Archive for June, 2011

Notes From Das Boot 111

Graz, Austria, 7/1/11 (12:30 am)
Lots of Things Break on Stage & The Inherent Shittiness of the After Show Rock Disco
Good Christ, it was a tough one tonight. Two or three strings broke during songs, problems with cables, a drum pedal crapped out and problems with the sound board. Other than that it was pretty good. After the show in a horrible Euro weekend rock club tradition, there was the After Show Rock Disco. In a failed attempt to keep the crowd in the building after the show, the club usually starts playing a bunch of old “Heavy Alternative” rock songs, complete with smoke machines going full blast and every pulsing, strobing dance light is on the “annoy” setting.  So breaking down gear during the After Show Rock Discois like a failed combat mission and I’ve lost a shitload of stuff throughout the years, hopefully none tonight.  It is so goddamned angrifying. This morning it’s short drive to the Volt Festival in Hungary and then off to Greece, if it’s still a country by then.

(Fig. 1) In Graz, illegally parked cars are not towed, they are hoisted away by giant cranes or helicopters

(Fig. 2) please see caption for Fig. 1

Notes From Das Boot 110

Sign from the game room at the hotel in Maribor. I especially like the "Noooooo!" sign, it looks like some mad scientist from the future trying to save mankind

Graz, Austria 6/30/11
We are at the PPC club in Graz. Graz is pronounced like something Frankenstein’s monster would say, “Grraaaazzz!” Small club, lots of lights, should be cool. Called home yesterday, as I was talking to my wife I heard the dog vacillating between a fearful squeak (Squeaky Fromme) while attacking an umbrella and an impatient bark (Ellen Barkin) when Carrie was too long on the phone for the dogs liking. She seems to be ruling the house with an iron paw.

Notes From Das Boot 109

Maribor, Slovenia 6/29/11

I really wanted to use the phrase “they put the slo in Slovenia” today but I couldn’t, the local crew was pretty solid.  Even with the language barrier being more of a language barricade, it worked out fine.  Crowd was really good as well. It was a weird festival, outside in the old part of town, near a river. It seems like a two week long street fair featuring foreign bands that no one has heard of.  The port-a-john next to the dressing room had an odd smell, besides the usual acrid shit, it had cherry cough drop smell as well.  therefore ruining cherry cough drops and shit for me.  As we were staying at a ski resort a bunch of us took the ski left to the top of the mountain, which seemed like it was 5-7 miles straight up.  After the cries of “These things go down” subsided we settled in for an almost pleasant journey. I heard that it was going to be hot around here but I have no handle on the Fahrenheit to Celsius conversion equation, so I did one of those online converter things but I picked Kelvin instead of Fahrenheit so the temperature I got was 400 degrees Kelvin (that bit goes out to Jon Kleiman who’s a big fan of Kelvin, and to Art Buchwald who’s a big fan of ex-Met Kelvin Chapman).  Greece in 3 days, with all the unrest and strikes I’m not worried about getting in I’m worried about getting out.

when I was a kid, we would make words "russian" by adding "ski" to the end of them. Who knew we were right?

Notes From das Boot 108

Maribor, Slovenia 6/28/11

We’re staying at a ski resort here. It’s a much nicer place then we usually get, there’s just a couple of things. First, I get the feeling that we’re being set up for some kind of horrifying “Hostel” type thing. Come to Slovenia and play this festival, you’ll be treated like kings, (then when we get here) Just go over to that abandoned barn on the other side of the field that’s where the pre-festival party is…go on.  AND THEY WERE NEVER SEEN AGAIN!   Second, there a lot of guys in track suits that look like every european movie thug in the last ten years. The “track suit” is movie shorthand for somebody up to no good.

Much like their namesake, Tims crackers are brittle and tasteless

So I think we’re the only rock band playing tomorrow, we’re up against a badminton championship.

Sunday Music 6/26/11

Alice Cooper-Today Mueller
After seeing The Melvins do The Ballad of Dwight Fry, it got me back listening to the “Coop”. I had always written off the first two records because of the Frank Zappa connection (their label Bizarre/Straight was Frank Zappa’s own label, I hate Frank Zappa). My friend Dave told me that their first album Pretties for You was the American Sgt. Peppers. Kind of a tall fucking order but I’ll be damned if he doesn’t have a point. Today Mueller is from Pretties for You, which is definitely worth a listen. [please click on song title below]

04 Today Mueller

Notes From das Boot 107

Dessel, Belgium (Graspop) 6/25/11

At Graspop today (or Asspop if it’s a bad day), saw a cool Electric Wizard shirt, unfortunately it was in black and since one of my chief exports is dandruff, black shirts are out. Lighting desk decided to take a shit halfway thru the set, everything was frozen. It finally got fixed with two minutes left in the show. We played the Sonisphere fest in Switzerland yesterday, it was a micro-managed clusterfuck, where the power kept cutting out and a bunch of bands got their time slots changed with little or no notice. I did see an old friend though, Ian. He was our guitar tech on a miserable yet often very funny tour we did with the Cult about a million years ago. It was good catching up. I also saw another old tech, Chris. Now, I had forgotten Chris’s name, which was ok for a brief hello, but we had a longish conversation where he called me by my name about ten times. It was good to see him but we had talked so long that I was beyond the point of “I forgot your name”. I got out of the conversation and prayed that I wouldn’t run into him again. Of course I did, the first two times I did the fake cell phone call with an acknowledgment nod. The third time, I just ducked out the closest door and wound up in a parking lot where I had to climb through a thorn bush to get to the next door to get back in to avoid Chris. Man, I got some fuckin’ problems.

Hotel Promotion Backfires

A&P Press, Joe Pignatano

One of the largest hotel chains in the world the London based AH Hotels Corporation (AHHC) has canceled it’s new promotion featuring a cartoon character called Fred Bug the Bed Bug after only one week. “The response was swift and brutal” says new head of promotions, Felix Milan “I’m not sure what the reasoning was behind Fred Bug in the first place. I’ve found cryptic notes left by my predecessor, Rube Walker. He was old and somewhat confused and thought that all the press about bedbugs in hotels was a good thing. His plan was to give a face and a name to the bedbugs. Well, unfortunately for us he did”. As of last week AH stock was down 20%

Fred Bug the Bed Bug

Movie Trivia

Actor Wesley Snipes In a last ditch effort to pay over due taxes before going to jail, opened a chain of shoe stores in Germany. The stores, Snipes shoes used to just sell black shoes, with ads featuring a photo of Wesley Snipes from the film Passenger 57 with the quote “Always bet on black”. With their limited color selection the stores did poorly and Snipes sold his interest in the business.

Snipes Shoes

ad for Snipes Shoes

Notes From Das Boot 106

Stuttgart, Germany 6/20/11

We played the Hurricane/Southside festivals on Saturday and Sunday, they are back to back festivals on either side of Germany. The most interesting part about the Hurricane festival was I got a picture of a couple of human statues eating lunch. I firmly believe that human statues should conduct all their “human” business in private so as not destroy the illusion. Seeing the human statues eat shook me to the core. The Southside festival was interesting because everything on the ground that wasn’t asphalt was a soul sucking quagmire of mud and shit. Since the Krakow show was canceled we have two days off in Stuttgart. There was a giant protest outside the train station, I’m not sure what it was about, but hearing a loud impassioned speech in front of a large crowd in Germany left me a little unnerved.

mud won't stop fans of British Sea Power (the band, not the navy)

human statues blowing their cover

Notes From das Boot 105

Nantes France, 6/18/11 4:30am
First show is over and it was alright, after a long day of rock we still got a really good crowd. It was a good night for rock at Hellfest, Karma to Burn was great, Clutch was monstrous and The Melvins fucking killed it, they did Ballad of Fry (Alice Cooper) into Sacrifice (Flipper) and ended the set with Night Goat. Later I was worried that my knapsack would get robbed backstage, so I thought that if I cover the contents in shit no one would steal anything, “Hey, a computer, let’s take it. Wait, it’s covered in shit, forget it”. An old friend, Dave Witte who was hanging out in the dressing room suggested that we call covering valuables in shit so they won’t get stolen, “A Magic Shell”, the same name as the ice cream topping. Good thinking. Also found out that the Krakow show has been canceled. I’m not gonna worry about it though, it’s not a big college town. I can really use some sleep. Van call for the airport in 15 minutes.