What happened on Trivium's intimate European tour?

Trivium Matt Heafy sticking out tongue
Guitar licks aplenty (Image credit: Jake Owens)

Frontman Matt Heafy shares his diary of the backstage madness, the martial arts and, the, um, macaroons that went down…

March 17 - Part 1

Reflections of a to-be jet-setter. Somewhere between Orlando and Coral Springs, Florida

Matt Heafy: “One of my earliest recollections of lengthy travel is when my family and I were due to travel to South Florida to visit my grandparents. I was eight or nine years old. My parents said the drive would be three to four hours, and I remember scheming to bring a portable TV and videogame system, toys, food, water… basically the prep that would be required on a multiple-day trip. Even back then, boredom was one of my biggest fears. Of course, I didn’t get any of this together and spent majority of the drive fidgeting.”

March 17 - Part 2

Flight rig. Somewhere between Orlando and Ratingen, Germany

“These days, I still find myself packed to the gills with travel items, but this time it’s necessities (in my eyes): laptop; headphones; hard drives of music, photos, movies/TV and recording sessions; first aid kit; toiletries; iPod; chargers; filter water bottle; neck pillow; lumbar pillow; full-sized pillow; hoodie; protein bars… My ‘flight rig’ is important: mouth mask, ear plugs, hoodie, eye mask and doctor-approved sleeping pills. When you travel around the world, you need to force yourself to sleep sometimes so you’re prepared to hit the ground running regardless of the time change. My biggest piece of advice for a long flight: as soon as you sit down, it is then the time zone of ‘where you are going’. Don’t think about the time you were just in. Adjust immediately.”

March 18

Truck stops and bed and breakfasts. Between Frankfurt and Ratingen, Germany

“For the last few years, we’ve been rehearsing at the All Your Band Needs company HQ; they are the fine folks behind all the staging we’ve been using for the last few album cycles. After a direct flight into Frankfurt, it’s a three-and- a-half hour drive to the tiny town of Ratingen. After a long flight, the first requirement is a real meal; in Germany, they have truck stops with pretty decent food. We hit the Marche for some röstis and other breakfasty items and our crew began on some giant Hefeweizens [beers]. We then set back on the road to our bed and breakfast in Ratingen where the crew spend the day building the gear, I hit some yoga in the room and we wait ’til ‘family dinner’.”

March 18

Ratinger Brauhaus. Ratingen, Germany

March 19

Practice makes perfect. Ratingen, Germany

“The day before the first show of the UK headlining run, we had a full pre-production rehearsal day. This is where you run the full set, make sure all your gear and staging are working, and iron out any ‘kinks’ you may be having with your performance. We pride ourselves on our live performance; we don’t rely on backing tracks or any other ‘cheats’ that have become so standard. Off tour, I try to spend seven days a week singing at least 1-3 hours a day, coupling that with at least 30-90 minutes of guitar playing. It’s not just mindless playing; it’s drilling specific exercises I know I need strengthening at that time. Aside from strict individual practice, we always rehearse as a unit. Bands need to be disciplined in their practice; we have one job, it ought to be done correctly and confidently.”

March 20

Norwich, UEA

“Our first show found us with a massive dressing room (something we hadn’t seen in an entire eight-week North American run that we just completed; mind you, only three clubs had showers across eight weeks), but we weren’t anywhere near town. Unfortunately we were confined to the venue on our first day, but that didn’t stop the daily Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practice with my tour manager, Joey B, and some weight training. We stuck to mainly rider food that day (with show one, it’s best to stay nearby and make sure everything’s going right). I was able to meet Heart Of A Coward and their crew, and meet up again with As Lions and their band and crew I hadn’t yet met. Seeing As Lions live was an absolute treat; we’ve all known Austin for years, and to see him grow into the monstrous singer and frontman he is today is truly fantastic.”

Matt always makes time for Jiu Jitsu with tour manager Joey

Matt always makes time for Jiu Jitsu with tour manager Joey (Image credit: Jake Owens)

March 21

Ipswich, Corn Exchange

“Ipswich is beautiful. Architecture like this isn’t something we get to see much of back in the States, so it was a welcome treat. Paul [Wandtke, drums], Paolo [Gregoletto, bass] and I all went to grab a fantastic breakfast at a local cafe; afterwards, Joey and I set up the BJJ mats in the only spot we could find. The ceiling was a dangerous angle, but it did the trick. For dinner, we were reunited with our beloved UK PR pals Kirsten and Michelle, alongside our Roadrunner Records UK label friends; we had some fantastic Turkish then headed back to the venue. The show was incredible, but the shower was awful with a molesty shower curtain – the cheap, thin plastic kind that once water begins to spray, smacks and sticks to your body, slathering you with all kinds of other-band- dude-ass-germs. Yum.”

March 22

Portsmouth, Pyramids

“Awakening to a beautiful seaside to the left, and a lighthouse and castle walls in front of us, all signs were pointing to Portsmouth being a spectacular day. We found a restaurant in the castle walls called The Courtyard. Breakfast there was the absolute best brekky of the entire tour. Eggs Benedict on top of chorizo, covering bubble and squeak; I finished that with a fruit scone. The day was filled with BJJ, Ashtanga yoga and an amazing show.”

Training with Heart Of A Coward’s Jamie

Training with Heart Of A Coward’s Jamie

March 23

Bristol, O2 Academy

“Russian pancakes and Russian coffee started us off in Bristol. We’ve played this club a lot; I always recall its tiny, stuffy dressing room atop a staircase. Jamie from Heart Of A Coward joined in training with Joey and I; his background is Japanese Ju Jitsu, whereas mine is Brazilian. It was great to be able to train two styles. Tonight was the show where I saw a crowdsurfer plummeting headfirst to the ground; instinctively, I leapt offstage and caught them right before they could break their neck.”

March 24

Toot Baldon, The Mole Inn

“We woke up in Oxford at what would be the next night’s venue, parked up for our day off. In Europe, bus drivers get it way easier and better than American drivers. Every seven days or so, they get a 45-hour break. On this run, the average drive is one to three hours, and our driver would have 90 hours of break in two weeks of driving. The goal of today was resting as much as possible, catching up on episodes of Fargo, then feasting in a small village called Toot Baldon. Several of us downed pints of the pub’s ale, and feasted on local meat. A fantastic day off in a classic pub.”

A crowdsurfer was plummeting so I leapt offstage

March 25

Oxford, O2 Academy

“Today in Oxford, the BJJ lesson plan was centralised around back mount. Back mount is when you or your opponent ‘has the other’s back’. This is having a person strapped to you like a backpack, while you’re on the ground. The person with the mount has their heels dug into the opponent’s thighs, and a form of arm control over their upper body. You have to trap your opponent’s lower arm, push upwards into them and lessen the attacker’s opportunity to choke you. Little things… Ha ha ha!”

March 26

Lincoln, Engine Shed

“Having never been to Lincoln before, we had no idea what to expect from the crowd or the city or venue. The venue was very nice, the city was beautiful, and the crowd was immense. By the end of the tour, Lincoln was the second-best show of the entire run. Dinnertime found us in a pub, going for steak and ale pies; the perfect fuel for a metal show.”

March 27

Leicester, O2 Academy

“Leicester was the best show of the entire tour. We were blown away as Leicester was another city we had yet to be in. Everything about the crowd, the energy – it was beyond words. Today for dinner, we found ourselves at Kayal, a Southern Indian restaurant. We’ve had countless Indian meals in the UK, but Kayal was the best we’ve ever had here. Southern Indian food has hints of their more tropical locale; there was an almost Thai curry-like flavour in the Indian curry. Lots of coconut flavour was prevalent. Frickin’ fantastic.”

The long hours on the road are worth it for nights like this

The long hours on the road are worth it for nights like this (Image credit: Jake Owens)

March 28

York, afternoon tea and The Whippet Inn

“If there’s one distinctively English thing we hadn’t done yet, it was afternoon tea. Paolo, myself, and our friends Gemma and Lauren hit Betty’s in the centre of the beautiful York. It was everything I hoped for: tiers of plates of food, and a sense of distinguished daintiness. The juxtaposition of two metal dudes holding small pastries and teacups was an exclamation mark in the day of all the other patrons in the tea shop. Dinner was the last ‘family dinner’ we’d be able to hit in the UK before heading to Japan. The Whippet Inn looked as if David Lynch had decorated an Alice In Wonderland set. The food and drinks were great.”

March 29

York, Barbican

“In BJJ, there are many attacks: attacks of the neck (airways and/or carotid arteries), and joint locks that attack the shoulders, elbows, wrists, ankles, knees. For my first two-and-a-half years of training, I had mostly been taught attacks of the upper body. Lately, I’ve grown fond of attacks of the legs, so today we worked on those. A fun day to attempt to walk afterwards! I do recall my left knee feeling like it was stabbed onstage. Ha!”

Trivium meet and greet their devoted fans

Trivium meet and greet their devoted fans (Image credit: Jake Owens)

March 30

Middlesbrough, Empire

“Of all my years of touring in Europe, I’ve always said that ‘even in the smallest, punk rockiest of clubs, there will be at least a shower’. Well, the Middlesbrough Empire proved this wrong. The show was amazing, but this club felt like the sort of club I’ve played countless times in Detroit, Michigan. And no, that isn’t a compliment. Dirty, lots of garbage around, no shower, and when we asked for a trash can, they strapped a trash bag to a door handle. Ha! Regardless, the venue was nice for the crowd, and the show was amazing. Food was really good here, too!”

March 31

Aberdeen, Beach Ballroom

“I love that this UK tour brings Trivium to towns that haven’t had a Trivium show before. Today found us in a beachside theatre that seems to be more typically home to bizarre impersonators of classic bands. Our dressing room had a hilarious batch of Elvis and Dolly Parton impersonator posters; there was even a poster for ‘Lady G and P!nk live at the Beach Ballroom’. The night before, and for the rest of the tour, we’d have our pal Austin Dickinson from As Lions come up to sing Pull Harder… with us. Good times.”

April 1

Kilmarnock, Grand Hall

“Like the rest of the UK tour, tonight was an absolute blast. The UK was the first place on the planet that embraced Trivium, and we will never forget that. This current tour had the highest energy we had ever seen from the crowd, and I know they felt the same from us. Trivium is reinvigorated by the love from the UK, and just as we stated in the early days, we are in this for good. Thank you to everyone who came out and we look forward to seeing you again soon.”