Guest Columns



Woods of Ypres - Shane Madden[Blackened doom metallers Woods of Ypres are currently touring North America on the so-called “Pain & Piss Tour.” Bassist Shane Madden will be taking us along with him on his journey of pain and piss, to be delivered in four parts throughout the tour. Read Part I and Part II from weeks past. Part III follows.]

Part III: “It sucked and it sucks still.”

Fenriz so succinctly summed up a few things with the above words in the documentary Until The Light Takes Us. While applicable to any situation of a sucking nature, and serving as a recurring quote being thrown around in the Woods camp this tour, the negative vibes drowning this blog need to be turned down right now. It’s of the utmost importance to keep it “posi” on tour for mental health if nothing else.

Besides, who from the east can really complain about being out west? Alberta, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California. The tour rolls on generally unhindered. A crucial show was cancelled but I went into the topic of failed promoters in the last entry of this blog and I really despise rehashed anything. We’ve blown through of almost all the merch we expected to carry for the entire five weeks, requiring us to pick up a shipment here on the coast. It’s a good problem to have. Get it while it lasts, kiddies.

The highlights don’t require a proper sense of location or setting. I refuse to believe that anyone who isn’t in the band or didn’t come to one of the shows would actually care about the mundane details of our carrying gear and restringing instruments and spilling funny drinks. Therefore I will not write about any of those things. It’s gotten weird out here and those tiny aspects of the journey consistently bleed through as I try to explain what exactly it is that we’re doing. Sitting here in silence on an eight-hour ride to L.A., I’ve tried to think of the highlights from some of the shows of the past week as something akin to lackluster, generic music (We don’t actually listen to music ever, but if we did I bet it would be quietly). Take the following jumbled, insightful recollections and judge their truthfulness and lack of value for yourself on a scale of negative one to zero.

This one would definitely be bro-slam, no question:
In the alley behind the venue a raging, crazed woman was attempting to rip the license plate off the van, leaving it bent almost in half. She then proceeded to throw a wooden set of stairs used for stage access against the door and began fighting with the venue staff, all while publicly drinking and demanding money. That’s talent. Later an extended altercation ensued over god-knows-what besides some individual’s poor behavior and a lack of decent manners. “You are violent because you are American,” he said. Like bro-slam, there was no blood, only dumb outfits.

This might be generic, snoring black metal:
There was a sports bar and NHL playoffs and families and normal, social types pounding light beer. It was ultra-grim. The metal folks were quarantined in a back room with the gear. We were denied a table on the basis of poor looks but a saucy waitress eventually came through to sling some greasy burgers in our direction. It needs to be noted that the treatment and hospitality from the promoters there was really, honestly stellar despite the environment. Minor satisfaction was taken from the expressions on some folks faces and ensuing mass exodus when the first band opened with something involving blast beats and hairbanging. It ended up being a late night.

This would be filthy, poorly-tracked stoner sludge:
Betting the five horse every race doesn’t pay off but it came down to a photo-finish once. Even the clerks taking your bets start to seem annoyed that you keep losing and wandering up with a fresh draft in a plastic cup every race. Calling your bets improperly doesn’t help either. I don’t think there was a show that day. There was sushi and laundry in that order, however. Thrilling.

This is the most obnoxious falsetto power metal out there:
The owner had us put down the gear and go immediately to the bar after an especially sexy set. Extremely pleased with the turnout, there were refreshing adult beverages on the house. Glamour, baby. The night was busy with multiple pre-show interviews and other “promotional” efforts. Bottles were thrown in alleys and off balconies in a vain attempt at indifference.

This would be straight-edge tough-guy hardcore:
We played at a basement space that seemed serious about a no-booze policy which was surprisingly refreshing for a night of detox. There were no lights or stage and I’m fairly certain we played entirely too loud somewhere in the dark. Everyone had to keep going out to the street to relieve themselves in streets and alleyways because there was no bathroom access. Everything smelled, well, unique.

I promised not to write about insignificant nonsense like drinks but that’s part of the reality of this strange trip. We occasional try to enjoy ourselves while we’re doing this on the nights that we can shelve our misery and disdain. It’s not always a party and even if every show isn’t amazing you have to be in it for insanity or love. Bad moods crash vans… or something like that. We don’t go hard on the booze every night and we don’t even keep a supply most of the time. We’re certainly a far cry from a wild, excessive band. If the next day involves a monster drive we often knock out part of it late-night after the show. It’s all about business.

There’s a certain measure of sensory overload each night between our own set and all the other bands on each show. Loud sounds, bright lights, different faces. It leaves you with only so much to gather together, retrospectively and introspectively, as the collective experience known as touring. The memories are often fragments at best. There’s slight cases of tour senility, mixing up stops on the road from previous tours with new, undiscovered places. We drown our misery in our music and try to move on from all of the things that sucked and suck still.

– Shane / Woods of Ypres

Woods of Ypres Pain & Piss Tour

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