A glance in the rearview mirror
World of glass got good reviews in the magazines – like it’s predecessors – some extremely positive – and a few were a bit more reserved.
For some musicians good reviews and the recognition and status that comes with them are extremely important. It is easy to forget that journalists are just human beings that write their opinions – they are critics – just like every fan that is into the music. Some responses from die-hard fans were quite harsh – but every bands focus should be on the music – not the opinions held by others.
The album was released on the second or third day of our European headlining tour. This meant that our new songs were unknown to most of the people in the crowds. They would still recognize the old ones and the reception of The Shining Path, Tender trip on earth and World of glass was fairly promising (the 3 new songs that we played). However, the new material wasn’t the biggest change that had been made since the last show. There were changes in the lineup as well.
Morten was out and Kjetil Ingebrethsen and myself – eventually full members – were handling the male vocals. Obviously this kicked up a lot of dust. Kjetil’s stage-appearance was quite different from Mortens. Where Veland was a static piratish man with a guitar, Kjetil was like an attacking pitbull – running all over the place – and frenetically whipping the crowd. He loves the kind of attention you get on a big stage – playing with the lights and doing his robot-like dances.
The main challenges when you are on stage with five or six fellow band members is the space you give/take and where you want to have the main attention. Me, Kjetil and Vibeke all had solo parts – and on a couple of the songs there were soft duets with Vibeke and myself. On this tour we played a lot of ‘old’ songs where I had either no lines or only a few and I would leave the stage and watch the show from the back. It took me a long time to find my role in this lineup. Kjetil had all the aggressive lines – inviting headbanging and all sorts of craziness – while Vibeke – as a natural frontwoman – didn’t have to move much to get the crowd’s attention. She could lean on her impressive vocal capabilities and that would get people going. I brought my ‘stageact’ from The Morendoes – basically just clinging to my microphone stand like it was the ONLY thing that could save me. In the Tristania – setting this didn’t work out very well – my vocal parts – as you all know are mainly low pitched and mellow on the earlier Tristania albums, and I felt like Kjetil and Vibeke and Anders and Rune would get the crowd moving and I would make them stop. Would YOU jump around to these words: ‘Perchance to dream, you’re my dancing Queen, Behold thy haven of light’? Of course you wouldn’t! I also had restrictions on dancing, climbing and headbanging – due to a couple of fuckups the previous year.
I was the boring blond guy to the left.
Only a few weeks before this tour a couple of crazy extremists crashed a couple of planes into the World Trade Center – horrible things on the TV – I remember especially being shocked when I saw the images of people throwing themselves out the windows. I remember getting an SMS from Anders saying ‘Turn on your TV – there is some crazy shit going on, it’s like watching a video for ‘Wormwood’. Indeed it was.
Most metal acts from Scandinavia are drinking bands. The bands from the south are usually more into health food and the occasional spliff when the mood is right. On every Tristania tour I have been alcohol has been the fuel. The WOG-tour was no exception. A few beers takes the edge off your nerves before you go on stage but there is always the risk of drinking one too many. Too many is not good – it might make you lose your focus – and trick you into believing everything is fine when it is not. Every fan that shows up on a Tristania-show deserves the full treatment. And after every show there is a party – and you start the next day with a couple of beers to keep the hangover away. Try this diet for 4-5 weeks – add 50-60 cigarettes a day – old friends and new friends – Norwegians, Greeks, Swedes, Germans, English bus drivers and people from Holland – a community of metalheads – speaking broken English – on two tour buses – a parallel universe moving up and down the endless Autobahn. It works for a few weeks but it wears you out in the long run.
On this tour there were supposed to be six bands but it ended up with four – which for me is still – one too many. However, I suspect the reason to be something that has to do with money. We were headlining and ‘Rotting Christ’ from Geece were second. Apart from the rather uncharming name, their music has nothing in common with ours. I would say they play Black Metal. Looking back in the rearview mirror I can’t help wondering exactly why somebody thought that putting our two bands on the same tour was a good idea. But I am just a stupid singer so what do I know? I am quite confident that we didn’t win too much sympathy from their fans. And I don’t believe that any Tristania fan would buy RC-t-shirts. But the guys were great – they didn’t drink much – but were pleasant to be around. Nicest satanist-Greeks I’ve ever met. The third band on the bill was Vintersorg from Sweden – they had quite an audience – especially in Germany. Another strange choice of act to put on the tour – they were signed on Napalm – so that must have been the link. I guess Vintersorg plays a mix of progressive Folk/Blackish metal.
I must say that I enjoyed their liveshows – and especially when they played their hitsong ‘Till Fjälls’. You would see hundreds of hands in the air and the crowd was shouting TILL FJÄLLS! ‘Till fjälls’ can be translated into ‘To the mountains!’ and I couldn’t help wondering if the fans knew that. The people in Vintersorg were nice, drunken Scandinavian bastards just like ourselves. The last band – the opening act – was Madder Mortem from Norway. We hit it off with them immediately. Great band with great music and their frontwoman Agnete is an amazing singer. They are also extremely easy going and funny to hang out with. We still meet people from that band when we are visiting Oslo. If you get a chance to see a Madder-show you should grab it with both hands.
On a tour like this – the people that do the actual work – is the crew. They do all the rigging and they keep two eyes on the stage during the concerts to make certain that everything runs smoothly. And when the shows are done, they rig everything down again and pack it in the trailers. While OUR job was to play for about 1.15 – have a shower and get the party started. And when everything was packed, the bus drivers could start to carry out their part of the mission.
On this specific tour there was Andi, a German, who loved AC/DC. A Belgian sound guy named Luc and a light-technician we knew very, very well: Michael ‘Hille’ Hillenbrand. Hille had been a crew member on all earlier Tristania-tours. A great guy – He is still in the business – we met him in Greece last year. And there was Franzi- the merch girl. And there was the two bus drivers from England, The Steves. Last but not least there was a huge Dutch guy named Carlo. He was the drum tech and when the tour was over, the band decided that we would never do a show without him. And that is still the case today. Carlo is family and I think the feeling is mutual – you must have seen him on the countless YouTube – clips.
One of my fondest memories from this tour is that one of our buses broke down in a curve of an autobahn. The driver tried to stop the other bus to inform them about the situation, and their driver, followed by a line of six to eight half-nude Scandinavians came out to help. It was one of those ‘Kodak moments’ that I will never forget.
I also recall that one night Hille and Kenneth swapped places on ‘My Lost Lenore’, the last song of the set. Hille did the drums and Kenneth did the lights.
Anders established a well-deserved reputation as the number one beer drinker on this tour. The Steves noticed that Anders bought more bear during every stop at a gas station, no matter what the time was, and at one venue they equipped his microphone stand with two beer glasses and straws, so he could play and drink at the same time.
Another memory is that one night, me and Hille being the last ones to hit the sack, the bus stopped and we took a pee outside before calling it a night. The following day Steve told us that while he was driving about 120km/h on the autobahn, when suddenly the door of the back lounge slammed open and a football vanished into the night. He threatened that he’d kick those responsible in the ass if he found out who they were: Hille and I wisely kept our mouths shut.
A fun fact is that, if I recall this right, Vibeke had been sleeping on the bank in said lounge earlier that night. Luckily no one got injured.
This was just a few memories from a tour we did almost eight years ago and I enjoyed sharing them with you.
Check out Tristania at http://www.vampirefreaks.com/TristaniaOfficial