Nov 4 1992

Downcast, Groundswell


After 16 gigs in 8 and-a-half months in Barnstormers this was a depressing one to finsh the year on. As you will read below, DOWNCAST were not on friendly terms with each other and that carried forward onto the stage and also in any activities we had with the band.

It was a nightmare from an organisational point of view. I only learned that the band were having difficulties when I was assembling this book and for years I had held an opinion on the band based on their personal feelings at the end of a long tour. Funny how wrongly one can judge others after a couple of hours. People still talk about the DOWNCAST gig and how the singer left the stage crying. They think that it was “emo” or something. The music was all about feelings and he gave it everything. I would have preferred a chat but that wasn’t to be tonight.

Still, no matter what was going on with the band on the night, the fact that we had put on an average of 2 gigs a month all featuring bands from outside the country and who otherwise may not have had the chance to visit Ireland was pleasing. Barnstormers was ideal for these touring bands.
“I had joined Downcast in the UK, on the last leg of their European tour sometime in the early nineties. I don’t even remember the year. It was miserable and cold and the band was doing very badly. On day one of the tour, Brent, the guitarist, had decided that he didn’t want to be on tour. He wanted to be home with his girlfriend.

So, in order to let everyone know that he was here against his will, he stood on stage stone-faced, played his riffs, showing no emotions at all. Nobody in the van talked to him. I don’t think I said a single word to him in ten days. It was beyond awkward. It didn’t help that most of the shows in the UK had been cancelled. Everybody was feeling dismal. Then, in Belfast, I got very, very sick. So sick, in fact, that one night while staying in somebody’s house I was sure I wasn’t gonna make it through. I had such a high fever I honestly  thought I was going to die. Needless to say, I made it and we arrived in Dublin. I went inside the club and had a look around, but it was still hours till the show, so I decided to take a nap in the van. At this point I’d like to say that it’s really unwise to tour with cargo pants, because those stupid pockets on the side of your leg really hurt when you’re trying to sleep across 3 seats.

Anyways, not surprisingly, I slept right through the show. I was awoken by Kevin (the singer) ripping the door open and throwing himself on the floor in the back of the van. He was bawling. I never really talked to him about it, but I think he had simply reached the end of the line. He couldn’t take it anymore. Kent, who had also been on tour with them, later told me that there had almost been a fist fight between Brent and Kevin. And apparently Kevin just ran outside during the show. What an undignified end to such a great band. Because that was it. It was over. And I had slept through it.

We had the next day off and stayed in a very nice house with a bunch of awesome eople. All the time I had been aching to take a shower or a bath and now, finally, we were at a place that was nice and warm. Except that, by then, I was feeling so weak I was unable to even make it upstairs to the bathroom. So, while everyone spent the day sight-seeing, I sat on the settee alone, crying quietly and feeling sorry for myself. When I got back and went to see a doctor, the first thing he did was check my armpits for track marks. I must have looked so fucked-up he thought I was a junkie. It turned out I had pneumonia. Fun!

And that’s what I remember about Dublin. I swore that one day I would go back and really see the place. And I know, some day I will.” Marianne Hofstetter


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