In the dunes…
I smelt the salt of the sea when walking towards the dunes. It was one of these lovely festivals in Scandinavia, one of the first we did for the new album last summer. The studio work before had been tough: a tight schedule for the release, a bigger budget than previously which — in return — meant higher demands and higher expectations of everyone involved. We had rarely played the new songs, we were so proud of, live and felt we needed to work on the performance aspect a little more to play them during our shows. Only one small warmup gig in our hometown and then we were of to Europe, „the old world“, like they lovingly call it.
Europe was always treating us well, and I was looking forward to start the tour in the north. The audience, and people in general, were always kind, respectful and authentic. The festival was taking place on a peninsula, which we had played once before. It was great seeing some familiar faces; the festival had also grown, like we did as a band, everybody was in a good mood — and, after having setup all the gear, some of the guys couldn’t help to start flirting with the local female promoter, who, in our eyes, definitely strengthened the stereotype that Scandinavian women are gorgeous. We had the early evening main stage slot, which gave us some time to walk around, enjoy the festival, some music and the ocean. The pristine nature made a significant impression on me. We all grew up in a big city, in a cultural surrounding marked by noise and a hectic life, which is probably why this extraordinary contrast had such an effect on me. There were seagulls flying around and I enjoyed the beautiful landscape, the flow of the waves, floating and ebbing. In these moments I could find and make peace with my younger past. I lost someone who I’d been with for many years, but she wasn’t a part of my life anymore for reasons I knew very well, since I was the reason. I felt fortunate to be in a band, to be touring and to be able to go to places like these, make memories like while doing something I loved.
With the sound of the sea, these bad feelings seemed to float away. I had a pair of sticks with me and did a little practice on my knees. Since I was totally used to this kind of warmup, these parts of my legs had built out some cornea, so I did not feel any pain when drumming on them. I did some normal doubles and triples, then paradiddles in different variations. Although I never used the traditional grip on stage or while recording, it felt right to use at that exact moment in the dunes. That’s the way my dad played, so that’s how I learned to play decades ago, when he sat me behind his drum kit. I can still hear the sound of his late 60s Maple/Poplar/Maple setup, a warm and dark sounding shell with a low tone.
Lost in thoughts I sat in the dunes, somehow forgetting time and space. I guess it must have been at least an hour. When I got back everyone was nervous, they had all been searching for me being and were worried I would miss the show. To be honest: the feeling of being missed felt good. It was the music and the people I created and shared this music with, which always kept me going. It was music that brought me places I had never been before. Ten minutes till showtime. I checked my drum kit and it was set up perfectly. The sparkle wrap was shining in the stage lights. Just looking at it got me excited and I was already enjoying its sound in my head. I got myself a cold beer and joined the others. Just at around dusk we got on stage. Our excitement about the new songs rubbed off on the audience. It felt good and they worked – it was good to be back.