Today is a travel day and it’s good to have the rest. That is to say, it would be if I didn’t have to wake up at quarter to eight in the morning to pay for parking on the van, which inevitably is more complicated than would first appear. This is mainly due to the fact that it’s my job and I’m pretty inept at, well, pretty much everything. Especially at 8am. Once I’m up I’m up, and besides I have a few interviews to do early anyway so it’s for the best. The walk to the van on my own isn’t as unpleasant as I thought it would be - though I emerge from the dark hotel room and into the blinding early morning autumn light blinking and squinting like a mole, really it’s kind of cool to have some space and to briefly walk the streets of Hamburg on my own. I head back, tidy the room that me and Dave managed to make a mess of in less than 10 hours, and do a phone interview with a Japanese magazine for our first Japanese feature. So fucking cool! Japan has always been my number 1 wishlist thing-to-do-before-I-die, and everyone else in the band feels pretty similar so to start doing press there is seriously cool and exciting – hopefully it’ll be the start of a long journey to get us over there. We’ll see.
I miss breakfast (standard) and meet the guys half an hour late to leave (again, standard), and we begin the 800km journey to Munich.
I’d love to know what bands like Motley Crue or any of the 80s party-animal heyday bands did during the long journeys. Bands in this day and age pretty much seem to exist stuck to their laptops, watching films or whatever, and we are no different, so that’s a big part of spending most of your life in a van. Laptops are up, earphones are in and the stereo is on for the driver’s benefit (which today is Dave for the first half, and then John for the evening stretch). You can never quite concentrate on anything ‘cos the stereo is too loud, or because Simon is air drumming hour upon hour next to you. You watch the countryside flit by with your face against the window, or the miles of road slip underneath us out of the front view (always makes me feel like we’re missing so much whenever we travel, but sadly we are always against time) or if you’re me you read a book (more specifically my prize possession – a Kindle which I love to bits), write lyrics or tour diaries like this, or whatever. There’s also a lot of Garage Band going on as people muck around with ideas that may or may not end up on album 2 (something on our mind a lot, of late). Don’t even get me started on seat politics; I’ll be here all day – who sits where has been the source of many arguments.
So, across Germany we go, doing all of these things and stopping for way too many pee-breaks and eating service station bockwurst/bratwurst/schnitzel/pretzel every chance we get (again, Europeans, you guys are amazing at this food thing) and arrive after night has fallen. Spending nine or ten hours in the van sucks so we put our bags in the backstage area that we’ll be staying in for tonight and tomorrow night, and go into central Munich for some dinner. We aim for the Hofbrauhause and get there at 10pm-ish. It seems like all of Munich are out at the Hofbrauhause and are drunkenly singing along and dancing to the life horn section band that are playing in the centre of the huge pub/restaurant that almost looks like somewhere in Hogwarts or someplace similar. Big long tables with lots of people animatedly talking and swinging around big 2 pint jugs of potent beer, often standing up and singing at the top of their lungs. This place is amazing! We have some traditional german dinner of bratwursts, sauerkraut, roast pork and dumplings, and of course, a few jugs of beer, served by women in traditional german garb. It really is an incredible place, and feels extremely German, which we love.
We sit and drink our beers, stuffed and merry underneath the big chandeliers before deciding to leave and get some rest.
On the way back to the venue we get pulled over by the police and spend 30 minutes with them, they check our van and threaten to bring sniffer dogs, but since they clearly find nothing and seem to believe that we are above board they let us go and we climb into our bunk beds. I have to set my alarm for half 8 as I have to do a radio1 interview over the phone. Tom Deacon is covering the morning slot for a week and has chosen Weight of The World as his record of the week so is going to ring me for a chat, which is brilliant except for the fact that I appear to have no signal here. Typical! Anyway I set my alarm and after catching up on e-mails/skyping to friends and loved ones at home, we get some sleep. Bring on tomorrow! Can’t wait to walk around Munich again in the afternoon.