I decided to make an intentional vague blog title about being a tour photographer in Europe because I think I already have seven A Day To Remember festival blogs. This is another one, same band, different images.
My goal is that one day my photographs will not matter who they are of, just that they are photographs. I know that for some, well actually let me rephrase – I know that for most – who is just as important, but for me it is not. I mean I love A Day To Remember, and if it wasn’t them on the other side of the camera we couldn’t make what we do. My point is I want to get to a place where my photography is viewed as art. Not just “hey yo I photographed Kanye, think I am cool”
This tour went June 6th to July 3rd. That is almost a month. It was rad. Here is what happened in word and photo form.
If you are changing your seat on flight so that you can have a whole aisle to yourself, do not change to the front row of any section – the arm rests do not raise and you will not be able to lay out.
We flew into Switzerland, early, and intentionally early. We love Greenfield. It is about a errr two or three hour drive from the airport. Then you are in the mountains. If you had read my blogs before you will recall we went canyoning last time we were here.
Alex and I used to share a hotel room – intentionally. Well we did for 92% of this tour, until a few days from the end Alex decided to solo up. I didn’t take it personally. He told me I woke up too early for him. I understand – that is kind of my job. I have to edit at some point! I
June 7th – Interlaken, Switzerland
It just occurred to my while making this blog. I go through each photo – there are about 160 – and each day and all of its notes and piece everything together one by one. You can’t short cut these blogs. I know that the quantity of work doesn’t directly justify the appreciation of it – but I hope you appreciate it. I love that some people still read my words. Makes me really happy. That day was good. That night was nice. The next morning I went running with Marvin, it was so nice out.
We impulsively went on a helicopter ride. It was scary, awesome – but also very scary. There was the reoccurring alert in our headset that kept going off every few seconds and saying something like *obstacle close* – quite unsettling. In the USA if you want to get in a helicopter (I am assuming) you have to sign some waivers, learn some safety, then you go up and fly around. In Europe, you arrive, give them your money, hop in – and you are off before you have time to process what the heck is going on.
We went on a bike ride, electric bike. I have never been on a an electric bike. I guess the best way to describe it is think of the pedals just like they are the controller to where your bike goes. Pedal forward and your bike moves forward. It is almost effortless with the exception of balancing on the off-road tracks we cruised around on. I tried to pick the stopping points that looked the most beautiful. We had been to a few of these spots before. I was the tour guide/dude with a map – I like doing that, it’s rewarding to know you are helping people you care about.
Do you appreciate my humor. I will be a dad before you know it. We took a pit stop at a shop by some camp grounds on the water. We have been to this area before. I made sure to take some more group images.
That night we got some food. Josh and I took a walk. I grabbed this image with my iPhone I like all too much. But I love laying out images like this. It involved standing in the street for too long.
June 8th – Greenfield Festival in Interlaken, Switzerland
The next morning I woke up at 5:40 – breakfast by 6:30 – where I happily feasted for two hours while editing photos. Then I went for a run with Marvin, we did a 5k with the mountains and it was beautiful. I ate breakfast again at 9:30. First concert! Greenfield festival.
It was a short ride to the grounds, maybe 10 minutes. There were a lot of friends at the fest.
I was trying to figure out my triggered camera for Download. I mean I know how to do it, but it is good to practice.
There were a lot of good friends at the concert that night. Good to catch up. Good to hang out. In my notes it said I passed out really hard. So I guess I was tired.
June 9th – Switzerland to Birmingham
We had a travel day. Which means wherever we are going in the UK is really far from Switzerland so we have to take a whole day just to drive. I honestly wake up like six hours before the band, and a few hours before most of the crew. Brian… Bryan? I am not sure – but he wakes up about the same time as me. He was always sending so many emails on his iPad with an attachable keyboard. We all thought we were taking a ferry. You know, to cross the water. But we took the Chunnel.
The Chunnel is a underwater train you drive your vehicle on to. It is weird – but it is so fast, it’s wild. Imagine the walls breaking and the bus filling with water. What a wild concept. It would be so insane I don’t think my brain would be able to process it. Once again we have entered a dark space, an interesting space – but dark. Let’s move on. We took the Chunnel. We watched Django on the bus. I have to wear earplugs when we watch movies because in some areas it can get so loud. I don’t really like loud.
We were staying at this hotel in Birmingham where we have stayed a few times before. It has a nice gym. I worked out and then hot tubbed/ pooled with a few of the other guys. Late night that night we got some Indian food and I had three social beers. This is a new thing for me. I don’t really drink much. Bed by three .
June 10th – Download Festival in Derby, United Kingdom
Up by seven, gym for an easy workout. I was pretty exhausted from traveling and didn’t feel quite right yet. I rode with the crew to the venue and walked around on stage to check it out. I was immediately stopped and told not to take any photos. I always have my camera on me but when I am in an area where I have nothing to photograph I turn it upside down and tuck it under my armpit.
My hope is that most people can read this body language and understand I don’t have any intentions to shoot in the area I am in. However, from the point of view of the stage manager who stopped me – I am assuming most photographers are not this respectful, or maybe just one isn’t, and has photographed something they shouldn’t have without permission. Anyway I reassured they I wouldn’t be and all was good.
I took advantage of being at the venue early to scope out some different spots I could shoot from and test out my practice camera. Unfortunately the front of house area was too far from stage to fire a remote. So it would only fire if I was closer to stage. I can work with that. I ended up getting my good friend Sammy to fire the remote for me while standing side stage. So I guess all of my fisheye photos are actually by Sammy! Legend of a friend.
Their pyro queues changed on the fly… and did not match my set list. I had planned my shot order and location based on when the pyro was – you know so I could capture some big looking images. So this was slightly problematic. The solution was simple. Run all over, really quickly. A security guard yelled at me *you must be really fit* …. I must’ve fooled him with my efforts. Not quite as fit as I would like, but determined I am.
Download was a long day. I was so happy to fall asleep in my bunk that night.
June 11th – Day Off – Frankfurt
I did some gym stuff, and some hotel stuff, and after doing all of the stuff I met up with two of the guys at a local food festival. I was trying to decide if I wanted to eat – so I went up to the guy making the hot dogs or brats or sausages – whatever the correct term is, he was making it. Oh yea it was a Croatian festival! Anyway his response to me asking what type of meat he was cooking – was to make me it, and then give it to me, and then charge me. I guess I am eating said meat. It was great.
They had all of these fresh toppings I slathered on graciously. I thought the red sauce was ketchup, but it was actually tartar sauce and that kind of ruined the whole thing but I did my best. After that we walked to this falafel place close by. Well, it was like a 25 min walk, maybe 15 if we didn’t get lost and have to jump a few fences.
Falafel was amazing. Probably my favorite meal if made correctly. Anyway I try to split my time evenly… or rather as actively as possible between the five members of the band. So whoever is doing the most interesting activity, I’ll be with them. After my second dinner I met up with two of the other dudes for my third dinner at Vapiano’s – one of our most favorite chains in Europe. Consistent and relatively healthy assuming you order a salad/noodle dish and not a pizza. I was so full.
That night we tried to secure a conference room but the hotel said none were available. I wandered around a bit until I found some doors that were not locked and there we had it a nice big conference room with a projector. We played some games on our laptops – I think there were 4 of us and put on the wonderful Batman Lego Movie. At about 3:00am some very confused hotel staff found us watching the Lego movie and they weren’t too happy so we promptly apologized and left. For what it’s worth we didn’t mess up the room at all, we were very respectful – we just wanted to watch a movie and chill.
June 12th – Show Day With Blink-182 in Frankfurt
This was our first of many shows with Blink-182. We would bounce back and forth between festivals and arena shows with them for the next three weeks or so. Generally speaking the shows with them would be very relaxed and the festivals not so much. We arrived at the venue and I loaded my gear in. It was nice to see the Blink-182 guys.
I only know two of them, not Matt Skiba. I met him later this tour but didn’t know him at this point. I spoke with Travis for a bit and he told me I should take the boat next time from USA to Europe and I tried to imagine it in my head and think of it in a positive way but I can barely handle 30 minutes in a bathtub – I can’t imagine being on a boat for a week. Travis doesn’t fly due to his accident years ago – just to help this make sense to you guys who might not know.
I walked with the ADTR guys to Chipotle and then we were promptly locked out of the venue haha. I scaled a wall and no one else could do it. I find validation in small things like this – does it make me a bad guy? Is validation the correct word for how I feel? Probably not. But I like doing things like climbing walls to help my friends out. I found some security and got the guys inside the venue.
Shooting ADTR set was good – this was our first arena show, so a bit different than the festivals. A bit more difficult too. I was pretty overwhelmed that night. I addressed the issue after and decided I would refocus by using less lenses the next day. Too much swapping, not enough shooting.
If you can get all 5 members in one shot (or in this case 5, stitched together) and have the photo not be boring – that is a big plus. I like this.
Good day. Good night.
June 13th – Oberhausen, Germany
Show day with Blink-182. Started teaching Jeremy Magic The Gathering. I worked out and did Insanity with Josh…. maybe Neil too? Anyway I didn’t get any live photos I liked that night. More work to do, trying to hammer out my style, improve my content, and get my job done. It is a balancing act to say the least.
June 14th – Off Day (or Day Off?) in Vienna, Austria
I woke up a few hours… maybe 4 hours? Before we arrived. This gave me time to write notes down for this blog, edit images and get my mind right. It was an off day, but I still have work to do. I always have work to do.
I love Vienna. It is beautiful and very good for walking around. So that was what we did. We went for a walk and found this amazing Middle Eastern place. I forgot the name but the broccoli was delicious. Back to the hotel where we took full advantage of the sauna/steam room and pool. You must relax when you can relax so that when you can’t relax you are relaxed from relaxing when you were able to.
We got some food at the hotel bar. Then hung out there for the rest of the night. It is just how it kind of happened. I don’t really drink, but I did that night. I ended up drinking what I would argue is too much and what others would normally consider just enough.
We did meet this guy outside the hotel who works at the hotel. Actually he owned it. Or managed it – whatever he did he told us he worked 20 hours a day, seven days a week. He did not like sleeping. I asked him how he did that. He told me he worked on a cruise ship for 33 years and it was all he knew. Badass. I don’t know how that effects someone’s mind and soul but if it works for you. Get it.
Now that we are on the topic of not sleeping – I think my night ended at about 5:00am but I can’t recall. I went with the bartenders from the hotel to a nearby bar after they got off work. I asked Josh for advice on how to not get more drunk without being rude – he said just have beer. Fair play, good call. So we get to the bar and I am in luck because all they do not serve beer. Sigh. Goodbye recollection. I feel bad that I am talking about being drunk. But I do not do it much. I just never want to feel like I am promoting it as I realize some of you might be rather young reading this. Be responsible!
June 15th – Nova Rock Festival in Pannonia Fields II, Austria
We have done this festival before. I think the band has done it twice. I was with them once for it. It is in the middle of a field in Austria. The name is not – just a name. It is a reality. Today hurt. Due to yesterday. Off to a slow start. The venue was hot. Alex and I flew his drone around. Architects arrived late to the venue but still played an amazing set.
Good Charlotte was a blast from the past. Everyone knows all the lyrics to the jams. I try to meet up with photographers. It is very difficult. I mean, outside my comfort zone. I pushed to do it this day and it was so rewarding, I met some super kind people. Please say hi if you ever see me. Assuming I am not in the middle of shooting, I will always make time.
June 16th – Munich, Germany
I didn’t really get any photos I like from this show. The show was amazing though I do remember this. But here is my favorite kind of photo of myself. I also ate a lot of food.
Just 17th – Graspop Metal Meeting in Dessel, Belgium
Today was easy. I like this festival. The backstage is set up perfectly. The days that are hardest on tour can be the ones where your basic needs are not met. Most importantly food and water… and then as the band grows, more is expected. So a nice place to hang out, showers, clean bathroom etc. This festival has it all, and that means that people can focus on their job and not on other things.
June 18th – Hellfest Open Air in Clisson, France
I am getting pickier and pickier with the photos that I do like. Part of becoming a better photographer is simply choosing the better – so that is where I am at. Or at least I am at the point where I feel like that is how you become a better photographer. Hmmmm. That being said – another day, another set of live photos I do not think are blog-worthy. Don’t get me wrong I get the job done – and the client was happy, or at least they didn’t complain.
They changed the venue setup this year so that the backstage was considerably more comfortable for most of the day, They also got rid of the whole *hey we have a giant dead shark at catering next to your salad options* part as well. I think I am okay with these changes. They had some great food. I met the new singer of Five Finger Death Punch, or fill-in singer. Not sure their situation. But we decided on what to have for desserts together. He was a ripped body builder guy telling me about his diet and I was just trying to figure out which donut did not have cream inside. I do not like the cream filling.
After the show I watched Every Time I Die and Linkin Park. I usually wouldn’t but some friends from the area insisted. Sadly last time ever seeing LP live. I sang my heart out though. Those songs, even 15 years later – are still the jams. RIP Chester. Thanks for being my best friend when I was a teenager.
June 19th – Day Off in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
We have been here twice. Once before at the same hotel. I know I skim over a lot of things but that is just because what isn’t normal to most, becomes normal to me, and then I think it isn’t interesting to explain anymore and move on to what is new to me. But just know that every morning I am editing images for at least an hour before anyone is awake. Well you do not have to know that. But if you want to better understand my day, you can.
I got a new white shirt that day. <$10 at H&M across the street from the hotel. I remember this conversation I had with Rian from All Time Low. I liked how deeply he analyzed such a simple remark. It honestly changed my life. I told him about something new I had purchased paired with how good of a deal it was. For example – new pair of pants, they were on sale – 50% off! Something like that. He responded with why do people feel the need to tell everyone how much they paid or saved for whatever they got. I love it. I try to stop and think about why I say the things I say now. Like this whole paragraph – should I have even said it? Anyway.
I got a white shirt. We walked around the city, rented bikes, and then proceeded to bike around the city. Our adventures consisted of trying to do some sick six inch jumps in a nearby park and riding down the streets looking at all the building that had more years on them then all of our ages combined.
Everyone keeps getting these Adidas shoes. It’s wild – and expensive. I never got any – I almost did that day but then I thought to myself. Why? My mom works at a shoe store so I always get a hook up and whatever I get is usually weird and I like it that way. Were we supposed to lock our bikes? Do people steal bikes here. I wasn’t sure.
That night I gamed in the lobby heavy with Jeremy, Josh, and Neil. There was a vending machine with beers in the lobby of hour hotel. It ran out of beer… not sure who drank them all. I might have a hunch. I think we were in the lobby until 5:00am.
June 20th – Show Day in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
I woke up and went to the gym. I failed. I didn’t gym. Some days, are some days. I was feeling a bit shit from all the food I was eating so I went to a nearby grocery store, got some lettuce, got some olive oil, a lemon, and some apples. I went back to the hotel and made the most delicious salad. I felt great after. The venue was close by. We had a driver to and from the show and it was an easy one. Nothing too notable happened that day. Just hanging out in Luxembourg. We gamed hard at night.
June 21st – Luxembourg City to Madrid, Spain
I had another salad. I learned that you have to scan one of your receipts at the exit, in order to exit. I learned this by first trying to exit and it was not working the day before, but today – I got it. I felt like a pro too because in Europe, well notable the Netherlands in the past I had gone grocery shopping and you have to weigh your own fruits/veggies, then print out a barcode and pay for ’em. This is different than in the USA.
Again I felt so much better after eating the salad. Inspired even. We had to fly out that day and pack a small bag to take with us. So I just brought my backpack with a few lenses, a camera, and a change of clothes.
We were staying at a wild hotel in Madrid. It was new looking in same ways, but I could tell it was very old on the inside. For example the floors design was crazy, but there would be dust in areas that hadn’t been clean in forever. A few other things were weird about the place. For example their gym was inside one of their clubs. Their stream room electrocuted me. Just random things here and there.
That night we went for a walk to a restaurant we found on Trip Advisor. It was amazing. I love walking around the streets of other countries. Madrid was really pretty, and very different from the United States. It was perfect temperature out and I was with my best friends…. also we had just the right amount of wine. No complaints from me. We gamed again that night. My necromancer is great at corpse explosion.
June 22nd – Download Festival Madrid
I was inspired that morning. I think the healthier eating combined with working out in the morning put me on a good path. It is easy to feel lost when you are your own leader – but you never really are. Oh snap it was hot out. We headed to the show later that day. We got there earlier so we could watch the band Code Orange. They are something else live. Heavy, sluggish, metal. I don’t know enough about genres to properly describe them so maybe just take a listen for yourself.
I love daytime festivals. The time of day greatly determines what kind of images I shoot during the set. My goal for today was a nice big crowd shot. There was VIP area to the right of the stage that wasn’t full, so I had to work around that a bit.
We had dinner at a very local, friendly, and kind paella place and it was one of my favorite dinners I have ever had. The paella was amazing, don’t get me wrong. But I love all the little tasting appetizers and flavors we had before the meal. A lot of meats, cheeses, vegetables, and some salmon thing. I was so overwhelmed and satisfied simultaneously what an amazing restaurant. They even gave us a tour of the kitchen!!
All the Ubers were Teslas in Madrid. Down.
June 23rd – Off Day In Hamburg, Germany
Oh boy. Do I have a story for you. We arrived at the hotel in the afternoon. I had some food and then worked out in the gym with Neil. Afterwards we hit the sauna and cold dip. What you do is you go in the hot sauna and then afterwords you go in the cold dip and it’s like a workout for your bloodstream. It feels amazing. Anyway if you are reading this and from the USA it is probably the first time you have heard of it. Like me. I have done it before… but evidently never correctly. I am all about learning other cultures! I do my absolute best and enjoy it too. Anyway I did sauna and then cold dip. Only I didn’t shower in between. Which is a big no go, or so I learned very soon. I just liked doing the hot to cold really fast, I didn’t really think having sweat on you was an issue. I mean you sweat constantly in a pool while you swim. SO my common sense just said it wasn’t an issue. I was wrong haha.
An older lady, well, maybe like 40? Followed me out of the sauna and started yelling at me. It was for a full two minutes, maybe three – but she only said a few words over and over, just rearranging their placement but essentially saying the exact same thing. “You are fucking disgusting this so bad you need to do it like we do in Europe, I can’t believe you I am telling management you are fucking disgusting”. I just sat in the cold dip (it’s below floor level) looking up at her yelling at me. I said sorry after the first sentence but then she just kept going.
While she was yelling at me she showered, jumped in the cold dip with and hopped out, then showered again and left. Keep in mind she was naked the whole time so this was definitely an experience I had never experienced and probably will never (hopefully) experience again.
I felt kind of bad, I mean I would happily correct my technique next time, but what can I do at this point other than say sorry? I think she went a bit over the top in how she handled it but I understand her frustration. At the end of her yelling fit I just remember Neil peeking out from the corner with the *what the hell is happening* look on his face. It was at that point I realized I had been in the water for almost three minutes and my body was frozen. I took a hot shower and my insides were still cold. Cold water felt warm from the shower my body was so cold haha. That’s my whole story.
We had an amazing meal at the hotel that night and then gamed some more. I felt so sick that night, it happens when I work out a bit too hard and exhaust my body. I went to sleep and woke up an hour later to someone throwing Swedish fish at my face. I hung out with them for a bit then went back to bed. I was so out of it.
June 24th – Hurricane Festival in Germany
There was this girl at breakfast at the hotel. She looked so familiar. I swear I have met her before. She was working and came up to me while I was eating and said – “are we going to see this on YouTube?”. I had no idea how to respond, mostly because I didn’t quite understand what she was asking. See what? I can barely see right now it is so early I thought to myself. She clarified that she was a fan and she watched my YouTube. I told her no, I don’t do YouTube too much.
It’s hard for me, it’s not natural and actually quite stressful to record while on the go. I get into zones that allow me to focus and vlogging pulls me out of them. I try to only record with intention and direction as I have found that is what works best for me. She was nice, but man that really confused my mind so early in the morning haha. Well. This is where my notes end. So everything else I write about will have to be from memory. Sometimes I just stop writing notes. Tour isn’t easy on me.
To the venue! Our drive wasn’t that bad, hour or so in a sprinter? But man it was rainy, however we had beautiful light in our dressing room.
We celebrated my birthday that night. It was the next day.
June 25th – Southside Festival in Germany
I ate 7 times this day. I also did my laundry. Catering was right above the artist area. It was so good. I am not exaggerating. I usually eat on my own then eat again with the band and they don’t always all eat at once so I just bounce up every time someone is eating. I walked around the festival with Kevin. We saw some weird drunk youth of Germany activities. Such as piling themselves on top of each other and holding another friend upside down so their legs were by their face. It was rad. We watched Lorde, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. Jeremy liked one song by them so we stayed until they played it. We also saw Halsey, she is good live.
The show was great. I mean they played well…. but mostly I was just happy we had a sunset set time… sunset with smoke on stage is an insane combination. It is almost like shooting on a movie set. Okay not quite that nice, but it is awesome.
I shoot Blink-182 when I can. Their techs are very kind to me and let me invade their space to get some shots.
After Blink-182’s set we went back to the dressing room and hung out for a bit before leaving. Mike from Linkin Park stopped by and said hello. We could hear Chester warming up from our dressing room. He had an interesting routine.
June 26th – Rotterdam, Netherlands
Well. It was a good day. They had a fresh orange juice machine in catering. I visited it hourly. SWMRS hopped on the tour that day… well they were on the last two shows. I like their band a lot but I didn’t really get any good shots of them. I wish. I always feel like a let down when I see a band I am homies with, photograph their set – and don’t have anything to give them. I just try not to put out sub par work and, well yea – that is exactly what that is.
June 27th – Off Day in Copenhagen, Denmark
Last time we were in Copenhagen we went to this market on the water. This time, we went again. It did not disappoint and this is one of the most consistently beautiful cities I have visited in my short life.
We adventured all day. We went to a park that was more like a long walkway area that covered a few city blocks. Each piece of the park was from a different part of the world. Imported and implanted into a giant public area.
We ordered a cab from this legend of a shawarma spot to end our night. The guy came up, honked at us, yelled at us and told us to hurry up. So we told him to leave. I have ridden in enough cabs to know that if it starts sketchy, it is not going to get any better. He said some more mean things before driving of. The owner of the restaurant was so kind. I loved how much pride he had in his food.
June 28th – Roskilde Festival in Denmark
The bus picked us up from the hotel and we went to the venue. We watched G-Eazy that day, he kills it.
June 29th – Berlin, Germany
That morning I met up with my friend Viktor Schanz. I met him a few years ago at Rock im Ring in Germany as he asked to take a portrait of me. He was nice enough to pick me up from the venue, drive me to his studio and even had some breakfast food! It was awesome. We took turns photographing each other with different cameras/lenses/backdrops. It was really fun and a good break from dressing room and bus life which becomes quite numbing after a few weeks.
Travis Barker’s daughter, Alabama (or Bama for short) was nice enough to let me use her newly purchased make up ring light for some portraits. She also got a camera so I let her use my lens. It was pretty funny watching a 10 or 11 year old person walk around with a 10 pound weight on their Canon Rebel series camera. I was trying out my new camera on these.
June 30th – Berlin, Germany => to a small city somewhere in Germany
We just drove, and ate food. I was ready for tour to be over at this point haha. Long run.
July 1st – Vainstream Rockfest in Munster, Germany
This was the last day of tour. It was basically a party with all of our good friends. Bands we have known for close to ten years, all in the same spot.