KROKUS Frontman Recalls Danish Bus Crash

Jeb Wright of Classic Rock Revisited recently conducted an interview with KROKUS frontman Marc Storace. An excerpt from the chat follows:

Classic Rock Revisited: It sounds like outside of the USA there is Krokus fever going on!

Marc: After the release of "Hellraiser" we started getting requests to tour so we went out with HAMMERFALL as their special guest. It was the longest European tour that KROKUS has ever done. We had many nice experiences and we had a couple of bad ones.

Classic Rock Revisited: You're talking about the bus crash. Tell me what happened. [See a post-crash photo of the tour bus at this location.]

Marc: It was very icy in Scandinavia. We were headed down to Hamburg to spend the day and do the gig the next day. I was asleep in my bunk and a few of the other guys were up drinking coffee and surveying the scenery. It was very foggy and the road was iced up. Traffic was moving considerably slow, thank God. The bus went into a slide and there was a car in front of the bus. The bus driver avoided the small car but he slammed into a huge truck that was carrying steel. The cabin just buckled and glass came flying into the lounge. Luckily, the guys saw it coming so they could cover their faces and eyes. The bus came to rest against the side flanking — the metal barrier on the road. If that was not there then we would have gone into a ditch and would have rolled the bus. I woke up to the first thud and then to the second one when we hit the barrier. The first thing that I realized was that the driver was in trouble. He got his left leg caught between his seat and the front of the bus which had buckled in. He could not move and he was in pain. A couple of the guys were panicking. We got dressed as fast as possible and then we immediately realized that we could not leave the bus as both doors were blocked by the barrier. We had to sit tight and wait for the emergency corps to get there. They checked out the situation and there were no leaks, no smoke and no fire and that helped us cool down. We got the driver out of a tight situation first. They cut this huge hole in the side and then they used a huge hydraulic thing to push the bus off of his leg and get him out. It was quite amazing. They tried to pull the bus away from the barrier so we could open the door and walk out but the cables just snapped and came whacking into the side of the bus like a whip. Thank God we were all in the back where they told us to go. Eventually, they broke this huge window in the back of the bus and put a ladder up and we exited the bus through the back window. It was a very strange morning.

Classic Rock Revisited: Did you have to get another bus and switch everything over?

Marc: A few minutes later a replacement bus was there. They took us to a garage where we went into a waiting room where it was warm and we could get some coffee and use the toilet. In the meantime our tour manager got on the phone and got the same company to bring a bus in and we took it straight to Hamburg because it was snowing and we didn't want to get bogged up and miss the gig. We pressed on and hitched the trailer to the new bus. We got back on the bus and went back to the Autobahn and lined up against the wrecked bus and emptied everything out and put the trailer on the back and off we drove. We dealt with the rest of the stuff, the police and insurance, on the way. That is how we spent our day off. The next day we had a fantastic show in Hamburg and things went okay. The company ended up sending us yet another bus from Austria. It was a double-decker bus. They were trying to compensate us for the wreck and they realized that they now had tragic passenger. The shock is usually worse than the damage. We were a lot luckier than METALLICA. They lost a great friend and a great bass player on a stretch of road which was very close to where we were.

Classic Rock Revisited: There was also a bus mishap where you got left behind by the bus.

Marc: That was also in Denmark. It seems to be my streak of luck in the Denmark area. I am going to really watch out the third time around.

Classic Rock Revisited: I could see leaving the bass player but how did they leave the lead singer?

Marc: I am the night owl. I enjoy the peace and tranquility on a moving bus. I switch off all the lights and open the curtains. I like to relax and drink some cognac or some red wine and just be quite. I really enjoy just being with me and myself. I appreciate a little bit of privacy at the end of the day.

I was the last one up and Andrea, a very good bus driver, told me that she was going to stop for a coffee and to use the toilet. I thought to myself that coffee takes longer than a minute and women take a long time on the toilet. She went off and I thought that I needed use the john myself. I didn't want to use the little one on the bus so I dove off the bus. The diving back in the bus got postponed. I came up the stairs to see the bus pulling out and I ran like I have never ran. I tried to catch up but it kept getting faster and faster. I stopped and whistled as loud as I could but it just zoomed away into the horizon. I said, "Holy shit." I stomped the earth a couple of times to calm down. There was nothing left to do but to deal with it.

I went back to the restaurant. Luckily there were friendly people working there who let me use their phone. My phone was low on charge. I had all my numbers and I was trying everyone but they all had their phones switched off for the night. I didn't have Andrea's number. The only person I reached was in Denver, Colorado. Peter Waelti is our new manager in the U.S. He also managed me 35 years ago. He said, "Don't worry, that's rock n' roll." I said, "Tell me that you don't want to tell the world about this. I'm embarrassed." He said that is was okay so I said go ahead. The main thing I wanted to do was to get to the next gig by sound check. He told me to sit tight. I amused myself the best I could. There were people who recognized me so I was telling stories and signing autographs. They were amazed that I was alone and that everyone had left. I knew everything was going to be okay. About eight in the morning Peter made contact and they sent a car up from Germany, which was four hours away. The driver grabbed something to eat and we hit the road. I made it for sound check and I had a meal with the band. We had a great gig despite me having a sleepless night. After the show I had a nightcap and some strong red wine and was the first to hit the sack.

Read the entire interview at www.classicrockrevisited.com.

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