For a festival date in Holland [Eurorock 03-11-1988 - see gigs list], vocalist Simon
Carmody kept a diary (for "Fresh Magazine") of their mad, bad, truly rock'n'roll
The Ominous Start:
When you've got a date with destiny you've got to dig or die! Great Golden Horde on a jet , Batman, it's Brussels on a tuesday night. The adventure begins!
Des bounces across my room & inquires if I'm ready for a going out vibe. We hit the streets of Brussels & head towards the strip. As we walk across the great old gothic square we meet a group of 60 schoolgirls from limerick(Ireland).Leaving them to their own vices we hit the local rock'n'roll niterie in the company of 2 wild rockers who've picked us up.
Both ride Harleys & are seriously heavy. After 2 hours, Philo, the minder/roadie, decides I need to be escorted to the hotel & pours me into a cab. Getting out at the hotel I spot a sign saying "Babylon" & I've gotta check it out.
Streets & streets of bars & girls lure me from my bed & one-night degenerates into a boschian bachannal that could only be equated with the amphetamine fueled psychosis of a roadie's brain! No sleep this night.
Day 2 - Railway of Doom!!!
Since the dawn of time, man has sought to see behind the veil which hides him from tomorrow. If we could, then maybe we wouldn't do what we did last night!
6 tired men on a train mumble & groan 'til Sammy decides to break the ice & order a beer. Then we all do. Then another.
Several hours later, John & I are sitting in the corridor smoking fags & watching the dutch countryside spin in a haze of alcohol, caffeine & nicotine. "Why are we here?", says John, & I agree with him......
We get to Groningen & detrain & cab to hotel. Immediately scarves are placed over lamps, the curtains are drawn, incense is lit & we try to get into the ambience, you know what I mean?
An old university town, it looks pretty but boring. Sex shops a go-go, loads of bikes & canals. Des has a friend of a friend living here so he calls her & invites her to meet us at the (music) festival that night. Later on.....
We meet Ian Wilson, Dave Fanning'd producer, who's organised the trip for us. I suggest watching the band, but Ian has a meeting with the senior programmer in charge of Estonian Rock Radio. He's like that.
The hall is huge. Three stages in different rooms in a cultural centre. we catch a load of groups, enjoying The Wonderstuff (again!) most of all, tho' a dreadful Dutch, Prince-style soul revue called "Funky Stuff" exerts a horrible fascination.
The gigs are all being recorded, & the scene seems together if conceptually nebulous, like what's it all about? But we don't care. We're here to do our thing & proudly represent ireland, Fresh (magazine), God & RTE.
Our new friend, Julia, takes us out on the town & we get drunk in one club & go on to another. Wall to wall black leather, bikers, greasers, punks, skin(head!)s, chicks, molls, dolls, babes & beauts of all descriptions. iggy's blaring in the pit & the air is thick with smoke. I could get to like Holland.
As I make my way to the bar I realise that probably some of us will not get to bed tonight....& some of us probably will....
Day 3 - The Jaws of the beast!
We assemble from where we have been , a night older but probably no wiser. Peter has astounded us all by having a swim in the hotel pool & eating breakfast. Herman, our driver, is very cool & a real find. Philo, the rocker, the roadie, gets busy as we do a soundcheck. Sounds ok. We have made certain 'friends', & also- friends & are meeting them later.
Discretion stops me mentioning who is meeting who.
We split up into pairs & look around the town, having done a few interviews. John & I enjoy a macrobiotic meal until we realise we should be back at the hotel! Grab a cab & rendezvous in lobby with clothes etc To the gig.
There are 8 or 10 bands a night & tonight is the Biggie as local hero Herman Brood (& his wild romance) is the main act. He's a sort of wasted Thunders/Eddie Cochran style figure who's been going years & actually sounds like Thin Lizzy! We're going on immediately before him.
About doing gigs in big halls, I'll say only one thing - you know the bit in Spinal Tap where they get lost in the corridors.....
We're on at 10 & it's kinda weird beforehand cause we don't know if they know our stuff. But when we hit the stage it's the same a s everywhere else! The kids are going crazy, jumping on stage, blowing kisses, throwing beer & doing what everyone does at our shows. We really get off on it & play really good.
And of course there's a guy at the front shouting for "Brainiac" & screaming "Where's Bernie?". Just like at home. We get an encore & do the fastest "Adrienne"ever. Then we have to get off because Herman Brood is on & the radio is very picky about (running over) time.
Unwinding in the dressing room Herman, the driver, tells us that the local rock club would like us to play later THAT night. Why not? Let's do it!
Herman Brood & the band & about 100 other people are still in our dressing room drinking as we leave for our next gig. Downtown to Club Vera, a very funky, rocking club.
In the office I see that the Lime Spiders, The Celibate Rifles, Nikki Sudden & others of our mates had all played there lately. "Yes". says the manager, "and also here have played U2 & The Virgin Prunes from Ireland so say hello them from me".
Now this gig is wild! With no idea what we're gonna play & with a borrowed backline we rocked the house, tho' I was so drunk I can't remember what we played! We do about 7 encores!!! finishing with Blue Oyster Cult's "E.T.I", that goes on for ever & then the ultimate apocalyptic definitive, "Teenage Head"- that really blew my mind!
It's now 4 in the morning & when last seen Ian Wilson was dancing on the tables in some club, freaking out the party of Finnish DJ's that he was with. He's back at the hotel & I've got to get some sleep when I notice our numbers have swollen dramatically & that that the others all want to party. I give in & 8 taxis go back to the hotel!?!
Back at the hotel things rapidly get out of hand Various 'parties' spring up; some private & some debauchedly public. I haven't slept in 3 nights & am starting to hallucinate. Only vodka can cure me.
What happens next is just conjecture but I'm sure one of the group locked himself in the sauna with a 'friend', but which one was it?
And who was throwing the tables in the swimming pool?
It's blur! And why was someone's door locked for 2 hours when it sounded like a party inside? I dunno.
But I do know that people who moan about being in rock'n'roll are crazy.
Music is the food of love & the soundtrack to a new way of life.
As we left the next morning, with not a few tear-stained faces that we were leaving behind, I clocked it. It was time out, a gas, a trip, it was fun. Let's do it again!
- thanks to 'Fresh Magazine'
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