May 28th was our first show in Salzgitter Germany which was very positive. This night we met two email pen pals Melanie Dressel and Karsten Korsa. They ended up coming to three more shows on the tour and took many great pictures for us, thanks friends!
May 29th off to Vanersborg Sweden to play a festival with Samiam, Converge, and many others. There was a huge crowd at the festival and both Fast Times and Up Front were graciously welcomed.
May 30th was a drive day to get to Poland
May 31st we played Zlotow Poland which was great. We hung out with Peter and Chris who let us hang out at their house, email home, and eat their food. Fast Times got a great crowd response and Ali and the rest of the band saw first hand how friendly and happy most European kids are to see American bands.
June 1st was another drive day and we ended up back in Berlin and once again stayed with Udo. We went bowling that night with the guys from Coretex and other friends and Fast Times got to see the remains of the Berlin wall.
June 2nd off to Leipzig Germany to play Konne Island. This was our third time to play this club and they always have great ways to welcome us back. We were told that in the history of the club they never really do weeknight shows but made this exception for us. This night we got to see our Friend Matthias and Melanie and Karsten again. Thanks to Melanie and Karsten for some of the wonderful live pictures that they took for us. The crowd just loves to throw confetti at us and we love to throw it right back at them. Steve had a great time and never lacked any help with the backups and singalongs. After the show and the huge Band VS. Crowd confetti fight, we sat back and viewed the mess before heading to Billy's to spend the night. I love this club and all of the kids there.
June 3rd we drove to Bleiskastel Germany to play a show with our new friends in Driftnet. The weather was terrible, kinda cold and raining, and also on a weeknight, but that did not stop the kids from showing up. This show was the hottest show in the most smoke filled environment that I have ever played and it was one of the best ever!! I will never forget the chant of the crowd singing along to the songs so loudly and drowning out the instruments on stage. Matt did his regular stage dive into the crowd from behind the drumset while I got groped by the crowd. What a night!! Thanks to all the kids there and our new friends.
June 4th we played Zug Switzerland with a few bands from Italy who rocked out old school hardcore. Another great night for us, thanks to Freddy the promoter for hooking us up.
June 5th off to Lyon France. I do not remember their names but the two promoters for the show were awesome! They took us around town to find the proper adapter to plug our amps in with and we stayed at their place that night.
June 6th off to Nantes France where we played a festival with Right To Life, Slamface, Waiting for better days, and Teamwork. I got to hang out with long time pen pals Pierre and Yann Boislieve from Empowerment zine. The promoter was Olivier from Right to Life and The Age Of Venus distro. Also, I finally got to meet David from Overcome Records, a good day indeed.
June 7th to St. Breiuc France where we played once again with Right For Life.
June 8th to Troyes France Where we played in a wine cellar with some great local bands. The promoters Sebastian Guillaume and David Moire took care of us well.
The shows in France were all great despite the small yet growing scene there. The strange thing was that Steve lost his voice and I had to sing three of the shows.
June 9th, back to Germany to Bochum. We played here on our 1994 tour as well and it was just as great! Melanie and Karsten were there too!
June 10th was another drive day, off to the UK for the 1st time. After lying to the customs/border woman and allowed entrance to the country, we were at the mercy of my long time friends Robert and Dee Forbes from Amersham. They let us stay at their house, fed us and even washed our long overdue dirty laundry. They had been to my house twice throughout the years and now finally I was there at theirs. I cannot express how happy I was to finally be in England.
June 11th we played a show in Derby at the Victoria Inn. The show was small but a lot of fun and we got to meet Step Back. A great band from England that never got the chance to play with us, next time my friends!
June 12th, the EVIL FEST 1999 in London at the famous GARAGE! This was run by LIL of Household Name Records and the event was great! A ton of bands played with us: In the clear, Cameron, Kafka, Touchdown, Area Effect, Guiding Line, Oil, and Knuckledust. An incredible show and welcome to the UK!
June 13th we went to Kortrijk Belgium where we finally got our new split 7"s and tour shirts. The show was small but fun. Apparently there was a mandatory vote that day and every citizen of Belgium had to vote and all the college kids had final exams the following day. Could not have picked a worse day for a show but it was fun. I got to see my buddy Bart VanMulders and his fiancÚ' Anamaria and we went back to his place in Aalst to crash for the evening. The next day we hung out on Watertowerstreet and took a quick walk through town before departing.
June 14th Bielefeld Germany where we played with Vitamin X from Holland and hung out with the guys from Driftnet again.
June 15th we went to Aachen Germany and had the chance to play with Good Clean Fun and that is what we all had.
June 16th back to Berlin to play Wild At Heart and spend yet another night with Udo. Melanie and Karsten showed up again, they are awesome!
June 17th we had the day off in Berlin, whoo hoo!
June 18th Chemnitz Germany. This show marked the the last time that we would see Melanie and Karsten and our friend Matthias on this tour. The show was great, the promoter Mario hooked us up with so much food that after the show we invited all of our friends back stage to eat it! We showered and got cleaned up and then pulled an all nighter to Austria.
June 19th, a very interesting day indeed! We arrive at the Mind Over Metal, I mean, Mind Over Matter 3 day Festival in Oberwart Austria. Now this was cool and weird all in one. It was cool to play opposite Destruction and with other bands such as Motorhead, Napalm Death, The Misfits, Dio, and Kreator. It was cool to share a dressing room with the US Bombs (who never showed up) and The Misfits and to eat in a huge cafeteria with all of the bands. But it sucks when the crowd is like a mile away from you and there is a barrier.
After a long night drive with very little quality sleep and a set already played, we headed out to play our second show in Hungary. Now I have to admit, our spirits and energy were low when we left Austria and we kinda didn't want to go. We drove two hours to GYOR Hungary to find 450 kids waiting for us to show up. The show was called Elso Magyar HC Festival and many bands like United Side, Dawncore, Burning Inside, Forcas, and others had played and were playing when we arrived. I'll never forget the cheer that the crowd let off once they realized that we actually showed up. I cannot express in words the feeling and aura that surrounded this show. All of our energy levels were now in hyperactive and we were ready to play. With the help of our new friend Annamaria, we sold our merchandise to a swarming crowd of kids that never died down for like 3 hours. Thank God for Annamaria, she was our only link to communicating with anyone. She spoke Hungarian and English and was the greatest help to us that afternoon. It was well into the evening and dark by the time that Fast Times and Up Front played but the crowd was still supercharged. Graham broke a string as usual and took the opportunity to be one with the crowd and me. Once again, Steve had no trouble at all finding kids to sing along. All he had to do was give them a little water.
June 20th was in Stuttgart Germany with Driftnet and Pole. It was advertised as East Coast XXX meets local heroes which was cool because I was tired of being billed as Straight Edge Legends from the East Coast and Straight Edge Heroes. So we finally had the chance to play with some Local Heroes and it was a great show!! To our friends in Driftnet, I have one thing to say, MEAT!!!!!!
June 21st was a drive day towards Croatia. We stopped at Dachaue to find out that a month prior they started closing the camp to visitors on Mondays. We noticed though that the front gate was open and we went in anyway and looked around. We split up and ironically enough, Matt, the only Jewish kid with us gets singled out and yelled at by the staff telling him and us to leave. He finds us and we go to leave and the gate was closed and locked tight. So we stand there looking like fools until the staff comes and lets us out.
So we drive through the Alps and arrive in a small ski town in Austria where we crash for the night in a high scale hotel with full breakfast for $28.00 each!
June 22nd we drive through Slovenia and get to Kutina Croatia and play a great show to another great bunch of kids.
June 23rd we were supposed to have a show in Germany so we pulled another all nighter after the show. At 3 AM we were stopped at the border and basically patted down and the whole van was searched. It was the first time in my life that I felt that my human rights were being violated, it sucked. We headed back to Dacheua, which was open and we all caught up on our WWII history. We found out that the show was canceled for that day and we all pretty much bitched and vented to one another that we didn't need to pull the all nighter and get harassed by the border police.
June 24th we played in Hannover Germany. There were no flyers anywhere and we started to worry. People said that hadn't been any hardcore shows there in a LONG time. The club ruled, the promoter ruled, the show sucked miserably. The only bad show on the tour!
June 25th off to Drachten Holland. What a great show, what a great country! We met Johan and Suzanne from Reflections magazine and got some copies of the new 7 Seconds tribute cd that both of us were on. The show was great, but we knew that in two more days it would all be over and we would be on our way back home.
June 26th, my 30th birthday and I could not think of a better way to celebrate. We are in Arnhem Holland playing with Shai Halud, 400 Years, and Spirit 84. The guys from Vitamin X and Oil showed up as well as Johan and Suzanne and like 50 other people that we knew and met. We went out with a bang, a huge bang. It was a beautiful sunny day and I set the merchandise table up outside. It was the most sun that my skin saw in four weeks and it felt good. I once again cannot express into words the vibe and aura for the day, but it was incredible! It was our last night so we rocked out hard. I know that I said it twice before but Steve had no trouble finding mouths to scream along.
We spent the night at the promoters house but most of us stayed up all night to celebrate our wonderful tour and to enjoy our last night together in Europe. The next day consisted of a drive to Berlin to drop off the backline and to settle up merchandise with Udo and Coretex. I was fried from the all nighter, I had a headache and could barely concentrate. The next morning we found ourselves packing our bags on the sidewalk of the airport and saying good bye to Job. Back to heat and humidity and the humdrum of everyday life in the US!
I leave you with this. Two photos from Arnhem Holland sent to me by Wim Vangansewinkel and his friends. This one is a group shot of us hanging out after the show. And this one was simply entitled THANKS. It was their thanks to us for coming and playing their town and this my friends is my eternal thanks to them and everybody else for participating in the greatest 32 days of my life!
Jeff and Up Front