6pm: Sitting backstage at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. We just finished our soundcheck, which started off well, with me playing eighties metal riffs quietly. But then it just ended up being annoying, like a lot of soundchecks. I'm feeling really sad about this being the last show of the tour. Tonight I really want to see Sabbath play War Pigs, the first song of their set. But I don't want to miss dinner from catering. They usually close it at about 8.30. But I've only seen them play War Pigs once, because usually I'm stuffing my face with free food in catering. And on that note, I've probably put on 5kg over the course of this tour. Ozzy walked past Tom before their sound check today and said, "I'm getting fucking fat from all this Australian food". He's actually looking pretty good, compared to my gut. I have no self control when I'm on the road. Years ago, it used to be alcohol and falling asleep in bars, but now it's chocolate, yogurt, and all the free food backstage.
That's a whole lotta bass...
8.50pm: Now I'm having a full on come down. A, "sad about it being the last show" come down, combined with a full on sugar rush come down from that huge desert plate I just had. I've been giving Dave, our sound guy, a hard time. He likes to keep us abreast of all the interesting internet news. Mostly science, health, politics and general life comedy. I said he should have TV channel called DNN, and a news ticker that goes around his head like a headband, with all his headlines on it. He's likes a good old wag of the chin. I hate talking.
11.20pm: Just found out that we're going to reconvene at the end of this mouth to continue jamming and writing for our next record. So I'm not sad now. Just a lucky little bogan.
As a Sabbath fan, Tuesday afternoon in Adelaide is everything I wish it to be and more. I'd been trying to pluck up the courage to ask Geezer for a photograph since day 1 of the tour and as it was the last show I just had to do it. As we arrived I saw him chilling out backstage in his dressing room and thought fuck it, might as well give it a go. So after 30 minutes of procrastinating I went over, explained who I was, to which he replied 'I know who you are and of course you can have a photo'. Turns out he's absolutely lovely, from a similar background from my parents and instantly reminds me of one of my uncles (which puts me right at ease).
Jon mustered up the courage to take a snap with his idols...
We talk about rock'n'roll, getting older (he's 63 and looks in great shape which gives me heart!) and the fact that his nephew was quite jealous of the fact he was on tour with Shihad as he had all our albums. Karl, Shihad's bass player, joins in and I can tell he's buzzing out just as much as I am! While this is going on Ozzy's tottering around, looking for something to do and listening to Frank Sinatra's version of My Way really loud. Then, just as I think things couldn't get any cooler, Tony Iommi comes over, introduces himself and tell's me how much he's enjoyed watching our band. I don't care if he was just being polite - that fucking ruled! This guy wrote the riffs to Paranoid, War Pigs, Electric Funeral, Black Sabbath, Symptom of the Universe, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and on and on and on....
Like a fanboy, I ask him about his guitars, his amp set up, and tell him how awesome it is to be on tour with them. He was great. Very cool, laid back and engaging. Then it was time for them to do soundcheck so we said thanks and ran back to our backstage room and jumped up and down like 2 kids getting everything they wanted for christmas. It was magic.
Dear Black Sabbath,
Thanks for having us on tour. You and you're crew fricken ruled!
If you end up with shit support bands on your travels, we'd be happy to fill in. Thank you Ozzy, Tony and Geezer.
Now it's Karl's turn with Geezer and Tony...
So that was the end of that. I'm bummed - really.
Touring with Sabbath was one of the absolute highlights of my life - not only because the band has been so pivotal to our musical genetic makeup but also because we were treated so well by Sabbath and their team.
Funnily enough we have notched up quite a few of these support tours over the years and in every instance who the band are, and the people they surround themselves with is reflected in every aspect of how the show runs. Like some people claim a society can be judged by how it chooses to treat its weakest members - I believe a large successful touring act can be judged by how it treats its opening act.
Tom's family ain't scared of Ozzy - ok, the baby looks a little worried!
To that end Sabbath are an advanced people - friendly, helpful and warm - no matter how much a band means to me musically - it's that kind of interaction that really shows the true humanity of the band and stays as the memory I'll take forward.
With any act that is so prolific it's easy to get a sense of who we think they are from the band's past or general media silliness but when it comes down to it - Ozzy, Tony and Geezer and their entire crew and team are straight up good cunts, and that leaks into how easygoing and enjoyable an average day on tour with them is for us.
I am going to miss this for a long long time to come.
Thanks for the memories!
Veterans lead this week's releases with new albums from Tim Rogers & The Bamboos (Album Of The Week) and Daniel Johns plus albums from Ella Thompson, The Vaccines and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.