After a 2 hour delay due to some part in the cockpit that broke leaving the pilot unable to steer the plane we take off at 9pm on route to Frankfurt! 2 terrible meals and 2 movies later with some bad sleep in between we arrive. Germany is the best place to fly in as a band. The Customs Officers are usually pretty young and they love bands so you walk up show your passport and they can sense you may be in a band. After you say yes the next question is where are you playing and then they proceed to tell the other agents armed with AK 47’s who tell you what cool bar you should go to in town! As we sit outside in the rain under a tent at a bar we ponder the road ahead. 30 Days and 24 Shows in which we will have traveled by Planes, Trains, Ferries, Vans and the Chunnel. This tour reminds Rafa of the adventures his Great Grandfather Rafael Martinez had as he traveled from Colombia to Spain in the 1920’s.
(Story by Rafa Martinez)
My great grandfather Rafael Martinez ran a transportation agency called
Martinez & Duque back in the 1920’s in Colombia. He planned and saved up for months in hopes to somehow make it to Europe to explore different cultures and to learn more about international commerce and bring new insights . Traveling long distances in those days was very dangerous and he also wasn’t sure if he was going to make it back so he wrote his will just in case.
He began his journey by taking a ten hour ride on a train from the city of Medellin to a small town called Puerto Berrio. He got on a boat there that travelled up the Magdalena river for two days to the city of Barranquilla. He then hopped on a transatlantic steam freighter for four weeks that took him to Spain and he eventually traveled inland into the continent.
Back then everyone counted on getting robbed at some point because of the lawlessness and corruption going on. Fortunately everything went alright and he was able to explore new lands and make it home safely a few months later bringing back with him nomadic tales of enigmatic enchantment. They did however run out of whiskey half way through the trek on the big boat on the way there.
Let the Acid King Tour Begin!
Acid King Beer Consumption – 7
Next Stop – 1st show – Stoned from the Underground Erfurt, Germany
Saturday 7/15 Show 1 – Stoned from the underground – Erfurt, Germany
Deja vu in 2013 we took the same nonstop flight from SFO to Frankfurt and played this same festival in 2013! 4 hour drive from Frankfurt to Erfurt (lots of Furts in Germany). 1st show under our belts. You know you’ve made it when you get your own storage container at a festival show as your backstage. After the set we walked around and were met with a fan in tears, a couple that are going to name their baby Lori and a girl that was only into techno and reggae until she heard us so I guess you can say show #1 was a success.
Total Band Beers – 13
Next Stop – Red Smoke Festival – Pleszew, Poland
Sunday 7/16 – Show 2 Red Smoke Festival – Pleszew, Poland
You know you’ve arrived in Poland when the street signs look like your cat walked on your keyboard. After 5 hours on the freeway we turn off for another 1 hour drive into the country in which you say you yourself “where the hell are we going”? We land in what appears to be a really nice suburb of Poland. The festival is on this property next to some community center with a track a waterslide and a small stone amphitheater. They had camping in the back and a huge Teepee where a DJ set up for an after party. You realize how small the world is when you travel. When I lived in Chicago I had another band and the drummer was also named Lori she was dating a guy from the UK for a bit while he was in Chicago and 30 years later I connected with him on Facebook. Coincidently his new wifes daughter happens to be a big Acid King fan and lives nearby so she came up to introduce herself. After the show we partied in the Teepee ( I know Not PC) but when the Teepee is rocking some Deep Purple and Thin Lizzy what can ya do?
Next stop back to Germany Hamburg Germany!
Acid King Beer Consumption – 8 or 9!
Monday 7/17 Show 3 Hafenklang – Hamburg, Germany
All shows lead back to Germany on this tour so back we go to Hamburg. We’ve played this venue at least 3-4 times already so we feel very at home here. We had low expectations for a Monday night show but 130 people showed up with his 100 more then we expected! We had a very warm reception from the locals and we went back in the Acid King vault for an encore of Teen Dusthead and Silent Circle. They have a band apartment in the back which is fairly common in Europe and I always sleep in “my room”which is the front more private one! After the show we had to prepare for the tomorrow’s journey which proved to be no easy task when branching off for 3 days.
Total Band Beers (Mostly drank by Bil!) 8
Epilogue By Rafa……..
We set our sails north thrusting our sonic caravan into the majestic seas of the Baltic region. Just five years ago Acid King had ventured into Finish lands for the first time, but our nordic friends summon the riff once again for nocturnal celebration in electric ceremony. We will then continue our trek east into Russian territory for the first time. Seven years ago I had the opportunity to speak with a woman in Latvia after a Black Cobra show. In her excitement and gratitude for our presence she continued to explain how before the fall of the Soviet Union it was illegal for Russian citizens to own, let alone listen to music that came from outside their land. In an effort to preserve their culture, not to mention their waning economy, it was a way for the state to regulate commerce and subversively censor and and control the public. But thankfully those days are now gone and we are fortunate to be able to bring our style of music to the Russian people. As Leonard Nimoy once said in the Boston Museum of Science, it is important to honor tradition, but we must also welcome change and progress for the betterment of humanity.
Tuesday 7/18 Show 4 Kuudes Linja – Helsinki, Finland
It was good to be back to the sauna capital of the world! Here we are 5 years later playing the same club with the same promoter and the same sound man. The club was a madhouse about 200-250 people in attendance. Usually the Acid King audience is about 80% men and 20% ladies but today it was more like 60%/40% so the ladies are rocking in Helsinki! A shout out to Woodrue and Albino Rhino for opening the show and sharing gear as well as Esa for asking us back! Back at the hotel we had to partake in the Finnish Sauna ritual so the trip is complete!
Total Band Beers – 10
Next Stop – Train to St Petersburg Russia
From Russia with Love
Where to even begin……. Admittedly I was a little nervous for whatever reason at the thought of taking the train to Russia with all our gear I had this make believe story in my head that it would be super sketchy and all our stuff would be stolen. Well, of course everything I thought was totally wrong the train was awesome the ride was easy and our awesome hosts Andrey and Vadim were there to meet us right when we got off the train. Politics aside Russia from a band tour perspective was awesome.
Wednesday 7/19 Show 5 MOD – Saint Petersburg, Russia
The club was right next to the Church of the Savior on Blood! Nope not making this up! The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. Other names are the Church on Spilled Blood, the Temple of the Savior on Spilled Blood.
Had no idea what to expect at this show there was about 200-250 attendance at the show and the crowd knew the words to the songs.
We usually have a bottle of tequila on the ride but it was mandatory we had to have Vodka. The locals tell us this whole Russia and vodka thing is a myth and there is no connection to Russians and vodka but as tourists they humored us with a bottle. There was no way we were going to drink this all. After playing our 1 hour set the crowd shouted for an encore so we brought the bottle on to the stage and poured shots for as many fans as we could!
Thursday 7/20 Show 6 Volta – Moscow, Russia
There are 1st for everything 1st time in Russia and 1st time I ever got my picture in what is the equivalent to the Hemispheres magazine on a the plane the one that sits in the back of the seat that you begrudgingly read after you’ve exhausted all other things to do on the plane but this was on the Moscow Train!
Hello from the Red Square………. for those in a touring a band you know it’s a rarity if ever get to see anything in town besides the club, the van and the hotel and if you’re not sleeping perhaps some scenery on the road. After a 4 hour train ride from Saint Petersburg to Moscow we were whisked off to really our only request which was to go to the Red Square. Most of the square was closed due some event they were having but I saw Stalin and Lenin’s graves from across the gate at least!
Back into the van and to Club Volta. We were met by another host in Moscow Evg below who blew my mind by making us some Acid King vodka!
Much bigger city there was almost 400 in attendance in Moscow. We again shared our backstage bottle of vodka with the fans and then…………. Mind totally blow and brain explodes while I see this guy get hoisted up in his wheelchair by his friends to rock out to Teendusthead.
We say our goodbyes to Andrey at Mad Stream Booking. He is one of the main promoters bringing our kind of music to Russia. Big thanks for sending us over and showing me that no matter what your politics are in your country like minded people are brought together by music .
Thanks to Andrey Vadim and Evg!
Total Band Beers – ?? Don’t remember
Total Band Vodka Shots – 6
7/21 Day Off – Travel Day from Moscow to Oslo
Monday 7/22 Show 7 John Dee – Oslo, Norway – RAFA’S BIRTHDAY!
We pulled into Oslo the night before and had the luxury of staying in the same hotel for 2 nights. Wondered around looking for food at 10pm and the sky was still pretty bright almost like sunset. After circling around we settled on some really shitty kebab place!. Freaking Olso is expensive! Woke up to do some much needed laundry. We cruised over to the laundromat which apparently there aren’t too many may be 2 in the entire town! It’s always a struggle to figure out how to do your laundry in Europe. We thought about doing a drop off wash and fold. The nice lady/shyster at the laundry mat told us how cheap it was for wash and fold only 823kr which when converted to USD came to $104! No thanks we’ll do our own for the cheap price of $35! We met another American who is working in town and he told us that Edward Munch’s (The Scream) grave was across the street so a trip to visit was in order.
We never played in Oslo before. We had planned on going on a Euro tour in 2016 decided to just stay at home that year after the Eagles of Death Metal Terrorist attack in Paris. I noticed a show announcement and ticket sales for a show in Oslo that we were not playing. Here we are 2017 finally making it up North to Viking territory. I always have low expectations therefore no disappointments! Based on the Facebook event it showed about 70 people going so when over 200 showed up we were like hell yea! Some of the fans came up to ask me what happened last year why we cxld so it was pretty cool to see so many fans.
This day also happened to be Rafa’s Bday so a birthday celebration was in order! We took him out to a local fish market for dinner which happened to cost less money than getting our laundry washed and folded! I had asked the club if it was possible to pick up a cake for him. When we go to the club and headed to the backstage they had a card and a gift wrapped package for him which included a blow up guitar and an inflatable shark suit! Rafa decided f we got an encore he would wear it on stage. We did a little try run to make sure he could play with it at sound check. After our last song the audience wanted to hear more so I had to stall while Rafa put on the shark suit. I asked the audience to sing Happy Birthday to him in Norwegian and we brought out the cake and he played the rest of the set in the inflatable shark suit! A Birthday to remember! Happy Birthday RAFA!
After the show one of the members of the local opener were dj’ing at a bar so Bil and I cruised out to hit a few bars before calling it a night. The 1st one was called Åpner misfornøyelsesbar the place was decorated by local artist Christopher Nielsens. It’s place where you are to not come happy. We walked up to he bar and the bartender knew who we were and offered to buy us a beer. We got their beer on tap the Unhoppy. Very weird cool place. On to the Kneven for one more for the road. Lots of people from the show at the bar = lots of conversations with tall blond dudes!
PLEASE NOTE: AK are on tour until August 16. You may still order, but items won't ship until after August 16th. Thank you for your understanding!