Being on the road can truly test a band. Beyond smelling each other’s farts in a van all day, you also getting to know each other’s strengths, weaknesses and breaking points.
About to embark on our fifth European tour, and having done countless Australian tours and two Russian Federation tours in the past decade, what better time to share our top ten most disastrous moments from the road.
1. PUNCH-ON IN THE STREETS OF BUCHAREST
After a full house headline show in Bucharest, Romania, the vibes were on a high for the band. So much so, that at about three in the morning bassist Tibi and singer John Rousvanis got into a heated discussion about ‘what it means to be an artist’. The two got so impassioned in the argument that punches started flying in the air in the middle of a lonely Bucharest street. Luckily, our percussionist Jeff was there and managed to break it up. The two were separated for the night and made up in the hotel lobby room, hugged it out and went on their merry way on the rest of the tour.
2. THE PASSPORT STEALING POLTERGEIST
The night before before keyboardist Danny was supposed to fly out to Athens, Greece to record the second album, a ghost had stolen his passport. No shit, some poltergeist from another dimension took his passport in the middle of the night and never returned it, meaning he couldn’t board his flight the next day. It was then a major and expensive ordeal to get a quick turnaround passport so that Danny could get to Athens for the recording sessions, otherwise the regular three-week turnaround meant he would have entirely missed the entire recording session. He arrived 5 days into the sessions… but better late than never.
3. LOST BASS PLAYER IN BULGARIA
On the eve of our first ever European tour, we hit Bulgaria’s capital’s nightlife in the city of Sofia and ended up in a rock club that played Metallica and System of a Down. Many head bangs and drinks later, we noticed that our bassist was nowhere to be found. Come sunrise and Tibi was allegedly found atop a medieval tower in the centre’s capital and had to climb down an outdoor ladder to escape, as the building was locked and the band needed to get to load-in. How he get there… nobody knows.
4. LOST SOUND ENGINEER IN BUDAPEST
On our 2017 European tour supporting Leprous, we hit the down town after-show. Our bar hopping crew then took a local tram a few stops to get to the next night district… except everyone forgot to remind the sound guy to get off at the next stop while he was passed out on the tram. Several shots and twenty minutes later, someone in the group remembered ‘hey, where’s our sound guy?’, remembering we had left him on the tram. Problem was — the sound guy didn’t have smart phone as he still carried a Nokia 3210 and none of the touring party had international phone credit, only data. The sound guy was not a local. He ended up waking up at about dawn at the end of a tram line as an angry tram conductor was trying to get him off the vehicle. Completely lost on the other side of town, without phone credit, his bank card or currency, he somehow managed to hitch a ride to the next city of the tour (Prague) with a middle-aged, long-haired man who called himself Jay Dollar and alleged to be the leader of a cult giving him a book called ‘The Urantia Book’ for further spiritual guidance. Luckily, our sound guy made it to the Prague soundcheck in time for AlithiA’s set and perhaps some sort of sense of enlightenment from his journey.
5. VENUE FLOODS MOMENTS BEFORE GOING ON STAGE
It was our first ever show on the Gold Coast and seemed like a promising night with a great crowd, band and fantastic weather all day. There was a good party buzz in the room and anticipation from the crowd to see us. Then, when our changeover started, chaos struck as audience members were running around the room everywhere, freaking out. Water was gushing out of the bathrooms and started filling the main room, breaching the stage and wire area. The band was then told by management that was it, its game over, get your stuff off stage and leave, the venue has to close. No show!
6. LOCKED OUT OF VENUE ON SHOW DAY
It was our first ever Australian tour and first ever show in Brisbane. Excited to be flying to another city for the first time, we enthusiastically made our way to the venue for load-in and noticed the lights were off and there was a lock and chain on the front door, with a sign saying ‘CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE’. No notice was given to us in advance about the venue, and no staff were contactable, leaving us stranded on the street scratching our heads and musical instruments on the side of the road.
7. BANNED FROM KARAOKE
On a 17-hour ferry ride from Finland to Sweden, the non-vocalist members of our band and touring party booked 6 consecutive Karaoke slots, which included dramatic performances of ‘These Heaux’ by Bhad Bhabie, ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ by Britney Spears, some Russian nationalist song that nobody knew the words to and some ABBA classics. The locals were far from impressed and official complaints were lodged. Karaoke was then shut down on the ship for the next 3 hours and we were forbidden from making any further requests.
8. HOMEMADE OUZO, GRAPPA AND BROKEN BONES
On the eve of our first visit to Russia, we first concluded a mainland Europe tour in Budapest playing with Sleepmakeswaves. We had to fly from Budapest to Moscow at 6am after the show and had a load of homemade Ouzo, Rakia and Grappa in old plastic bottles that were provided to us by promoters in the Balkans and Eastern Europe. For ethical and environmental reasons we didn’t want any of the fluids to go to waste as there wasn’t enough room in the luggage to take it on the flight to Russia, so we decided to share as much as possible with Sleepmakeswaves and try and polish it all off. A fair effort was made by both bands, however at 3am load out, percussionist Jeff decided to load out an entire flight of stairs in one mighty leap whilst also carrying his Timbales. Poor Jeff collapsed all the way down the stairs and managed to break a few bones and an ankle. Luckily for him, he didn’t feel much of it in the moment thanks to the Ouzo until he woke up on the plane in Moscow airport the next morning in minus 3 degree weather.
9. ALITHIA ROADIE GETS LOST AND HELD AT GUN POINT
On our first European tour, we were preparing to meet our touring buddies Grand Mexican Warlock in Budapest to start the second leg of the tour. We travelled on an old school communist-era trolley bus to get to the meeting point. When it came to getting off the trolley bus, the roadie was somehow daydreaming and simply didn’t get off and instead disappeared into the sunset. Without a mobile phone, we were unable to reach him and some of us went to the last stop to try to find him but never did. The roadie attempted to get back to the meeting place by getting into a taxi. Problem was, the taxi driver drove him to a small alleyway and pulled a gun to his head and demanded his money. The roadie gave him seven hundred euros which he had in his pocket (we know, who the fuck carries that kind of cash in their pocket?), the driver took the money, pushed him out of the car and he rolled out onto the street. Traumatised from the ordeal, the roadie then decided to go to a pub and get blind drunk. He then somehow turns up to the band’s next show in Bratislava… no one knows how he actually made it there, other than ‘some American guy helped’ him. This roadie no longer travels with the band.
10. PUNCH-ON, ATHENS AIRPORT
We had just completed recording the new album The Moon has Fallen in Athens, Greece. We had literally left the studio at midnight, gone back to the accomodation to collect luggage and then straight to the airport for the early morning flight to start the tour in Bulgaria. Problem was, bassist Tibi missed his call time as he was missing in action, allegedly enjoying the local Ouzo one last time. This triggered a near missing of a flight and some very anxious and nervous band members erupting into an all-out brawl at the airport, which was partly being covered by percussionist Jeff and producer Daniel Sandor so that security couldn’t see the ordeal and prevent us from boarding the flight. This one was nasty and the band was probably broken up for about an hour or so here. The next day, we hugged it out in Bulgaria and proceeded with the tour in one piece.
AlithiA have just unleashed a 10-minute psych-prog opus dubbed ‘The Sun’ (listen above), ahead of the release of their new album ‘The Moon Has Fallen’ this Friday, 26th October. Pre-order it here.