Box News #272 – July 20, 2018

Mick talks about, a catalogue of things going wrong in the morning, LHR Terminal 5, the non traffic, flying to Helsinki Finland, my lost suitcase, the International Athletics meeting in Tampere, drinking despite the price, watching the World Cup Football match between England and Belgium, the Sauna Classic Festival, and the lovely Finnish Fans. Mick also talks about, the luck of missing the Trump and Putin meeting in Helsinki, Mick & Phil flying to Berlin for a Promotion Tour, the Berlin Wall and the very Rock n’ Roll hotel.

Mick also discusses, the shocking Pink rooms, the fluorescent elevators all with a different theme, the River Spree, getting stuck in the Radio Station’s lift, flying to Köln/Bonn Airport, the famous Köln City Church with its imposing Twin Towers, the many interviews, the journalists reaction to ‘Living the Dream’, the hotels phone system going down and the Eurowings flight home.

Thursday night the 12th July, as it was an early check in at LHR Terminal 3 the next morning, some of the boys opted to stay at the airport hotel. I decided to have a 7.30am leave the following morning so that I could sleep in my own bed that night.

There was a catalogue of things that went wrong with that little arrangement. Firstly my alarm did not go off at 6.30am, so I jumped out of bed a 6.55am in a blind panic and had a shower. I then finalised my packing and went downstairs and my driver Mat was already on the door step at 7.15am, which was 15 minutes earlier than planned. It was a bit of a shock, but evidently he had been texting me and WhatsApp-ing me to see if we could leave earlier as he another pick up. Well my phone was on charge downstairs, so I didn’t receive any of them, so as you can imagine the rush was on.

There was no time for breakfast or a cup of tea, and I had to feed my dog Iggy and my cat Biscuit before I left. I left the house with wet hair as I had no time to dry it, and I was hoping that I had not forgotten anything. I had my passport and my wallet, so as long as I had them I knew I would be okay.

We were leaving early anyway because the traffic on the M25 motorway and the North Circular A406 road can be dreadful at that time. Well we had 2 hours to get there, so we were covered and lo and behold there was very little traffic, and we were there an hour early! D’oh!

I just found the nearest coffee shop in the Terminal and had a coffee and a little fruit and nut breakfast, and then I downloaded the newspapers on to my iPad. I answered a few of my emails and soon it was time to meet the boys, so I made good use of the extra time.

We all checked in at the British Airways desk to fly to Helsinki and we had to do this all together, as we had our fly pack equipment with us, whereby we all had to check in 2 pieces each. Our suitcase and a piece of equipment.

Once through security a few of us headed for the lounges and a few of us fancied a decent breakfast in the restaurant. This proved to be a good move as the flight was one of those where you have to purchase everything, and there is very little that you would want. To be honest by the time they usually get to your seat, they have usually run out of everything anyway.

The flight was 2 1/2hrs long and when we went to the baggage collection everything turned up except my suitcase. I guess it was just one of those days. The problem was we were not staying in Helsinki but a place called Tampere, which was a 2 hour drive away. We registered everything with the lost baggage lady and we left to go to the hotel. Before we left the airport I went into a shop and bought some toiletries to get me through, until I was united with my suitcase.

There was a major International Athletics meeting in Tampere, so the promoter had to book the band in one hotel and the crew in another, as most of the rooms were taken up by the athletes.

Well our hotel was slightly better than the crews, so they came over to our hotel for dinner. It was only a short walk away. The restaurant was packed with athletes who were all looking at the athletic meeting on the suspended televisions and occasionally cheering for their own team when they did well.

The wine and beer seemed to be flowing despite the hefty price of drinks, and this somehow morphed into a local Gin drink, and then a few of the party went to an Irish Bar. It was a short walk away and once ensconced there they hit the Whiskies. Ooch!

I managed a few beers and some dinner and went to bed. I was told by Scampi that my suitcase would arrive at approximately 1.30am at the hotel as I was a Bronze BA card member and I had a priority tag on my case. This was good news and Scampi kindly told reception to just keep it in reception until I came down for breakfast in the morning to collect it. This was exactly what happened and I was a happy pup!

After breakfast I walked with Bernie to a Pharmacy, as he had left some medication at home and luckily they had it, so he was pleased. Then we chilled in our room until lunch time. I met Phil and Davey and we walked in the sunshine to the river, which was only a short walk away, and we found a nice restaurant that we could sit outside and have lunch. When we arrived we saw Russ sitting there on his own, so he joined us for a bit. This was all very pleasant and then I went back to the hotel, as I had some work to do and Phil and Davey went off rubbernecking.

We all met up, except Bernie, who has no interest in football whatsoever, down in the hotel restaurant to watch the World Cup Football match between England and Belgium for the coveted 4th place. Well we lost 2-0 and in the first half we were pedestrian, and in the second half we did not take our chances, even having one shot cleared clean off the line. It was a shame, as we now have to qualify for the next World Cup in Qatar, whereas by Belgium winning they are automatically selected and they also pick up a Bronze Medal. Our Harry Kane picked up the Golden Boot Award and it must be the easiest award he has won having barely scored in open play and mostly goals on penalties. Still it is our Harry Kane from White Hart Lane and we are extremely proud of him. I must say that I was surprised that the chemistry between Kane and Deli was not exploited in this World Cup, and we did not even get a sniff of it. that was most disappointing!

That night we were headlining the Sauna Classic Festival with what looked like a lot of Finish bands. The festival was also called on the posters the Heavy Metal Garden Party. After a day of hanging about the mighty Heep were ready to rock even though we were on hired equipment.

Once down at the festival we went to our changing cabin and it was super hot, and all of the other bands were in the surrounding cabins all sensibly sitting outside in the fresh air. After a short while as I went for a pee in the porto loo, they all wanted a picture with me which was fine but I really need that pee. As the stage was beside a lake we all sprayed anti bug spray all over us which proved to be a good move.

We hit the stage running and it was good to be back in Finland. The audience were brilliant and into every single note we played and sang. It was a fantastic night and there was even a huge banner being waved thanking us for all of the years of music which was amazing. One guy was trying to get my attention and when he did he lifted his T.Shirt sleeve and showed a tattoo of me on his upper arm. That was truly a gob smacking moment indeed.

Scampi came into the dressing room and gave me an A4 piece of paper with writing all over it. A girl had given it to him and she had asked members of the audience to write a message to the band which they did. It was full of well wishes and wonderful comments and what a nice thing to do. We really do have some incredible fans!

After the show we hung around for a few drinks and met a few friends as well as Tapio Minkkinen who used to run our Finnish Fan Club, and then a few of us went in the first van back to the hotel. Bernie, Phil, Davey and Scampi had gone out front to a food stall to have some toasties, so we left them to it.

The next day we had the 2 hour drive back to Helsinki and luckily President Trump had changed his meeting time with President Putin to the day after we left, otherwise we would have had huge security checks to endure. We had taken all of this into account and we still had 3 hours to spare before the plane left, and the check in gate was not even open, so we had a bit of hanging around to do. Luckily the Priority Pass lounge was a good one.

Once we had landed, we went to collect our bags and then we all went home. However Phil and I would be back at LHR Terminal 5 to fly to Germany after one day at home, to start a Press Promotion tour for a couple of days talking about the new album, “Living The Dream.” The rest of the guys had a couple of weeks off.

After one day at home, Phil and I flew to Berlin and we were met by our German Promotion guy Marco. On the flight Phil had a nose bleed, which was nothing serious, but we were the last off the plane. We had to wait for the luggage because the conveyor belt at the baggage claim had broken and I had never seen that before. Luckily one of the workers there fixed it reasonably quickly.

As we approached the hotel in the taxi we drove right past the old Berlin Wall, that was covered in graffiti. We parked outside and there was a queue from the reception that went right out on to the street. Marco kindly lined up while Phil and I had a quiet drink outside the restaurant area overlooking the river Spree. It was not a bad place to sit and wait indeed.

Inside the hotel there were a number of Rock n’ Roll things that we noticed. Firstly there was a stand with a guitar and a bass guitar on it, with a sign saying that you can order the instrument of your choice to your room. You can even get a DJ on room service. Now I have never seen that before. Also there was a stage with a Marshall Stack, a Drum Kit and a guitar suspended on a string in the middle of that stage making it a surreal image.

When Marco had our room keys we were given a free drink voucher which was a circular beer mat in the shape and colour of black vinyl, keeping the rock n’ roll theme. Inside our rooms everything was shocking Pink and they had a chocolate gift of an ice cream cornet and a chocolate cassette tape. The TV was in the mirror which is another thing I had not seen before, and it looked impressive I have to say.

The 5 elevators in the hotel all had a theme which was either Rock, Pop, Classical, Jazz and Electronic, with each one pumping out the appropriate music. They were also decked out in different shades of fluorescent green, orange, blue, pink and white.

We decided to have dinner in the hotel restaurant and the place mates on each table were black vinyl for real and not cardboard. We did have a very pleasant relaxed dinner overlooking the River Spree before going to bed, as we had an early start with interviews the next morning. Phil went off to get a night time video of the wall, but I went to bed and I would get my footage the next day.

We started interviews the next morning at 9.30am and that went right through to the evening. We then went to a Radio Station called ‘Bob Radio.’ It was not without its moments though as Phil, Marco, the station lady and I all got stuck in this big industrial lift. We had to phone for help and luckily it came, and we were saved. It was just beginning to get claustrophobic and hot, so we were very pleased about that. The interview was great and we had a good time and then we went to a Greek Restaurant for dinner. After this we caught a taxi to Berlin Airport to fly to Köln on Eurowings which is a branch of Lufthansa Airlines.

When we arrived at the Köln/Bonn Airport we picked up our bags and jumped into a Taxi to take us to the Hilton hotel. The hotel was right by the famous Köln City Church with its imposing Twin Towers. It looks magnificent, even though it could do with a good clean up. This Church is featured on our live ‘Spellbinder’ CD cover.

We were all tired so we went to our respective rooms and made a plan to meet in the breakfast room for breakfast at 8.30am before the next round of interviews began. It was a long old day, but the good news was, that a lot of the journalists were calling our new album ‘Living The Dream,’ a masterpiece, which was both cool and encouraging in equal parts.

At the end of the day I had to do a phone interview in my room. While I did this Phil went out rubbernecking. I was waiting in my room for a while but the phone did not ring, so I picked up the receiver and it was dead. I rang Marco our Promo guy on my mobile to inform him, and he got an engineer to come up and try and fix it. He could not manage to do this, and then he found out that the whole floors phone system was out. So, because of this, I did the interview on Marcos Blackberry phone. There were some strange questions that were a bit left field, like asking me if I thought that the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Bob Dylan should have gone to Leonard Cohen, but there you go!

Once this interview was finished we said our goodbyes to Marco, who incidentally did a brilliant job in a very understated way, and then Phil and I went out for dinner. After this we sat in the hotel bar and had a few very nice vinos chilling, before going to bed.

We were both in the breakfast room at 8.30am as we were told that because of the traffic we would have to leave in enough time for the Airport. They said it may take up to an hour to get there, so we took their word for it. As usual sods law came into play, and it only took just over 15minutes to get there and there was no traffic in sight. This meant we had 3 hours to kill before we went to the gate, so we sat in Starbucks as there was no Priority Lounge in our Terminal.

All in all we completed 21 interviews in 2 days all approximately 45minutes to an Hour long, so we did cover some good ground. Every journalist raved about the album, so we were very pleased with the outcome.

The flight home was on Eurowings and when arrived at London’s Heathrow Airport we picked up our bags and Phil went by train to his home, and I went by cab to mine. As I walked through my door, I dropped my bags in the hallway, and went straight upstairs to my office to do another phone interview with Classic Rock Magazine Italy. I received a message from our manager Ace, saying that ‘Graized By Heaven,’ had remained on the Planet Rock Radio ‘A’ list again this week, so that is just great. I start phone interviews again on Monday but the weekend is now officially all mine….Yiiiipppppeeeee!

‘Appy days!



3 Responses to “Box News #272 – July 20, 2018”

  1. Egil Heepaholic Says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing with us Mick. It sounds like the journalists in Germany are really interested in the new album.

  2. david learmonth Says:

    Sounds like the new album will be a big success – deservedly so judging by the amount of hard work that has gone in to it!

  3. It’s exhausting to search out educated people on this subject, but you sound like you already know what you’re talking about! Thanks

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