September 8th - 16th, A Walk in The Black Forest 1971
This one was on a day during a German tour. Can't remember the name of the gig. It must have been in 1972, in the period between when the band was a heavy progressive audio visual band- in the period of Galactic Zoo, (1971) and the drum machine "Journey" period (1971)
Kingdom Come were touring in Germany in 1971. One day, during the day before a gig, the Lightsman, Dave, and I decided we would take some LSD and go into the Black Forest- which was right next to us, and get close to nature. Accordingly, we took the LSD and got the band to drop us off at an entry point to the forest, and told them we would see them that evening for the gig. We began to walk.
The Black Forest is, as befits a forest in Germany, neatly laid out in rows for much of its area. After a while, I remembered my time in the boy- scouts( not very long)! As the forest came in rows that were both horizontal and vertical, we were encountering regular places where these lines crossed. So there were squares of forest all round us.i knew that every time we got to such a join, we had to choose our direction. The thing was, on the way back, how would we know which was the right direction? I remembered that as a scout, we had marked each stretch we took with a stick . I forgot in my LSD state that two crossed sticks would tell us that we had been there, but would not tell us which direction to go. This proved to be our undoing later when we got lost.
Anyway, on we boldly went, looking at the geometric patterns the plants and stones all manifested.
Eventually, I began to have a relation with the trees. I became acutely aware of them as living beings. I felt like we were from the same family. So, eventually, we arrived in a particular section of the trees. I was inspired to put my forehead on a particular, large tree. Immediately, I felt at one with the whole forest. And indeed a kind of map of the whole living forest came into my consciousness.
It seemed like the tree I had my head on was the focus tree for communication with the others. There were two others that had a like power, so this was a triangle of strength and communication.( however it later occurred to me that maybe all the trees were like that, and I didn't see beyond the particular group I was in. If that were to be true, then any tree in the forest could make available a kind of map of the rest of the forest) anyway, the forest was a living entity, and we were part of it.
After a while we found ourselves moving on. Dave began to act strange. His eyes took on a demonic look. He began to grunt . Then, he howled. I was a little alarmed, but began singing an improvised song. He became quiet. But when I paused in my singing, he became even more agitated. I sang again, and he calmed down. Then he started to throw himself against the bushes. I sang again, not knowing what else to do to calm him. He said , with a leer, " you're alright now, but soon it will be dark , and we will be in my Kingdom. Then you will taste my true power". He was now extremely scary, and out of control. I sang again, and at first he quietened. But it was getting dark. He began to gnash his teeth . I continued singing. But now it seemed to lose its effect. He began to sniff the air and paw the ground. He started to bash his head against the tree trunk. Blood began to pour from a self- inflicted wound. He ignored it and moved towards me. I had no idea how to deal with him. In another context people would have said he was possessed by the devil!
Suddenly, I realised that if it was dark, we must be getting close to the time of the gig. But I was aware we were lost in the forest. I couldn't remember the name of the venue where we were to play. So I said," do,you remember the name of tonight's gig.?"
He stopped in his tracks suddenly, trying to focus - " No, " he said.
I said, " well, we are in trouble." we began walking. By now his demonic possession was gone. He was immersed in being late for the gig. We came to the first joining point where we found my marker. That was good. But it didn't tell us which direction to take then. We could choose a path but we would go a long way before we might realise it was the wrong way, and have to retrace our steps. That would maybe take all night. I said " do you know which direction we should generally head in?" He was overcome with terror at the thought of being lost in the forest in the dark. He, who had raised his hand in powerful rage, was now terrified. He got down on his knees and prayed.
As he did so, a little to our right, a small star of light appeared and twinkled.( a bit like Tinkerbell).
He thanked god profusely, and we set off towards the light. Suddenly it disappeared. But we kept going, and it reappeared . This happened many times before we got near enough to see that it was not a heavenly spirit guiding us. It was a street lamp. We could see it when the path went towards it, but then as the path veered away, the "star" disappeared.
We still did not know if we had come out on the right side of the forest, or what the gig's name was - and it was dark and time was slipping away. And neither of us had any money, and there were no mobile phones.
Out of nowhere a man in a business suit and bowler appeared, and walked up to a machine by the side of the road. He put some money into the machine and pulled. I walked up to him and, not speaking German, began to mime. At first he was intimidated, but then he started to watch
I mimed playing air guitar whilst shouting " rock and roll!"
He seemed to understand. He said" ach, Rock and Roll". He pointed down the road and indicated, turn left, not at the first, not at the second, but at the third joining road.
We thanked him and walked on. When we turned the corner of that street, directly opposite there was a huge poster advertising - Heute. Nacht, Kingdom Come. The club was 50 yards down the street. We arrived, much to the relief of the band - who were beginning to think of search-parties..
A mere 30 minutes before the gig. And when we played it was one of those magical nights.
DESIGN by SENSABLE MEDIA