Normal - Abnormal - Abnormal - Normal... A few days ago I was standing by the swings in the park with my 2 daughters. They're in the swings, crying with laughter and I'm pushing them higher and higher. Apart from the noise they're making it's dead quiet. No one's here but us, there's virtually no cars and the wind is just a still breeze. 2 days before I'd played a wild show in Germany, I'd had a few beers (Coronas of course) afterwards, some drags on a Marlboro light, and we'd terrorized the support act and the local crew with a $20 fart machine that Fred and Mendez had bought in a sketchy store somewhere in the US. I was the centre of attention and now I'm by the swings with my kids and no one gives a fuck about me. Lovely! It's a wierd yet a lovely feeling to be able to live a "doublelife" like this. On the road I'm just a lazy, irresponsible bum who drinks beer and wine every night and our crew arrange everything for us. We show up (sometimes) for sound check, we do a few interviews, play the show and then have a few beers. Every day's the same. Me and Axe have started to go for long walks, checking if there's any 2nd hand record stores around (bought around 150 pieces of vinyl), or just scanning the city. I've started to appreciate it more and more lately. I need to break the habit of having the same shit going round in circles on tour. Back home, I'm just a dad and a husband. My wife basically drags me straight into the role of everything I'm not while on tour. I'm cooking (love it, made mussels steamed in white wine, chili, onions, garlic and coriander + spices), cleaning, vacuuming, doing the dishes, moving the lawn, playing with the kids (obvioiusly this is top priority) and just doing "normal" stuff. That's how I get some equilibrium with this crazy life I lead. The North American tour went great! The shows were really well attended and we played good every night. My voice got a bit sore for some reason while in Pittsburgh. The next day (Chicago) I had a doctor come and inject me with steroids...in my ass. I also got some steroids in pill form as well as some anti-biotics as the steroids were bound to fuck up my immune system. What I do for ROCK!? And all this in the middle of the swinefly scare. I got better real fast and 2/3's of the tour went by without any problems whatsoever. My voice got stronger than ever, if I may say so. It's a little bit of a blur, but my favourite shows....hmmm....liked Tucson AZ since we played well and we got a laugh attack on stage which always makes it something special. We sucked in LA (Axe fucked up), sucked in NYC (I fucked up), sucked in Pittsburgh (me again)...the rest were alright, and we had quite a few high octane shows cooking as well. Opeth right now is a machine, our standards for shows are over the top! I mean playingwise...the "show" is still the same as it always was...some lights and 5 silhouttes rocking out, that's it! In Memphis we went to visit Graceland which was pretty big for me. Real cool house and not as big as I'd imagined. His grave was there. I didn't know about it and I was a bit stunned as I laid my eyes on it. I felt him there, I talked to the other guys and they felt the same. Grutle (Enslaved) started crying he said, for no apparent reason. It was emotionally MASSIVE! We also played Knoxville which was great. Me and Axe went to a real fancy top restaurant afterwards since the owner was a fan. He'd set us up with some VIP tables and the food was TOP NOTCH. Best sushi I'd had in a long time! Oh, and HEART we're playing down the street from us, and I almost got the chance to meet them. It didn't happen but they signed a DVD for me which was cool! Love them! In Washington DC me and Fred got picked up to go to the PRS factory. It was great to see them again, and Paul himself was real happy. We had a very interesting meeting there but I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say anything about it yet, but it's a pretty big thing. I also got to play one of their acoustic guitars, the Angelus. It was hands down the best guitar I have ever played in my life! I need one, crave one! Fred got a nice PRS SC 245 which looked awesome. He loved it too, short scale, never played one myself. Overall it was a real nice tour, possibly the last for this run, although we got an offer from a big band to support them. We've said yes but it's not been confirmed...we'll see. The Germany shows were cool as well. The Wave Gotic treffen in Leipzig is semi legendary. Most punters are dressed up like something out of the Dracula films. Top hats, cains, gloves, frilly shirts and dyed black hair...wait, that's the general black metal look now maybe...I don't know. Oh, and Enslaved are our new best pals. What a great band and great bunch of guys. Totally genuine, down to earth nice guys. I mean I knew them a little from before but now I know them as buddies. I've invited Grutle to my house this Summer for some BBQ. Love those guys!! Next up are the Summer festivals here in Europe. Those are always fun but so much fucking flying it's insane. Still we'll have a good time. Right now I'm sat writing this as Mirjam is sleeping. She's a bit ill so I'm watching over her. Thing is I'm still jet lagged outta my fucking head so I might pass out myself. I guess I could...no harm done. Anna is working and Melinda is at kindergarten...in fact, I'll take a fucking old man's nap right away.... See ya! Cheers Mike Maybe his signature is coming up?