In a couple years, it will be 30 years that I have been on the road. Times have changed; Metal has evolved, but the fans are still the same...ravenous!!
Europe has changed dramatically! Open borders, the Euro, even the English language has seeped into every day life! Now, we have cell phones instead of pay phones on the side of the road, that you never had the right coins for! No more stopping at every border, getting out in the freezing cold and proving you are you! Dogs that once sniffed drugs, now sniff for explosives. And the wall...that damn Berlin Wall, sold now in gift shops instead of having murdered bodies draped over it, and armed military patrolling it. I have seen many changes in the world, that's a definite fact.
Eastern Europe was always special to me. Mom was from Yugoslavia and much of my childhood was spent listening to her stories about the war and growing up in Europe. I was fascinated by it. When I got the chance to take Sacred Reich to Eastern Europe, I jumped at the opportunity. I had a new band that I had discovered from a demo tape called Chemical Dependency...Atrophy, from Tucson, Arizona. I landed them a deal with Roadrunner Records. They were quite new and couldn't land a tour, so I asked them to tech for Sacred Reich on an extensive run I had in Europe. They could tech and earn the cost of the airfare and travel, and perform at the same time.
Entering Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Yugoslavia for the first time was thrilling! I felt like I was finally coming full circle with some of my ancestors. The front of house engineer, Nino Notaro, was often as adventurous as me. We spent our first "sausage and beer on the side of the road in Czechoslovakia together!" Everything was different. All the buildings were painted in Socialist Grey...no color anywhere!!
The shows were packed and the fans went crazy! In many of the cities, we were the first American Metal bands to hit their moshpits. Basically, there were 2 kinds of Metal back then-Hair Metal and Thrash. Metalheads were all of the same family. Black band shirts were the only apparel, coupled with patched up jean vests, which only recently hits the US Metalwear scene. Let's not forget the black leather biker coats and Dr Martens! Max says Christina and I are the first girls he ever saw wear Dr Martens!
30 years later and I know my way around most cities. I have a network of true friends I get to see when I am working. Our bus breezes through borders and countries with ease. When I need to contact someone, I just pick up my cell phone and talk. Gone are the headaches of monthly $6000 phone bills! Facebook and emailing allows me to contact my friends far in advance, to warn them I am on my way! My family can FaceTime me, keeping us all close. Heck, we didn't even have video recorders or even pagers, in the good old '80's! Cameras were a luxury, and developing film costly. Half of your photos could be crap and you still had to pay to develop them!
Even the dance in the pit has changed through the years. Headbanging gave way to stage diving, gave way to kung fu fighting, circle pits and walls of death! But the Tribe still picks you up when you fall, hurls themselves over the barricade and try their damn-ness to get a pick!! And the photos!!!! I must have taken a million photos of Max with fans!! Some things never change..they just evolve!!