I will attempt to enter these when I can. Just remember that I am probably stuck in a van or in a drafty dressing room without wifi, so I won´t be able to be as punctual as I like. I will do my best though.
Day One Feb
22, 2013 The Kling Klang, Wilhelmshaven
over is typical. Screaming babies
compete in volume. Harried Turks cram
belongings into overheads. Calm
collected Germans look on in private quiet disbelief at the others lack of
organization. Each German on the plane
has probably planned out to the nth degree the most efficient way to pack, and
has brought nothing more than they absolutely need. Each tastefully designed compact bag was
placed by them with little fanfare into the overhead compartment and then they
sat calmly in their seat waiting for the others to finish their fumbling. If it bothers me how much people don’t have
their shit together on planes, I can only imagine the inner turmoil it causes a
typical German business flier.
I am travelling
alone as the others flew out a little earlier in the day. The relative quiet allows me to read all of
Chuck Palahniuk´s “Damned” and actually get some limited naps on the flight, a
rarity for me. Upon landing I collect
all four bags in Frankfurt including a now
opened box of hoodies which I nonchalantly push past customs officials in the “Nothing
To Declare” line. I may yet have a
career as a drug mule.
I had my
last real sleep on Wednesday at 11:30 pm.
It is now Friday at Noon. Christoph,
our usual partner in crime on these European suicide missions, is punctual as
always. He is a combination driver/tour
manager/reveller in our misfortune. Nothing
makes him happier than when we are faced with terrible accommodations with
bizarre outcast hosts. He is a man that
embraces schadenfreude unlike any other in Germany. Our collective misfortune is always a great
source of amusement. When you are
sleeping in a scuzzy band apartment in Hamburg
with a whore throwing up in the alley outside, there is only one thing to do…
laugh and speculate on how it could get worse.
grabbed from behind. Sugar is jumping up
and down screaming out “I found you! I found you! You’re here!” This may look like an overreaction but allow
me to point out that she just made a border crossing with Leo. We gather everyone up and toss all the crap
into the Sprinter van, once again rented from our friends at LSD Trips van
rentals. As an aside I do wonder why
someone would paint “LSD Trips” on the side of a van and then go into the
business of renting these vans to rock bands.
I think we can agree that rock bands as a whole are not interested in
being pulled over and asked a lot of questions from police, so it would seem
the extra effort to paint “LSD Trips” on these vans may be not in the interest
of their key customer base. Maybe it is
a European Thing I just don´t understand.
hours of flying our reward is to get into a van and drive five hours to Wilhelmshaven Germany. Wilhelmshaven is on the North Sea, about the
least desirable destination one would travel to in February. It is cold and gray. A wind blows steadily from the ocean. Stray seagulls prowl overhead. This reminds me of someplace. Oh yeah.
We have a
show tonight as an opener for a band called Mardi Gras BB. The deal with the show is a theatre company
booked Mardi Gras BB into the venue and we were added as an opener. This is nice to only have to play 50 minutes
or so, but who knows what kind of people will show up. The guys in that band are finishing their
meal when we arrive. They stare at us as
we walk in. There is also a guy in a
blow up strongman suit in women’s makeup singing the chorus of Bon Jovi’s “You
Give Love A Bad Name” while five delighted friends look on. They are snapping pictures with their phones
as he bellows off key in a thick accent “Shot to de heart ahnd you to blame!
Joo give luv a bat name!” over and over.
It is a weird scene to walk into as jetlagged as I am. Leo and I sit and eat the pre show meal of
chicken and vegetables. It takes no time
for him to fall into his time tested European small talk banter. Doc, the singer of the band, is sitting next
to Leo. He is a real extroverted guy and
very friendly. Leo hits him with Old
Reliable. “So… What do you do in the
band? The singer? Very good.
Very good.” It is always two “very
goods” as if he is providing extra assurance that he is pleased with the
Sugar and Gary are gone for what
seems like seven hours in an attempt to get a cellphone. Jens, the promoter, is getting uptight about
how late we are running behind schedule. It should be noted that German scientist and German
streetperson alike expect punctuality. Showing
up 17 minutes late somewhere is much much worse than urinating on the floor. We are committing a cardinal sin, but no one
wants to just come out and say “What the fuck are you assholes doing? Just fucking soundcheck and get back on
schedule!” They finally return and it
seems that a massive stroke for Jens has been avoided.
Sugar, and Leo try to make sense of their rented gear. It can´t be easy to be jetlagged and
tinkering around with strange equipment to try and sound “normal”. We reach some kind of détente after trying to
sound OK. I heft my enormous suitcase up
to the band apartment. When we play
shows that give us a band apartment, the expectation is of bunk beds, scary
shower, functional toilet, and some crazy variable you couldn´t dream up if you
tried. In this case the X factor is a
bowflex crammed into the small space. It
is good to know that we can blast our pecs at a moments notice. I write up a 45 minute set list, knock back a
Fernet Branca, and grab a couple of Jever beers. Jever is the beer of the region, an extremely
bitter pilsner. I like it but Christoph
hates it. “If I go to a party and they
have this or Becks, I take nothing.”
has filled in nicely and a large crowd is crammed into the small box room. We get going and I realize I made a mistake
with the list. Gary forgot his slide, so
will be a problem. Gary goes into it and makes the surprising
rock move of grabbing one of my Jever bottles to play slide. Unfortunately it is still full. I grab the beer from him and chug it as fast
as I can so he can use it. I wasn´t
really hoping for this outcome, and it is not easy. The last of the beer splashes down my chest. This may have looked “rock n roll” or it may
have looked “pathetic”. I am not sure
We win the
crowd over and I stand by the merch table afterwards. We do a brisk business and sign lots of CDs. There are some shockingly drunk people in the
bar as the evening winds down. I have to
tell a guy 15 times that his lost jacket is not in our merch bag. He just cannot seem to remember that he has
already looked there (see photo above of that guy). We pose for a lot
of pictures. People are nice. Really nice. So nice that a man wants to be extra nice for
Sugar. When she tells him she
appreciates his interest but that she is married, he says “That is OK. I am too.
You should always have a secret garden, things that you keep from your
mate, things which are beautiful.” While
a hell of a pitch, she is not sold. I
slink out of the room and head upstairs to sleep leaving the chaos downstairs.