Nobby and the Impregnators
I started to get a bit excited when I met up with Tommy and Gaz at the bus stop. I’d been busy all morning try to sort out money (I’d just gotten married a week earlier), feeding myself (its apparently not punk rock to eat), and trying to pick which t-shirts to bring (I was heading to places much more punk than me). We got the bus out to the airport and checked in. I must have been a bit nervous because I actually buzzed in the metal detector, ending a streak that went back years. Gaz had a few tins in the terminal and scoffed a few of his home-made sandwiches. We’d had to talk them into letting us take
It took us ages to find a pub. We caught a bus to town, ended up in the financial district and couldn’t figure out where the coffee shops would be hidden. We finally decided to just sit down and have a few beers, calm the nerves and set the bags down. Thank fuck they lost the luggage, we would have been miserable carrying all that gear around. We found a few seats outside, the weather was nice and we all wanted to just do a bit of people watching.
The train to
Time for grub and somewhere not-so-neon to eat it. I’d been hearing about the ‘Pebo’ from the lads for ages and there it was. It’s a wall of old fashioned sandwich machines. You put in a Euro, open a hatch and food comes out. Unfortunately, it’s all written in Dutch so I had no idea what I was getting. I got something that looked like a burger and thank god I was absolutely famished. I looked at the cavity that my bite had made in it and it looked like a cocktail of worms and maggots. As I moved the ‘burger’ around to get a better view of what exactly was going on, the street lights made the intestines of my purchase seem to move. My first, second and third reaction was to gag, but I have eaten some funky shit in my life and was able to think rationally in time. As it was hotter than the inside of the sun, I knew it couldn’t be alive. I did have to question who was in charge the day they decided to put chow mien noodles in a burger. It was slightly gross, but I’d paid for it and I was going to eat it. I can’t remember the last time I’ve paid for food and not eaten it. I am a value junky of sorts.
Food out of the way, address in hand, general direction decided and we were off. Once outside of the train station/American shopping mall,
The squat was an enormous 4 story building at the end of it with a 3 story mural of a backbone painted on it. The place was even bigger on the inside. There must have been 30 bikes on ground floor. All sorts. Some had motorcycle tires on em, there were a few choppers, a bunch of the typical Dutch bikes that look like something my Granny would have ridden in the 50’s, and even a couple of those huge ones you always see in postcards of Amsterdam with the giant box on the front you could fit 3 or 4 people into. James’s room was 2 stories up, quite a walk at the time and an absolute hike in the morning to rock a piss. The room was lovely, a couch in one room and a bed in another. New carpets and not a speck of dirt. It didn’t fit the mental picture I’d had of ‘squats’. James is a nice guy, but he could talk for
The pub was a true rock and roll establishment. The clientele was 20's to mid-thirty-somethings, the décor was good, the sounds were great. In
Tommy had to go back to
We met back up with Tommy and started to get our shit together. This was a tour after all and we were expected to play gigs as well. The squat we were scheduled to play in was well out in the suburbs and we’d have to take a bus there. That turned out to be harder than it sounded. If it hadn’t been for a fellow passenger who actually got off the bus with us and showed us where we were going, we would have never found it.
Gone was the romanticism of
I checked out the kitchen and was then offered food. I am a middle class kid. I’ve worked in restaurants. I’ve passed food safety courses in any number of different towns. Any one of these experiences would have been enough to stop me from eating anything out of that kitchen. If you can’t tell what colour the counter top started as, get take away. This would be a recurring theme throughout the tour and would ensure that I didn’t eat any food that had been sitting out longer than I had or drink any water from a glass handed to me. Most urinals I encountered were actually sinks, so I relied on beer and smoothies for my liquid intake.
First impressions of bands you’ve never seen play are always funny. You spend all your time trying to figure out who does what and don’t actually listen to anyone’s name. Then by the time the band goes on, the guy you thought was the lead singer, is the roadie, the guy you thought was the roadie is the lead guitarist (and already doesn’t like you as a result) and the singer turns out some guy that has been in a different pub all night. The Impregnators all seemed nice enough. A bit excited and loud. It was good to see Pier. A familiar face anyways although I’d never really gotten a chance to talk to him much. I couldn’t make heads or tails of the rest of them. It would be at least a day before I would know anyone else’s name.
I spent the next few hours doing that pacing around you do to avoid talking to anyone for more than a few minutes. I was a bit intimidated, I’ll admit. There is something to be said for being in a band with more than 3 people in it. It gives you more people to talk to for one. The Impregnators were going to do their sound check so we headed down to check it out, might as well see what were in for for the next week and a half. Adam’s drum set had a 26” bass drum, just like John Bonham! Serious gear. It was old and beat up, but you could feel it in your chest from 50 yards when he kicked it. Travelling around
The place started to fill up. We yapped and drank through the opening band. Free beer for the band, sweet. You never get that in
The crowd loved the gig. The sound was good, it was late and everybody was drunk. The gig was a success, but we’d have to do better next time. The evening went roaring on. I am not sure about what happened next. I know the drinking went on till the sun came up. I wrapped myself tightly in my sleeping bag to try to insulate myself from the filth in the sleeping room and went to sleep.
I woke up to the sound of Gary singing to people in the car park. I don’t know how long I’d been listening, but when I woke up, I knew I’d been hearing him for a long time. His voice still sounded strong, so I couldn’t complain. Tommy was asleep beside me and hadn’t done nearly as good of a job of insulating himself from the filth. I’m sure the dirt wasn’t going to hurt anybody, but all the lads back home joking about scabies weighed on my mind. It took me about 20 minutes to find someone who could let me out of the electronic gates. I did a bit of exploring with that funny hangover head that is really more just still being drunk. I knew it was time to start rounding up the troops and the gear by the time I got back.
This was my first chance to see the van. The tour posters were plastered on the back windows and inside and featured plenty of tough fonts and skulls. I nearly had to kick Tommy awake, but he eventually got up. We packed up and were sitting around waiting for Adam to return from a mystery girl’s house when Adam calmly walked out of the squat and asked what we were waiting for. The 10 of us piled in and we were off to the next squat, the next gig, the next session.