At least we had a nice lunch.

7 07 2009

Not a good day.

When you’re on the road, travelling long distances on a deadline, the last thing you need is for your mode of transportation to let you down.

The drive from Bilbao to Bologna was going to be long enough. We left the KobetaSonikfestival as soon as we could in order to have some time to relax in Bologna. I also wanted to try and organise a band photo session using some night time street locations. We had a shoot planned for Paris, but that fell through due to a variety of factors. The main one being that to do this, you need all members of the band to be present. I’m not naming names.

So we hit the road and head off on the 860 or so mile drive along the top of Spain, bottom of France and into Italy. Drinks are taken and the mood is good.

Fast forward 10 or so hours and I’m awake and sitting the back lounge editing pictures from the previous days show when I realise that the bus is getting slower and slower as we climb a hill about 15 miles outside on Monaco. The engine in the bay below me starts to sound very unwell, and we eventually shudder to a halt.

It turns out that some piece of rubber hose about 4 inches long has failed and water has poured out of the engine. Thankfully the drivers can rig it enough to get us to the next rest stop about 2 miles up the road, but they then need to call out a repair guy who (of course!) will not be there for a couple of hours.

As I’m the only one who can speak any kind of French whatsoever, and it’s barely any, I’m dispatched off to find someone who I can convince to call us taxis and take us to the nearest town or village that has anything other than the hot concrete and sketchy toilets of the rest area.

We end up in the little town of La Turbie, high on the hills overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Not very Rock ‘n’ Roll, but beautiful nonetheless. We all took time to wander around and check the place out. Lots of little back streets and a great old church. Grabbed some lunch of baguette and cheese and meat and sat on benches in the square until we eventually got the call that the bus was on it’s way to come pick us up again.

After the bus had completely blocked the main street in town with queues of angry French motorists going ballistic, we were off again. Now hours behind schedule, my plans to shoot that night were starting to look wildly optimistic.

Although we didn’t stop there, Monaco looked fantastic from the road. I’ve never been there before, and is even smaller than I imagined.

On and on we went. And on, and on! This really was turning out to be a brutal journey. Everyone was now really tired and getting stir crazy from being cooped up for so long. Mile after mile, hour after hour. It just seemed endless. I’d long given up on trying to do pictures that night. The best anyone could hope for now was a hotel room and a shower.

As day faded into night I sat upstairs at the front of the bus taking pictures of the seemingly endless road. Some were sleeping or reading or watching movies.

Eventually after 26 hours of travel time we arrived at our hotel in Bologna. We grabbed our bags and checked in. There was near total silence from everyone as they got their keys headed to their rooms. Happy to have arrived, but all craving some personal space.

I took a bottle of red wine from the bus, poured a large glass and sat back happy in the knowledge that I was now more than five feet from another person.

Bilbao to Bologna Travel Day 21jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy BucBilbao to Bologna Travel Day 21jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy BucBilbao to Bologna Travel Day 21jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy BucBilbao to Bologna Travel Day 21jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy BucBilbao to Bologna Travel Day 21jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy BucBilbao to Bologna Travel Day 21jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy BucBilbao to Bologna Travel Day 21jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy BucBilbao to Bologna Travel Day 21jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy BucBilbao to Bologna Travel Day 21jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buc





Hello Bilbao. Fancy meeting you here!

30 06 2009

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller


Sometimes things that seem like a bad idea at the time turn out to be great. I’m awoken this morning in my bunk being thrown around like a bug in a matchbox. I got scared.

I was also amazed to see that I was the first one to get up and see what the hell was going on. All of my other travelling companions have been doing this way longer, and have so many millions more miles under their belts that they don’t even stir. The only time I ever saw concern from them was on a trip to Warsaw a couple of years back. Polish roads aren’t the best!

Anyway, looking out the window I find myself greeted with the sight of a beautiful Spanish valley opening out in front of me, a river flowing peacefully along the bottom of it, glinting in the morning sun. It then dawned on me that if I’m looking down on a huge valley, then where the hell are we? We’re supposed to be on our way to the KobetaSonik festival in Bilbao. This is a mountain road. A narrow, tight and winding mountain road. Not exactly built for huge tour busses to navigate, hence the bumping and swaying. I went down to see the bus driver Colin, an affable Geordie lad who insisted (to my mild annoyance) on calling me Jock. He was driving via his satnav, and with every turn of the road tighter than the last he’d say, ‘This canny be right man, it a fookin moontin rooad man’ A couple more miles of this and we can see that we’re nearly at the top of the mountain. By this time a few more people have risen and are looking out the windows with the same degree of puzzlement. Over the brow of a little hill we go and all of a sudden, like some kind of mirage is the gig! Two huge stages built into two natural amphitheatres on top of a mountain with the most spectacular view of Bilbao. Whoever decided to stage a festival here was a genius or a lunatic.

Everyone was pretty blown away after that. Lots of standing around and taking pictures and whatnot. I could even see the Guggenheim from there, so at least that’s something!

Anthrax were not due to play for quite a while so a few of us took the chance to head to our hotel and get showered up and all that. The irony being that the hotel was all the way back in town meaning a runner from the gig had to drive us all the way back down in a van.

Showers, coffee, some tapas in a little bar by the hotel. Back to the gig.

The site was so inaccessible that the fans weren’t allowed to drive their own cars up there. Busses had been arranged to ferry people up, or they could walk!? There were about 30,000 people there and I never saw a single bus.

The show today was good again. On any other day it would have been great, but after the great, great night in France it just seemed, well, different. It didn’t help that bass player Frankie stood on a little uneven bit of staging that put his knee out three songs in. His tech ‘Awesome’ wrapped it in duct tape while he was still playing. The show must go on and all that. He played the rest of the set in real pain and had to get medical attention straight after the show.

The usual post show hanging out took place, people from other bands dropped by to say hello and catch up. Tommy Lee from Motley Crue has the loudest dressing room in human history. Another day different from every other, but pretty much the same.

The band wanted to get out of there pretty fast as we had the longest drive of the tour ahead of us to Bologna, Italy that night. One last look at the city lights far beneath us and we were away.

Anthrax Bilbao, Spain 20jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2Anthrax Bilbao, Spain 20jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2Anthrax Bilbao, Spain 20jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2Anthrax Bilbao, Spain 20jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2Anthrax Bilbao, Spain 20jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2Anthrax Bilbao, Spain 20jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2Anthrax Bilbao, Spain 20jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2Anthrax Bilbao, Spain 20jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2Anthrax Bilbao, Spain 20jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2Anthrax Bilbao, Spain 20jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2





Even the festivals in France are great!

22 06 2009

Without music life would be a mistake.  ~Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Hellfest was anything but hellish. 40,000 or so fans going crazy from the first note to the last. The band really felt that they’d hit their stride tonight. Everything gelled and it showed. It’s got to be a great feeling to know that you’ve won a crowd over and that their eating out of your hands. The guys in the band were really buzzing afterwards. Lots of contented smiles and the feeling that each show was becoming better than the last one.

From my point of view it was a good show to shoot too. The stage was huge and Jeff Adkins their light guy did a sterling job making it look good. It was also good to see a Scotland flag in the crowd. For a small place Scottish people get around! I felt that the stuff I shot today was pretty good. Some of the pictures I shoot on this run will (hopefully) be ending up on the new album packaging which comes out in October. That’s the plan at ther moment anyway.

The festival itself was near the town of Clisson, near Nantes I think. If you need to know exactly where you can look on google earth I suppose. Big fields are big fields pretty much everywhere. It was only the first day of the festival and already I could see many people that had got into the swing of it a little early! The promoters make things as comfortable for bands and crew as they can with decent dressing rooms and good catering. The catering people here deserve extra praise as they hooked us up with some nice bottles of Bordeaux after the show.

As with the awards thing in London, there were tons of bands and crew here, so lots of familiar faces and catching up with people again. I saw a couple of guys I hadn’t seen for ages which was cool.

Rob hung out with is friend ‘King of Hell’ of Norweigan Black Metal band ‘Gogoroth’. No, I’m not making that up.

With all these festivals to play on the tour, there is hardly any free time between shows. Tonight we have a 400 mile drive to Bilbao in Spain. Without doubt the hardest part of touring is the travel. It really is relentless. Sure, we have a nice tour bus and things get done for you, but it takes a toll on you after even after just a little time. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to play a show on top of it all.

Off to sunny Bilbao now. I’d love to visit the Guggenheim Museum here, but I know that there will be no time to do so. Bus. Hotel. Gig. That’s pretty much it.

Anthrax Hellfest 19jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2009Anthrax Hellfest 19jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2009Anthrax Hellfest 19jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2009Anthrax Hellfest 19jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2009Anthrax Hellfest 19jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2009Anthrax Hellfest 19jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2009Anthrax Hellfest 19jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2009Anthrax Hellfest 19jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2009Anthrax Hellfest 19jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2009





Luxembourg. What little I saw of it.

19 06 2009

“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.” — Susan Heller

Luxembourg was small, hot and polite. Things were running a bit late so I never got to see or do anything there. A case of bus, gig, out. So often the only experience you get of a place on tour is what you see from the bus window as you wind through whatever country you happen to be in that day. Place names on motorway signs, other motorists staring at the bus trying to figure out who’s behind the tinted glass and the occasional stop at a service station, usually at an ungodly hour.

The show was packed with the most polite and reserved fans so far. They were really into it, but really needed to be worked by the band. After the madness of London it must have been weird for the band to adjust to. After the show the usual post show analysis and dissection of the show. What works, who came in late here, who was early there. And whisky. Quite a lot of whisky. Drummer Charlie and I spent an hour listening to obscure rock music and nerding out to rare unreleased mixes and unheard stuff meaningless to nearly everyone on earth. Except us! Once the crew had loaded up and everyone had showered it was back on the bus.

We got into Paris at around 9am or so and all trudged wearily into our hotel. We had the whole day off and figured it would be better spent here than Luxembourg. No offence Luxembourg, but I’m sure you know what I’m saying.

Bass player Frank Bello and I headed out for some lunch. Sitting at a nice little restaurant with some fine French food and a bottle of wine putting the world to rights. Decompression and therapy sessions are useful sometimes! Wandered around for a little while, drank a pastis at a nice little bar and headed back to catch up on rest before dinner. I had snails.

All in all a very mellow day.

We’ve just arrived at a festival called ‘Hellfest’ near Nantes in France. Driving in past acre upon acre of vineyards and all of a sudden 40,000 heavy metal fans in a big field! It’s really hot again. The crew are going to start loading all the gear onto the stage soon. Exhausting heavy work that I don’t envy.

I’m going to go and wander around the site and see if there are any interesting faces I can take pictures of.

Anthrax Luxembourg 17jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2009Anthrax Luxembourg 17jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2009Anthrax Luxembourg 17jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2009Anthrax Luxembourg 17jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2009Anthrax Luxembourg 17jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2009Anthrax Luxembourg 17jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2009Anthrax Luxembourg 17jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2009Anthrax Luxembourg 17jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2009





London. Day 3

17 06 2009

“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese

The show in London last night was packed and hot. Really hot. The fans were going ballistic. It was the most animated I’ve seen a London crowd be.

The day leading up to the show was very low key. Everyone pretty much did their own thing. Like I said before, personal space and quiet time is at a premium and is embraced at every opportunity.

I had to go to a camera shop and then take a couple of the band to a mobile phone store to get their European phones sorted out.

Soundcheck came and went as it always does. Everything seems to work. Lots of noise got made and a couple of new songs get a run through. As it’s a new tour the set is still being worked on and song order is changing all the time. Songs go in, get pulled, moved around in the order. Trying to find a pace and balance in the set that everyone is comfortable with.

The band have a new singer called Dan and this is the first ‘proper’ band he’s been in. Also his first time in Europe. He seems to be approaching the experience with a mixture of nerves and the wide eyed amazement of totally new life experiences every single day. He pulls it off with skill, good grace and charm. Onstage he’s the big, loud front man, yelling at the crowd, making as many demands on them as they are of the band. Offstage he’s full of questions, big smiles and a type of innocence you don’t often see on the road. I’m sure that’ll change!

For a first show of the tour there were a couple of technical issues to contend with, but these guys are pros so it just gets dealt with. On the whole everyone was really pleased with how it went. Showers, drinks and lots of guests backstage rounded off a good night for all.

The tour bus came to pick us up and the ritual of choosing which bunk you want begins. Everyone always has their preferred position. I always go on the last bunk on the bottom left of the bus. It’s like climbing into your own little crypt. I find the steady hum of the wheels and the bumps of the road actually quite comforting and I drift of to sleep pretty quickly.

I’m now sitting in the dressing room in Luxembourg in the heat getting ready to shoot some pictures. The venue is really modern and nice so I think it’ll make for some good images.

Here we go again!

Anthrax London 16jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2009Anthrax London 16jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2009Anthrax London 16jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2009Anthrax London 16jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2009Anthrax London 16jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2009Anthrax London 16jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2009Anthrax London 16jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2009Anthrax London 16jun09  3/6/09  Picture © Andy Buchanan 2009





London. Day 2.

16 06 2009

I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.- Mark Twain

It’s a beautiful day outside and the door to the balcony of my nice hotel room is open and I can hear the traffic down below on Park Lane. I’m nursing a bit of a hangover and just sitting here waiting for something to happen.

So much of touring seems to be like that. Lots and lots of waiting. The bus comes to collect us at 2.30 to take us to wherever the gig is tonight. Then there will be quite some more waiting around.

I haven’t seen any of the band this morning. Some may still be sleeping, others out walking around trying to get as much free space and quiet time as possible before it all starts again.

Yesterday was long and tiring, but everybody seemed to enjoy it.

The band played a short set on the H.M.S. Hammer. An unusual venue to say the least. It’s the first time I’ve shot a band while the whole place is moving around. I nearly lost my balance about 4 or 5 times.

The boat docked at the O2 arena and then it was time for the Metal Hammer ‘Golden Gods’ awards. The band did the red carpet thing and went along the line doing interviews and having their picture taken by the press. I don’t envy those photography jobs. I’ve had to do a few in my time and it’s always the same. You never get a good picture. Ever. Just people standing in front of a board covered in sponsor’s logos. Then the next bunch of people get wheeled out. I guess there’s not any other way to do it though as there is lots of media with very little time to talk to lots of people.

One of the best/worst things about the VIP areas of these kind of events is the free bar. It’s nice to have some drinks and catch up with people you may not have seen for a while, but I always, always end up wasted. From a beer to vodka to shots of Jaeger etc, etc, etc. Idiotic.

The band do their thing and talk and hang out with other band guys. Lots of hugs and ‘long time no see’ conversations. All finding out who’s been where and who’s done what. Managers and agents lurk in corners with serious looks and an air of gravitas. The business side of the business never stops!

I now have to go check out and get on the bus. Show here in London and then straight off to Luxembourg.

Anthrax London 15jun09 3Anthrax London 15jun09 11Anthrax London 15jun09 13Anthrax London 15jun09 16Anthrax London 15jun09 25Anthrax London 15jun09 33Anthrax London 15jun09 38Anthrax London 15jun09 41Anthrax London 15jun09 45Anthrax London 15jun09 48





On the road. Day 1.

15 06 2009

Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” – Jack Kerouac

Getting up at 4.30am is not my idea of a great time!

I’m sitting on a train from Glasgow to London to start a stint on the road with famed American metal band Anthrax. I’m going to be shooting them on parts of their current European tour which kicked off two days ago. The access the band are giving me is completely open, which as anyone who tries to do this kind of thing will tell you, is everything. They are allowing me to shoot whatever I want, whenever I want.

Today they’re playing on some kind of boat which will be going up the River Thames as part of the Metal Hammer magazine ‘Golden Gods’ Awards. I think there’s going to be about 500 fans on this thing. Who knows what this will be like, but I’m sure it’ll make for some different pictures!

I’m going to arrive in London right around the time that we need to leave, so it’ll be the usual rush to the hotel and straight out again. I’m hoping that some band guys have slept in and are holding everything up. Not an unusual situation in the touring environment!

I’ll be posting images and things as we go along. Hopefully I’ll be able to convey what I”m seeing and feeling out here. The glamour, the fans, the energy. All of these things.

Except the glamour.

There’s none of that. None at all.









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