Hey everyone... Welcome to our first Speed Kings blog. We figured our first trip abroad as a band was reason enough to kick off some blogs of what we've been getting up to on the road, in the studio etc.
So, after some serious rushing around and panicking to organise a passport for Tony and VISAs for all of us (Tony had never travelled outside of the UK before this trip so it took a while to sort the passport out) we finally had everything sorted and the time had come to set off for St. Petersburg.
We set off on the friday at about 3:30am with the lovely Miss. Scarlett Daggers (aka Mrs. Johnny Speed King) as our chauffeur and arrived at Birmingham International running on nothing but adrenaline and caffeine due to a pre-travel night consisting of drinking and playing Texas Hold 'Em back at Speed Kings HQ.
Looking like the reprobates that we are, the security at pretty much every airport was a nightmare. At one point we stopped bothering doing our shoelaces up as we knew we were gonna have to kick them off again in a few minutes.
The flights over were great though. We were all getting more and more geared up for the gig the closer we got to Russia. The hours on the flights sped by and despite a mad rush through Munich airport the journey was cool.
Upon arrival at St. Petersburg we filled out some incomprehensible forms, collected our battered and bruised luggage, only just managed to get Tony out of getting carted away to a gulag by the customs officers (not even kidding) and met up with our host and promoter, Anastassia.
After a brief introduction, most of which comprising of her laughing at our clothes being nowhere near what we needed to deal with the -20 degree temperatures outside, we were herded onto a van and driven back to her home through the snowy streets and near-suicidal traffic of St. Petersburg.
After being introduced to all of Anastassia's lovely, welcoming family we crashed out for a while in our room before getting ready for a serious night of drinking on the town. I'd like to tell you exactly what happened but the details are pretty sketchy... We had an ace time exploring the streets and bars of St. Petersburg with Anastassia and a wicked bunch of her friends, had the largest snowball fight in living memory, checked out an awesome Stevie Ray Vaughan covers band in a backstreet roadhouse style bar and stumbled back to Anastassia's in the early hours barely able to feel the cold and barely able to stay on our feet in the ice and snow.
Me and Tony woke up first the next morning. Me, due to having managed to break my bed in the night and him due to me grumbling and moaning about having a pounding head and sleeping like a human McDonalds sign all night.
We chilled out with Anastassia in the kitchen and had some breakfast while waiting for Greg to rise from the crypt and then set about doing some touristy stuff before the show.
We were forced to use the metro system due to the crazy weather outside but we still got to see a lot of the city, buy some stuff for people back home and meet some cool people in the underground punk clothing and record stores on the way back to Anastassia's place to get ready for the nights show.
Four o' clock rolled around and we rounded up our gear to set off for the gig. It was way across the other side of town so one of Anastassia's friends swung by with his utterly pimped out van to take us to the biker clubhouse which held the venue.
The trip across town to the venue was great. We were all buzzing about the show and being chauffeured through the snowy streets of St. Petersburg with Nick Cave's 'Let Love In' playing on the stereo was a surreal experience.
The night itself couldn't have been better... The guys at the venue were ace, everybody we met had nothing but good things to say and absolutely every single person in the crowd just wanted to have a good time. Not a poser in sight!
The venue was packed out for such a cold Russian night and the atmosphere in the venue was buzzing. Local psychobilly band 'Squix' started the night off in style, played a long, stomping set and got the crowd good and riled up. We followed them soon after, played our set, had an encore, got back to the dressing room and could still hear people chanting and stamping and went back and played again for them until we got kicked off.
After a great night at the gig partying with everybody we headed back to Anastassia's and chilled out with some beers until the early hours. The next morning all that was left was to head back home. After saying our goodbyes to Anastassia and her family as well as our new friends Miha and Ira we were left to wait around in an eerily deserted Pulkovo airport until the time of our flight reflecting on the crazy time we'd had over the weekend.
Thanks to Johnny Pepper for setting this show up for us, Anastassia and family for their hospitality, Miha and Ira for making us laugh all weekend and everybody who came out on the night for making it such a special show. We hope to be back soon. And thanks to you for checking out our first blog post. We'll be updating it soon with stories from on the road around the UK and Europe as well as updates on the new album as it comes together. Cheers.
See you in the pit!
Johnny - Speed Kings