Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Nurse the Hate: Dresden

3.7 Dresden

We make the 6.5 hour drive to Dresden.  Audis and BMWs fly by at 120+ mph in the left lane as we chug along in our Sprinter van.  The entire population understands The System.  Fast cars left, slow cars right.  If you are driving 130 mph and a Porsche driving 140 mph is approaching behind you, you move the hell over.  Why this logical and basic system cannot be grasped by American drivers is beyond my comprehension.  I always wonder why that guy camped out going 60 in the far left lane does not understand that there is a reason why everyone is pissed off when they pass him on the right.  By somehow not understanding the very basic building blocks of the traffic system, he would have to be mystified why everyone is so hostile on the road for apparently no reason.  Not here.  If you go too slowly in the left, you get a ticket with a healthy fine.  We need the Polizei over here to straighten some shit out on our highways.

We pass abandoned guard towers and electronic listening stations for the old GDR.  We are now in what was the old East Germany.  Large expanses of flat country like Indiana are broken up by crumbling smokestacks and busted cinderblocks, remnants of the old “Worker’s Paradise”.  In what was the old West Germany almost everyone speaks English to some degree.  Here in the east, almost no older people do, and even the younger people have less fluency.  However, I am sure most senior citizens could knock your socks off with Russian phrases and Communist songs.

As we drive, Leo designs what he has envisioned as his next tattoo, interlocking pretzels on his wrist like a cuff.  Without warning Leo’s head pops up from his tattoo sketching and he asks, “Greg… Are we playing that same club that served us all the white food?”  No Leo.  Wrong club.  Wrong city.  Despite having been to Dresden several times, one of Europe’s and certainly one of Germany’s prettiest cities, he has no memory of it.  This is the price one pays for being high all the time.  The guy has seen some amazing things, but can’t recall or organize them in his mind.  He has confused Rock Station in the industrial wasteland of Halle with magnificent Dresden, a city where he has strolled the palaces and art galleries of The Zwinger three times.  It is like confusing Toledo with San Francisco.  Well, maybe it will stick this time…

We play Rozi’s, a club that is part of an even bigger complex.  There has been an amazing amount of forethought and style put forth in the Hamburg themed club.  Booths line the wall, and each one has a different theme.  There is a boxing one with enormous photo of Max Schmelling.  A booth with angels is next to a booth with an S&M booth complete with hooded dom mannequin and rack with rubber dildos nailed on.  A St. Pauli flag flies in the back corner with vintage photos of past glories on the pitch.  The whole place is an homage to Hamburg, down to the stubby bottles of Astra beer served as the house brew.  This all relates back to when Dresden was a sister city to Hamburg in the old Iron Curtain days.

We get a pretty good meal at Helmut’s, the steakhouse in the front of the complex.  The menu is in a weird combination of English and German.  “Gnudeslich snitzel with Hell Fries.  Wondabrusstrsimen.  Fuck yes to the rock and roll!” It’s something like that…  The heavily tattooed waitress takes our order and disappears never to be seen again.  I make a phone call for an interview with Jeff Niesel at Scene Magazine for our upcoming CD Release gig at the Beachland.  Leo scores a steak, which he is eating like his last meal.  I go to the clean Spartan dressing room and knock out the set list.

The show itself is forgettable.  I think I have played Dresden twice, once with the Daredevils and once with the Cowslingers.  One time we ripped the fucking roof off the place.  The other time people stared at us like we were zoo animals.  The show tonight is unfortunately the latter.  Typically the East Germans are more reserved than their western breatheran.  This is crazy though.  A decent crowd of people have paid ten euros each to stare emotionlessly.  I try to get them closer, and only one pierced girl makes her way up.  The rest react as if I am speaking a foreign language, which of course I am.  The show ends with polite claps.

The girl that stood up front is a very heavy girl that turns out to be from England.  She is with her friend Helen, a cute brunette with a bob cut and peppy white tennis shoes.  They are both very drunk, as are all English people that I have ever met while traveling in Europe.  If you see pasty people stumbling around making inappropriate noise and looking like they might barf on you at any second, they are English tourists.  I thank the girls for their support, and they are quick to tell me their story.  The heavy girl is a lesbian on the prowl.  According to Helen, (insert prim English accent here) “She lit rally snogs moh girls than anyone I have evah seen.” .  Helen then informs me she is a bisexual in a long term relationship with a woman, “but now it is a bit boring really”.  We have known each other for 17 seconds, so I can see why she would want to unburden herself and let me in on what is going on in her life.  I think she has designs on Sugar, who is a beacon for the lesbian community like some sort of sexual lighthouse.  Sugar has received more play from women in the last ten days than I have in the last two decades of touring.  It’s a bit depressing to dwell on my complete lack of desirability to the opposite sex, so it's time for a drink.

Leo and I ask Kitty the bartender for a shot of something local.  She produces four shots for us, none of which look complimentary in the slightest.  There is no fucking way I am doing all four of these.  Visions of myself barfing through the night lead me to narrowing in on a couple of them.  The choices are something red that looks like a cherry kirsch thing, something creamy served in a tiny ice cream cone, a green horrible looking liquid, and a licoricey pastis shot.  I do the licoricey thing and the ice cream cup, which is very girly but totally delightful.  Leo does all four in succession.  Of course. 

I get Sugar’s attention, who by this time has had Helen attach herself to her side.  They both come over and Helen immediately knocks over the green shot with her enormous beer mug she is waving around.  She then leans down on the bar and playfully extends her tongue to lick up the spilled liquor announcing, “just like I like to lick pussy” before exploding in a gleeful cackle.  Hey-o!  I look around and I finally notice that there are plenty of other women without the company of men.  Wait a minute…  How did I end up at a lesbian rockabilly cowboy punk show halfway across the globe?

Marcus the promoter pays me out in the office and we discuss St. Pauli.  I’ll tell you what; this St. Pauli thing is the ticket to instant camaraderie.  Marcus, a really nice guy, explains how this bar has come to be a magnet for soccer hooligan trouble.  St. Pauli is a team that represents the far left of left wing.  Dresden, on the other hand, is to the far right.  Often “far right” can be a code word for neo-Nazi or a set of ideas that dance close to the edge of what most of Germany considers fascism.   Europe has so many more political connotations with everything, especially with soccer.  It would be like if you were a Houston Texans fan that meant you were also a member of the John Birch Society.  Frankly, it’s kind of stupid to have these two things mixed up, but it is what it is…  The deal is that if Dresden wins one of their two annual matches vs. St Pauli, there is no problem.  If St. Pauli wins, a bunch of thugs come to Rozi’s and try to break the place up and beat up people.  It would be interesting to be a tourist and randomly walk in here after a St Pauli win over Dresden.  “Look honey.  A big crowd of fellas just came in!  Let’s go try out our German phrases on them!  Gutentag!”  Cut to bottle crashing on the side of the head.

Marcus gives me a bunch of St Pauli stickers and club t-shirts.  I make the short walk to our Mexican themed Bed and Breakfast, leaving the lesbian dance party behind.    


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