30 gigs. 43 days out. 9 countries (Germany, Holland, France, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia). Untold amount of miles. It was a long one. Brutal at times, Mostly from me being sick For first half of tour. After 3 tours in 2016, (2 Europe, 1 USA), The band played better than ever. Each of the guys in the band Have been true warriors. It’s easy to talk about Jumping in a van And touring for a month or two, But the actual process of doing it Is a whole other thing. You have to be your own daddy Out here And avoid a lot of temptation. Stay focused, sane, Healthy. The last four years Have been a beautiful blur That I’ve enjoyed the hell out of. Got to meet so many amazing people & places. And connect with them. I’d like to extend a huge thanks To everyone who got out of the matrix And came out to the shows. Also big thanks To ALL the Brethren, Past and present, Who I’ve gigged with. True warriors and friends. It’s not easy thing to do, This indie, DIY shit. And doing it all over the place Is sometimes a logistical nightmare. But it’s totally worth it. And you never regret, Even when things go to shit. So here’s to a killer 2017. I'm putting time aside To finish up the CABLOG BOOK, As well as editing a best of ROADLOGS BOOK for future release. We’ll also be working on the new Brother Dege album In addition to doing some one-off And festival shows. If you feel inspired to do so, Come on out. Hang. It's also time for a little break To rest, reconnect, listen, And be human. We don’t take it for granted. Neither should you. Cheers.
We built a sleeper loft
In the cargo hold of the van.
It’s just a baby crib mattress
(from Bjorn’s house)
That we threw on top
Of the road cases.
It sleeps one.
Great on long drives.
But it’s cold as hell back there,
So we borrowed a pillow
And blanket from a hotel
To add to the luxurious
Comfort of the experience.
It’s a little bumpy,
But not bad.
Today we had a 7 hr drive to southern Germany.
So I climbed in the sleeper bed
In the back
With a bottle of water,
And my “Donger.”
My Donger is a plastic laundry detergent container
That I use as a piss bottle.
But it’s the greatest thing ever.
But it freaks out everybody
In the van if gets near them.
Like it’s radioactive waste.
Relax, man. It’s just piss.
Not gonna kill you.
Just make you feel weird.
So I crash out in the loft.
It’s nice back there.
A bit noisy with the wind drag,
But it’s good for quieting for the mind.
And I can rest my voice.
If I’m sitting in the van with the dudes,
I babble for hours. About whatever.
It’s hard to shut up. Unless I’m reading.
We roll on. All day.
About four hours into the drive,
I hear Tom knock
And yell something unintelligible
Through the cargo wall
Of the van.
Tom’s got a northern England accent.
It’s kind of lazy and warbly.
Hard to understand at times.
I feel the van slow down dramatically.
We exit and pull to the side of the road.
What’s going on?” I yell through the wall.
“We’re being pulled over the cops.”
I roll my eyes.
We get this a lot,
Because we’re in a van with Dutch plates.
The polizei are always on the watch
For drug runners from the Netherlands.
I tell Kemmse, our tour manager,
To handle up on it.
Do the talking.
He’s a smart, healthy 6’5”
German from Bavaria.
He’ll handle it.
He’s also a trip: a total pack rack.
Keeps a ton of weird junk
In his pockets.
Like a lighters, ragged paper.
Pens, lucky charm stuff,
Ball Bearings, clippers.
All kinds of shit.
I don’t even know what it is.
We’ve all got our quirks.
He also carries around
Sacks of empty plastic bottles
And cans which he claims
Are recyclable for 25 cents each
That’s all good and nice.
But when you’re in a van,
Packed with gear,
And there is a lot dude shit lying around,
You get a little annoyed
At having to constantly step over
His German Can-Man bags.
Don’t know how many times
On this tour I saw those bags
And was like, “What IS this shit?”
Back to the Polizei.
We’re getting pulled over.
Remember I’m in the back.
Kemmse hops out.
Calmly explains to them
We are an American band,
Touring in Germany.
All legit. Here’s the papers.
The van is a rental from Holland.
There are no drugs in the car.
Cops pull everybody out of the van.
I can hear them, grumbling, piling out
And walking to the rear.
I’m still in the back of the van,
Lying in the sleep loft.
I know we’re good;
We have no drugs or anything on us,
But if the cops are really anal,
We could get fined for me
Riding in the cargo section of the van,
Which has no seatbelts or anything.
Or whatever the violation is.
Also, with the current immigrant situation
It could be problematic.
Like maybe I’m some kind of
They may want to run all the passports,
Waste our time,
And possibly fine me,
For riding in the back,
Outside, I can hear the polizei,
Going through everybody’s bags.
I have two choices:
Stay in the van, laid up, hidden.
Or hop out the back door,
Weird out the cops,
And possibly get fined & hassled.
I opt to stay in the van.
I pull the blanket over my head
Wait it out and hide.
My Plan B is this:
If they search the back of the van
And find me,
I’ll exit with the Donger in my hand,
Act really weird, jittery, & sick
As if have some horrible strain of the flu.
I’ll augment this cover
By continuously sneezing and snotting
All over myself,
While nervously pacing around,
Waving The Donger.
In addition, I’ll do some improvised sign language,
Indicating that there is urine in
And that I am sick
And may need to puke
Or piss in The Donger
And that I would appreciate their help
If indeed that happens.
See how they like that.
I know it’s disgusting.
But it’s a plan.
So I just lay there in the back.
Listening to them outside.
Suddenly, the back door opens.
I stay still.
From a crack in the blanket,
I see a one of the cops
Direct Kent (bass) to pull his suitcase
Out of the van
So that they can search it.
One of the cops
Peeks in the door
And sniffs around
The back of the van.
I’m lying under a Mexican serape
And a hotel blanket,
Apparently no one can see me
Because he turns
And immediately begins inspecting Kent’s bag.
I chill and wait.
Nothing really happens.
The cop never comes back
To inspect the rear of the van.
After about 10 minutes,
The discussion dies down.
I hear car doors slam.
A polizei pull off.
The guys pile in the van.
And we’re free to go.
I didn’t have to hit the polizei
With the Snot & Donger routine.
In relieved tones,
As we jump back onto the Autobahn,
I can hear the guys
Discussing the experience.
On the back wall, laughing.
“They searched us all.
Didn’t find shit.
You didn’t even have to get out!”
I nod to myself.
When in doubt,
Just lay low,
Do some Hidekwondo,
And keep The Donger the ready.
12/1/16 Eastern Europe is such a trip. We played Slovenia and Hungary And now are in Belgrade, Serbia. The people here are amazing. Tough. Lean. Intense. They’re used to going without the luxuries. But they are full of soul and heart. And humor. We didn’t meet any whiney snobs In Eastern Europe. They don’t have time for that bullshit. They’re just trying to get on with it. The post-communist transition Is still ongoing And will be for a long time. You see a McDonalds here And mini-mall there. But everywhere You see the shadows of the old communist world And it is fascinating. Drab grey institutional structures, Cold and merciless, Stoic and immovable. All around are the sad Scattershot apartment block towers That people lived in And still live in. The sides of each like some schizophrenic Cyrillic tapestry of clothes lines, wind-whipped laundry, Stripped paint, ragged curtains, Skeletal windows, And the omnipresent window AC unit Which is everywhere. There are window units mounted To anything that does not move: Banks, skyscrapers, tower blocks, Kabob stands, vulcanizing shops, And Subotica shacks. Like post-millennial barnacles, They are not going anywhere. The natives call them “kilmas.” You speed through the city, Jostling for position, Past bombed out buildings, Pockmarked, crumbling, And gouged with the last kiss Of NATO missiles. Many of the bombed out buildings Are still there, Either as a reminder Or because they haven’t the funds To tear them down. Or the property Has not been sold to the highest bidder. The country towns are equally fascinating. On the drive to Kladova, Which sits on the banks of the Danube River Right across from Romania, We blow down tiny two-lane road, Barely wide enough to fit two cars. We dodge cratered potholes, And whip through country villages, Where we pass two cows Walking down the middle Of the two-lane road through town. Just heading up the road, Opposite direction as us, With no masters, Like a couple hoodlums, Not paying anyone any mind. Cyrillic alphabet signs call out the destinations. At one point our GPS loses the signal And we are left to find our way Without the benefit of technology. A dozen miles up the road, We’re shuttling down a dirt road Through ancient Serbian countryside. We come to a one-lane bridge Over a creek. A farmer stands on the other side And signals for us to come across. “It’s OK.” The bridge looks very sketchy And old. We’re not sure if it’ll support the weight Of the tour van. Half the crew votes no on the crossing. The other half wants to go for it. We turn around and backtrack, And locate an alternative route Through the brush and over the creek. Slavs. Yugos. Kopornica wastelands. Later than night, After the gig, While walking the darkened streets Of Kavado, We pass a pack of stray Serbian dogs., Wandering the alleyways. I stop to pet one of them. Another bites the leg of Alek’s, Our booking agent and host, Who brought us here. We keep moving, Through the biting cold. So cold. It’s a cold wrapped in cinderblocks And bomb shelters. “Does anyone in Serbia miss old days of Communism?” I ask. “Fuck no!” they answer. “It’s all shit. All the communists Are gone.” Apparently, the only two things Communism is good for: Health care And cheap vacations. No one here misses communism. At all. Communism is not pretty. The remnants of it Are just like you would imagine: Cold, grey, austere. I would invite anyone That imagines him or herself a communist To visit a former communist country. And look around. Talk to the people. Beyond all the Kilmas And Cyrillic confusion. There are the people. And this heartfelt desire To catch up with the modern world, And whatever it may bring. Good, bad, whatever. Just like those two cows, They just want to get on with it.
ROADLOG: WILD KEY CHASE 11/17/16 Sometimes things just disappear. Completely vaporize from the planet. I don't know if it's wormholes or just dumb luck. Leaving the hotel in Freiburg, Germany, We accidentally lost our hotel room key (hard key, not a plastic swipe card). We were packing up the van to leave When the key dropped on the ground, Took a bounce, And a roll, And then vanished Like a ghost in Medjugorje. Gone. Only a few places it could’ve went: Under the van, Into the street, Or in a drainage grate. We searched all of them. Several times. And then we searched them All again And again. We looked like blowtarded goons, Wandering the street, Peeking under cars, And Digging in the drainage grate (3x). Hotel clerk was not enthused, So we kept going back to the van To try to find it. But no luck. It was gone as fuck. Gone as a nun At an outlaw biker rally. Lost somewhere out there, Floating around in space On the other side Of the universe... Just laughing at us.
ROADLOG: Didn't have room for a jacket in my luggage when I flew from the US. Now it's F'ing COLD and I have a 2nd cold bug. So I bought this comrade coat at a thrift store in Hamburg. Now they call me The Moscow Mule.
Slovenia / Serbia / Hungary 26/11/16 Ljubljana, Slovenia @ Pinelina
27/11/16 Pecs, Hungary @ Trafik (kino sessions)
28/11/16 day off in Belgrade, Serbia
29/11/16 Kladovo, Serbia @ Fusion Klub
30/11/16 Belgrade, Serbia @ Elektropionir
1/12/16 Novi Sad, Serbia @ ck13
Slovenia / Serbia: 26/11/16 Ljubljana, Slovenia @ Pinelina 27/11/16 Pecs, Hungary @ Trafik (kino sessions) 28/11/16 day off in Belgrade, Serbia 29/11/16 Kladovo, Serbia @ Fusion Klub 30/11/16 Belgrade, Serbia @ Elektropionir 1/12/16 Novi Sad, Serbia @ ck13