I think that’s the key word to sum up this tour for me.
I ended this last Saturday bonding a bit with band and crew members from Meshuggah over a bon fire and laughing about farts, discovered I am a head taller than Danzig, and rocked my little heart out to an artist I’ve been waiting 22 years to see perform live; Alive Cooper.
Earlier in the tour, I told Bob, “I don’t care who I see at Wacken, as long as I get to see Alice Cooper, that’s the only one I really care about seeing live.” At the point, we had no idea how Wacken was going to go. Would I be stuck at a merch table for 4 days, or would I get to enjoy the festival from a fan’s point of view?
Turn’s out I wasn’t nearly as busy as I thought I was going to be…and not only was I front and center for this amazing performance…
I also got to catch Henry Rollins Spoken Word, Die Kassierer, Rammstein, Gojira, Agnostic Front, Motorhead, Tristania, Sabaton (not my favorite, but they were so stoked to be there, I loved their attitude), Henry Rollins again, Lamb of God, Danzig (with Doyle coming out for 5 or 6 misfit songs), Anthrax, Trivium (also not a favorite, but a good friend of mine runs sound for them still, and it was nice to see familiar faces), and Meshuggah.
After Alice Cooper, I was practically skipping back to the Artist Village for dinner, sporting the biggest shit eating grin I’ve ever felt, taking in my surroundings and yelling, “I fucking love my life!”
Not long after dinner, I caught up with Beamer. It was really good to see him. 3rd familiar face I’ve ran into since this tour started, and London was over a month ago now.
Honestly, I don’t really think I can put into words how amazing Wednesday-Saturday was. I wish every show was like Wacken. I don’t mean the crowds or the bands necessarily, it’s the whole mentality behind it and what they stand for. To see such a well run music festival and be a part of it is hard to describe. It’s a festival created by fans for fans. Next year will be the 25th year. I’ve wanted to go to this since I was 14 years old, and kind of tucked it away as one of those…one day I might get to it goals.
Alice Cooper was like magic. I intentionally avoided the Artist Village prior to his set other than having to run errands for Bob. I wanted the full on fan experience. I didn’t want to meet him. I wanted to full on enjoy the show.
When I was 8 years old, my Uncle Mike (the one who shot himself in 2006 to bring anyone not in the know up to date) gave me 3 cassette tapes. My first 3 ever…Alice Cooper “Hey Stoopid”, Warrant “Cherry Pie”, and some stupid ass Queensryche album (just can’t get into them). The only one I listened to over and over again was Hey Stoopid. My grandma would take it away from me, and when my Uncle would come over, he’d dig it out of the hiding place and give it back to me. Sometimes he’d do it in front of her. She was also an Alice Cooper fan at one point in her life, and didn’t feel “Feed My Frankenstein” was appropriate for an 8 year old.
After about the 5th or 6th time, when she was gone to bingo, he showed me the dresser drawer where she stashed whatever she took away from me, and showed me how to make sure it was back before she came home every day so I could still listen to it. When he would get drunk, he’d talk to me about heroine and read me the lyrics to Hey Stoopid. He would always look at me intently and tell me to remember that song, that it was important and to never do heroine. It was my Uncle who first put an air guitar and drum sticks in my hands. I almost started crying when they lowered the Wacken banner onstage. I had waited 22 years for this moment, please please please, play “Hey Stoopid”. It wasn’t too many songs into the set, before I was chanting “HEY, HEY, HEY, HEY” with 80,000 people for one of the greatest shows I’ve ever seen in my life. I smiled, looked up, blew a kiss to the wind, and whispered “thank you.”
His passing gets easier to deal with as the years go by, but it’s moments like yesterday where I really miss him. I have never done heroine. I have my uncle to thank for that. In a weird way, that cheesy ass song may have saved my life. Every time in my life that heroine has been on the table, that song pops into my head, and I remember sitting on the floor of my uncle’s room, going through his tapes, and him handing me that album. I had the song memorized within’ the day, before he gave me the cassette to take home.
Seriously, this trip has been so fucking amazing. I celebrated my 1 year of sobriety with an Ice Cream cone in Prague, and every day I look around me so many, many miles from home, knowing full well that none of this would be possible if I was still drinking. I stared into the embers of the bon fire in the artist village and smiled. I own my life. I’m here because I worked hard on every aspect of my life to be here, in this moment.
The people who used to laugh at me don’t even bother me any more. Earlier on in the tour, I felt like ya know what…fuck you to all you muther fuckers who said I’d never succeed and I couldn’t go doing whatever I want in life…but now, I’m more like, fuck yeah.
I got to watch a band I saw at a basement show for maybe 60 people tops, playing to 10’s of thousands of people with the hugest grins on their faces, and I thought to myself…”hell yeah, they earned this!”
No one can really say where life will take you 10 years down the road. It’s amazing to me seeing Bob reach new heights with his career and still see he’s just as down to earth as he was when I first met him for his CD release show at Hell’s Kitchen for Blood To Dust. The man works his ass off, and he’s earned all of this. It gives me a lot of hope. Now I know what it’s like to tour in Europe, I understand the steps that are needed and the work that goes into it. I don’t know everything, but I know enough of the basics to apply them to my own future learning experiences when I’m ready to bring Zebrana Bastard over here.
I miss being in a band full time, and I have some ideas. I’ve also got a few drummers to try out when I get home. 🙂 Looking forward to that. First, the album. Got my buddy, Brad, painting the cover work for me, based off a picture I took while driving through the Swiss Alps, and I will not put it out until I find the right people to play to make my album what I think it should be in my mind. Unlike my first two albums, I’m going to take my time on this and make sure it sounds the way I hear it in my head. Alcoholic Heart was created so I had something to give people. I’m The Asshole was a response to my being pissed off about everyone telling me how I should sound, but not willing to help me with it…so I said fuck it…I’m gonna record an album with just me, since that’s all it is mostly. It’s going to have mistakes and sound rough as fuck, but that’s what you can expect from a live show most the time anyway. I wanted to capture what the songs and my skill level sounded like in that moment, and for that, my second album is perfect…but now I’m working on the 3rd album, and I hear the drums, the noises, the cello, the guitar…and I know the project doesn’t sound very full with just bass. I get it…so now I’m going to record it as close to what I hear in my head as possible, and hopefully by the time it’s done, I will have collected the right people willing to endure a long tour to support it with me.
In the mean time, I’ve been invited to work for Bob in Europe again next year, and I intend to do so. There’s much, much work to be done…and as always, I’m just getting started. ha ha ha
Speaking of working hard…my next tour starts in a couple of weeks, please come out and say hello!
XO – Becka ‘Zebrana Bastard’