In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, the hard rock band, Russian Girlfriends, shares one of their stories from being on the road. You can check out the story, after the break.
“A US rock ‘n’ roll band have had to cancel two European shows and have been left hundreds of pounds out of pocket after their tour van was broken into during a show in Grimsby,” our first-ever headlining feature read.
We had just played in Grimsby, a small port town on the east coast of the UK. Grimsby is as depressing as it sounds- gray, industrial, and just a wee bit fishy. We had just played a show at Yardbirds, an awesome biker club with a full bar and living accommodations in the basement. We didn’t stay there but I brought my bag in and took a shower (my first in days!).
After the show, we packed up the van and left for the promoter’s house where we were staying. “Hey the window is missing,” someone noticed. The quarter glass on the passenger side window had been removed. That’s when we noticed Ian and Jeremy’s bags were missing. We had been robbed. It was about 2 AM so we planned on waiting until morning so we could deal with this in the daylight.
Among the items stolen were clothing, an iPad, wallets, and most importantly, passports. Continental Europe could care less about inter-country travel sans passport but the UK was the exception. We couldn’t re-enter continental Europe without our passports which meant we couldn’t continue our tour or leave the country at all any time soon. This happened on a Friday night so there was no US embassy available to us for a few days. We were officially stranded in Grimsby.
We made the best of a bad situation. We had to cancel shows booked that weekend. Crowd-funding made all of us cringe. It’s a useful tool but we decided there were bigger problems in the world than five white dudes stranded in England. But we needed to make a little scratch so we streamed a live acoustic event at the promoter’s house- our first ever “Help-us-the-fuck-out-athon”. We made some tips and sold some merch.
Ross, the promoter, was a consummate host. In addition to feeding us and letting us crash at his place for days, he continued booking us shows in surrounding areas, for better or worse. We probably spent more on gas than we earned playing last-minute bar gigs and an outdoor backyard wrestling festival.
Somewhere between the “Help-us-the-fuck-out-athon” and a last-minute gig in Nottingham, The Grimsby Telegraph became privy to our predicament and came out to interview us. It must’ve been a slow news day. The next day, we were on the front page. We were instant local celebrities! Ian and Jeremy, who were on the hunt for passport photos the next day, were recognized everywhere they went as “those stranded Americans.”
After another last-second gig in Hull, we drove overnight to London to be first in line at the US Embassy. After a few hours of waiting, Ian and Jeremy were the proud owners of shiny new passports. We got the hell out of the UK and made a day’s drive in time to our gig in Switzerland that night.