Thursday, March 21, 2013

Nurse the Hate: Crailsheim

3.9 Crailsheim

Morning comes early.  Really early.  I shower and wake Leo.  He sits up dazed in the top bunk bed.  "Oh my God.  Oh my God.  Oh Fuck."  Regardless of the ingredients of the "Mexican Bomber", I think we can all agree that doing nine of them will result in a terrible price to be paid.  He climbs out of the bunk, his feet slap on the floor, and is literally two steps away from the bathroom in the tiny Euro Hotel room.  "Where is the bathroom?  Where is it?"  It is literally three feet in front of him.  He has been destroyed.  He is a shell of the man that was the King of the Party at the Wild At Heart a mere five hours earlier.

We all slowly convene in the cafeteria style hostel breakfast area.  It might just be me, but many people appear to be trying to pick up the pieces from their Friday Night Gone Wrong.  There are many Eastern European girls in extremely tight jeans showing off bodies that are somehow undesirable in their disproportionate dimensions.  Guys in mystery jeans stare down blankly at their cold cuts and rolls.  Berlin is such a cold mistress.  It is always good to leave before she destroys you.

I can't help but feeling the tour is over.  Berlin always feels like the finish line to me.  Yet today we have a show in the small town of Crailsheim at what I believe is some sort of youth center.  These are always the most fucked up shows for me personally as we don't really have anything like this in the States.  I always feel like the guy that is still hanging around high school dances too late in life.  Imagine if the 4H put on a show in a common community space and then every degenerate in the surrounding area shows up and pounds beer in the same spot where six hours earlier 8 year old girls were taking dance lessons.  Our band posters will be up next to a flier for a children's play.  It's weird.

We spend six hours on the road and pull into the relatively boring town.  We learn there is actually still some anti-American sentiment from World War II as in 1945 the Allies destroyed 95% of the town in some sort of vindictive carpet bombing.  The legend goes that some resident had been waving a giant white flag at the time of the attack begging for the town to be spared.  While I don't feel like debating the 20 year olds on the plausibility and effectiveness of dozens of B-17 crews spotting a man with a flag at 25,000 feet, I recognize the right to be a little pissed at having your heritage destroyed by foreigners.  As it turns out, the room where the show is held is the oldest building left in the town.

We walk around town to stretch our legs and stumble into a cozy little town museum.  The single matronly woman employee welcomes us in and we check out the artifacts.  The most interesting to me is the area documenting the destruction of 1945 with burned Bibles, news photos, and a statement along the lines of "due to the Nazi atrocities and our nation starting the horrible conflict, we got what was coming to us in 1945, though it was really terrible".   That's about the extent of what there is to do in town, so we head back to the club to get ready to get ready.

Christoph shows up with Antje's friend Porsche.  I don't know if that is her real name as I have always assumed that most women named Porsche work exclusively in strip clubs.  Porsche works making artisan cheeses with cows in the Alps, and that has left her with a wiry muscular athletic body.  She also embraces the odd German paradox of loving nature, vegetarian food, and exercise while smoking as much as a longshoreman on a drinking binge.  How does one have rock hard abs, steel bands for thighs, and smoke like a French film director from the 1950s?  Those Germans sure do love to smoke.  The German people follow all rules without question.  They love it.  They cannot help themselves.  Yet the one set of rules they will break are all tied into smoking.  I remember coming here when the clubs first outlawed smoking.  Everyone went outside without a peep.  Now a few years later, many clubs post the no-smoking signs but they are willfully ignored.  Even the French don't smoke like the Germans.  It's an odd quirk.

The room is really hot and we sound like shit.  Everything is too loud.  We didn't soundcheck as we are sharing some gear with a band called the Titty Grabbers.  With a name like that, I assumed they would be 18 years old and play some shitty punk rock without melody or any technical proficiency whatsoever.  Instead, they are really pretty good.  They can play.  We play our set, but it's hard for me to get it going as I have spent the last hour and a half moving all the tour money around to pay everyone that needs to be paid.  Let me let you in to the secret of touring.  If you are lucky, the tour pays for itself, meaning that all the money you get from the clubs for the shows will pay for your van, gear rental, gas, food, airfare, etc.  Any money you hope to make on the tour is all from your merchandise.  To break it down to the base, you play music so you can sell t-shirts so you can keep playing music. 

We hang out with the people after the gig, and they are all really cool (though some of them are shockingly drunk).  I talk to a Polish guy that has recently moved to the area and is trying to fit in to the new culture.  It throws me because he really looks a lot like Ft Wayne graphic atist Bob Story.  We are in no hurry to leave.  We have time to kill as we are going to drive from here directly to the airport for our flights home.  Christoph will then take the van and dump the gear.  It's going to be a long day for Mr. Roth.  We all sign tour posters for each other, reassemble our suitcases as best we can, and climb into the van to go to Frankfurt.  I leave Sugar/Leo/Gary in the terminal as I am on a different flight home.  I am wearing the same basic clothes I played the show in.  They reek of sweat and smoke.  My hair is matted down inside my stinky cowboy hat.  I feel really sorry for whoever is going to sit next to me on the flight. 


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