When vocalist Steve Murphy of Kings Destroy — who’s hands down one of the most solid dudes I’ve ever come across in my doomly travels — first pitched me on the idea of a European tour diary, I was like, “Yeah, alright, I’d be up for that.” And I was, but I kind of figured that the band would be too busy drinking good beer and kicking good ass to actually follow through on it.
More the fool I, and rarely have I been so thrilled to play the fool. Below, bassist Aaron Bumpus checks in from the road as Kings Destroy opens the Red Stage at Sweden’s Getaway Rock Fest and continues their European run with Rosetta. If you’ve missed the first installments of the tour diary, click here.
Official tour song: Scorpions, “Winds of Change”
Official tour mascot: Paul Stanley
After another great show at Magnet with our tourmates, Rosetta, Kings Destroy says farewell to Berlin and heads north to Sweden. My mind begins to generate a rather long list of bands that were born in this country over the years, and I start to think, “What metalhead wouldn’t be psyched about going to Sweden?”. Especially when said visit involves an insane event like Getaway Rock Fest.
Driving up from Berlin to the ferry, we hadn’t slept much in the van. So once we boarded the ferry, I put my head down and was out within minutes. I did wake up a couple of times to take a peak outside at what appeared to be small glacial structures. An ominous mist rose off the top as we crept by. Fucking metal, indeed.
After a second blown rear tire in three days (this time on Rosetta‘s van), we continued on to Linköping, where we made camp for the night. We would get an early start in the morning. Of course, delays are inevitable sometimes. Without getting too detailed, I guess it’s fair to say we may have put a little too much faith in our GPS. Once we figured out a way to get to a much more reliable road, we hauled ass to Gävle with Captain Murphy at the helm, and arrived at the exact time we were scheduled to set up for soundcheck. The view from the “Red” stage at Getaway Rock Fest was a sight to behold, adjacent to the river, blue skies and a clear sunny day. Since we opened the show on our stage (with Rosetta to follow), we weren’t expecting much of an audience. This was the earliest set we’ve ever played (2PM), but sure enough, people started making their way over to rock with us. Good times on that stage — always nice to have a bit of room to run around. Well received, and we had the rest of the day to hang out, drink beer and watch some of the other bands.
The highlight for me was at about 4:30PM, when I was lucky enough to catch Suicidal Tendencies set in its entirety. I watched from the frontlines singing along every word like an obsessed angst-filled Dogtown teenager. One can never get tired of watching Cyco Miko bug out on stage — dude never seems to run out of energy. I can honestly say, with four stages, 12 hours of bands, blond headbanging as far as the eye can see, and of course, t-shirts of all kinds, from obscure local favorites to the usual hall of famers (Iron Maiden wins the t-shirt popularity contest without question), I’ve never seen anything quite like this. The magnitude of such an event is pretty unbelievable, until you witness it for yourself.
Spent some time hanging out with the guys from Weedeater, who are some of the nicest dudes, and always entertaining both on stage and off. You know what? I take back what I said earlier. The REAL highlight of my day was watching the Weedeater cats commandeer a forklift from the stage crew, going full throttle towards the backstage area, then Dixie riding the lift all the way up to the top and back down, all without spilling his beer.
Saturday’s headliner: none other than the legendary Yngwie Malmsteen, who has not slowed down one bit since Rising Force. Sweden’s prodigal son returns, in triumph, to unleash the fucking fury in his homeland. Now that’s a sight I never thought I would get to see.
After a quick ferry ride followed by a 16-hour drive, we’re back in Germany for a show in Hamburg. Our overall weariness from the drive may have added to the extra-slow set we delivered, making it appropriately doomtastic. We made friends with some of the locals who accompanied us to a metal bar in the neighborhood where we spent the majority of the rest of the night drinking beer and filling up the jukebox. Lots of laughs as we stumbled back to the venue/apartment where we were staying.
Before I tell the story of our arrival in Prague, I should mention we just had our third flat tire in a week (the second flat for Rosetta‘s van). In order to make the gig, we had both bands pile into one van with all our gear, and fucking tore ass across the German border. Pretty intense. We knew we were going to be late, but “the show must go on,” as they say. We didn’t mind playing a relatively short set so the Rosetta fans at Klub 007 would get their money’s worth.
It was also C-wolf‘s birthday yesterday. I can’t think of a better place to celebrate the man and the legend that is the C-wolf. The next morning, we took a walk into town. We really haven’t had much time to go out and explore, but I’m glad Prague was one of the three we’ve been able to check out. Old cities are something of a fascination of mine, and I’ve been fortunate to see several on this tour. Little by little, we’re creeping closer towards the end. It’s really starting to sink in that this thing is almost over. But, with six days left in the tour, there are bound to be a few more adventures.