Atari Teenage Riot tour diary part 1 - Alec Empire on the return of Carl Crack, a hard slog through France and their NIN shows...

DAY 1: Barcelona/Spain 14-11-1999

Carl Crack is back! That’s the most important thing today. All the shows in France nearly destroyed us. No or bad food, no sleep, Hanin Elias lost her voice for a show, still has high temperature and throws up every two hours.

Nic Endo goes to the hospital because of a bad ear infection – anti-biotics and anti-biotics and painkillers. We play less songs and go into long noise and feedback sections.


And then the Crack comes back in Madrid – He got himself out of all the shit in Germany. On the way to Barcelona we rarely speak.

There is too much to say. We have been through shit on this tour – It’s been hard without one member. Nic Endo and me think of a way to get our Sample-Guitar repaired – Hanin Elias was confronted with this complete dick at the last show we did – He threw a beer bottle at her – She jumped down with the guitar and to hit him in the face with it – it was a fight in the audience at a sold out show – and the guy hits back – I jump after her with my microphone stand – I guess the was the last time he attacked a girl but the guitar is fucked now. The inside, the brain, the memory fell out and is gone. We’ll find a solution somehow. Now we are here in Spain and it’s freezing. We decide to stay in the bus. While we talk we notice all these girls jumping up trying to look through the window. They are pointing at me.

Someone says:”Hey! You see, Alec, there are Atari fans here!” I don’t think so – I think FUCK! Oh NO!!! I forgot! The haircut!! No it can’t be! And already everybody is laughing. We are haunted! We try to escape through the backdoor of the bus and of course these girls run around the bus screaming and then they stop and turn away with red faces. From further away flashlights go off. Yes, they think it’s Trent! Yeah! Inside the venue still laughing we meet some people of the NIN crew – they are all cool. Not that usual heavy metal behaviour. It’s gonna be cool. It really looks like it. We do our 10 minute soundcheck. And then we wait and wait and then the “Five minutes!”. The lights go out and we start ‘Sick to Death‘ and suddenly we all remember that this is what it’s all about. This is why we’re here! We are together again. This energy, the lyrics! I don’t give a shit if these thousands of people out there hate me or whatever.

Stroboscope overload. No breaks, impossible for the audience to applause or shout “fuck” or whatever.

We play 30 minutes and then it’s fucking over!!!!!

I go straight back into the bus and listen to Mike Ladd‘s ‘Welcome to the After-Future’ – the others check the NIN show. I switch to track 13 ‘FEB 4 ’99 (for all those killed by cops)’ dedicated to Amadou Diallo who was murdered by the NY police. I didn’t know him but I knew others. Suddenly the busdriver comes and asks me if Trent Raznor is here because some kids were waiting at the front door to get autographs and they swear that he entered this bus a few minutes ago…