Monday, October 15, 2018

European Tour Diary 2018: Day 13 Frankfurt

We get up early.  We are spread across the efficient bunk beds.  I wander downstairs after a shower to find some breakfast.  There are 716 Danish kids wandering around in small packs eating rolls and cold cuts.  I would kill for two scrambled eggs and turkey sausage.  I watch the kids put on their various identities.  The sullen boy.  The confident girls.  The In kids.  The Out kids.  It’s way too much hormones for this hour.

It’s a long drive today to Frankfurt.  We try to show Hex and Chanda Checkpoint Charlie but the roads are closed for reunification parades or something.  It’s hard to say what as there is no activity whatsoever, but as it is Europe, it’s closed.  Here’s a quick traveler’s tip…  Europe has amazing points of interest.  There are museums, cathedrals, galleries, etc.  They are all closed.  They are open the third Wednesday of the month, with the exception of this month because it is a church holiday no one can identify.

We make the inevitable gas station stop for a piss and a sandwich.  Leo comes up to me.  “Hey, you got any change?”  I ask what he needs. “Whatever”  What do you mean “whatever”?  What’s your goal?  “I want to get some snacks but I’m not changing any more money.”  For about 11 of the 14 days Leo has been bleeding cash from the rest of us.  On tour, you can get by without almost any cash.  You will get your breakfast and dinner from the clubs.  If you pace yourself, you don’t really need any money.  Drinks will be free.  All you need is the occasional .70 for a pay toilet.

Leo has made the exact same mistake on every tour.  The move is to withdraw Euros from an ATM at the airport.  Your bank will charge the market conversion rate, and you’re ready to go.  What Leo does is arrive with too little American money.  He then walks out of the airport, directly past all the currency conversions stands, to climb in the van and have NO local cash.  As we have discussed, banks are always closed. Leo also lacks a focus on the mission of getting his cash changed over, so as a result he walks around hitting all of us up for “a loan”.  He does intend to pay you back, but he is so fucking baked all the time, who knows if he’ll remember. 

So this particular cash shakedown strikes a chord with me, probably because I have slept 11 hours in the last 14 days.  He has no grasp that while to him they are just “coins”, but in fact are 2 or 1 euro coins worth $3 or $1.50 each.  He’s like a Bangladesh street beggar that hits you up for $7.50 when you walk into a gas station.  Making matters worse, when we finally got him into a bank on Day 4, he didn’t change all his dollars to euros.  He now has $50 useless American cash, no credit card and no bank card.  What are you going to do, fuck him over and not give him food?  I give him $2.50 but I’m pissed like Robert De Niro in The Deer Hunter.  “No way Sal.  Put down the boots.  I said no…”

Leo then starts giving me a hard time about not just handing him my own last Euro cash.  “Do you know how much I spent in Iceland?  I spent $82 on a round of shots!”  I think I did make the point that he didn’t actually NEED to spend the $82 on shots and could have passed on that expense, but he soon flickered back to victim mode.  He munched on his $3 sandwich pissed I told him to change the rest of his money.  “Dude!  I don’t want to spend any more money!  We are only here one more day!”  He clearly does not register that he is making his problem our problem, and maybe we don’t want to have to fund his remaining snacks because he doesn’t feel like changing his currency.  Eh, what are you going to do?  It’s the same shit every tour.

We have come up with an exit strategy.  The plan is to dump our luggage at a hotel near the airport.  That will allow Christoph and Antje to leave after the show, and we can take a shuttle to the airport.  I purposely book us into a “business class” hotel so we can make a transition from “tour life” to “normal human being”.  They are normal hotel rooms, but seem opulent with the new fluffy bedding and large showers.

The show is at a club we have played a few times before, called Drekonigskellar.  It’s a cellar club, like a smaller version of the Cavern Club.  I had heard the place was shut down, but apparently an old employee has purchased it.  We pull in to unload, and something is a bit off.  The owner, a very disheveled guy in a filthy shirt, walks out to greet us.  I remember him from before.  He is an odd duck.  The club seems sort of fucked up, like it has slipped in upkeep.  There are absolutely zero posters up for the show.  The club Facebook and website is spotty at best.  This feels like a disaster.

We decide to get some local food and pretend the Spidey Sense of looming debacle isn’t happening.  Antje gets some poor info on a local place a decent walk away.  We pass through a local festival where revelers drink apfelwein, sort of like hard cider, and eat snacks.  We are looking for Frankfurt specialties, and can’t seem to find the right spot.  We cross back over the bridge near the club and find a place we have eaten at before.  I eat an enormous hunk of pork.  Sugar is making her happy noises with her “hand cheese and music”, which is a bland cheese with sliced onions on top.  It’s a monster meal.

We head back to the club, not so much looking forward to the show as much as being willing to endure it.  The whole thing feels wrong.  Christoph has to work the door as the club doesn’t have an employee.  We can’t get a private room to do the tour finances.  Then, an odd thing happens…  People start to show up.  The entire room fills, and not just people that wandered in by mistake.  They are fans of the band.  The crowd is pushed up close to the tight stage.  Two guys to my right are super into it.  Another guy is singing most of the lyrics into my face.  It’s a total blast.  It will have a place in Daredevil Lore as “The Miracle In Frankfurt”.

We sign records and have a few celebratory beers.  It’s hard to believe we are done.  The 14 days went fast.  It was so much easier than the last few tours have been, everyone on the same page and working together as a team.  Hell, I don’t even mind buying Leo his gas station pretzel now.  The people at the club are great, and we have a fun time hanging out after the show.  We load out the rental gear for the last time and haul it up the punishing staircase to the van.

We pull the van up outside the hotel.  Christoph and I head into my room to figure out where we ended up with the money.  It appears everyone is going to be paid that needs to be paid.  It’s getting late.  Sugar and I fly out in five hours.  It’s hard to say goodbye to the Roths as they are part of the family now.  I walk downstairs to see if I can scrounge up a beer.  Sugar tells me they closed everything up, there’s no way to get a beer.  I wave goodbye to Christoph and Antje as they pull away.  I walk up to the front desk, where they tell me it’s “impossible” to get a beer.  I tell them, “Hey man.  I just did two straight weeks of shows, and I am old.  I fly home in five hours.  You sure you can’t find a cold one for me?”  The desk clerk smiles and says “hold on”.  He comes from the back and hands me an ice cold bottle of a local beer.  I sit in the lobby by myself and sip the beer.  I feel tired.  I feel good.  I feel like myself.  


At October 16, 2018 at 9:19:00 AM EDT , Blogger Unknown said...

the deer hunter and 70 cents for a pay toilet. this is going to be a good day.

At October 16, 2018 at 12:41:00 PM EDT , Blogger Greg Miller said...

I keep my cultural references close to the vest


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