The Bochum headlining show started off great but ended up pretty horrible. We weren’t expecting much of a turnout for this show as no real promotion happened for the show. Any one who found out about the show would have from stumbling onto our website. We ended up playing our set for a group of about 50-60 fans. But it was a wonderfully intimate experience and they were singing every word. We got off stage and did our normal mingling with all those who had come to support us. As we make our way backstage to gather our things and head out, Billy exclaims that all his belongings are gone. Just to set up the scenario, the backstage was quite large. We had quite a large room to ourselves but we leave the doors open so that we are accessible to the other bands playing that night and no one feels like we are closing ourselves off. Billy had his MAC laptop and iPhone out charging on the table and his empty backpack on the couch. Reno, our TM, had his computer out on the desk and Konstantine had his computer out on the couch. Mine was tucked away in my backpack. Now it was quite strange that only Billy had his stuff taken when there were other computers laying around, but mind you, Billy’s was the nicest. However, the night ended with Billy’s bag being gone along with his laptop, iPhone, external hard-drive, all his personal items that he carries in his backpack and, worst of all, his passport. We tear the club apart looking for the backpack. At this point, all the other bands that have played that night have left the building. The only people left are the two house crew guys that work for the venue that are helping us load our gear into our van and the lady that runs the place. She assures us to the professionalism of her employees and to be honest, I believe her. My thoughts are, either someone in these other bands mistakenly took the bag, or some person in one of the openers or one of their guests that they had backstage intentionally stole from us. Either way, it puts a real damper on the night and put an end to any plans that we had to hang out and celebrate that night. My plan was to immediately email all the bands that we played with to see if they had accidentally taken anything or possibly had seen anything and could share any information with us. Billy and Reno meanwhile filed a police report. Needless to say, none of us slept a wink that night. We got back to our hotel at 3 AM and had to be on the road by 6 AM. We had to get Billy new passport photos and go to the consulate in Belgium to get an emergency passport in order for us to catch the ferry port in Calais, France and make our way to the UK. It was going to be a lot of driving and a lot to do on no sleep, but we couldn’t afford to miss two performances at Download in the UK.
On the way to the port, I get a message from our Roadrunner Germany pess rep telling me that she received a phone call from Dortmund Police that they have Billy’s bag! We were so excited but also weary. Inside are the iPhone, the passport, the external hard-drive and some personal items. However, there is no laptop. I immediately get the sense that whoever stole the laptop didn’t realize they also took these other very important items. We never quite got a full explanation on how the police came to be in possession of the bag. Either the bag was tossed aside and a stranger found it with those items inside, or the person who stole it felt bad and actually turned in the bag but kept the laptop. Either way, we were relieved because of what we knew we were going to get back but Billy was still understandably bummed that his computer was gone. We were going to have to have the bag mailed to us in the UK as we were only 30 minutes away from the port and at least 6 hours away from Dortmund. It’s still very unfortunate now that we will now be locking our dressing room and probably be a little more inaccessible at shows due to this experience. Fortunately, we are still gathering information and got some info about someone who was lurking around the dressing room. Hopefully we get enough info to press charges. Either way, at this point, we have to keep our focus on the upcoming shows that weekend at Download.
We finally arrive at our hotel in England at about 10 PM. It’s been about a 15 hour drive day on no sleep and we are exhausted. Konstantine and I have an acoustic show to perform on a stage that is strictly acoustic performances at the Download festival on Saturday the 12th. Just before the acoustic set, all of us did an extensive amount of press. It was our first experience at the legendary Download Festival so we didn’t know what to expect. It’s a massive festival. We made our way to the stage. As Konstantine and I took the stage to perform our stripped down version of the songs, we were met with a very warm welcome from a large group of people. Our ever-loving fans in the Dommin Nation were front and center supporting us. Cameron and Billy enjoyed the show from the side of the stage as well. It was a larger crowd than I had anticipated and I get the feeling that the UK in general is becoming a very good place for Dommin, that a good number of people here are finding out about the band and are actively supporting us. Afterward, we went out and met those who we had exchanged emails with and gotten to know since the last time we were in the UK. It was great to become reacquainted and I was very happy to see that many had become friends with each other creating new social groups of friends that were organizing together. Unfortunately, as was the case during most of the festival, we were on a strict and very full schedule. We had to leave and do more press not too long after the performance. We also got to catch a little bit of the band Volbeat. I was eager to see them because we are set to open for them for two weeks in the US in August. I think it’s going to be a great tour for us. I had to leave early. I wanted to make sure I was well-rested for the performance the very next day. We are to be opening the Main Stage on the last day of the festival at 11 AM. It’s a bit too early for my voice and I don’t do too well for morning shows. So I made sure I got to bed early and woke myself up at 4 AM in order to have a fully warmed-up voice for the show. The other guys got to stay and watch and mingle with the guys in HIM and also catch a bit of Rage Against The Machine before leaving.
I woke up before the sun arose and got myself ready for the day. We had to load in at the festival site at 8 AM so we were out of the hotel by 7:30 AM. We got there and loaded on the stage. I think it’s the biggest stage we had ever been on. We had so much room. The set up was a bit different from the day before in that there was now a catwalk and the barricades divided the crowd down the middle. It was the first time that I wish I had a wireless system for our guitars because my two 30 foot cables felt like a leash. While I was able to make use of most of the stage, I felt very hindered by the equipment I had. We also only had a 25 minute set so we really felt like we had to rush through and get in as much as we could. But as the gates opened, the sun was up high and we took the stage to the cheers of our loyal supporters. As we exited the stage, we got some very nice compliments from those backstage that heard the music. From crew guys for Billy Idol to band members of Cinderella, we seemed to have impressed some people.
Today I felt like I was really able to appreciate the festival as I was not able to the day before. It was probably one of the only times I really enjoyed being backstage. And with the way the festival was set up, it forced all the bands to mingle in the same area. As we hung out backstage, we saw the likes of Slash, Billy Idol, Ville Valo, Jared Leto, Vinnie Paul, Toni Iommi, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, among countless other big names all just hanging out and mingling. I’m not one to get starstruck, but I was certainly able to appreciate where I was and feel pretty good about it. It was pretty fun to people-watch. Before long, we had to be at the Kerrang singing tent where we were greeted by the chants of “Dommin! Dommin! Dommin!”. That was pretty cool and totally unexpected! We signed various items and met some new faces during our 30 minute block of time. Immediately following that we had the Live Nation “meet and greet” for those that entered a contest and who did we see? None other than the Domminites! We were able to take photos and chit chat with those who have been our most active supporters, fans and friends. It was really a special time. But as with everything, we were on a schedule that day and had to be on to do more press. Eventually we got to relax a little and I was able to enjoy Billy Idol’s set from the side of the stage. During his set it started pouring rain on everyone but the crowds were still down to make the most of the last day of Download. We were certainly honored to be a part of it and play on the same stage as legendary bands who have been doing this rock thing for so many years. I hope we get the opportunity to come back and play this festival again some time.
The next day, I had to be up for an interview for a feature in Kerrang magazine which was followed by a band photo shoot for the magazine. The interview was pretty extensive and more in depth than many of the interviews I have done. In some ways I’m not so fond of doing interviews because it forces me to talk about myself, which I don’t enjoy doing. And also because “I don’t know” is never an interesting answer for anyone to read, it forces me to really analyze myself and why I do what I do. I simply never think about this kind of stuff and the true answer to most of these questions I get asked in these interviews IS “I don’t know, I never think about it.” But I will continue to try to answer these questions to the best of my limited knowledge about myself. The photo shoot took place in this location referred to as The Vault. It’s this area in the underground of London that apparently was an enormous wine cellar from the Victorian era. I can’t wait to see how the photos come out. We made our way to the Golden God’s Awards later that night. We didn’t win the award for Best New Band that we were nominated for but we really appreciated all fans that voted for us. It was still a good night. As usual, I ended the night early back at the hotel as we had an early flight to catch while the other guys pulled an all-nighter going to the after party and the after-after party. At least we all got to do what we wanted.
Aside from having some of our personal items stolen and the turbulence that was so bad that I thought our plane was going to drop out of the sky on the return flight home, I think we had a very successful trip to Europe. We are home for a little while but I know we are going to be as busy as ever with things that I can’t quite mention just yet. We have a tour coming up in August with Volbeat that starts in New York. We’ll be doing some headlining shows across the US to get us out to NY for the first day of the tour and those dates should be announced soon. We are excited about everything that’s coming up. We’re half way through 2010. If the second half is anything like the first, we have a lot to anticipate.
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