February 2002
Welcome to the first of (hopefully!) many more monthly offerings from SkidMark's latest "staff" edition, EDWIN VAN WYLICK (NL) . Ed will be contributing material relating to the indie scene in mainland Europe, personal experiences and even the odd interview with artist's! This month Ed re-lives the epic journey his band Sleazy Dreams, made across Europe to play just one gig!

Last April Sleazy Dreams went to Aosta, Italy to play with Even Vast. 

The story:

First thing that happened was that we left Thursday evening at midnight. At about 12.10 a.m. we were stopped by a border patrol who wanted to inspect the van we had borrowed from a friend. The patrols conclusion was that the van was NOT suitable to have 4 people in it, there should only be 2 in it, and not 2 others in the back in an improvised seat made out of an old car couch. Also the large amount of beer and whiskey (Joep and Ed's - Clement and Michel had to drive! hehehe) was a bit strange in the van...

But then a smartass band member asked if those regulations were only applicable in the Netherlands, "Yes" was the answer. As we were about 3 feet into Germany we smiled, yelled "Goodbye!!" and drove off. Nice border patrol officer. Thanks!

A lot happened on the way to Italy, long driving hours in Germany, singing in the van, out of sheer boredom the Neil Young / Pennywise / Rammstein and Sjako tapes were played so often we know them all by heart. Outside it was around zero degrees Celsius (which is freezing!) and the bus had several holes about one centimetre big, (in the doors and stuff), so Ed and Joep (who were in the back with no heating), had to rely on several pairs of pants over each other, two coats, scarves and everything, (the works!) To try and stay warm. Germany was no hassle, except for having to fix up one headlight with drum equipment - the thing had been dangling from one cable for about 100 miles..!  I think everybody had been awake from Thursday morning onwards. Somewhere in the morning after some occasional, involuntary morning wood (get my drift?) and breakfast German style (yummie!) we arrived in Switzerland - so beautiful!!! Hills, hills, hills, then some hills, and some more hills I believe. Nah, beautiful country, we passed through it without any hassle until we were somewhere halfway between Basel and Montreux, and then blizzard... Big blizzard. White blizzard, Scary blizzard. Big blizzard, cold, snow, more cold, high mountains, dangerous roads, and thenů the Grande St. Bernard tunnel! Yeah!!!!!!! We`re almost in Italy!!! (the destination: the Aosta valley just past the tunnel).  So we climbed the hill going up to the tunnel for about an hour, or a bit less, dunno. Then we arrived at the tunnel; we had to pay toll. Dammit! It was bloody expensive, but well, we did it, we had to...

So we paid, but as we paid we heard a very, very loud crack on the bottom of the van. Scared us quite a bit. So, with the help of Italian border patrol we inspected the van. We didn`t see anything, but still... So after 5 minutes we drove on, into the multi-kilometre long tunnel. After about 1.5 kilometres (one mile) the van broke down. DAMN!!!!!!! And so far Inside the tunnel. One metre of snow outside (3 feet and 4 inches), a pavement of about one and a half feet wide (45 centimetres)... Clement and Ed set off back to the tunnel entrance. By that time it was 9 am on Friday morning. It took Ed about 10 minutes in his best French, (Aosta is at the border where Italy, France and Switzerland meet so people speak French), to tell a guy working on the border that our van broke down. The almost completely forgotten French has improved quite a bit since, hehehe. What whiskey can achieve...

So we were towed away by a nice Italian guy by the name of Roberto. Then the waiting started. We`d waited for about 9 hours before we heard about where to get replacement parts, ( the transmission had broke), in Switzerland. Fortunately Robertos Dad got them the next day. If there is a god he oughta bless this family.  So then we had to get new means of transportation. Took the car association another hour to figure out there was a new car nearby. So Clement and Joep got a taxi to go get the new car. Finally they returned and we saw we couldn`t fit in an entire drum kit, 2 guitar amps, a bass rig, a bass guitar and 3 guitars, plus our clothes and stuff. Meanwhile Michel and Ed were waiting in the cold. Wind. Snowfall .So we (Michel and I) decided to go get some beers and a pizza, I'd already half emptied the whiskey against the cold. By that time my French had surfaced completely again!

We finally got to the hotel at 8.30 p.m. Then ate quickly and found our beds. But at 11.00 p.m. I had arranged to meet the band Even Vast and party with them. So I did, but I couldn't get the others out of bed. Except for Joep, but the words he tried to speak didn`t make much sense, so I went alone...! Had lots of fun though, saw some local bands play, had some beers. Oh yeah, we go to Italy to play, far away from home, what do we get? DUTCH BLOODY PISS BEER - HEINEKEN SUCKS!! WHEN I GO TO ITALY I WANT TO DRINK AND EAT  ITALIAN STUFF!!!!! Ban Dutch stuff abroad! Do it! Please!  Got back to the hotel at 5 a.m.

9 a.m. Saturday: rise and shine, breakfast! Yummie! Had breakfast and went sightseeing. Damn, Aosta is beautiful! Antonietta of Even Vast had told me the night before about lots of old Roman stuff in town and Joep and I went to find it. We found a gateway, an old Roman theatre, lots of stuff, old houses, small passageways, and friendly people. But we got cold, and at about noon we had finished our first bottle of wine. Then we went to get Clement and Michel and we had some beers (Irish...) and food, went to the venue, got  our gear on stage, did the sound check, and went to have dinner in a very small but really comfortable restaurant owned by these really old and friendly people. We had great dinner - even Michel who`s a wise guy when it comes to food "I don`t eat anything but a burger damned!" loved it. Then Even Vast played their set. It was strong, powerful yet mysterious and beautiful, filled with mystical aggression, without the aggression, get my drift? After them we played our set, and both bands kicked ass big time! the audience was so great at Sala Anita! Very nice people indeed, I did a burping contest with this man that compared my songs to those of "Pavlov`s dog" for the intellectual beings knowing that awesome band. I was honoured of course... After this we went to a pub and partied on until it closed. Then we went home to the hotel and Joep and I had more beers and whiskey in our hotel room. Until about 5 am we stayed up and laughed at all the stupid commercials for sex telephone lines " I am so hot! Call me!". And Italian Star Trek.

Sunday we chilled, picked up the car that was fixed finally, Even Vast came to say goodbye to us, very nice people, very nice friends, we got a nice bottle of grappa from them, you can melt metal with that stuff! thanks Remy! It sure does taste strong, but okay!  I like the stuff!
Then we drove back, well, Clement and Michel did, Joep and I laughed all the way back home on beer and whiskey... Again? Yes, Again... But that, plus the anal gas was just to keep Michel and Clement alert, really, we had to keep them alert at all times; driving is a very dangerous business isn`t it? But we`ll go back to Italy for sure, and we want to get Even Vast over here as well!

Cheers, Ed


COMING NEXT MONTH: It's Ed's turn in the interviewer's chair when he goes head to head with the Hard Rock / Heavy Metal outfit Night Circle from Missouri. Check 'em out in advance at: http://www.nightcircle.cjb.net/