My day started at about 5:30 A.M. when I came out of my bunk into the front lounge of the bus to find Jerry & Mike wide awake.
It was already daylight, and those two had been enjoying the sights of the drive in to Halden, where they saw a moose and also a big fat badger in the road.
So yeah, international rock stars Mike Inez & Jerry Cantrell got excited when they saw a badger out in the wild.
Norway is a beautiful country.
The Tons Of Rock Festival in Halden is held atop a mountain on the grounds of an old Norwegian fortress.
That alone is reason enough to want to come here.
And just to remind us why we were here, the local hotel in the heart of the city was blasting metal in the lobby at 6:00 A.M. when we arrived.
Nothing says “Welcome to Norway” like having Metallica’s Battery playing in the lobby as you’re checking in.
As part of my daily schedule, I go to the gig in the morning and return to the hotel in the afternoon to pick up the band.
Today was no different, and when I got back to the hotel, Jerry was already down in the lobby talking to a guy by the front desk.
Jerry didn’t sound too happy, and as I walked toward the elevators I overhead him asking the guy, “Why’d you keep knocking on my door?”
Turns out that despite a large Do Not Disturb sign on the door, this guy knocked on Jerry’s, and when Jerry opened the door, the guy proceeded to speak to him in Norwegian.
Jerry could sense that something was a little off with this guy, so he eventually just shut his door on him, and the guy proceeded to keep knocking.
After a while the guy left, and shortly thereafter is when I showed up and saw Jerry confronting the guy in the lobby.
By the time I had gone up to get William’s bags and came back downstairs, the guy was by the front desk and Jerry was over by the lounge.
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, and since Jerry was actually down in the lobby early, I sent him off to the gig.
Our tour manager came down shortly after that, and I told him the story about the guy knocking on Jerry’s door, and pointed him out.
A few minutes later, the guy walked over to us.
And within a minute, we could tell he wasn’t right in the head.
Although he spoke Norwegian to Jerry, he spoke English to us, but he was making no sense.
His eyes were pretty hollow, he had a weird, half smile on his face, and even through his broken English and intermittent Norwegian, he made it clear that he had a problem with our tour manager.
Things were getting uncomfortable, as this dude was beginning to feel threatening, so our tour manager went to grab our two van drivers as I stood there hoping that he wasn’t going to lunge at me and try and pull out my eyeballs.
Mike came down a couple minutes later, so we had 5 guys squaring off against this disturbed dude, but he wasn’t backing down.
He continued spewing out nonsense about not having his family disrespected and not going anywhere, and all the while he’s grinding his fist into his other hand.
I finally went to get hotel security, but they didn’t have any, so we all just stood our ground trying to talk some sense into the guy, but nothing was working.
Eventually our five man ninja mind control game seemed to work, as his gibberish tank ran dry and he slowly walked outside.
I realize that it would have made for a cooler story if things broke down to a five man battle royal match against an unstable Norwegian guy, but I think I preferred the ending we got.
Particularly for Jerry, who was one on one against this guy in the hallway outside his room.
So with the weirdness behind us, we took off up the mountain to the gig, where a different, better, more familiar weirdness was waiting.
That’s right; Norwegian metal fans.
There’s a ton of black clothing, there’s a decent amount of white face paint, there’s a river of beer being ingested, and there’s mud and cold and wet clothes everywhere, since it had been raining all day.
And any time you can look out into a crowd and watch two dudes in banana costumes moshing with a guy in a sombrero, you know it’s a good show.
Which it was.
So it turned out to be a great day, a great show, and another memorable Norwegian experience.
The badger didn’t get hit by the bus, no one got assaulted by the unbalanced dude, and the guys in the banana outfits made it through the night without ripping their costumes moshing.
Takk skal du ha Norway!