Heaven’s Basement take us on the road with this exclusive tour diary! Check out the first entry after the jump, check out tour diary #1′s online photo gallery HERE and buy concert tickets or purchase a CD of Filthy Empire here.
Monday 6th May
After an insane four days in America it was time for a quick trip back to our little Island. We’d met some of our childhood heroes at the Golden God Awards, played our first ever LA Headline show at the legendary Viper Rooms and popped our US festival cherry with a baking one in Phoenix and a very familiar rainy one in Carolina. It was time to come home for some very exciting radio sessions, all we needed to do was recover by…..
Tuesday 7th May
TRYING TO SLEEP AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE AFTER THE FLIGHT!!!
Wednesday 8th May
After (kind of) recovering from our third flight in almost as many days it was up to Birmingham to do a Kerrang Radio Acoustic session for some competition winners. We’ve always had a laugh doing acoustic sessions since we played unplugged sets at Download and Sonisphere a couple of years ago, but we don’t really do the whole ‘candles on stage and lets talk about our feelings’ acoustic set, we just see it as a possibility to try and be as lairy as possible while trying (and normally failing) to sit on a stool. We were also asked to learn a cover from a band that had played Download Festival in the past that stood out for us, so naturally we went for something heavy and attempted Bulls on Parade by Rage Against The Machine!
Our setlist for the acoustic performance was:
Can’t Let Go
I Am Electric (complete with ‘I Am Acoustic’ outro chant
Bulls On Parade
After the performance we did a couple of interviews with the DJ’s there. Kerrang Radio were one of the first stations to start playing songs from Filthy Empire and it was cool to go back and talk to them now things are starting to kick off a bit! After that it was off to London to attend the Kerrang Awards Shortlist Party, we had found out the night before that we made to the shortlist for Best British Newcomer at the Kerrang Awards this year which is mental! I don’t know how much of a chance we have of actually winning it but it’s a quality feeling to make the top five! If we do manage to pull it off and win it’s gonna be a heavy night anyway! After all the nominations had been read it was back to the hotel to get some rest for our BBC session the next day
Thursday 9th May
Thursday began in typical Basement style – absolute chaos!! Aaron thought he’d lost is passport then realised he’d left it at Heathrow when we landed on Monday, the van taking us to the BBC session’s battery was flat and wouldn’t start and our taxi to the airport the next morning had broke down and there were no other cars big enough to take all of us that early in the morning! Kinda sounds like the script to a sequel for Spinal Tap right? I often get that feeling! It just shows the golden rule of being a band – Nothing goes to plan! You just have to try and deal with it and don’t get stressed! The AA eventually came to the rescue and the rejuvenated van was on it’s way to Maida Vale.
The BBC Studios, the place where John Peel introduced millions of people to Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix oh yeah and about a thousand other bands! We’ve always been a band that relishes playing live so to get the opportunity to record some of our songs for a BBC Session was unreal! I remember listening to countless BBC Session albums as a kid so to actually be in the room where all that magic was created is unexplainable! We were all like kids in a candy shop and couldn’t set up our gear fast enough! We ended up recording four tracks for the session and smashed through them in no time, we’ve been playing most of the songs for over half a year now and it’s gonna be an amazing feeling to hear them on the radio when they’re aired!
As we left the studios everything wrapped up nicely, Aaron went to get his passport and stayed at a hotel next to the airport with myself and our sound guy Dave, which meant the other guys could get a normal sized car to the airport in the morning, all things happen for a reason I guess!
Friday 10th May
It felt like just as we’d got to England it was time to cross the pond again! We’d had a pretty hectic couple of days but we’ll never complain about being busy, it’s not everyday you get to fly back from America to do a BBC Session to then fly back again for a four week tour of the US and we’re gonna enjoy every second of it!
Saturday 11th May
Our first gig back in the states was Rockfest in Kansas City, we’d been told by loads of people that this is the biggest one day festival in America and when we started watching the field fill up we quickly realised they weren’t exaggerating! We were lucky enough to open the whole festival which meant we pretty much had everyones undivided attention! I can’t remember ever playing a show where there’s literally people as far as the eye can see and it was definitely one of my favourite shows we’ve ever done! When you play in front of people that don’t know your music it’s all about winning them over. If they don’t like it they won’t really clap, so it’s awesome when you feel like you’ve just won over a whole festivals worth of people! We were told that the radio station that puts on the festival is the most listened to station in Kansas City, more than any pop/ dance station which is crazy but when you see how passionate all of the people at the festival are about rock music you can see why! After we played our set we got to catch up with our good mates Halestorm, we first played with them in Europe in 2010 and since then they’ve gone on to sell hundreds of thousands of albums and even won a grammy earlier this year! They absolutely smashed their main stage set in the middle of the day and it’s reassuring to know that they too opened the festival a few years ago, hopefully we’ll be getting the main stage slots in the future! Alice in Chains headlined the festival and they played an epic set! We’re all massive fans of their music past and present and their current singer William Duvall completely nailed all of the Lane Staley material. We managed to watch a lot of their set (next to Ron Jeremy) side stage and looking out at how many people were there was insane! I still think that playing to crowds that size can’t be a feeling that you just get used to over time! We had a quality day and it’s always good watching loads of other bands play, just in case there’s anything they do that we fancy stealing! haha.
Sunday 12th May
After playing Rockfest we went straight onto some club shows with The Last Vegas and Red Line Chemistry. Both bands were top lads and it was good to go from massive outdoor festivals to dirty bar shows, that’s where we cut our teeth in England and it gave us a chance to try some different songs in the set. The first show was in Waterloo, Iowa and it was about that time we realised how vast this country actually is! I also became the undisputed pool champion by beating everyone in our tour party, still can’t get on with the American rules though! After that we had a few days off so we decided to travel to Chicago and do the whole touristy thing!
Monday 13th May
We got into Chicago early evening and heard that “fellow” English lads Glamour of The Kill were in town. They had a day off so we went downtown to meet them at Escape The Fates Album launch (who they’re on tour with) and as soon as they told us it was two dollar vodka night it was game on! It’s always cool bumping into other English bands over here just to see how they’re finding touring and seeing what they’ve been up to and when you have to carry the crew from the taxi back to the hotel you know it’s been a good one!
Tuesday 14th May
We spent most of Tuesday being massive tourists around Chicago, going to the giant shiny kidney bean and checking out the souvenirs in the Hard Rock. It was ridiculously hot and we’d all been getting a cheeky amount of sunburn and not really noticing until one of us wore a vest to reveal farmers arms! The sun started going down and it was off to Joliet to go and see our long time tour friends Papa Roach. The venue was absolutely boiling and they ripped the place to pieces, we got to see them at Rockfest the week before but I never get bored of seeing them play. Jacoby commanded the crowd from the second they began and every song sounded massive. We got to catch up with them after the show and ended up seeing the night out at the local casino getting fully involved in two dollar tuesday at the bar!
Wednesday 15th May
Our second gig with The Last Vegas and Red Line Chemistry was in Steger, Illinois. The shop next to the venue seemed normal enough until the lady asked if we wanted to look in the 18+ section, when we walked through it was wall to wall of swords, sex toys and even maces! The most important buy at that store though was our communal softball set! It was straight to the car park to get our game on (after Chris lost our first ball in the first hit and went and got another one!) and get judged by the locals on our poor catching skills and general lack of any athleticism!!
Thursday 16th May
The first thing on the agenda on Thursday was a live interview and acoustic session with WGRD in Grand Rapids, Michigan which gave Chris a chance to play his weird bird box looking thing! it’s always a laugh to do acoustic stuff live on air, we just have to be on our best behaviour in terms of swearing! After that it was on to Battlecreek for the show and then to be eaten alive by all the midgies!
Friday 17th May
This was the last day of the shows with TLV and RLC and as a parting gift the boys in RLC made us what can only be described as the best pulled pork sandwiches known to man! On top of that the venue catering that day was barbecued chicken so it’s fair to say we felt like kings! A gruesome softball battle then got underway until we were kicked off the field as apparently it was private property. We opened up the night and showed everyone there what we’re all about! The set ended on Executioners Day with Aaron grabbing one of Sid’s guitars and pretending to do the solo (hopefully for the first and last time! haha) and then it was off to Colombus, Ohio.
Saturday 18th May
Rock on The Range is a three day festival held at Colombus’ soccer (real football) stadium and this year was the first time it was completely sold out! Driving up to the stadium I could tell straight away that this was gonna be a good one! We started off by doing a mammoth session in the press tent attempting to win them over with our “English Charm” and if that failed we just pretended we knew the Queen! Then it was time to take to the stage! We approached all of these festivals with a determination to leave our mark and at Rock on the Range I felt like we did that perfectly. There was a quality looking circle pit for the whole set and by the end we all felt like we had smashed it! No one knew who we were before we did any of these shows but hopefully we’ll stay in their memories now! After the set it was beer o clock and then straight to the main stage! We got to see Papa Roach and Halestorm smash it again but the highlight of the day for me was Stone Sour. Corey Taylor had the crowd in the palm of his hand from the word go and their hour long set was epic. They even chucked in a cover of Sabbath’s Children of The Grave which sounded huge! After their set we got to meet Jim Root and he was a legend, although he’s about 6’6″ tall and made Aaron look like an oompa loompa! The sun started going down and Smashing Pumpkins closed the festival, although I can only really remember going mental when they covered Bowie’s Space Oddity and shouting the lyrics in a terrible interpretation of his infamous voice! We got to hang out with other “fellow” Brits Asking Alexandria for a bit until the arduous task of finding a taxi back to the hotel became a Lord of The Rings sized quest! We eventually got back and crashed out straight away!
Sunday 19th May
For the first part of the Sunday we went back to Rock on the Range, not to see loads of bands but to try and blag as much food or anything as possible! Chris used his Northern charm (i.e. an accent that Americans can’t understand) and before we knew it food tokens were on their way! After a heavy meal and a few beers we set off to the east coast to do some dates with Buckcherry which Mr Buchanan will talk you through next!