't had a chance to enjoy the festival at all, so i made them sign on some tables down the side of the canteen to get it done, whilst Saxon were up the back. There weren't that many Saxon fans anyway, because the times had changed no one knew - people were there for Evile and GB - lots of them! Lovely job.
So after the signing i went back to the stall for a while, fully intending to stay on the stall until later on. By this point the stall had moved to by the main stage. After an hour of selling merch, Skindred came on and i just had to run and dance for a while. Lucy! This is what your poor arse needs, come down and shake it! We met Alice and girls in the pit and i bounced around for a while. I love Skindred. I always have maximum respect for 1) Someone who can start a good-time party 2) Frontmen that control the crowd like that 3) Frontmen who can spin a yarn
And i think Benji is fucking awesome.
We'd started drinking by now, and Skindred put me in a great mood. Benji came down to the stall to hang out for a while and we had a good chat, about the time i woke him up at 5am to do an interview for Totalrock (sorry Benji), Uxfest, music in the UK, and what he thinks about Earache, and how he kept saying to me that he has huge respect for Digby for investing so much money in his talent and spotting it early on. I like it when artists stay friends with Earache and appreciate what we do, heaven knows there's enough shit talking.

I also realise that with time opinions change, and with hindsight and perspective shows reasons and actions to be valid. So big up Benji, totally straight up and awesome. And i still owe him so much for sending Uxfest out with the bang it deserved at Islington Academy in '06.
So time for Gama Bomb! Second stage about 10pm. I love Gama Bomb's attitude. I love Philly's wit. And i love the fact those dudes are so cheeky. I think they're a really great band, and even though the sound was a bit shitty on the second stage, they played a storming set, and Philly is always worth while, oh and Joe's hair, because he's worth it too. Fuckin awesome.

I think i was a few drinks in by now, time to find Wolf, who i was REALLY looking forward to, having not seen them since the Municipal Waste / The Haunted tour 2 years ago. Axeman has been a regular contributor to my radio show on Monday nights and i love the new album Ravenous, so i was suitably excited.

We watched Saxon - with Doro.... (ok, not with her at all, but by her. But all hail Doro, we love you) Then Wolf (following Saxon!!!)
Lucy and i ended up on stage dancing our (injured in Lucy's case) butts off, and singing Voooodddooooooo as loud as we could.

The rest of the night was crazy, and Wolf lived up to their partying reputation. I was going between the Wolf party and the Gama Bomb party until about 5am. It was so funny. I believe i met an aeronautical engineer called Kevin would is responsable for the skin being scraped off the back of my knuckles whilst he was trying to give me £20 for some beers i had brought to the party. They weren't mine. I was giving out Matt's beer. The Aeronautical engineer didn't understand this.

At some point after that i headed to the beach for the sunrise with the remains of some booze.

All i know is that when i got in at 8am, Lucy was asleep. I out partied Lucy. Yes. Winner.

HAMMERFEST! What an awesome fucking weekend!!

And here's Lucy and i trying to be awake enough to get home, giggling all the way. (partly because i had ruined my sneakers and went home in sandals with socks. Yes. i did that. winner.)

1st Festival of the year. Result=awesome.

1 down, 8 to go.