No tapping the back

lizard king by JE

Part 1-  Family values

Fellows: I had a shitty last week.

Moonspell (my band) had to cancel their “historical” Latin America tour.

The slot on the festival we played in Norway has been dealt under by someone who has no power to say yes or no to anything regarding our career.

I caught a terrible virus maybe from my niece or kid, which woke me up a few nights ago and made me faint in a pool of blood and shit.

I guess, it was a historical week, in it’s own way.

My amazement and small revolt against facts and happenings is something I can’t really compute. My wife’s always telling me (that I put a value too high on people, things and ideas. All i know is that I can’t avoid it even when anger, sickness and disappointment start to fade. I know she might be right and that things, ideas and especially people are the cause of all evil in the world but I have always learned, and took to the heart, the lessons we can learn and the potential to change reality by thought.

The week started really well, though.

On Monday the 1st we had the Moonspell family gathered at Anaís’  (Mike’s daughter and my goddaughter) first birthday party and all was groovy. Our kids playing together, screaming CARRO!!! (car) when a car approached, their little fights, their hugging and wrestling, their laughter.

To see that is priceless. After so many years together it makes the notions of success, the hardships of diarrhoea and the reality of mixed festival slots, not that important as they might would have been on a different day.

As I observe the party going on I am happy, but also making decisions.

On that sunny Monday , I have decided to put an end to the miserably produced and booked MOONSPELL Latin America tour. The lack of due payment, of any kind of technical or logistic info; the absolute and dishonest conviction of the Brazilian promoter we’d jump on it anyway were tough on me, on us, but the deciding factor was seeing our family playing together.

Maybe that’s our biggest achievement: that we all still talk to each other and look after each other’s kids. It takes a village. Or a band.

When I researched for this cancelation I found out that in thirty something days we’d have fourteen days that nobody was sure what would happen. If there was shows then they were not announced or for sale; if there were travel days we had no plane tickets. Dear promoter (and he’s a father too, I believe) the worst thing you can do to parents, like these wolves of yours, is to waste their time.

Since we became fathers, time became something else. However, we never turned our faces to the fights. My kid was just 18 days when I went on my first tour for a month; and Aires’s last kid was born while he was helping pack the tourbus in Seattle, two years ago. But more than anytime, our activity has to bear fruit and believe me if some band members are not what they sing about (mercenaries, captains, vikings chiefs), our personal life and code is every time more that of a pack of wolves, watching and caring for each other, with no time or space for losers.

Part 2- Being Trve

The weekend, before this beautiful Monday, has been great too. We played two shows.

One in Zurich, a smaller show, crowd, club but nonetheless very enjoyable. Then, we traveled to Stockholm to play the infamous named Stockholm Slaughter with bands such as Draconian, Solstáfir (!), Archgoat, Gaahl’s Wyrd, Watain and of course our special friends Tiamat among many others.

If I was excited to finally play a festival where I liked the music of most bands, if not all, nothing could have prepared me for the best festival atmosphere that I ever experienced myself. We started playing festivals back in 1996 and like many other bands from our generation, we played them all, big or small. Some experiences were incredible, others forgettable but we actually watched festivals grown, a lot of them, seeing what they became and sometimes  that had little to do with the fans or the music.

When people ask us why not a 25th anniversary MOONSPELL show in Wacjken or Hellfest, the answer is disarmingly simple: they didn’t want it.  Period. If I once resented that refusal considering  the history we have in both countries (Germany and France), that washed away and a festival like Stockholm Slaughter must have been regenerating for me and for many, I do believe.

It’s a fact MOONSPELL, or any band as a matter of fact, needs more the festivals than the festivals need the bands. Having said that, I believe festivals like this Swedish one, have put things in perspective for me, gave me hope and made me know again where I belong musically, personally and as a band member.

Stockholm Slaughter was not sold out. Almost, but not sold-out. But I believe that in terms of people attending for the music it might have broken records. Inside the walls of Fryhuset, a house of freedom, bands were actually talking to each other and the conversations were much more than the mere bullshit you talk at fests, while you compare dicks or tits. Then I saw many band members at the side of the stage enjoying bands which took different ways but that spoke to their heart. I watched Draconian a bit, most of Solstáfir, all of Tiamat (I even went on stage to help them butcher The Sleeping Beauty from my favourite album Clouds) and of course Watain a Black Metal band I  will always love and respect, now more than ever because of their true Bathory feel many band try to invoke but fail miserably.

I am sure if Roman, the promoter, would have booked a sweet deal band that “just” pulls people it would have sold all tickets but I totally understand and thank him on everyone’s behalf because that would have killed the atmosphere that this festival summoned up right from hell. Like in the Manowar song, wimps and posers leave the wall!

Inside the backstage, Johan Hedlund has a shopping bag. When he starts revolving inside it, like a magician, he picks up two things: an original painting of his named Lizard King (I don’t know if you are aware he is a really good, original painter) and hands that to me as “payment for being so many times on stage with them already.” . I am speechless. I hug HellSlaughter. The other gift he had, I discover later on through the night, when talking and drinking with Eric from Watain. He’s  actually proudly wearing it: it’s an old school, real vintage, Treblinka shirt.Johan’s generosity makes me so happy and proud.

This week was shit almost as if standing as an example for the new times for Music where you can’t really find REAL people anymore. I puked and I shat. So does the scene. You open facebook to make your miserably liked posts, the flavour of the day, and you just find people backstabbing old bands; aggressive vegans; make up tutorials; makeshift conversations that make you learn jack shit about the bands and what they mean. It’s terrible and I mean it. Maybe Stockholm Slaughter gave me even more clarity to see that Metal or what we do might be well alive but most of it its fake.

Without divas or divos, without limits, without Instagram takeovers and kudos, bands were there for real, enjoying their time together and more than everything their music and what it meant, means and will mean.

We might not have followed each other on Instagram lately. We might not have said an empty love you guys or miss you guys shoutout on Face. But in the end of the night, when the enemy  Sunwas claiming his placeable  of your boozed, doped, older, underground heads we were hugging and there was no taps in the back.

No tapping the back

6 thoughts on “No tapping the back

  1. pipokon says:

    I like what you said here, i feel in some way in similar moment. But i have a different feeling, time ago i “saw” what’s real and whats fake, my job is making “fake” things (im a designer), so its a hard way of wakening see the “real thruth” but that’s at the end of the day what really matters.

    Thanks for your music it has been a real and meaningful part of my life since 98′ when i discovered you jajaja. Wolfheart/irreligious times.



  2. Sinto muito de coração que as coisas não deram certo com a turnê América Latina, esperava ver vocês pela primeira vez . Ouço vocês a tanto tempo que mesmo distantes consigo sentir parte da família, mesmo sem nunca termos nos visto ou se falado vocês também fizeram parte da minha historia, eu cresci e o Moonspell também, aprendi a me interessar e apaixonar pela cultura portuguesa, aprendi a gostar e a respeitar culturas diferentes da minha, por isso decidi estudar Museologia, aprendi a treinar meu ouvido, sou musico autodidata e tocar a musica de vocês, em todo esse caminho pensei em desistir de tudo varias vezes, dias ruins acontecem, mais ter uma família faz toda a diferença, obrigado por isso, por compartilhar o seu sentimento conosco, por isso decidi compartilhar um pouco do meu também, espero nos conhecer em breve no Brasil.

    Abraço de seu Wolf Fan e um dos escritores da pagina Moonspell Street Team Brazil no Facebook.

    Bernardo Novaes


  3. Sandra says:

    Loved your words, once again. It’s a shame that you still have to go through so many problems after 25 years of career. Still, nothing is lost, everything is transformed. You are irreplaceable to your fans, if they have to wait to see you, believe me, they wait. We love what we love, everything else is dust an air.


  4. Monique says:

    I’m sure that true fans will understand your decision to cancel the shows. The promotor is the one to blame, not you.
    I really like the Lizard King painting. Look at it and i’m sure you will be smiling again 🙂
    Best wishes with your health. I hope you feel better soon.


  5. Dear Fernando, as always, thank you for sharing your thoughts. It feels too much has happened in the last few weeks (or does it always and one just doesn’t pay attention?), so catching up on your posts might feel like a flood of comments.

    It’s almost guaranteed that with tough decisions come people who do not agree with them. We fans know that it cannot have been easy to decide. I remember your excitement and kindness talking about the (then still planned) tour of Latin America. It’s admirable under any circumstance and for any profession when someone says “Excuse me but my family comes first, and I need to do (or not do) this”. The pack will wait for you.

    And about the festival, it was really interesting to hear about the environment from the bands’ perspective! Something I like about Sweden is that it’s frowned upon to look down on anyone. I thought it was the size of the venue that allowed for band members to walk around and talk to fans (I saw Draconian just hanging out and complaining about how cold it was outside and can winter please be over). But maybe it has something to do with the bands’ culture as well? (many of them being good old Swedish no-one-is-better-than-anyone). Am I being very romantic? The story of the Lizard King painting doesn’t help, then 🙂 That was a very sweet thing.

    I really liked your recount of the event because, it being my first metal festival, I didn’t know how special it really was. I’m glad I was there to feel the honesty from the audience.

    2017-05-11 16:29 GMT+02:00 The Portuguese Wolf :

    > Theportuguesewolf posted: ” Part 1- Family values Fellows: I had a shitty > last week. Moonspell (my band) had to cancel their “historical” Latin > America tour. The slot on the festival we played in Norway has been dealt > under by someone who has no power to say yes or no to anyth” >


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