In this final installment of Kings Destroy‘s European tour diary, vocalist Steve Murphy steps in to wrap up the last several shows on the band’s run with Rosetta, taking us through five countries in six nights in the process. Since this is the final update and the tour is over, I’d like to send extra thanks to Murphy, to guitarists Carl Porcaro and Chris “C-Wolf” Skowronski, bassist Aaron Bumpus and drummer Rob Sefcik for their contributions along the way. It’s been a blast to read about their wine-addled gallivanting, and I hope to get the opportunity to do it again soon.
Also please note that the live photos for this entry were taken from links provided by the band. The shot of Murphy below is by Laura Bender, and the pics of Porcaro and Bumpus are by Diana Matthess. Please enjoy:
I’ll pick up the tour diary from here. Drive from Prague to Vienna, Austria, overly long but we get in around 7PM which means we don’t have time to see arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the world… bummer. We load in at Club Arena… I see on the flyer Ufomammut, Red Fang, Electric Wizard are all playing here coming up. The venue is an old slaughterhouse comprising of four or five buildings in various states of disrepair — perfect for us. There is an opening band called Torn from Earth from Budapest. They rip through a heavy set that I dug. We are next. We are pretty tight by now. Locked in to each other. We are playing new songs probably half the set each night. We finish a 45-minute set to calls for an encore but there is no time. Rosetta step onstage. They have mastered the changeover on this tour and often start within 10-15 minutes of us. They are a great band. They’ve toured the world and have played 750-plus shows. I marvel at that knowing KD just finished playing show number 40 in our brief tenure. Just got news that David Bottrill will be mixing the album so pretty psyched about that. Requisite night out and crash to sleep. Tomorrow Budapest, one of my favorite cities in the world.
Whoa. What a stunning city. Think Paris with an edge. We got to the club early and had four hours to kill so KD and Armine from Rosetta found a large thermal spa which Budapest is famous for, paid 12 bucks to get in and had our fill of 15 different thermal baths of varying temperatures, the highlight being a large outdoor pool with a built in whirlpool that was about the size of a circle pit and moving 25mph filled with people going round and round. Carl went in it and as he was trying to exit crushed about four Hungarians because he miscalculated the speed required to exit the whirlpool — hilarious. Back to the venue for load in, food, sound check. Opening band again is Torn from Earth who are supercool dudes. They draw a good crowd. KD hits the stage with eight people in the audience. We kick it off with “The Mountie” and people start filtering in. Onto a new song, “Decrepit,” which is slow. Crowd is now three-quarters full and people are into it but tentatively. We have been told the Budapest metal scene is quite discerning, and if they don’t like you, they will let you know. Kick off “The Toe” with Carl in the audience and me climbing the stacks where we remained… Hmmm, Budapest starting to wake up. Straight into another new one “Casse-Tête” and now people are hooked. Ride out the set with “Old Yeller” and people are screaming for one more, so they get a sloppily-played “Dice.” Best show of the tour after Poland thus far. Late night for the band afterwards. Pretty much like every night at this point. The van ride to Croatia is a quiet one with guys licking their wounds from the night before.
Croatia is not in the EU so we got caught up at the border for an hour, which wasn’t fun. Got into Zagreb and rolled into a DIY punk venue. Walked in and knew we were in trouble immediately. Warm beer in the fridge, bathroom that rivaled CBGB’s circa 1985 minus the glory. Loaded in and immediately left the venue to spend as much time as possible away from it. We found the nice part of town and sat at an outdoor cafe for dinner. Nothing like some cold local wine and beer to loosen up after a long drive. Go on at 10PM and play well for an hour. Set is now 70 percent new stuff. Made a bunch of new fans. A young lady came to the front and tried to stop the set midway through demanding that I come over to her in Croatian. I dismissed her with a wave away and then didn’t see her until after the set. I’ve had a habit of wearing white and orange polka dot socks pulled up this tour. She approached me in a very inebriated fashion to tell me that she had only wanted to pull my socks down. She then asked me for my dirty socks. That was a first. I offered to trade them for her underwear (tongue in cheek), to which I was told she wasn’t wearing any. After receiving that information I dutifully removed my socks and handed them over. It’s the small things in life. The night ends up with the band hanging out in a park with some of the locals late. These people were just thrilled to see a band from NYC and meet us and we were thrilled right back. Tomorrow a long drive to Comacchio, Italy.
Three shows left. Long drive today. We’re used to it but it weighs on us at this point. The show in Zagreb was great. We are very wary of playing in Italy. Many members of KD have played Italy before to poor crowds. Rosetta has also not played Italy at all. We have a beautiful drive through Slovenia – wow, what a country. We arrive at venue at 7PM and it’s looking good: Nice club, big stage and DRI is playing here in a few weeks. How bad could it be? We haven’t had a bad show yet in terms of crowd. Rosetta has a loyal draw and KD seems to have a complementary sound and so it’s been a great tour. We find out there are five bands playing and that we go on at midnight. Great — the Adriatic Sea is a 15-minute walk, so we load in, set up and head to the beach for a 9:30PM swim and a bite to eat. Sun is still setting when we get there and it’s a nice seaside community. We are out of place with our black t-shirts and shorts and scraggly look. No worries, as we are immediately enjoying the Adriatic and the water temp is about 85 degrees. Awesome. We hit a seaside cafe for a bottle of chilled Italian wine. Awesome. We walk back to the venue and it’s empty. Uh oh. Some crappy hardcore band is playing and there is no one there. It’s 11PM. Ok first bad show. We’ve played enough shows to know this. There is a DJ playing bad hardcore music between sets. I ask him to play Black Sabbath during our changeover. He says no. I think to myself that’s perfect. I go to the bar and get five shots of Jeager, bring them onstage and we toast the crowd of 20 and drain them. We go on at 12:45AM and play five songs. There was an exceptionally long mic chord, so during the second song I walked off stage and straight behind the bar and sang to the bartenders – didn’t Italian opera singers sing in restaurants for food and drink? I guess that’s lost on this generation. I try to sing and serve at the same time but that doesn’t work out too well. The small crowd has smiles on their faces though and that’s a win for a show like that. Rosetta hits the stage at 1:25AM. They are a machine and rip through a set. Bad show — it happens — we take it in stride. We sleep at a seaside hostel wake up and hit the beach again as though we are on vacation. Two days to go. The Adriatic Sea cleansing away the poor memories of the previous night. Onward to Milan.
Second to last show. We find out the show is being promoted by same company that did previous show. Bummer. We are on autopilot though. We have an album to record and are focused on that. Inside the van the language being spoken is English but all in a sort of dialect that has alternative meanings. I realize that if anyone were to enter the van and ride with us right now they would not understand any of the conversations. Touring has a way of altering your mental state to a point that only your bandmates can understand you and each other. It’s an interesting dynamic. Drive, load in, sound check, go find someplace to eat. Club is in the middle of nowhere in Milan. The sound at the club is great though and that means something to us. We find a small local restaurant and have great fresh Italian food and wine. As we walk back to the club we see a rather large fire of burning tires in an abandoned lot. The entire area reeks and is smoky. It’s like a scene out of a war… It reminds us of the Bronx. We hit the stage and play almost all new stuff. It’s ours now and we are not tentative with it. The last six shows during the bass break in “The Mountie,” Aaron has been playing something different, usually Iron Maiden or Metallica. The last two nights he has been playing a Rosetta bassline. Rosetta pays homage to us tonight by playing the first 30 seconds of “Casse-Tête, one of our new songs. It does not go unappreciated by KD. Quiet night for a change. The tour is rapidly winding down and there is talk in the van of the hated “reentry” into our non-touring lives. We know what to expect but it’s still tough to deal with — the feelings of isolation and not wanting human contact upon returning seem counterintuitive but we all feel the same way.
Eight-hour drive to Karlsruhe is pain, but we drive through Switzerland. It’s stunning. We have been in 14 countries in 19 days and played 17 shows. Everybody has gotten along well. We roll into Karlsruhe with mixed feelings. It’s Sunday night so we have low expectations. It’s also raining. Wrong. Place has a great crowd and we summon a huge reserve of energy and basically just let it all hang out. Set ends with everyone playing in the crowd except Rob, the drummer. Perfect ending to KD tour. Rosetta gets up and rips the place up. Band has to load out and drive overnight to Brussels to catch an 8AM flight. It’ll take a few days for the tour to sink in, but from my perspective we achieved what we set out to achieve, saw some great spots, met the nicest people and got to play hard every night. Onto the next one!