22 Mar 2007 - Rod in India


Flight to Bangalore on Thursday 15th took about nine and a half hours. Usually l just read and cat nap on a long flight, usually newspapers and Private Eye, but this time l thought l would check out a movie and watched the "History Boys", which is based on a play by that brilliant Yorkshire born writer and playwright Alan Bennett. It's clever in parts with some good lines as one would expect from Bennett but l found it rather disappointing and dated. Even though it's a recent movie it hadn't been at all updated and l think stuck rigidly to the script. Good but not his best work to me.

On the plane met up with Ed from the Observer and Val Potter who is doing a piece for Metal Hammer and some other rock press. Ed is actually a war correspondent but as a change in pace he is doing a 5 page piece for the Observer Music Monthly magazine. He and Bruce had a long chat and a fair few drinks on the plane, but l bet they weren't talking Maiden or India or music, they were talking war and flying stories!  Anyway Ed turned out to be a smart and very interesting guy who, like us, likes a beer or three and everyone got on very well with him. Such a good change from the usual daily press cynics very occasionally run into. Of course Val has done lots with us over the years and is always fun to have around. John Mc is supplying pics for everyone

Arrived about 4.30 in the morning, got through immigration etc reasonably painlessly and got to hotel about 6. Time for a couple of hours kip before meeting Dave P and John Mc to go check out some locations for a photo shoot later that day. Although as l have said before its tough getting the band to do any photos on the road, in a new and interesting place like here (and Dubai) they can be persuaded and as there is a lot on international media interest in this trip we do need some photos and they have to be good. So to make things as painless as possible we go off and check locations suggested by the promoter so as to save time and effort later.

But first we called in at the venue. This was really well set up and Dickie told me that production wise all was good. We were supposed to be playing in front of the Palace this making a very imposing background to the stage. On asking where it had got to as there was no palace in sight we were told that the Maharajah of Bangalore had returned to the palace a couple of weeks before and told them to move it to another part of the grounds. Now that's one of the best excuses l have heard for a gig not being what you thought it was!! We had some lunch in the backstage catering -- curry of course and bloody good it was too. Make a mental note to eat there again at the show

Then off to check locations first  to a shrine about 20 min from hotel -- we try to keep them as close as possible to hotel so we don't waste time stuck in traffic, which can be pretty bad in Bangalore like most major cities nowadays. The hotel room was in fact a bit like in Athens with all the traffic noise. To get to the shrine we had to go through a department store!! The shrine just wasn't suitable for what we needed so we went off to check out the suggested government buildings and courts. These were magnificent structures but as you couldn't go into the grounds there was no good vantage point to take good band shots. And they would have been a bit like a postcard. So again drew a blank. Another suggestion was the Bull Temple which is quite old but an hour from hotel, perhaps more with traffic. Trouble was it is closed 12 -- 4 and it was already 12 so we couldn't go check it out. I didn't really want to drag the band an hour plus to somewhere we didn't know but there was not really much alternative. John said he had checked this temple out on the web and thought it could work well so we decided to go for it. Nothing more to do so back to hotel, something to eat then met up with band, John and promoters assistant Sabrina to go to the shoot. We got lucky -- firstly traffic not bad at all and secondly the location was ideal. We parked the vans and it was about a 2 min walk up to the Temple. The whole thing was in quite a small area but had a number of good angles for different shots -- which is ideal if you want a quick but varied session. I won't describe the place as you can see the pics but it was very interesting with a massive black bull carved out of one piece of black granite. The priest (??) was very welcoming and  took us round and even gave each of the band a red "third eye" which you will prob see on the shots and he even joined us for a couple of pics.

When John felt he had it covered we went back down to the roadside and John hailed a couple of the yellow tuc tucs for some shots including one with Bruce holding the sign 'Donington or bust' sat in the tuc tuc. In one to those bust would definitely be the case!

Back to hotel and had a couple of drinks in the bar with Ed and Dave P then met in the lobby to go to hotel next door for press conference. Again a load of major media, Indian rock mags and six TV News cameras. The questions were generally quite detailed about the music and the concert, nothing to really get your teeth into but it was fine. Extremely polite as is the general way here, very courteous and civilised.

After that our promoter Venkat of DNA, India's major concert promoters, took us out to a wonderful Indian restaurant. Everyone went along with Ian, Gaddsy, Dave too. We all love our curries and these were terrific.

In India everything closes by 11 latest so we managed a drink in the bar then took a couple of rooms and put in the booze and had a laugh and a few beers. Not too late though, but with time lag we weren't that tired and could have a good lie in in the morning.

I have to do some work now so will have to catch up with the gig day later but hopefully soon.

- Rod 


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