A FLY ON THE WALL IN GOTHENBURG

I drove the 2 hours up to Gothenburg (it would have been 3 hours if I had driven legally...) without stopping, to make sure I'd find the venue on time.According to the information on the web, W.A.S.P were supposed to play at a place called Kaaren, and I stopped at Scandic Hotel in Gothenburg to ask for directions. It wasn't that far, but Gothenburg is pure HELL for drivers! Once you get lost, you're doomed - every single street seems to have a ONE WAY-sign! I finally found it, but it looked VERY strange. It was sort of like a student-house, there were "scolastic" people everywhere, and no sign of any rockers at ALL! I asked three different people if this really WAS Kaaren, and if it was the ONLY one. It was... Okay. I walked in and there was a jazz-band on the stage jamming! And teachers all over the place. What was this place anyway?! Whatever it was, it wasn't right. I spent the next 30 minutes or so there trying to find out where to go, and finally got the information that I needed.I was on my way again. Got lost another two or three times until I FINALLY found it! Yep, you guesssed it, I saw the trucks! A very familiar sight by now :-) I parked my car and took a slow walk over to the white Get Animal-van to see if I could spot anybody that I recognized. The weather was great, warm and sunny! We Swedes don't get too much of that!

Stet[Picture: Stet Howland outside the venue by the famous truck..! Gothenburg June 1 -99]

I heard that there was something going on inside, but I couldn't just walk in, so I sat on the pavement, sorting my W.A.S.P-photos from the day before (or was it two days before..? Everything seems just like ONE long day because I couldn't sleep after each show!). Then I heard somebody go "Heey! How's it goin' ?" The Get Animal guys. We talked a little and I gave them a little present as a sign of my appreciation for getting me and Bianca in on the guestlist in Karlstad. It was a box of chocolates, cause I remember that they liked that - they had a little chocolate-supply in the van in Copenhagen.

- You didn't have to do that! said K.K (alias Dennis).

- I know I didn't have to! I wanted to! I said. I don't know, I just enjoy giving people things, especially if they've been nice to me, and these guys definitely had! We just talked about whatever and then they went inside. The drummer waved to me to come inside. I was like... Are you SURE..?? The soundcheck area is usually a VERY restricted area. But when I got inside all I met was familiar, friendly faces! Stet woodworking

[Picture: Stet working with something, he had tools all over the place]

First Stet who was doing some woodwork or something- he smiled with his entire face when he saw me.

- Well, hellooo! How are you?!

Then came one after another, the t-shirt guy (whose name is Billy, I finally found out!), the sound-engineer, the bass-tech Andy, Johnny the tourmanager and the Get Animal guys. ..Nobody seemed to have any objections about me being there. I found a spot where I wouldn't be in the way and just watched the activity in there. They really are like ants, they were all running back and forth doing whatever it was they're supposed to do.

When the soundcheck began (which is usually the drums first) everybody ran outside with their fingers in their ears. "I hate this..!" was somebody's comment (except Stet's I'd imagine, hah!).

I sat outside in the sun talking to the Get Animal-guys and saw that they got a parking-ticket.

- We ALWAYS get those, said K.K.

- Yeah, well... I'm counting on getting one myself, I said and explained that where I parked my car was one of those spots where you had to pay 24 hours. I didn't have enough cash with me, so I was counting on getting a ticket. But K.K just went to the van to get something and came back with a laminate pass.

- Now you're our Swedish tour-manager! he said, and told me to put my car right behind theirs, where only the staff was allowed to park! Well, now I was part of the staff if anyone asked..! :-D That was a great idea! Besides, now I could walk in and out of the venue without worrying about being thrown out (not that I think anyone would have done it anyway, but it felt better to have a pass - people ask less questions if you have one of those.

I went back inside when W.A.S.P were doing soundcheck, and the songs they played were "Dirty balls" from the Helldorado-album and "Damnation angel", and one more song that I forgot, could have been "Chainsaw Charlie", but then they just did a little jam up there as well. It was like watching a private show or something, I mean, I could listen to this great music and NOT have somebody's elbow in my face and ribs and I didn't have to fight for my life like I always do in the front row!! I just thought that I was SO lucky and wondered what I had done to deserve this. Everybody was so kind!

I had the opportunity to take so many cool photos, but it just didn't feel right. I mean, when they let you in like that, and trust you, you don't want to run around and put a camera in everybody's face like some crazy teenager. So I don't have photos of Chris painting his guitar with black nailpolish or the whole crew and the band having dinner together. It's a shame but sometimes you just know when it's wrong to take advantage of the situation. So I only got a few pretty bad photos, but they'll have to do. Everything is inside my head anyway, so I don't really need photo-proof..! :-)

Bahind the stage[Picture: Behind the stage before the doors opened]

Also, Chris, Mike and Stet were all over the place, all day long, so it would have been pretty much impossible to follow them around watching every step they took anyway. As far as Chris goes, I'm still fascinated, I've never ever met a person like him before! I mean, he was there, and I know that it would have been so easy to talk to him, cause he's not exactly a quiet and shy kind of guy, but I just wanted to be a fly on the wall and watch his every move from a distance - just observe, if you know what I mean.

It was a pretty long day, and I kept walking in and out, talking to everybody. The only time I was really bored was when it was time for dinner for the band and the crew. I hadn't eaten for 2 days because I forgot (...) and watching them eat reminded me of how hungry I actually was. But that wasn't the problem really, the thing was that they were all sitting there at the table eating, so I had nobody to talk to. I heard Chris' loud voice over the fork/knife/plate-noise screaming:

-Hey! What salad-dressings have we got?!

They had some sort of salad, bread, butter and then chicken that "smelled like feet" according to somebody's, I won't mention whose, nice description..! Andy

[Picture: Mike Duda's bass-tech Andy stringing the bass on the side of the stage about an hour before the show]

The bass-tech Andy was working on the side of the stage, stringing Mike's bass and I heard him shout:

- Come over here and have a chat, dear! (well, he's English...! :-D)

So I went over and we talked about favorite bands, albums, concerts, his job, my job...! It was really nice, and it was pretty cool to see the stage from that perspective too. I asked him if there were any Blackie guitarpicks on the stage somewhere, and he just stuck his hand in his pocket and fished up a load of picks that he just put in my hand. Wow! Now I had everybody's picks and didn't even have to fight for them! Chris was still all over the place, I heard his voice coming from a different direction every time! He walked around barefoot all day! Something tells me that he really doesn't like socks or shoes! :-) I found him outside later, sitting and talking with some fans out in the sun.

He had a little trouble with some of the equipment, but I guess it worked out... Well, basically, I was THERE all day, and as much as I wish I could remember every single conversation, I don't... I was just a spectator, and I chose to be just that. Sometimes I want to be in the middle of things and talk to the bands, and sometimes I just want to step aside and watch them, just watch them. I mean, watching Chris is pure entertainment, believe me! :-) He walks SO fast (Chris "Flash Gordon" Holmes!), and seems to be doing something new every time you see him! One minute he's cleaning his guitar, the next he's talking to fans and the second after THAT he's having dinner, and you never even had a chance to register when he went from doing one thing to another!

When the doors opened I made sure to have my spot right in the front. I stood there for an hour or so, bored to death cause there were mostly kids around me, nobody to talk to (until later when I started discussing the shows with a guy who had been to two of the W.A.S.P-shows that I hadn't been to).

Just before Get Animal were to enter the stage, their drummer came down, handed me a camera and asked me if I could take some pictures of them for him. He had this little pocket-camera and he showed me how it worked. Well, then... I was a photographer for the evening! :-)

K.K walked by with the chocolate-box that I guess he was going to hide before somebody ate the whole box! The guys who stood right next to me wondered why the band and the crew were talking to me, if I knew them or what. Actually, it helped a little that they saw that the crew knew me, cause the guy right next to me who was drunk as a pig and a real pain in the rear (who had told me to "not mess with him" a few seconds earlier) suddely apologized for having been so nasty.

- I hope you understand... I just want to have a good time, I love W.A.S.P!

Who said he couldn't have fun, I just would like him to have fun somewhere where he wasn't hitting my face with his elbow for god's sake! Get animal did their thing, and although they're not the same kind of band as W.A.S.P I saw that quite a few people got into it and even tried to sing along!

When they were done, W.A.S.P's sound engineer came down to me to ask if everything was okay, if I needed anything. I just asked him for some water, cause when you're sweating to much in the front, you desperately need to drink water or anything drinkable to avoid fainting.

He went and came back with a bottle of ice-cold Gatorade that he handed over to me with a smile. The people in the crowd were staring at me. Who the hell was I to get such special treatment with x-press drink-dlivery?! Drinks and cameras and god knows what else!

:-)

Anyway, the show began and it was really tough down there in the front. People become very selfish when they're at a concert, they jump and wave their arms and don't give a f**k who they're hitting or whose feet they're stomping on. But I know the deal, if I want to stand there, I have to be prepared to pay the price, and let me tell you - not even WILD HORSES could have moved me from my spot!! I mean, W.A.S.P ROCK!!! I don't even know how to explain it, but see it like this: Before W.A.S.P came to Sweden I was bored to death - nothing was happening, no good bands, no good music, nothing. But this charged my batteries to the maximum! God, if I ever had to die before my time, I would love to do it at a good rock-concert, like THIS one..!

I still have bad bruises all over my body from that concert and the ones before that, but they're just souvenirs from a wonderful evening!

At the end of the show, they did the flour and the feather-thing again, and I looked like a ghost (as did everybody else who had dared to stand in the front!) but you never saw a happier ghost!

Right afterwards a guy stopped me and asked if he could have copies of my concert-photos and I just gave him a few of my doubles from Karlstad that I had in my bag. That made him happy and I was on my way home to Malmoe.

I was stopped by Get Animal's driver/guitartech who just grabbed me and introduced me to two giggling girls that he had found:

- Girls! Meet our Swedish tourmanager!

The girls were laughing and waving, all except one that I had met earlier that day who was more, well, say "normal"..:! I went outside to get my car, but someone had locked the gate (probably to prevent people from parking there) and I couldn't get out. Get Animal's drummer showed me that I could just drive over the lawn. I did, and I was on my way home again. I was full of feathers and flour that had dried and was hard as a rock (imagine sweat, the water Blackie splashed over people in the front row and then flour above THAT. Then imagine this mess about 30 minutes later... Yeah, really neat...). But I was on my way home to prepare myself for a new W.A.S.P-day..!

LIVE PHOTOS FROM THE GOTHENBURG GIG COMING UP!!!

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