"Down Under" tour diaries
Australia and New Zealand 2006
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5th September, travel to NZ
30th August, London/Melbourne
6th September, Auckland
1st September, Melbourne
7th September, Auckland/Wellington
2nd September, Melbourne
8th September, Wellington/Auckland
3rd September, Melbourne
9th September, Auckland
4th September, Melbourne
10th September, Auckland
you read that right - no Del or Dave. Basically to cut a
long story short Del had work commitments back in the UK
that meant he couldn’t make this trip. Both of us hadn’t
really believed that it would actually happen anyway as
we are approached every year to play in Australia and
usually nothing ever comes of it. As it was, this
particular trip had been originally scheduled for March
and had been cancelled so we didn’t give it too much
credibility. The fact that it all hinged on a WASTED
festival, and the one in America last year had been
pulled at the last moment, only made it seem less
However in late July it reared it’s ugly head again
and at the same time I was approached by a promoter in
New Zealand to add on some dates there. Mind you, on the
day before the Blackpool WASTED festival it all seemed
to be going pear-shaped as the financial backer pulled
out. Then after WASTED Mensi retired leaving just us and
Beerzone as the only UK acts.
To be honest I thought Daz Russell would cancel it at
this point but instead he put the whole responsibility
of the festival on my shoulders by saying that if we too
pulled out then he would cancel the whole
thing. What a dilemma. By now Del had
committed himself to another project so I was left with
the unenviable decision of doing it without Del or
pulling out. To make matters worse Dave had already
ruled himself out as it clashed with his wedding
Shit loads of Aussie bands had already been booked and
had made their travel arrangements to get to Melbourne.
Also a lot of tickets had already been sold. The
promoter in New Zealand (Kevin) had booked two gigs and
they were being advertised and selling well.
Del understood the situation and suggested we do it with
a replacement guitarist. So it was with his blessing
that Walnut made the step up from roadie and we brought
in an old mate of ours, Aggro, on guitar. Me and Walnut
had already played in a band with Aggro as he was the
lead guitarist in The Masked Raiders. A.D had already
filled in for Dave earlier in the year when Dave had had
an operation on his foot.
Photos: Peter, Walnut and
So directly after the Blackpool WASTED the five of us
started rehearsing. It went very well and we sounded
very good. The two guitars gave us a sound we hadn’t
heard since Marcus Mystery had played with us a long
time ago. Daz found the money to buy the flights to Australia, Kev
bought the tickets to NZ and so everything was on for
the band’s (and mine) first ever trip down under.
1: Wednesday 30th August 2006, London/Melbourne
In an ironic twist Del had agreed to drive us up to Heathrow airport and we got there with plenty of time to spare. After checking in we eventually boarded our plane and sat there waiting to take off. We sat there a bit longer. And then a bit longer still until the captain announced that the co-pilot had just noticed a few drops of fuel leaking from the plane. The few drops soon became a trickle and after the trickle had become a ‘serious leak'
we were all asked to get off. BA gave us some vouchers to spend in the airport while we waited and it didn’t take us long to work out a scam where we got more vouchers than we were entitled to.
A lot later we boarded the plane again and set off on our way to Melbourne via a short stop in Hong Kong. The journey was pretty uneventful and we eventually arrived in Melbourne at 1am on Friday 1st
September instead of the 8pm Thursday August 30th originally scheduled.
2: Friday 1st September 2006, Melbourne
Unsurprisingly at the airport me, Aggro and
A.D. were singled out to be searched. The customs officer checked the guitars with some sort of wand and announced that there was traces of cocaine on Aggro’s guitar. I immediately dreaded the worst but was pleasantly surprised when all they did was ask us if we had any cocaine. Obviously we didn’t (never touch the stuff myself) and they believed us without even going through our pockets. In fact they were quite polite and friendly about the whole thing. If this had been US customs we’d have been strip searched, interrogated and probably refused entry such is the over zealousness of those arseholes.
Having got through customs we were met by Stu Straightjacket who was organizing the WASTED festival for
Daz (photo right). He gave us some wine, beer and weed and off we went to the hotel.
Having dropped us off (it was now about 3am) we proceeded to work our way through the goodies he’d left us and before we knew it it was 6am.
Knowing that Daz is partial to a drink or 90 we found out what room he was in and invited him to join us. After we’d finished the bottles of wine he ordered on room service me, H and Daz went down for breakfast where we accompanied our full English with yet another bottle. Beerzone were all there but declined to join in the drinking.
Poofs. By about 10am I was ready for bed and I slept through the rest of the day.
In the evening we all met up in the bar of the hotel and Stu’s mate Joel came to pick us up. There was a pre-WASTED gig at a pub called The Birmingham and so we all went there.
Beerzone were playing along with some other bands and I got up and sang ‘Maniac’ with Rust.
Daz Russell, WASTED organiser
At some point in the evening whilst I was watching one of the bands and trying to chat to someone a guy came over to me and asked if I wanted to be a bear.
Thinking that I'd misheard him and that he was asking if I wanted a beer I said that I'd have a VB. I was wrong. He asked me again if I wanted to be a bear. After the about the
fifth time of asking he then told me he was going to do something to me that I wouldn’t like. I asked him why and what had I done to him to provoke this?
His response was to grab my testicles very hard and to squeeze and them twist them!
My response was to punch him in the face and when he got up I punched him again. I think I knocked him out cos he didn’t get up a second time.
I looked over to where all his mates were, fearing that they were gonna steam in but they were all laughing their heads off.
My nuts hurt, my hand hurt but worse than this was the realisation that on my very first night out in Australia I'd decked someone in a crowded pub and that everyone would think I was some sort of violent nutter - which I'm not. Aggro and AD, who were standing behind me, couldn’t believe it. I don’t think they’d ever seen me punch someone. AD was so surprised that
he even lost his wallet. I spent the rest of the evening trying to persuade people that I wasn’t violent but nobody seemed that interested. I can only assume that violence in pubs there is so common place that nobody thought anything of it.
We finished the evening back in the hotel with everyone drinking in mine and H’s room.
page: Days 3 to 5, Days 6 to 9,
Last page: Days 9 to 11
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