A very tough and sad year in many ways but also one of the greatest years I´ve experienced.
First the ups. Looking at it, it is all back to my roots. The past is alive.
Tried to keep it as short as possible.
A summary of some of my best enjoyed moments of 2016:
A few visits to this magic edge of the world. I do not know what there is with me and Manchester. I just feel good breathing the air there. Over the years I met many great people whom became my friends. We share interest in beverages and music in a way I feel I do miss with people here in Stockholm. So by now I have more friends that I am in frequent correspondence with from Manchester/Macclesfield/Chorlton than anywhere else in the world. On top of that, a few of my best friends opened a new venue called Café Beermoth which immediately became one of my favorite places to drink in the world.
METAL-ASSAULT, WÜRZBURG, GERMANY
As people who knows the slightest of me know, Venom is one of my all time favorite bands since first I heard them circa 1984. I never saw the original trio perform together, as in the 80s I were far to young to travel abroad for their gigs and in the 90s re-union time I had no money and were busy being a dj in the world of alternative & underground music. So, with only watching Cronos version of Venom, disappointing me time after time for the obvious reason that is do not have any particular Venom-feeling at all. It just felt that it was Cronos with random musicians doing Venom-covers and not so good. So, coming home from another disappointing Cronos-event where I got sick and tired of his circus and left after half show I saw the great news that Metal-Assault Festival announced Venom Inc as the final act of the festival. I recently visited another festival in Würzburg and I loved the small Franconian city (I already adored their wine), the venue and the vibe of the people. It is easy accessible from Frankfurt Airport with a direct train taking an hour and a half. At the earlier festival, Hammer of Doom organized by the same people I saw a poster for the Metal-Assault one day festival in January. Many great bands I listened to a lot in the eighties and a few newer ones in the same 80s powerful and speed metal era were to perform so I already suggested myself to go there and see Grim Reaper, Evil Invaders and Liege Lord. So, with Venom Inc. co-headlining the choice was easy. Venom Inc is a reincarnation of the original line-up of three Venom records between 1989 and 1992. It contains the other two original members apart from Cronos (who is not an original member looking at the story as the band existed years before he got in) being Abbadon and Mantas. They reformed like 9 months before and along Demolition-Man they burst mostly classic Venom-songs (from the records before Demolition Mans time). So, I were going to give this Venom a chance. If they would suck too I could always throw frisbee with my Venom records. They did not. They keep the musical spirit of Venom so high and genuine it is unbelievable. Venom never been so Venom post 1985. So going there was a bit more than ace. Going through every single record and song this band recorded with all their line-ups, I am convinced Venom needs the duo of Abbadon and Mantas in symbiosis to sound like Venom. No offense to the other members, they got some magic that can only be created them two together. They are Venom and Demolition-Man got what it takes to be the third part. THIS IS VENOM!
NETHERLANDS DEATHFEST 1, TILBURG, HOLLAND
Besides Manchester, Holland in general and Eindhoven in specific has been the places I´ve mostly visited over the years. The story and the love is far too old and long to explain here. The number of times are too many to be counted. Tilburg is a small town and if you book a ticket for a festival or event too late there will be no hotel-rooms available as it is by far too limited. So what do you do? If you are me, you stay at your home away from home in Eindhoven, a hotel located just a few meters away from the station. You take the 23 minute train ride to Tilburg and you take the night train back. No more, no less. Once again, the main reason were to see one of my favorite bands from the past that I never saw live, Autopsy. Besides Autopsy there were loads of great bands like Angelcorpse, Razor, Blasphemy, Asphyx, Sever Torture, Cruciamentum, Thanatos, Dodecahedron, Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult etc Organized in the freshly rebuilt 013, with the second stage being accessible for more than a few and the main stage opened up and became H U G E! Over the years I´ve visited 013 a few times for the Roadburn Festival and saw a great amount of bands there and superb concerts I will remember over the next 666 years. Autopsy were definitely one of these gigs. On top of that getting time to hang out at the gentle Irish pub in Eindhoven with my great old friend Kasper for the first time in a while was worth the trip.
COPENHAGEN BEER CELEBRATION 5, COPENHAGEN, DENMARK
I love Copenhagen and deffo do not go there too often. So when my friend Heather told me that her husband Dan Lilkler would pay a tribute to his old band Stormtroopers of Death ( just S.O.D. to many people) in Copenhagen I were not late to book a flight and a hotel room. The coverband was going to be called Stormtroopers of Beer as it was associated to the Copenhagen Beer Celebration-festival and would contain some Swedish people I knew for years. As told first, they were going to to do 2 gigs one of the Saturday and one on the Friday. So the whole weekend got booked in Copenhagen. the Friday I were working but took a 6.30 flight from Stockholm. that should give me time to the show starting 10 pm. On my way to the airport Heather texted me show were rescheduled until 9pm. My flight arrived 8.10… Got my bag a bit late and arrived at WarPigs by 9.07 I missed almost half the show. She also texted me that the Saturday show were rescheduled too, to the friday night and therefor the first show were earlier. Mean I had a Saturday in Copenhagen with nothing to do as the beer festival were sold out and there were a massive demand for tickets. Anyhow, at second show, held at participating at CBC-breweries party my people of our great local brewery Stockholm Brewing Co. were partying hard. Their manager Olli somehow provided me a ticket for the festival, not knowing how he did that but that is a fantastic favor I can never pay back. When you have friends taking your back and treating you in such a way, you know you are rich. Olli Bartlow, Dan, Heather and Malmoe-Kasper, you made that weekend so bloody great ALONG several friends from Manchester with Cloudwater Brewing Co crew in the front seat whom also travelled there. I can never go back to CBC after this as I find it hard for any other year to top this for me. An orgy of world class friendship from all over the world made this possible. I am so rich having such great friends and at a party like that when you know too many too mention. I can try but… only the list of true friends that I do have in my phonebook would be too long. Then there were another few people you know by face and name and or maybe social medias… This is the sort of happenings I like the most. You go there for one reason and then, because of your great network relations everything progresses to the greatest monster you ever created. Too many words could be spoken. I just end it there.
IRON MAIDEN; MILANO, ITALIA
This were another great trip, visiting PIZ (if you like Pizza you know what I mean), BQ, Sloane Square, Gucci Café and Lambic Zone. I refuse to go to the stadium they´ve put Iron Maiden in Gothenburg, Sweden for many personal reasons. So I needed to travel. I were choosing from many different and great cities but finally I took the gigs in Italia. The first gig were held in a small basketball arena outside of Milan with a capacity of 11264. For many years I´ve only seen Iron maiden play gigantic shows for maybe in between 35000-70000 persons. So this felt like one of these “smaller” ice rink gigs they used to play in Stockholm in the 1980s. The whole seating area were standing and the massive crowd interactions could be heard loudly for once. I felt like 12 years old again and almost started to cry. Not sure Iron maiden in manchester 2017 will top this. Impressive.
CALIFORNIA DEATHFEST, OAKLAND, U.S.A.
My first ever trip to California. This time to see another of my top bands: Nuclear Assault. I also came to see one of my new friends Andrew, whom I met at Roadburn Festival earlier this year and a exile Swedish family after the festival. So bands and exile Swedes from the past kept the red thread here. Andrew also kept that thread alive with interviewing me for his podcast and made me talk about some of my past. Apart from Nuclear Assault I enjoyed Blood Incantation, Icon of Phobos, Razor, Necrosic, Brujeria, Birdflesh, Exhumed, Black Breath, Verbal Abuse, Angelcorpse, Hooded Menace, Vastum etc Just a little more of everything than a normal festival weekend once again meeting Dan & Heather & Eric of Nuclear Assault & the other Californian Andrew I met at Roadburn along his girl Diana and the fabulous Avinash. The house beer were Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, it must be a not so god beer as I forgot to buy any merchandise from Blood Incantation. How is that possible? Do not drink Sierra Nevada Pale Ale!
Some of my favorite moments of CDF 2016:
EINDHOVEN METAL MEETING, EINDHOVEN, HOLLAND
My annual ritual. It is the place where I go and end up at no mater what. For the last few years the dutch facebook group Beer Geeks also arranges a beer tasting at Van Molen Brew Pub early Saturday which I of corpse attended along many metal beer geeks. One of them be David Ingram known from bands such as Benediction, Bolt thrower and now Hail of Bullets. Again too many familiar faces apart from David and organizers Kasper & Roman, journalist Marcel, Izegrim, the eviltwins, 100 musicians I know (some from the very past like Johan of Tiamat and Eric/Bob from Soulburn), many Swedish and Brexit travellers, and friends from all over Europe. Out of the bands worth to mention were Soulburn, General Surgery, Tiamat, Watain, bölzer, Mayhem, Protector, Destruction, Pro-Pain, Batushka and Memoriam. If you know me over the years you know that I am big fan of Bristish band Bolt Thrower. The band disbanded in 2015 when their drummer sadly passed away BUT the old drummer of Bolt Thrower and one of their singers, Karl Willets (they only recorded and have records out with 4 different singers since 1986) along two dudes from benediction then started another band as a tribute to the late Martin: Memoriam. It is a perfect continuation of their previous works and I can not wait for their debut album to show up in the spring. They played a few Bolt thrower songs and upon one of them, they invited another old Bolt thrower singer for a duet: David Ingram. That whole show, Pro-Pain and Watain to be the dearest memories to carry home along some dutch barley wines I picked up at beer shop.
CHRISTMAS, STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN
During my years with my ex.girlfriends I learned to enjoy Christmas again and I want to celebrate with the food and the calm. The pity this year was that I was forced to do it alone as my family do not live in Stockholm any more and I were to mentally murdered for another long travel. A girlfriend I had some + 20 years ago, now exiled to Birmingham were at home in Stockholm for Christmas. So she squeezed in a few minutes at the pub over a pint of Guinness with me in her tight schedule (when you just visit in your hometown for the first time in ages you must meet a gazillion of friends, siblings and relatives and it is not easier with a split family living here and there so your schedule will be tight). I was more than pleased of that. She always been a very dear friend. Then she asked me what I was going to do for Christmas so I told her. Sit home, eat good food, watch tv by myself (same as I will do tonight new years eve). She did not really approve to that. So she spoke to her mother and they invited me over to celebrate Christmas with them. That is the most beautiful and prominent thing someone did for me in 2016. I had a wonderful time with her & her family (most of them not being strangers) the whole day and night until stupid o´clock. I felt included, comfortable and adored by people whom I know since many years. I also had another invitation, but that also included a travel that were far more than I felt I had the energy for, I am as grateful for that invitation just for the record.
Fail surgery, halfway through the doctor discontinued knowing by then that the Titan-implant could not be removed (you can not see that on x-ray). So I had that wrapped in my face and have to accept to live with the pain and irritation this is causing me day by day hour after hour for the rest of my life. It is harder than you think. I were lying down with scalpels cutting up my cheek thinking I were going to get rid of the Titan-implant that scrapes the nerve and causes pain and irritation when he just wrapped the bad news in my face. The affects of the assault where I nearly got beaten to death in march 2012 continues. This nightmare never ends.
I broke up relationships with close friends for the reasons that we are not on the same level anymore and I am 41 years old and knows where I feel secure, safe and comfortable. It is hard and tough but maybe something I should have done years before with some of them. Friends should not only cost you energy, they are supposed to sometimes provide it too. I know the fact that I have not been perfect myself, I caused many problems and situations over the past. So maybe you people should be happy we do not talk or know each other no more. Bonus point was that two of them were playing with me in the same band so I did have to start the band over again with new people. They quit the band and went behind my back and stabbed it after a joke that went a bit too far. Two days before our first gig. I´ve been working with this project since 2011 and I do want it to become reality. If they could´ve stressed down and not commit these things whilst I was working, then things could´ve been different. I know for a few other cases I were the one that did not handle the situation well, I even acted like the asshole I sometimes do love to be. I know that. More than very well
Not giving close friends the time they deserve. I am so self-absorbed so I do not see that I actually have friends that do want to hang out with me and no matter no one ever bother to call me when I am already busy when they ask anyhow. So my promise for 2017 is to try to give my close and dear more attention and time and actually try to see them at least one or a few times. Not to be so focused to live my life somewhere else, away from where I actually do live my life. Where people actually can see me walk the streets day by day.
Leaving my family. I had a female that adored with a wonderful kid. Due to some minor shit in the middle of some other turbulence I did not fight it, I just walked out as the coward I am. I do have to live with this. I am the one sitting alone on new years eve writing this (I were invited for at least 3 parties but I needed some time to deal with myself ad to tidy flat and do laundry this very day so no party for me but I am still having a great meal with superb and exclusive drinks). One of the greatest fuck-ups I did against myself since I stupidly and cowardly broke up with a girl in 1995 (whom actually invited me for Christmas with her family in 2016 so she is over it in the end). Saying it all. Looking at it, I am shit and I do feel like shit. In the end, it is myself whom have to carry this on inside me forever.
Be careful about the people around you and do not gamble because of silly reasons like I did, despite still having many more than lovely friends i the end you sit here and cry for the ones you lost because of your own narcissism or whatever it could have been
Therefor: I will never be sorry or ask for forgiveness. I have to suffer and learn.
The past will always be alive. It will always find you, sooner or later.
Let us all wait for my list of favorite music of 2016 and slowly wake up and walk into a year that must be greater than last year. For all of us.
Yes, the book is delayed but I will work hard for it´s release after I am back from my first mission in 2017.
If you have read this, you have no reason at all to ask.
Everything is in here.
Sincerley yours /