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The "Down Under" tour diaries
Australia and New Zealand 2006

Read all about Peter's definitive guide to the WASTED tour Down Under...
Following Peter and the Test Tube Babies on a trek to the other side of the globe. 
(For personal band member pages and blogs, go to the About us section)

The Players
Peter: Vocals H: Bass Walnut: Guitar
Aggro: Guitar A.D.: Drums  

Yes you read that right - no Del or Dave. Basically to cut a long story short Del had work commitments back in the UK that meant he couldn’t make this trip. Both of us hadn’t really believed that it would actually happen anyway as we are approached every year to play in Australia and usually nothing ever comes of it. As it was, this particular trip had been originally scheduled for March and had been cancelled so we didn’t give it too much credibility. The fact that it all hinged on a WASTED festival, and the one in America last year had been pulled at the last moment, only made it seem less likely.

However in late July it reared it’s ugly head again and at the same time I was approached by a promoter in New Zealand to add on some dates there. Mind you, on the day before the Blackpool WASTED festival it all seemed to be going pear-shaped as the financial backer pulled out. Then after WASTED Mensi retired leaving just us and Beerzone as the only UK acts. 

To be honest I thought Daz Russell would cancel it at this point but instead he put the whole responsibility of the festival on my shoulders by saying that if we too pulled out then he would cancel the whole thing. What a dilemma. By now Del had committed himself to another project so I was left with the unenviable decision of doing it without Del or pulling out. To make matters worse Dave had already ruled himself out as it clashed with his wedding anniversary.

Shit loads of Aussie bands had already been booked and had made their travel arrangements to get to Melbourne. Also a lot of tickets had already been sold. The promoter in New Zealand (Kevin) had booked two gigs and they were being advertised and selling well. 

Del understood the situation and suggested we do it with a replacement guitarist. So it was with his blessing that Walnut made the step up from roadie and we brought in an old mate of ours, Aggro, on guitar. Me and Walnut had already played in a band with Aggro as he was the lead guitarist in The Masked Raiders. A.D had already filled in for Dave earlier in the year when Dave had had an operation on his foot. 

Peter Walnut A
Photos: Peter, Walnut and A.D.

So directly after the Blackpool WASTED the five of us started rehearsing. It went very well and we sounded very good. The two guitars gave us a sound we hadn’t heard since Marcus Mystery had played with us a long time ago. Daz found the money to buy the flights to Australia, Kev bought the tickets to NZ and so everything was on for the band’s (and mine) first ever trip down under.

Day 1: Wednesday 30th August 2006, London/Melbourne

In an ironic twist Del had agreed to drive us up to Heathrow airport and we got there with plenty of time to spare. After checking in we eventually boarded our plane and sat there waiting to take off. We sat there a bit longer. And then a bit longer still until the captain announced that the co-pilot had just noticed a few drops of fuel leaking from the plane. The few drops soon became a trickle and after the trickle had become a ‘serious leak'  we were all asked to get off. BA gave us some vouchers to spend in the airport while we waited and it didn’t take us long to work out a scam where we got more vouchers than we were entitled to.

A lot later we boarded the plane again and set off on our way to Melbourne via a short stop in Hong Kong. The journey was pretty uneventful and we eventually arrived in Melbourne at 1am on Friday 1st September instead of the 8pm Thursday August 30th originally scheduled.

Day 2: Friday 1st September 2006, Melbourne

Unsurprisingly at the airport me, Aggro and A.D. were singled out to be searched. The customs officer checked the guitars with some sort of wand and announced that there was traces of cocaine on Aggro’s guitar. I immediately dreaded the worst but was pleasantly surprised when all they did was ask us if we had any cocaine. Obviously we didn’t (never touch the stuff myself) and they believed us without even going through our pockets. In fact they were quite polite and friendly about the whole thing. If this had been US customs we’d have been strip searched, interrogated and probably refused entry such is the over zealousness of those arseholes.

Having got through customs we were met by Stu Straightjacket who was organizing the WASTED festival for Daz (photo right). He gave us some wine, beer and weed and off we went to the hotel. Having dropped us off (it was now about 3am) we proceeded to work our way through the goodies he’d left us and before we knew it it was 6am. 

Knowing that Daz is partial to a drink or 90 we found out what room he was in and invited him to join us. After we’d finished the bottles of wine he ordered on room service me, H and Daz went down for breakfast where we accompanied our full English with yet another bottle. Beerzone were all there but declined to join in the drinking. Poofs. By about 10am I was ready for bed and I slept through the rest of the day.

In the evening we all met up in the bar of the hotel and Stu’s mate Joel came to pick us up. There was a pre-WASTED gig at a pub called The Birmingham and so we all went there. Beerzone were playing along with some other bands and I got up and sang ‘Maniac’ with Rust. 

Daz Russell, WASTED organiser
Daz Russell, WASTED organiser

At some point in the evening whilst I was watching one of the bands and trying to chat to someone a guy came over to me and asked if I wanted to be a bear. Thinking that I'd misheard him and that he was asking if I wanted a beer I said that I'd have a VB. I was wrong. He asked me again if I wanted to be a bear. After the about the fifth time of asking he then told me he was going to do something to me that I wouldn’t like. I asked him why and what had I done to him to provoke this? His response was to grab my testicles very hard and to squeeze and them twist them! My response was to punch him in the face and when he got up I punched him again. I think I knocked him out cos he didn’t get up a second time. I looked over to where all his mates were, fearing that they were gonna steam in but they were all laughing their heads off. 

My nuts hurt, my hand hurt but worse than this was the realisation that on my very first night out in Australia I'd decked someone in a crowded pub and that everyone would think I was some sort of violent nutter - which I'm not. Aggro and AD, who were standing behind me, couldn’t believe it. I don’t think they’d ever seen me punch someone. AD was so surprised that he even lost his wallet. I spent the rest of the evening trying to persuade people that I wasn’t violent but nobody seemed that interested. I can only assume that violence in pubs there is so common place that nobody thought anything of it. We finished the evening back in the hotel with everyone drinking in mine and H’s room.

Next page: Days 3 to 5, Days 6 to 9, Last page: Days 9 to 11
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