In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, Håkan Almbladh of the rock band, Normandie, talks about some of their crazy moments from touring. You can check out the feature, after the break.
A few weeks before our first ever European tour, we bought our first tour van – a super big 97 Mercedes Sprinter. It was the PERFECT first bus, with loads of space for our gear and a sound system powerful enough to make the bus fly between the cities.
The tour started and we played the first shows. The mood was on point and everything felt perfect. After a successful show in Szeged, Hungary, we had a quite long drive to Ljubljana, Slovenia. The night came and we were driving in the countryside in Hungary when our van suddenly broke down, and we had to pull over and ended up on a field in the middle of nowhere.
At this time it was totally dark, and we could not see anyone nearby to ask for help. After a long search for life, a man suddenly walks by. It turned out that this man was the only one in the village who knew a few English words. The man told us that he knew a mechanic, but that he couldn’t come help us until the day after.
We realized we had to cancel the show in Slovenia and spend the night in the van. It was just one problem – it was -10°C and we had no food. Luckily it turned out that the man we just met also owned the only small store in the village, so he and his wonderful wife opened up their store and provided us with enough food and wine to survive the cold.
What we first expected to be the worst night ever turned out to be super cozy, with wine and tales, and as the man promised, a mechanic showed up in the morning and made our van whole again. Sometimes it’s just to make sure that shit happens in the right place, with the right people and with a little touch of luck, and everything will be just fine.
That’s the first out of countless times that van broke down. We actually dumped the van in Switzerland one year later, but let’s save that story for another time.