From Aural Innovations #22 (January 2003)
I met Tommy at the main train station at 9:15 to take the train over to pick up the van in Malmö. It costs about ½ the price to rent a car in Sweden compared to Denmark, so if we are gone more than two days it is worth renting it over there. Tommy drives the van back to his place, showers and packs and we go by my place to get the tapes for the drive and kiss the family good bye for a week and we go get the gear and the others.
Thomas drives to the ferry, I take over until Osnabruck. I drive like 160 km/hr and it takes some getting used to as no one was driving that fast but we are getting somewhere and we have 950 km to get to Belgium. We listen to some great music ZZTop-Tejas, Kingston Wall II, Highway To Hell, Motorhead-Ace of Spades. We have to stop a lot to piss as people are drinking a lot of beers (more than 30) and smoking joints. We arrive at the club at 23:00. Not bad, as it was 13:18 when we left Ralph’s place. 10 hours for 950 km.
No one is at the club, we wonder what the hell is going on? We thought that Raging Slab and Hypno69 were playing here but it turns out to be at a different club. We get directions to Benny and Sara’s house. When we pull up the guys in Colour Haze had just arrived as well. They had traffic hell getting here with closed roads and accidents, etc. Everyone greets each other and beers and more joints are smoked. I am just very tired and not really up for a party. After 45 minutes, Benny and Sara arrive and we all pack into the house. We all find a place to crash in their cool pad. They have 3 rooms with mattresses and sleeping bags all set up so they can sleep like 11 people. The others are downstairs drinking and smoking and I crash out.
GAS GIANT and COLOUR HAZE - JH Sojo, Leuven, Belgium 10/13/02
I get up early (8:30), long before the others and listen to Hypno69 from Belgium. Quite a cool CD. It is a cold, totally cloudy day. Benny gets up around 10:30 and the Gas Giant guys show up at 11:00. We listen to new Colour Haze, Ole Lukkøye, Farflung and the Ribeye Brothers. Stefan, Thomas and Jesper start with some beers at 12:00 after we had a little breakfast. Joints start soon after and Colour Haze finally get up at 12:30. At 14:45, Colour Haze guys go for the soundcheck. Colour Haze are heavy smokers, not really drinkers like Gas Giant. We are having a good time chatting with everyone and Benny and Sara are very cool people and have a great house. We finally decide on a set list. Tomorrow we will play something different.
Sara had prepared a Lasagna and salad and coke. We eat and then headed off to the club. Perfect timing, Colour Haze had just finished the soundcheck. The soundboard turns out to only have 6 channels with phantom power so there is no extra mics for anyone except Jesper and I can’t even be on the stage at all and I have to set up my synthesizer (Nord Lead 2) at the back of the hall next to the soundboard. This was a special set up. At least I could hear what I was playing and could adjust my level. It turns out the sound is very boomy at the back of the place. We start right at 20:00, as it is a Sunday night and we need to be finished by 24:00. I make some space sounds and into Firetripper, we hit them hard and fast. Not as tight a version as usual but damn heavy and spaced. The wind is loud. I think that the space frequencies can often get lost when it is so loud and I can’t really hear them. Perhaps it is the ear plugs but I have to wear them as we always play super loud. Sit Down was next followed by Ride the Red Horse and it as into Space. This was really excellent and the beginning totally laid back and spaced out. I am listening to the recording right now and I am a little too high in the mix, maybe. I hope this does not annoy the others. I like to be more down in the bottom of the sound. My playing got better with every concert. Dragon’s Cave, There’s One and Too Stoned followed. There were about 40 people to see us play but they were really into it, which was cool. We had a really nice guy named Marco, who plays drums in a Zeppelin tribute band called Custard Pies, who was doing some awesome psychedelic light projections. Anyway, Never Leave this Way is excellent tonight with a cool jam, nearly 18 minutes. We end the set with All Creatures. This was a really off version. The groove was off, I think Tommy was not playing it right? Overall, a pretty cool set but a little loose. We played 61 minutes.
Set List: Firetripper, Sit Down, Ride the Red Horse, There’s One, Too Stoned, Dragons Cave, Never Leave this Way Jam, All Creatures
The crowd response was good and we sold a lot of merchandise this night. I had made a lot of copies of the live concerts from Leipzeig and Berlin as well as 3 sets of the Live Series Vol 1-6. Sold nearly all of them this night! Now the band begins to party and Colour Haze get ready to play.
Colour Haze don’t mess about and get right into it and have a massive excellent sound. The band does not have a set list. They play what they feel and if people yell out a song, like they did for Reefer, then maybe they play it, which is really cool. I had heard their LPs but never seen them live but I was really impressed. They get into these very hypnotic tight grooves both slow and fast. Stefan, the guitar player and singer has his own very special guitar tone, that uses that Kyuss (Josh Homme) tone but adds a unique element of his own. He does not vary the tone much but uses it very well. They played some great new songs like Zen, Roses and an 18 minute song, Weltraummantra.
The band do an awesome jam of American Woman to end their set. They call for us to come join them for One Way or Another by Cactus but the band are not shy tonight. Jesper goes up there though and takes over the drums and they do a really cool 18 minute jam. A great groove. When Jesper finishes, Mani takes over again for a quick version of Freakshow. What a great long set. They played for 135 minutes! This is a band that loves to play and we are all pretty much blown away by the tightness, cool grooves and guitar playing. We know we are playing with a very special band that is going to give us a kick in the ass.
Set List: Plazmakeks, Sundazed, I Won't Stop, CO2, Outside, Almost Gone, Weltraummantra, Zen, Roses, Pulse, Outside/American Woman, Jam (with Jesper from Gas giant on Drums), Freakshow.
We meet some really cool people from all over. Some drove from more than 100km to come see us. The guy who Stefan did a radio interview with last year was there. A very cool night and cool people in Belgium. Thomas is very drunk. I think he and Stefan must have drank 50 beers! The beers in the club are only 250ml. I crash out at 2:00.
GAS GIANT and COLOUR HAZE - Beezelbub, Bernkastel-Kues, Germany 10/14/02
Everyone is still sleeping when I wake up and I am listening to the concert. Great recordings were made. The sound is a little boomy. We have some lunch and hang out and say goodbye to our awesome hosts (www.orangefactory.cjb.net) and leave about 14:00. It is decided to go through Luxembourg even though it looks like it is 75 km further to do so. We listen to 90 minutes of Steamhammer. What a great band! I take over the driving when we get to Luxembourg and we meet up with Colour Haze to follow them the rest of the way. Gas is much cheaper here so we fill it all the way up. 80 liters for 64 euros. We listen to Gov’t Mule from Savannah’s, Ludlow, Vermont 1995. Great show. We arrive at 18:00 to a very cool resort town and club. This town is split into two by a river. Bernkastel (where the club and mountain is) on one side and Kues on the other side. Extremely beautiful place with the castle on the hill and vineyards.
We meet Mama Cool (www.mamacool.de), who is putting up the gig. A stoned, sweet lady in her mid 50’s. It is a small club with only a vocal PA. We eat some salad, bread and cheese. No meat of any kind. We do a quick and dirty soundcheck and all seems ok. Stefan struggles to get his sound out of the other Stefan’s equipment. I have set up off the stage again to the left in front of one of the PA speakers. I go directly into the PA. Plenty of beers finally arrive when the bartender comes at 19:30. We start to play at 20:00. Only like 20 people. Most all of them are young people who know Mama Cool’s daughter. A few older people and an American guy come. I make some synth sounds and we fly off into Ride the Red Horse. The sound is massive and deafening in this little room. Remember, Stefan plays with 4 Fender guitar cabinets and Philip has two large bass cabinets. A cool version. Moonshake is next and goes very well. I experiment a little. Too Stoned is a very cool spaced out version with a great ending. Colour Haze guys are all watching and rocking out. Never Leave This Way, a song, we play every night, is great with a cool jam. This one gets better and better. Dragon’s Cave is also getting better live as well. I experiment with the 383 sound a little bit. We now play Phantom Tanker. This just did not go well tonight. We end the set with a monster version of Back on the Headless Track with a jam. About 60 minutes, 7 songs!
Gas Giant Set List: Ride the Red Horse, Moonshake, Too Stoned, Never Leave this Way, Phantom Tanker, Dragon’s Cave, Back on the Headless Track>Jam
It was only 15 minutes before Colour Haze started to play. I sell some merchandise with Mühle and talk to an American from Florida named Eric who says he knows everyone in the music business and seems to talk a lot of shit. No one can tell if he is for real or not. He becomes a bit annoying. A previous judge at the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam (where we will play on Nov 24th), knows and has worked with Cher, etc. I leave go jam out with Colour Haze. They play like 3 songs we did not hear them play in Leuven. I thought some of their set was really awesome and Mani, the drummer is really cool to watch. The man is amazing. Pretty damn cool and rocking. Great to hear One Way or Another by Cactus. The band were not happy with the gig themselves and only played 105 minutes tonight. I missed the last two songs on the recording for some reason. The police came during their set and they had to turn down a little bit. It was loud but we had played louder a bit earlier.
Colour Haze Set List: Plazmakeks, Sundazed, Other Side, Get It On, Shine, Zen, I Won't Stop, One Way Or Another, Weltraummantra, Pulse, Electrohasch (last two songs not recorded)
After the gig we packed all the gear up so we would be ready to pick it up in the morning. Gas Giant guys are getting totally smashed now, except for Stefan and I. I have to drive the van to the place where we will stay. The place we were crashing out was a house with a lot of teenage kids. I found a room with Stefan and the others continue the party with the teenage kids. It was around 2. I hear that the party goes until 5-6 in the morning and people doing bongs and drinking all the beer in sight. How do they do it, night after night?
The Day Off
Ralph, our soundman, looks like the living dead in the morning. Amazingly, Thomas and Jesper are quite fresh. We leave this house at 12 and go over to Mama Cools house. We have the day off today. Lots of joints are smoked and everyone is laughing and having a great time. We joke about the Grass Drums from Space. This was a joke because when we arrive in Leuven the band playing the night before were called the Gas Drummers and they were from Spain. The guy at the bar when we asked where everyone was, thinking that Raging Slab was playing here, he asked if we were the Gas Drummers from Spain. We all laughed like hell! Now this was quite a joke. So we had become the Gas Drummers from Space. We eat some sandwiches and finally get out of the house to go pick up the gear, go to the bank, eat a kabob and walk up the small mountain to the Brug-Landshot Castle Chateau. It is like a 1km walk up the hill through the vineyards. Extremely beautiful place with the Rhine river running through the two towns below. We just have a nice day hanging out and laughing a lot all of us and Colour Haze. Great guys! We go to the grocery store and buy some food and drinks for Mama Cools. We had planned to play some music up at the Castle with acoustic guitars but it was raining a little.
When we got back to Mama Cools, Stefan (GG) and Thomas went into the kitchen to prepare the food, while the rest hung out, drank some beers, smoked more joints and Stefan (CH) played the acoustic guitar for us. The Food was great. Stefan had made a couple of salads and Thomas, potatoes and chicken. It was a tough job to make all this food for 12 people, as the kitchen was very small. After everyone had a nice meal, a 2 hour jam session, of which I recorded about 90 minutes, took place with Stefan (CH) playing guitar for 90 minutes but also Stefan (GG) and Thomas as well. Stefan (CH) played Stones, Steve Miller, Monster Magnet, Neil Young and others, while Stefan (GG) played a few Gas Giant songs like Holy Walker and Mana and some blues and a Kim Larson song as well. The song Thomas played was cool and Jesper sung some words over the top. Everyone else would sing and add percussion. Jesper was doing some really cool free form singing over the top. An amazing Raga was played by Stefan. Mama Cool was dancing, singing, smiling and even doing bongs! Everyone had a great time (except maybe Ralph, who was still suffering from the two nights previous and did not party at all this day). What an incredible evening. Will we ever have an evening like this again? A very wonderful and stoned evening.
GAS GIANT and COLOUR HAZE - Komm, Nürenburg, Germany 10/16/02
We are now leaving Mama Cools house and everyone is quite happy but not that fresh after 3 days of serious partying. I did all the driving yesterday and will take a day off. Tommy drove today. Beautiful drive through the mountains (small) and valleys and all the trees are changing into the fall colors, like in New England. Everyone except me and Tommy slept nearly the whole 5hrs to Nürnberg. Ralph is bummed when we get there as the sound and the PA are going to cost the two bands 100 Euro and we are only getting door money. This will be the second gig in a row with very little money coming in and Ralph is not happy. Calls the place a shit hole, a shit PA and all this crap (not true). We need at least 50 people. Colour Haze will play first today. The Komm, is a large room in a big building with all kinds of activities. I have a recording of Monster Magnet from here in 1992. Marco’s psychedelic projections look really awesome in this room. We hang out for some time. I am starving as we never stopped for food. I go get a Shawarma while everything is set up. When I get back, people are getting very happy as they are drinking the beers and have had no food, only joints to live on. After we soundcheck and it is our turn to eat, we go in the basement where they have prepared some spaghetti with tomato sauce. Thomas and I get some but Stefan spills the rest on the floor and there is no more to cook! Jesper, he and Ralph have nothing to eat. Ralph is even more pissed, so just gets more drunk. Such is life... Thomas, Stefan and I go our for a walk and to a small bar for a beer. We see Ralph over at the Burger King eating. We come up to a side window and just stare at him for what seems like 5 minutes before he notices us. He is only two tables from the window but very focused on eating and checking out the people.
Only about 20 people show up but Stefan (CH), his girlfriend is there with another friend and I meet a guy who is recording Colour Haze and us. Colour Haze are looking to play a great gig tonight and do, as they were not satisfied with the last one. The volume is very loud in this room. They open with Plazmakeks and Sundazed. They used this combination at all the shows except for Herzberg. A great sound tonight. I really like the way that Stefan plays the guitar. He is a really great player. It is so different from Stefan from Gas Giant. Stefan (CH), has a set of tones that he has and uses them in many different ways and plays very tight. The two bands play so different. We are very loose and free and they are searching for a very tight groove and vibe and this is very important to the success of their jams. We could use a little more tightness at times. I really enjoy watching their whole set and Mani is an awesome drummer and Philip plays a killer bass as well. It was cool to hear them play Periscope tonight. They play about 110 minutes.
Plazmakeks, Sundazed, Zen, Other Side, I Won't Stop, Roses, Almost Gone Outside, Elektrohasch>American Woman, 2 + 7, Periscope, Get It On, Pulse
We started around 12:30 on this Wednesday night and there were still 15 or 20 people. The band is pretty down and out and some don’t really want to play at all but Stefan and Thomas are quite up, even though they are quite high and getting drunk. They decide to cut Firetripper and Sit Down out of the set and we voyage straight out into Space with Ride the Red Horse. Jesper can’t seem to find the words and I am struggling to hear my synth over Stefan’s guitar (I am standing on the floor next to his amplifiers on the stage). Ralph has me very low in the PA. A bit annoying. We play Down the Highway next. This is the first time to play it on the tour. It was a very loose and long version. Stefan is really experimenting a lot tonight and having a good time as we go out into space. Too Stoned is next and the crowd always love this one. Moonshake and a very badly played version of There’s One is next. There’s One is one of the hardest songs for the band to play. The studio version totally kicks ass but pulling it off live is hard. We close the main set with a 25 minute version of Storm of my Enemies. Perhaps, I should say, 10 minutes version with a 15 minute extra jam out into space. I handed Stefan his slide for some cool spaced out slide effects during the jamming. Jesper, who didn’t really want to play earlier is totally alive and flying with energy now. We have only played like 6 songs in one hour now. We venture into Never Leave this Way. About 14 minutes in Stefan tries to go into Creeping, but Tommy, who still does not really know this song, is playing the drums to fast. Some quite intense guitar playing and interaction with the band and I experiment with the space sounds but people later tell me you could hardly hear me. Stefan and Tommy have had enough by now and leave the stage. Stefan from Colour Haze grabs the guitar (although he struggles a lot with Stefan’s effects and sound) and Mani jumps on the drums and off to jam land. Philip eventually comes up and we have two bass players. Jesper plays some drums and then over to my synth and makes very strange sounds as the band tries a pretty unsuccessful jam session.
I would call it a cool night of music exploration for Gas Giant. I am really wiped out by now and a little annoyed that the band expects so much from me. Some complain that I am not helping to load the van and Ralph and Tommy were doing nothing and I drive the van everyday, while they sit and sleep, drink and smoke the day away, I set up the merchandise and sell it and yet, they seem to expect that I am to stay straight and not party and have a good time everyday so they can all get totally wasted everyday. I am not getting paid either? Turns out the place we are to sleep is some old building that is being renovated and there is concrete dust so thick in the air you can’t hardly breath in there and it is freezing cold. We are expected to sleep on the floor here. I tried but after 30 minutes could not breathe, and they are all up partying like mad and don’t give a shit. I am quite unhappy. I end up sleeping in the van and only getting 3 hrs sleep. I get up and go for a walk around in the morning and to the bakery. Quite angry and I refuse to drive at all today as I need to rest. We are off to Dresden.
Set List: Ride the Red Horse, Down the Highway, Too Stoned, Moonshake, There’s One, Storm of My Enemies>Jam, Never Leave this Way, Jam (w/Colour haze)
GAS GIANT and COLOUR HAZE - Neubeatzz, Dresden, Germany 10/17/02
It took us 3½ hrs to get there. Everyone was in a good mood. I had tried to sleep in the van but had no luck. Sound was good in the club and we would get a proper backstage and hotel to sleep in a real bed for the first time this tour. During the soundcheck a spontaneous jam breaks out and Jesper starts singing a song about Mama Cool. Really awesome. Only get the last 1½ minutes of it recorded. Damn. Anyway, we started at 10:00 (22:00) with some spacey sounds from me and into Firetripper. Marco’s visuals were really cool tonight. NO room on the stage for me again, so I stood on the floor to the left. Moonshake was next and Stefan played some cool spaced out guitar intro. We next flew off into Space with Ride the Red Horse, followed by Dragon’s Cave. A small jam followed but not too long. This is one we take quite long sometimes at rehearsals. This is getting better and better every time we play it. Not Aman is played next and the first time on the tour. Starts rough but ends well. Too Stoned was very focused tonight and the crowd loves it. Colour Haze stay and watch our set and are getting into it. About 80 people in the audience and a good crowd response. Play Phantom Tanker, for the second time on the tour. Again, a rough start but ends really cool. A great riff in this song. We have a really good sound tonight. Green Valley, from the new Mana CD has its live debut. This has never been played live before and damn it is a great number. A cool jam at the end and Stefan and I trade some guitar and synth sounds. Storm of my Enemies is probably my favorite song that we play these days as it is so unpredictable. Stefan always plays the solo parts totally different and the feel can be really unique. I thought we were ending the set but the band decides to play Never Leave This Way. We play about 90 minutes and a great set this night. A totally different show than in Nürnberg. I think we are getting better and better each night.
Set List: Firetripper, Moonshake, Ride the Red Horse, Not Aman, Too Stoned, Phantom Tanker, Dragons Cave, Green Valley*, Storm of My Enemies, Never Leave this Way
Colour Haze also have an excellent sound tonight and Stefan is in a great mood. It was really cool to hear Smile 2 and Where the Skies End, two songs the band had not yet played on the tour. I just love the stretch of Get it On, Roses, Zen and CO2. This really rocks! This was the bands best show yet.
Set List: 01 Plazmakeks, Smile 2, Sundazed, Get It On, Roses, Zen, CO2, Almost Gone, Outside, I Won't Stop, Weltraummantra, Where The Skies End, Freakshow
Finally, pack down all the stuff and get to the hotel at 3:15. I am dead tired. I end up having an asthma attack and can’t breathe, sweating and itchy. I use my inhaler and end up surviving and crashing out an hour later. This is what I get after being around a lot of smoke for 5 days in a row. The smoking from the others and in the clubs is a killer. Next thing I know it is 11:30 the next day. We pack up the van and we go to see the Historic part of Dresden. You can see the water lines on the stores and places where it was flooded this summer. Not sure where the Gas Giant guys went but I had a really nice talk with Stefan from Colour Haze as he tells me some of the history of the place and we see the buildings and get some food. It takes 3½ hours to drive to Herzberg.
GAS GIANT and COLOUR HAZE - Ratskeller, Herzberg, Germany 10/18/02
Herzberg is a small sleepy farm town about 1 hour south of Berlin. The people really came out for the rock and roll show, as we had like 100 paying people, almost as many as all the other gigs put together! Ok... Dresden there were 80! It was in the Ratskeller, which looked like a wine cellar but it was under a nice restaurant where we had a nice meal. Colour Haze started the show and on this night were to only play 80 minutes. I thought they played a blinder of a set this night, maybe the best of the tour. Again, they played a song or two they had not yet played on the tour. Really cool sound in this place considering there was only a vocal monitor and PA for the vocals.
Set List: I Won't Stop, Roses, Zen, Where The Skies End, Sundazed, CO2, Outside, Stonerboogie in C, Pulse, Weltraummantra
We started playing about 11:45 and it was pretty damn packed and hot. Everyone was in a good mood and just enough alcohol but not too much. I had to play the synth through Stefan's (CH) fender cabinet and I was standing pretty far away from it, so in order for me to hear anything I was playing I had to blast out the others. It is tough playing like this and I almost would prefer not to play if this is the only choice. Start with some space and into Moonshake. We have a huge energy and rock hard. Stefan is playing some killer guitar! All creatures, not played since the first night of the tour, really rocks tonight. Never Leave this Way is maybe the best version of the tour. Awesome! We are really playing well and Ride the Red Horse, There’s One and Dragon’s Cave, really work well tonight! Back on the Headless track, also only played once on the tour is great! We end the set with Green Valley. Damn this is our new Gas Giant Classic. The jam at the end sort of dies out and Philip takes over on the bass and both Stefan’s stay on, even though GG Stefan tried to leave but Stefan from Colour Haze was determined to get them both to jam. The guys, with Jesper singing, jam Jumping Jack Flash. Really a fun loose jam with both guitar players trading solos and Jesper improvising the lyrics. Stefan takes over the vocals for Gimmie Shelter. Stefan from GG bows out on guitar and our friend Dave, the bass player from Liquid Visions picks up the guitar. They keep jamming. A totally improvised jam ends the night and Marco, the guy who did the fantastic lights on the tour and plays drums in a Led Zeppelin tribute band called Custard Pie, takes over the drums. Everyone is really having a good time and Mühle, who helped arrange part of the tour and came along and sold merchandise and really helped us out a lot, this was his home town and we gave him a great gig, I thought!! What a great night of music and a nice way to end the tour!
Set List: Moonshake, There’s One, Back on the Headless Track, All Creatures, Never Leave this Way, Ride the Red Horse, Too Stoned, Dragon’s Cave, Green Valley>Jam, Jumping Jack Flash**, Gimmie Shelter**, Jam**
The party continues until 4 or something and everyone says it was a great week together. We crash. In the morning we have a little breakfast and say our good byes and sell some T-shirts and hit the road back to Denmark!