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Backstage with Baldy

Graspop – June 29th

Any festival with the word metal in its name is bound to pack a punch.

And with a line-up that included Black Sabbath, Soundgarden, Rob Zombie, Anthrax, and Alice In Chains, there was a lot of punching going on at the Graspop Metal Meeting in Dessel, Belgium.

Here’s the problem though; when your production office and dressing room are in a compound located behind the stage, and the walls of that compound consist of some kind of fiberglass/sheet metal concoction, anytime a band is playing, your ears are getting absolutely bombarded. But it’s not just your ears. Your whole body feels the rumbling coming from the stage and the constant vibrating of the walls.

I don’t know what forms of torture the United States uses to extract information from enemy combatants, but I was ready to give up my bank account numbers and sign away the deed to my house to anyone who could make the anguish stop after I’d been there about 5 minutes.

Fortunately we got to share our pain with our good friends in Soundgarden, who were located directly across the hall from us.

It was great to see those guys again.

I had the good fortune of working for Soundgarden for several years back in the early  and mid 90’s, and it’s been awesome to have them back on the scene again.

We stuck around and watched them after Alice’s set, and they’re as great as ever.

A bunch of us also watched part of some World Cup action in catering during the day.

It’s kind of interesting that we’ve been in Europe for the last three World Cups.

Actually that’s not interesting at all. It’s just the way touring works sometimes.

But the fact remains that we were here in ’06, again in ’10, and now we’re back in 2014.

And each time we manage to pass through some countries that are competing in it, and it’s fun to watch the locals go nuts.

It was a perfect opportunity for Jerry to address the topic from the stage, seeing as how the United States plays Belgium on Tuesday.

I would think that most musicians who get up on a stage enjoy the positive affirmation of applause and cheers, but a man like Cantrell doesn’t have a problem with being booed if he’s in the proper mood.

So he stepped to the mic and proceeded to tell the good folks of Belgium that “America is going to kick your asses on Tuesday.”

Then he stepped back to let the boos rain down.

But it wasn’t that bad. From where I was, I only heard a smattering of boos and jeers, along with a few Belgians using the incorrect finger to indicate that their squad was number 1.

It didn’t take long to get everyone back on their side however, as the band launched into an intense version of Nutshell and headed down the home stretch.

But by then I got kind of preoccupied watching a guy in a horse head mask attempting to drink beer through it, so I wasn’t paying full attention to the rest of the show.

You gotta love European metal festivals…

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