Black Orchid Empire’s Paul Visser: 5 Weirdest Places I’ve Stayed on Tour

Tour life might seem glamorous and fun, but it ain’t for the faint of heart. Between the homesickness and long drives, there’s also the issue of where to rest your head each night. Up-and-coming bands cutting their teeth playing tiny gig after tiny gig don’t get to ride in a lux tour bus much less stay in a hotel room every night (although, those can be weird, too). Instead, they get to crash wherever they can while trying to save up gas money. London-based heavy alt-rock outfit Black Orchid Empire know all about this — they’ve stayed in some pretty shady spots while on the road. The band — comprised of vocalist-guitarist Paul Visser, vocalist-bassist David Ferguson and drummer Billy Freedom — recently released their sci-fi concept LP and third full-length, Semaphore, via Long Branch Records. We caught up with Visser to get a look at what tour life is really all about.


A bench in a fully lit dressing room in a freezing venue in Derby. We were too drunk to bother getting our sleeping bags. Seemed like a good idea at the time. It was not.

A gigantic mansion in Hamburg

Our lovely friend let us “crash at her place” on tour in Germany – turns out it was a huge mansion. Win.

Hostel (after not packing gear)

A venue in Wiesbaden that had an awesome hostel in it. This wasn’t weird, but was unexpected, and we happily said thanks and got on the beers. The only problem was the in morning when, after partying way too hard, we remembered we hadn’t packed any of our gear away and then had a six hour drive to do in five and a half hours. Fun times.

Stage loading ramp

Our FOH [front of house] guy Martyn once slept on a stage loading ramp.

Family friend’s apartment

A friend’s grandmother’s tiny flat in Glasgow (she was away) with all of the Black Map guys. It had a stair lift.