Here I am back after a long silence. What can I say?! I naively thought I could be writing while on tour… I was wrong. For one, I was sick as a dog during the majority of the European tour, so for the most part the routine was: from bed to stage to bed. Day in. Day out. After the tour, I had a few days off [so I] went to the hospital got checked up and adequate medication. Eventually, I got better. The European tour was with Nile, Dew-Scented, Zonaria and Darkrise for the first part and Nile, Bibleblack, Pressure Points, and Goat the Head for the second leg of the tour. It was excellent, despite some technical difficulties and really harsh weather. But we finally got to tour the UK and Ireland properly. The response was phenomenal. North America was next.
In North America, we were touring with Rotting Christ, Hate, Abigail Williams, and Lecherous Nocturne (or Nocturne Lecherous when in Arizona; that’s how they were announced). I loved touring North America due to the diversity of the place, especially when it came to climates. From snow-covered mountains to deserts and sunny beaches. American tour buses are very comfortable and makes up for nonexistent backstage rooms in some venues, but they come with a very expensive price tag. Touring in USA is a different ball game from touring in Europe. I am referring to the infrastructure and business practices. Not the crowd response or whatever. In Europe, a band like us is simply asked to tour. All we have to do is show up to the pick-up point and that’s all. Backline is ready, staff, tour bus, catering, and fees. In the USA, on the other hand, the band gets a specific fee and from that the band need to arrange own transport (bus, van, etc.), own crew (or split it with other bands), own backline. We were extremely fortunate our label manager in the USA (Gerardo of Nuclear Blast) had a hands-on approach and arranged the backline, the bus, and helped with promotion, etc. EVH provided us with loaner amps and so did Pearl through a backline company in NY.
Anyways, the tour was crazy. We encountered many interesting characters. From crazy Christian protesters–who had nothing but hate in their eyes (and oddly enough hate for sport fanatics, motor-mouth women, and soup kitchen operators, among others on their signs)–and gangsters to rednecks and hippies. I was very glad to see some of my childhood friends in Canada and in California, where we got to hang out and catch up. Speaking of California, playing in Hollywood had a special meaning to me. I knew the area there from back in the late ’80s when I was residing there; It felt good to be back for a gig. The response was awesome at the Key Club and like one would expect we had an after party at the Rainbow. Meanwhile, Melechesh’s first drummer and my best buddy followed us through California, so it was a blast to have them around. Especially since my childhood friend never saw us live before, so it was a treat that he got to see us for four gigs in a row. The tour ended in North Carolina and I flew after it to spend a week in California with my friends. I actually visited George Lucas’ ILM (Industrial Light & Magic), where the first Melechesh drummer works. So, I saw some real props and costumes. That was a treat. I saw the actual Darth Vader costume from the first films, as well as R2-D2 and the whole lot. It sure seemed like a cool place to work. I still prefer my ‘job’ though.
Speaking of films and filming, a few things happened while on tour, first our video clip for “Grand Gathas of Baal Sin” was released. I am extremely happy with the result. After the show in Toronto the director, who happened to be from there, took us to his studio got us some cocktails and debuted the clip on a big screen. We were happy to see the near-final outcome. After minor tweaks, it was released and feedback has been great! Making a video clip is a hit and miss scenario, and this is mainly attributed to the fact that budgets for such endeavors are quite tight. Ours was spent on renting the location from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture in Turkey, as well as on flights and so forth. Also, often bands have no choice but to rely on a green screen for a pure digital clip. No probs there, but if the budget is tight the outcome can be less than credible. Comic in some instances. We did our best to avoid such things and I am proud of the outcome. The second film-related thing also happened while in Canada. There is a new TV show in production. It is entitled The Cool Guy Files. The show encompasses a close look into the lives of people with extraordinary lives. For example, one episode was about a snowboarder, the other about an entrepreneur. Well, I was much honored to have been chosen as the subject of one of their episodes. So, a film crew followed me around in Montreal and Toronto, interviewed the band and myself, filmed the show and tour bus and all the behind the scenes stuff. It will soon be broadcasted nationally in Canada and China! And probably USA as well. I guess this slightly offsets my sudden cut out of the Global Metal film (cinema version), which I thought it to be a biased, politically polarized and misinformated film, regardless of the general idea being good. Oh well. The saga continues, I suppose.
Many of you have been asking me as to the exact reasons as to why we decided to let our bass player go. He is a good guy, he was officially in the band for a year and previously did session gigs with us; the cons greatly outweighed the pros and there were too many incidents, some quite serious. I will perhaps discuss this in more detail one day, but I do not feel like it now. All I can say is we did this so as to not miss gigs because of avoidable reasons. Many applicants have come forward. Some with well-established musical backgrounds and some less. For us, the name of the bands some [of the applicants] played with are admired and appreciated, but mean nothing to our decision-making process. Hopefully, we choose a candidate soon. But we will be slow with announcing names.
By the way, I will finally be heading to Jerusalem in a few weeks because I have a window of time. It will be my first visit there in two years; I have mixed feelings about it, but looking forward to seeing the family and friends. Moloch will be there as well, so we will be having some writing sessions as well. It will probably be in my family home garden. Nice weather, cold drinks, and music. What more can I ask for?!
** The Epigenesis is out now on Nuclear Blast Records. Order The Epigenesis here.