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"We ditched the original driver [in Italy] 'cause we genuinely thought he would get us killed," says guitarist Nick Hipa of As I Lay Dying. The band was on a European tour in mid-June when the conflict began.

"[The bus driver] was real bad with directions," says Hipa. "Plus, he kept snapping over every little thing and making us uncomfortable, so, one day, the bus was sitting there and we just got behind the wheel and took off and left him."

Upon "firing" the driver, the band notified Metal Blade (their label), their tour manager, and personal manager; no police involvement was deemed necessary. They were on their way to a gig in Amsterdam when more difficulty arose.

"The bus broke an axle and we were stuck in this little town in Germany!" continues Hipa. "We didn't speak German...and couldn't get ahold of any managers." After the band made contact with their management, the Amsterdam date was canceled. Metal Blade sent a rep, who drove three hours from Berlin to Hamburg to pick them up. The band was delivered to their next gig in England...home of "the crazy bus driver," says Hipa.

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