Man oh man Holland is saweeeeeeeet. Last night we had some serious fun ramblin around town after the show with dudes from Deertick and Dead Confederate. Met some cool Dutch folks and got all into it over cultural norms and differences and whatnots. Bar hoppin. Deertick call everyone and each other Mark. Dead Confederates Norwegian driver is a hoot. I cannot imagine how we would have fared here had he been our driver. A completely different experience for sure, we followed him for quite some time to find a particular bar, then he just gave up. With a little help we found it. Today Mayhaw, Johannes and I hit Utrecht hard. I actually spent money on things that weren't food, bills or gear related for the first time this whole trip. It was worth it and no, it wasn't red light district, or "coffee shop" related. So now, we wait, wait for one last free dinner, one last go at the Premier's and the Vox amps. One last shower and free breakfast at the free accomodation and off to Paris. Then, well then it's still not over of course. But at least i'll know what everyone is saying, until Alabama.
Ok Poznan,Poland, Prague, and Koln all in the books. Good shows. I felt halfway decent for exactly one of them. In Utrecht NL. early should be fun w/ Cave Singers and Deertick. Thanks to some good road remedy advice I'm on the mend and almost back to party mode to enjoy our last 2 shows here. Alright more later, Happy Thanksgiving, honestly most of the day we forgot about it, and coincidentally, we didn't even have a proper dinner last night, just Ginger lemon tea, and a deli platter. Photos and tales to follow...........
This city seems pretty great, we got here last night. Unfortunately though I am sick. It's been building off and on for about a week, and last night the Dam broke. Coincidentally, last year at this exact time, I was also sick, though on the last day of tour. Hmm. We open for Damien Jurado tonight. We are staying at a Hostel for 2 nights, then head to Poland tomorrow. I hate being sick, but hate it more on tour. This blows.
Oh and this photo I saw on New York Times online today:
Bergen was a blast zone. Fun. Played to a good crowd, a girl came up in the middle of the set and kissed Nick fraunch style (kristie was upstairs). Partied w/some new pals, and Jeff (surrounded by ladies) and I went to a cool kids bar after called Vamoose, and then while we were crushing the scene "Whales Sing" started blasting from the bar's speakers. Long drive today in rough conditions. Done playing in Oslo. Was ok, but had to make way for the big friday night dance party. Loadin out, gotta go. Stockholm Sweetnin' tomorrow. Much needed shower and R&R in 15 min.
Berlin was funny. The soundguy got WASTED and was hilarious, grabbing bottles of booze from behind the bar and trying to get people to do shots with him, then busting into a loud cackle. The crowd was very subdued, but appreciative. They respectfully objected our requests to get closer to the stage. We got to bro-down with Nikita, our Euro booker, had a delicious vegan supper (yea I know) and got to see A LITTLE bit of the city the next day.
Hamburg: Thought I was going to hang out with Wilson, but he fled back to the States, and honestly I can't blame him. Kind of a hectic load in, low ceilings in the parking garage. Across the street was a slew of carnival rides. I met a girl named Hannah, and after we went and rode the Ice Bahn right before they closed the carny down. The woman running the ride was determined to make one of us vomit, or at least for me to lose my hat. Neither happened. Johannes had the great task of getting our rear window replaced the next morning at 8am. I, ... slept in.
Aalborg, was nice but honestly I laid low and after the show was shivering w/ a fever. On the road to recovery after a day off yesterday. By day off I mean leaving at 10 am driving ALL DAY, which included 3 ferries, then trying to find a hotel or hostel in a town 3hrs from Bergen, where we are now. Failing miserably, then ending up just driving to Bergen, arriving at 3:20 am, and luckily the venue we are playing tonight was still inhabited by some staff who graciously allowed us to spend the night in the upstairs band apartment we were to stay in TONIGHT.
I slept all day, the sun goes down here at like 3. Soundchecked at 5, did an interview at the college station, just had a great Tai supper, and now we wait. I'm determined to have as much fun as possible the rest of the trip, while getting healthy again as well. But there are moments when all I want to do is get home. There is still such a long way to go. And then...the U.S. as well. Oslo tomorrow then Stockholm. Then another expensive day off, then............................
Holy Crap. So we sold out a show, it was only a hundred people at the Swamp in Freibug but, still.....Crazy! TANNING opened the show too but I barely remember it ,and it wasn't really necessary. In Berlin now. Had a subdued (by comparison) show here last night. In our booker Nikita's office about to head for Hamburg. We had our rear window smashed last night in the Garage where we parked. They didn't take anything though luckily. Will give details soon.
In Luzerne, sweet club with the accomodations upstairs from the venue, attatched with an espresso machine, fridge, washer/ dryer full bath etc. Earlier today we drove all around Basel trying to find a place to do laundry (they don't exist here). Well, Jackpot! Shows have all been great. This is the most headlining I've ever done, ie: Long sets, and encores. Weird to think that is such a rarity for as long as I been doin this dang thing. It's also a little weird to be THAT BAND that is having the kinda long soundcheck while the staff is kinda lookin at u and the openers are probably thinking "Geez, prima donnas, sounds fine." But I'll take it. We reach the halfway point of this Euro leg in a couple of days. In that time I'll get to hang out with Wilson(!) and meet Nikita, our booker, for the first time. There have been some rough patches, and they'll be more I'm sure. But for this moment it's nice.
Last night in Munchenstein, near Basel, the place was cool. a semi collective of 4 guys who built the bar/club themselves. They all do construction stuff during the day, and then do the bar for fun at night. Later after we played and some loosening, I met these two folks, one of which worked across the alley in this huge Art studio that focuses on making large Art for artists, in all metals, glass you name it.They took me over. This place was huge. Serious equipment and kilns. Was cool to see and made me think, for a minute anyway about if I had stayed on the art path. But it was frustrating too. These 'artists' just come up with an idea and then this team of guys and gals ACTUALLY make it and really don't get any credit. I know thats the name of the game, but I also know that a certain percentage of these artists are self absorbed douches that probably, when pressed couldn't make a damn thing on their own. Anyway, some of the things they had just finished will be showing in NY when we get back there on Dec 2nd. it would be cool to take it full circle and check it out. A rare opportunity, though I'm guessing I'll be severely jet lagged.
Halo from Switzerland. I explained the venue in Slovenia in the last post. the show was great. Played long, and they demanded an encore. Was great met some great folks and learned as much as I could about their relatively new country.
Last night we stopped at Johannes cousins stately country home in Germany near both Italy and Austria's borders. He just so happened to be Princes engineer through the mid to late 90's and 00's. Or as most call them, the glyph years. Asked as many questions as I could without embarrassing myself. He also assisted that hit LIVE (the band) album, big surprise, they're pricks! The greatest part was he gave us maybe 50 or more episodes of Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour. Amazing. haven't stopped listening to them yet. If you haven't checked it yourself it's a must especially if you AREN'T a Dylan fan. None of his music, but amazing forgotten or thru the cracks artist and history lessons and plenty of humor.
The Alps are devastatingly amazing and we've been literally through and around them for the last coupla days. Had fun after the show last night. we signed the door of the place we stayed last night where tons of other bands have been put up. I signed right under 31 Knots from 2006! I slept where JAY WINEBRENNER probably wet the bed!
Basel Switzerland tonight. Cool place, things are well. We'll keep that up. Not quite to the halfway point but we're getting there. As great as it is I can't wait to get home and do nothing for as long as I possibly can............................................................fun fact: this is only the 22nd post of JUST THIS TOUR. heh heh hahahahahahahaha heh heh heh ugh
Cooooool club in Munich. We had fun and played a great show though the turnout was affected by an apparent suicide on the rail system that shut down the trains for the night. Was still good, some Portland student transplants and some others made it fun. Vienna was by far the highlight for me. A Monday, a crazy packed awesome club under the rail line. And a great night talking (while looking up) to a striking blonde Norwegian architecture student. Big fan of the European goodbye now. Learned some staggering history about Jewish history in Vienna, what everyone knows about what really happened but haven't owned up to publicly. Their 9/11, which was on Nov 9th.
On the way passed an Oskar Kokoschka exhibition, perhaps in his home town. But it was 2hrs away. Bummed, though even if it was in Vienna I wouldn't have been able to catch it as we don't have too much time for those types of thing. There was a Munch exhibition in Vienna that I couldn't get to as well. I wish we could've spent more time there.
We are in Slovenia playing a wild place, formerly an Army barracks in Yugoslavian days, then taken over as an underground/progressive/arts squat. They've kept it going over the years, in the beginning had to steal power from across the street and/or car batteries. Now fully functioning as a compound with multiple clubs, covered in graffiti and odd murals. The vibe dial was set to 'party' long before we arrived. Curious about the turnout, just like every night I guess. But tonight is another test of the lengthy, sweet soundcheck syndrome. In our experience that usually results in a poorly attended show. But what do I know?
We were supremely late to Offenbach last night but had a fun night. Played with Baltimore band Thank You. They were great, could totally tour w/The Planet The as a sick one two punch. Had an adventure trying to find the hostel we were all staying at together. Oh and the German techno dance party, how could I forget?! Thank You's driver/lights man also dj's 80's jams at low speeds so Madonna sounds like Rick Astley, and George Michael like Sade.
Now in Munich. Got here with enough time to walk around and luckily we are playing a really cool club and it's right in the middle of everything. Even though it's Sunday a bunch of people were out and about window shopping at all the closed stores and boutiques. Time to kill now. I doubt anyone will come, it's Sunday, no other bands are playing, the club is really cool and they fed us awesomely. Sure sign it's gonna be empty but spirits have improved since the UK.
My post was going to be something else entirely, luckily things have turned up a bit. One of these days though it's gonna get ugly on here. I'm doing everything in my power to stay positive. I've wanted to be here for so long, and all I want to do is have a good time and take in as much as I can. Unfortunately there have been some set backs that I just can't ignore. I absolutely went OFF in my journal in the van after reading about TEAMWORK in the Bill Simmons Basketball book that my dad gave me before this leg. Thanks again dad. They have been saving me. There really is a close connection to being in a band and a member of a team, especially teams at the highest level. I'll save it for later. If things don't change by the time we get through this brutal tour I'll be on to better things. I'm being taken advantage of and it's being waved in my face daily. The beauty of it is there is no room for any negotiation or discussion for risk of appearing confrontational. Today it became clear that my current situation mirrors my moving westward 10/11 years ago. The question is how will it be remedied this time around?
hello from London soundcheck.I really like the UK but the shows aint been that great. Think that'll change once we get outta here tomorrow. Maybe we'll leave w/ a bang tonight. Let's hope so. At least I've got all day today to check out the city and hopefully buy some shoes. Mine have holes in them, need some for real, not just for my fetish I swear. More in a bot. Cheer i- o
Manchester was hectic. Had a great time playing on Mark Rileys show for BBC 6 and got to see Daniel Johnston play a couple as well. Then we were off to our proper show at the Ruby Lounge. Looked great at first, but by the time we played the place was deserted. tried to tough it out, we played ok, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't bum me out a bunch. After such an exhausting day of double load ins and triple soundchecks, a fun show would have topped it off nicely. No such luck. Rainy drive to Glasgow, but I think we saw SIX rainbows. I swear I will post some photos soon. I swear. Great tunes being played here, hope that translates to a fun show later. After 2 nite 2 more UK's then back to Europe thanks gawd. I really like it here but it's a tough go for first timers.
Beautiful start to the day in Brighton. Sun drenched hills of English countryside and great ocean view. Great breakfast and hangout with Shaun the promoter. Many mutual friends and acquaintances and taste in music. I forgot to mention that last night someone complimented my sweater by saying "great jumper mate!" Anyway.....
Drove thru Slough home of the Original "The Office". Didn't have time for Stonehenge.
Cardiff is cool, huge old castle in the middle of the city, right across from where we played.
Show was meh on all counts. Venue was great and the promoters were great and are putting us up. But the turnout was just ok (still really good for us) and our vibe/energy was sub-monday at best.
But I'll take that in a place like this anytime. Tomorrow is going to be nuts so I'll lay it out now as there will be little time then. Load in to the club, then immediately load in to BBC studio to do a soundcheck for our performance for Marc Riley from the Fall for his show on BBC 6. THEN back to the club 4 soundcheck, then back to BBC to PLAY the radio show then BACK to the club for the actual show. Wont be doing any shopping in Manchester!
So rad, so awesome. Little pub place in such a quaint city that we'll hopefully explore more tomorrow. Shaun an amazing dude whom we are staying with right now is on the scene and the best. The crowd ruled and apologized for the turnout...???What>>???? Was great we've never been here what are u talking about? It was pretty full and encored again. Played "Summers Life" which I don't know but we did it any way.
Came in on the ferry into Dover. I kept humming a combination of "Cliffs of Dover" by Eric Johnson, and Blur's "Clover Over Dover". Great time. Still having it, more later. Wales tomorrow, I love the UK. Seriously, ladies come on out, let's meet. Make me your green card hubby and let's get a flat and live the royal dream...........