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A man had contacted us by the name of Vincent Salazar, whom we had played one show with on a previous tour. After many emails and a lot of trust on our part, we departed for what would be our most adventurous European/Scandinavia mini tour of them all. Vincent was a little mysterious to us even though he seemed very open and extremely likable. He was an American who had lived a long while in Denmark with his family.
March 20 Hagen Germany, March 25 Oslo Norway, March 26 Copenhagen Denmark,
March 27 Stockholm Sweden, March 29 Fredrecia Denmark,
Even though this tour seemed successful, the group was uneasy about our environment. We really got the taste of overseas living since we stayed a little longer than normal. It was cold. We played some pubs and a couple of small concerts and were treated very well. One of the most memorable events to happen on this tour is when we took a train from one country to the next. Our translator would travel with us on this trip. We took an overnight train, which meant we would sleep along the way. The translator kept saying that we would take a ferry along the way and we assumed we would get off the train, get on a ferry, and travel further.
As we pulled out of the train station we all got settled in our single sleeping car suited for six adults. It was like bunk beds. We played a few games of hearts then settled in for the night listening to the click clacking of the rails as the train sped over them. The train would make periodical stops to let people off and to take other passengers. This in itself was a little annoying because when we would pull into a new train station the lights would shine into our window and the compartment would illuminate like the sun. Finally we all fell asleep and just when we thought we had stopped at another station, we heard unusual noises. Our translator said it was time to get up and walk outside. We did not ask why we just all filed in behind him. We put our shows on and down the narrow corridor full of other passengers we followed.
As we stepped off the train, we found ourselves in the belly of a gigantic ferryboat. Amazing, I thought. It seemed that to cross the seas ahead the ferry was equipped with rails and the train just chugged right into its belly. We were simply blown away that an entire train was able to ride up into a boat. There were cars parked underneath also. Our translator took us up to the cafeteria where we had a hot cup of coffee. The band decided to take a look outside on the deck of the boat as we crossed the sea. We did not stay topside too long, as it was eerie on this pitch-black night and a chilling wind was blowing furiously.
Soon we heard the warning to return to the train and back into our sleeper car we went. When the ferry arrived on the other side the train pulled out and off, we went to our destination.
The last date on this tour was really an odd gig. The promoter took us literally out in the middle of nowhere. We were kind of in a forest way out in the country at a compound of sorts. We played our set to a group of youth (not really a concert environment). That night we joked among ourselves that anything could happen to us out here in the middle of nowhere. We were surrounded by a bunch of people we did not know and now we were totally cut off from any outside contact. There was no telephones, radios, or televisions. To be truthful we were very uncomfortable. That night after the show we locked our door and slept with one eye open. In the back of our mind, we were thinking Waco! Needless to say nothing cult like occurred and we were soon packed and ready to go home.
When we arrived home we had some U.S. shows to play April 5 Dundee IL, (Heart @ Soul Café), April 21 Nashville TN (Hard Rock Café) April 26 Charlotte NC, May 24 Hickory, NC
Bride and Rocketboy tour.
Big Planet and Organic had really pushed for this tour. We had always felt that a band on our level could better serve on the weekends. Our point was that why play on a Tuesday for thirty people when that same thirty people would show up along with a bigger crowd on a Saturday? A couple of different bands wanted to go out on the road with us. A few different CD's were sent my way but nothing really caught my attention until I heard Rocketboy. There was something about them I liked. They sounded very fresh and energetic. I thought it would be good to have some really young guys out on the road with us bringing in a younger crowd to the concerts.
Troy was unable to get off work for every show of the tour so I phoned Scottie Hoaglan of Nailed and he joined us full time on guitar for the tour. Troy would join us off and on. This would mean some nights we had two guitarists.
Our first show was in Washington DC, this would mean a 13 hour drive for us. May 29th 1997 with the new, "The Jesus Experience" in hand we embarked on the first leg of the tour. (My Brother's Place) was one of the nicest Christian Clubs we had ever played and for a Thursday, there was a nice size crowd. My Brothers Place was a nice size club with a large coffee house environment. The stage was just about the right size for us and the P.A. did a fine job. I remember they fed us from their kitchen a really good meal.
Rocketboy was not actually traveling with us so they arrived at different times. The first night of the tour I never met anyone from Rocketboy. May 30 Fayetteville, NC May 31 Nashville, TN (Rocketown). The Rocketown show was eventful. Seemed that there was a third band on the bill. A punk band that had won a local secular battle of the bands and Seth our booking agent thought it would be great because the band had a good draw. When we walked into the venue, I noticed a lot of our crowd was waiting outside rather than being in the actual room where the bands were playing. The punk band had been using obscenities from the stage and even broke one of our foot pedals that we had left after sound check. I had to apologize to our fans from the stage.
June 1 Atlanta, GA (Church of God) we played an acoustic set at one of the largest churches in Atlanta to a tiny group of people. This show was not even a concert it was played in a big classroom of sorts. I remember introducing the band from the stage with made up German sounding names like Hans, Dieter, and Sprocket. I did it in fun but one of the promoters afterwards and said. "Hans you did a real fine job." I thought that was hilarious and never corrected him.
June 2 we made our way back to a familiar place Taylor SC where our acoustic set was very well received by the couple of hundred kids that showed up. June 3 Jacksonville Fl we played a great place called (The Murray Hill Theater). This was an old movie theater that had been converted into a concert hall.
By this time Troy had went back home to resume his normal job. People thought Scottie was Troy because of his long blond hair and slim build. Every show Troy did not make I had to clear up the confusion. The only difference from a distance was Scotties purple goatee. June 4 Birmingham, AL (The Crush Warehouse) was a bit of a turning point in the tour. The promoter of this particular show had accused us of being hard to work with to Seth during the booking process though he had never worked with us in the past. We went into this show expecting the worst however, even though the attendance was barely 100 the promoter turned out to be a friendly and likable guy and all went well. We drove through the night for our next destination. Troy would be flying in to meet us June 5 Shreveport, LA. This would mark the absolute poorest turn out for a Bride show yet. Exhausted from driving all night we learned that the promoter had done absolutely no promoting. Not only were we stiffed our honorarium but there was only about six paying people at this water park which could have handled thousands. This was hard to take but with everything in life, there are ups and downs. This was certainly a downer. The great thing about this show was I met Scott Herrin a Youth Pastor from Mississippi who had drove up with his friends. They actually were the bulk of the audience. Even though we had less people than a carton has eggs we rocked the short set out for these guys, Scott, Anthony and Robert. I would remain good friends with these guys throughout the years.
June 6 Houston TX (Glory to Glory). June 7 Dallas TX we played (God's Place). The room was excellent but the P.A. gave us fits. We had expected between 300 and 400 people and about 75 were in attendance. June 8 Lubbock TX (Church of the Nazarene) was an old worn out church. At this point, we had stopped speculating on the crowd because the tour was failing miserably. We learned that this same night just down the road a huge festival was taking place with dozens of bands. We used this as an excuse for the poor turnout. June 9 Tulsa, OK Touch Ministries had us for an Unplugged set. Another 75-person crowd welcomed us. We returned home time enough to restock on merchandise, which had not been selling well, and to pick up Troy again. We said goodbye to our families and June 12 we played in Cleveland, OH where we played on a breezy waterfront. People were skiing behind the stage, which was very odd. June 13 we ventured into Windsor Ontario, Canada. This would be a night that everyone would remember for the rest of our lives.
My dad and my oldest son Alex had made the trip with Troy and it was good to see them. We had begun something new in order to get the stage cleared of our equipment and loaded while I was preaching. Seemed that by the time the band played, I preached and we met and greeted the folks who came we would not get back to the hotel until the a.m. and it was hard getting up to hit the road again. This would mean that when I finished speaking we could talk to the folk's sign some things and leave without going into the late hours or even into morning. This particular night I was preaching and the crowd seemed interested in the tear down of the equipment more than the message I was delivering. Only on one occasion had I called the guys out about making too much noise when tearing down. Basically, it was Jerry because of his chrome hardware being dropped into the trap case. In addition, cymbals are just noisy to begin with. I was not about to call him out twice on the same tour because I know he took the first time he took exception to it as a personal embarrassment. Therefore, I made a statement not to call out Jerry but to help take the attention away from the load out and focus placed upon the message I was delivering. I said, "it is a shame that you folks are more interested in watching these guys tear down their gear than me minister the Word of God." At the time, I felt it was a harmless statement and did point the finger at anyone as a noisemaker. Now let me explain that those of you who have never traveled long distances, with sleep depravation have no ideal as to how simple statements can trigger tension. In addition, after someone has been on the road for a while they seem to travel with the hammers cocked. I was no different. After the show, we were speaking with the dozen or so folks who were still hanging around and I noticed Jerry being standoffish toward me. It never dawned on me what was going on. At this point of the tour, because my dad had came up we now had two vans. Myself, my son Alex, Scottie, Steve, and Jerry were in one van. I noticed Jerry sulking and I asked him what was the matter. He replied in a hateful voice, which hit me in the face like a cup of ice water. "You know what's the matter!" I pleaded innocence and ignorance in the same breath. Jerry who was sitting in the front seat looked around at me out of the corner of his eye and said, "it won't happen again I won't put up with it!" Of course confused I inquired on what he was talking about. He was accusing me of calling him out for a second time in front of people for making too much noise while tearing down his kit. This broke out into a verbal duel where I felt myself screaming at him with harmful intent. I soon assured him that he was mistaken and that I was not pointing a finger but making a general statement which went along with the sermon I gave that night. I felt as though Jerry was unconvinced. That night at the hotel Troy and myself both went to his hotel room to make sure Jerry understood that I meant no disrespect. One sure way of knowing is the DAT, which we had recorded; we had the entire message. There was no way of denying, my intent upon inspection of the DAT and the tour continued as if nothing had happened. Maybe fatigue had played a role or night after night of poor turnouts but this would mark our last tour together in the States.
June 14 we rolled into Grand Haven, MI, June 15 Chicago, IL (Heart & Soul Unplugged), June 16 Milwaukee, WI (Light Club), June 17 Chicago, IL (The Warehouse), June 19 Quincy, IL, June 20 Kansas City, KS. The big test of Bride's popularity would come June 21 Minneapolis, MN (The New Union). This was a club we had played many times. The fans in Minneapolis had always been supportive and had come out 800 at a time in the past. This night we barely topped 300 people. The last show was June 27 Des Moines IA.
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