UK hardcore ragers Feed The Rhino will release their new studio album this June!
The Sorrow And The Sound, the band’s third full-length, will officially land on June 16 via Siege Of Amida Records/Century Media!
Fuck yes! In the meantime, you can catch the lads tearing stages to shreds on the following dates with The Howling and Zoax:
1st Brighton, Audio
2nd Bath, Moles
3rd Oxford, O2 Academy 2
8th Nottingham, Basement
9th Carlisle, Brickyard
10th Leicester, O2 Academy
15th Peterborough, Met Lounge
16th Folkestone, Quarterhouse
You can also catch them at the following festivals:
8th Newport Centre with Skindred (along with The Blackout, Hacktivist and Continents)
14th Gwynedd, Hammerfest
15th Southampton, Takedown Festival
29th Liverpool, Radstock
30th Newcastle, Radstock
Oh, and at Download in June. So basically, you have no sensible excuse to miss them. Expect chaos.
Fancy winning a “Bag Of Bones” with EMP?
Our chums at EMP have given us two rad, skeletonised bags to give away – each stuffed with cool stuff!
To find out what’s inside and to enter our competition, CLICK HERE.
It’s hard not to see the irony in drummer Dave Witte—he who has “Play Fast” tattooed across the knuckles of his hands—collaborating with a brewpub called Tired Hands. Witte’s hands, which have pounded on quite an array of extreme albums—from Discordance Axis to Municipal Waste—don’t ever seem to get tired. But Witte put his hands to work in collaborating on a beer with Tired Hands owner Jean Broillet IV (pictured above at left).
“Jean asked me if I wanted to do a beer together named after ‘Play Fast,’ which I have tattooed on me,” Witte explains. “With Jean’s expert guidance, the beer turned out great. After all, I’m not really a brew master. It was basically me pouring my ideas into the tank and Jean fine-tuning it to make it great like everything else he brews.”
The brew of those labors is a strong habanero stout called, of course, Play Fast. Not surprising, since Witte is a self-avowed “stout nut.” Here’s how Tired Hands describes it: “Brewed with a plethora of specialty malts and oats, conditioned on house-smoked (maple wood) habaneros and locally roasted (Reanimator) coffee. It has notes of dense chocolate, earthy coffee, honey, burnt sugar, ephemeral smoke and blast beats.”
The beer was released last night at Tired Hands, where Witte and Broillet presided over a night of metal and beer-themed music trivia. A handful of music-savvy attendees went home with some sweet musical swag Witte brought to give away to the trivia know-it-alls at the event.
Wanna try Play Fast yourself? Gotta get yourself to Tired Hands in Ardmore, PA, while it lasts on draft. It’s not available in bottles, so don’t ask.
Crumbs, we’re good to you.
As well as the free CD and free poster pack in our immense new issue, readers who pick up their copy from Morrisons will also nab themselves a free CD from rising UK electro-punks, Hounds!
Well? Get to and check it out!
** It’s not secret dBHQ gets excited when we hear Swedes Grand Magus have a new album at the ready. So, when the Stockholm-based trio Grand Magus announced Triumph and Power as their new full-length our Malevolent Creation sweat pants bulged a bit. The following is the full conversation between Decibel and Grand Magus beardman/ass-kicker JB Christoffersson. If you’re still into reading words on paper the other part of the interview with JB is available in Decibel 113 [HERE].
There aren’t many power trios around these days. What do you think is the greatest benefit of being a trio?
JB Christoffersson: One of the most important aspects is that it reduces the risk of squabbling within the band. Since you are only three, everything is up on the surface and there can be no “sides”. We all have to have the same vision or accept the same vision, without discontent. It’s easier to be a unit, you know? Also when it comes to playing live, it’s usually easier to mix a good sound for the front of house mix. With two guitars for instance, you immediately have issues with balance etc.
Is there a difference in the way you approached Triumph and Power from previous albums?
JB Christoffersson: In some ways, yes. The goal was more defined this time. I wanted Triumph and Power to be really powerful, majestic and less “hard rocky” than The Hunt. I think The Hunt was a natural reaction to Hammer of the North, but I feel that Triumph and Power is really the essence of this band.
Would you call Grand Magus an extension of what UFO, Accept, Rainbow, and Black Sabbath were doing in the ‘70s? A modern representation, if you will.
JB Christoffersson: Yes, I would agree with that. Our focus has always been on writing memorable songs rather than to spend much time thinking about the sound so to speak. What made the music of the bands you just mentioned so special is that those songs have survived all “progress” when it comes to sound production, etc. No recording or mixing techniques can replace a great song, without great songs you have nothing in my opinion. In short: I think that many bands misunderstand the reason why they like something, they think that a heavy or brutal sound makes for a heavy and brutal song. That is not the case. It’s the song that is the music.
There’s also a bit of folk music going on. Underpinnings of Svensk folkmusik, for example. I hear it in “The Hammer Will Bite,” “Arv,” and “Steel Versus Steel.”
JB Christoffersson: Yes, we have always had that underlying current in our music. This time we wanted it to show a bit more clearly than on some of our past albums. Then again, it’s evident on Iron Will, Wolf’s Return etc.
The mid-section to “The Hammer Will Bite” is a bit different. Where’d that come from? The way the solo transitions in is pretty great.
JB Christoffersson: Yeah. That middle part has a bit of Scandinavian black metal in it. It was originally part of another song, but we felt that “The Hammer Will Bite” should expand more and be more epic, so we did a new arrangement and it worked out really well.
You’ve made previous statements about putting recording money in the recording of drums. Why is that? Is that true for Triumph and Power as well?
JB Christoffersson: Yes. Well, in heavy metal the drums are extremely important, maybe more important than many people realize. There has been a tendency in “modern” metal to focus too much on a fat guitar sound, resulting in really weak sounding or fake sounding drums. In my experience, the fat guitar sound is a result of the combination of drums and bass guitar, rather than using all space/frequencies for the guitars. You have to have a really solid foundation to make things explode, hence the focus on the drums.
The Hunt was written individually—not in a jam room. How was Triumph and Power written?
JB Christoffersson: Since I had a clear vision of the direction of this album, it was natural that I wrote the songs this time. We also had a lot of pressure time-wise, The Hunt was released last year and to keep momentum we needed to compress the usual time frame to have new album done already this year. Normally, we wouldn’t even have started recording until January 2014, and now we have an album coming out in January. The discipline of steel!
You did some things differently on The Hunt than on Hammer production-wise. Triumph and Power brings the clarity to the production back. Was that your decision or something you discussed with Nico Elgstrand?
JB Christoffersson: All albums are different. We don’t have a ready-made mold for what we do. I think I had a clearer vision about how I wanted the album to sound, but that is also totally dependent on the songs. When it comes to the sound on Triumph and Power, yes, Nico is extremely involved with that, he both produced and mixed it. But he did that on The Hunt as well. This time around things just fell into place, I think.
What’s happening lyrically on Triumph and Power?
JB Christoffersson: A lot! [Laughs] I don’t wish to be too specific, since the lyrics are there for all to interpret and react to and I’ve never wanted the bands that I’m into to write me on the nose about what certain songs are about etc. It’s a bit like a novelist or poet explaining what a book or a poem is about. It’s there, read it, react and if it touches you emotionally, you will seek out the things you might not immediately understand and you will build your own images when you hear the song. Needless to say, there are strong elements of Norse tradition and the power of nature in the lyrics, as always for us.
What’s “Holmgång” about?
JB Christoffersson: OK, I will stretch my boundaries a bit then. [Laughs] “Holmgång” is a Swedish/Norse/Scandinavian term that signifies the following: two or more people have a dispute that has to be settled. The elders or the existing Byalag (village council) would try to judge this without bloodshed, but realize it has to be settled by combat. They would then row the two antagonists out to an island small enough so that you couldn’t run or hide (if you jumped into to the water it is forfeit, and you would probably drown since it was deep and back then most couldn’t swim anyway). The two would then have at each other (armed combat) until only one was left alive or the other yielded. “Holm” means “small island”, “gång” means “to go through” is this context.
A great deal is being made about what type of heavy metal Grand Magus belongs to. Or what sub-genre. What do you make of people trying to find places to put specific bands or sounds?
JB Christoffersson: I understand it. People have a need to categorize things in life. That’s just instinct. I do it, too.
Then again, heavy metal or power metal or black metal or death metal have different sonic fingerprints from one another. Maybe it’s necessary to classify now that genre cross-pollination is inevitable these days.
JB Christoffersson: Well, maybe. I think that the specific bands are always the starting point though. I’ve never understood the idea that you’d love a band just because it’s part of a genre. I mean, I love some bands that could be called black metal, and some bands that could be called death metal, etc. But that’s because of those specific bands and their music, not because they are labelled one thing or another. What genre is Black Sabbath? What genre is Immortal? What genre is Slayer? I really couldn’t say (or care), but they are all awesome. It’s almost a philosophical topic! [Laughs]
What are the next steps for Grand Magus? Hit the states maybe?
JB Christoffersson: Now we are doing promotion for the record for couple of months, and after that we go on an extensive European tour in March. We still haven’t played the U.S.! After 15 years! We are waiting for an offer we can’t refuse! [Laughs] No, seriously, we really, really want to meet the U.S. metal heads and we are working on it!
** Grand Magus’ new album, Triumph and Power, is out now on Nuclear Blast Records. It’s available HERE in several formats (CD/LP). So, get it now or we’ll send you some random island with JB. Trust us, he’s the fightin’ type. Don’t let his calm Swedish demeanor fool you.
Down and Corrosion Of Conformity legend Pepper Keenan is on our radio show on TeamRock Radio tonight!
Pepper talks riffs, Judas Priest and the new Down EP! Plus, we remember the debut album from Saigon Kick and we’ve got awesome music from Monster Truck, Deep Purple, Samson, Iron Maiden, Montrose and Tesla.
Tune in tonight from 9pm. Don’t make us ask twice.
Apologies first off, if you go looking for this beer and can’t find it. Consider it an example of the kinds of beers that are subject of this week’s online Brewtal Truth. The topic at hand is “gypsy brewing,” or if you find that term offensive, “itinerant brewing.” Basically, if you’re a brewer, but you don’t want to actually spend all the money on equipment and a building to brew your own beer, you can pay breweries that are already up and running to do it all for you. That would make you a gypsy, er, itinerant brewer, since you have no actual brewery yourself.
Adem Tepedelen’s new craft beer book, Decibel Presents the Brewtal Truth Guide to Extreme Beers: An All-Excess Pass to Brewing’s Outer Limits, is now available in the Decibel online store.
Crowbar riff-wizard Kirk Windstein stopped by the Metal Hammer Show on TeamRock Radio last night.
Kirk talks about his journey into heavy metal, the awesomely heavy new Crowbar album, spending 25 years in the business and deciding to bid farewell to Down.
Listen to the interview in full below, and don’t forget to tune in each and every weeknight from 9pm!
Crowbar also play Bloodstock in August. Head to bloodstock.uk.com and grab your ticket right now!
If ever you’ve set up a tour for your band, you know what a logistical nightmare it can be just to make sure your bandmates actually show up to the van, let alone finding venues willing to book you and somehow breaking even each night. Imagine doing that shit. This is the domain of the booking agent, the air traffic controllers of the touring world. I interviewed Nanotear Booking’s Nathan Carson and The Agency Group’s Dave Shapiro for the Killing Is My Business column in Decibel issue 114. Here is the unabridged Testimony of the Agents:
How did you first start booking tours?
Dave: My first job in booking was about 10 years ago. Equal Vision Records hired me to be their in-house booking agent. It was essentially my job to get the bands on the label, that did not have agents, on the road.
Nathan: I have been the “string-puller” in pretty much every band I’ve ever been in. In the ‘90s, I was the guy who would bring a demo tape to the door guy at a club and then call the booker a week later.
By 2001, my band Witch Mountain had our first album out and we’d been making our name online. We had also been supporting pretty much every single doom-oriented band that passed through Oregon. When we got an invitation to play the Emissions from the Monolith II festival in Ohio, I booked the tour for us, DIY-style.
I had been on tours before with other bands as a merch guy (a great experience which will let you know if you can handle the lifestyle), or playing in my own band while supporting bigger groups. And I had been the webmaster for the Billions Corporation—a really high-end, boutique booking agency from Chicago that is still one of the best in the business. So I’d had a chance to study the routes they posted for their acts.
In those days, there was basically one stoner rock/doom metal band in each state. We all knew each other, and we were all connected via Stonerrock.com, which was in its heyday at the time, along with Man’s Ruin records.
Over e-mail I booked several tours for us, which got better each time around. Eventually, a newer group of friends of ours called YOB started picking up steam and asked me to book tours for them. I did two, and they were doing better than breaking even. At that point I realized that, for better or worse, this is something that I’m good at. I made the decision in late 2003, and within a week I had about a dozen artists for my roster. Ten years later, I work with nearly 30 groups, and have to turn down others on a daily basis.
Where do you find most of the bands on your roster?
Dave: All from different places. Sometimes people pass them on to me…managers, label people, other bands I work with. Other times I just find the band, whether it be through searching the internet or keeping track of different labels and regularly checking who they’ve signed.
Nathan: Most of the bands I work with are people I’ve known for years, or are international acts that have contacted me, or been referred by a friend. I like that almost all the bands from the early days of Nanotear were people who had slept on my floor, or who had put me up when I was in their town. Though no two Nanotear acts sound the same, I have tried to make a community of it.
Do you have legal contracts you draw up with your bands?
Dave: As agents we do not have contracts with our artists.
Nathan: [At Nanotear] there are no contractual obligations (though other agencies often have them, in order to keep bands they don’t trust, I presume). If a band or the agency is unhappy at the end of a tour, we are free to part ways. This has rarely ever happened and, I’m happy to say, never on bad terms.
After you’ve agreed to take on a band, when is the first time that money changes hands?
Nathan: It generally takes me 3-6 months to get paid for any work I do. It’s all on a percentage basis with the bands. They pay me when the tour is over—though sometimes a tour passes through Portland at a mid-point, and I’ll get paid half then and half when they’re done.
Do bookers tend to charge the same to every band they represent, or do some offer tiers of service?
Dave: Standard agent fee is 10%. This is only from the band’s show fee, not merch or record royalties, etc.
Nathan: I always charge bands a reduced fee for the first tour. I see it as the learning curve, and the chance for us to build mutual trust. It is generally more work for both parties and less rewarding than subsequent tours. So after the first trip, we discuss how things can be improved on both sides, and then, provided we continue working together, the normal rate is invoked for all subsequent tours.
The only way the service is really tiered is that once bands start making significantly higher guarantees, I offer a reduction in my percentage, as a gesture of good faith that our hard work has paid off. That’s a blanket deal for all the bands I work with that earn at that level.
Where does the venue usually make the most money from a show?
Dave: Venues make money from ticket sales, alcohol sales, parking, ticket fees that are added on top of tickets (ticket rebates), etc. I think where they make the most money is circumstantial. For example, their bar probably does better off of a Social Distortion show than off of an All-American Rejects show.
Talk about guarantees. What are they, how difficult are they to get, and are they always a good thing to get?
Nathan: A guarantee is good for two reasons: one, it is insurance that a band will be paid at a show that they presumably drove hours to reach. With gas at nearly $ 4/gallon, the cost of renting or maintaining a vehicle, and feeding, drinking and housing a group of people traveling together, it’s really important for bands to be paid enough to break even on these expenses, and hopefully to profit.
With the pressure of covering that guarantee, promoters are more likely to do their job well. With no duress or possibility of losing money, it’s often just another heartbreaking night at work for them. Promoters all too often let the advertising go slack on the cheaper shows.
I think there’s an important balance that agents and promoters should strike that is a fair market value for the band in question, dependent on the day of the week and many other key factors, and that allows the band to earn a bonus if the show does well. And unless you’re playing real hellholes, or being booked by some shrewd, uncaring asshole, then that’s what we are all trying to do every night.
Guarantees are not always necessary, though. Most of the time, if an agent is willing to reduce the risk to the club and work on a percentage basis, the venue will offer a much greater split of the door proceeds. And confident agents and bands can often gamble and win in such scenarios, which is always good for everyone. Clubs LOVE to pay out bonuses because it’s a reflection of success and good will to all involved.
Is it part of your job to negotiate with venues to secure the best deals for your bands?
Dave: Yes, indeed. It is our job to negotiate on behalf of the artist and work to get the most advantageous deal for the artist that we can.
If a band on your roster goes on tour with another band that you don’t book, how does that affect the work you do – and how you get paid?
Nathan: There are tiers to this service. As the agent, I’m still entitled to a reduced cut of the band’s earnings. If I issue professional contracts for the tour on behalf of my client, I charge a bit more. If that’s not necessary or desired, I charge less. The reason I charge for tours I don’t book is to help offset the amount I generally lose during the earlier phases of a band’s career. It’s a close relationship and has to stay close for it to work.
How does the accounting usually work – i.e. do you rely on bands to accurately report door sales and such?
Nathan: I trust every band I’ve ever worked with 100%. I’ll check up if there’s missing data or a discrepancy, but only to make sure we all have the right amounts. I wish I kept better records of these histories but I’m usually too busy booking the next tour to sit around drafting spreadsheets and final accounts. Someday! Having said that, I know exactly how everyone’s doing. I can’t control the weather or fix your transmission, but otherwise I’ve got it all pretty dialed in.
What kind of show tends to be the most lucrative for the band? What about for the booking agent?
Dave: This is also circumstantial. Some artists do really well with college gigs, others make more of their money from club gigs, etc. Wherever the artist makes more money, the agent makes more, with the exception of certain festivals [that] might not pay a band a large fee but [where] the band has very large merch sales. In that scenario the agent may not make as much, but the artist could have a very lucrative day
What’s your approach when you book a show in a city or venue where you’ve never been?
Nathan: I’ll pay attention to the routing other bands have used, and I also ask for local recommendations over social networks like Facebook. I have a few thousand friends and even more that follow me. So if I ask for leads on Billings, Montana, I’ll probably have a couple of good suggestions of promoters, bands, clubs, or at least scenesters who live there, within a matter of hours.
Agents are connectors, the nexus of personal and professional networks. You can’t underestimate how many pulses we have to keep our fingers on at once, or how quickly we can find a new one in some uncharted area. We are resourceful by nature, but we are constantly battling the sparsely cultured vastness of the North American territory. It’s tricky fucking business.
Say you’re booking an early tour for a new band on your roster. What kind of information do you need from the band to book the most successful tour possible?
Dave: If the band toured prior to being with us we will ask where their best markets were to get a gauge on where we should play. We will also ask where some of the weaker shows were to maybe try and avoid them. We also might look at different stats, radio play in each market, record sales in each market, etc. This can help us figure out how best to route a tour based on how we believe it will perform in certain markets.
Describe the relationship between booking shows and promoting them. Do the same people often do them both?
Nathan: I certainly used to do both more often. Now I try to promote less, as it’s a riskier position to be in, and requires you (most times) to be at the show. The promoter has to help curate the bill, negotiate, sign a contract, advertise, PROMOTE, and then usually help manage the show and settle the funds at the end of the night. Don’t underestimate what a tough job it is to be a promoter. When I meet one who really cares and does a good job, I really value that person.
Booking shows is the flipside of the coin. The agent represents one or more of the artists on the bill, and negotiates the best guarantee and/or percentage on behalf of the client. It may take a while to get paid, but unless you’re getting 10% of 0, you will eventually get something.
I do still put on the annual Fall into Darkness festival, and promote assorted shows throughout the year. I am particularly likely to get involved if one of my clients is passing through Portland on tour. If I’m the promoter, I know the show will be handled properly, advertised well, and that the band will have a good experience. They often stay at my house afterward as well. It’s a bit of personal touch that I try to provide. Often the good will tends to come back around with force when I’m out on my own tours. And that’s always really nice.
A lot of the bands you rep are signed to reputable labels. How closely do you work with the record label when you’re putting together a tour?
Dave: Very closely. More closely with the managers than the labels, but the labels are surely involved in the discussion from a strategizing side of things and also marketing.
At a large firm like The Agency Group, is there any mandate to package together multiple bands on your roster when it makes sense genre-wise?
Dave: No. Our first goal is to do whatever is best for our artist. If touring with artists represented by a different agency than our own is a good situation, we will do it just as quickly as putting them with artists of our own. The goal is always to put the artist in the best situation possible, regardless of who their tour-mates are represented by.
What’s the advantage of working with an experienced booker as opposed to booking a tour yourself?
Nathan: With a professional agent, the routing will be smarter, the money will be better, and you will experience this thing called “hospitality,” which means you will be fed a hot meal, and provided with enough beer, water and towels to enjoy the whole show experience, and not just your time on stage.
Also, most artists are very good at music, and not very good at keeping track of fine details or handling their own business. I think most bands dream of the day that they can focus purely on their music, and leave the rest of their affairs to the able hands of a great and trusted team that includes a manager, publicist, booking agent, lawyer and accountant.
Of course, I am also a DIY booker that still handles my own personal band after 16 years. I’m not about to hand over the reins to someone else. So I’m definitely not saying people shouldn’t book their own tours. I will say that bands should be consistently drawing at least fifty people in their hometown before they decide to start touring regionally. The arteries are clogged with bands that have no business being out on the road yet. Please don’t feel entitled to tour if you haven’t done a bit of hard work first.
What would you say distinguishes a great booker from a sucky one?
Nathan: A great booker cares about the band and the promoter and tries to ensure that both have a great show experience. A sucky booker treats bands like racehorses, overcharges promoters, and generally makes promises that may not be kept. You can tell a lot about an agent by its roster. Bands that take music seriously as art work with one kind of agent, and bands that are purely focused on success work with another.
Is there anything unique about booking metal or “extreme” bands, as distinct from any other type of act?
Dave: The unique thing about this is finding promoters that understand the bands. Some of the bigger promoters may not know who they are or understand what it’s about. So we have to dig deep to find the right ones. Sometimes they’re the right promoters in terms of promoting the shows in the right ways, but they’re the wrong promoters on a professional level. It can make doing what we do difficult at times.
What’s one thing that you’ve learned from being in Witch Mountain that you’ve used in your booking career?
Nathan: Witch Mountain has turned down a lot of offers and contracts over the years. We still own everything we’ve done and never compromised for money. I try to keep the same ethic at Nanotear—if there’s a question between doing something right or making a little more money, I’m never motivated by the dough. Money comes and goes, but integrity is forever.
What’s the kookiest tour or show you remember booking?
Dave: I’m actually replying to this e-mail while on the flight home from it. One of my artists is Hanson, and with Hanson we rent out a whole resort in Jamaica once a year and sell the rooms to the fans. The band then plays each night on the beach and does activities during the day with the fans. Pretty unique idea, and not like any other shows I’ve ever booked. Super fun though. This was our second year doing it.
What’s the most stressful tour or show that you’ve ever booked?
Nathan: The Nanotear SXSW 2011 showcase would be hard to beat. From the audience perspective, it was a smash success–amazing performances and a great crowd. But for me, the day began with an overnight drive from Las Cruces, NM to Austin, TX. We picked up YOB from the airport mid-afternoon then dropped them downtown at their Brooklyn Vegan showcase day show. The rest of us were en route to YOB’s hotel to shower and nap after an excruciating haul when the rental van died in rush hour traffic, with a trailer full of gear attached.
I stood in the street, sweaty and tired, talking to cops and waving honking cars past. Eventually, a tow truck that could handle a van and trailer arrived and took us as close to the venue as the festival allowed. Many streets are closed during SXSW, and this tow truck + van + trailer was quite a monstrosity to maneuver through those crowded streets. We all ended up loading the gear from the trailer off the back of the tow truck and carried it three city blocks to the stage. Once the trailer was empty, we sent our truck to off to be repaired, right around 5:59PM, just as the shop was closing for the night.
We’d made it to the club on time and all the bands had arrived. We set up our backline to share, and found that our ace soundman had missed his flight. So we were stuck with some kid who had already been running the venue’s board since noon. He was tired and cranky when we got there. Imagine working with him for the next six hours, while also trying to appease eight bands/clients, shake hands with hundreds of industry folks and fans, and sort out vehicles and hotels over the phone.
Oh yeah, I also had to perform with Witch Mountain as main support to YOB and Agalloch that night. Luckily, we killed it. I just had to shut everything else off and think only about the drums for 30 minutes. Best 30 minutes of that day by far. It was the first time Chris Bruni from Profound Lore saw us live, and we were signed by him the same year.
Catching a cab at 2am on a Saturday night at SXSW is a good trick. And while we waited, I got the call from YOB that their rooms had been given away because we never made it to check-in earlier. Because we’d broken down on the way there in the first place. I raised hell with the hotel but it didn’t do much good since the place was literally bursting with people on the busiest night of the year. So YOB ended up sleeping on benches in the lobby of the hotel until a room opened at 9am the next morning.
Agalloch on the other hand was not going to find rooms in Austin that night. Besides which, we were already on the hook for three of them many miles away.
It took at least an hour (and by now it was 3am or later) to even find a mini-van taxi that would fit all those Agalloch bodies. Once we flagged one down, the Ethiopian cab driver became somewhat terrified of us, and revealed that by law, Austin cabs can only carry four people at a time, regardless if it’s a mini-van.
I am a Jedi, and I used the Force like never before, telling the driver that he was going to make an exception for us. I never blinked or broke eye contact with him while I physically pushed the members of Agalloch and crew into the van and promised the guy a big tip. He made them huddle down like refugees until they were out of the city. By the time he dropped them off some 60 miles away, he’d decided it was a great story and adventure. And yes, he was paid a big tip.
I stayed in town, three to a bed in the lovely Fred Pessaro’s room (thank you Fred!). Aesop Dekker and Uta Plotkin were the stalwart champions who stayed with me. Later that morning, on three hours sleep, we collected the van from the service station with a new starter, loaded all of the equipment into the trailer, and drove out to meet with Agalloch.
By this time, I’d had three hours sleep in 40+ hours. All I could think about was the rendezvous with Agalloch and their driver. I picked them up at their hotel, climbed into the passenger seat and prepared to descend into a coma. Within five minutes, it was horrifyingly clear that the driver we hired had never pulled a trailer before. He had our van rocking back and forth at freeway speed and was panicking. I talked him down and got him to try the pedal on the left called the “brake.” Once safely stopped, I climbed into the driver’s seat and drove most of the rest of the day, which blissfully ended at a hotel in Louisiana where we sadly missed our New Orleans show, but thankfully lived to tell about it.
I still recall that show and experience as a big success though. It was rough, and I did have one moment where the overwhelming urge to just pick a direction and run that way for as long as I could struck me. But in the end, I handled all of it, took care of everyone. And the show went on.
Nathan Carson is owner of Nanotear Booking Agency, which currently books Agalloch, Corrupted, Primordial and 25 others. He’s also the drummer of Witch Mountain.
Dave Shapiro is Vice President at The Agency Group and co-owner of the Scream It Like You Mean It tour. Dave personally represents Godflesh, Jesu, Whitechapel and many others. He also co-owns an excellent grilled cheese joint in Los Angeles.
More names have been added to Cult Of Luna‘s Beyond The Redshift festival.
Joining the likes of God Seed, Amenra and Cult Of Luna themselves are experimental industrialists PG.LOST, post-hardcore crew Abraham, dark rockers Esben & The Witch, shoegazy Bristolians Thought Forms, ambient types Greg Haines and Shield Patterns, plus Petter Carlsen, Hark, Atlantis and Canaya!
Beyond The Redshift will feature bands playing in and around an “audio-visual experience” set to blow minds and break boundaries at The Forum, The Dome and the Boston Music Room in the capital on May 10.
For more info, head to https://www.facebook.com/