SOILWORK: A DAY IN THE LIFE
By Dirk Verbeuren (drums)
“What’s it like on tour?” is by far one of the questions we get asked most often. So let’s break down 24 hours of SOILWORK on the road, shall we?
FYI, this also serves as a tribute to our hard working road crew! Without the immense talent and dedication of Hannah (tour manager), Jimmy (stage manager), Mike (sound), Steve (lights), Mat (guitar tech) and Thorns (merch) we wouldn’t be able to pull this off… So CHEERS to them!!!
^ Jimmy & Thorns unloading the trailer in NYC ^
Early birds get up. Jimmy brews coffee the Swedish way: thick as oil. We usually travel in a tour bus holding up to 15 people, typically with front & back lounges and three rows of bunks in the middle. Most days, we’re still driving at this point. Laptops pop open, emails get answered.
Arrival at the venue. More people get up and stumble outside in search of food and restrooms. Hannah starts setting everything up for the day, posting schedules in the venue, meeting up with the local promoter and takes care of the travel itinerary with the bus driver. Jimmy, Mike, Steve and Thorns begin scoping the premises and unloading our stage gear and merchandise from the trailer. We bring our stinky stage clothes to the dressing rooms. More emails.
Night owls crawl out of their bunks. Phone interviews begin. Our crew sets up the stage and prepares for soundcheck. Catering arrives to the bus, only to get plundered instantly. Hannah deals with all things practical and advances upcoming shows. Merch orders get placed; lost packages get tracked.
Soundcheck. Supervised by Jimmy and our guitar tech Mat (from one of our support bands, the excellent AUGURY), we head over to the stage and work with Mike to get the sound of each instrument right. After setting the stage monitors, we play a couple of songs until everyone feels comfortable on stage and Mike has a big ole’ smile on his face. Steve continues setting up lights.
On this tour, due to time constraints, our opening bands- SWASHBUCKLE, MUTINY WITHIN, AUGURY and DEATH ANGEL– do a quick line check right before their respective shows. In-person interviews begin. Hannah makes sure the guestlists get handed in and VIP meet & greets are set up. Thorns builds his sassy-ass merch booth Brooklyn style. Shit’s for real, yo.
^ Mike, Jimmy, Thorns & Hannah in the bus ^
Dinner/buy-out followed by VIP meet & greets. Hannah brings us to the merch booth where we hang out with fans, sign their swag and take pictures. In a world without recession, endless lines form at the door.
Doors open. Local openers go on, again supervised by Jimmy who keeps his eagle eye on everything that happens on stage. We resume business stuff, playing video games, watching TV and hanging out on the bus. The day’s ninth pot of coffee is brewed.
First support band goes on. Thorns brings in posters, used drum heads and drumsticks for us to sign. Rabid fans tear our clothes as we strut between the venue and the bus… No, wait a minute, that was THE BEATLES!
Direct support band goes on, in this case the cool cats in DEATH ANGEL. We change into our disgusting sweat-soaked stage clothes (where’s the closest laundrymat?) and start warming up. For me, this means double kick rolls and snare rudiments for a good 30-45 minutes. Our opening track on this tour is slightly intense.
This is the most hectic time for our crew. Jimmy helps Thilo and the rest of DEATH ANGEL’s crew clear the stage for us. Steve installs our backdrop and side scrims. Mike does a second line check with Jimmy and Mat, while Hannah scours the nation to get the six of us in one space. There’s a lot of pressure to stick to the schedule because we often have to respect strict curfews. As they say in Sweden: hetta!
Show time! This is where all the day’s energy converges. Band and crew focus on 90 minutes of pure Swedish melodic mayhem. Workhorse Tommy Jones of MUTINY WITHIN captures every moment of our show on video. Words can’t even begin to describe the fans’ utter excitement… Ok, I’ll stop being a smartass. We feed off the energy of the crowd and eagerly give back to our loyal fans!
End of show. We run off to the shower when the venue has one; if not, we resort to the “baby wipes shower” to try and limit our after-show stench. Hannah wraps things up with the promoter while Mike, Steve, Jimmy and Mat break down the stage and pack gear and lights. Thorns sells the last couple of leftover merch items to the highest bidder.
Bus leaves for the next show. Leftovers get thrown into the microwave and devoured. Early birds head to their bunks while the late-nighters listen to music, sip on beers and generally have a blast reflecting on the past day’s silliness. [Start over and repeat for 35-50 days].