Week 2

Up, Down and Across Southern and Central Sweden

seth in lund, sweden
Speaking of boobies
fresh and bland food
Fresh AND bland?! I'll take two!

May 5. Per showed us around Stockholm which was mostly closed due to some sort of holiday.  Three things he was able to show us were 1) how to ride the subway for free, 2) a pizza joint that made banana and curry pizza and 3) some inappropriate Swedish.

Val says: Per has been around for quite a while (he played in the Filthy Christians and now sings for Bruce Banner) and is a supernice dood with an awesome black cat named Pixie. He was so nice that he actually gave us some copies of the Filthy Christians album (thanks a lot!!!), and the following day he showed us the old city like a professional tourguide. Professional was also the way we broke through the barriers in the metro stations. The technique was to activate the photocell that opened the barriers by waving a foot in front of it. The gesture was blatantly illegal-looking but the guy in the ticket booth didn’t care. He just stared at Per teaching us how to do that, and then at this other 5 (in a row!) guys repeating the trick while chuckling, with an expression in his face between reproach and astonishment. So awesomely weird!

Horsing around in Sweden, as Karoline might be inclined to say.
love songs at the castle in stockholm sweden
love songs at the castle in stockholm sweden
love songs at the castle in stockholm sweden
vagina sculpture
Below the chin is a bona fide chonch. Boobies on TV, chonch on the sides of buildings... Yay Sweden!

Kamikatze opened the show and it was good to be in Sweden again, current home of the D-Beat. Valentina says "Kamikatze were a sweet HC trio, with three girls playing and singing, whose vocal performance I rate an A+."   Smalltown played next and it’s a wonder they aren’t huge.  Jawbreaker meets, um, the Replacements?  Definitely not a band you want to be playing after.  The best part of our set was Cornelia and her friend standing right up front singing along with every word.  Never mind that they didn’t know any of the words, it was still fun to watch them pretend.  One of the benefits of having so many abrupt stops and starts is that we could hear them “singing” during each break.  Apparently the show was 20 people short of selling out, but that was more a testament to the size of the venue rather than the popularity of our band.  With so many members of so many noteworthy Swedish bands in the audience Seth likened the show to playing at the MRR house.

emo love songs band picture
How's this for an artsy band photo? Emo Summer, eat your heart out!


Or how about a MySpace-style photo gallery?
brad myspace craigums myspace
seth myspace
jack myspace

Val says: Back to the Chocolate Heartattack – by this time it earned the title of Chocolate Burden by being continuously carried with us whenever we spent more than a couple hours away from the van. And the fact that just me and Craig were brave enough to actually eat it (we actually truly enjoyed it. Well, I guess Craig only enjoyed the icing) wasn’t really helping to get rid of it fast. Plus, being out of the fridge for such a long time time (and inside a stinky van on the dashboard under the sun) it started changing its consistency and taste from “not too too bad” to “no thanks”. That’s in fact what Christoffer said when I offered him. Christoffer and Daniel, two other members of Bruce Banner, let us sleep at their places that night. At this point I could tell you how Christoffer’s former band DS 13 is one of my all time favorites and how I was quite excited about meeting him, but I won’t. Also because I never mentioned that to him, even though Craig strategically made me go sleep at his place, but anyway. I’m not telling you so who cares?

per and craigums at Sound Pollution, stockholm, Sweden
Per and I at Sound Pollution, not to be confused with the sweet-ass record label of the same name.

At this point I was supposed to take my train back to Copenhagen. But I didn’t really have a reason not to stay with the band until the weekend cause it was already too late to make that week productive… So fuck that, I’m staying! This is how my one-day trip to Lund - extended to Stockholm - became a minitour of Sweden… (The only problem was that I had no real change of underwear, uhm. I actually had to buy socks at the supermarket)

May 6. We drove to Nyköping to play for free at an already-existing show.  As I’ve said elsewhere, a day off on tour can be dangerous (see Day 2, Jack in Rensberg).  We spent the day walking around in the rain and pooping at the McDonalds.  We stopped at a grocery store, picked up some things, went back to the van and ate one of the trip’s most fulfilling meals while the rain hummed on the roof.  Hard to please 5 people at once but we did it, no doubt due to the fact that we would have eaten damn near anything at that point.

Val says: we tried to kill time wandering there for a while and had a terrible lunch in the van with supermarket stuff, to then find out that there was plenty of food for us at the venue. Sweet.

Nyköping, Sweden
The Over 21 section.

Back at the show: seven bands, including us.  Four of the bands were in the 13-16 year-old range, as was most of the audience.  We couldn’t even give buttons away, much less sell the one CD we needed to cover the gas.  Five hours later, before we played, we still hadn’t sold squat but we did manage to meet up with Dadde, drummer for such notable bands as Bruce Banner, To What End?, Rob Farmhouse’s favorite Trallpunk band Asta Kask, and tonight, Imperial Leather.  IL were not only the tightest band to play tonight but they had two singers, one American female and one guy with a handlebar mustache.  And the bass player had a ¾ sleeve Triumph tour shirt.  For the most part I would refer to them as a d-beat crust band but every now and they would bust out with a bona fide rock riff or pop punk song.  Sounds potentially bad but they were great!

We played well enough for a grind band to be inspired to go home and write a song about us.  The drummer for said grind band told me he had a hard time watching us because seeing Bradley behind the drums was like watching a lava lamp, making reference to Bradley being so fat. That young man also owes us $20 USD.

love songs in Nyköping, sweden
Nyköping, love songs, sweden
Nyköping pics by Andreas

Sebastian, singer for Dodeskaden (who were nice enough to add us to tonight’s show, and who are setting up our next 2 shows), led us back to his girlfriends’ parents’ house deep deep deep in the woods of Nyköping  It was a peaceful night of showering, internetting, and listening to Sebastian and his girlfriend, Ella, make sweet love – the kind of love our band inspires folks to make when we’re sitting in the next room in our underwear farting on each other and talking about mustaches.

life with bertha our van
download video 7.4mb

Woke up the next morning and had breakfast with the whole family.  Ella’s dad reminded me of Austin Powers’ dad who said, “There are two things in this world I can not tolerate – people who are intolerant of other cultures, and the Dutch.”  Ella's dad was a grown-up hippy who had very strong opinions about the Dutch, Norwegians, the Finns, northern Swedes, southern Swedes, and oh…don’t get him started on the Germans!  Of all the nations in the world to be scornful of I would have assumed it would have been the Americans but he treated us with great hospitality and enthusiasm so we only listened politely to him berate just about every population not existing inside his house.

From there we went down the road to witness Sweden’s 2nd biggest fjord.  It was beautiful and majestic and all those things but I think we had more fun yelling the word “FJORD!” out the window than we did actually visiting one.

Val says: It was in fact amazing and the perfect set for a series of epic-looking pictures, including an inevitable Craig’s (naked) crotch. So black metal (the setting, not the crotch. No wait, the crotch too).

Nyköping, sweden fjord
naked at a fjord in Nyköping
You can't not get naked in nature!

Ella’s brother, Erik, needed a lift to Stockholm to buy a bicycle.  He had an aversion to automobiles and considered them to be a detriment to the environment, though he didn’t seem to have any problem riding in one if he needed something.  So we gave him a lift and, through no premeditated effort, we collectively enacted a toll for his ride.  I must say, weirding him out was easier that we thought.  As I mentioned before, his house was way way way out in the middle of nowhere, down long, windy roads.  I drove towards Stockholm as I always drove the van, which is to say at top speed.  It had so little power already that if I let off on the gas for only a second it would take far too long to regain the little momentum I had.  (Side note: the van also had a lot of squeaks and creaks and rattles.  Often times they would start for no apparent reason and from no discernable place.  We found that a quick pump on the gas pedal rocked the van enough to make some of the noises stop for a couple minutes.)  So we drove through the windy roads with the gas pedal firmly stuck all the way down, all the while blaring – and shouting along to - the entire Weird Al polka collection. Erik, meanwhile, sat uncomfortably in the front seat.  He would try to talk to us over the music but when we realized he was just trying to tell me how to drive we stopped turning down the radio to hear him.  (It’s hard for me to take driving instructions from someone who can’t drive.)  Instead we started headbanging ferociously, much to Erik’s chagrin.  What seemed to bother him most was the fact that I, the driver, was steering with my knees so as to free up my hands for polka-clapping.  In between songs we would hear him mumble things like “This is far out,” “Outrageous,” and “You are fucking crazy.”  I think he gave up while he was trying to translate a road sign for us. It was nice of him to translate it the first time but it got old when he'd translate the same sign every time we passed it.  During the epic Al classic Albuquerque, when AL is in the donut shop requesting the different kinds of donuts, Erik said “This sign says you need to—”
“NO! WE’RE OUT OF GLAZED DONUTS!” we yelled at him.  All of us.  In a small van.  At the top of our lungs.
“It says you should—“
“I think you have to—”
“But it is important, it says—”


“It would be best if--”

He didn’t talk much after that, until we got into Stockholm.  He wasn’t sure where he needed to go so after much “I think we should have gotten off back there” we just dropped him off in some unknown part of north Stockholm.  I don’t even think the van came to a complete stop.

Bradley feared that the next time we saw Erik he would be in a loin cloth hiding off the freeway with a bow and arrow waiting for us. < next >