By Steve Ramsey (Guitar)
[as somewhat told to Kevin Stewart-Panko]
The parade of vintage-wine NWOBHM bands reconvening for a bit more than weekend tea and a jam ’round Clive’s house before repairing to soul-killing desk jobs for the rest of the week continues as one of the more unheralded outfits from the original wave, Satan, is in the midst of tearing North America a new one. Truth be told, the Newcastle band has ambled in-and-out of retirement more times than the Who, the Village People and Mario Lemieux combined. Their latest kick at the can started in 2011 and is shaping up to be the band’s strongest and most prolific period since the demo/Court in the Act days, what with a storming studio album (2013’s Life Sentence), recently released live album [which, by the way, is awesome – Da Ed] and various tours and festival appearances being scribbled into their collective daybook planners.
Having witnessed the North American tour’s kick-off date in Toronto, we can reliably say Satan haven’t lost a step and, in fact, may be at their strongest yet. So, what better way to celebrate their roaring return of sorts then by asking them to recount the shenanigans of this latest run? Well, we can think of hundreds of better ways to celebrate a triumphant tour, but there’s only so much a website can do…
Four of us took the flight from Newcastle to Toronto, via Dublin, and arrived around 5pm which, in reality, to us was 10pm back home. [Guitarist] Russ [Tippins] had traveled over the week before as he has family in Indianapolis and was attending a wedding. He was then popping up to New York for a couple of days and flying over to Toronto for the show with our tour manager, Henry. We freshened up at our “Chinatown” hotel and decided to go for a couple of beers. Alas, we couldn’t find a bar nearby and it was pissing down with rain, so we retreated back to the hotel and decided to have a couple of bevvies there instead. The small bar was situated, strangely enough, in the Thai Massage Therapy area of the hotel. We shared a few drinks and a few jokes about what “cupping” might be as part of a massage, and met a young man and his grandad up from Michigan for a break. The guy, Chris, hadn’t heard of the band, but would attend the show the next day and really enjoy it!
Went out for a bite to eat and a look around Toronto as the hotel was situated close to the CN Tower. Then, Russ and Henry arrived late afternoon and we headed off to the venue for sound check. We don’t have our own backline, so we’re using the support band’s gear and it was Midnight Malice‘s tonight. Nice guys and a good band along with the other support act, Castle. We will be playing with Midnight Malice again at a festival we’re headlining in Japan in a couple of weeks. The show was great, our first in Toronto as all of the cities on this tour are [firsts]. We had a few friends on the guest list here and Ryan Waste came down to see us, along with Rob from Sacrifice and the guys from Cauldron, the tallest metal band in the world! We also met a lovely girl who told us that she used to do a routine to our instrumental “The Ritual” in her stripping and pole dancing days!
Flying down to Chicago today for our gig at The Cobra Lounge in the “Little Italy” area. We are flying with a small airline called Porter, which is at the side of Lake Ontario, and we took the shortest journey ever on a ferry to the airport, which is on an island in the lake. We head off down to the venue after some good Chinese takeaway food at the motel near O’Hare Airport just in time to check out the other three bands on the bill. We again enjoyed watching them all; Ancient Dreams, Coven 13 and especially Wrath, who kicked some serious ass! Strangely enough, just like the night before with Midnight Malice, we found out that we would be playing with Wrath again at a festival in Germany that we’re headlining next July. The gig was packed and the sound was great; the house engineer did a really good job. The crowd were fantastic too and we met guys who had travelled up from as far as Mexico to see us.
Day off in Chicago. Went downtown and did a bit of tourist stuff. First, we went to Gino’s Pizza Place, well-known and featured on the “Man Versus Food” TV show. After that, we got a taxi into town and went up to the top of the Hancock Building to see the city in 360 degrees. We then went along to the pier and found a bar for a couple of beers and a bite in the evening. Still not used to American portions though, none of us could finish the meal! We tried to find a six-seater taxi to get back to the motel and weren’t having any luck. We spotted a stretch limo parked up nearby and cheekily asked the guy how much he’d charge. He gave us a price that was only 20 dollars more than the taxi we took there so we traveled back like real rock stars to the cheap motel we were staying in!