The Tour After The Tour: Chronicle by Blaze Bayley
The tour after the tour.
She purrs, she growls, she roars, sometimes she hums, she often feels angry but always ready and always putting herself in my hands. She encourages and rewards and warns me. She is mine. She is my machine. She is my motorcycle. We are on holiday. How this bond develops I don’t know and I don’t want to know. But in some native cultures they believe that everything has a spirit. The animals, the rocks and even the machines, so for my own sanity and for the mystery it gives to my life, I choose to believe that too.
If my motorcycle is connected in some deeper way to me and to the world, then everything seems to be a bit more magical, and a world with magic is, for me, a more interesting place to live. Perhaps I’m too romantic in my view of what my world can be, perhaps you may say I’m a dreamer, but you know, as John Lennon said so beautifully, I’m not the only one.
So, the pure insanity of my holiday, a tour after I have finished my tour, is here at last. At the end of September 2019, I had finished almost all of my touring for the year and recorded the last two full metal shows Melodka Brno in Czech Republic for a live album and DVD release.
Now it is October and time for my holiday. Over a year ago I asked my manager and my agent to keep these dates clear. Not for a relaxing time on a sun-soaked beach but for another tour, where the engine provides the music and the road is the venue, and my motorcycle is centre stage.
Some biker friends live near Koblenz in Germany and for a few years I have promised to visit when I’m not on tour. This year my housemate and me have at last made the time to ride there. We are prepared for bad weather, it is after all late autumn, but we are very lucky at the start. A bit damp and windy those first two days but it really improved and we had a few days like summer. In France our first main stop is La Coupole Centre d’Histoire. In world war 2 the V2 rocket, a ballistic missile was made there. Many of the tunnels have survived and it is now a museum of those dark days, and also it shows the post war developments that made the NASA space program possible. I found it interesting and disturbing.
Next we ride to La Roche in Arden. One of the locations important in The Battle of the Bulge in ww2. A wonderful lunch there at an Italian restaurant. Possibly the best lasagne I have ever tasted since the one made by Luca Princiotta’s Mom when I visited there many years ago to write songs with him at their place near lake Como Italy. After taking a few photos and just enjoying the feeling of being on holiday with my machine and my friend, we rode on to our hotel. It was for one night only. We stayed overnight in a hideous and dangerous excuse for a hotel a couple of hours away from La Roche. Next day we ride into Germany avoiding autobahn as much as we can. We stop at every biker cafe that we can find along the way. A lot of bikers are out enjoying the dry warm weather.
The roads are great. Long open curves and some wiggly bits. I’m smiling. We arrive at the small village where my friends live around 19:00. Darkness is creeping over the village. It’s nice to get off my machine and it’s also a proud moment, we made it here with no problems. During the next days we would have to service the rear brake and fit new brake pads – I’m glad I didn’t know that then.
Next day is a welcome party in the evening but riding in the morning. Every day we ride. So many castles and hairpin bends, twisty German roads and interesting cafes. Mostly it’s dry until the last day when the long journey home begins.
Rain and autobahn and motorway. The rain is so heavy on the French motorway that my poor twin cylinder machine gets so wet that she is firing on only one cylinder. I pull off the motorway and let her dry out a little bit. After that I don’t use the motorway again until the rain has stopped. I make my way towards Calais through towns and villages and on some of the country roads the only living thing I see for miles is a miserable looking crow. Not as enjoyable as most of the riding I did on my motorcycle tour but still, she gets me home, and on the way she purrs, she growls, she roars, and sometimes she hums.