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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Update


First of all I'd like to send a link to our friends website over at http://lookingforgold.blogpot.com/. Some crazy knowledge being dropped there.

If you are the kind of person that wants to buy "Year of the Pig" in digital format, the other option is at Other Music, right here. Don't forget that the actual record comes out next Tuesday.

Meanwhile, back in Euroslavia, here is an update from the road circa 3 years ago, G. Beat style:

Like every other band Fucked Up has spent considerable time undergoing mental and physical fermentation between four doors and eight panes of glass; endless stretches of asphalt passing beneath our feet. There is a strong difference between us and all the rest, though: The commonly held notion that every band treats their van like “another member” of their band; a friend; a companion that will never let you down; this sort of relationship with a car is very foreign to us. We can’t even keep a consistent roadie let alone an inanimate object. In fact, short of a band like Motorhead who probably tours in a different bus every trip, I can’t think of a band that is more promiscuous with its ‘extra member.’ Despite our one night stand policy on vans, we’ve spent our fair share of time in them no matter what country, state, province, or regime we find ourselves in. As soon as we pass through that sliding door, flashes of every other rolling torture chamber we’ve been interned in come flooding back. While it would be unfair for me to speak for everyone in saying all of our time in vans has been unpleasant, I’m sure we can all agree on this story as a good dose of bad luck.

Our van: a late ‘80s Mercedes Benz bus/cargo truck. Seating for a driver, two front passengers, 3 back seat passengers, and one or two people in the loft. Seatbelts for one (driver) and the front seat bench attached by what we would hope be the indomitable spirit of ONE nut and bolt.

Our Driver: 18 year-old Martijn Swanink. A young Dutch man who had just received his drivers license a few months earlier. The furthest distance he’d driven clocked in at about 2 hours.

The Tour: 21 days through Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Serbia.

The drives had all been long, but relatively painless. Passing time is the first thing you learn on the road. This particular day found us wondering the streets of Dresden, Germany, a few hours from entering the Czech Republic to play a Friday night gig in Prague. Getting into the Czech was easy. As we passed over the border we noticed another red van full of punks waiting to be interrogated and searched. We laughed at their misfortune and flaunted our good fortune, jeering and waving as we drove by. Roads in Czech were good to start – four to six lanes on a well lit, well maintained highway. About ten kilometers from the border and well on our way to ‘Praha,’ the road deflated from a comfortable European highway into a bumpy, two lane road, winding down a steep descent through dense traffic and an odd spectacle -- Small cabin-like huts that had a floor-to-ceiling glass window across their front appeared every few hundred metres. At first they were empty displaying nothing more than an arm chair, but as we passed deeper into the Czech countryside, the windows quickly began to fill up. The entire highway was now a drive thru moto-brothel, broken up only occasionally by growers of mushroom wandering the shoulder, senior oriented souvenir shops every few kms or prostitutes walking alongside traffic and into wooded areas. Strange, but enjoyable, the scenery dripped by.

The hillside got steeper as our several thousand pound van struggled to resist gravity. It was all a great sight until a short silence between laughs and jokes produced a cigarette stifled cry to fume from Martijn’s mouth: “Shit. T-t-t-he brakes are GONE.” Like those first few moments on a roller coaster, we started to roll freely downhill towards the back end of a semi truck. The van lurched over bumps as we swerved onto a small laneway on the side of the road; just short of the truck and just in time to pull the emergency brake and stop. Our stomachs in our throats, we tip toed out of the van to take a look: Smoke lingered around our front tires and the smell of burnt/melted plastic accompanied it. We needed help.

A conversation with a Dutch roadside aid telephone service alerted us that by riding the brake for so long, our brake fluid had overheated and boiled rendering it and our brakes completely useless. We were advised to wait for an hour to let the fluid reconstitute itself and start driving again, this time with the caveat “use the brake as little as possible (to conserve the potential teaspoon of fluid we had left).” We got back into the van and with no brakes traversed the rest of the sex highway careening down hill at top speed, hand at attention on the emergency brake, our only defense against spreading FU across highway E55. The hills in the Czech did not let up. With our free fall, new smells came and went, now mostly coming from the transmission on which we had to rely to slow us down. I was in the loft, a vantage which no one really wants on a hairy drive (no seatbelts, seats, or safety whatsoever) with only a small opening to let me know what was happening in front of us…to the left of us…behind us…in front of us…on top of us… otherwise all I could hear was the wind rush by and our van squeaking in pain around every corner. Pinned to the wall, ceiling, and mattress, I’ve never felt further away from home.



We survived the descent effetely, but what should have been our salvation – Prague – turned into more trouble. We immediately got lost after the first step on our directions. After a few blocks we were helplessly turned around and stuck somewhere just outside of downtown Prague when the only other car possibly in worse shape than ours whipped by us, billowing blue/black smoke and swerving all over the road. Barely catching a shade of red, we recognized the van as the punks from the border cross and took it as a sign to follow them and hope they were going somewhere we would want to be. We followed their speeding inferno on a Bullitt style car chase through Prague, leading us to a large apartment complex and a tiny door beneath a flight of steps. Their van practically collpased as they stopped in front of what seemed to be the venue. Eight madmen and women fell out of the van, stumbling drunk and screaming “we’re here!” The promoter ran out, rushing them into the club. “Who’s that??” we asked. “That’s Martyrdod, they’re headlining and they’re late. Just look at their van.” He said. “We’re Fucked Up, we’re late too.” He shot us and our van (which didn’t look bad at all) a look as if to say ‘what the hell took YOU so long?’ and led us inside where a whirlwind 45 minutes of noise between two bands produced one of our most memorable shows of that tour. The next day, the side door fell off...


Don't forget also to check this out!

10 Comments:

Anonymous radovan karadzic said...

what kind of worthless roadie wears flip-flops while drinking Tullamore Dew in the Sudetenland???

1:18 PM  
Anonymous dansfkd said...

I'm in Australia, where can i get Year Of The Pig from? Doesnt look like rough trade, whats your rupture or insound or anywhere will send it out this way.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Joeplork said...

Hi, did you guys do covers of some Dolly Mixture songs or was that somebody else?

Thanks!

10:51 PM  
Blogger HiddenWorld said...

Joe Plork - that was us.

11:45 PM  
Blogger Joeplork said...

Awesome! I will certainly look into more of your stuff then. Not nearly enough people know what is up with the Dolly!

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