SEBASTIAN BACH EXPLAINS SWEDEN ROCK CANCELLATION:
June 10, 2008
Former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach explained on his website (www.sebastianbach.com) why he had to cancel his appearance at the Sweden Rock festival.
The road. What a twisted tale it weaves. You can never, ever predict what will happen when you step out on the long & winding road. Yesterday was a perfect example of this.
We were booked for 5 shows in Europe this month solely because of the chance to play Sweden Rock, an incredible festival in Solvesborg, Sweden, for the second time. The first time we played there, in 2005, was one of the greatest shows of our career. To be asked back for a second time was an easy ‘yes’ from us , we were so excited to play for all the 35,000 or so Sweden Rockers & also hang out with & watch all the other great bands on the bill. When it was publicized that we were playing Sweden Rock , all of a sudden we got offers to play in Oslo, Norway, Tallinn, Estonia, Tampere, Finland, & Oulu, Finland. We accepted all of these shows, all booked around the big one, Sweden Rock. After 2 weeks in Australia, playing 5 shows in Europe before the big summer USA tour seemed like the perfect thing to do .
But you can never predict what the road has in store.
Basically, there was no way to pull this off. Touring Europe these days means flying from gig to gig. That means checking all guitars, basses, drums, merch, sound racks, backdrops, band luggage, everything you see on the stage has to be checked in at every airport before and after each & every show. It is always a crapshoot to see if you will actually get all your gear on the other side. If you have a connecting flight, you are at the mercy of baggage handlers at each airport to load up all your gear in time to make the connecting flight. Heathrow in London UK is the absolute worst for this. Every time we have flown to Heathrow, they have lost bags, kept us in a “holding pattern” above the airport so long that we invariably miss our connecting flight, tell us our carry on luggage is “too big” & must now be checked (even though we flew with the carry ons from Australia, New York , LA, or further with no problem whatsoever). I actually dread all airports now, but Heathrow is without a doubt the worst in the world.
So, we go onstage in Oslo at 10 pm. We are due to be onstage at Sweden Rock the next day at 1pm in the afternoon. There is only one flight that leaves from Norway in time for us to make this stage time. The only way we can do it is if we catch the 6:15am flight to Stockholm, & then catch the 8:15am connecting flight to Ronneby, Sweden, the closest airport to Sweden Rock, then drive straight to the stage, play the show , then drive straight back to airport to fly to Tallinn, Estonia for our next nights show at The Old Monastery Yard . There is only one flight from Sweden to Estonia each day, at 6 pm. If you miss that, you have to wait till the next day at 6 to fly again! Its not like America where there are flights everywhere hour on the hour. This schedule left no time to sleep, & no room for error. We made no errors, & still could not make the 1pm show time at Sweden Rock.
We finished the show in Oslo at 11:45 pm. Lobby call for the drive to the Oslo airport was at an excruciating 3:45 am. That left me around a 3 hour window to try & sleep before playing in front of 35,000 people in only a matter of hours. I did a runner back to the hotel, took 2 Tylenol pms, & actually did manage to get around 2 hours of sleep before my tour manager hammered on the door to wake me up. I got down to the lobby at 3:45 am, proud to see my band & crew all down there ready to go. They didn’t get to sleep at all but were still packed & ready to go at that ungodly hour of the morning.
We got to the Oslo airport & I was so proud we made the 6:15 am flight to Sweden. Checking all the stage gear etc took an hour at least, but we made it & were ready to rock come 1pm . This was gonna be a great day. So I thought.
When we got to Stockholm, we knew we were fucked. We had only 45 minutes to get to our connecting flight, the only flight available that would get us to Sweden Rock in time for the show at 1pm. Then the proverbial “ball” dropped . We were told by airport staff that we had to go to baggage claim , get all our luggage, stage gear, & instruments, take all the luggage & gear through customs, then RE-CHECK all the gear again! In only 45 minutes.
We then knew that we were truly fucked.
Of course the lines at customs & “baggage drop” were endless. We ran from terminal to terminal, dripping in sweat, sleep deprived, not wanting to face the fact we might miss the show we had based all the other shows in Europe around! When we finally got through Swedish customs it was around 8am. The plane was to leave in 15 minutes. We pleaded with airport staff to let us check our gear in time to make the flight, but of course they did not care. At about 8:10am we realized there was no physical way we could get to the Sweden Rock stage by 1pm. We called the festival & pleaded with them to let us go on later that 1pm . We were met with a gruff “this is not possible”. I have no idea why we were given the 1pm slot on the first day of the festival, especially considering that we played at around 3 or 4 in the afternoon last time & were one of the biggest attended shows on the bill that day. Why they wanted us to go onstage at 1pm is still a complete mystery to all of us. The festival was adamant that we get to the gig, even if we had to rent a private plane, but when we asked to just let us go on a little later in the day so we could make it happen, they just kept saying “this is not possible”. Well, getting to Sweden Rock by 1 pm was definitely “not possible”. There was no physical way for us to make that stage time, by flying , driving, or any combination thereof. If we could have gone onstage at 2pm , or 3 or 4 like the last time we played there, it would have been an incredible show just like 2005. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. I want to say “sorry” to all the fans in Sweden… but we tried our best to get to you to play. We probably should not have accepted the Oslo show in the first place, but we had no foresight into what was going to happen in the Stockholm airport.
Good news: as I write this in Estonia, tonight’s show in Tallinn is gonna be a sell-out. We are playing outdoors in the ancient ruins of a castle, & it is one of the coolest venues I have ever seen. It will be packed & guess what…. I have never even heard of the country ‘Estonia’. You can never predict what will happen on the road!
All I can say is, I cannot WAIT to get on a tour bus this summer on the road with Poison all across America. Airports fucking SUCK. We are supposed to be “on the road”, not “in the air”. I just can’t wait to tumble out of my bunk, hang out with my bro’s on the bus, roll down the highway, watch some movies, buy useless junk at truck stops, & NOT SEE AN AIRPORT from June till September!!! Yes this is my dream come true. See you soon U S A !!!!!!!!!!!!! See you soon TOUR BUS!!! Goodbye to AIRPORTS / CUSTOMS / SECURITY / MISSED SHOWS ………………… Hello the long & winding road of the U S A. We certainly do miss ya !!
Courtesy of www.sebastianbach.com