JUMPING DARKNESS PARADE: KEN SUSI AND THE CASE OF THE BROKEN POLISH MONITOR
Shady times in Poland. We were a little bummed to begin with. Warsaw was coming up and we found out that Behemoth was playing in the same town as us. In their homeland. Ouch. When you get news like that your first feelings are, “Why bother with our show? Why not go hang out at their show?” That’s never a good idea. I remember when we were on the Dark Funeral/Naglfar tour in 2007 and we hit Phoenix, Arizona the same day as Behemoth and Job For a Cowboy. It seemed like a serious bummer, but somehow there were still around 200 kids at our show, which was on par for that tour. Same thing happened on this tour. There were like 400-500 kids at our show. I heard there were 2,500 people at the Behemoth show, but still, 400-500 kids made for good times.
The crowd was enthusiastic and other than the intense heat onstage, I thought it was great times. The promoter was super cool. The food spread he gave us was fit for an army. So many different kinds of everything. Meats, cheeses, breads, drinks, cereals, candies, fruits, yogurts, spreads, etc., etc., etc. His dinner was amazingly catered as well. So many different choices of pastas, meats, salads. The backstage area was huge. We were treated great.
Until the end of the night, that is.
Here’s my theory on what was behind what went down. The club had a broken monitor and took the first excuse they could to shake down a foreign band through physical intimidation. Sounds juicy? Well, it was kinda scary. I remember hanging out on the bus practicing guitar, and then I went inside the venue for load-out, and I noticed that there was an argument going down between Ken Susi of Unearth and some club employees. There were representatives of every band there, and the club’s entire security staff was there, so it seemed pretty serious. I left and kept on loading but would poke my head inside here and there to see what was going on.
What happened was that a monitor either fell off-stage or was kicked off-stage. The club said that because of the fall it was broken, but Ken proved to them that this was not the case. The reason the monitor was broken was because one of the coils connected to the speaker had melted. That doesn’t happen from intense trauma. That happens from driving it too hard with audio signal. So there’s no way, whether Ken kicked the monitor off-stage or if it just fell off-stage, that hitting the ground was the cause of it not working anymore.
Ken went through a lot to prove this to them. He took the speaker apart, he explained it all to them… nothing was sinking in, and things were getting more and more heated. As the argument continued, more and more dudes kept on showing up that looked ready to fight us. I, once again, resumed loading. It was a pretty small loading party that night because most people were watching the argument. At one point the tour manager took all Unearth and Chimaira employees inside. So us in DAATH were stuck outside with all the gear, unsure of what to do with it. That’s when a car sped up and blocked off our bus, and people in front of the bus started spitting on it. We decided that we would just load the trailer for everyone, and if they had an issue with how we packed it that they could cry about it on the ride out of town.
Well as this was happening, the situation inside kept on escalating as the club employee had gone from talking to Ken about the speaker to insulting Ken. At that point it was clear that they had to get out of the club. This was a fight that we as a tour wouldn’t have won. There were too many reinforcements coming in.
So check out how it was solved. After all the back and forth for over an hour, after all the insults, after all the physical reinforcements, Unearth and Chimaira split 100 Euros, the promoter paid 100 Euros, Unearth gave up three T-shirts, and somebody gave them a bottle of Jager. These guys were looking to either fight some foreigners, or get some money towards a new monitor system because their shot ass system was out of gas. Well, they got some out of us. Better to bribe them than get beaten by gangs of Polish skinheads.
Again, the promoter was great, and the audience was fantastic. We look forward to playing Poland again under more professional circumstances. Otherwise it’ll end up here for everyone to read about. Cheers!