Hey folks, this is Nille from Katatonia. Like Mr. Sodomizer Ill introduce myself so youll know what kinda of a bloke I am. Through the recent years Ive met Jonas Renkse through their tour manager Ronnie who I once played in a band with called Amaran. This was back in 2006. In the beginning of December last year I received an mail from Jonas asking if I was interested in playing some bass for Katatonia. It didnt take long before I agreed to take on the challenge. With a lot of songs to learn and little time to do it, I started to rehearse the songs be ear straight away. Tour started pretty much straight away and heres my view of the week Im covering in our band tour diary...
Monday 22 of March (Lyon, France)
I can recall waking up in the tour bus soaked in sweat as usual. It tends to get a bit hot upstairs. I dont really know why but I guess that the air conditioning fucks up occasionally. Being all dizzy I headed my way to the venue which was located just beside the bus. I soon realized that the stage was good and that it had the potential to become a great gig. With some mini pizza slices and some soda in my stomach I was off to sound check. I soon learned that my bass guitar needed to be adjusted so this evening I had to play with Jonas bass which he was kind enough to lend to me as backup throughout the whole tour. Its the same Mayones bass he uses for his other band Bloodbath. Short after the sound check everyone was really hungry and was eager to get their teethes in something good. The food didnt meet our expectations. It was not properly cooked and a guy from our opening act Swallow The Sun even got sick. Gladly it did not stop him from giving a great performance later that night. Anders and me did an interview for a radio station in a bicycle room. It felt kinda odd, but fun in a sense, sitting around all these bikes talking about dark music. Even though the audience was not that loud that Monday night, I was enjoying the show and i ended up chilling with the Swallow The Sun boys in the downstairs lounge indulging a couple of beers.
Tuesday 23 of March (Solothurn, Switzerland)
Just like the previous day, I woke up in a small pool of sweat. But today was for a good reason; the sun was shining outside and it felt almost like a Swedish summer day. I read in some online Swedish newspapers that some more heavy snowfall was approaching my home town Stockholm and that made me enjoy the Swiss weather even more. Kofmehl, which is the name of the venue, was really big and looked great. Definitely the best backstage weve seen so far in my opinion. Big sofas, a private bar and a nice a warm shower. Very pleasing to say the least. Good catering followed which included a nice and tasty stew accompanied by something that resembled scrambled eggs. My stomach was pleased! Dave Sustain from Long Distance Calling took a look at my main bass as he happens to work as a guitar tech back at home. He did a fabulous job and it now plays very well with a good attack and fat sound. It really plays like a Mayones bass should. Thanks Dave! Me and Jonas started to drink some beer after sound check. The weather, the nice people and the great venue makes you thirsty for some brews. With some Jagermeister before the gig and some encouraging words between the boys we hit the stage. The audience was amazing and I had a blast. I felt relaxed and could really focus on the performance. In the backstage lounge we had a cool party with a lot of beer, Jager and other spirits. In the bar called "Creepy" me and the others were serving the rest of the head bangers present. One of the better after show parties yet on this tour! Now off to the bus to continue the party. For some reasons I dont recall what happened downstairs. Often a good sign that the previous night was awesome one.
Wednesday 24 of March (Milano, Italy)
When entering the venue i was struck by how big and overwhelming it was. Ill guess it was the biggest venue so far on the tour. I actually had to find myself struggling to get to the backstage. But after some nice in-house people showed me the way I found the room and joined my fellow band members. There were some items needed to be purchased so Sodomizer and me got into a car and headed out to find them. One of the guys working at the venue was willing to help and drove us far into town. Even though we couldn't find all the things that we needed it was a great chance to see what the town looked like. I was surprised about the heavy and wild traffic. Sometimes it seemed there were cars everywhere! When we came back i was ready to indulge some of the beers that were ready and waiting for us in the fridge backstage. I cant remember the brand of the beer but it was really good and Jonas told me that he used to drink it back in the days when it was on sale in Sweden. Catering offered all kinds of different food. One of them was the pasta Bolognese which became to be the main course on my plate. After the dinner there was a couple that surprised us with an unscheduled interview. We accepted it and it was a good one that everyone enjoyed. After some photos the couple went out to the venue, Ready to rock!! Now on to the show... Anders and I went out during the Swallow gig to check the vibes. The audience was rocking and the vibes were really good. This made us really excited and eager to get on the stage and do our own thing. The expectations were met when we walked out on stage. The crowd was crazy and we got a really good response when talking to them after the show. Sweeet! As far as I can remember, the night ended in a drinking inferno with the Finnish guys! (I lost count on how many times that has happened these past four weeks)
Thursday 25 of March (Rome, Italy)
Waking up in the bus feeling better than I should, regarding yesterdays boozing. I got up fresh and headed straight for the venue. After a good breakfast and some yoghurt I checked the venue out more closely. The instant feeling was that this could be a good show. Plenty of room on the stage and good capacity. I asked our drum-tech Jimmy if he would be interested in going in to town for some "sightseeing". He explained that he couldn't because work. Considering this is fabulous Rome, a guy could not be more professional. Thumbs up! After just a couple of minutes Ronnie, the tour manager, posed the question if we wanted to go to Colosseum. Obviously I said yes straight away. It was very nice that Jimmy found a slot in his schedule to go with us. Jonas also joined. Just like in Milan when Sodomizer and I tried to pick up some stuff we had this kind bloke driving us to the site. Everybody was blown away with how green and dazzling it was though I figured it wouldve been bigger, but man, its a really impressive place which also has a dark and bloody history to it. We found a church/cathedral which also impressed me with its paintings and craftsmanship. Below the floor in a small room we stumbled upon a glass-chamber in the wall containing a old corpse of a small man. Now it was time to be picked up again as we agreed with the driver to go back one our after arrival. After some soundcheck, long wait in the backstage area and a couple of beers we entered the stage. The crowd was amazing and after the show a couple of us went with some fans to a nearby bar. But before this i talked a bit with the dude outside the venue selling bootleg shirts. After some photos i got one shirt from him. One of the fans that went with us to the bar was a really nice girl from Sardinia which i still have contact with. This is one of the highlights on tour. When you meet new and very nice people. We had to leave just two hours after we arrived to the bar. Now we were of to the venue "Rock planet" in Cervia, also located in Italy.
Friday 26 of March (Cervia, Italy)
The site where the venue was located on looked like something taken from a movie. It was like an deserted vacation resort. Me and Jonas strolled around just checking out the area. There was not a single human in site. Bored as i was i wanted a soccer ball to just jerk around with as there was a few soccerfields just around the corner. After that i learned that one guy in the bus was ill in his stomach and had to puke. We all got a bit concerned because its a tricky situation if many people get ill and it would spread to all the guys in the bus. Later that night we got calming news when the illness was gone and he only was a bit tired from the whole experience. Me, Sodomizer and Daniel went out on a walk to find a local supermarket. I was on the look for some schampo and body lotion. This was very well needed since i missed out on some showers earlier. I cant say the shower was a pleasant experience since it was smelling bad and was in bad shape. But you gotta do what you gotta do. The show was good and the audience was great. It was friday night and ill guess people was a bit extra excited. I remember one guy being really thrilled about us playing "saw you drown". Sweeet! After the show the place was transformed into a disco. This is what we call a "disco load out" since the crew loads out all the equipment while disco music is on and party people is entering the venue.
Saturday 27 of March (Ljubljana, Slovenia)
I woke up as usually after we arrived at the venue. I can remember only once when i was awake before arrival and that was in London, England. The Venue was located at a very punkish area with a lot of graffiti on the buildings. It was very nice and welcome as it was so different from all the other places we had been on earlier this tour. Ronnie the tour manager also agreed as he liked the surroundings. The venue was very small and i can remember that the Wi-fi access was limited to the bar. So the first thing i actually saw was a lot of guys, not drinking beer, but sitting with their laptops in the bar. After just sitting and chilling for some time backstage we asked the promotor if the washing machine was usable. As it was out of order we were directed to a nearby hostel where you could do your laundry for a small amount of money. Me, Jonas and Daniel headed towards the hostel and the laundry machine. As the area that surrounded us this was also very welcome as i had build up a big pile of dirty laundry throughout the tour. After the sound check and the everyday biz we ordered in some catering. I can recall me having a good and pretty large burger, i think Anders had the same. One thing was different with this burger. They sliced the bread one more time to fit the salad. I have never seen this before but it worked out very good. Straight after the dinner we opened the first beer of the day and to this we listened to the tones of Testament. After some songs there came some guys to make some interviews. One of them was from a magazine where Katatonia was featured in the last pages of the mag. We got to keep the magazine the brought with them. But ofcourse as it was in slovenian language we only could enjoy the pictures. Outside, there was some good slovenian friends of mine waiting. Tina and Ana which i had the pleasure to get to know from Metal camp payed a visit. Since i have not seen them in two years this was a very happy moment. We drank some beers outside the venue and talked about good old times. Matija which i also met, and is the brother of Ana, arrived 30 min later. I was equally excited to see him to since we had some great time at the metal camp festival. After Swallow the sun had ended there show i had to get back to the backstage to prepare myself for the gig. After the usual preparations me and other boys entered the stage. This stage was freaking hot, almost like an finish sauna. The audience was very very good as they very loud. You could also see that they enjoyed the show very much. As soon as the show was ended i went out to meet my slovenian friends once again. Me and Tina walked around the area so i could get a proper tour. After a few beers and receiving some butt-slaps from the finish guys we had to get our asses to Vienna. The following party on the bus was a pure mayhem as i can remember. Or at least the little i remember from it. This effected the next day, as i can read in the Vienna part of the diary.
Sunday 28 of March (Vienna, Austria)
I can start telling you that i did not experience much on this day. I was down and out almost the whole day. I woke up with an bad headache and my stomach was on another planet. Since a few years i cant go back to sleep since i once waked up hangovered. After just laying a few hours in the bunk i managed to get to soundcheck. But i had to make the venue the honor of puking in the toilet. Usually this tends to make a difference and that you feel better afterwards. This day was not one of those days. After the soundcheck i went, after some hints from the other bandmates, to the bunk. When i woke up for the second time i felt better but i was still ill. I managed to perform the show as a pro. Because this is whats expected of me and what i want to deliver each night. After the show we had some after show pizzas and after that me and Daniel went out on street to find some candy. All the stores was closed, but it did not matter since it was really nice walk after a hard day with a seriously bad hangover.
So there you have it, my week on the ultimate guitar diary. I really had a lot of great moments and met a lot of nice, cute and kind persons. So thanks to all that comes to the shows and rocking in out! Keep on rocking!!
- Nille, Katatonia, 2010