Back in 1998 I received a phone call from someone at Century Media Records. I had a very good relationship with the publicists there at the time, so getting several calls per day/week was nothing new. Back in the day, zine Editors, writers (there’s that word again!) and publicists worked together for what seemed to be a common cause. So I got a call asking for a favor. Emperor, who were riding higher than ever on the release of their 1997 album ‘Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk’, were set to play the 1998 Milwaukee Metalfest.
The band was worried the keyboard was going to be sent to ex-Metal Maniacs writer Tomas Pascual because they wrote “there’s no way that little guy will be able to carry it!” [[I Have nothing against the guy but folklore has New York based Tomas Pascual as the main component in the ill-fated/disastrous 2003 Metal Gods (Halford, Testament, Immortal, Carnal Forge) US Tour- so maybe we can thank him for the Judas Priest reunion??]].
So the case arrived safe enough and yeah, it was heavy as fuck, that’s for sure.
A day or two after the arrival of the keyboard I received another call. Would I be interested in picking up Emperor at O’Hare Airport and getting them to Milwaukee on the Thursday before the fest? Hmmmm, why not? I thought. I wasn’t the biggest Emperor fan, but it sounded like it could be adventurous and again, you do favors for friends when possible.
So I agreed. I’d pick up the band at the airport and then we’d make our way up to Milwaukee where the Century Media crew would be waiting to get them prepared for what was to be a hectic, yet highly anticipated weekend.
I ended up renting a mini-van as including me; there would be a total of seven people and we'd need a bigger vehicle. This was all easy compared to the true task at hand…getting Emperor into the United States of America. A few members of the band had/have criminal records, some served time in prisons for various offenses and now they needed to enter our country to play a Metal Festival.
We arrived in Milwaukee sometime that evening, met up with the Century Media crue and had a few drinks to celebrate the bands arrival and a toast to the great weekend that lay ahead. The CM guys were cool enough to bring me a TON of shit to listen to on the way home, and on the way back up the next day, all very cool.
I’ve seen both Samoth and Trym a few times since 1998 and they still remember their maiden voyage to Milwaukee in July of 1998…Cool.