The Fall

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Immediately after we finished recording, we unanimously agreed that the first single we released should be the one written about the almost-break-up. When we'd presented it to the label, they were shocked at how much passion and emotion we managed to get into one song. They said that "this was the song that could break Your Guardian Demons into the metal universe". They also said that we should consider going out on tour to promote our album. At first we were excited about the idea of going out on the road, but then the reality sank in. We weren't four kids playing in a warehouse anymore. Now we had an album professionally recorded, and we'd be travelling all over the UK, playing to possibly hundreds of paying customers at a time. 

Obviously there were a few formalities we'd need to sort out before we set off. The name of the tour, who'd drive the bus, support acts, that sort of thing. Luckily for us, Dave had recently passed his driving test, so at least we had a driver in our midst. The only alternative was to hire a driver and charge it to the label. That was an option, but not a pleasant one, as we planned on using the label's money to just enjoy ourselves and get the essentials. Sam knew a few guys in a band that performed screamo covers of pop songs, and after a quick phone call she had booked them as our support. Which meant that our only dilemma was to give a name to our tour. Our album was called "Wounding the Immortal" after a song Paul had written. Our first choice was to name the tour after the album, but we ruled out that idea after we realised how many other bands had done that. 

After a few days of deliberation, we still had nothing. It got to the stage where the executives had to call us to remind us that we needed to think of a tour title by the end of the week otherwise we'd be going nowhere. Under the added pressure, we compiled a list of random words and systematically selected a few. It took a while, but eventually we got a name down. This time next week, the "Rancid Zombie Abyss Tour" would be setting off.  

Our first date would be in a rock bar in Newport, and it was scheduled for the day our album was released. From there we would head over the border to England and play a few concerts there, then head up to Scotland, before heading back to our beloved homeland of Wales to finish the tour in the venue that started it all. I did some research into all of the venues we'd be performing in, and I wrote down a list of the places that I felt we'd enjoy most. In the top half were the likes of London, Manchester, Glasgow and so on, but there were also a few of the lesser-known areas that seemed to have not had their fair share of recognition. One in particular was a town in Wales called Wrexham. It had a venue that was hailed as "Wales' leading live music venue", yet I'd never heard of it. After I'd studied it in more detail, I felt honoured to be performing there, on the same stage as so many other famous artists. We are the Ocean, Of Mice and Men, Skindred... The list goes on. 

At last the big day came. Our first concert as signed artists. As always we opened up with our cover of Nightmare, and then mixed in our own songs as well as our covers. For the first time ever, we were begged to perform an encore. Running on adrenaline, we let rip with our favourite song; "Break My Heart, I'll Break Your Face". We left the stage to a standing ovation and deafening cheers. Back in the bus, the three of us (Paul was as emotionless as ever) started screaming and yelling and hugging each other to burn off the excess energy. We decided that we couldn't drive to the next venue when we were this hyped up, so we instead sat on the floor of the bus, having a competition to see who could get the rudest words in Scrabble. I managed a few gems, but it was Sam who managed to outdo us all. 

The tour progressed as it had begun, with standing ovations and encores at the end of each night. While in Scotland, we were given another surprising piece of news. Encouraged by the ticket sales, the label had decided to capitalise on our success by getting us to record a live album/DVD. They were letting us choose where we recorded, but we needed to decide fairly soon so that arrangements could be made. I personally wanted to record in Wrexham so that I could feel like a part of the elite group that have performed there, but the rest of the band wanted to record in Cardiff. Their argument was that we needed to stay loyal to our roots. Not wanting to cause tension in the bus, I agreed with them. 

Finally it had arrived. The cameras were all set at various positions around the stage. There was even one to get shots of the audience, but apparently that was just a compulsory feature; people would be paying money to see us, not some loonies jumping around. Because it was a special night, we'd decided we'd do something a little different. We were keeping a discrete eye on the crowd, trying to judge who was getting the most involved. When we'd found a suitable candidate, we came back on stage for the encore and invited him on to sing with us on "Break My Heart...". 

At first it seemed like a good idea, but then he got cocky and attempted a stage dive. It was only as he was already taking off that we'd realised just how drunk he actually was. Before we could pull him back he'd belly flopped onto an innocent young couple. But the carnage didn't stop there. He seemed to think that the couple had conspired not to catch him in order to embarrass him, and proceeded to punch the man square in the face. The girl's boyfriend then responded by shoving the drunk away and into some other innocents. From there the whole thing had snowballed into a full-scale riot. The club security managed to escort us out of the building and into the bus just before the petrol bombs were hurled. 

The following week we were summoned to a meeting at the label headquarters. 

"Now," the boss began. "I suppose you're wondering why you're all here." Sam sighed. 

"We're sorry about that night in the club. We didn't think he was that drunk." The boss waved his hand in nonchalance. 

"No, no, no; that sort of thing happens all the time. We managed to edit it so that all the viewers will see is that drunk stage-diving, and then it'll cut to footage of you from another show. It's unnoticeable. I called you here because I' m concerned about your sales. To date we've released ten thousand copies of your album. You've sold two hundred and fifty." We all stared blankly in shock. Even for a fairly new band, this was bad. The boss continued. "Furthermore, your live album/DVD has been on the shelves for a week now. You haven't even sold one copy!" We honestly could have burst into tears there and then, but the bad news wasn't over yet. 

"I've discussed it with our accountants and, quite frankly, you're losing us more money than you're making us. We can't afford to keep you here anymore." Sam was too choked up for words, so I stepped up to ask the damning question. 

"So what does that actually mean?" He made sure to look me square in the eyes when he answered in a low voice: 

"It means, Jonathan, that Your Guardian Demons is FINISHED!"

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