Friday, October 26, 2018


The last show is always a flurry of activity. The concert, precise packing and arranging where to put the souvenirs, dirty laundry and the tree trunk I carried for 30 years, all takes time. Tree trunk is the mound of paperwork that grows rings as the tours pass through my fingers. In the digital age, you would think this would get smaller but it stays consistent and very heavy! To get my carry on in the plane with me, I need to remove half the papers, cram them in my large purse and put them back after the person checking us in for our flight has weighed my carry on. I cant lose that work by putting it under the plane!

We took the bullet train to St Petersburg. In some circumstances we take the overnight train, but today it was the bullet. New, comfortable and fast, it zooms through Russia like a knife through cake, passing the villages and birch forests like a blur. Time for some cafe latte and a steamy bowl of borscht and you are there. St Petersburg was built on a swamp. You would never know it now because the massive buildings, palaces and churches sit so stately.

The show was overstuffed, with a wild crowd ricocheting at the stage's feet. I knew it would be a tornado, having done shows in St Petersburg since 1992. It's always a mob scene. In the early days, the dressing room was full of KGB officers in their well worn blazers, but not any more! Sipping their coffee always with a sideways gaze lol!

We flew into Belarus for the final gig on the tour. Even Belarus has modernized before my eyes..well, at least Minsk has! Our first trip there is another blog..but let's wrap this tour! It is now a modern city like all the others!

The last show on our Russian trek did not disappoint using the least! The fans were crawling over each other, launching and crowd surfing! The balcony seats were packed and standing most of the show. The energy was like a shotgun blast to the face, never stopping and intensifying! And then it was done.... Thank you to all the fans who helped create the storm! The show is nothing without you!

At the airport in the morning, something strange happened... It couldn't just be calm now could it! Some strange man walked to the trash can next to our table in the cafeteria and placed a brand new, full backpack in the garbage! He was sketchy AF!! I told the dude working in the cafeteria and I tried to tell the information booth woman, but she said it was probably just stolen! What! Wouldn't someone at least check? After what seemed like crucial minutes, the police came and removed the backpack, going through it on the ground and taking photos of the luggage tag on it! Luckily we boarded the plane and got out of there!!

I bid farewell to Belarus, to Russia and headed to the love of my life...home! Next stop will be South America and I will continue my blogs and show my Students our continuing adventures! Beneath the Remains will Arise again!!

Class dismissed....

Friday, October 19, 2018


The Show in Voronezh was powerful, like all the rest. We had never played there before so it was quite exciting for the fans. They were loving the merch too, as it was the first time they could actually buy official merch! It was a rainy day and a quick one. The band played and then headed to the train station to grasp the train to Moscow!

This train was a bit older, and not quite as sterile as the previous one. I love gazing out the window and watching the little villages swoop by. It was dark when we boarded, so we went to sleep but I woke up early. The little table and a nice hot cup of Turkish coffee seemed like a good way to start the day!

The fans were there to welcome us at the train station. They always know what time we arrive and if its at the airport or train station. They must have some hella network that gives them the info!! We can never figure out how they know! We stayed at the Holiday Inn which was near the venue. Most likely we wont stay there again..they let the fans in the lobby and its impossible for anyone to get a coffee, much less a meal! After they sit and drink all night long, some get a bit too hard to handle! All in good fun though!

The gig was absolutely kickass!! Packed and frantic, just like we hoped for! The Glavclub venue has a really nice stage, crowd area and backstage. We always have a bit of a party at the Moscow gig! Food such as smoked fish, fresh veggies, dark bread and cold cuts of meat are always waiting alongside a bottle of the finest Russian vodka. We don't really drink but I alway order one in Moscow for our guests. Speaking of guests, our beloved Metal Russian spiritual guide, Father Nikon was there with the angelic voiced, kickass photographer and friend Sergei. Also our friends Paul and Ludmilla were able to attend. These 3 are officiados of Metal!! Zhana, our longtime dearest friend and many other regulars join in with our bash!

This special night I received true a treasure...a gift of such personal awe and desire that I was speechless!! My friend walked in with a handpainted matryoshka of Max, me and inside, my 7 children were nesting!!! Stupendous! What an amazing artist he is! He had told me he was presenting it to me, but I couldn't imagine how I could contain my joy if he really appeared with it!! These dolls represent the very air I breathe and the blood that runs through my veins! These birch people are my very Life!

Happy and well worn, we made our way back to the hotel for a couple hours nap and the the final train...the bullet train to St Petersburg was awaiting!

Class dismissed......

Friday, October 12, 2018


Our Russia experience continued from Krasnodar by van to Rostov-on-Don, by way of a mini bus. Only 4 hours but very interesting to cruise through the little villages and countryside. What better way to see Russia! The gig was outdoors and actually quite warm, since we no longer were in the winter-welcoming area of Siberia! We were in the balmy south... After the show, we all went to the train station, for our journey by way of the Trans Russian trains!

Max and I are lovers of regional art. I admit, our homes are stuffed with remembrances of past tours and various cultures. We always end up leaving personal items hidden in hotel rooms for maids in order to stuff our bags with our local treasures. The train stations offer all types of cultural art from the area you happen to be in, at that day.

The train is always an anxiety filled experience, but only during loadin and load off, lol! Sometimes it brakes only for 5 minutes, and you need to find your train car and get your personal luggage and any gear you are traveling with, on quickly or risk the doors shutting on you and being stranded! In the early days of Soulfly's travels in Russia, we were the first Metal act to travel the Trans Siberian across Siberia and play in many of the stops on the way. We had to travel; with guitar cabinets and drums, not to mention guitars. More than once I saw gear being flung out the door, in the midst of Russian people trying to scurry themselves off in the midst of out conglomeration!!

The train to Moscow was really new and we were all surprised! No well worn carpets and woolen blankets. No lady yelling in her little cubicle! No ancient hot water kettle in the corner! Instead it was a creamy colored paint job and new bedding. There are normally 4 bunks in each car, but we only put 2 people in each room. Our bags and gear tuck safely above us. There were even flat screen TVs in this train! And you always can count on steamy bowls of borscht and fresh slices of black bread in the restaurant car. Grab a cup of hot tea and relax to the rhythm of the train gliding on the tracks. Little villages swoop by and people living their remote lives pass by you.

See that metal piece sticking out above Max's sleeping feet in the photo above? That's a modern day ladder to get to the top bunk!! I wanna see Kendog climb up that!! Next city is Voronezh! But that will be next week...our Russian journey continues!!

Class dismissed......

Friday, October 5, 2018

WELCOME TO KRASNODAR! Explore Russia Part 3!

As our Return to Beneath Arise continues, we flew from Siberia to Krasnodar, in the southern region, with a transit through Moscow. The weather was warmer as we disembarked our Aeroflot airliner. This is the region of my grandfather, Jakov Krawtzowa. It’s not his real surname but that’s another, much longer story. The Kuban region was at my feet, the region of the Cossacks!

We checked into our hotel and then were whisked away to a popping restaurant/nightclub. We were treated to a typical regional meal of grilled meat. The local diet is rich in fresh herbs and vegetables, accompanied by delicious cuts of meat, grilled in the old world style. The air was filled with blasting ‘80’s to the present day hits and girls in little black dresses swaying!

The next day Max and I joined a friend and visited a Cossack Museum. It was filled with Cossack clothing, entire rooms of Cossack homes, with original items from the turn of the century, weaponry, banners and also primitive animals and ancient artifacts discovered in the region.

We were also amazed at the mannequin of Catherine the Great with her original clothing and two small Tiffany containers full of dirt from her birthplace.

There was a tall exhibit made of metal and covered in cloth called Spirit of Time. It was addictingly mystical and embedded in Russian folklore.

Max enjoyed the Hall of World Cup, from the first one in 1930 to the previous Russian hosted 2018 event. And at know what we did!!

Class dismissed.....