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Ramming Speed Tour Diary, Part I: Breaking Faces and Sleeping in Skateparks

"Our driver Tommy is laying in bed screaming in German with his eyes closed and Kallen is passed out shirtless and covered in stickers next to him."
July 30, 2015, 7:33pm

All photos courtesy of Ramming Speed'

Ramming Speed are currently a third of the way through our 2015 summer European tour. While we’ve been to Europe a few times before, this is our first time here since 2010. I was asked to keep a tour diary for Noisey, so here are some excerpts from my physical journal mixed with a handful of drunken text messages I used to piece together some of the long days and weird nights of the first week. - Jonah, drummer

July 16

We drove from Richmond to Baltimore around 1PM today. Hung out in the airport for a few hours before catching a flight to Reykjavik, went through customs around 6AM local time and rushied to catch our connecting flight to Amsterdam. Haven’t had any time to really get excited for this tour. It’s been mostly stress and nervousness leading up to it. I think things will fall into place after we play tonight. Listening to the new A$AP Rocky and trying to chill out on this last part of the trip, the three hours to the Netherlands where we will then meet our driver Tommy. Hopefully our rental gear is in good shape and the merch shows up on time. Going to try and get some sleep.

July 17

First night of tour we played with Gama Bomb at a super fancy venue in Eindhoven. We had our own dressing room with showers, bowls of candy, chips, beer etc. We were all insanely jet lagged and out of it. Everything felt very surreal. Had lots of drum problems, but pushed through it. Crowd seemed medium into it. Drank beer all night and wandered around town in the warm summer air after the gig.

July 18

L-R = Jonah, Glenn Evans (Nuclear Assault), van driver Tommy, Kallen (right before he fell on his face)

Today we got paid to be the backup band for Dynamo Metal Fest in Eindhoven. Seems they were worried someone might cancel, so we were on hand just in case. Partied with Orange Goblin, Death Angel, Nuclear Assault and Biohazard—they were all super nice dudes and all played killer sets. Free beer and whiskey all day. Lots of singing along to KISS and talking about how awesome His Hero is Gone are.

On our way stumbling from the venue to the cab, Kallen cracked his face open on the ground. So did Ben from Orange Goblin. Lots of blood. Cab driver was strangely enthusiastic. Everyone went to bed and I left, wandering to try and find the after party.

Jonah and the excited cab driver

Ended up at The Jack, a metal bar surrounded by dance clubs, doner kebab places, and wet cobblestone streets about a twenty minute walk from the hotel. I thought all the bands were going to be there, but I walked in and didn't know anyone. A random metal dude bought me 4 or 5 Jack and Cokes. Everyone was singing along to Cheap Trick, and the bartenders were headbanging. I was having trouble standing up, so I walked back from the bar a few minutes ago.

When I got back the walls of the elevator were smeared with blood. I opened the door to the hotel room and European techno was blasting from the TV. Our driver Tommy is laying in bed screaming in German with his eyes closed and Kallen is passed out shirtless and covered in stickers next to him. Tommy just shot out of bed yelling that he won't let me sleep next to them unless I shower. He's drinking Jim Beam from the bottle and waving his hands in the air insisting that it's just so he can get some sleep. I'm sitting in the bathroom writing, and feel triumphantly drunk. Probably going to take that shower, put some ear plugs in and go to sleep.

July 21

Played a sold out show with DRI last night in Belgium. 400 people. Sticky hot in the venue. Free beer all night. Played well and the crowd surged and fell and circle pitted in drunken waves. Just crossed the border into France and our driver announced “Paris… is a hole of shit”. Everyone laughed. Tonight we play with Black Dahlia Murder in Switzerland, our first time in the country. Should be huge.

July 22

Swiss show was pretty rad. I haven’t seen BDM in years and years, and the current lineup slays. The drummer is fucking insane and the guitarwork was totally wild. Found out there wasnt a place for us to sleep, so we tried talking to people at the merch table to see if we could crash on someone’s floor. The best we got was some Germans recommending a parking lot in the area. We piled into the Sprinter and flew through Swiss suburbia blasting the new Gritty City/John Canada track. Windows down, warm breeze. Got to the parking lot and it happened to be next to a skatepark.

We skated for a while, drank warm beers, smoked hash, rolled around on the ground laughing, and watched dry lighting in the sky. Fell asleep in the van. Some of the guys slept on ramps.

Woke up in the morning to a mom and her two kids staring at us quietly. Currently driving through the Alps on our way to Bologna to play with 7 Seconds. The views from the highway are like nothing I’ve ever seen. Pristine greenish blue water filling huge lakes below the road. Emerald green trees fill in the gaps between giant jutting rocks. The mountain tops are covered in snow and we drive sketchily along twisting roads that follow the edge of steep cliffs. Our driver Tommy calmly says, “Tomorrow we will have to drive off the mountain,” I think something is lost in translation.

We stop at an overlook to take pictures, and it's so beautiful I just start laughing. We all do. It's fucking insane. This is the first time I allow it to sink in that we’re in Europe. The Alps will do that, I guess.

July 23

It's 300 degrees. My sweat is sweating. It took 20 minutes in punishing heat with no AC and the van running on fumes to go through a toll booth, then another 20 minutes to find a gas station and fill up. The gas station doesn’t have a store, so were stuck with hot water that’s been sitting in the van. My clothes are melting. Everyone is screaming and leaning out of the open van door to get air. Playing with our old tour buds Toxic Holocaust tonight. It will be the first show of three with them this tour. Italians love to go nuts, so it should be a rager.

To be continued…