Punk Rock Tour Tales #1: Leo from Forever Unclean

Leo Wallin, drummer of Forever Unclean, tell us about his best, worst and weirdest tour stories.

Punk Rock Tour Tales is a new Shout Louder feature, where we interview bands about their tour stories. Read them all here.

Leo Wallin is a well-known part of the Copenhagen punk rock crew: he’s drummed in Forever Unclean, Fabled Mind, Rebuke, Megafonzie, Kill The Rooster, Stars Burn Stripes… and probably a whole bunch of other bands we don’t know about!

Sarah asked him about his best, worst and weirdest tour experiences.

Of the touring you’ve done, what’s been your favourite so far?

That is a tough one, and we have discussed it within the band so many times. But I’d probably say overall it was touring Australia for three weeks in 2018. Some of my dearest friends live there, and the Australian people in general are fucking awesome. The scene is also pretty rad and the standards of the Oz bands are stellar… And then there is the climate, the sights, the beaches, the fauna. Whether you are playing shows or not, it’s really just a big old holiday paradise.

What’s the furthest you’ve ever driven to play a 30 minute set? 

Drumming for Rebuke at a festival in Vilhelmina in northern Sweden for sure. The drive was 16 hours through lonely pine forests. Each way! Totally worth it, though. It’s hard to describe what it feels like to party for two days at a latitude where the sun doesn’t really set during midsummer. But it’s a sight to check out for sure.

Have you ever looked around on tour and thought ‘what the fuck is happening’?  What had happened? 

Touring at DIY level is really just a series of what-the-fuck moments and it can be hard to determine whether you survived different situations due to experience, stubbornness or sheer stupidity.

One example coming to mind was being held at machine gun point by a Russian cop who didn’t speak English at 2AM in the middle of nowhere, at a police outpost somewhere between Kursk and the Ukrainian border. Running on Redbull and almost no sleep for three days straight, I was 100% done with the situation and somehow got us away by bad mouthing him in Danish and throwing rubles at him until he eventually shook my hand and bid us farewell…. WTF indeed!

When was the first / last time that you had a ‘fuck, this isn’t worth it’ moment?  
How did you overcome it?    

I honestly don’t think I have ever had that. There have definitely been bad trips and shit gigs in every possible aspect, but being in it together with your best mates, I never have to search my mind for long to find the broader aspect of the tour and recognise the meaning in the madness.

What are your tips for surviving a tour?

Try and eat as healthy as possible. Being in the sit-up position for many hours a day is not good for your digestive system and if your guts are always just filled with chips, cheese, wheat and sugar it doesn’t take long to become constipated. Especially if you are also sleep deprived and hung over. And a bad stomach is one of the shortest way to low spirits and eventually pointless arguments over negligible problems.

Do you have a long-serving tour vehicle? What are its quirks?  

No. Cars are extremely expensive in Denmark due to environment taxes (which is a good thing, I guess). But we have used Petter’s (of Rebuke) van many, many times. It’s one of the only band-owned vans we know of that has never had a serious break down despite being driven hundreds of thousands kilometres all over Europe.

It is in fact one of Petter’s horcruxes, which makes it as weird and awesome as him. Its biggest quirk is the entertainment system, which must surely have been designed by a 4Chan troll.

What’s your soundtrack in the van? 

Equal measures of music we either love or don’t know, podcasts, stand up shows and pure silence.

We were recently asked this very question and thus created this playlist to accompany the answer.

Do you have a luxury item you take with you?    

An electric toothbrush. It’s so much more efficient than a regular one. As long as my mouth, feet and arse are clean all hope is not lost. (I only use the toothbrush for my teeth. Settle down.)

Are there any van in-jokes that are safe to share with us?

Nae. A joke is only funny in the right context. Especially in this day and age.

That said, with Lasse (singer of Forever Unclean) being a excellent impressionist, there will surely be hilarious versions of people we know and meet on the road. And as we get further into the tour those impressions get intertwined and completely new characters are born.

If you could choose any band alive, which band would you most like to tour with?

Chotto Ghetto. If you don’t know them, go listen to them and try and come up with one reason why you wouldn’t wanna get to know them. Start with the first album ‘Sparkles’.

Forever Unclean will be playing Do It Together Fest, which Shout Louder is putting on with Be Sharp Promotions and Colin’s Punk Rock World on 24-25th January 2020. Grab a ticket here.

Punk Rock Tour Tales is a new Shout Louder feature, where we interview bands about their tour stories. Read them all here.

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