Small tale of a rehearsal room.

It’s been a year since we entered the rehearsal space. Walking through the doors for the first time in a long time after regrouping. The smell of sweat and stale beer and the odour of green leaves hits my face as I walk into the room. The feeling of happiness flows through me as I see the drums sitting in the corner and the all to familiar target on the ceiling. It’s time to shake off the dust and hit the skins again. I can’t stop thinking about bands that break up and get back together all the time, find new members and find new styles but when you get that one band, the one band with the right members, it’s just magical. Everything fits together perfectly, it has a glue that’s stronger than others and you make music better than anybody else in the world and you do it all in that tiny smelly room for 2 or 3 hours a day and you come out stinking of sweat and blisters on your fingers. I just hope that we are still that band, a year can change a band. We have broken up and got back together so many times before and this might be the last time we go for it.

I sit behind the kit after setting up and start to play, but I’m rusty as a garage door and I play heavy, it only took a year and I’ve already lost that feeling. I just can’t bloody play, I try and try and try and it’s just not working. I don’t have the feel any more, I cross my sticks and I stutter. My foots never been the best at the peddle and I’ve never been a flashy drummer but please give me some slack at least. I turn to the bassist as he strums his string and he barely makes a noise and he looks at me and shakes his head “It feels crap don’t it” I say to him
“Yeah, it aint good mate, but fuck it”. And then the guitars kick in and they make a sound like Godzilla. We start to play an old song and we barely recognise it, we’re out of time and we keep slowing down and speeding up and the vocals sound like boiling vegetables. We’re not the band we used to be. Is this how it was for Led Zeppelin when they got back together?

For the first hour and a half we just run through all the old songs and it’s not working, nothing is clicking, we just can’t get our rhythm back . Has it been too long this time? Have we lost all feeling of being a band? I just think to myself we left it too long, we should have carried on like we used to and kept going, not take a year off, look what it’s done to us, we can’t even play, I keep dropping my sticks and missing parts, the singer keeps getting out of breath and the guitars and the bass sound like old cars trying to start in the winter (Marc Bolan never had to go through this). “Let’s take ten minutes, have a quick beer and come back in” the bassist says through a whistling microphone. So we go outside and sit on the wall with a can of fosters in our hands. The singer says “It’s just not working”
“Well lets just sit here for ten fucking minutes and see what happens” I said.
“Well alright than, by the way what’s the deal with the Ramones? The guy can’t sing”. I can’t believe what I’m hearing one of my favourite bands is being put down “What do you mean he can’t sing, of course he can’t fucking sing, it’s the bloody Ramones” I say with an anger of a small child who opens up a Christmas present to find clothes have been delivered “Yeah but he can’t sing”
“I don’t want him to sing, shall we just go back in I’m getting bored”.

We get in the room and I sit back behind the kit and I keep thinking in my head that this is abit of a waste of time, it’s not working and I just want to get pissed. “Lets do another old song, The Destroyer” I said, so we start to play, but something happens and it comes out of nowhere and it clicks, we can play again, everything is in time and the speed is right and the vocals fit. This is how it should be, it feels like a band again, it feels like we can play.
When we finish the song I shout “That’s how you fucking do it, lets do another” so we play another and another and it works again, it feels right and it’s magic. That old band that was missing, the band we left in this room a year ago is still here, we just couldn’t find it. It was lost somewhere and we found it again, we just had to search for it and when we did we found it with a smile on it’s face and a sign that said play me. We play and play until we have to finish and when we finish those blisters had come back, the sweat is back on our backs again and we really need a drink.

The first practice in a year is over and when we leave the feeling of relief hits us, we can still play and we can still play pretty good. Our fingers might be in pain, sore and blistered and we might be hot and looking to get drunk like a proper band should do but we played well, we found what we were looking for in that room.

We escaped the world for a 3 hours today and we played music and we played it well. We might have done gigs in the past to 3 people and come off stage the silence, we might even have played a gig to 30 people and played shit but when you’re in that rehearsal room everything can fall into place better than anything, you turn into the best band in the world. The world outside just doesn’t exist while you’re in there, it just moves on and you’re not apart of it for that time. When we leave it’s just like that, it’s just the same as it always is. The world is moved forward without us. Somethings happening with EU, a poor politician has been killed and Nigel Farage has pissed people off with a poster but at the moment we don’t care because it didn’t happen on our time. And it’s ok not to care because for that moment we weren’t apart of it. Everyone else saw it but we didn’t. And that’s ok, we’re a band, and that’s all that matters.

A small tale of mud, sex and music.

It’s 12:30am and me and my friend Sam start our walk back to the camp site in the pouring rain after watching Rammstein headline the main stage. It’s turning into the longest walk of our lives, we spent two hours being kicked, punched, pushed and pulled into mosh pits by some of the meanest, filthiest of rock n roll types the earth can ever spit out of it’s unholy mouth and we were in the center of it. We walk through mud and muck and deep puddles as the rain keeps on coming down as we drag our wet selfs along side thousands of drunk head bangers and stoners back to the camp site.

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45 minutes into our walk and we enter the village and the smell of fried food hits out noses like fog. Neither of us realized how hungry we both were, the gig and the walk and our drunkenness took the focus away from our stomachs and all it took was the smell of fried onions and hot dogs to kick the senses off. So me and Sam trudge through the mud over to the nearest stall selling hot dogs. We hand over wet notes, grab the dogs covered in onions and smother it with mustard and red sauce and we take cover under hood of the stall and just savor every bite we take and watch the crowd of thousands make their way through a swamp of mud and water.

A man comes over to us covered in dirt and he’s obviously been wrestling in the mud. He orders himself a large jumbo hot dog and covers it sauce and he stands next to us while he eats. “How you doing lads” he says to us “We are alright”

“Did you enjoy Rammstein”

“They were amazing”

Sam asks him “you look like you had fun”

“Yeah, I’ve been in a mosh pit all day and kept slipping over on the mud and I thought id take everyone out with me. This isn’t the worst it’s ever been, I was here in 2012 and it didn’t stop all weekend, it’s just kept coming and coming all weekend, it’s meant to stop tomorrow”

“Bloody hope so” I said.

“Right lads, I’m going, I’m doing an all nighter”

And he threw the remains of his hot dog into the mud and ran away.

We finally made it back to the camp satisfied and we started to search for our tent. We scan the sea of tents and neither of us can make out where it is so we walk through the camp treading gingerly over the ties trying not to trip or even slip on the wet grass, which at this moment in time is hard considering we are half drunk and suffering from second hand highness. Sam thinks he spots something “Found it” he says and starts to open the tent “WRONG TENT, WRONG TENT”.

“Sorry pal” it wasn’t our tent.

I see it in the distance “There it is” I say to Sam and we make our way like zombies through the mass of tents surrounding us.

We finally get into our tent, taking off our wet clothes and muddy wellies and finally lay our heads onto a cold damp tent mat but the tent next to us which is occupied by 8 men kept us awake for most of the night. One of the guys had brought back a goth girl and was trying to have sex with her but his friends, the meanest of the bunch thought thats not going to happen tonight, so for the next 3 hours they decided to say some of the most evil of jokes to him.”HEY JONO, YOU GOT IT UP YET”

“FUCK OFF DUDE, IM TRYING TO LICK HER OUT”

“IF SHE DON’T LIKE IT JONO I’LL COME AND HAVE AGO”.

This went on and on and the whole camp site was all ears to the situation that was happening.

After a matter of hours, jokes after jokes and Jono trying hard to do the job, it all went quiet and the girl piped up and shouted “fuck this I’m going back to my tent” and Jono like the good chap he is walks her back. But about and hour later whispers start coming from the tent and the sounds of moaning and heavy breathing flow through the quiet festival air, maybe Jono brought the girl back and got lucky.

When we wake up the next day it’s still raining but not as heavy as the night before now and we both crack open a can of beer. Our legs, our feet and our backs hurt and we love every minute of it. Jono and his mates sit near by and we hear about the events that happened the night before. Jono just didn’t like the goth girl that much so after trying and trying and trying to get his end away he decided to walk her back to her tent. When he got her back safely thats when he spotted her sister and asked her to come back with him instead. Thats what I must have heard during the early hours of the morning.

We make our way back to the village in search of a bacon and egg sandwich and we look around the camp as we walk with our beers. We just see the mass of hungover and dirty people, some leaving tents covered in a mud with a towel in their hands and looking for the showers. Some sitting around a bbq cooking sausages and drinking beer and some look like they just made it back to the camp after pulling an all nighter.

We get to the village walking past people lining up for the bogs and the smell coming from them could melt your eyebrows straight off your face. During the night the festival organizers covered the mud filled village with hay, but it’s failed and the mud just keeps on coming through as thousands of people walk over it.

We finally start to que at a stall that serves Breakfast and wait in a line of about 20 all asking for a bacon sandwich. I turn to Sam and I say to him “You know what Sam we are at fucking Download, it’s raining, it’s cold, we are covered in and we might be in pain and tempted for a poo, but we are waiting in line for a bacon sandwich with a can in our hands and recovering from watching Rammstein last night and tonight we will be making our way through mud and along with every one else will be waiting for Black Sabbath to hit the stage. We might be surrounded by security guards, we might get searched for drugs everywhere we go, we might not be allowed to bring cans into the main arena and we might have to show our wrist bands every time we enter the village at night, but bloody hell dude, It’s fucking Download. ”

“All I care about now Ste is my bloody bacon sandwich, but yeah it’s Download”.

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