Steffen Jungersen

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ARTILLERY – THE SOUTH AMERICAN ODYSSEY

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Danish thrash metal legends Artillery just toured South America and Mexico. And yeah, most people know the Andes mountains and the fascinating culture of South America – however, nobody knew in advance that other obstacles than mountains had to be climbed and other challenges had to be met. We give the word to the two Michaels, guitarist Stützer and singer Bastholm.

Dansk version

"Well, it started more or less as an omen of what was to come.

As we’re all sleeping peacefully before leaving Copenhagen our flight is changed. We had to leave at 6 am instead of the original flight at 9 am. Which means that all of a sudden we’re in one hell of a hurry having to collect people from near and far fighting time and elements.

In the nick of time we breathlessly  board the plane bound for Peruvian capital Lima. What we don’t know at this stage is that rescheduling of flights will be the theme (and curse!) of this tour. But it’ll also turn out to be a tour that shows us that the South

American fans are worth fighting hell and high water for.

We touch down in Lima and are met by the local bookingagent and the gentlemen in co-headlining act Onslaught who we bond with immediately.

After check-in at the hotel we have a wonderful dinner by the Pacific Coast. We’re getting in THE mood for the first show that turns out great.

Less Greatartillery300
What ain’t so great is the fact that during our performance we’re told that we have to make a plane for Buenos Aires in Argentina half an hour after the show. Panic! Nobody’s has internet access and Onslaught are still on stage so it’s flat out impossible.

We have to try for at plane in the morning – four hours later.

But that isn’t gonna be easy either. Both bands are put on standby at the airport and while Onslaught get a direct flight bound for Argentina we get re-directed via Santiago in Chile where we get stuck for over twelve hours before four of us get on a plane to Buenos Aires. This leaves our drummer Joshua stuck in Santiago over night. Where we’d hoped he at least could catch a plane so he’d be able to say hello to the fans.

As for the rest of us we meet the fans – rather apologetic and prepared for them being angry with us. But they are sympathetic and let us know that they understand our predicament. So they settle for autographs and photos with us ...  and Onslaught play a blinder and saves the day.

So at five in the morning we have a meal consisting of great steaks and local beer. Getting ready to go to Cochabamba, Bolivia, where we re-unite with Joshua who’ve been much on our minds.

Blue lips
Bolivia is a very poor country but we meet an enthusiastic audience who have already drunk the bar dry. Michael gets hassled by a fan who seems determined to rip his Deep Purple "Burn” T-shirt off his back. He has to be watched by a bodyguard for the rest of the show as the "fan” in question gets rather aggressive ‘cause he can’t get the T-shirt.

After the show we look forward to staying at a hotel for a couple of days and relax a little. But of course that’s not the way the cookie crumbles. Instead we’re told to take a flight to La Paz which is 4000 metres above sealevel. We get to the hotel with lips frozen blue before getting picked up at night to go to Colombia.

Don’t ask for logic in this. It isn’t there!

But Colombia turns out to be the beginning of the best part of the tour.

It’s a beautiful country with a dedicated metal audience and incredibly beautiful girls. At last we can catch up on sleep and we’re royally treated with fantastic local dishes. We’ll stay in Colombia for three days with shows in Bogota and Cali and we’ll do a meet’n’greet the day after we arrive.

There’s a tremendous turn out for the meet’n’greet. Loads of people get pictures, signatures etc – they even bring old cassette copies of our early albums for us to sign.

Life & Death
The next day we arrive at the venue in Bogota and are met by a lot of fans outside. We’re very surprised to see that half of them are actually girls. Something you don’t normally experience at a metal show.

On stage we get an amazing reception. An incredibly dedicated crowd who knows all our songs – old and new – and headbang and mosh like this were the last thing they had to achieve in life.

After at great and breathtaking evening we’re ready to take on Colombia’s second biggest city Cali the next day. We don’t know quite what to expect. Will these people be as dedicated as the fans in Bogota?

We didn’t have to worry. Cali doesn’t let us down and we’re once again met by a sizeable audience who really let loose and once again convince us that this tour rules! With audiences like this you will meet any challenge possible.

Job done. And we’re ready to head back to Bogota and from there straight to Mexico the following day. But as we make our way back to the hotel we sense from the booking-agent that all is not well in the logistics’ department.

Rightly so. The morning after when we were supposed to leave Bogota we’re told that – all of a sudden – we have plenty of down time.

We’re taken into the mountains to a great restaurant but we’re worrying if we’ll make it to Mexico on time – great though the food and the beer was. The booking-agent looks increasingly disillusioned and his cell phone is overworked. Finally he tells ud that we – again! – are rescheduled to another flight that’ll take us to Bogota in the morning with a connecting flight to Mexico due a measly one hour later. It’ll take a miracle to make that schedule work out – what with having to check luggage in and out.
 
Back on track
After four hours of sleep and an hour’s drive we get to the Cali airport. Only to find out that the flight to Bogata is at least 45 minutes late. This means that we’re gonna miss our flight from Bogota to Mexico City.

We finally get a plane to Mexico – scheduled to arrive af 9 pm ...  and we’re due on stage at 9.30! Well, since we cannot do anything about it anyway we settle down with a crate of beers.

After a dramatic flight which throws the plane back and forth during the landing we’re in Mexico City. The landing felt like we we’re landing almost vertically. Scary!

At the airport we’re picked up by to Mexican booking agents – both nice girls – and a driver, who makes us sing ”The Last In Line” since he’s the spitting image of the late, great Ronnie James Dio!

We go straight to the venue and have to hit the stage without a soundcheck and just go for it. Luckily already during the first song the crowd go crazy and everything seems completely on track.

Afterwards we’re left with a real good feeling after a great show. Only when we’re back at the hotel we realize that this was our last gig in South America/ Mexico for now. What a way to bow out though! The next evening we’re heading back to Denmark.

Before that though we have a real nice day in the company of the two sweet booking-agents and a friend of theirs. We’re invited to party with beer, whisky and numerous more exotic drinks ...  one of us even take up salsa dancing in the procedings! After that we’re taken to a restaurant where we’re treated to the best Mexican food ever.

At 8 pm we drive to the airport and bid the girls and their country a tearridden goodbye. We get an immidiate invitation to return later this year and once on the plane we all feel overwhelmed by what we’ve experienced during the trip. We’re leaving South America and Mexico with a wonderful feeling of satisfaction in our souls.

Conclusively: South America is an intensely beautiful continent with a vibrant, enthusiatic metal crowd, lots of sweet and beautiful people ...  and great food. And that goes for Mexico too!

As we write we’ve already been offered a new tour in South America this november and an offer to play the biggest metalfestival on the continent in Colombia. Yeah, we’re ready to come back.”

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Dagens Sang

 

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Al pressekontakt, annoncering, promotion og PR varetages af Steffen Jungersen - steffen@steffenjungersen.dk

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