Leaving Stockholm today for Milan, Rome and finally Bergen, Norway, where I’ll be playing with Anekdoten. I won’t be in England again till next year, it feels like a new phase with the Anekdoten shows, the latest Noctorum album and other happenings in the coming months that I will get into as they approach. But all this and with the death of a musician you have played with despite not being in touch recently, the future seems to be blurring out the past at a tremendous rate. The past rather than lingering, forces you to move on, pushes you into the future – or else. You can’t change anything, it’s too late.
Just coming to Italy is a thrill, we were here last year playing at a festival in Veruno north of Milan and arriving today in 30 degrees and crazy traffic confirmed the allure of the Italian way. On the plane I turned to Pete, our drummer, and said: “That’s what I’m going to listen to, Colloseum, of course, I’ll be there in Rome, visiting the place.” Then, I got here and our bassist Jan Erik said: “Jon Hiseman, the drummer from Colloseum, died”. The present takes swipes at you at the oddest times.
In truth, speeding down the highway from the airport, it could have been anywhere and even coming into the city it was just another city in Europe – apart from the Bosco Verticale (vertical forest). Some other buildings stood out and the driving was special but otherwise like most places these days, before you get into the detail, whether it be Yerevan or Mexico City, Buenos Aires or Philadelphia, the world no longer makes another westernized city more intriguing than the next. Everyone is on their phone or sitting in traffic or listening to terrible songs on the radio, the details elude you initially.
English, unlike in Sweden, is not a given in Italy and our driver struggled to find the words as I spoke to him in English, Italian and Spanish, me struggling, too, but succeeding between the two of us to make sense of the universe. A quick trip to the hotel to drop off our bags before dinner and sorting out that double bed and finding a room for guitarist Nicklas and I to share with a touch more convenience and soon we were treated to dinner outdoors, a DJ, a waiter from the Phillipines (who did speak English) and eventually shaking hands with DJ 2, a lady/Italian language rapper and then a photo op with the restaurant’s owner and their various girl friends. Nice people, not sure about the music.
Then to the venue we were playing, lots of bands on tonight, meeting some of them and seeing some of them play, Elysium, Desert Wizard, one whose name escapes me and Jumbo and last but not least The Trip. The Trip began in London in 1966, some kind of Anglo/Italian brainstorm that once boasted Ritchie Blackmore as their guitarist before he joined Deep Purple. All these bands were different kinds of crazy progressive complexity but at the same time they managed a lighthearted atmosphere despite what must have been gruelling rehearsals.
And that was it. Nothing particularly Italian happened tonight, nothing that made here stand out from there. So why am I writing this? Mainly it’s to remind myself that the future is now and tomorrow is a new day and I’m in Italy playing with a great band and I feel lucky to be alive – the details, well, they will reveal themselves in the coming days.