It was the spring of 2007. I’d been in Germany playing guitar for Attack Theatre, a really cool, modern dance troupe from Pittsburgh, Pa. After our performance in Dortmund, everyone caught a train back to Dusseldorf, where we’d flown in. From there, they were flying back home to the United States, while I was staying overnight in Dortmund. The reason for this was that Testament had a show in Bulgaria the following day. They were already there, having flown in a day before me. I was going to catch three flights and be in Varna, Bulgaria in time to meet them for a 5pm soundcheck.
I woke up at 5am and took a cab to Dortmund airport. Once there, I boarded the first flight, from Dortmund to Munich. From Munich I caught a plane to Sofia, Bulgaria. That flight was delayed a couple hours, and it caused me to miss the third flight to Varna. The next flight in wasn’t for a couple more hours. I finally landed in Varna a little after 6pm.
“So much for soundcheck” I thought to myself.
There was hardly anyone there at the tiny Airport. I picked up my bags and walked outside. It was still light out. I looked for some sign of someone to pick me up but there was no one around. I walked back in the terminal.
That’s when I noticed this giant Bulgarian guy walking around, built like a body builder. He had a crewcut, was dressed in all black and had on thick black sunglasses. He looked like Arnold schwarzenegger in “The Terminator.”
“This can’t be the guy” I thought to myself.
As he walked towards me I realized I was wrong. The first words out of his mouth were:
“We must hurry, we are late” which sounded like “Ve most harry, ve are leet!” I followed him back outside.
Out of nowhere, a black BMW came speeding up to the curb. It halted with a screech. The trunk popped open and we threw my bags in. I got in the back seat, he got into the front. The driver was dressed almost exactly like the other guy. I was being driven from the airport by two Terminators.
The car lunged forward, throwing my back into the cushion of the seat. Outside, the setting sun shined a bright light on the lush green trees and rolling fields, which reminded me a bit of Napa and Sonoma, the wine country region of Northern California. But it was going by so fast, I could barely take it in. Within minutes, we were approaching the Bulgarian version of Germany’s autobahn, the motorway with no speed limit. As we ascended onto a curved on-ramp, my body jerked from one side to the other, barely held in place by the seatbelt.
Once we were safely on the autobahn, the driver hit the gas hard. It was like that scene in Star Wars when Han Solo hits the ‘light speed’ button on his space ship. The BMW jettisoned forward as the guy in the front seat turned on the stereo, creating a pulsating, hypnotic, pounding sonic sensation. It was the music of the German, techno metal band, Rammstein.
We must have been driving at least a hundred miles an hour. Rammstein’s hyperkinetic chugging pulse seemed to propel us even faster. The two guys up front didn’t say a word or turn around. I could see their sunglass clad faces in the mirror. They merely nodded when I asked if we were getting close. Twenty minutes later, we were pulling up to the festival, with Rammstein still blaring on the stereo.
With the help of the Bulgarian Terminators and the music of Rammstein, I had arrived at the gig as close to on time as possible. And it didn’t really matter anyway because, as is often the case, things were behind schedule. The PA system had only recently shown up and soundcheck hadn’t even begun.
We had made a forty minute drive in just over twenty minutes. I was worn out from little sleep, the early wake up call and the flights, not to mention a bit rattled from the drive. But I was there and ready to play.
I’ve done my best with telling this story. However, to fully comprehend the magnitude of this experience, I recommend that you please take a moment and follow these simple instructions:
A. Take a good set of headphones or speakers and plug them into your computer.
B. Play the following clip and crank up the volume:
C. Close your eyes and imagine being knocked around in the back seat of a BMW going 100mph, being driven by two Terminators.