Iron Fist Magazine

CAULDRON TOUR REPORT: “WE MET BIFF BYFORD!!”

Imagine if your job was to travel around Europe, drinking beer and playing heavy metal? They might mow Geddy Lee’s lawn and work in a pig-themed toy shop [true stories] when they’re at home but for two months CAULDRON quit life and hit the road – and remembered all the gory details for Iron Fist

BRITISH STEEL
Myles [Deck, drums – the new boy!]: “A six week European tour?! Yes please! Having only done a handful of DIY tours in Eastern Canada – not to mention having never set foot on European soil before – I was very eager to hit the road as the new Cauldron drummer and prove my metal to the band and its fans. Spanning from the end of November to the first week of January, I gladly informed my family that they’d have to suffer the holidays without me and set off on a wet and wild, 35 date adventure of heavy metal bliss. When we landed, we met up with our driver and grindcore enthusiast, Luuk and friend Inti who worked the merchandise table for us all tour. Inti is the star of our ‘Nitebreaker’ video and goes by a number of aliases such as Merch Dickinson and Lord Strewer. I owe Inti a personal debt. Him being the youngest member of our entourage, he bore the brunt of Jason and Ian’s ritual hazing normally reserved for the new guy in the band. Because of his suffering, I was able to enjoy my tour harassment free. He is my personal Jesus Christ. Inti Christ.”
Jason [Decay, bass and vocals]: “We arrived at Brussels airport with little time to spare as our driver/tour manager Luuk was waiting and we had to catch the ferry to UK. So, sure enough they lost our fucking guitars. Typical for us, but we wouldn’t have it any other way!”
Ian [Chains, guitar and mullet]: “The baggage guy let me go behind the counter and use one of the computers and deal with the missing guitars. A couple of old Germans came up to the counter assuming that the guy in the leather jacket and greasy long hair worked there. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to help them find their matching embroidered luggage set, but I hope they found it okay.”
Myles: “Cauldron laughs in the face of jet leg and upon arrival in London, we burst forth for a night of beer soaked madness and karaoke at the Alibi in Dalston, East London. There, we serenaded the locals with slightly out-of-tune versions of Canadian classics like Rush, Trooper and Snow.”
Ian: “I don’t remember much other than Jason doing an endless string of out of key ‘Jovi songs. It’s always a good idea to give yourself really bad hangovers on the first few days of tour. Once you get over that you can start drinking as much as you want and it won’t be too bad the next day. Still I probably wished I was dead half of the mornings on this tour. The London show at the Barfly was one of the best. Somebody stuck an adhesive moustache to the side of the van during the show and we couldn’t get it off, so it was there for the rest of the tour.”
Jason: “London had a nice, packed crowd! Good show and great start to the tour, so we decided to hit the [legendary London rock bar] Crobar after for a few celebratory sips, which led to a 5am lock-in. I guess we were just making sure to be hung over for Birmingham; the most tired home of heavy metal. We played okay, but definitely not up to par. Lame crowd and a stiff performance. Second worst show of the tour. It was a one extreme to the other start of a tour.”

HELL AWAITS
Ian:
“Birmingham blew us as always. It’s always great when people from your label come out and see you play like shit in front of nobody. Edinburgh was good as always though, plus I scored the first Tank 7” for a pound down the street from the show. We drove what seemed like forever to get to Hard Rock Hell in Wales. We had a pile of interviews lined up but first we had to eat some real first class catering. I think it was one shrivelled piece of chicken and cold baked beans. I was saving my toast for the bathroom since there was no toilet paper to be found. The band who played before us looked like Rankelson with more pimples. After our set we went to check out Testament. Jason and I snuck backstage and got severely punished by the singer of The Quireboys. He was close-talking with turd breath and rambling on about his great management. He was Mortal Kombat drunk, teetering back and forth waiting to be finished off. We ran into Whitfield Crane from Ugly Kid Joe who looked like he had just come from a mountain climbing expedition. Backstage was bone dry for booze and I’m not proud of it, but we finished off Whit’s vodka when no one was looking. When Graveyard went on we went out front to get more beer and watch them. After their set we went backstage and walked up to their dressing room door. Their drummer was standing there in his underwear, and I could only get out the words ‘Wait, naked man!’ before the door was slammed in my face.”
Jason: “Hard Rock Hell was a big gig and great power set. The Quireboys guy was trying to introduce us to people and saying he wanted to help our career. I think he should help his own first. Nice enough guy though I guess, kinda reminded me of my Uncle Mike.”
Myles: “One of my favourite shows in the UK was in Newcastle where we met Biff Byford. Pretty rad to shake hands with this road-hardened veteran of heavy metal. As for the show itself, the PA system caught fire during the first song by the opening band, and there was a mad scramble to find a replacement. You could say that there was a sense of urgency by the time we hit the stage. Perhaps because we tried to play as many songs as possible before the PA caught fire, again.”
Ian: “Biff Byford was coming down to do a feature with Jason for Metal Hammer. We were all trying to help out by making up questions. ‘What the fuck was with Paul Quinn’s red visor?’ didn’t make the cut. We sat around the pub for a while wondering if Biff was going to show. I went to the bathroom to take a dump in the out of order toilet since the women’s was occupied. When I came out Biff was already sitting there with Jason. Afterwards we stood at the bar trying to make small talk with Biff. It was pretty awkward. Jason asked Biff to sign his ‘Strong Arm Of The Law’ LP, and the signature looked more like ‘To Jrgno, Biff Byford’. After the photoshoot Biff split, and I was really hoping he’d make a pit stop in the bathroom before he left, but he rode like the wind out of there.”

Cauldron-1VANDER-BOOZING
Myles: “Mainland Europe was a trip. And for many of those shows we were fortunate to open for a great Dutch band, Vanderbuyst. Night after night these guys treated us to an ass kicking, face melting and pant leg waving set of hard rock that left venues shaking with the thunderous applause coming from the audience. And night after night we rewarded Vanderbuyst by drinking all of their beer. However, they got wise to us quick and would secretly stash it in various hiding places at each venue. Occasionally, we would stumble upon these caches of beer and plunder it like pirates.”
Ian: “I didn’t even think it was possible to do 11 shows in Holland, but Vanderbuyst drew a good crowd in every city. Playing shows that are really close together and drawing the same crowd is when things started to get weird. Inti’s Labbat Ice sweater got stolen and held hostage for most of the tour. Pictures started turning up on Facebook of different people wearing it. Inti was pretty upset about it since he had to brave the bitter Swedish cold without it.”
Jason: “Essen was a really good show. Big venue and stage, which might be a problem if not a lot of people showed up; but they did. I remember tripping on the barrier coming out from backstage. I smashed my knee and my drink went flying all over myself and some others who witnessed. I think it happened to two other people that night too and apparently it happens all the time, you think they’d fix that fucking thing already.”
Ian: “We hit it off with Vanderbuyst from the start. Meeting [drummer] Barry was like meeting bizarro Jason. They both looked at each other and were wearing the same denim on leather outfit, white hi-tops and almost identical red/white/blue toques. Jochem looked and sounded like a white version of Phil Lynott with Stephen Pearcy’s hair. Willem looked like a hobo who happened to be an amazing guitar player. I don’t often feel like I’m learning anything by watching the bands we play with, but Vanderbuyst sounded great every night. Of course I had to take a quick gander at Willem’s setup to figure out how the hell he was getting that guitar sound. Apparently Steelwing warned them about us [stealing their beer], which is pretty funny considering we’ve warned people about Steelwing ‘Steelwinging’ the stage with all their gear before the last note of the set has rung out.”
Myles: “Despite the beer theft, we stayed good friends. They even started inviting Ian on stage to play the guitar solo during their performance of ‘Rock Bottom’. At our final show together in Kerkrade, we replaced the members of Vanderbuyst (they’re a three piece too) one at a time so that by the end of the transition, it was Cauldron on stage performing. I should also mention that for this stunt, both Ian and Jason made beards out of duct tape to imitate Jochem and Willem’s facial hair. The drummer, Barry is a baby face like me so I was spared the pain of peeling tape off of my face after the show.”
Ian: “On one of Vanderbuyst’s days off we played in Wurzburg, Germany. The contract for the show stated that we would be given unlimited alcohol. From the moment we got the venue we didn’t stop drinking. The show was surprisingly good for a place we’d never been before, and we ended up playing one of our longest sets of the tour. After the show we hung out in the bar drinking 1 litre 8.5% beers. We got completely shit-hammered. Myles passed out and had Jason genuinely worried that he was dead and we’d have to find a new drummer. I tried to walk over a coffee table to get to Myles but flipped it over and smashed every glass and bottle on it. The bar staff managed to kick us out in what seemed like under a minute.”
Jason: “The set was so long that Ian had to take a piss break about 3/4 way through the set cause they wanted us to keep playing. I think he also had to change a string in there somewhere too. We pretty much played everything we knew right down to an unrehearsed version of ‘Bloodlust’.”
Ian: “I spent my 30th birthday in Katwijk, Holland. Pretty nice considering I used to live 15 minutes from there as a kid. Even better was that one of my favourite Dutch metal bands Angus opened for us. They couldn’t really believe that I knew who they were, let alone was a fan. I asked their drummer if they had any copies of their second LP left, but he said he only ever had one copy himself. They dedicated ‘Money Satisfies’ to me and Inti got them all to sign one of the show posters. At the end of my guitar solo in our set, I looked up and everyone was standing there with a cake, and Jason handed me the original Mercyful Fate EP. What swell guys! Myles shoved a slice in my face and by the end of the set there was cake strewn all over the stage and monitors. When Vanderbuyst went on after us I saw Willem nearly wipe out on a slab of icing.”

THE PAIN IN SPAIN
Ian: “We had a couple days off so we booked a one-off in Barcelona. After we landed we were met by Jose, the fastest walking and even faster driving Spaniard I have ever seen. We could barely keep up with him when he was walking to his car. He had some Iron Maiden CD cranked in his car, which was a breath of fresh air considering Luuk’s musical taste. Jose drove like a fucking maniac, weaving in and out of traffic and flying down tiny back lanes, all while whistling out of key to Maiden. People would hear him coming and start running. I had pretty much come to terms with the fact that I was going to die in Jose’s car.”
Jason: “It was like a roller coaster ride driving with this guy. People would be running out of the street as our speeding car came swerving in and out of traffic towards them. I have some pretty cool videos of all this on my phone. So, we load into the beer stained Rock Sound club and go out for dinner. My new friend Arturo was asking me if I liked soccer and I was like ‘no, not really’. So he asked me if anyone in the band liked soccer and I said ‘no, I don’t think so.’ And then he was like ‘oh, cause I brought you guys this soccer jersey’. Then I felt like a dick. I wore the shirt on stage and will hang it in our jam space – thanks Arturo! Spain was a very surreal experience altogether and I loved it. The crowd was off the chain. We were playing on pretty shit gear but the volume of the crowd made up for it. There was more energy in Barcelona than anywhere else on the tour.”
Ian: “We went to the Crusader metal bar after the show and drank until the bar ran out of beer, or so they told us. We got kicked out after Inti dropped his beer on the floor and I stomped on it. The next day Jose came to pick us up at 2pm. Our flight was at 3pm but he assured us everything was fine. His driving was even more insane this time, along with his crazed whistling and the same Iron Maiden CD. He actually told us he would drive faster once he got on the highway, like we would be relieved. We barely made it on our flight and had to run through the airport with our guitars and merch, while breaking nasty cold hungover sweats.”
Myles: “I’d never experienced fandemonium until I got to Barcelona. When we returned to the venue after dinner, we were met by close to a hundred rowdy Spaniards outside waiting to get in to the show, to touch us, steal my drum sticks – this was a continuing problem at many other shows too. Vater drumsticks, can I have an endorsement? The show itself was pretty DIY. I thought that the toy drumkit I was playing was going to fall apart after only one song. Both Ian and Jason were playing though Peavy bandit amps and you couldn’t hear the vocals to save your life. I don’t know how it sounded out front but I don’t care. The audience took care of all the singing and the applause drowned out the music. The energy in the air that night was pure electricity. It was the best show of the tour.”

CauldronNO PRESENTS FOR CHRISTMAS
Jason:December 22 was the appropriately named Braindead Fest in Steenwijk as they sure were fucking brain dead! They just could not figure out the sound there, nothing on the board was labelled properly, guitar cables running to vocal mics… We cut a bunch of songs from our set and made the most of it. We proceeded to rock a few sips after the gig until an Obituary tribute act called Slowbituary hit the stage. We rocked out to a classic ‘bitch’ set as I banged my head right off a monitor at the front of the stage, which caused me one of those ‘white lightning’ bumps. Then a stage dive somehow turned into me being carried right to the back of the club where they tried to throw me over the bar. The bar staff refused and I was sent back to the stage. We capped the night off with a classic drunken wrestling match. Cauldron vs Cauldron. That was enough of that…
Ian: “We were pretty excited to be spending Christmas in Berlin, especially since our old drummer Chris Rites lives there. We got to spend three days with him at his apartment. Any plans we had to relax were dismissed in favour of drinking excessive amounts of cheap Czech beer. On Christmas Eve we went out to some bar and Chris started hanging out with a dude in a fur coat who looked pretty insane. We were all invited back to this guy’s apartment, and I just figured it was a friend of Chris’. It turned out Chris didn’t know him at all. We drank champagne with him and listened to him play music on his Casio keyboard. We all left and went back to Chris’ where the fur coat guy started to get weird. I recall Chris getting in some argument with him about The Cure. Then the guy refused to leave but finally said he was calling a cab. His’ cab’ turned out to be a coke delivery service. Chris had to pull the guy’s drink out of his hand and shove him out the door. The good thing is that earlier Myles stole a pair of ’80s ski goggles from the guy’s apartment, which we made use of for the next couple days. One night Chris got belligerently drunk and started yelling at us about how great Freddie Mercury was. We all crawled into bed and went to sleep scared.”
Jason: “I think it was at some point during our stay in Berlin that we really started to notice Inti’s natural ability to strew things about. All of a sudden little nests would appear comprised of dirty socks, underwear, tissues, random clothing articles, empty packages… Something we had not really seen at this level of skill since the [former drummer] Chris Steve days. From here on in he would become known as The Great Lord Strewer – the second coming if you will. Although he didn’t quite strew as long and hard, far and wide as Chris Steve, his ability and passion for his work would set him ahead of his predecessor.”

SCANDINAVIAN 101
Myles: “After that we made tracks for Scandinavia. We weren’t able to meet with Fenriz and raid his record collection as was originally planned – we weren’t able to book a show at all in Oslo, sorry guys. Hail the high cost of living, the tightest liquor laws that side of Canada and the babes that were as cold as ice blue metal. Although they sure were babes! The weather was tame, I expected more from Sweden in January.”
Jason: “We spent New Year’s Day driving to Copenhagen. First order of business was to hit up Michael Denner’s Beat Bop record shop. We arrived only to discover someone else was working there so it was a bit of a let down. Then at one point I looked over to ask for a price on a totally scuffed copy of ‘Slowly We Rot’ and there was the man himself. He sold it to me for like €3 and gave me some tips on how to clean it. I also hauled some ‘Tage, Cerebus and Trojan out of there like a champ. We all scored some cool records and cool stories there as Michael wasn’t afraid to share. He also left us with some change to ‘buy some beers with boys’. Nice guy, thanks Michael!
Ian: “I was lying on the floor going through the bottom shelf when I looked up and saw Michael Denner standing behind the counter. I don’t know where he came from but I assume he appeared from a cloud of black mist. I bought the Thin Lizzy ‘Funky Junction Deep Purple Tribute’ LP, which I’ve never seen before. Michael told me the band on the cover was actually another band and then dug out their record to show me. I also bought the Brats/Tyrantz split 7″ and he lowered his glasses to the end of his nose and said ‘Ahh, my first record, very nice!’ He was a genuinely nice guy and got us behind the counter to get a picture with him. I realised later I should have got him to sign my Mercyful Fate EP. Fuck!”
Jason: “We arrived in Sweden on January 2. Joseph from Enforcer met us here to travel with us for a few days. Some girls followed us back to our hotel after our show as they wanted to ‘make us a party’, but I would have preferred if they just made me a sandwich or a pizza so I went to bed.”
Ian: “The show was pretty decent, even if the bands opening were Swedish rap-rock. After the show we walked to the hotel with Joseph. Luuk told us not to take anything out of the mini-bar. The first thing Joseph did was crack the wine. Pretty soon almost everything in the fridge was gone, and even Luuk joined in. Joseph said he was going back to his friends’ place for the night, so I went to let him out. He started rolling on the ground screaming and pretending he was shitting himself. He said I needed to take him to the hospital, but I just closed the door on him. The next morning I got a message from him saying ‘Ian, please pick me up from the hospital, my anus broke’. We went to a record shop the next morning where I scored the original press of the Savage Grace ‘Dominatress’ EP. Pretty sweet. We picked Joseph up and headed to Vaxjo, home of Muskelrock.”

Jason: “It was great to see some old friends; Hampus, Jacob and Jenny and the tunes were great as well. This was definitely the hottest show of the tour. You’d think Sweden in January would be freezing but we were way colder in the UK in November. Everything about this gig was awesome except the sound. There was also this drunk punisher zombie chick that was really annoying. She flew onto the stage during our set and landed on her back and just laid there. She continued to stalk us the rest of the night without saying a word, just a annoying zombified stare – fuck off.”
Ian: “There was a room for us upstairs with bunk beds, so we all hung out until the beer was gone and it was just me and Joseph left standing. Myles started snoring like a jackhammer so I grabbed the apple that Joseph was eating and threw it at him. The apple hit his face and exploded into a million pieces. Myles smacked his lips a couple times and then continued snoring. The next morning he didn’t say anything or ask why there were apple chunks in his bed and hair. The next show was in Stockholm at Pussy A Go Go. Pretty much everyone we know in Stockholm came out to the show and it made for one of the best of the tour. Before the show a few of us went to get real beer from the liquor store so we didn’t have to drink the light stuff. We ended up having to jump a fence and run across some highway traffic. All worth it to get some beer. It was cool to look out in the crowd and see all the Enforcer guys singing along. After the show Toby [Enforcer bassist] came up and said ‘I’ve seen you guys 50 times and that was by far the best’. Then Joseph came up and said ‘I’ve seen you guys 70 times…’ and then Olof came up and said ‘I’ve seen you guys at least 90 times…’. We probably crammed 15 people in to the van after the show and drove to Joseph’s for the big after party. The beer we bought was almost instantly gone. Good thing Myles had a few stashed in his bag. When we got to Joseph’s there was another 15 people outside waiting to get in. There was actually a lineup to get in. We got pretty trashed, along with his apartment. Posters were getting ripped off the walls and beer spilled on records and all over the couch. Myles and Inti were so hungry they were fighting over a lone carrot they found in the fridge. Some chick was passed out on the toilet with her pants down so we had to piss in the kitchen sink. The next morning I felt like a corpse, until I saw Toby. I’ve never seen him look like such shit in my life. But he said the same about me. Feeling like such shit didn’t stop us from going record shopping though. I managed to score a couple Candlemass records and then went back to sleep in the van.”
Myles: “When our time in Europe was up, was I glad to leave? Not exactly. I’d just played over 30 shows, travelled thousands of miles, made some great friendships (a few of which I hope will last a life time) and eaten some of the best, and worst food that Europe had to offer (and as a result I got to visit some of the best, and worst toilets that Europe had to offer). We also played with some really great bands. I’ve already mentioned Vanderbuyst. But I’d also like to make a special mention of Explorer, CC Company, Amulet, Screamer and Evil Invaders. And of course, we got to see the mighty Graveyard put on a hell of a hardrock show at Hardrock Hell. That tour ruled.”
Jason: “Needless to say we’re a bit exhausted. Blind and exhausted. Europe’s Lost.”

This tour report was original printed in Iron Fist #3 available from our store

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