News Page: News from the Saint Thomas world, and updates to this page. This page is not an official source of information, if in doubt of accuracy of info please get in touch with webmaster of this page or the info source.
August 28th 2006 - There Is Only One Of Me
Today Saint Thomas releases his new album, "There Is Only One Of Me." The last year has been a difficult and frustrating one for fans and friends of Saint Thomas, but even worse so for Thomas himself. Alcohol and substance useage has been a consistent theme in Saint Thomas' career, that is a well-known and little-hidden fact, and this useage has been fuelled by a personality that is not necessarily made for standing on stage in front of hundreds of people and playing your own, personal songs of love and loss.
Having been involved with Saint Thomas on a very close basis since 2001, getting to go on tour with him and through that getting to know him very well on a personal level, this useage has always been a very obvious, but hardly worrying, part of the Saint Thomas experience, barring a half-year period around the release of "Hey Harmony" that was totally clean (and most definitely the happiest time to be around Saint Thomas as a friend and fan - except for that morning in Askøy where half his band got fired on the spot). But during the long European tour late last year, it became painfully obvious to everyone involved that the useage had turned into abuse, with an artist that got dead-drunk on the boat before the first show had even been played. And from there on it only got worse.
I was there for the entire tour and unfortunately got to witness first-hand how things were going. It is not an easy thing to deal with a friend running into problems like these, because the fact is that there is absolutely nothing you can do but stand by and watch your friend destroy himself until he himself realizes that he has a problem and needs to work on it. There were many sit-downs during that tour where we all talked about the issue, and Thomas himself concluded that he was in over his head and needed to solve his problems before they would run him into the ground. But being on tour is not the right place to start solving these things, as playing to and meeting new people every day and having access to unlimited amounts of free booze is very much part of the problem.
It was also very clear that solving the deep-lying issues behind the abuse would not be an easy task for a person who, earlier, when seeing a psychiatrist to get to grips with his drinking problems decided to sack the psychiatrist because he dared suggest that the patient solve his drinking problems by, gosh, trying to drink less.
After coming home from tour, Thomas tried to deal with his problems in his own ways. He was seeing a psychiatrist, and in November he went almost an entire month without drinking, going jogging while listening to his iPod and living life as a vegan. He also decided to move to Bergen, where he stayed in a big, old house in the countryside with his old friend and former Saint Thomas guitarist Espen Mellingen. But things were going downhill, and early into the new year he had moved back to Oslo, where there were stories of an agitated Thomas out on town, and though the facts and details are hazy because I never really wanted to know all of what really happened, the police eventually got involved, as the pills that Thomas had been addicted to for many months and got ahold of online were, naturally, illegal substances.
In late January, the upcoming Saint Thomas European tour got canceled due to "a very serious depression," and Thomas eventually decided that he had to take considerable measures to be able to get a grip on his own life again, and got himself an appointment with a rehab clinic. Unfortunately he had to wait two months before he got checked in, on April 18th 2006.
During the time where things were sliding out of control is when Thomas started writing and recording the songs for "There Is Only One Of Me," in his bedroom in Bergen. Dozens of songs were quickly written and quickly recorded by Thomas himself on his portable recorder. The songs were different than before, many were very short, they were simplistic, and some were just the incoherent ramblings of an addict. But in-between there were some true gems, the life of addiction seen from the inside and described in great detail. Listening to these songs before Thomas went to rehab, hearing the lines "Don’t leave me with my doctor / on the telephone / he'll set me up with some medicine / a medicated dog" was not necessarily easy to deal with.
Before going into rehab, Thomas decided the tracklist of the album, did a few overdubs, re-recorded all the vocals, had his friends Petter Pogo and Alexander Lindbäck come by and add a little bit of bass and drums on a few tracks, and then mixed the album himself on the same portable recorder. The album was finished, and Thomas was going into rehab. It was an album recorded while addicted, about addiction and mixed while addicted, and it did not make for easy-listening, musically nor lyrically.
But now that some time has passed and Thomas is doing better, "There Is Only One Of Me" is an incredibly powerful musical notebook of a sensitive person fucked up on drugs and alcohol. There are songs released and songs left off the album that deal with many of Saint Thomas' issues of the past few years, from the incidents at the Royal Albert Hall, driving through America on tour to getting beaten up in a bar in Dresden on the last European tour, all forming a unique insight into the life of addiction, with tunes like "Your Hotel" and "Singing So So So" forming the stark contrast of being bright little spots in the middle of depression and addiction.
This is not a commercial for a new album. This is the story of a kind guy who happens to have a great ability to make strange, little songs, and who acts like an idiot and then makes up for it, and then acts like an idiot again. Who has recorded an incredibly honest album and decided to release it. Some of you might like it. I hope you do. Some of you might hate it, and that is alright. Just leave it at that. No reason to beat someone who is already lying down.
"You read about me in the newspaper / and laugh / believing every word / that goes around."
November 24th 2005 - European Tour 2005
It was a long tour, and I was planning on doing updates here on this news page underway. But it turned out that Internet access was hard to come by on this year's tour, and once we came upon a computer connect to the world wide web there were five people who wanted to check the news, the football results and write their e-mails. And so much was happening that I doubt I would have been able to cover it properly anyway.
Now you can click here and read the full report from this year's European tour, the entire story from the start in Århus in Denmark until the culmination with a fabulous concert in Brussels in Belgium seventeen days later. A picture gallery will also be put up, if people who are reading this have pictures of their own that they would like to share, please feel free to send them in an e-mail.
October 7th 2005 - European Tour 2005 (Second Report, Basel)
Internet access on the road is just as frequent as one member of the band's showering, so there is not much time for updates on this page. The last few days have been pretty hectic, with long drives between mostly every city so far. After Berlin we went to Kassel, South-bound to Munich, into Austria to Vienna, back into Germany to Dresden, then a short trip to Weimar, and yesterday a long trip into France to Colmar. Now Petter Pogo and I are sitting in the upstairs office at the venue in Basel in Switzerland, the place seems pretty cool.
There will be two extra shows on the tour between Paris and Brussel, on the 13th and 14. One in Belgium and one in Lille in France. People should make sure to check those out if they have a chance to go. The band has been sounding great lately, even better than on last year's fabulous tour. There will also be a radio performance somewhere in France on the 13th, but I do not know for which channel or when it will be aired. But the band will be performing live for the radio, and probably also do an interview.
October 3rd 2005 - European Tour 2005 (First Report, Munich)
First tour report, from Hamburg to Berlin, was posted here. Please click here to read the full report from the entire tour.
September 2nd 2005 - "Morning Dancer" video on MTV's "Up North"
Saint Thomas' "Morning Dancer" video is one of five challengers for this weeks "Up North," MTV's Scandinavian chart list. The chart placements are decided by viewers who vote online or via SMS. Please vote for Saint Thomas by clicking here and choosing the "Morning Dancer" video on the list!
August 30th 2005 - Video from VG Nett performance
A Saint Thomas duo consisting of Thomas and Petter Pogo on acoustic guitars performed three songs live at VG Nett's studios in Oslo, Norway for an exclusive live broadcast on the Internet. The songs performed were "The Mexican Father," "Children Of The New Brigade" and "Sheer Wonder," in addition to a short interview with Thomas before they started playing. The performance can be viewed here.
Afterwards Thomas answered questions at a VG netmeeting, which can be read here (in Norwegian).
August 27th 2005 - Netmeeting and live performance for VG
This Tuesday, August 30th, at 13:30, Saint Thomas will perform live for the Norwegian newspaper VG. The performance will be streamed live online, and after that there will be a netmeeting. Read more about it (and submit your questions) here.
August 27th 2005 - Watch "God Morgen Norge" performance online
Last Monday, August 22nd, Saint Thomas performed "Children Of The New Brigade" and "Of Course You Were There" live in studio on the program "God Morgen Norge" on Norwegian television station TV2. These can now be viewed online on TV2's webpages. Click here for "Children Of The New Brigade" and here for "Of Course You Were There. There are also two interview segments with Thomas (in Norwegian) available.
These songs were performed with stand-in guitarist Ivar Arnesen (Kmysle), who also was nice enough to provide these links.
August 27th 2005 - "Children Of The New Brigade" reviews
The Norwegian reviews for "Children Of The New Brigade" are rolling in, and most are very positive, rolling four or five on the dice. Avisa Nordland even suggest it might be his best album so far. You can read the reviews, all in Norwegian, below. The PlanB-review is not available online.
Adresseavisen - 5 out of 6
Avisa Nordland - 5 out of 6
PlanB - 5 out of 6
Pstereo - 8 out of 10
ABC Startsiden - 4 out of 6
Aftenposten - 4 out of 6
BA - 4 out of 6
Dagbladet - 4 out of 6
Dagsavisen - 4 out of 6
Fædrelandsvennen - 4 out of 6
Nettavisen - 4 out of 6
VG - 4 out of 6
HISSIG - not rated
NRK P2 - not rated
Puls - not rated
August 22nd 2005 - "Children Of The New Brigade" out today
Saint Thomas' fifth album, "Children Of The New Brigade," is released today. Thomas was on "God Morgen Norge" on Norwegian television channel TV2 this morning, there will be a performance at Platekompaniet in Oslo in the afternoon, and in the evening the album will be unveiled at a record release party at Odderøya in the fjords outside of Oslo, to members of the press and lucky fans who have won tickets through the competition at stthomas.no.
Expect to see a lot of news about Saint Thomas in the Norwegian press in the following weeks, according to Thomas himself the feedback from people for the latest album has been better than ever before, so hopefully there will be positive reviews ticking in during the week. The Platekompaniet promo tour continues to big cities in Norway throughout the week, with lots of interviews with local press lined up along the way, and the first leg of a proper Norwegian tour starts at the weekend.
The album is released in Norway through Racing Junior, and will be available in twenty-three countries within short time. Release in Germany is set for the 29th, and the version released there will also include three additional tracks from "Morning Dancer EP," which was only released in Norway.
Make sure to check out the Recording of "Children Of The New Brigade" promo video clip that has been posted at stthomas.no!
June 28th 2005 - Concert updates
Saint Thomas will play at Martin's in Lillestrøm, Norway on July 14th, and will do a split-concert with Lasso (a band also featuring Petter Pogo) in Oslo, Norway on July 8th. After that there will be a few festival appearances at the end of July, a Norwegian tour in September and a European tour in the end of September and into October.
Also, Thomas did an interview on PetreMorgen on the radio station NRK P3 in Norway this morning, and will be appearing on the program HAL with Harald Are Lund on the same channel on Thursday around eight o'clock in the evening.
June 28th 2005 - Dagbladet netmeeting today
Today there will be a netmeeting with Thomas at the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet. Click here to read an article about it (in Norwegian), and submit your question(s) at the bottom. The netmeeting will start at 13:00 Norwegian time.
June 13th 2005 - New EP released today
After some time of lying low and being out of the spotlight, today sees the release of Saint Thomas' "Morning Dancer EP." The EP includes four songs recorded at Athletic Sounds in January this year, the title track "Morning Dancer," "The Play," "The Mexican Father" and "Book On Hold." The last three are exclusive for this EP, and will not be available anywhere else, while the title track will be featured on "Children Of The New Brigade," the fifth full-length album from Saint Thomas, available August 20th 2005.
The EP is released through Racing Junior, and is unfortunately released only in Norway, but it should be possible to order it from abroad through Norwegian music stores on the Internet. The EP is released in a limited edition of 700 copies.
Also, stthomas.no has been re-designed, and should include some interesting stuff in the future, including messages directly from Thomas, and the "Morning Dancer" video available for download hopefully some time soon.
And for those wondering, Thomas has announced that his artist name from now on will be Saint Thomas, in favour of the old St. Thomas. He has been addressed as Saint Thomas frequently in the international press, and to avoid any confusion he has decided to go with this new spelling.
February 28th 2005 - Concerts
St. Thomas played a concert at Joker'n in Hønefoss, Norway on February 16th.
The first festival appearance has been confirmed, at Haldern Pop Festival in Germany on August 5th or 6th. St. Thomas is one of six confirmed artists so far, two of the others are Nada Surf and Franz Ferdinand.
Before this, Thomas will spend almost the entire month of April in America, touring as support for Of Montreal throughout the country from East to West. Thomas might be playing the concerts solo, bring along Alex to play drums, or work a bit with Greg Peterson from New York, who he played with last time he visited America. Tour dates and further information will be posted as soon as it is available.
February 28th 2005 - Album update
Kai Andersen started mixing "Children Of The New Brigade" at Athletic Sounds in Halden on February 14th, and finished the work by Saturday the same week. Thomas and Petter quickly went by the studio on the Tuesday to check out the progress, and Petter added organ on "The Long Goodnights" and harp on "Book On Hold."
Mastering will start tomorrow, March 1st, and will be done by Audun Strype at Strype Audio. Kai Andersen, Thomas and Alex will be present. The finished mixes sound very good, so mastering is not expected to take a very long time, and after that the new St. Thomas album is finished.
February 14th 2005 - In The Studio With St. Thomas
January 17th to 21st, St. Thomas spent the days at Athletic Sounds in Halden, Norway, recording the follow-up album to last year's "Let's Grow Together." I got to spend the last three days in the studio with them, the original thought for the first two days were that they would be used mainly for getting the sound right and discussing how to do things, so it was probably not worth it for me to spend my time with them those two days. Of course they ended up recording the basic tracks for all thirteen songs in those two days, and the remaining three days were only used for vocals and overdubs, so I missed the most interesting stuff. Just my luck.
When I got to the studio on Wednesday, Espen was in the studio booth laying down guitar overdubs. Alex was listening and giving suggestions to producer Kai Andersen, and later added some guitar overdubs himself. In the afternoon Thomas started with his vocal duties, and managed to get through about half of the songs in an hour or two. Petter did not have much to do on this day, and spent his time showing me around the studio facilities, making dinner for everyone, and adding a one-finger keyboard rhytm to a song called "Like The Byrds."
After a long day where lots of small details had been put on tape, Kai asked Espen to do the guitar solo for "Children Of The New Brigade." Espen said he was pretty exhausted from all his work that day, and did not really feel like doing it, but eventually figured out that he sort of knew what he had to play and did not have to be creative to get it out. So he went into the studio booth, and as the rest of us sat there listening he cranked out the most beautiful thing any of us had ever heard, it was so perfect, and on top of all done in one take. It was so good that some more parts had to be added towards the end of the song, since Kai thought otherwise the listeners would miss the guitar too much after the solo, so Espen had to be creative after all.
When things were wrapped up for the day at six o'clock (Kai had a very strict routine of starting work at ten in the morning and going home at six in the afternoon every single day), the mood was great since it seemed like they might be able to finish everything by the next day, one day earlier than expected. The Friday would then be very relaxed, with time to be creative and have fun with guests in the studio.
So Kai went home and Alex went to his parents place, while the rest of us were left to spend the rest of the evening and night in the studio and the rooms upstairs. Lots of time was spent checking e-mails and watching television (Thomas made everyone watch "Skolen," and knew every storyline by heart). Towards midnight, the three of them decided to go down into the studio and practice vocal harmonies, sitting in a circle with acoustic guitars and coming up with some beautiful stuff. Afterwards, Petter turned the volume up a notch and fine-tuned his heavy metal guitar abilities an hour or two into the night, until it was time for everyone to go to bed.
Thursday I woke up to Thomas doing the rest of his vocals. It did not take many takes to get everything right, and it was a very smooth process, with his voice sounding better than ever. Some more guitar overdubs were done, one or two songs needed the main guitar track repaired since Thomas' guitar had been slightly out of tune upon the basic recordings earlier, Petter added some nice piano to "The Play," Alex added an acoustic guitar to "Like The Byrds" (which he has co-written), and the rest of the time was spent on vocal harmonies from Espen and Petter.
In the evening on Thursday, Thomas had agreed to be the host at Track & Field and Racing Junior's Winter Sprinter 6.5 festival in Oslo. Since the days in the studio had been pretty exhausting, he did not really want to spend all the time and effort going back and forth. He managed to get out of having to do something at the concerts, but still had to go to Oslo since he had promised to pick up the members of Herman Düne and drive them to Halden, as they were supposed to take part at the studio sessions. The other three at the studio decided not to take the two-hour trip to Oslo, so Thomas and I took the train, met lots of people at Mono and listened to The Projects, The Broken Family Band and Herman Düne do well in front of a packed venue.
The next morning Thomas and I met up at nine thirty outside of Racing Junior's offices, where Herman Düne were staying. It was very early, and of course the sort-of-important aspect of how to get in touch with the people inside the building had been forgotten about, we did not have keys and they did not have phones. So it ended up with rocks against windows. Of course I imagined a window breaking and lots of problems, but Thomas seemed to have good experience in picking stones that are small enough to not cause damage but big enough to catch attention, and soon enough a sleepy Herman Düne drummer Néman was greeting us at the door.
We had vegan breakfast that David-Ivar Herman Düne had bought at Kiwi, he found out that it was quite a bit cheaper there than at 7-Eleven. Thomas found an old ice-hockey Stiga game that he convinced me to play with him. I figured it was like riding a bike, that if you have done it as a kid you remember it once you get older. I lost 10-0 in the first match, it was very embarassing. Then we drew 1-1 in the next match, I managed a lucky fluke, and the match had to be cut short since we had to go and pick up the car we were borrowing.
It was an old American that had definitely seen better days, and that turned out to be just as easy to drive as walking on ice. After some delays we got Néman Herman Düne, David-Ivar Herman Düne and André Herman Düne and their equipment in the van, and Thomas drove us to Halden.
Not a lot of people know about Herman Düne, but for basically everyone at the studio, meeting them and spending time with them was just as big a deal as meeting Bob Dylan or playing with the Rolling Stones. So there was a lot of nervousness going around for the first hour or two of the last day in Halden. The Herman Dünes, usually the coolest people in the world, also seemed pretty nervous about being in such a professional studio, and struggled a little bit in the beginning until they and Kai found out which way of doing things worked best for everyone.
David-Ivar did vocal harmonies on "The Play," and then some guitar and vocals on "Sheer Wonder," which is actually a song written by him and performed by Herman Düne, and which St. Thomas is covering. André also added some vocal harmonies to the song, and then the two of them brough their guitars into the studio booth to improvise some guitar parts at the end of a song called "Instrumental Sound," which is very moody and runs along quietly until it explodes at the end. To make things interesting, they were asked to play along - and be recorded - the very first time they ever heard the song. I stood inside the studio booth filming them, and could only hear their guitar parts since I did not have headphones, and the experience was quite possibly the highlight of my life so far.
They did two takes, and everyone were extremely satisfied with the results, but they wanted to do a third take since one of the guitars were slightly out of tune during some parts. So they did the third one, and it sounded just as perfect as the first two, so Kai will have quite a headache trying to figure out which version to use during the mixing of that song...
Earlier in the morning Alex had added percussion to most of the songs, and due to a bit of bad planning it left Herman Düne drummer Néman with not very much to do during the day, unfortunately. But upon doing a raw mix while burning CD's for everyone to bring home and listen to, it was discovered that 'something' was missing on "The Play," so Néman walked into the studio booth and added some tambourine, and the song all of a sudden came together, with just that little added detail.
The very last thing that was done in the studio was for everyone to gather around one microphone and add a "ooh, ooh" chorus to the end of "Like The Byrds." Earlier, no one really knew how the song should end, and a fade-out was considered, but one of the days in the studio someone, I think it was Espen or Petter, started singing the part from the Rolling Stones "Sympathy For The Devil," and it just sounded perfect. Especially since the song is about liking bands like the Byrds and Rolling Stones. So everyone gathered around the microphone, the song was played through once and everyone thought the first time was just to test things out, but Kai was so satisfied with the results that he did not even want to try it a second time.
So things were wrapped up, equipment was carried out, raw mixes were done and burnt on CD, goodbyes were made and it was time for all of us except Kai and Alex to drive with the Herman Dünes to Sandefjord airport. On the way, tiny bits op embarassment occured when Thomas played through his iPod 25 Most Played list and it turned out to be about twenty-two Herman Düne songs. And on the ferry the thoughtless Norwegians (me included) decided to eat sausages in front of the vegetarian (and vegan) French guests, which was probably not a very nice thing to do. Thomas even felt bad about offering them some chips, since he realized afterwards that it was shaped like bears. But our nice favorite band did not seem to mind.
After dropping them off at Sandefjord airport, the drive back to Oslo was spent listening to the raw mixes several times on the stereo, enjoying the results, and already arguing about which ones amongst the great songs would have to be dropped to not make the album too long.
The songs that were recorded at the sessions:
"Book On Hold"
"Children Of The New Brigade"
"Cowboy On Holiday"
"Like The Byrds"
"Of Course You Were There"
"The Mexican Father"
The sessions featured Thomas Hansen on guitar and vocals, Espen Mellingen on guitar and vocals, Petter Pogo on bass, vocals and piano and Alexander Lindbäk on drums, guitar vocals and percussion, with guest musicians David-Ivar Herman Düne on guitar and vocals, André Herman Düne on guitar and vocals and Néman Herman Düne on percussion and vocals. Kai Andersen was the producer.
Two additional songs, "LA Man" and "Last Word" were recorded at the same studio Spring 2004 at a test sessions, featuring the same personnel and producer, and the original recordings of these will be used for the album. "The Mexican Father" was also recorded then, but re-recorded at the latest session.
The album's current working title is "Children Of The New Brigade" and will most likely contain ten songs and be released on August 29th 2005, with an EP featuring one album track (which one is still to be decided) and three exclusive tracks will be released before the Summer. Mixing starts today, February 14th, and is being done by Kai Andersen. It will be mastered at Strype Audio starting March 1st.
Athletic Sounds, Halden, January 21st 2005: Alexander Lindbäk, André Herman Düne, Thomas Hansen, Néman Herman Düne, Kai Andersen, David-Ivar Herman Düne, Petter Pogo and Espen Mellingen.
December 12th 2004 - Media section additions
Everyone should make sure to check out the Audio + Video section every now and then, as we will be trying to add new content as often as possible. Currently there is a video of Thomas performing the Herman Düne song "My Friends Killed My Folks" with André Herman Düne some days ago in Berlin, and Petter Pogo performing the Jokke & Valentinerne song "Trall" backstage in Hannover during the St. Thomas tour.
November 8th 2004 - New media section
I am proud to announce that, finally, this page has a Audio + Video section available. This section will serve as an exclusive source for St. Thomas material online, starting off with a recent live recording of the brand-new song "The Play," which is available in both video and audio format, both recorded at Café Glocksee in Hannover, Germany on October 23rd 2004.
I hope everyone enjoys this, feel free to leave feedback in the guestbook or send a mail in case anything is not working as it should. For the video, please notice that you need to have Windows Media Player 9 installed for it to work properly (otherwise it will only play the audio).
November 1st 2004 - On The Road With St. Thomas, Part II
There was not supposed to be a second part of me travelling with St. Thomas on the current European tour, but I ended up taking the bus for ten hours to get to Frankfurt on October 20th to meet up with the band there and go with them for the next few days, to Kassel, Cologne and Hannover.
The initial impression of the venue in Frankfurt, Dreikönigskeller, was that it was a pretty cool small club, but things soon turned grim. The get-in food for the very hungry band (and their hungry friend) never turned up. The three-star hotel that the band expected turned out to be matresses on the floor in a dirty room right above the club. On top of that, the local promoter chose to end communication with the band by turning off his phone after the first complaint from Thomas' dad, tour manager Terje.
The venue had not received specifications for what sound equipment the band needs from the promoter, and the stuff available at the venue was far from high-class. The bass cable kept going out, though it had apparently worked the night before, and the only replacement cable was too short to reach to where Petter would be standing. The sound mixer only had five channels, which is one more than Thomas has when he makes his lo-fi demoes. In the end it somehow worked out alright, though Alex did not have a monitor on stage, so he would hear very little of himself or the others during the concert. The soundcheck was frustrating, but they used it to rehearse the new song "Midnight Dancer," which they ended up performing for the first time ever during the encore later in the night.
With the promoter out of touch, we got dinner money from the people at the venue and the sound engineer showed us a nice Indian restaurant where we had a nice and expensice meal. It could have turned ugly when Terje muttered a joke on India's behalf, but luckily Thomas was the only one who was paranoid that the other guests at the restaurant spent their time listening in on our conversations. No one beat us up, so either they did not hear the joke, or they simply did not find it very offensive. Afterwards we went back to the room above the venue to prepare for the concert, time was spent listening to the new Herman Düne album on Thomas' mini-Ipod and playing Herman Düne cover songs on Petter's extremely cool mini-guitar.
No one really expected that many people to show up, but in the end the place was totally packed, with about seventy people in the audience. Watching Thomas struggle trying to get through the people and up on stage must have been worth the ticket price for most. The sound was far from perfect, but the band performed well, and the people seemed to love what they got. The newest songs "Book On Hold" and "The Play" had definitely gotten better since I saw the band last a week earlier, and the band in general were very tight. For "Sunny Day," they invited a member of the audience up on stage to sing with them.
After the concert, the mood was great, and everyone were happy with the concert except for Thomas' father, who had been standing with the merchandise in the far end of the venue where the sound was the worst and where he could hardly see anything. His mood did not get much better when afterwards he and Petter had to deal with the money issues with the promoter. Or actually, instead of showing up himself, the promoter sent a running-boy as a stand-in, and the three argued long and well until Petter offered that the band would forget about everything that was wrong if they just got twenty euro for the get-in food that was missing. This, apparently, was too much to ask for.
The night in Frankfurt was incredibly bad, I slept on a couch that was way too small, and we all woke up early and chose to go out and eat breakfast as quickly as possible instead of having to spend any more time there. Apparently there were showers upstairs, but since no one had bothered to give us towels they were not of much use. The toilets we were left with were the club toilets, and I did the very smart move of walking there in my socks, stepping in something wet on the way, only to later hear the story from Petter of how he had gotten up during the night to pee, but had been unable to find the light-switch and had basically crawled to the toilet stall and there only had to hope that he hit the right spot. He went back later and found out that he had missed, but I could have told him that already...
We got to Cologne early, since staying in Frankfurt was not something anyone felt like. In Cologne we opted to go to the hotel before going to the venue, since they were pretty far away from eachother (due to other events in the city leading to many full-booked hotels closer to the venue) and since we had more than enough time. The three-star hotel we expected ended up being a hostel for backpackers, with four beds in one room. We were five people, so, yes indeed, I would be sleeping on the floor. A very dirty floor. But the place was a disappointment for everyone, especially Petter, who had spent the car trip from Frankfurt dreaming of a single room and some long-awaited time by himself. His mood went crashing through the floor.
We drove to the venue, Gebäude 9, where Thomas quickly realized that he had actually played there once before, a year ago. It was a huge place that could fit around five hundred people, with a big stage, and we were presented with great get-in food and a nice and helpful guy to take care of us. Very nice. The soundcheck was done away with quick and painless, and we all ate too much backstage, so when it was time to go and eat actual dinner none of us could actually finish our meals. Thomas is always very ashamed when we can not finish food at restaurants, so he promised to come back next year, and said he would finish his meal then.
Before the concert the band were interviewed by the German music magazine Intro and a student radio station, two interesting interviews featuring the entire band. I was sitting in on the interviews, and the one with Intro was filmed since they were hoping to put clips up on their website. When Thomas was asked which book he would never ever read, he hesitated and said he always wants to give new things a try, but then he remembered the time they visited me and looked in my bookshelf and found the David Beckham book "My Side," which is the one book Thomas would never ever read. As Thomas told the story, the interviewer's camera panned over to me, sitting red-faced in the corner. I definitely hope that does not get put online. And I dare say that except for that one book, which in all honesty is not that horrible, my book collection is pretty good. Thomas just got a very bad impression of it.
After that humiliation (which, again, I hope never gets put online) it was time for the concert. Though only around fifty people showed up, the band once again gave one hundred percent, got clapped back for two encores, and left the stage knowing that, sure, there were not very many people here this time, but next time they will all come back and bring a friend or two. After the concert we hung around at the venue for an hour or two, drinking with the guy from St. THomas' German label Trocadero Records and Robert Reiser, having a nice time.
Back at the hostel, Alex and Terje went to bed early. Sleeping bag on dirty floor was not something I looked forward to, so I spent the night in the hostel lobby with Petter and Alex, who drank and discussed with a couple of American backpackers.
Surprisingly, the night on the floor in Cologne was not very bad. I slept so well that I did not even wake up when in the middle of the night Thomas and Alex started fighting about snoring. Thoughts of conspiracy and ill thoughts towards the lead singer were muttered by the lead singer, but Petter, Terje and I left the two lovebirds in the hostel reception for an hour while we walked around to find a bank and take a look at the Dome, which was right near where we stayed. When we got back, things had cleared up between Thomas and Alex, and a few group hugs later everything was back to normal.
This aspect of the current St. Thomas line-up is what satisfies me the most, except for the fact that they play better than ever, of course. For the first time there can be a fight while on tour and it does not lead to an angry band mistreating their audience, or to the group disbanding and going home early. The audience, who choose to spend money and time to see the artist, have usually been the ones to suffer when things have gone wrong in the St. Thomas camp in the past, but this time around the band have managed to put problems behind and be supportive of eachother, rewarding their audience with a long string of successful concerts.
The trip to Kassel went fine, but it took a bit longer then we expected. I was upgraded to map reader, though the last time I did that the map was ripped out of my hands and thrown away. Getting us to Kassel was an easier task than last time around, though, when the map reader can be asleep half the time it just has to be.
We got to Barracuda Bar half an hour later than we were supposed to, but there things were far from in order. The stage had not been prepared, and the person responsible for the sound was not there. But they had prepared great get-in food, and we quickly realized that the place had to be some kind of community-run place where everyone volunteers, so instead of getting upset that things took time everyone showed good faith and waited with patience. After the concert, Thomas and Petter ended up partying with the promoter and stand-in soundguy (since the one who was supposed to do the sound never showed up). and everyone involved with the concert were nice and helpful people, even serving us one home-made pizza each for dinner, so there was no reason to complain.
We thought there would be very few people there, but lots of people had driven in from Göttingen, where Thomas did a great show last year, and the place was packed when the band got on stage. The sound system they played on was very bad, but with an enthusiastic band and an enthusiastic audience, fronted by a teacher who danced the whole concert through (true story), I personally thought it was the best concert so far of the ones I had gotten to see on the tour. Thomas wanted to crown a successful evening with the sing-along favorite "A Nice Bottle Of Wine," but played it in the wrong tempo, which the rest of the band, and Thomas himself, had problems dealing with, so it ended up pretty unspectacular. The very new song "Morning Dancer" was played once again, introduced as a rehearsal, which it truly was, but it started showing great signs of things to come.
After the concert Alex was tired and left early, while the rest stayed at the venue and talked to the dancing teacher and the people responsible for the concert. Lots of people hung around for a long time, but unfortunately all the enthusiastic fans from Göttingen had to leave early to catch a bus or a train. Next time around the booking agency should keep Göttingen in mind.
Later, the night life in Kassel was explored, and Thomas and Petter stayed out the longest, as usual. Unfortunately I was responsible for locking them in at night, since there were not keys for everyone. I had gotten a very comfortable sleeping location on a wooden floor, and Petter called around five in the night saying they were lost, Thomas was asleep on the sidewalk, and they had to get a taxi to get back to the hotel but did not know the name of the place. Half an hour later, when I had finally managed to fall asleep, they arrived, and I threw the key out the window. I fell asleep instantly, only to later hear the story of how they had tried to get inside for about half an hour, trying the keys over and over again, with Thomas considering smashing the door to get inside, only to realize they had been trying to get into the neighbour's house...
Due to my great sleeping allocation, I suppose it is needless to say that I got up very early, eating breakfast at the train station in Kassel at seven in the morning. The others got up at around eleven, which is when we had to be out of the hotel, and we walked around the city looking for food for the hungry musicians. They ended up eating hamburger for breakfast for the first time on the tour, and then salmon that tasted like plastic. On the way back to get the car, Thomas and Petter bought a chess-set. Or rather, one piece each from two different sets. The people in the store seemed pretty confused at the sight of two dirty musicians who had not showered or slept properly for days, illustrated by Petter carrying around food samples from every stop on the tour on his pants and jacket.
When we arrived at Café Glocksee in Hannover, we thought the concert was taking place at some kind of hippie community. It turned out that the concert venue was in the location in the back, a rather big but intimate venue with great sound system. Nice get-in food once again, but we had just eaten fast-food for breakfast in Kassel, and were not very hungry.
Some might wonder what the fascination with get-in food is all about. Well, a touring band usually only have three meals per day. When they are at the venue, they get dinner or buy-out money so that they can go and buy dinner themselves somewhere else. In the morning they get breakfast at the hotel or buy-out money to get their own breakfast, but when playing concerts late in the evening and spending time in the early night partying or getting down to earth from the concert experience, they hardly ever manage to get up early enough to eat this meal. So after a long day driving on the tour bus they are usually very hungry when they arrive at the venue, and the get-in food is bread and associated members of the food family that should be available at the venue when they get there. The get-in food can make or break an evening for a band, so a good suggestion for organizers is to always prepare good food for the band when they arrive. They usually need it and they always appreciate it.
The soundcheck was done with pretty easily, and we were left with a lot of hours to spend simply sitting around and waiting, since there was not much happening in Hannover. though Petter got to use the free time to meet up with an old friend. We stayed at an apartment close to the venue, again not the hotel standard expected, but it was a cool place. We went there after the soundcheck and met Frank who owned the apartment. He turned out to be a fabulous guy, and since he saw both Pixies and Nirvana in the early Nineties he has my eternal respect. He showed us the advertisment for the concert that had been printed up, and throughout the evening everyone kept making references to the description of St. Thomas usually being as drunk as a Finnish bus driver. Especially when, later in the evening, Thomas got drunk as a Finnish bus driver. But that is a totally different story, one I can earn money on by selling to the tabloids at a later time, so it will not be told here.
When it was time for the concert, the soundman was not there yet, and though the band was prepared to go on stage, the organizer wanted them to wait another half an hour for more people to arrive. Another tip for future organizers is to always let the band know what the plans are like, so they are prepared and know when to get the momentum going and be ready to give their one hundred percent on stage.
When they got on stage there were about one hundred people in the audience, which is nice for a city St. Thomas has never played in before. A lot more people arrived towards the end since there would be a 'guitar party' at the venue after the concert. The concert was once again very good, but lacked the magic touch of great communication with the audience to make it perfect. For the first time on the tour, Thomas abused his audience, since he had brought along a huge pear from backstage which looked like genitalia, and which he wanted to give to his audience. His throw ended up in a stage light right above him, and the bouncing pear hit a guy in the front row, who luckily took it with as good humour as everyone else in the venue. Later on, Alex ate grapes between songs, only to get one stuck on the way down, and ending up coughing and gasping for breath. Everyone laughed, except for Thomas, who was talking about "Strangers Out Of Blue" and thought people were laughing at what he said.
During the first encore, a string on the guitar broke, so for the start of the second encore Alex and Petter stayed backstage to re-string it, while Thomas came onstage with Petter's miniature electric guitar and played a short version of "The German Road" for the second time ever, since it was the last concert in Germany for now.
After the concert everyone were happy but tired, and just wanted to go to sleep. Unfortunately that never happened. There is always one more beer to finish, one more cigarette to go. And when Thomas dragged his amp backstage and connected his mini-Ipod to it to play the upcoming Herman Düne album, we all knew it would be a long night. Interestingly enough, Thomas thought the music sounded so good played through the amp that he wanted to sell his stereo when he got home.
It was a long night, Petter, Terje and Alex were smart enough to go to bed halfway through, while the other two of us woke up at half past nine after three hours or sleep. Yes, the interesting lives of touring musicians include getting up at half past nine in the morning. The band had a long trip to Brüssels in belgium, and I had a bus to catch to go home to Berlin. Back at the venue to load in the equipment before leaving, Thomas was saddened that I had opted to walk to the station instead of letting them drive me there. I was flattened by his offer, until I realized it was only a mean attempt at trying to make me fall asleep in the tour bus and wake up in Brüssels.
So they continued their tour without me, while I had breakfast at Burger King. I should have fallen asleep on the tour bus instead.