Sick Of It All Tour Manager takes airline to task

31 March 2016 | 12:00 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Touring is a stressful time for most bands. Cancelled flights, broken down vans, shady venue guarantees, the bane of being a professional musician on the road is nothing new. However, it's still bloody inconvenient when issues do arise.

Touring is a stressful time for most bands. Cancelled flights, broken down vans, shady venue guarantees, the bane of being a professional musician on the road is nothing new. However, it's still bloody inconvenient when issues do arise.

Sick Of It All, unfortunately, are the latest band to experience a tedious saga when their guitar tech's bag was lost during a recent layover in Europe.

Subsequently, the band's Tour Manager has issued a lengthy (and quite humorous, the statement, not the situation) account of the experience, which you can read in its entirety below:

Here a message from our tour manager on the KLM saga. It's long but funny!

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The Sad, Sorry saga of how bad KLM suck…

I'm a tour manager. I deal with other people's shit on a daily basis. I track down socks at 8.15pm in Budapest, I guinea pig terrible catering of all descriptions to test if it's vegan, I've even been known to clean a bathroom or two. SO on my most recent tour of Europe with Sick of it All, one such situation which required my attention arose; a lost bag. Jonty, our guitar tech's bag to be precise, which was lost somewhere during a layover in Amsterdam, on the way to Frankfurt Airport. What follows, I assure you, is all true, and as stupid and sad as it sounds.

Day 1: The Fly In (02/03/2016)

So we all arrive at staggered intervals, tired as hell into Frankfurt airport. Jonty's the last to arrive, with the mind numbingly incompetent news that KLM has lost his bag. The groans erupt around the party, but the news is not all bad. KLM have said they will deliver the bag to our first show in Weinheim, Germany. For those with poor German geography skills, Weinheim is 73km away from Frankfurt airport, an approximately a 90 minute drive by car. So we head to Wurzburg to pick up the back-line, and prepare for the tour. I phone the baggage claim line to get assurances that the bag will indeed arrive the following day in Weinheim. “No problem” they said. “It's easy” they said. And so it begins…

Jonty's underwear comments: “Not the freshest, but I've gone for longer at home”

My phone-bill: £3.08

Day 2: Weinheim, and the “it's on it's way” excuse used by taxi companies the world over (03/03/2016)

First show, the day is filled with optimism and I've got to track down a chiropractor. Yet more phone-calls to the baggage claim line ensue. I warn them that we're in Weinheim until 3.00am, and then we move on to Munich. “No problem” they said. “It's on it's way” they said. So Jonty has no tools, and he is now on day two without fresh underwear. But the show must go on, right? Fresh underwear or not. The day clanks along, I find a chiropractor, but still no bag. I phone the baggage claim line. After listening to the same, badly written script that I have been fed on previous phone-calls, the doubt begins to set in. “It's on it's way” they said. The phone-line closes in 20 minutes, so I have to leave it up to the gods. Bus call closes in, and the realisation that KLM have been feeding us a crock of shit dawns on us. I vow revenge and retire to my bunk, having been up for 17 hours straight.

Jonty's underwear comments: “They're not feeling too fresh pal, if I'm honest”

My phone-bill: £6.51

Day 3: The rude awakening and the acceptance of idiocy (04/03/2016)

Remember when I said I'd been up for 17 hours? Well a phone-call in broken English from a delivery driver at 8.20am telling me he is outside the venue we played YESTERDAY wasn't exactly the alarm I needed. After a brief period of hushed yelling in my bunk, I fired up the coffee machine and proceeded to carefully plan how to be as angry as possible to KLMs baggage claim line without using the words 'fuck' or 'cunt'. After miraculously managing to keep my cool, and listening to the exact same, shitty script that I had been subjected to on phone-calls previously, myself and Jonty both realised that these morons couldn't cope with getting a bag delivered inside 24 hours, and gave them a full 48 to get the bag delivered to Stuttgart the next day. Our show in Munich was great by the way, thanks for asking.

Jonty's underwear comments: “There's something growing down there...”

My phone-bill: £8.19

Day 4: Even Gary Busey can't save us… (05/03/2016)

Stuttgart today, and I am greeted by a tastefully framed picture of Gary Busey, that I asked for on the rider. The brief euphoria is replaced my a sense of foreboding, as, when I look into his batshit crazy eyes, I can see in his eyes that even he is aware of the monumental fuck up that is about to occur. I nervously phone KLM again. I start to talk along with the young lady on the phone, simultaneously reading the fucking script that I've now nearly memorised. “It's on it's way” she said. I laugh, she laughs, I die a little inside. I phone just before 10pm, when the baggage claim line closes, again having to go through the script that I now rudely try to circumvent in attempt to get to the point. “It's on...”, I let out a primordial groan in frustration, cutting her off. Bus call rolls up, no bag. I consider suicide. We even attempt to go to Stuttgart airport at 4am to personally collect the bag, but everything is closed. Me and Jonty stay up drinking whiskey in frustration. I was to discover the next day that this was not one of my better moves.

Jonty's underwear comments: “I've had to turn them inside out”

My phone-bill: £12.03

Day 5: Swiss tease (05/03/2016)

Zurich, Switzerland. Another pre-wake up phone-call. I don't even answer, I'm too brutally hungover to be articulate. I know it's another fabulously pleased with himself delivery driver, expecting a pat on the back for arriving with a bag at a venue we are now 217km away from. I phone the baggage claim line. I plead with them not to subject me to 'the script' but my attempts are futile. I angrily tell them to get the bag to Zurich airport at all costs and LEAVE IT THERE. They sheepishly comply with my demand, and I retire back to my bunk, head pounding and gritting my teeth. After a period of lying there in a fantasy of my own making where I ride into KLM headquarters on the back of a white steed, armed with a super soaker full of piss, I decide to get up and face the world. KLM phone me back, giving me a flight number that the bag is being placed on. For the first time, we know exactly where the bag is. I am elated. This is possibly the best day of my life, even better than when I got an astronaut Action Man for my 10th birthday. I give Jonty the good news. He smiles, whilst uncomfortably scratching his crotch. The promoter even kindly agrees to go to the airport to pick the bag up for us. Could it be? Is the nightmare over? Has the hard work paid off? Of course not, don't be so fucking naive. The promoter returns empty handed because the fuck-wits at baggage claim sent it out for delivery. So now I have another delivery driver who is going to phone me at god knows what time tomorrow morning, just for me to completely go insane, throw my phone over a wall and hide in a corner, cradling a piece of my own shit in my hand that I have named Duncan.

Jonty's underwear comments: “I think there's something alive down there...”

My phone-bill: Definitely millions of pounds, definitely.

Day 5,6,7,8&9: Acceptance (07-11/03/2016)

Of course, I am awoken by a Zurich based phone number, which I ignore in favour of watching a video on my phone of a cat being frightened by a cucumber. It's strangely relaxing, yet a poignant reminder of the insanity I have found myself in. This has become my Apocalypse Now. A maddening quest into the darkest heart of the incompetent maze that is KLMs baggage claim department. The band are now up in arms, bashing the company on Twitter, Facebook et al. Suddenly my phone springs into life. Phone-calls from the social media department. Unreservedly apologising, calling me “Sir” every other sentence. It's all lies. They want me to feel safe and warm in their snuggly world of bullshit they're trying to create around me. By this time Jonty has reverted into a full northern Englishman and proceeded to take the nose-spite-face despondency that has him eloquently asking me to “fuck it, just get it sent home”. After talking him round, we decide to get it sent to Leipzig in Germany, to a friend's hotel, a full 6 days away on the tour schedule. Jonty buys new underwear, his old ones are burned in a pit somewhere at least a mile downwind. We spend the next few days placing bets amongst ourselves at how KLM could fuck even this time-scale up, and cursing them at every available opportunity. We have a lovely day off in Ljubljana in Slovenia, where Jonty buys new jeans, as the ones he has been wearing for the last week had developed sentience, and had begun to wander around the bus of their own accord during the night.

Jonty's underwear comments: “I'd forgottenwhat clean underwear felt like”

My phone-bill: Comparable to the defence spending of North Korea

Day 10: D-Day Early…

Well, KLM, you even managed to cock that up. After explicit instruction to have it delivered to our friends hotel on the 10th, not a second earlier, you delivered it on the 9th. Meaning someone we didn't know, in a hotel of already questionable reputation and security (an A&O hostel) had to hold our bag for a whole day. Luckily, they flew in the face of the general incompetence we'd previously encountered by anyone who had touched that bag previously, and held on to it, and also passed it to our friends without incident. The bag arrives with our friends, bow attached, by them, not KLM, the uncaring bastards. At least that could have momentarily alleviated the universal Hitler-esque hate that all concerned with the band now fostered towards KLM. Was our ordeal finally over? Could I now sleep without a gum-shield? Had I finally confronted my Colonel Kurtz? It seemed so, but my relief is only temporary…

Jonty's underwear comments: “Old underwear feels like home”

My phone-bill: US national debt levels

The Aftermath

So upon returning home, tired and a lot filthier. Myself and Jonty hatch our plan for compensation. New underwear and jeans need to be reimbursed, and my phone-bill is going to have to be delivered in three separate mail trucks. Not to mention the intricate dental work I now need from grinding my teeth down to powdery stumps during my night-time anger management issues. The claim is sent in, and we await the response with baited breath. “Of course, we can reimburse you for the clothes you had to buy, but your tour manager, who has spent hours and countless billions on the phone to us, can go fuck himself”. Obviously, that isn't verbatim, but it's what it sounded like to the trained ear of a man that has ventured to the outer limits of hell, for a fucking bag. So in summary, fuck you KLM, no really, fuck you. You wasted my time, my money and my sanity. So here's a little promise that I am going to keep, and deliver on time. I will make it my life's work to troll, bad-mouth and avoid using your airline until you pay my phone-bill. All of it. Every last penny. If your company wasn't a complete circus of shit, I should have only had to make one phone-call, and I could have been a lot financially better off. But unfortunately, you suck. So, so bad. And I'm going to tell everybody I know, and see if the internet does me a favour.

Eat a dick,

Ian Forster esq.