SHIHAD

What’s Phil Worried About Today.

Fighty man.

I finally went for my first boxing class last night at a local gym. I got there early and feeling a bit apprehensive. I was to meet a trainer called Samuel, who was taking the class. I waited around for 30 minutes and nothing happened. Then Samuel turned up. It turned out he was starting the class later so the other guys had a bit of time to digest their food after their Ramadan fast. Samuel started us running on the treadmill to warm us up. He asked in an African accent, “Do you have a heart condition? No? Good. Because I’m going to push you high! High!”. He got us to jog, then run, then bloody sprint! I basically did the equivalent one of my 30 minute jogs in that first 15 minutes. Samuel seemed to have an uncanny knack of being able to tell just before I was about to collapse or vomit, and then he would take it back a notch. I guess that’s a sign of a skilled trainer. Then it was time to go straight to the boxing bag. He showed me the basic stance and how to jab properly. My biggest mistake seemed to be getting too close to the bag, so as to not be able to straighten out my arms enough, with each punch. Samuel kept on telling me, “Relax brother. Remember to breathe when you hit the bag. You don’t need to hold your breath. Have fun”. There seems to be a lot more to boxing than I thought. It took all the mental energy from my oxygen starved brain to try and remember what to do. You have to remember to keep the correct stance, not lift your back foot off the ground, keep your hands up and covering your face, swing your shoulders into each punch and remember all the different type of punches. One of the other two experienced guys in the class looked about seven feet tall, and had a glass eye. He was talking to the trainer about having previously done cage fighting in Japan. At one point, he was hitting his punching bag so had, that it kept swinging over and knocking my bag. Freaky. At the end of the hour long class, I was spent, and drenched in sweat. All in all, it was one of the more extreme things I’ve ever put my body through. And my mind for that matter. Much respect to proper fighters and boxers. I can’t fathom the amount of mental drive they must have to find within themselves, to push them to that level of their discipline. Time for some pasta now.

What’s Phil Worried About Today.

The Worry Blob

We had a photo shoot today for the release of our new album. It went really well. All that time I spent sitting on my arse watching New Zealands Next Top Model has really paid off. Whilst there, I asked the other guys to help me out with the wording for the first facebook post about our new single. I got them to dictate to me what they wanted it to say. The dick-tation read,

“Wait a minute, wait a minute.”
“Here’s the brand new Shihad track,”
“What, what, what?
“Finally available to listen to everywhere,”
“No don’t say finally. I hate that. It sucks balls.”

They were lots of help.

While l was getting my individual shots taken, Karl said that I looked like a big Frankie. Frankie is my two and half year old boy. He has a big head and he definitely gets it from me. I wonder if the extra room in my head is for housing my unnecessary and troublesome worry centre. It’s like there’s an office of mini Phil’s behind desks in there that spend all day and night searching the internet for things to worry about. I need to shut this office down. Or maybe I could outsource the work to India.

I was in my psychiatrist’s waiting room the other today, and I couldn’t help looking around the room at the other patients and wondering what it is that they worry, stress or obsess about. Most likely it’s probably completely different things to me. They may even have real issues to worry out about. There was one patient in the corner of the room, banging his foot on the floor rapidly, every few seconds. He was listening to something on a 1990s CD walkman. I always wonder exactly how I come across to people. I know it’s not in a normal way.

When me and my wife were in the car the other day, she said, “You totally do worry about every thing Philip. EVERY SINGLE THING”. Later that night she said, “You can’t be like this Philip. You’ve turned into a worry blob”. I loved that image. A worry blob. It snapped me right out of it actually.

I’m going to my first boxing class tonight. I’m quite apprehensive about it. My hands are already sore. I hope they don’t get too sore during the class. I guess it’s just general fear of the unknown. I’ve never tried any form of martial arts or anything this flighty. I’ve had boxing prescribed for me by several people, (Jaz Coleman being one of them), but I’ve been putting it off all year. I figured by writing it in this blog, and telling everybody, then there’s no way for me to wriggle out of it this time. The running’s been going really well, but I’ve been stuck on the week four level of the training program for the last two weeks. I just can’t seem to get enough oxygen in my lungs to progress to the next step. I’ll get there.

What’s Phil Worried About Today.

The Running Man.

I’m trying to get fit again. Tom has turned me onto to a great smartphone app that slowly trains you up to running five kilometres. Back in the day, when Tom was a lot larger, whenever he used to try and run, the rest of us thought it was the biggest joke in the world. Now I’m the unfit funny one, and he’s the one telling me to take the stairs instead of the escalator at the airport. I think he’s the fittest I’ve ever seen him. When I went for my first run, my tits, gut and chest were flobbing everywhere and giving me muscle pain. I had a dream last night that I actually had pointy cows teats on my chest. I wonder why that was. I’ve always tried very obsessively in the past, to get fit, as opposed to having a more long term, sustainable exercise regime.

 My wife is a barely mobile incubator at the moment. Poor thing. I find it hard enough to get up off the couch after a big penne pasta meal. Last week she had the great idea of instead of buying eight little tins of baked beans, to buy one big jar of beans. This didn’t sit well with my brain. Do I have to measure out each serve of beans now? I don’t like it. Our little boy eats lots of baked beans.

 I had a dream last night that I was working on a factory line. As the little plastic containers were coming past me on the conveyor belt, I was putting small pieces of my entrails and soul, into each small tub. There goes my soul. Bye bye. Weird.

 I’ve now completed week one of my new exercise regime. Yey. I listened to my Alain De Botton “The News” audio book as I was running (and walking), and it seemed to help me through. Anything that gets my mind off the torture of jogging, is useful. This audio book, “The News: A User’s Manual.”, is a good antidote to my world news obsession. It explains in depth, how and why we’re feed all these shocking and sensational news stories. I think my new jogging app is playing silly buggers with me though. If I didn’t know better, I’d say it was making me exercise two minutes longer than it says. That’s probably not such a bad thing though.

I just saw the finished artwork for our new album. Awesome.

What’s Phil Worried About Today.

The continuing idiotic adventures of ObsessoMan.

  It’s the first day of rehearsing the new songs today. Well we didn’t actually do any rehearsing though, because Karl was in the wrong country. We just set up all the gear, ready to get straight into practicing tomorrow morning. It wasn’t actually Karl’s fault that he was in the wrong country, but I won’t let the truth get in the way of a funny story. When we were all done setting up, I told Jon that I had to go and pick up my wife, because I’d promised her I’d get her home in time for The Bold And The Beautiful. Jon said “Whaaat! She likes that?”. I said “We both watch it. It’s funny”. “Yeah, right Phil. I bet you do.”. I said, “Yeah man. It’s comic relief. I don’t take it seriously”. “Yes you do. You like shit T.V.”, he said. And this is coming from the guy that was telling me how amazing Frozen was. Isn’t that a musical sing-song film, about princess’s, made for little girls?

 Driving home now. The drivers in my suburb are so shit, and that’s not just because I’m one of them. The Honda Jazz that just over took me doing 80kmph in a 60kmph zone, has a sticker on the back that reads “Faith, Hope, Love”. I would need plenty of faith and hope to do 80 on this road, and not get pulled over or get a speed camera fine.

 I’m at home now, and I see that my wife’s dad has dropped off three coffee mugs from his work. I always freak out when new things come into the house. I’m the opposite of a hoarder and I fear change. I say to my wife, “Where are these going to go? We’ve got 26 mugs already. The mug and glass cubboard is full.”. She loves me obsessing about this stuff……..Not!. It’s always a major drama between us when she asks me about buying a new piece of furniture. Even if it’s because we “need” more storage because we’ve got a second baby coming, and a growing little boy that needs more clothes. Every application for a new item in the house needs to go through a rigorous application and review process, and then get signed by me in triplicate. 

 Anyway, the songs off the new album we’re rehearsing now are sounding awesome. Tight, groovy and heavy as. I can’t wait to get out there again.

What’s Phil Worried About Today.

Oh yes you didn’t.

 After spending my morning spell in daddy’s birth pool, and then doing an arse load of dishes, I set off to Brunswick (Melb). Every time I go to Brunswick these days, it gets a little bit harder to find a cheap Vietnamese bakery roll. The flash kids are moving in. Those ridiculously hip looking boys with their 1890s beards. Mind you, the strong soy flat white in a small cup, that I bought there, went down extremely well. I guess the two things go hand in hand. I had a bit of time to kill on my way to a job, so I thought I’d stop in the area, get some lunch, and go for a walk. I was feeling really unfit. Well I hope that’s all it was anyway. Maybe I should have got my doctor to write that letter for me after all. I could of made it into a t-shirt that I could wear, and consult when needed.

 My son is like a talking parrot at the moment. His cousin get’s pissed off, and is always saying to him, “Stop copying me.” And of course my little son’s response to this is, “Stop copying me. Stop copying me.”, which just makes his cousin angrier. Right now, he’s following his mum around the house imitating the vacuum cleaner. Mmmmmmmm he says. He’s almost two and a half now and teaching him to behave and not be naughty, is proving to be an interesting and challenging experience. At least he loves to come into the garage and help me make my coffee. My wife’s pregnant nose is more powerful than a hundred dogs, so my amateur coffee baristing has been relegated into the garage. At the moment, the mere hint of a smell of coffee, garlic or onions, can make her vomit for hours. Poor thing.

 I’m currently editing some video footage of us recording the new album. Wow! If I scroll through the footage over the whole three week period, I can actually see myself putting on weight. Strewth and stink. I didn’t get out for much exercise during that time. I could give excuses, but our recording engineer managed to go running every morning before he came in, so I guess I could have to. The new album sounds fat.

What’s Phil Worried About Today.

Windy town visiting.
 
I stayed at my mum and dads while visiting Wellington last week. It was their 50th wedding anniversary. Every time I come home, I realise a little bit more how much I’m like my dad. My mum says he spends his life listening to the news on the radio every hour, and watching the trains through the kitchen window, to see if they’re running on time. My parent’s house is up a hill that over looks the local train line. While I was waiting at the train station, I could actually see him looking out the window to check that I hadn’t missed the train into Wellington. He’s just had a toilet put into the bottom floor of the family home, close to their bedroom, which has been a lifetime dream of his.
Everyone seems to walk so quickly around Wellington city. My theory, is that because it’s such a small city, people are scared of bumping into people they don’t want to see. So they walk as fast as possible.
And it’s weird walking through your old home town and seeing twenty year younger versions of everyone you used to know. Dressed exactly the same. Am I sounding old much? Rhetorical.
There are the guys that look like my old skater mates, all dressed like white rappers. There are the Cuba St junkies, dressed all in black, with ripped jumpers, doc martens and giving the rubby nose salute. There’s the bass player in my mates band, who took too many psychedelics one summer, and then modelled himself as a rebellious, urban, Christlike street performer. And then there’s the friendly, overly tattooed and pierced Cuba St barista’s, serving the incredibly strong Wellington coffee. I never have to ask for an extra shot in my beloved home town.

  I’m back home in Melbourne now and my son is trying to copy the cats climbing the patio table. Not a good thing. 4.30pm is dishes and Bold And The Beautiful time at the moment, when I’m at home and not working, and looking after my pregnant wife. In the last few days, my 2.4 year old boy has also discovered the electric light switch. He was already transfixed with lights, which he calls “Yights”. And now, for most of the day, he runs from room to room, switching the lights on and off, and saying, “Yight on. Yight off. Yight on. Yight off.”. I hope he’s not going to be an obsessive, like me. It’s certainly driving me crazy.

Still can’t wait to get that bloody album out, and play those new songs live.

What’s Phil Worried About Today

It got worse.

So I’m going to embarrass myself further. The other day, I went to the pharmacy to get some stuff for my pregnant wife. I was already having an anxious day, and whilst waiting, I checked my blood pressure. It seemed a lot higher than the last time. Then I went off to buy some yogurt. I checked a blood pressure chart on my smart phone, and came to the conclusion that my diastolic number was way to high. So I decided to go back to the pharmacy and check it again. When I was walking in the front doors, I got a really painful, tight chest and my blood pressure was 157 over 102. I had a big freak out and my heart was racing. I checked it three more times, because I’m a nut, and it didn’t get any better. I started driving home and called my wife to tell her I thought I was having a heart attack. She was a bit freaked out, but was convinced that it was another panic attack. Just the worst she’d known me to have. She’d had enough of having to constantly reassure me about my health every five minutes, so she said, “Go to the doctor now, and sort it out for once and all!”. I drove up the road to the closest medical clinic, and said that I was having chest pains, but that I thought it possible it was because I was extremely anxious. They checked my blood pressure, gave me aspirin, sprayed some stuff under my tongue and gave me two ECG tests. The tests were normal. The doctor, who was not my normal G.P, said he thought the pain was most likely caused by anxiety, but that the only way he could one hundred percent rule out a coronary event, would be to send me by ambulance to the hospital ER for more tests. That freaked the shit out of me, and I said no thanks, and walked out. After ringing my paramedic mate, and punishing Jon on the phone for reassurance, I managed to settle down for the night.

 The next day, I went with my long suffering wife, to our regular G.P. She had previously given me tests and blood tests for chest pain, and put it down to anxiety and stress. This time she said she would even write me a signed letter, saying it wasn’t caused by heart disease. I said, that’s ok. I believe you this time.

 Anyway, hopefully that’s the end of that. Onward and upwards to my next neurotic obsession. I wonder what that well be. I love my brain.

 Oh, and I can’t wait to get that new album out.

What’s Phil Worried About Today

 I’ve been having a lot of un-nerving chest pains today. As I was driving home along the M1 I was having these pains and ruminating about it. It’s been a long running and common occurrence for me to head down that rabbit hole of researching symptoms, and then convincing myself that these pains and discomfort mean I’ve got heart disease. Over the years, professionals have attributed these symptoms to my chronic anxiety disorder, and less forgiving people, to my general dumbness (images of certain people rolling their eyes). But the civil war in my head still rages on. When driving today I was even on the phone to my friend who’s a paramedic, and describing my sensations to him to see what he thought. He said he was positive that I was fine, and that if I was having a heart attack or angina, that I’d now all about it. I asked him not to tell me how angina presents, because then I’d just end up producing those symptoms eventually. The mind’s a terrible thing to waste.

 Over the last few weeks I’ve also been obsessing about the situation in Ukraine, and the geopolitical tension between Russia and the west. The destabilization of Ukraine and the rhetoric between the U.S and Russia is freaking me out and bringing back memories of being a kid during the last part of the cold war. I have to keep on ringing my mate who’s really up on all his geopolitical and military stuff, to talk about it, and stop me worrying so much. He must be getting sick of me asking him the same questions all the time. It’s bloody embarrassing. Every time I ring up Jon now, he answers the phone,”End of the world hotline.” And I’m also torturing my poor pregnant wife with all my daily obsessions. Poor thing.

 Apologies to anyone who is affected by heart disease, or anyone with loved ones in war zones around the world. I don’t mean to be insulting. But as my blog is titled, this is just an expression of the crazy shit that circles around my head. I need to get out more.

 Anyway, the new album sounds amazing and can’t wait to get it out there. It’s the heaviest stuff we’ve done for years. And I can’t wait to see what you all think. We love it.

A very un-rock’n’roll week

I know it’s got nothing to do with the world of rock, but that’s life at present.

5pm Tuesday, Wellington NZ
I’ve been on holiday in Wellington with my wife and 20 month old son, visiting family and friends. Today we went to visit Jon’s mum, where she fed us with yummy custard squares that she had bought from the Kilbirnie Pak’n’Save. Yum.

3pm Wednesday, Wellington NZ
I’m currently walking along the main road, past my old primary school in Ngaio, New Zealand. All the mums are parked along the road in their SUVs picking up their kiddies. We all used to walk home by ourselves when I was a student there in the late seventies. My parents house is up the top of a steep hill (past the Ngaio cotton fields), and I remember our next door neighbours used to refuse to pick me in there car, as they drove up the hill past me. It’s funny the things you remember.

3pm Friday, Wellington NZ
Just felt a bunch of earthquakes. I was changing my son’s nappy when the 6.6 one hit. Then I had to change my own.

We found out yesterday that there has been a problem with the plumbing in our house back in Melbourne, and raw sewage has come up through both our bathrooms and flooded our carpets and floor. Stink. We’re gonna have to stay at my wife’s parents when we get back. I foresee weeks of battling with insurance companies and builders. New job next Monday. Bum.

Phil

BLACK SABBATH TOUR DIARY PART 6

9 May, 2013

6pm: Sitting backstage at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. We just finished our soundcheck, which started off well, with me playing eighties metal riffs quietly. But then it just ended up being annoying, like a lot of soundchecks. I’m feeling really sad about this being the last show of the tour. Tonight I really want to see Sabbath play War Pigs, the first song of their set. But I don’t want to miss dinner from catering. They usually close it at about 8.30. But I’ve only seen them play War Pigs once, because usually I’m stuffing my face with free food in catering. And on that note, I’ve probably put on 5kg over the course of this tour. Ozzy walked past Tom before their sound check today and said, “I’m getting fucking fat from all this Australian food”. He’s actually looking pretty good, compared to my gut. I have no self control when I’m on the road. Years ago, it used to be alcohol and falling asleep in bars, but now it’s chocolate, yogurt, and all the free food backstage. 

 That’s a whole lotta bass….

8.50pm: Now I’m having a full on come down. A, “sad about it being the last show” come down, combined with a full on sugar rush come down from that huge desert plate I just had. I’ve been giving Dave, our sound guy, a hard time. He likes to keep us abreast of all the interesting internet news. Mostly science, health, politics and general life comedy. I said he should have TV channel called DNN, and a news ticker that goes around his head like a headband, with all his headlines on it. He’s likes a good old wag of the chin. I hate talking.


11.20pm: Just found out that we’re going to reconvene at the end of this mouth to continue jamming and writing for our next record. So I’m not sad now. Just a lucky little bogan.

Phil Knight.

As a Sabbath fan, Tuesday afternoon in Adelaide is everything I wish it to be and more. I’d been trying to pluck up the courage to ask Geezer for a photograph since day 1 of the tour and as it was the last show I just had to do it. As we arrived I saw him chilling out backstage in his dressing room and thought fuck it, might as well give it a go. So after 30 minutes of procrastinating I went over, explained who I was, to which he replied ‘I know who you are and of course you can have a photo’. Turns out he’s absolutely lovely, from a similar background from my parents and instantly reminds me of one of my uncles (which puts me right at ease).

Jon mustered up the courage to take a snap with his idols…

We talk about rock’n’roll, getting older (he’s 63 and looks in great shape which gives me heart!) and the fact that his nephew was quite jealous of the fact he was on tour with Shihad as he had all our albums. Karl, Shihad’s bass player, joins in and I can tell he’s buzzing out just as much as I am! While this is going on Ozzy’s tottering around, looking for something to do and listening to Frank Sinatra’s version of My Way really loud. Then, just as I think things couldn’t get any cooler, Tony Iommi comes over, introduces himself and tell’s me how much he’s enjoyed watching our band. I don’t care if he was just being polite - that fucking ruled! This guy wrote the riffs toParanoid, War Pigs, Electric Funeral, Black Sabbath, Symptom of the Universe, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and on and on and on….

Like a fanboy, I ask him about his guitars, his amp set up, and tell him how awesome it is to be on tour with them. He was great. Very cool, laid back and engaging. Then it was time for them to do soundcheck so we said thanks and ran back to our backstage room and jumped up and down like 2 kids getting everything they wanted for christmas. It was magic.

Jon Toogood.

Dear Black Sabbath,

Thanks for having us on tour. You and you’re crew fricken ruled!

If you end up with shit support bands on your travels, we’d be happy to fill in. Thank you Ozzy, Tony and Geezer.

Keep Rockin’!

Karl

Karl Kippenberger.

 Now it’s Karl’s turn with Geezer and Tony…

Touring with Sabbath was one of the absolute highlights of my life - not only because the band has been so pivotal to our musical genetic makeup but also because we were treated so well by Sabbath and their team. 

Funnily enough we have notched up quite a few of these support tours over the years and in every instance who the band are, and the people they surround themselves with is reflected in every aspect of how the show runs. Like some people claim a society can be judged by how it chooses to treat its weakest members - I believe a large successful touring act can be judged by how it treats its opening act. 

Tom’s family ain’t scared of Ozzy - ok, the baby looks a little worried!

To that end Sabbath are an advanced people - friendly, helpful and warm - no matter how much a band means to me musically - it’s that kind of interaction that really shows the true humanity of the band and stays as the memory I’ll take forward.

With any act that is so prolific it’s easy to get a sense of who we think they are from the band’s past or general media silliness but when it comes down to it - Ozzy, Tony and Geezer and their entire crew and team are straight up good cunts, and that leaks into how easygoing and enjoyable an average day on tour with them is for us.

I am going to miss this for a long long time to come.

Tom Larkin

Thanks for the memories!