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Hey..jeah jo, well fuck the best wishes and so on, but have nice holidays, much better a very good 2009, allthough what the hell, thats just stupid human time scheduling. I wish everybody a great life!
Not much time for posting. Expect the next one after January 5, maybe earlier!
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Few things more regarding the issue I am wining about in the last posts. If you enter this village from the main road there is a huge construction above the road with an inscription saying something like: “Town with history of advanced technology” ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Anyway, driving back from the store got confronted with the actual technicians of the electricity company on a small mountain road. They came from opposite direction. I moved aside, rolled down the window and told them that it is the 19th , not 18th. They laughed a bit stupidly and moved on. Why do I even bother! Could speak gibberish to them, they would never understand.
So fuck it, enough about all this at the moment. I will keep you updated about future movements of these “great” technicians around here with their “ancient” amount of experiences.
Today is the “shortest” day. It’s beautiful weather. Sun shines. Cold, but clear. Gonna breath some of that clean fresh mountain-air soon. Do not know how my posting will be the upcoming two weeks. Duo to holidays I travel a bit and will not always find time/internet access to post.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Yes Yes, I know I know. Was getting a bit cynical in yesterdays post. Fuck it. The article is funny. Ofcourse in many ‘political territories’ and ‘tribes’ (read countries), things go wrong. We are all humans and make mistakes, lucky! Its funny to see the competitive instinct deep into humans. To be superior above others is important! This is a generalizing remark, but I know that the Slovenes like to feel superior above other former Yugoslavian territories. Slovenia managed to ‘join’ the ‘West’, be ‘modern’ and ‘developed’. In the actual daily life it proves different. Although the announcements electricity being cut on December 18, nothing happened on that day. Yes, you get it, at 8 am in the morning of December 19 the lights suddenly dropped in my house. The juice stopped. The dumb asses from the electricity company are not only the worst technicians in the world, they also are illiterate, not able to read calendars. Years ago the company still had the guts to deliver a door to door letter with best wishes and the slogan “Electricity All Day, All Year”. What a joke. They must have figured that out themselves and stopped doing this. For those who are curious this is the company : Elektro Primorska, Nova Gorica. They even have a website: www.elektro-primorska.si Wonder who maintains it since non of these savages is capable to read. Anyway, visit it. Maybe they have a message board or so. Leave a nasty remark!
Water is the same issue here. It simply stops once in a while without pre-warning. Didn’t happen for some time now, but do not let me get too optimistic and stay prepared.
About water I can only say following: A committee of the UN, IVESC accepted a general comment in the year 2002 that everybody has the right for unlimited access to clean drinking water (General Comment No. 15, UN-ESC Distr.Gen. E/C.12/2002/11 29 July 2002).
Each time the water gets cut of the city council is responsible for violating that law! And that while the Slovenians are sooooo proud they joined the international community. Now it is about time to stick to their regulations.
At least in territories the Slovenians feel superior above, basic needs are supplied without interruption. In North and West European regions water and electricity drops barely happen. At least not on such a large scale. Is this chaotic delivery of basic needs a nostalgia to the old Yugoslavian days Slovenians are missing so much?
Friday, December 19, 2008
The expeditions to this part of the world are that difficult they need good preparation. Physical condition, strong will, iron soul, survival attitude and much more is needed entering this rough undeveloped part of Europe. Going over the mountain-rig is not such a big deal. Problems start at the other side. You never know what to expect from the local natives. They are a primitive tribe. Savages trying to kill you when moving with the car through objects and clumsy road lay-outs. Weird to see how undeveloped this central part of Europe is. Far out most behind territory of the continent. Strange; surrounded by well organized modern developed tribes like the Croats, Serbians, Romans and Carinthia’s, the Slovenians never seem to have learned or picked up something from their neighbors. Is it because of their hard-headed stubbornness or are they just dumb? I keep it on the latter, assumedly a serious lack of braincells.
I try for many years to explain them that water can come easily from a pipe and the ‘lightning in the sky’ can be produced on earth to make machines run automatically. Useless attempts since non of them understands the ideas of tubes and cables. What sense has it to teach actual working electricity and watertaps.
Today I will go down to the village. Take some little mirrors and fake jewelry that I purchased cheap at a party store in the North. Everything what shines is always good to trade for some basic needs like flower or potatoes.
Got friendly with some inhabitants. Problematic is to let these local natives known that I am back in the settlement. Smoke signals get confusing since most burn wood-fires. Maybe I should get a drum. A jar of peanut butter is for sure worth a high quality one (hand-made ofcourse) including lessons to learn the signals.
Obviously it is the improvised life and roughness that keeps me coming back to this territory. Maybe better it stays ‘uncivilized’ as it always was.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Yesterday was the shortest post I wrote so far still it says everything. So many useless words, arguments, opinions a.s.o. Cannot help it, just fuck it. One day I will come with a one-word-one-syllable post.
Today is one of these days again. Electricity will be cut. I wonder what is wrong with the electricity company here in this town. It was so far impossible to keep electricity (and water) flowing non-stop without interruption for at least one month.
In the first year I rented a location here, I thought it was ‘normal’. “Oh well, they do not have their shit together, bit behind with the maintenances”. The ‘droppes’ added an amusing odd swing to my new adventures. Years and many fall-outs later the pauses in the electricity supply did not please me any longer. They came unexpected and lasted too long. Talking with inhabitants of other counties, it seems that only this town has these problems. What’s wrong with the company here? Think I found out a few things. During the stay in one apartment the meter got changed. As the electrician leaves, I switch on the light in the hall (was always dark). Didn’t work! Quickly I figure out no light works. Just before the technician leaves the main entrance downstairs, I manage to call him back. “Hey, my lights, come back you, ni?e lu?e (no lights)”. Mumbling excuses he stumbled back into the apartment. Few weeks later when I had my washing machine and bath-room boiler on at the same time, I smelled something burning in the hallway near to the board with electricity fuses. To prevent worst I grabbed my toolbox, opened the board and saw the problem. That idiot of an electrician connected the thick main positive (plus) wire with a lot thinner bit of 10cm because he was a bit short reaching the main connection. The two wires where screwed together in a plastic clip. What the hell! Ofcourse this would go wrong one day. What did this guy think! He almost set a complete apartment building on fire. Families with kids live here! What do I feel sorry I do not live in the USA. Could have suit the company for attempted murder! Now the best part of this story: right next to the main entrance, yes 3 meters from the building, was an electricity store. For the ‘expensive’ amount of 35 cents I bought the right piece of wire and a ceramic connecter.
Years later, a house on another location, same town. 9.30 am water got cut off. 10am electricity dropped. Goddamned, I curse. Stirred up the fire, light up the oil-lamp. 3 hours later still no juice or water. My laundry was soaking wet in the machine half way a turn. With my cell I called the company. “What’s going on here?” “I got orders to switch of the electricity until 2 pm sir, due to work in the street”. “Yes I see they are working”, I replied, “right in front of the house, but they work on the water pipes, far away from the electricity…”. 2 minutes later the electricity was back on.
Another time coming back from the store, drive by a construction on the pavement. New layer, ground had to be dig out. Water like a few meters high strong fountain broke trough the tiles. “These idiots hit the waterpipe”, I thought. Better be prepared for non at home.
By now you might figured out what is wrong in this town. Pipes, machines, equipment are ok. The technicians are simply a bunch of incapable losers. Lived for 40 years in the North. By my memory, water or electricity never stopped there, at least not unannounced, and than never longer than a few minutes. Temporary detours can be created, so the users barely notice maintenance activities. Ideas the local dumb technicians here never thought of? They prefer complete families with babies, old disabled grannies, studying schoolkids,…. are all cut-of by primarily supplies.
Since a year the electricity company got to level that they warn you in advance. Yesterday a company car drove through the street, sticking big yellow warning shields on lampposts. That’s why I know that electricity is cut of today from 8 am till 4 pm. Let me quickly add this post before online activities will no longer be possible for a while.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
The cold years are definite behind us. The soul, feel, analogue, drive, emotion, organic,… survived again. No surprises here. We are all nature. You cannot avoid, change nor stop the inevitable: life! Its good the generation that was mainly interested in money and machine-made-music, grew up. New generation came and we finally can go on where everything stopped somewhere in the nineties. Cold techno, boring electro beats, dumb commercial (punk)rock is pushed back to mainstream dancehalls and government subsidized youth centers or became kiddy-Christmas-present-product. Let them have it, we all enjoyed our pre-mature music years. Lets learn and never in the future make more out of than the rubbish it is.
The group of humans trying to create independently from a technical or other materialistic demand is increasing. With that also the zines, sites, locations and whatever more it needs. A sight of relieve from my site. I prefer life above material. It’s looking good.
Locally the villagers will not understand. They never did. Oh well, only one out of so many digs it. Those are not all born concentrated in a mountain ditch. Lucky, emotional expressions happen all over the world. Inbetween the hills here, the discussions in bars will be stupid as always. They do not understand. Conditioned as they are by the settled media, the miss-information channels, the lack of capability to balance and conclude. How can you if surroundings do not give examples?
Lots of work to do. I would like to educate, but what a waste of time fighting so much latent-Balkan stubbornness. So they can stay where they are. I dive where it is all happening. For a while I am underground…….
Monday, December 15, 2008
Keep it short today. Surfing over the pages of this site you can learn a lot about me. A part of my life is an open book. Especially my work in the music-bizznix, the creative site and some thoughts, travel experiences, funny stories, opinions and so on. Some things I will always keep far away from these pages. How personal everything looks, my private life, family and quiet some other things will never reach this site. The reasons I hopefully do not need to explain. Its none of your bizznix. Anyway all the things in my life you do not see or read about here have nothing to do with the context of this page. I make an exception once in a while regarding a few hobbies like cooking and cycling. The main subject will be music. It would be great to combine all three in one momento. Cycling And music come together in the “Ciganska Pesma” video of The System, you will find somewhere on this site. Now I have to add the cooking.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
So lets stick with this water my post was about yesterday. Water is probably, together with Oil, the most political discussed issue in the world. That means both will never come out right. Politics is another word for misery. It goes together with words as “business” and “money”. To throw out of everything related to that is the only way surviving nowadays. Claiming a spot here in the Southern Alps solved the water problem. Plenty clean and fresh around. No need using the pipes. Now the oil. Its not so much the car, although I like old cars and natural gas (propane) is similar story as oil. The electric car will be a solution for me in the future. House heating and electricity is more problematic. At the moment I don’t run the heating, just a wood fire. Sufficient when you live alone. Even now the oil is cheap I rather do not burn my fingers on it. The oil nowadays is mixed with a lot of blood (it literally looks red). Electricity is assumedly coming from natural (waterfall) sources. But I do not know for real. Maybe also oil is used, and anyway, politics are deeply involved. I prefer looking out for my own little electricity source. Cannot be that difficult!
Back to water. Drinking water. You know that the Rome (Italy) drinking water comes from a nearby big lake (Lago di Bracciano). This lake is surrounded by cities and holiday resorts. It’s a popular vacation destination. Think about it, kids pissing, dypers being washed out, bottles and pots rinsed, rubbish dumped. Besides that, all these complete families who after they rub themselves in with gallons of sun-lotion happily jump and dive into the ‘fresh’ lake water. Yes, I saw this myself. Was there this summer and swam in it myself. So if you live in Rome obeying your thirst by opening the tap to have a glass of your “best drinking water in the world”, think about me!
I would never swim in an artificial swimming pool. The water is so loaded with chloride, fuck that shit. I get sick by the smell already
Last water story. Even in the modern European Community this is possible: Spain! Imagine just after the summer, but Spain, the ‘European Desert’ still hot. Drove for ours to reach the next gig. End-destination was Granada. Arriving to late. No time for hotel. Set up-souncheck-gig first. After the load out finally hotel. Looking forward to a cool refreshing shower washing of all sweat and dirt collected today. Check in, go up to the room. Throw my dirty clothes of, step under the shower, open the tap….. no water! What the fuckin’ hell shit goddammed …. Clothes back on, down to the reception.
“Hey what about the water? I want another room, this one has none”. “Excuse me sir, but the complete city is without water. Authority regulations. We have a water shortage therefore its cut-of between 10pm and 5 am!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Water is a typical issue on tour. There is never enough. Everybody in bands and crews packs up bottles of drinking water. We all need water to stay alive. Gotto drink at least half a gallon a day. The beers, cokes aso are boring after a while. Tee makes you pee. Inconvenient during travel, so water is the choise. Why not drink from the tap? Well, being in a different spot every day you never know where the water is good, and where not. The issue is very often discussed. Artists want to have still mineral water from the bottle. In some countries (Switzerland, Sweden,…), where tap-water is considered to be safe and clean, still mineral water is not available. There is no market for it! Every bottle you buy has a touch fizziness. On the opposite, in the biggest part of the world stores offer massive choices in bottles still drinking water. Cheap! Funny though that wherever I go, New York to Moscow, Tokyo to Reykjavik, people claim that the city-water in their town is good and often even declared as “the best in the world”. If I have to believe all these people, tap water is the best everywhere! Still I drink bottled water, even at home. Have my personal reasons. Tap water is processed. Minerals are added or taken out. Major production in action. Mistakes can be made, things can go wrong as in every factory. Besides that, some people might walk around with “wrong” ideas, you know what I mean. I am not a suspicious person at all, but often turning a tap, I smell immediately the strong chloride. Not natural, that must be added. My feeling is that most people who defend their town-water are influenced by local media and latent-chauvinism, as it often is with many issues. Be aware that authorities adjust regulations of quality standards, regularly. Otherwise production (read money), would not flow anymore. What was considered as unacceptable 30 years ago is now high quality. Bottled water is processed during production in a factory too. But if something went wrong, the chance the mistake got discovered before I purchase is pretty high. News that something happened with a population of one complete town due to a mistake with the tap-water, will not surprise me at all.
The water running out my tap smells strongly after chloride. Suitable for cooking only. Strange in this place where drinking water is “the best in the world” (close to truth)!! The water out of the dozens wells in the mountains is fresh, clean, cold, drinkable and good tasting. Go out there regularly to fill up bottles. Sure there are lots of places on the planet, especially in mountain areas, where the water is good. Makes me wonder why they process the town-water here. I suspect government (European Union?) regulations. Another example how globalization can spoil.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Writing posts randomly about whatever my brains comes up with created chaos. Don’t remember what is published. So many articles this year. Re-reading will take to much time. I am organizing (off-line), but due lack of time that goes slow too. Do not remember if I wrote this one down, did tell the story to many friends (with the “shuffle” act physically performed).
Working in music bizznix for many years you meet “real” rockstars sometimes. Bono, Eddie Vedder, The Edge, David Byrne,…. Whatever. Honestly, not such important people to write about. I once also ran into James Brown; yes the one and only. This story is more funny to tell. I literal almost bump into him:
Another USA tour just finished. Checked in at the airport. Was on my way home. Few minutes before the call up too board. Sitting in the waiting room surrounded by a group of Afro-Americans. Obviously musicians according to their hand-luggage. Curious I observed them. What band is this? They where mentioning towards eachother the interesting places in their tour-itinerary. “….Heineke Music Hall, Amsterdam…..”. Hmmm, those are respectable big venues. Must be a well-known crew. I didn’t recognize anyone of them. The boarding started. The plane was one of those massive big “overseas” air-ships. An upstairs with first-class lounge. Exactly as I stepped on board, someone coming down reached the last steps of the stairs. You know how small these planes are. Most space is used to leave seats. Corridors are narrow. Two people can hardly fit plus the steward standing there instructing, directing and welcoming. The lack of space made us shuffling around trying to get by eachother. A small skinny man with too much hair tried to pass by on his way to the toilet. Wow! My mind flipped, “this is James Brown, man! The one and only”. We had that little ‘dance’ stepping on each others toes. My cotton slippers against his leather pointed shoe (“Whoo…Aaah…Hoeee..”). Mumbling the usual excuses. James was so short, could tap on his head. Being such a famous personality, they must have let him on board in the first class separately, away from the crowd. Still we are all equal using the same bathroom. He disappeared behind a door. I went on searching my seat! We never met again.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Stay away from people who try to belittle your ambitions.
Small people always do that
The really great make you feel that you, too, can somehow become great.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I am an avant-gardenist you know! An Avant-Gardenist is someone who emaculates the perspectives of deconceptional illitural penurious conjuncturial conception of…..what ever.
Was more often complaining about the bad Slovenian driving on these pages. This will never stop. Can’t help it, the Slovenes ask for it. Everytime I drive into this country other road-users seem to have massive attitude. Was driving calmly through the long, one lane, Karawanke tunnel connecting Slovenia with Austria. Maximum allowed speed 80. The speedometer of my Volvo showed 84. Suddenly bright lights in the rear mirror. A big passengers bus was almost on my bumper trying to increase velocity. Hey wait a moment! This is a tunnel and I am already over. Read the fuckin papers or do you forget! Even I who never does media knows: tunnel accidents are fatal. Anyway passenger busses have a reputation to crash in holiday seasons due to incapable drivers. This for sure was one. On the end of the tunnel, back on the regular two-lane highway, I speed up.
The bus races me by. In a hurry? Driving on a strict time schedule? Maybe yes, but worth some lives? On the bus was written D-tours. The license plate told me it is from Ljubljana. I assume the D stands for Dying. Take my advice, do never take a trip with D(eath)-tours from Ljubljana.
What you read in my posts are all just scraps of memories, experiences, thoughts, ideas and nonsense. It looks often negative but is not. I am a happy positive person using these pages to write the negative out my mind and also show you something about my life, past and present. Nothing special, everyone can do this, its just that not everybody does it! Old articles you find in the link “old posts” in the navigation system on your left. Have fun, till tomorrow. Your Avant-Gardenist.
Tuesday, December 9 2008
The fact that you are married, own a house, believe in government and elections, talk in terms of countries (political territories), point out the importance of settled cultures, eat the food as everybody else, watch tv as everybody else, have your movies that are for you (and everybody else) “alternative” as everybody else, have your most favorite rockstar as everybody else, ….. All is understandable. You are like everybody else, and this is a compliment to you because you want to be that!
I understand: the tribe feels safe. Safety is what you are looking for. But realize: your instable mind is obvious during performances. You hide behind a huge amount of fx-pedals. You are not certain if what you do is right. Do you actually know what you want? Can you stand up for yourself? Can you choose a definite sound? Or do you stay uncertain.
Its good that I see these weak sides of you so I can adjust to you’re reactions and comments. When you speak you show your weakness the most. You attack people with strong opinions because you are afraid to have them yourself. Even friends are victims of your games. A comical wall of words you build up to hide again, afraid to show…., show what?
Its good to know your weak points that’s part one, now comes the second part, overcome them, otherwise you might loose some friends.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Yep, a week ago. Made it from Italy to Spain and from there to Switzerland, Germany, Slovenia. Just a “trip”. More than 5000km in less than 7 days. What do you expect; that I find time to go online updating this site?! Hell No!!! From now on I will try to post every day for a certain period.
Just for the sake of it I place the front cover picture of the new PTV3 album right here!
The weather at my whereabouts is great today. Missed my usual cycling-trips for a few weeks. Despite the cold I give it a go today. The snow and rain was poring down last two weeks. Probably it will be a difficult ride. I am curious how it looks out there. Strong streams overfloating with water echo through the valley. The mountain is calling. Here a summer-made picture of a goal I will try to reach. Will look different now in wintertime! Till tomorrow (if the bears didn’t awake from wintersleep).
Saturday, November 29, 2008
It’s the combination of time and network availability. Yesterday was one of those days. No network, and when I finally could use one, no time.
We are meanwhile 2 gigs and 1000km further into this trip. PTV rocks as always. It’s a fun show, you should come and check it out. It’s worthwhile. After some years we are used to eachother. The tour started and goes on as if we never did anything else without a break inbetween. So here the remarks of the day:
G: “Weird, having dinner with the band throws me out of my daily routine”
E: “Well, I felt good a bit earlier”
D: “I am ready for the back-alley threat”
M: “I know television and I do know personalities”
M: “You think the promoter will give us any beers?”
J: “Can we leave early tomorrow?”
M: “Nobody steels in NY”
Until next internet access.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Rock ‘n’ Roll is hard but funny. They all rolled out of the luggage belt, drunk, stoned, screaming the complete airport together. Nobody cares, we all know these situations from MTV. Its so normal in our daily live: “rockmusicians”. When I finally had them in the van, stinky, sweaty, alcohol smelly, we ride, searching the local dealer to score a fix up. Fuck it, I wrote a stupid diary like this last time touring with this band. Made it all up, but probably many people think for real that rock musicians live like this. Out of the reactions I got I learned it was taking serious by some. Well, honestly, the complete thing is just a fantasy. Nobody uses drugs in rock. That’s just a selling strategy. A dreamfactory bizznix. We drove this massive drive. First Jure and me from Slovenia to Munich. Heavy poring loads of snow slowed us down for 4 hours. It was announced, and gone by now. We had to drive the worst-weather-day of the year. No choice. This had to be done now! From Munich we drove to Basel to pick up the guitar player and than headed down to Rome. All arrived fine. At the moment they stroll the town visiting touristic sight seeings. Fuck it, visited all this old shite Europe is overloaded with too often. Non of my interest anymore. I stayed in the hotel, do some administration and write this post.
Later we go for soundcheck and do the routine thing : a concert.
Remarks of the day:
G: “I have pesto-gnocchi”
E: “I want to be paid if somebody uses my designs”
D: “I will never ask you an opinion about anything anymore”
M: “It’s like in the USA”
M: “I stopped drinking, only had 8 beers and 2 whiskeys today”
J: “Why do you not want another beer?”
M: “You only tour Italy for the food”
Tomorrow more, if I have network!
Monday, November 24, 2008
Today I leave again. Starting the PTV3 tour. It will be Wednesday when I meet them. Welcome in the “romantic” world of R ‘n’ R. Towards the evening I will drive with the tour- “chauffeur” to a van rental company in Munich. Stay there for the night and move on with the rental to Basel. Pick the guitar player up and move on direction Roma where the first show is and the band arrives. It’s the worst day of this year to do this. Snow is announced. First snow-day is always disastrous. I trust the road-cleaning services, they will be prepared, most other road users not. Its always weird to see that people race and crash like idiots on the first snow-day. I can see the weather is bad and dangerous for driving; how come they don’t? Let it be their own choice to die, but why can those crashers not be nice to consider that I than have major hold ups in traffic jams waiting for the road to be cleared!
Until Wednesday I expect 1800km on the road, 2 quick dinners, 8 peanut-butter sandwiches, 2 bottles of water, one argument and 9 hours of sleep.
Check back regularly. I will try writing a tour-diary. Updates depend on available internet. Hopefully everyday. Next post will be earliest Wednesday evening CET. (CET stands for Central European Time).
Hop in (see dates below) say hello and pick up some Free Music.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Still I go every other day. Up in the mountains on my bike. The temperature is below zero Celsius but I cannot resist the challenge. There is no snow (yet), so why not. The roads are free. Well dressed against the cold I push myself uphill. I am only one. Locals probably think I am crazy, but hey, its totally sane to take the complete surroundings for myself. Fresh air and exercise. It blows out the tourdirt. Got only one week between my arriving and leaving. Yep, the PTV3 tour is coming up. Hope to find some time to write another post before I leave. The pre-production is massive amount of work plus these Southern Europeans are taking live easy. In this case too “easy” (read: “slow”). I leave Monday and still not much info from promoters. All probably arrives too late.
The stork story from last Sunday is true. It doesn’t leave my mind. The complete thing is like a film in my head. I see the stork landing and dying. Many thoughts. Probably people feel superior above other living creatures. But are they superior? Do humans deserve the right to be superior? Strange that exactly the animal that is thee symbol of life for humans (the stork delivers baby’s), simply gets killed for no reason. In my opinion the stork had equal rights to live as humans. Next time I stop and protect!
The Dial gigs where great. The personality on stage in combination with the music was impressive. Great festival in Venlo that presented the music scene that normally hides under a garbage-can. The only music that is real. Good I stayed connected with the bottom my complete career.
The Wordsound tour-diary was very limited. Sorry about that. Its difficult to write while on tour. Not so much because there is nothing to say, more due to the energy. Writing cost some too, and during a tour fixating on the job sips away loads of energy. The stories will return to me as time passes and appear here. I also will drop lines about my PTV3 trip. Check back regularly. It might get interesting.
Here a picture of Wordsound performing in a train wagon in Stuttgart. Fuckin great gig.
Sensational in the front, Spectre behind the desk. Till very soon!
Wordsound in the Wagon
Sunday, 16 November 2008
Leaving the city the main road merged into a 6 lane wide highway. Open land, wide view, big waters, sky reached horizon. Space for everybody. Everybody is for me every-body that lives on (and out of) this planet. Including the animal, plant, rock, water,…. Bodies. Its all alive.
The black glowing white lined asphalt in the wide open space invited a stork to land. Driving relax on the highway I saw it happening. Like airplanes it gracious glided on air lower and lower till the feed almost touched car roofs and landed on an (at that moment) empty strip. Surprised looking it stepped around, amazed about these big, fast, groaning animals.
A few drivers including me saw the stork in time and moved to another lane. Passing-by I was stared at with wide round eyes of unbelief by the big white bird. I realized this would end bad. Car drivers all over the world feel superior, strong, untouchable and protected. The weird relationship humans have with cars.
In my back mirror I followed the scenes. Like a film. One car hit the soft feathers. White turns red. In slow-motion the bird collapsed. Another victim caused by the speed of human life. All drivers and passengers saw it happening. Nobody’s face showed expressions of disbelieve, sadness or anger. We all just kept on driving, staring through the front window, as if nothing happened.
After a few miles thoughts came up. What a coward I am. That bird was a beautiful gracious animal. Do not need to be the hero of the day, but should have stopped in that lane. Hazard lights on, calling an emergency number and warning other drivers to slow down and be careful. I would have risked a ticked for stopping on the highway, in the worst case a crash, but could also saved a life.
Few days later. Passed the same spot, same lane. By many rubber wheels pressed feathers formed a small heap in the lane. The last leftover probably rain-washed away by now.
In the upcoming days my story about the Dial shows last week.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
My tourdiaries come out as short notes. Not surprising. I noticed it takes a lot more to write a nice good post-article. Its not so much the time, the writing I do quick, its more the energy. Although I do have a lot of it, on tour I need my sources for dozens of other activities. So not much came in letters on this word document. One day it will. For sure when I get home I find the time for longer writings and stories from the past, recent or long time ago, will occur.
At the moment I am still on a trip. Stay at a pottery in Steyl, a small village direction Roermond in Limburg, The Netherlands. Great people, good food and an amazing house with multiple collections of all kind of things you can think of. Visit this site, you get an impression: www.niekhoogland.nl . Tonight I have a gig in a nearby town with the legendary band DIAL. A group that barely performs. We do two shows, one tonight and one on Friday in Praha.
I’ll keep you updated. Check back regularly and drop me a mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Tonight the last show of the tour. It was a great trip. Made many new friends and contacts. Heard some great music. Do not know when my next post is going to be.
It might take a few days.
Friday, November 7, 2008
The Posthof in Linz is around since 1984. What can I say. We (they?) are all still there. The oldies hardcores that never give up. Our generation (50 now) never gives up their positions in the music-bizz we gained with hard work.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
The more “standard” Vienna tourdate for me. Playing a club on the “Gurtel” and stay at the Furstenhof Hotel. The Furstenhof is an old, typical building at West Bahnhof . The entrance has a big heavy steel doors. High ceilings in hallways and rooms. Chandeliers, old furniture and red carpets on the floor. An old pre-war elevator constructed with steel, wood and glass brings you to higher floors. Everything reminds this is definitely Vienna. For probably unexplainable reasons the hotel became the artist hang-out of town many years ago. Think I barely stayed in an other place. If you visit it, go and stand under the small dome in the hallway in front of the reception room. Go stand in the centre and talk you hear a funny natural pitch in your voice.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
The drive to Stuttgart was short. We arrived on a cool abandoned train-track. Many wagons painted with graffiti, all occupied by artists. Mainly art-studio’s. Some live there.
One wagon was a kinda bar/club. Small but funny. Hey, who gigs a train wagon these days? Had a good time with the people. We laughed talked and jammed. Might have a picture in the near future.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Tonight the gig is in Kalkbreite, Zurich. A big squat with a small cozy concert room. The oil heaters burned. Vegan food was waiting. The place filled up in the evening. Kohei, Spectre and Sensational did great. Its good to gig these small venues with a crowd that is really interested.
The squat was traditional. Nothing changed since the 70ties. Was an active squatter myself late 70ties/early 80ties. It’s interesting to see that the new generations “copy” that period in details. The improvised bathrooms, mattresses on the floor, communal dining room, chaotic kitchen, live concert room, rehearsing basement but most strange; same posters still on the wall, same images/symbols, same articles in same magazines about the same political (in)correctness. The world probably never was and will change. Lets protest that!
Monday, November 3, 2008
My first contact with Wordsound was also their very first tour ever, Crooklyn Dub tour 1997. An agent called me and asked if I wanted to be the TM on this trip. I confirmed.The 90ties was a desperate time for music. Computer Sequencers took over. Cold, meaningless, non-inspiring, boring. The old bands only created jaded boring follow-ups of whatever done before. I stopped listening to music going around with the impression its all death. Running into Wordsound woke me up again. Suddenly there were some fresh enthusiastic people on stage trying to move borders. Throwing out human energy, not “bits in digs”. The tour stimulated me enormous. At home I played records and created music again. We had great fun. The tour included Dr Israel, Spectre, Roots Control, Qubala Steppers. It was a long session every night. “The Greatful Death” of the 90ties I called them. Sets could start at soundcheck at end late at night (morning) without breaks.Professer Shehab (Steppers) was crazy as ever. Dr Israel came with an Analog 8-track on stage, doing live mixes. Spectre and Roots Control smoked the complete venue out. They were the new sound. Creating Drum & Base, Trip Hop before even the names for these music styles where invented. Wordsound was for sure a major influence for many. According to some “The Velvet Underground” of the nineties.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
The trip Leipzig-Berlin is short. We arrived in Berlin a bit early. Still ok to hang around. Eat some falafel. The place we played is new. Noticeable. The owners, organization and technicians were still fighting with loads of “children diseases”. When everything finally worked out technically, soundcheck was done. Sensational had to stand on the floor in the audience. No real stage around. The night burned out like a candle on its last cm. During Spectre’s set the cops came. Noise complains from neighbors. Funny, it wasn’t loud at all. Volume had to go that low, it was impossible to play. No bass, no terror! Sensational saved the night with a great, low-volume, but dynamic set.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Leipzig in Germany. What a contrast with Amsterdam (see yesterday). Some positive active young kids waited for us in the punkrock squat. Woodfire on maximum. Nice and warm. Somebody cooked great vegan-Indian food. The place was packed. Sensational/Spectre/Konex rocked the place down. A gig as it suppose to be: audience, heat and good food!
Friday, October 31, 2008
Oke, managed today to put my tour diary on the site. Scrol back to November 23/24 to start. Hope I can update this on a more regular base from now on.
Hey I am up to date. Its morning, early. Everybody is still sleeping. Later we will drive to Amsterdam. We gig The Stubnitz. A boat in the harbor. Not my most favorite, but still cool place. More from this here later, if I have time and internet access. Wednesday 29/Thursday 30, October, 2008 From Paris we drove with our rental to Brussels to hang with Nyko, a good friend, musician booker and promoter. 2 days off. That’s were I am now typing this updating the diary.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
We took the TGV to Marseille. A fast train in Europe. Faster and cheaper than driving. The Distance Paris-Marseille is about 700/800km. An 8 hour trip with expenses over 120 Euro on fuel and roadtax. The train takes 3 hours, speeding the landscape. Ticket (one way) Euro 35,–. Good way of travelling if you do not have to carry Marshall-stacks. The car was parked save under the railway terminal.
Too all our surprise it was raining in Marseille. Not “rare” but also not a usual event. The promoter who picked us up from the terminal told that rain keeps people inside.
The club is a nice commune of artists living in an old factory. Good cooking and lots of support and hospitality.
Next day train back to Paris.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Paris, Le divant du Monde. Arriving we drive the streets to Pigalle. The red-light district of Paris where most clubs are also situated. A neighborhood with many “loners” and “losers” hanging on the street, as if they wait for a bus. No busstop, not even a bus-line around.
The hood where tourists gets robbed on a regular base. Its an income and sport for many on the street. Just before the famous “Moulin Rouge” we turn of the main road into an alley where the club is situated. The front looks like a classical theater. 3 wide double wooden doors on top of 3 steps. After these doors opens a surprising nice and beautiful old small theater. A bit of a round room, traditional stage on one side. Old-fashioned drapes hanging down. Amazing place I never expected. So far one of the better performing locations in Paris I visited. The owner told me that the theater is 200 years old and until not long ago used as a strip club. A part of the usual bizz being done in this part of town.
The show looked (and sounded) great that night. Big projections blown up against the backwall. The entourage made it all very atmospheric.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
It was a short hop to Rotterdam where Sasha (promoter) was waiting for us with a good cup of coffee at the club. The Worm is based in an old building of the Dutch-East Trading Company. Build in the 18th century. Survived the many wars. At the moment a lonely pile of stones in a construction site. Typical boring Dutch housing projects will surround it soon. The front dangerously heels over as you see on many old Dutch buildings. Weak fundament support? I ask Sasha. No, he replied, Build like this on purpose. They had to whip lots of stock upstairs. The construction was designed on purpose so it would support the heavy weights. Inside the warehouse was changed into a nice cozy club. Lots of wood mixed with modern design. Sasha took care of some tasty Turkish goodies for catering. Roti (Suriname) was the main meal. Reflections of the Dutch multicultural society. Food integration seemed to be going well, other cultural difference like to clash in The Netherlands.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Brussels – Recycle Art. Found the place hidden in Brussels confusing one way systems of small alleys. An abandoned entrance to the railway terminal. Many years ago this entrance got closed. A big wide open corridor straight underneath the tracks. Why not change it into a club! No neighbors to complain about the noise. Everything was there. Toilets (old public ones), bar (the former ticket-desk) and stage, moved in against the backwall. Perfect location.
Shed came to meet us in front. Great promoter again. Busy for months spreading flyers, talking radio, hanging posters. He took us to the hotel. Old building in centre of town straight on the antic market. Busy and cozy. The weather cooperated. Sun broke out and we had a drink on an outside terrace, watching the crowd in the warm late summer sun. The market came to an end. Unsold crap was thrown by salesmen as garbage on a pile under trees. Like pigeons people jumped out of corners analyzing the dump, hoping to find something useful. That night a good crowd filled the railway underpass. Groovy baselines made trains almost run of the tracks.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Kolbhalle Koln. Franz woke up early this morning. I was on the way dropping my car of in the abandoned industrial area of Cologne were also the club is situated. Great guy Franz. Working hard to promote the show. Giving it with all energy he has. We met in front of his apartment. Drove to the parking spot, left Franz to hook up with later today, and jumped on a train to the airport for welcoming 2 out of the 3 people Wordsound crew. Arriving just in time. Spectre spotted me first, Sensational, tired of the travel, following him leaning on the luggage car. After we got our tourdrive from the airport rental we moved into town. Had lunch, a rest and up to the venue.
The Kolbhalle is situated in an empty factory. Old house-wagons and improvised buildings on the court yard. The homes of hippies, freaks, illegal’s, artists and drop-outs.
Typical population for places like this. The atmosphere was good. Positiv vibes hanging everywhere. Wordsound fans Bringing in sound equipment, re-stocking the bar and cleaning. Many introduced themselves, took the time for a short talk. The magic was in the air. Nothing could go wrong. What can I say. The show was the right music on the right spot. Images and soft light beams reflected from the damaged factory walls. The smokemachine added a dark feeling. Deep bases, slow grooves and a positive freaking. Back in the underground. The basements of culture. The place I belong and you all should visit more often.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Leaving home again today. See top page for the dates. This is going to be a great trip in the “underground” of the music scene. The place I feel the most comfortable because it is real! Enthusiastic promoters working for weeks to spread the news in town. Old warehouses and abandoned factories rapidly transfer into party places. Stages will be build, improvised bars set up, life-dangerous electricity a.s.o. This is where it happens. Not in smooth (Dutch-style) pre paid with government money, over organized “rock”-clubs. Fuck them! Many places we hit are amazing locations. Besides factories we visit clubs on a boat, in a train-wagon, whatever more surprises will come up.
The music is great too. Wordsound stuff can never be wrong. This time Koxen, Spectre and Sensational will rock the stage. Check the dates and come to check it out; “The best thing you never heard before”. Do not forget to say hi, you know were to find me.
Will try to keep you updated with a tour-diary on this spot. As you know a day might skip sometimes due to lack of time or network. See you around!
Sensational / Spectre
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Months ago I wrote a post about me attending a Sex Pistols gig in Mafcentrum Maasbree 1977. 2 Months before Pistols played the legendary punk rock band The Damned climbed that same stage. I remember their show well. The night was legendary and burned into my memory. I will never forget.
Arriving after 8 pm, the place was slowly filling up. I slurped one beer after the other and got a bit rousy. Opening act climbed the stage. A new band from the UK nobody never heard of before called The Police. Funny (but obvious) name for a punkrock band. Front person was a tall blond bassplayer singing in high voice. They played for about 20 minutes smashing heavy loud punkrock. Fuckin great. So good that after finished I purchased their self made indie product from the singer at the merch boot. It was called “Fall Out”.
Still have that single. (yes yes I know that singer was Sting in his young years, well I tell you everybody had to start somewhere, only the fools who win a quiz become stars without working a career, but those fake-stars are forgotten after one year)
After a break of half an hour and 4 more beers it was time for the Damned. Wow what a gig. The band came on and played without a break a high energetic set of 40 minutes so loud, the sound was one big heavy distorted wall. I couldn’t even recognize one song, (although purchased the record months ago). Still the energy was smashing. We pogo’d like idiots (the complete audience) In that time stage-diving or slam-dancing was not yet invented. Pogo-ing was a kind of wild jumping up and down. The hippest and heaviest thing to do at a rock gig in 1977. Meanwhile ears almost exploded. My spectacles flew through the audience joining beer glasses. Miraculous the specs returned unharmed, catch by another pogo freak! What a gig. Exhausted and satisfied we gathered around the bar recovering from the “big bang”. Band members joined (Captain Sensible, Sting, Dave Vanian, Rat Scabies). We had some good talks and laughs and many more drinks.
The first Damned Album is an absolute must for those who like to get a taste of early (first generation) punk. The record is variable in songs. Rough recorded and mixed. No smooth guitars and standard licks, but real energy like punk has to be played.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
This is “live” writing. An unprepared post typed “on the spot” on this site page with all mistakes and whatever nonsense. You can now all see how bad my English and typing is. After 35 years I still type with one finger fast over the keyboard. No not searching for every letter. I did had typing lessons way back somewhere in the 70ties, but fuck it. Its “weird” to move these 10 fingers all at the same time as if you do some kind of rediculous eastern massage. One finger works well for me. Keeps one hand free for the coffee, beer or whatever. No food. Never food close to my comp. Too messy. Drinks I do not spil, food crumbles everywhere. Jesus what a nonsense posts this is. I quit. Next posts this week will be usual as always. Hang in there. Visit back and click on some site links in the navigation on your left. There is more to see/do and listen than you think. This site can waste loads of your time.
Friday, October 17, 2008
This is going to be a complain-post. Why not, fuck it, may I for once, twice or more often. Listen I work in this music fuckin bizz for 30 years. Did almost everything. Book gigs, Promote gigs, Play gigs, Engineered gigs, Managed gigs, Released music, Promote music, Wrote music, recorded music and so on. Most of it I still do up to date. So I am busy sorting out routings, contacting bizz people, setting up interviews, filter contacts for artists, rent backline, arrange transport, take care of stage-prob, book flights, book hotels, rent cars, re-book flights because nothing works decent on internet and check all digital done reservations by phone because you know the web is not to be trusted. Meanwhile I make budgets, fill in tax papers, arrange work-permits and visa’s, sort out invoices, send promo cd’s to press people discuss with artist technical details, talk with promoters about light rigs and hire a driver for the next trip. And still I have time to clean around the house water drains, fix the heating, cut and store the burning wood, repair the waterpipe, rebuilt a bathroom, pack up some family-shelters (what the heck…!!), hang curtains, re-paint my door-post, cut tree branches, and repair the car. While I also do laundry, cook dinner, bake bread, go shopping, have a drink with neighbors, go out to a gig, maintain this website, lead some guests around in the nature park, explain some things to tourists and visit friends. Probably there is a lot more I do. So listen dear promoter. Why is it such a big deal, and do I have to wait till the last minute to get answers on a few simple questions. Just reply on my mail with some basic info like this example:
You are expected for soundcheck around 5pm. The doors are at 8 and showstart is somewhere around 10. For accommodation we booked you a nice hotel nearby, as requested in your rider. Venue address/tech-specs and routing you find on our website:……. For incase my cell no is……..
Your dear promoter.
Got it! Its this easy and it only took me 42 seconds to write it. So fuck it and do it!
Write this to me, do not let me wait for weeks, endlessly try to call you and send mails, without results. It eats my time, and as you read above, I can spend my time more useful than chasing dumb-slow-stoned-amateur local gig promoters!
For your information here the “why I need the info in time”:
When tour starts I am busy with: driving, setting up stages, talking with other promoters about the food/sleep situation that night, sorting out the merch, finding a parking, finding lost or forgotten luggage, repairing equipment, soundcheck, installing video, hanging screens, and listening to artist complaining that the bread in the backstage is to small for the slices of meat! Plus: internet access is not always obvious. Chance that your mail reaches me in time is lower. Plus I like to sort out timings/routings before the tour. It is nice to know how long we can sleep until next day starts. Remember dear promoter, your gig is NOT the only thing that is happening on this planet. So write me that mail. Tanx.
Thursday, October 15, 2008
Later today it will rain. Temperature goes down, and taken in consideration the time of the year, it is to be expected that yesterday was the last nice day before autumn and winter definitely hits. Most readers will think “so what”! Here it is living in nature. The last good weather day means running around the house like a maniac doing the last important things. Clear piles of construction things (gravel/stones/….) before they disappear under a layer of snow. Clean the drainpipes from rotten leaves, so the rain water has an easy-open flow. Fix a few last things in the garden and around the house. Repair the heating system. Most important, get the wood for the burner cut and stored dry. Winters get cold, we need heat! Did that with the great help of my neighbor (and many beers). Today I will have a last cycle trip in the mountains. Rain is announced to start in the afternoon. My consciousness is cleared. Am ready and prepared now. Let the cozy-cold short days begin.
Today, hours later. Saw it hanging over Cekovnik after passing miles ago. I didn’t care and went on until the first drops created small round dark spots on the dirt-road. The announced rain didn’t surprise me. Carried a jacket with. Stopped for a break to put it on and sat down. Enjoyed the rain for a while. Drinking a bit, getting wet. Felt very satisfied. A perfect closing of this summer season. I used it until the last second.
Now at home my clothes are drying in front of the wood-fire. Do not know how the last 5/6 months were for you, my summer was great!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Organizing and re-writing again old posts. Not visual on this site link yet. Do it offline. Will take months to have all these stories put together in chapters. Triggers my memory for lots of new posts. Many unfinished stories.
Go back to yesterdays post for a moment. It is astonishing to see that kids still sign label deals. The complete industry knows nobody buys cd’s anymore. Its probably a bizz thing. How “fancy-modern-hip-up-to-date” the nowadays bizz yup looks like. In reality they are no more than a bunch of traditional people, repeating the common formality not realizing the world has changed. Generally I see this as a good thing. Its forces changes and creates progress. Still many are victims of the small minded attitude of those who think they control, but actually only hold the money. Money does not control! You control yourself!
Back to the music deals. Think about it. You can sign a contract and become the puppet for a certain amount of time of some company. If you sign or not, the music (product or serious) is not going to be sold. It will appear as a free download one day after release.
Many see it as sport chasing new music before being published. It will be difficult and therefore take a long time, to change this. All the record company can do for you is promotion. For that its better and gives you more money to sign a publishing deal and get your copyrights sorted. Forget the traditional companies. They are dying.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Sorry for lesser posting. Many stories are in my memory. Lack of time to write them down. But here is another one:
The Pharcyde I mentioned more often in my posts. Toured with them often. Being regularly out with the same band, you get familiar to eachother. Becomes more than “just a job”.
This is a traditional “music rip-off” story, as always the truth. I was there and witness with my own eyes and ears.
As young teenagers The Pharcyde signed this usual deal with Delicious Vinyl (common hip-hop label) in the early 90ties. They had to deliver a certain amount of records within unlimited time. As mostly, deals with record companies are unfair. Until today musicians feel attracted to sign up for something they feel sorry for later. Its often the hurry and pushing from the record company site that thankfully uses the impatient eager-need of the musician to have a contract. Often these deals are fucked up in all kind of ways. You are restricted to the contract forever, no rights or say about your own composition all you get is maybe an advance some publishing money in the future and, if lucky, a yearly financial statement showing the advance is not earned back yet. Besides above there are thousands of tricks/rules/small-writing in contracts. Despite the many experiences and warnings through time, artists up till today sign these rip-of deals.
It was late 90ties. One of these European Pharcyde tours. The band was in conflict with their label “Delicious Vinyl” and didn’t release new product for years. Few illegal indie made bootleg 12” were sold at live gigs. Meanwhile in Europe German hip hop was rising fast. In Stuttgard some people started a hip hop label related to the band Die Fantastische 4, called “4-Music”. The label was quickly taken by some young yuppie snobs who hoped to make fast money. They wanted to extend their borders. The Pharcyde looked like an excellent choice for this purpose and were to become the first not-German rap crew on 4-Music. First the 4-Music bizz-loser-yuppies bought the complete Pharcyde-back-catalogue of Delicious Vinyl plus made a contract with them to obtain the license for a third album in Germany. 4 even paid an advance for that to Delicious!
– In that same period the Pharcyde was taking action investigating how to lose definitely their obligations with Delicious Vinyl -.
Funny though; nobody of 4-Music neither Delicious Vinyl took the effort contacting The Pharcyde about their deal. So let me make you clear what is going on here : A complete stack of records/songs/music with a record deal gets arranged, signed and sold behind the back of the artist, who is not informed or contacted whatsoever! Legally this was possible according to the contract between The Pharcyde and Delicious. But in any human sense….. hey…. uuuuuhhhhhh.
This story becomes more funny: Back on the tour. We play this venue close to Stuttgard. Did soundcheck, had some food and relaxed in the backstage waiting for showstart. Suddenly door opens. A “fancy fake-hip looking” guy comes rushing in and introduces himself as the representative of the record company. “The record company?” We all looking at eachother. “What record company?” Yep, he was from 4-Music, thinking that he dealt with a bunch of dumb musicians and even looked disappointed shaking my-hand, realizing the band was already hooked up with a “tour-daddy”. The Pharcyde was (is) not stupid. Through time they became a well arranged self supported indie hip-hop crew. Rare in the more “upground” rap scene.
Anyway. The 4-Music “representative” didn’t had much to bring in. Disappeared and we never saw him again. The Pharcyde got aware, after research, that legally they couldn’t do nothing else than deliver a next album to be released from all deals. That became “Plain Rap”.
The relation with 4-Music started of so wrong, it never became good. Well,…. what can I say! It was the usual mistake ignoring humanity for the sake of money. Now, 10 years later, German rap is over. 4-Music disappeared in the background I assume. As always, pop has a short life.
Despite CD sales going down, similar deals are still made. For what, you would think. Heard about a deal between a band and not very to be trusted company “Dallas” (the name gives me the creeps already…..) in Slovenia. Hearing about some agreements in the contract, I have the impression it is more about getting control over artists than selling cd’s. Modern slavery?
Sunday, October 12
The pre-productions of all these upcomming dates keeps me too busy. No new posts. Add a computor crash + great after summer weather. Time flies by. I promise new stories this week and make some pictures of Autum in Idrija. Soon!
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Time. Yes an often philosophic discussed issue. Does it even exist or are there more times? All bullshit talk, a waste of time. Its just one of these useless attempts of humans to organize. Still remarkable how the hours of the day lead my life for many years. I was often watching the watch dividing my days/nights/weeks/months/years by the scheme of the display. Don’t like to wear things. Nothing around my wrist or neck. A few years ago my watch definitely came of the wrist. Wearing it was torture but often a must being the TM on tours. Would be funny if missing the gig because no notion of time! Meanwhile I released myself from the peeping bracelet as much as possible. Took it of at soundchecks/gigs dropped between the knops of unused channels. At dinner it was lying on the table as if a part of my cutlery. Driving it found a spot on the dashboard. In bed it rested in my slippers. Once taking a break on a bikecycle ride, relaxing and enjoying the cool freshness of a mountain stream, I ofcourse took my watch of. 15 minutes later, on my way again, realizing nothing on my wrist anymore. Turned back and found it in the stream, underwater, still working.
It’s just a cheap digi Casio. One of these first models made. Nothing to show of with, but most useful. Besides time, it shows date/month and what day of the week it is. Includes a handy alarm to set my sub-consciousness, always awaking me 15 minutes before the annoying Casio peep starts. Another “Matski-tradition” came to an end for a bit more than a year ago. Often not bothering bringing the cell, I now belong to the people who ask others “Oh yeah? Already now? What time is it?”
Ofcourse clocks are still in my kitchen and living. Also the watch comes along to set the alarm. But not around my wrist anymore.
Friday, October 03, 2008
Skipping a day once in a while with posting will become more regular. Still expect 3 to 4 new posts a week.
Today an “encore”. Showing visitors around yesterday the views were taken away by rain clouds of the autumn October weather. The hills/mountain/valleys are keep the breath-taking beauty. Colors combined with thin spooky whirling clouds. Here the picture I posted before long time ago of the view we could not see yesterday.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Records you like but hide. Here is another one out of my collection : “Jonathan Richman And The Modern Lovers – Live”.
The Modern lovers will go into history with their first record simply called “Modern Lovers”. On these first recordings they sound rough like the Velvet Undergroud. Not weird, most tracks are produced by John Cale. In compare with the actual sound of Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers, the first release is wild, like most debuts. Already before this record was pressed, the band polished their sound in a kind of sweet, childish sing-along American rock and roll/folk style that would fit well in Sesame street, but than the parts for grow-ups.
I had a great time in the 70ties with Richman and his band. Visitted 5 or 6 gigs. Organized one myself, Jonathan Richman solo in “Ons Huis” Venlo-Blerick.
Its worth it to keep a few records as a memory. Not to play often.
The audience was a mix of hippies, punks and metals. Old and young people. Rare mix nowadays. Everybody sat down and had to be quiet. The Modern Lovers played on a volume so low even the sizzling of carbonated beer was disturbing. Regularly Jonathan sang meters away from the mic, acoustically into the audience. Without raising his voice he could still pass the sound from his 3 piece band (drums/bas/guitar).
Besides La Bradford I never heard any musician being capable to perform in such a low volume for a complete show and still bring a dynamic, strong and interesting show that maintains the audience interest.
Other remarkable differences on Modern Lovers gigs: they always started too early. Where most artists let you wait for ages disrespecting audience, finally arrive far over time, Jonathan climbed the stage mostly 15 minutes before announced show-start. He played with his band long sets and filled the night up, performing over 3 hours interrupted by 1 or 2 short breaks.
The live LP contains just a few short moments of these long nights. Pity its not visual. On the reactions of the audience you can hear there is something to see. Jonathan was (is, he still plays) a good performer. If he would have failed as musician he could act in a children entertainment show. The record starts with “I am a little airplane now”. I remember Jonathan spreading his arms waving over the stage. “Hey there little insect” is the next song. For those not familiar with the artist, the titles bring you a good idea. Next is “Egyptian Reggae”. An instrumental tune that gained airplay. Kinda “hit”. Last song on side one is the second most famous tune of that time “Ice Cream Man”. Ofcourse the chorus is repeated endlessly, for almost 9 minutes. We all were singing along. On request “Ice Cream Man” was played over and over again endlessly repeating the chorus. I remember a show with 3 requests, absorbing about 50 minutes of the total performance.
Side 2 Jonathan crawls around on stage singing he is a “Little Dinosaur”, followed by “My Little Kookenhaken”. With this song the album slowly works to a more mature ending with “South American Folk Song”, “New England” and “The Morning Of Our Lives”.
No information on the album about the whereabouts of the recordings. Crew information on the cover and accent of the audience makes me guess in the UK somewhere. The period was 1976/1977. 30 years ago. Fuck it, enough about this digging in childish past. The record goes back in the collection to collect dust for many more years.
Monday, September 29, 2008
There were many goodbyes in my life. Temporary and definite ones. I act pretty cool about the farewells. “Oh’ well, we meet again. Somewhere some place, as long you keep on travelling”, I mostly say. No address exchanges, extended hugs, long kisses or endless polite formalities. A quick handshake, short goodbye and of I go in my Volvo with maybe a short hunk on the horn. Driving the dirt road I feel relieved. Floating on the asphalt, future trips busy my mind. After a few miles, thinking about those just left behind, mood changes. We did work together these few weeks. Just long enough to learn eachothers habits, moods, tastes and moves. You get used to eachother starting to accept the goods and bads. As always it was a one-time temporary thing. We all know that the same thing with the same people will never happen again. Going home is difficult. Could see on most faces they also wanted to leave, but near future at home was neither a solution. Lucky, my destination is a good one, and as always, temporarily. Surf this site for prove.Exceptional I did not like the organizers of this trip. Normally I do (mostly I am one of them). Last month I learned how not to do it.
This post goes to Geerte, Hanneke, Marie Sol, Dennis and Wouter “levensgevaarlijk!”. Drop me a mail; click on this: email@example.com .I know most readers don’t dig this. fuck it! Its my site and I write here what I want. Anyone else can write me too. I reply all non-spam!
Keep this post on top for a week. All follow-ups will start below, scroll down!
Yes I am back, and hope you will be too. Expect the more regular (daily?) posts + more changes and updates soon.
Shades slowly turn into shapes
Today is going to be beautiful
The mountains are calling
Sunday, August 31, 2008.
Driving Italian highways. A heavy sand-truck in front of me almost slipped out over the sweating road. Hot melting asphalt. Cars on the hard-shoulder, steaming with the hood open. I drive my usual old Volvo. 22 years old, still seem to cope with every weather condition. No airco, windows open and the blower on max. Damping asphalt fumes mix with fuel smells. It disappears again. Not me for sure. Probably the truck I just passed. The smell triggered memories to another story. This was with The Pharcyde, on tour heading for a gig close to Hannover. The drive was long, we were already getting (too) late. While racing the highways, passing reflectors and km signs, an increasing diesel smell occurred in the van. First thoughts, as always; “this is from outside”. Truck, factory, but the smell stayed very penetrating presence. Feeling unsecure I stopped at a parking and looked in the hood. One fuel pipe broke and spilled liquid all over. Shit we are running late! This is not the moment for car problems. I called roadhelp (membership). The usual wait took over an hour. The gig was only 100 clicks away, but clock showed after 7. No soundcheck tonight. We would arrive after doors hopefully still before showtime. The roadhelp mechanic improvised the fuelpump. By the time we were driving again, it was after 8. Called the promoter before. He knew we had problems, so no worries here. After about 50 clicks the strong smell returned. Stopped and looked into the hood. The pipe broke of again. No time for waiting, I improvised. It helped, but we were still leaking diesel. Had to make it to the gig, so fuck it, we drive on. Racing the last 50km, fuel slammed under the car blowing out of the back. Cars passed us by with drivers making stressed-out, panicking gestures looking scared, trying to make me aware of the danger. I nodded friendly with a smile, “yes,yes, I know. Its ok”. Inside the van the diesel smell raised to an intoxicating level . “This is dangerous”, one of the bandmembers yelled. “The car will blow”. “Just don’t smoke” I replied calmly. We made it without further complications to the venue. In time for the show, and to my surprise a mechanic shop right next door. Next morning at 7 am the pipe and fuel pump had a decent fix up.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008.
Find lesser time to write these posts every day, not even talking about writing in advance. No time whatsoever. Lets just chitchat today. Talk some bullshite and small unimportant nonsense like a bunch of guys with a beer at a bar. No I am not out of ideas. Still have to tell you a lot. You probably noticed this thing started of as something that was supposed to be a few words every day, turned now into long column-style stories. Got picky about them throwing it online without proof-reading first, so I started to do that. Re-reading I wanna change a lot, or at least make it a bit better story. The James White gig in Den Hague story was such one. Almost finished, but it took me a long time with many re-writings. Lack of time limited my proof readings again. Make quick improvements mainly with language and word correction, incidentally changing some paragraphs to make the reading easier. Still have to start re-writing the whole lot. Endless if you look into the “old post” link on my left in the navigation. Going to organize that page. My posts are a chaos mix of subjects organized on dates. One day I will group them, maybe even rewrite, and order them in posts about: “Laibach”, “Gogol Bordello”, “Thoughts”, “Hate the music bizznix”, a.s.o….. Slowly it will shape into the book everybody wants me to write (so I finally shut up talking and in silence hand over this 50000000000000000000000 pages long masterpiece with just a few opinions and events out of my life). Had a flat tire on my bike today. The first time in all these years that I do mountain biking. Not a bad score. Had to laugh about it. The sound was funny pffffffffffffff. Was almost home anyway. Walked the last couple of 100 meters. Tomorrow I leave for Italy. Will be there about the complete month September. Do not know how my internet access will be. As always I try to post everyday depending on web availability and time. Keep it going….
Tuesday, August 26 2008.
Do not take me serious now. This complete post is a joke. I don’t believe in countries. They are political territories. I do believe in cultures. During a little bit of European driving in the last 3 days it popped up in my mind how similar the Dutch and Slovenes are. Though far a way from eachother (over 1000km). No real connection in history. Massive nature obstacles (big rivers, Alps) inbetween. Still they resemble in some important life-matters. Might be I’m going to denigrate the Dutch and uplift The Slovenes, or they other way around, depends how you want to look at it. My opinion: their bad sides are equal.
Both “political territories” take an important place in my life, still I feel distanced. An outsider looking in. Or feel like someone in the audience from the sideline watching. Do not be insulted. Even I will not take this post to seriously. It is just funny.
To make it easier and more “united” lets call the Dutch/Solvenes in this post from now on “DutchSlovs”.
The DutchSlovs are reserved people. They do not like to let their hair down, freak out or go for it. They like to watch and see how others freak out and than joke about it. Themselves are pretty uptight. Afraid that a friend or acquaintance might see them. “You never know what the neighbors will say”. Showing of with a big car to impress the hood is a world wide thing. (That’s why I am always drive an old rusty dump, the forever rebel with a cause.) But visiting gigs in both countries are hell. A waste of time. The audience seems to be so bored by the performers on stage. You can have the most uplifted- pumping-swinging-ass-kicking band with show on stage giving it all, The DutchSlovs just stand there with a beer. Looking disinterested, chit-chatting small talk with friends, no dancing, not even tapping feet, and the applause is mostly weak without appreciation. After visiting gigs in The DutchSlov you check the same artist performing the next day just across the border (Belgium/Croatia) in Antwerp/Zagreb, you notice exactly the opposite. The Belgiums/Croats dance, clap and sing along having a great time. Most astonishing with the DutchSlovs is the after-talk in the bar. Everybody is so enthusiastically bragging about how great the performance was, but still something has to be criticized; f.e. the guitar was painted a horrible color or other totally minor issue. Those conversations wipes me out, looking at the reactions during the show I had the impressions nobody liked it all. These things especially happen with club-gigs. If you are in The DutchSlov better get the same gig over the border. Supportive audience stimulates the artist to bring better performances.
But….. to do that that you have to drive a car…..
Yep, here we go again; the driving. The DutchSlovs have an astonishing similarity in driving styles. Cruising Europe its pretty ok everywhere. The Italians are hectic, ignore all the rules, but see, do not crash and let you be. The French might have a glass of wine to many and take sudden slow downs or takeovers, but are easy and even willing to stop in the middle of the road for a friendly chat. The Germans drive sometimes (too) fast on the highway, but al other roads polite and patient (with an exception sometimes). Austrians/Belgium/Scandinavians/Swizz/British are all the same. Easy, polite and let you be even if you are a stranger, making uncertain moves trying to find you’re way. The mentality is “oh well, he’s not from here”. Spanish/Portuguese, bit hectic sometimes, and I do understand that towards the end of the summer all these Dutch clumsy maneuvering caravans filled up you’re tolerance jar. The East, oh well. I understand that you finally can push the pedal with a B&W, but be aware; the roads are not designed for this. You leave you’re wife and kids behind with the Euro 300 monthly pay-of.
But The Dutch/Slovs! They are stressed-out dangerous animals in cars. Drive on you’re bumper impatiently. Look sour and annoyed behind the steering-wheel. Take over unnecessary on impossible and dangerous spots, taking risks and burning unnecessary fuel without gaining time. Meeting them, 3 minutes later, on the restaurant parking I wonder where the useless hurry was for. In both countries I get served first.
Saturday/Sunday/Monday August 23/24/25 2008
No new post for 3 days. Am on a short trip. There are many posts below to read and maybe you should dive in some old ones in the “Old Posts” link. Tuesday my next post.
Friday, August 22, 2008.
Ooops, sorry, was so busy yesterday I even forgot about the post. To make it up I give you an “interesting” story today!
Since we started with the “Heart-attack” stories let me throw up another one.
This was in 1988 on tour with the, in those days, well-discussed band “The Rapeman”. The big fuzz was all about the name. I understand! The Rapeman was a super-star-trio formed by the famous Scratch Acid rhythm section Dave Sims and Ray Washam with Ex-Big Black member Steve Albini (yes that guy who developed to the “oh so famous” producer). Steve claimed not to be sexist, he had stolen the name from a Japanese comic.
The Rapeman tour was many shows long. We drove apprx 7 weeks all over Europe in a small van. The 3 band-members, me, plus backline. Dave was one of those “mysterious” guys. Often after the show he disappeared and returned next day at soundcheck, not travelling with us at all. Afraid for the “picket lines”?
Ray was a very skilled drummer quit into his job (what happened to him?).
Steve Albini suffered insomnia. He never slept, was hyper and had too much energy. Always (only) drinking coffee and reading animal porno (am I not supposed to give this info? Despite music bizz is all about lies; this is the truth though!).
One day his sleepless live-style took revenge:
Country: Germany. Town: Dortmund. Venue: Live-Station. Year: 1988.
We just sound-checked and had dinner. Dave disappeared, as usual. Ray and Steve hanged backstage. I was in the local promoter’s office talking. Suddenly office door slammed open, Ray stormed in. “Mat come quick, something is happening with Steve”. We (Ray, promoter and me) rushed backstage. Steve was slightly paralyzed lying on the floor, his face pale grey. He clearly suffered a stroke. “Call an ambulance” I said to the promoter. “The hospital is 500 meters down the street. Better you take Steve in the van, drive him up there, meanwhile I call the hospital you’re on the way”. We carried Steve into the van. I raced to the hospital. Arriving in front, they were waiting with the stretcher on wheels, doctors and nurses. Steve was carried out of the van put on the stretcher and while they rolled him inside he hoarse mumbled “Mat, don’t cancelled Berlin” (gig the next day). The Dortmund show never kicked of. After a short phone conversation with doctors and agent, Berlin got cancelled.
Next day we went to the hospital. Steve sat straight in his bed, obviously in a better shape. The medical research result: heart-attack. Steve wanted to leave. The doctor said he wasn’t recovered and should stay. Steve insisted to go. Under protest and serious disapproval of hospital-staff he had to sign some papers that cleared hospital and employees from any further casualties and responsibilities. We drove back to The Netherlands, European agent’s home.
After about 2 weeks this agent called. Steve was feeling better, the tour moved on. We finished the remaining dates.After all that gossiping and rumors about why The Rapeman broke up, I think you have here the only valid reason. It was not because of band-name, record company problems or arguments among the 3 members. Steve simply had to take some serious time off. This explains the studio set up (Steve talked a lot about this during The Rapeman tour, now time to realize these ideas) and his lesser and shorter tours with following-up bands. Steve himself kept this story “unsold”. Most people don’t know that he had a heart attack. Maybe that’s why you might not believe me. But it is the truth. I have no reason to lie and the whole purpose of these posts here are that I write down what actually did happen.
This is the second post published here regarding the truth of a well-known “Rock and Roll spoof”. Make the changes in you’re “Rock and Roll history book”.
The other post was about Dee Dee Ramone (see months ago) and his non-existing “Amsterdam Commune”.
My information comes out of first hand, self witnessed. I was a part of the team!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Oh yeah, Snakefinger. Wanted to write about him two days ago but the complete post moved into another direction (see August 19th).
So I was working in one of these over-subsidized “youth-centre-clubs” as a technician (see the same post from last Tuesday).
In June 1987 somebody booked Snakefinger in this club. He travelled with regular FOH. I did the monitors (sound on stage). People who know Snakefinger and look as this date, know now were I am going at. But first to those who do not know him.
Snakefinger was one of these artists with a “strange” career. Started with crooked interpretation of blues and developed an independent, not widely accepted, popsound.
Snakefinger is particular known as the 5th member of The Residents. He contributed to their records and toured regularly with them. Opposite what many say, Snakefinger was not one of the secret Residents members. Snake could play. He was an outstanding instrumentalist specialized in a self-developed guitar style.
A heart-attack in the early 80ties kicked him of the scene for some time.
After recovered he went back touring with The Residents and his own band Vestal Virgins. On June 29 The Vestal Virgins played Venlo, the club I worked. The gig was “sloppy” and not so well attended, for what I remember. The band didn’t get into the groove. Understandable, its difficult to be brilliant all the time. Every musician has his down moments. Snakefinger had a bad temper that night.
Next performance was two days ahead in Linz, Austria. One travel day inbetween. Later in the week someone told me that Snakefinger died caused by a fatal heart attack during the gig on The Posthof stage in Linz.
It couldn’t be my subsonic vibration created in Venlo. Too much time inbetween. Still I realize I saw his last complete performance. Did anyone tape it?
Wednesday, August 20, 2008.
Ever tried to dj R&B music in front of a 90% hardrock audience? I did! Some locals will remember this story. I just came here and was shocked that the complete population of this town was into Iron Maiden. Jesus people, its 1999 (you know – that Prince song!… “Prince who? What?”). Some educated was desperately needed. Became quickly friendly with a barman of the local popular youth hang out and talked myself into a dj job.
One week before I enthusiastically spread a few posters around town announcing the swinging R&B night. On the day got my decks (played vinyl only) plus mixer hooked to the bar’s stereo. Had (have) a huge collection of R&B. from early days till most recent. Started spinning at 8. Just to warm-up and get into the groove. Few people walked in, sat down, looked curious at me and my movements, but didn’t say a word. Around 10 the bar got pretty crowded. I threw out the one R&B smasher after the other. People were talking and laughing but also at the start of every new track I noticed some disapproved mumbling in the background. A big fat stereo type heavy-metal biker looking guy with the beard as you imagine (can’t help it this is true, he really looked like that) walked up to me and said in a broken English commanding tone “play something else”. Me (always looking clumsy but friends figured out different) had seen a lot in my life all over this planet. I was not impressed and answered with one clear word: “no”. That was sufficient. The big metal went back to his seat.
R&B is a smooth peaceful groovy type of music, but effected these homies nerves. Not only cigarette smoke thickened the air, and tension increased. They wanted to hear their usual “Nazareth” version of “Rawhide”. Felt like I was in a “The Soul Brothers” movie-scene. One hour later another longhair hardrocker came up and tried to make me play his cdr. I pointed at the decks “hey, cannot play this format”. He stayed very consistent and kept on waving the cdr in front of my face. I knew this person; it was the most obsessed Iron Maiden fan in town. For sure nothing else was on that cdr.
5 groovy ass-killing sexy R&B tracks further the Iron Maiden fan was still there. I pointed at the poster, still up behind the bar. It clearly says: “tonight R&B night”. Something Iron Maiden never tried, was and will be able to play.
I was stubborn. It became almost a matter of pride not to give in. “No” was and stayed my answer. Meanwhile the bar got divided in two groups, one who wanted to hear Maiden, the other not. A bunch started to chant Irons name as if it was a football match, while banging their glasses on the bar. Tension went up very high. This was going to end ugly if the barman wouldn’t have interfered. One hour before closing time he stopped the music, alcohol sales and requested everybody to leave. The only night in this bar-history it closed earlier. Lucky he had the respect of the locals who obeyed him. They slowly dripped out. Probably my friend the bartender saved me and others from a nasty experience.
One week later I was drinking in the same bar. A girl sat down at my table, “I really respected what you did last week” she said. “I hate Iron Maiden. Don’t like their music at all, but if you say that loud in this town you are an outcast and have no more friends at school. From now on I will start to tell my friends honestly that I do not like that band. It’s ridiculous that a stupid band can influence my live this way”.
I smiled and felt like a winner after all.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
My career as sound engineer started as a volunteer in the local youth centre/rock club. For those on this planet not aware of the Dutch rockclub situation: they are all youth-centers. This is how it worked: Since the fifties Dutch leaders realize that you can get kids of the street, regulate their drug use and keep them in control by supplying a building where they can practice their own favorite activities. Through the 60ties the local corner cinema showing “wild” Bill Haley and Beatles movies didn’t fulfill anymore the needs of a next generation. Old buildings like abandoned churches, deserted factories, empty stores, forgotten sheds around city sportsgrounds, aged schools and whatever suitable, were reserved by local authorities for the youth to practice their experiments with mushrooms, liquid-slides, 3 hour long blues-jazz fusion solo’s and full moon dances. These places became the gatherings of likewise to listen too likewise creating their bit of popculture. To keep an eye on the bunch, a “social worker” was hired in (paid by the local town council). Quickly they learned that a “daddy” was unsuitable for this job. Somebody out of their midst would easier be accepted. In the 70ties the amount of touring bands exploded. The Netherlands located many pop stages, created and subsidized by local councils. Through years these stage expanded into professional performing rooms well equipped by government money, without employees. The place was fully run by volunteers except the social worker. That’s were I came in. Reaching the age to discover more of the “world of rock” I became on my 15th volunteer in a youth centre, trying to learn something about the mystery of sound.
To keep the history short: the social workers turned into professional promoters. In the last decennium the sheds turned into modern designed cold concrete death popculture industry buildings (I take a jump of 30 years here, but that’s the situation now). The Netherlands is again very good in killing cult with vulge (read: money). I know I know I hear you all scream it out that this is great because in your country………. But hehhhh I like to come in your country and you know why…. Because I can feel that you sweated it getting the gig right, selling the tickets, arranging the technical needs and bests; you actually come to see the gig because you like the band. In these Dutch “youth centers” the promoter became a 9 to 5 office nerd who never shows his face on the actual floor to see and hear the gig booked. The sales statistics on his office desk next day count for the decision if the band ever be booked again. On the floor government paid crew with take care of the night. You cannot come before 5 and have to leave at 1, their shift times…… You know what, I stop. Can go on with endless more stupid rules and regulations that makes The Netherlands one of the most boring places on tour. Call this progress? Ask yourself if “progress” is always the right way to go.
I prefer that Sicilian gig in the cornfield. 10 miles out of town. Beer-crate stage against the barn wall. PA 3 hours late, but who cares. Hanging in a few old camping chairs we have a glass of good local wine with the promoter, watching the warm breeze creating waves over the field. The gig started at midnight in front of an ecstatic crowd.
Wanted to write a post about Snakefinger. My mind is tricking me here.
Monday, August 18, 2008
We would all meet up in the agent’s apartment in Amsterdam, who booked the European tour. This was mid-80ties. I was about to go on my first tour with Laibach, band from Yugoslavia. This was in Laibach’s first Mute period.
I travelled by train. The band arrived one day earlier. Walked from Amsterdam CS to the Nassaukade, the agent’s home. A bit of a stretch but not impossible, anyway, I like to go slow and notice something of my whereabouts. Arriving I rang the buzzer. Somebody upstairs pressed unlock. Ofcourse the 4th floor, no elevator but famous steep narrow Amsterdam staircase. On the last bit I looked up. A strange, older man, in a kind of South German hunting uniform, was standing straight posing like an army officer, eyes stern observing me from above. I was more amused than impressed. Am used to something plus knew the flat lodger. This “officer” could only be a guest, probably Laibach member. “This is going to be funny” I thought. On the platform I introduced myself. Quickly the person dropped his mask and stopped acting. Taking a closer look at him, I thought he looked more like a comedian. The uniform was pretty misplaced on this not so sportive body; fat belly, unshaved. Obvious for a long time nowhere close to army activity or hunting party. Soon I learned that the fake-officer was Igor V. a Slovenian celebrity. In those days Laibach’s “manager”, now into politics and organizing gigs. Had respect for the Laibach members in those days sticking so consequently to their act, also off-stage. Only if we were among us (band and me) they behaved normal. Enjoyed many (for me comical) scenes. They marched into gas-stations stores, parking toilets, and shopping streets. But the best moments were in venues. We arrived in uniforms (not me). To welcome us, a friendly promoter rushes to the van. Suddenly side door slides open. A bunch of arrogant cold guys, back straight, chin up, looking superior down at the enthusiastic local organizer, who’s smile quickly disappears. I grinned from inside.
Everybody who wanted to enter the dressing room had to knock. We all hang around, feet on the table, rolling joins, sniffing coke, picking nose, zipping beer. The usual behavior in the backstage before showtime. More red wine was ordered and expected. Suddenly “knock, knock”. Quickly a magazine is thrown over the weed and coke, feet of the table, beer under seat. “Jawohl” yels one of the members. Everybody moves their back straight. When door opens all turn their head same time towards the girl carrying a tray full with glasses and few bottles of wine. No word is spoken. Everybody stares disdained at her. Uncomfortable and shy she slowly puts the drinks on the table and rushes away. While the door closes we all move on with our normal activities.
It was not easy maintaining the show in normal life. The off-stage act lasted for one and a half tour, than died a slow death, but for sure was funny.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Ok. Guests are gone, back on my posts. I start of easy. Would like to share these two pictures with you to give you an impression how the sky can look were I am now.
I take these pictures with a very cheap analogue Agfa Funcam Slimline camera. No extra functions, auto-flash and click. That’s it. The films I use are long over-dated bargains from the local fotostore. They put my films straight on a disc. That’s what you see here. 1 to 1, real, without tricks, pictures.
Its an amazing unlimited action in the air overhere. The Unlimited Sky. First picture you see clearly 2 layers of clouds. The top layer comes from the South-East, meanwhile from the West darker clouds move in underneath. This is live! Second picture: setting sunlight reflects in Southern clouds.
August 14, 15, 16.
Sorry no new post for 3 days. I get guests (they absorb my time, but its fun) and would like to keep the explanation about the two videos above, on top for a few days. Next new post will be on Sunday.
The video Free Music was once complete as a download available here. Noticed that many people got subtracted by the story. The film includes amazing music played by Adam and the Free Music clan. Therefore I started to edit bits into music-video-clips. Makes the music more obvious. Adam and Free Music rocks!
The other video. Yes yes yes, “never ever go and borrow something from YouTube”, was my statement not that long ago. “Insist on my own player”! Still think like that, but this one is really a major huge big exception. The video is so good. It’s simple and basic but hits the point. What point? Figure it out yourself. If you don’t feel it, you do not have it. In that case stay at home for the rest of you’re life.
The link is here already for 2 months. In doubt that people click it, we made the complete video visual. Its called “Where The Hell Is Matt” (the same name is coincident). You can see a better quality version on YouTube, I left the link above the video. Visit Matt’s site (see “links”) for more info.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008.
In general people do not change that much when they get older. The basic character of the “wild” years stays with you till the end. Through time you learn plus gain some experience and therefore approach situations more confident and calm. Some move a bit in the direction like “how dad was”. Often fought-against in the young years, now the same authoritarian bully with some extra baggage from the “alternative” years.Do not know if the latter counts for me. I prefer still to create space for everybody so they can find the amount of ease and freedom needed within respect for everything else. In my younger years we (bunch of people; “the scene” in town) created a “fanzine” called “Piss Off”. Have to smile writing this down. Wow! What a name. The impact sounds so different being older. Anyway, the “Piss Off” was a compilation of pictures and articles about all kind of things. Music reviews, Limbabwe announcements, politics, opinions, borrowed articles, drawings and pictures,….. No particular direction, although it was very punkrock orientated. The Limbabwe website is still a kind of “Piss Off” with some minor changes. Its not made by a group anymore, only the webmaster and me (like to keep it that way). Not printed on paper by cheap stencil, just a few bits in a server-computer (all things must past). Limbabwe is more a reflection of one person; me. But the basics of this page are still the same; a compilation of articles, music, video’s. Some I borrow, some are made by other for this page, most I create myself. Think the page is hard to categorize. For sure what you have here is more than just a record-label page. Added many personal stories about travelling, my past, pictures about my touring, music from others, band booking (work) opinions a.s.o. Think the site became a “weird type” personal home-page. Like to keep it this way. Fuck the labels people try to stick on you. Release yourself from chains in your brains!
Wanted to write something about the two new video’s that you can see above since today.
The video Free Music was once complete as a download available here. Noticed that many people got subtracted by the story. The film includes amazing music played by Adam and the Free Music clan. Therefore I started to edit bits into music-video-clips. Makes the music more obvious. Adam and Free Music rocks!
The other video. Yes yes yes, “never ever go and borrow something from YouTube”, was my statement not that long ago. “Insist on my own player”! Still think like that, but this one is really a major huge big exception. The video is so good. It’s simple and basic but hits the point. What point? Figure it out yourself. If you don’t feel it, you do not have it. In that case stay at home for the rest of you’re life.
The link is here already for 2 months. In doubt that people click it, we made the complete video visual. Its called “Where The Hell Is Matt” (the same name is coincident). You can see a better quality version on YouTube, I left the link above the video. Visit Matt’s site (see “links”) for more info. Like to end today’s post with an (little bit adjusted) quote borrowed from Vi Subversa (Poison Girls):
ALL SYSTEMS GO
Tuesday, August 12, 2008.
The world is a safe place. I say this so often to many people. Travel and find out. On parties, in bars,….. I get reactions like: “you should not go there….” “there it is…..” Their knowledge is based on information gained by the media; the news. Those who stay at home have a very wrong impression about the planet. I said this so often, here on these Limbabwe pages. News reflects short moments on small spots involved by few people. Even if these few people are for example 100.000 fanatics on a square in Teheran, it is wise to ask yourself what the other 65 million people are doing in Iran at that moment. These 100.000 are just a fraction of the complete population. Question: “do these people represent the complete country with their action”. The news does not answer. They only inform about what happened, preferable edited in attempt to influence you. Stay cool, balance the information, and take your own conclusion. Or do like me. For many years I distance myself from all media. I travel and therefore get the information directly, on the spot, unfiltered, unedited, straight from the source; the people living there. Most people are nice, they like to explain their culture, express their vision, inform you what actual did happen. In all my travelling I hardly met anyone who was not willing to talk, explain and help me. Made some friends this way, all over the world and came to the conclusion that people are from their heart nice, friendly and good. This makes travelling, wherever you go, one of the safest things to do. Ofcourse experienced a few lesser convenient encounters. Nothing to serious. I remember somewhere in the 90ties The Balkan war was on its top. Entered a bar in Ljubljana. Figuring out I was born in The Netherlands, the barman, recent refugee from Bosnia, turned very aggressive to me. He almost became physical. “Ho ho wait una momento”! Tried to explain that I don’t give a shit about The Netherlands. Carrying a Dutch passport does not mean that I agree with/ are responsible for any of their political or other actions. Try to be as less as possible in The Netherlands and prefer not to discuss any subjects related to this country. Do not feel Dutch! Of course with all respect for people living in The Netherlands. There are loads of nice individuals, as everywhere in the world, and culturally the spot is worth a visit. But all that does not represent whatever their government, army and media are up too. Could not explain this the barman. He was far to freaked out. Sadly some local friends needed to jump in holding him back. I did not made any move, neither said word, to make him angry. But do understand it. Although he never told me his story, a very heavy recent experience might have turned the anger on. Hope that now, many years later, he calmed down, found luck in his live, and maybe even reads this.
Monday, August 11, 2008.
This is sentiment. Since falling into a different subject everyday, I allow myself to write this. Don’t worry the Dee Dee Ramone, Laibach and all other stories will be continued like my life-style: whenever I feel for it.
Rock and roll is in my bones. Although Harry Belafonte tunes vibrated the air during my birth, someone down the street must have been jamming a Link Wray song, loud!
I confiscated the little family pick-up in the living room before making my first steps and started the career of a DJ since my 3rd year. The dearest close family can confirm this. Do not know if they always were happy with my self-employed new job, but I was dedicated singing along with the records spinned. Still do that up to day. As I write this Richard Hell grooves waggle the needle. Automatically words leave my mouth; “love comes in spurts, oh no it hurts……” Very funny lyrics. The guy was a genius. Anyway, being so young and obsessed by records, someone in the family came on my 4th birthday with the first unforgettable great present in live: a gift-coupon to be exchanged for a 7 inch 45rpm in the local record store. Sleepless nights followed. Couldn’t wait to turn this useless piece of paper into a great vinyl disc with magical grooves. The next Friday was thee day. My older brother had time-of in the afternoon and we both headed downtown. At the record-store-counter I proudly showed my coupon, no idea what to buy. Couldn’t even mention one name. The lady of the store had a solution. She came with a pile of records and played them for me so I could choose the most favorite. It became a memorial day for her too. No blame for the thought 4 years old likes kiddy music. The pile was all stupid dumb children and fairytale records. She played the one after the other. I knotted no with every tune. The first so friendly lady got a bit annoyed. Even my brother, who checked the complete store already twice, became impatient. My first record-store visit and I was picky. Got attracted by a raw Chuck Berry tune playing in the background . Both her and my brother clearly disapproved. Too young. Observing my interest, she suddenly snapped her fingers, dived into the storage and returned with another kid-record, but played the flip (B) side. I smiled! Yes! Yes! Yes! This is what I want. The song was a premature rock tune, sung by children in Dutch called “De Drummer Is Mijn Broer” (My Brother Is The Drummer). It was a new, recent release. The music attracted me in the first place. A wild raw beat. Loud drums and rockin’ rhythm. Coming home spinned the tune over and over until bed time. It absorbed me. This is it! This is what I was looking for my whole complete live, barely 1460 days old. Even the lyrics were striking. So about my situation: a kid who’s older brother rehearses with his rock and roll band in the backyard shed. The kid dreams to become a rock-musician.
Sunday, August 10, 2008.
The list of records I sell is ready. See below. Prices and more info about each individual record appear on the usual internet selling pages. Take a good look. I have some very rare and interesting sales. If you are interested email me firstname.lastname@example.org . In the future I will sell more. This is just a start
DAS ABENDPROGRAMM riskant 4004
LAURIE ANDERSON-HOME OF THE BRAVE warner bros 925 400-1 WE 381 1986
AUDIO ACTIVE – APOLLO CHOCO REMIXED on-u sound 0095lp/efa lp 18695-1 AUDIO ACTIVE/UNIVERSE CREW green tea GTT003
AUDIO ACTIVE featuring I-ROY-IDLE DRAGON beat records THC-01
AUDIO ACTIVE-HAPPY SHOPPER IN EUROPE EP on-u DP 35/efa DP 186 35-1 ANGELIC UPSTARTS- WOMAN IN DISGUISE anagram/cherry red 12ANA3 A CERTAIN RATIO – SEXTET fact 55
THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN atlantic SD8198
DE BRASSERS kremlin KR004
BLACK FLAG-EVERYTHING WENT BLACK aggressive rockproduktionen AG0015
BAD BRAINS-I AGAINST I sst 065
BGK-JONESTOWN ALOHA vogelspin BITE008
BGK-NOTHING CAN GO WRONG vogelspin BIG BITE011
BAD MANNERS-DON’T KNOCK THE BALDHEAD pork pie/vielklang LC7152
THE CLASH-GIVE THEM ENOUGH ROPE epic JE35543
THE REBIRTH OF COOL PHIVE fourth & broadway BRLPD 617
CROSBY,STILLS,NASH & YOUNG-LOOKING FORWARD reprise 9362-47436-1
JIMMY CLIFF-IN CONCERT THE BEST OF reprise/warner bros MS2256
CORA-UND DER MC IST WEIBLICH mzee 034/efa 11734-1
CONSPIRACY INTERNATIONAL-ONE cti1/rough trade
CHRIS AND COSEY-EXOTIKA pias BIAS69
CYPRUS HILL-SKULL & BONES Columbia 495183-1
CULTURE-CULTURE AT WORK shanachie 43047
DUB POETS DUB heartbeat HB30
DUB SYNDICATE-HIGHER THAN HIGH lion and roots mix plate 2/ efa 39852-6 1998 DUB SYNDICATE-FEAR OF A GREEN PLANET lion and roots 002LP/efa 39802-1
DILLINGER-CB200 mango MLPS9385
500% DYNAMITE soul jazz records sjr55
DEAD KENNEDYS-PLASTIC SURGERY DISASTERS alternative tentacles/static VIRUS27/STATLP11
DOPAMIN-HELION heimelektro ulm heim 13LP/efa 50663-
EKSEPTION-3 philips 6413 007
EKSEPTION-5 philips 6423 042
EKSEPTION-BEGGAR JULIA’S TIME TRIP Philips 6314 001
DIE FANTASTISCHEN VIER-4:99 four music/Columbia 4942381000
FEHLFARBEN-12” SUPERSOUND MAXI EP welt rekord/emi electrola 062Z 46590
PHILIP GLASS-DANCE NOS. 1 AND 3 tomato 202834
GOD BULLIES-DOG SHOW amphetamine/glitterhouse/efa ARR 9/87 EFALP05587-08
GENTLEMEN-TRODIN ON four music/Columbia FOR494885 0
GOLDEN EARRING-LIVE polydor 2625 034
GORE-WREDE (THE CRUEL PEACE) megadisc MD7905
HALF MAN HALF BISCUIT-BACK IN THE D.H.S.S. probe plus PROBE4
I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVY-ST. KILDA’S ALRIGHT MM007
DIE KREUZEN touch & go LP4
KING CRIMSON-IN THE COURT OF island/ariola 88 166 XAT
LAIBACK-REKAPITULACIJA 1980-84 walter ulbricht schallfolien WULP003/4 LAIBACH_KRST POD TRIGLAVOM-BAPTISM Walter Ulbricht Schallfolien, Sub Rosa WULP 005 / 006, SUB 33006/7-9
THE LAST POETS-TIME HAS COME-SAMPLER mercury melp149
MDC-MILLIONS OF DEATH COPS mdc1
MONO-NEW YORK SOUNDTRACKS human highway/virgin Japan/temporary residents TRR74
JASON MOLINA-PYRAMID ELECTRIC CO secretly Canadian 83
MADONNA-RAY OF LIGHT maverick warner bross W0444T
MANDRILL-ENERGIZE montage ST72008
NO MEANS NO-SEX MAD psyche industry records/alternative tentacles VIRUS56 NEGAZIONE-LO SPIRITO CONTINUA… konkurrel 039/101
OUTKAST-STANKONIA laface/arista 73008-26072-1
OCHO-OCHO universal sound uslp12
OCHO-II universal sound USLP13
THE PHARCYDE : 7 vinyls.
TESTING THE WATERS
TESTING THE WATERS
IMANI “Citizen Strange”
IMANI “Citizen Strange” Strange / SUPERNATURAL Rahhh
ALLMYGHTY MYGHTY PYTHONS
IGGY POP & JAMES WILLIAMSON-KILL CITY radar/wea RAD2
PAYITALLBACK 6 on-u LP96/efa 18696-1996
PRINCE FAR I & TRINITY-HEAD TO HEAD rocky one RGLP021
PANIC-13 universe productions LS-7
PUSSY GALORE-RIGHT NOW! Product inc./Caroline 33prod19
PRINCE-GRAFFITI BRIDGE paisley park/warner bross 7599-27493-1 WX361
PRINCE-FOR YOU warner bros BSK1350
Q.E.D. nlcentrum/pias N.L.C.001
RUTS-GRIN & BEAR IT virgin 203 056-320 ariola
THE RAPEMAN-BUDD touch and go/torso/efa MS0233702
LOU REED-METAL MACHINE MUSIC rca CPL2-1101
ROOTS RADICS-FREELANCE kingdom KVL9021
THE SLITS-UNTITLED (Bootleg Retrospective) Y3
MARK STEWARD-HYSTERIA mute I2 92
SUNS OF ARQA- DJ FILES WHIRLING DUB arka 602
IGGY AND THE STOOGES-METALLIC 2X KO-OPEN UP AND BLEED skydog international SKI622321
SEX PISTOLS-SPUNK blank bla169 1977
BIM SHERMAN & THE VOLUNTARY century 100/on-u sound
STAX-FUNK-GET UP & GET DOWN stax/fantasy SX020
ARNOLD SCHOENBERG :
SERENADE OP.24/SUITE OP.29 SCHOENBERG ENSEMBLE/REINBERT DE LEEUW VOL.2 harlekijn/Philips 6570 812
KLAVIERWERK MAURIZIO POLLINI deutsche grammophon 2530 531
CRATCH ACID-BERSERKER fundamental/red rhino HOLY2
TEST DEPT/BRITH GOF-GODODDIN media city C.M.C.4
21ST CENTURY SOUL talkin loud/mercury 534 742-1
CECIL TAYLOR-AIR ABOVE MOUNTAINS enja 3005
TONY D-POUND FOR POUD grand central GCLP102
ULTRAVOX-HA HA HA island/ariola 25 499XOT
VELVET UNDERGROUND-EVIL MOTHERS-RARE VELVETS skydog LP003
DAS WESEN-WHO HAD A HEART torso 1214 VR 22327
Saturday, August 09, 2008.
“You tour with a marching band”. The cynical remark from a colleague was still spinning through my head as we left the Benelux. It was in the second half of the 80ties. I was on the road with Laibach. Their Mute release “Opus Dei” was just about to break trough. We travelled a van from The Netherlands to Belgium. Next show was in Germany. Outside the Benelux Europe still had borders. Drug search, especially coming from The Netherlands, were to be expected. At the Belgium/German border we got picked out by German Custom. The van had to drive aside. A stern looking officer marched towards us. “New member in the band?” I thought. He walked to the van, opened the side door. “Musik gruppe gerade aus Holland” (Band just from The Netherlands), he said. “Die haben drogen dabei” (You must have drugs on you). I never liked these statements from government officers. You are already convicted before you did the crime. Something doesn’t fit here. They are to defend the “free democratic” system where they so strongly convinced believe in. Still behave and talk totally opposite. Very often I mentioned in these posts that border-officers are the wrong people on the job.
We got searched. First a quick look in the van, than everybody had to empty their pockets. On the table appeared the usual pocket-contents; coins, handkerchiefs, Swiss army knifes, cigarettes, tobacco, wallets,…. . Everything got inspected. Sticking his nose in a bag of Dutch tobacco, a grin came on the Laibach-looking border-officer face. Inside the bag was a tiny little miniscule bit of hash. “Who’s tobacco is this?” he asked. First some shy behavior of band members. Jannie (bandleader) started to talk with the officer. This tobacco-sack appeared to be owned by one of the main band-members. “I can take you to jail for this” the officer barked. “Two weeks minimum”! It was one of those people who think they can save the world by strict obeying rules. Jannie with the convicted and officer disappeared into a building. The van got totally turned inside out by other officers. Nothing more was found (there was none). 6 hours later and 2000 marks (deposit and bail) lighter, we could move on. Made it just before doors at the Cologne venue. No soundcheck that night.
Nowadays in the EC, stories like above are hard to imagine. It is for many young people, or those who travel Europe now the first time, impossible to picture the situation barely 10 years ago. Or for example 20 years ago, driving to West Berlin. I still have many posts to write.
Friday, August 08, 2008.
“In October 1977 the Punk generation held it’s breath awaiting the release of the Sex Pistols debut album, “Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols” but to those in the know the previous month had seen the release of an alternative and illegal Sex Pistols studio debut album called “Spunk”. Now of legendary status, those familiar with the under the counter bootleg culture ventured into record shops to purchase this black slab of wax if they could find it.
“Spunk “was as raw and edgy as The Sex Pistols, it was the real deal and as Punk Rock as you could get. The album was as basic as it comes…a slab of black wax with the Blank label in punk pink and white. The catalogue number read BLA 169 and it said the record was published by White Bitch and produced by P. Dickerson in 1977. On the run out groove of the black wax the name of the well-known pressing plant that pressed it up was scratched out. The labels on the record state the labels name to be Blank and the band called “SPUNK”.
The actual sessions that make up “Spunk “stem from 3 recording sessions with the late Dave Goodman the first being at Denmark Street Rehearsal Room in Soho in July 1976 and the tracks recorded here, and used, were “Seventeen”, “Satellite”, “No Feelings”, “Just Me (I Wanna Be Me)” and “Submission” with overdubs at Riverside Studios in Chiswick in the same month.
The next recording session took place at Wessex Studios in Highbury in October 1976 with only one track being used from the two recorded and that was an early take of “Anarchy In The U.K.”.
The final session, which made up the flipside of the album ,took place at Gooseberry Studios in Soho London in January 1977 where “God Save The Queen”, “Problems”, “Pretty Vacant”, “Liar”, “Who Was It (EMI)” and “New York (Looking For A Kiss)” were all put to tape and later mixed at Eden Studios in Chiswick.
The history of the Sex Pistols is well documented and anybody with a vague knowledge of the band will understand that this is possibly one of the most important Sex Pistols documents from the that musical era known as Punk Rock.
It is in fact only the Sex Pistols “Never Mind the Bollocks” record that tops “Spunk” but they are two different beasts with “Never Minds The Bollocks” having little to no involvement from Glen Matlock. Steve Jones gave a master-class in guitar and bass playing on that record but here at least on “Spunk” you can hear that Matlock was a great driving force on bass. “Spunk” is the forgotten document for what was the original Sex Pistols and for that fact alone it should take pride of place next to “Never Mind The Bollocks”…Here’s The Sex Pistols”…enough said.”
It was on a festival in the 70ties; some time before “Never Mind…..” was released. On the festival market in a record stand I found this rare Sex Pistols bootleg. Yep, I have that album since. Got it in my hand right now (type with the other). The condition of the record is very good. Hardly ever played. The cover, cheap made, shows some traces of use but is still in a fair condition. As I mentioned posts ago, wanna get rid of lots of crap I never use, so I offer it for sale. Be aware, I know the price and see it online offered for around Euro 200,–! Interested in this museum piece? Drop me a mail email@example.com
Thursday, August 07, 2008.
The exact situation is difficult to remember. It all went fast, within a short week. We (Joe and me) had a studio in Venlo, small town south of The Netherlands. A Dutch agent called. Joe answered the phone. The agent said something about Dee Dee Ramone leaving NY and chooses us to be his new location. Oh well, why not we said. The studio had accommodation. Some space in the loft with beds and shower. Guests could use the kitchen and relax space of the studio. In that moment the loft wasn’t occupied. Next to the studio we rented out rehearsal space. Including the custom guitar store in front, the place was a good hang out for musicians. Few days later Dee Dee and his wife Barbara arrived with the taxi he took from Amsterdam Airport, 200 km (130 miles) north. The taxi meter showed almost 400 guilders. Lots of money in those days. On the question why? He answered “what else? I do not know how public transport works in this country”.
On arrival my admiration for the Ramones raised massively. I was not one of those extreme devoted fans. Had a few records I liked to spin once a while. Always thought The Ramones were some brilliant gimmick created by someone’s brain. A smart composed formula. The always same, simple song-structure and record cover design. This is how bizznix tries to sell made-up products.
Meeting Dee Dee, the founder of the band, my mind totally switched over. The Ramones is real! Dee Dee came in as if he walked straight out a Ramones album cover. Torn-up jeans, Sid Vicious T-shirt, black leather jacket and well-known Ramones-style haircut. He did not only look but also talked like a Ramones song. The Ramones were a reflection of Dee Dee’s mind and look. I say this with respect for Dee Dee. I like it when something turns out absolutely real! The Ramones definitely were. If you wanna know who Dee Dee was, play a Ramones record. Many people in music bizznix warned me for him. Dee Dee supposed to be impossible, difficult character, aggressive. Therefore not many wanted to deal with him. It took me a couple of weeks, but in the time he and Barbara were hanging around, I learned they were very nice people. Maybe Dee Dee exposed explosive moments, but it had reasons. I found out Dee Dee was in the first place someone with his heart on the right place. In later posts more about “my life and Dee Dee Ramone”.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Some places have their rock-venues on weird locations. Munich in Germany is one of them. Ooooh I’m gonna get some reactions on this one. Somehow I always considered Munich as a non-gig town. People there are into something else proves the weird located main venues. One of my first Munich gigs was an old horse-riding-school (manege), situated at the outskirts of town surrounded by corn. Next was an abandoned airport miles out of town. That got dismantled and the club scene moved to an old industrial complex, suburban, but at least in town. Now closed and taken down too.
Few clubs managed to settle in Munich through these years. “Backstage”, old punkrock squat situated first at a train-shunting-yard, now roofed by highway bridge. “Muffathalle”, park/green situated, next to the swimming pool, almost central Munich. “Feirwerk” old fire-brigade base in the suburbs. And a few more clubs similar located. Why are they so afraid of nice club-strips in the centre of Munich? Assumedly it is not very profitable. Most tours I did the worst attended show were in Munich. Even the popular, well going, sold out tours, scored low. Too many biergartens?
One of the funniest “Munich” clubs I remember is “Circus” in Gammelsdorf. Indeed, not Munich, but a small nearby country side village was the main-Munich gig for some years. Not a bad idea. Locals are always interested in these weirdo’s they only see on tv. That secures some ticked sales. Real interested audience from Munich came by car or bus.
Somewhere on the Munich orbital you had to turn of into a small country road, passing lonely farms, cow fields and little churches. Around a bend on a slow hill you saw the cheap yellow/red/green/blue party lights of The Circus, always shining to cheer-up their beergarden. Gammelsdorf is one of these “one-street” villages. Aside the main road a strip of houses left and right, in the middle the church and store. They had 2 public houses (bars/restaurants). For the younger the club I am talking about and across the street a traditional, family-run, South German beerstube. After soundcheck dinner was served there. Walking in regulars looked up curious, but more out of interest. Regular visits of bands got them used to “weirdo’s” from NY and such. The place and people wasn’t unfriendly. Vegan or vegetarian cooking was not in their menu or mind. Those had salad and fries. Visiting a few times I learned to order small portions that still came outrageously from the kitchen. Sufficient to feed me 5 days. If you couldn’t finish the meal, the waitress, a big blond “mutti” in traditional South German dress with big hands capable to hold 5 pints, mooned “wasn’t it good enough”.
Touring intense I gigged Gammelsdorf more often and became a “regular”. On one of these visits grandpa of the family sat down on our table and started a conversation (I speak German). “Were you from?” he asked. “Born in Venlo, The Netherlands”, I explained. “Oh Yeah!” he called out in surprise, “I‘ve been in Venlo”. Now it was my turn to look surprised. How does somebody from a small South German village end up in a meaningless mediocre town in The Netherlands? “Well”, he said “I was there in the 40ties”. He pointed the forefinger out of his fist and made the gesture of shooting a gun shouting “Peef, Poof, Paf!”
Tuesday, August 05, 2008.
Due to modern technology its almost impossible nowadays, but in the time of my first steps as FOH technician it was a regular common event to blow PA systems. I blamed the owner and still would. If the PA is set up with fitting components adjusted the right way, it would be impossible to blow. In the 80ties I had many funny moments of improvising. Bands didn’t know any better than these things can happen. Monitors got turned towards the audience, “the show must go on”.
2 Historical moments I will never forget. The first one was somewhere in the second half of the 80ties. The “new” full range system had a quick rising popularity. For the outsiders: Before the full range we had to drag around enormous bassbins. Lift heavy oversized mid-speakers boxes on top, and to finish it of an impossible overweighed horn. This all got connected with crossover and amps. Total cable chaos. Full range is the common standard now. A reasonable light, not to big, square box, holding mid and high in one. Comfortable to stack. Separated subs, same look and size. All easy to connect with an amp-rack.
Back to the 80ties were this all begun. Companies fighting for market positions screaming about the latest improvements. One of these firms was called “Master Blaster” advertising themselves as the “Rolls Royce under the PA’s”. On a theater tour with Test Dept they borrowed one of their new prototypes to try and ofcourse show-off with.
Set up first show with all the usual high pitchy sounding, steel instruments. Soundcheck starts. “Can you bang with that sledge hammer on the steel tank?” I ask. 4 people, 4 sledgehammers: Baaaang! The PA suddenly sounded dull. All high speakers were blown in one hit. Not a long drive for this “Rolls Royce”.
The second story was more than 10 years later in Boise, USA. A regular gig-town. Played it with Consolidated a few times. This was one of their last trips before split-up. We were unloading the van in front of the club. Suddenly someone I never saw before (at least not remember) stood in front of me yelling “you own me $ 600, ashole”. It was obvious the guy was drunk. “You blew the monitors last time in the club I worked as technician. Had to pay this out of my own pocket and got fired”. The guy was really annoying. I do not remember up till today that I ever blew monitors in Boise. Nobody ever approached me for refund regarding this, what you normally would expect. The situation was slowly getting out of control. The drunk became aggressive; this could end into a fight. No intentions for this I said he must be mistaken me for somebody else and invited him to calmly talk it over. This made him even more aggressive. By that time club-security came and removed him from the club doorsteps.
Thursday, July 31, 2008.
Food cultures are interesting. Mixing them up is a sensation and sometimes brings funny situations. Love cooking myself. It relaxes plus trying new food keeps live exciting. Many look suspicious if you put something on the table that does not fit in the local food tradition. I grew up on a multi-cultural spot that robbed far away overseas territories centuries ago. This influenced the food culture strongly. On other locations in Europe eating habits never changed in hundreds of years. Especially were I am now.
Once I made a meal and had fruit in the main dish. The invited dinner guests looked at the food, than at me. Somebody even got a kind of angry. “You can’t put fruit in hot food” he said upset. Calmly I explained that this is very normal in some cultures on the planet.
Had a funny experience with spicy (hot) food. Things slowly change here lately. In supermarkets I can see that new products are carefully tried but eating spicy is still very unusual.
In the first years I came we were hanging a lot in the town centre restaurant. It had an open oven were a cook made pizzas. Being a regular we got familiar. One day, I brought a present from the north. In a “Toko” (Asian store) I purchased “Pili-Pili” (small dry red hot peppers). These peppers are extreme hot. “Let me stock-up the restaurant” I thought. “Spicy pizza is the future”. The gift got enthusiastically accepted. Left the place that evening (drunk) without leaving instructions, assuming the cook new how to handle these little peppers. Walked in a few days later. The cook looked furious at me. “You fuckin’ ashole” he yelled at me. I was astonished. Why so angry? “Almost lost this job because of you”, the cook said aggravated. “Uhhh, what… how? It was a funny story we laughed about on the end. The day before one customer ordered a spicy pizza. “Aha”, the cook thought “I can use these pili pili things Matski brought me”! After the cheese and tomato sauce he sprinkled generous a handful of these peppers over the pizza.
Pizza in the oven. Bakes ready, gets served, man cuts a piece, man takes a bite, man’s face turns red, steam comes out of man’s ears, man stands up and walks with his pizza-knife direction cook “you try to kill me” he screams at him pointing the sharp knife dangerously in his direction.
I explained that one little pepper was already sufficient to make the pizza very spicy. We made an olive-oil bottle with pili pili for everybodies use on personal preference.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Mids of summer and festivals. Ofcourse now is the time to ask yourself, are festivals fun or not. I raised some questions in earlier posts. It depends on what kind of festival. The small street meetings in neighborhoods. The local barbeques that extended to a live-stage. These are mostly worth to visit. Lets talk about the big rock events. 10-to100 thousands of people.
Read all the time enthusiastic articles and posts from visitors. Many years I go to festivals on major scales. In the 70ties I was a regular at Pinkpop. With its max to 40.000 visitors one big happening in those days. Despite the pro organization and short period it lasted (only one day, 5 bands from 11 am till 8 pm) I had a hard-time and suffered. Long lines to get in, for a drink, toilets, food. Long lines for everything. All day in hot burning sun, or endless rain and mud.
Later I visited festivals professionally. Lots easier; the comfortable backstage, air-conditioned dressingrooms, cold drinks, showers, toilets, no lines and always a chair to sit on. Once in a while I take a stroll over the festival ground to see how the paying visitor survives. Not much changed in these 30 years.
The quality of the gig is lesser good than the indoor venue show. Festivals fit perfect in the nowadays so excepted statement of the masses: Quantity before quality. Bands do quick short festival sets without soundcheck. Technicians, not motivated by the assembly work, put down an average acceptable non-creative sound. Programmers try to book as many “actual-hip-hype” bands on one stage as possible.
Mono is one of these bands I toured with the last years. Very “Hip” in the clubscene, popular by festival bookers. Non of the organizers took in consideration that Mono’s music is dynamic. Long instrumental pieces with stretched low-volume parts. Not a big crowd-rockin’ type of a band. Ok, we did play the tent or small stage. I warned the festival promoter on forehand that Mono sets cannot compete with other loud bands. In Rotterdam, Parkpop we played an inside tent stage. At the same time on the main stage a loud metal band. Thin tent-canvas could not stop the massive wave of db’s. 60% of the Mono set was never heard, probably not even by the band.
In Hasselt, Pukkelpop we also gigged the tent stage, situated right opposite the main stage. The organization promised us we would play late at night, after the last main act (Orbital) finished at the main stage. Good idea! Late at night, dark, peaceful. Tired audience of being slammed by rock/pop music all day. Perfect decision to finish it all with a relaxing Mono. It could have been magical! But: a big cable was stretched halfway the main stage and our performing tent for a motorbike stunt show. Yep, it happened. This guy had to demonstrate his circus act (driving with motorbike over a cable in the air) in the middle of the night. Interesting industrial improvisations of an engine accelerating was added to the Mono gig.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008.
Whatta day, whatta day, butta still the 29th for an hour or so.
The valley I live in is small and narrow. My neighbors on the opposite hill are in a straight line only about 100 meter (300 feet) away.
This narrow ditch, scraped out of the ground in million years by a small, but clear and clean, stream, is a last forgotten tail of the village. What happens “downtown” stays around the corner of the mountain. The valley ends where a nature park starts. The community settled in this “hole” is small. About 20 houses. Everybody is funny and friendly. People enjoy live as it comes. The summer is mainly spent outdoor. Meeting eachother for a drink, talk some, play a bit music. One neighbor on the hill right across made a swimming pool. A big steel basin heated by sun-power (black tank). Now it is summer all kids in the hood have a dive there. Sounds of splashing water and screaming kids echoes around. That’s the other thing with a narrow valley. How peaceful and green it looks, the noise is massive. You can hear everything. Nobody needs to scream. If some neighbors have a normal conversation the complete hood is listening with. That’s unavoidable. I pollute (or enjoy?) mostly with music.
Everybody is a house-owner, but on a normal mid-range wage-scale. Self-maintaining the house is thee hobby in the hood. Almost every house has on the drive way, next to the car a rusty yellow/orange concrete-mixer parked. There are days that at least 6 or 7 neighbors at the same time work with a machine. Drilling, shoveling, welding, making cement, cutting tall weed. The air is loaded with noise most industrial artists would be jealous of. Will record it one day: “The Sound Of The Grappa”.
The house I am in is central located, a bit up hill. As an “emperor” I can overlook the valley. Check what all my neighbors are doing. Being so naturally used to the homey spot, many don’t even realize how visual they are. No shame or blame. I am never “peeking” or observing neighbors on purpose. I don’t even care what others do. Everybody should live free the way they want too. The view, glancing out the window, is unavoidable. An older woman, living across, a bit to the right, hanged her laundry to dry. In this summer-heat mostly done within one day. Next day I noticed she forgot (or not?) to take one line in. A long strip of old-ladies underwear hanging like a party-decoration from the patio-roof. Couldn’t help seeing it. It is the view straight from this position, were I sit now, behind the computer. The underwear was shown for at least one week. I was wondering why. Did she forget or are there more reasons. A local ritual I am not aware of?
Monday, July 28, 2008
Rockstars are not that easy to recognize in their daily life. It can be that the person next to you in the underground train or city-bus is a very famous international well known personality. Nobody recognizes her/him.
Celebrities are hard to recognize as soon as they are of their “job”, taken out of the “decoration” you identify them with. They do not need to change clothes or go in disguise. You would simply not expect that the woman next to you in the train or line of the bakery is Madonna. If she would be there with loads of security people, paparazzi press, you would recognize her immediately.
I didn’t recognize Michael Stipe (REM) at all. But he dressed very differently. With REM mostly in nice suits, in normal life an old worn-out army jacket. I assumed it had a reason.
A musician I toured with was friend with Bruce Springsteen. He told me a story, happened in the early 80ties. Bruce was a major world wide rockstar then, living in NY. NY is overcrowded, you cannot make much noise, always neighbors, many musicians choose the street and subway to rehears. Cheap, plus you even make some extra money. You will be surprised about the number of famous stars performing as street-act in NY. So Bruce was standing at a subway entrance playing an acoustic version of his own “Because the night”. A man walked up and told him that he was crap, “go home and listen to the original” Bruce was advised!
Another story I experienced. This was in the RAI Amsterdam, Pearl Jam No Code tour. 15.000 people, mainly exited teenage/student fans. Hundreds of them already passed out in the first-aid section. For them the idea alone that soon they would actually see Eddie Vedder in person was already too much. Due to the crowd I was hanging in the FOH area (soundmixer in the venue) long before show start. While sitting there watching the hyped audience, I saw Eddie Vedder passing by, close to the FOH area, working his way carefully trough the crowd. Nobody took notice or recognized him. He was just one of the many in the mass. Finally appeared on stage, the crowd cheered of excitement. It was rush-hour in the first-aid.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Never talked to Hank or his kids (see Friday). I have enough common sense to know that lizards do not understand what you say. Some communication is based on “feeling the situation”. Humans do this to. You somehow “sense” that this other living creature is ok. It is astonishing to see how many people blow up ideas like this. I do not deny that communicating in a certain way with everything that lives on this planet, is possible. It would be very small minded to think that your dog cannot communicate with a sparrow or even the plant in you’re hallway. The simple scientific facts you can self-study by observing, is very often packed in a cloud of mystery by certain people. Especially when younger. Lots of unanswered questions about the “mysteries” in life lead to cult groups following guru’s. Getting older you discover that the mystery is not that mysterious.
Carlos Castaneda was one of those “guru’s”. The few books of him I read in my teenage years made me very suspicious. It all didn’t sound right, and the complete mystery and cult around the person made it even look more like a cheap trick to make money out the confused minds. A forever big market.
Had a massive discussion with some good friends in the 90ties about this. They live on the Southside of the Alps. Searching souls, who always claimed that everything materialistic and from the “west” is not good. “Go for the spirit in you’re live and talk with a lizard”, they tell you while installing the latest video game on their computer. For them Castaneda was god, and defended him as a father. Pictures of Castaneda were not around. That was a part of the selling trick, to make the “mystery” even more attractive. On the little back-cover spot usually reserved for the writers face picture, Castaneda had a black square. A smart commercial move. During the discussion we all talked about how we imagine he looks like. Most had the traditional kinda “hippie-jesus” in mind. Somebody who is not obsessed by clothes. I said that in my imagination he looks like a Wall Street yuppie. Dressed in tie and suit. This gained a lot of disapproval. I also claimed that the books were made-up in the “commune house” Carlos and his “company” owned in LA. Maybe they did some research to the peyote plant, but the stories are all bullshit. Hippy cult is an easy market to make money. Everybody disagreed, my friends wanted to hold on to their castle in the air.
Carlos Castaneda died in April 1998. A few months later, August 1998, a picture of him appeared in the newspaper. Carlos was dressed in perfect, made on the man, suit, a white blouse and a modern designed tie.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Today I waste no time on writing post. It’s a great day for cycling. Read an old post in the “old posts” link. I am sure you missed a few, or take the time to organize you’re trip to Idrija. Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, July 25, 2008.
Besides lizards (see yesterday), all living creatures are welcome in this house. I know how you’re live is. You are busy busy and and even more busy. No time for nothing left anymore. You have to make money, money and more money. Live is getting more expensive. It’s hard getting around. Prices are going up, you’re kids are more demanding, you do not wanna stay behind. You’re boss is an idiot. You get degradation on the job that was boring dumb assembly chain work anyway. Or a draining management position, but nothing seem to work out successful, the stock-market is going down, the value of money is going down, the type of business car you drive is going down and the employees are not anymore what they use to be. Or you are an artist. You’re books don’t sell, you’re music is worthless, months without inspiration. You’re manager does not call anymore, the label dropped you, the contract is expired and nobody hands you a new one. The car broke down, no money for repair and the bike has a flat tire meanwhile all public transport is on strike. You’re computer is stuck, the nerd doesn’t answer your phone. Nobody understands you, even your dog walks away. Well, its time to get out of that for a while. Its time to enjoy peaceful surroundings, a place were everything goes slow. No rat race, no hurry. Tomorrow is a new day. Clean fresh natural water, local wine, waving trees, beautiful relaxing views. The sky has no limits, the stars are uncountable. And it barely influence you’re budget.
Here the house is open for everybody, also for those who do not live in stress. As long as you come with a smile, mutual understanding, good intentions and peanut butter.
You want to enjoy this:
For more info drop me a mail: email@example.com
Thursday, July 24, 2008.
Since the sun went down so colorful last night, let me write a few lines about these great surroundings again. Besides music the only thing that keeps me alive (fuck the food).
It’s so great hiking and bike riding in nature, but also to hang on one of the porches and balconies, enjoying the sound of the birds or a Benny More record soft spinning in the background. Last year summer I relaxed on the North-front balcony. Zipping some wine, eating a bit food. Suddenly a lizard jumped on the table. Curiously it was observing my moves. I didn’t bother chasing it away. We living creatures, animals (that includes humans) and plants have a right to life free everywhere on this planet. The lizard seemed to understand my thought and visually relaxed on the table in the cool shadow (ahummm, this turns into a “Castaneda story”). In the following days the lizard returned more often as I sat outside. We got used to eachother. I gave him a name; “Hank”. Don’t ask me why, he simply looked like someone who should be called Hank.
On a certain day Hank followed me inside. I let him be, but not sure if this is wise surfed the web and found out that Lizards are ideal housepets. They are tidy, clean and keep the house free from spiders and other insects. That’s their food. Hank could stay. Other visitors had to get used to this. Some of them freaked out coming from the bathroom yelling in fear “Eeeeehk, there is lizard in the hallway”. “Oh that’s Hank” I replied, “My housepet”. After a while the regulars got used to Hank. Even searched for him, crawling over the floor, checking behind the couch. I pointed up to the ceiling. “He sits above you’re head!” Lizards can crawl up the wall and hang upside down from the ceiling. If you try to find them, also look up.
As the summer ends, Hank disappeared. Probably looking for a lady, I learned from some Lizard-pages. This summer I have 2 little, young lizards at my front door. Living in a crack of the concrete garden wall. They got used to me, but stay outside. Still have threshold fear. Hank’s kids, I assume. They are welcome, like everybody who comes with good intentions.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008.
In contrast with “records you like but hide” (see many posts back) I could also start a blog called “records you show with pride”. Would be lesser interesting. We al have those at home. It’s a matter of taste, as always, but what about good taste. Here is one record I proudly play for many visitors: Elmore James “One Way Out”. The vinyl itself is not that special. It is one of the o so many Elmore James compilations.
For the not-educated under us (shame, shame, shame on you….): Elmore James was a blues guitar player and singer. Mainly active in the 50ties. He died young, 45, hearth attack caused by his “Rock and Roll” live style. Elmore has many classic songs on his name “The Sky is Crying”, “It Hurts Me Too” and his most famous one “Dust My Broom”. The latter is discussed. The song might be written by the legendary Robert Johnson, friend and inspirer of Elmore. I somehow believe this, since there is a similar song recorded by Johnson before Elmore’s career started for real.
To have music of Elmore is a blessing. Playing it for the ungifted among us, it hurts me to hear their reactions. Reason: the record “sounds” like an average 50ties R&B compilation with many known tunes. This gives me the opportunity to explain enthusiastically that these are the original versions of many “evergreens”. Besides that: listen! Damned! This is not some slick Elvis or neat Frankie. This is rough, as rough rock and R&B never sounded before. The personal developed slide guitar style, hard, raw and high pitchy, cuts trough your brain. His vocals are loud intrusive. The music is full with soul and drive. You cannot sit still.
The record sounds great, like loads of recordings of that time. Enormous dynamic. Rumbling drums, zooming bass, roaring guitars. You can hear the vu-meters peak the red in full with every scream. This is how music should sound. This is how you record the spirit of a performing artist. (Nowadays everything sounds so flat compressed and gated that it becomes hard to believe you listen to real music. Don’t even want to start about that subject. It will blow the web due to lack of space.)
This Vinyl contains many well-known recordings. Altogether 16 tracks. It is a Charly pressing from 1980. I know, Charly is kinda dump. Many shitty old recordings. Easy licenses, easy money. Most Other Elmore James releases are on similar bizznix labels.
My most favorite track on the album is “Something inside of me”. A slow deep dark rough moving blues. Elmore plays from very high to the lowest strings, detuning while he hits the guitar. The amp buzzes, raw distortion crawls over his distinguished sound. Concentrated on this he makes slight timing mistakes challenging the steadiness of his band. They don’t get distracted. He starts to early singing. That leaves a charming misplaced, but therefore so human, half cut-of word in the beginning of the track “theaaaee”. Inspired me so, had to copied it on my own recordings. I am not ashamed to say that Elmore inspires and influences me. I am even proud of this. Many well known legendary guitar players claim that Elmore was their biggest inspiration: Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, John Mayal, Duane Allman,….. endless list.
If you do not have it already, purchase an Elmore James for your collection. You find vinyl’s and cd’s cheap + easy. He is one of those artists that have been multiplied on cheap labels and “legendary” series since the 60ties. Give it a good listen and learn you found a priceless piece of music.
Writing this article, the evening sun turns red, encircle a shape of clouds rising from the North. In the background Elmore James echoes:
Tuesday, July 22, 2008.
Ofcourse it was not Liam from Oases on that picture yesterday. I was lying, a common standard thing to do in Rock and Roll bizznix, something I will not maintain. Truth: it’s a picture of me, younger, somewhere in the 80ties. The rest is correct. I did meet Liam for a brief moment in Chicago on the very first Oases USA tour. But these are “rockstar” stories I try to avoid. We had a second about our “resemblance”. I could have been his older brother.
The only world famous artist thing I do wanna keep on going about is the by now very well known Button Of Eddie Vedder (see post 2 days ago). Will write more about this precious special remarkable Button in future posts.
Had no more encounter with Courtney either (see 2 days ago), except for that one night, in Ashbury Park. Was there gigging a club. For those who do not know Ashbury, it’s a total deserted beach resort. Nobody lives there or celebrates vacations. Empty houses, empty restaurants, empty hotels. Looks like the world after the big bang. At least in those days, do not know if this changed by now.
Someone told us Hole is also performing in Ashbury that night. They had an early show. I strolled the empty beaches and piers. Staring into the far nothing of the twilight ocean horizon, music of Hole was echoing all over the deserted town and coast line. A strange surrealistic sound sinking in deep distanced reverbs.
Back to Consolidated New York. Do not know what’s up with these New Yorkers. Do not get me wrong. I like all places on the planet, also NY. Every spot has its pos and neg. Early 90ties (I am a lot in that time-period lately). We played The Grand (former Cat-Club). Doesn’t exist any more (lucky). Jesus what a dump. Dirty, bad PA, absolute horrible. Nice people, friendly, but the local crew was a bit too much “blown-up” about themselves. Acting like professional technicians. We started to set up. They pre-patched the lines already (plug in the microphone cables). “how did you know our running order?” I asked. “Hey we are pro”, was their reaction. They did it all wrong. Made a standard average rockband patch (drums/bass/git/vox). Consolidated was not standard with a rockband set up. It started with drums, yes as usual, but than I had a second, electronic drumkit. Drumtriggers from samplers, activated by trigger-mics on the acoustic drums. 5 more channels needed here. Besides the guitar and vox I also had shitloads of key and sampler outputs on the end. The “NY-pro’s” looked at me as if I came from Mars. They never saw something like this before.
Their FOH mixer was an old Peavey museum piece from the 70ties. Big. 40 channels, looked very impressive. Starting the soundcheck I found out only 12 channels actually worked! Running a sampler sound stereo over the PA, the subbass I love and need so desperately was missing. I turned the pan-buttons (left and right) in the middle (mono). The bass was back. Fuck this shit. The subs on this crappy PA, maintained by amateurs, are out of phase. In the beginning of the show Adam will scream, as always, “Activate the bass, Pistol” That will come out pretty stupid if there is non. I need bass!!! No other option than to find the mistake and repair. Fuck that shit, here I am in that “great NY, osooooo “Pro”. Me the village farmer country boy, repairing the PA of the Cat-club, because these dumb New Yorkers are not capable to do anything else than posing “we are the great New Yorkers”, “we are the world”, “you can get everything in NY” (not true – no bass!).
Every place has its ups and downs. New York is for sure a great place, but not the “greatest”. It would be much better if we replace all those arrogant New Yorkers for some more down to earth people. This means we can dump almost their complete population!
Monday, July 21, 2008,
Sorry folks, not much time for posting today. Too busy. Tomorrow again a regular post. Today I leave you with a picture from Liam (Oasis) I made somewhere in the first half of the 90ties, when we close encountered in Chicago.
See ya tomorrow
Sunday, July 20, 2008.
Lets stick with the Consolidated stories. Here an absolute example how dumb(p) Rock and Roll is. We were in NY, somewhere early 90ties not long after Kurt Cobain’s death.
The gig was with Courtney Love. She played with her band Hole before us. Courtney had not the charisma of Kurt (who barely had any either), neither could play any better than the standard boring mediocre rock tune. To make her show interesting she took the child they conceived on the road. What did I feel sorry for that kid. Just old enough to make her first steps. Backstage she looked already totally confused and disorientated. I do not have any problems taking kids or babies along on trips. Picking up experiences traveling around, cannot start early enough. I know children are open for every type of experience. Kids are lesser fragile than they look, but also need direction and taken care of. Courtney clearly needed her daughter to attract a crowd. Outside, couple of hundreds fans gathered, screaming to see “Kurt’s Kid”. And yes, sad but true, towards the end of the show it happened. Courtney took the girl on stage, lifted her up. The crowd screamed out of emotion. What a joke. You need an other example that Rock and Roll is so not about music for the dumb masses? A stupid remark regarding Consolidated after the last song, demonstrated the poor confused condition she was in. Courtney lost a lot of love from some people that night.
Media are out of my sight for a long time now. What happened with Courtney is unknown to me. That says a lot about her “talent” and career. She is probably still in the “mtv-scene” that is dying a slow death along with her. Hope miss Love took some time off to sober up and raise her daughter well. As a parent you have to take responsibility. Checked on Frances (the daughter’s name). She became 16 this year and tries to get a piece of fame in similar evaporating media as her mom.
More stupid is the audience. That some are so low, wasting time to eat this crap. Ok, not my bizznix. Everybody is free to throw away their own precious life-time. So hey, I once was on tour with Pearl Jam. In the backstage area of The Zenith in Paris, Eddie Vedder the singer walked by from the toilet block to his backstage-unit while buttoning up his shirt. He lost one button. I happened to be around and picked it up. So yes people I have this button. A button from a shirt that THEE Eddie Vedder was wearing on November 7 1996, before he went on stage at the Zenith in Paris. Here a picture of this precious button:
Hell no! Pay me $ 20 and I send you a copy of the picture by email. How to pay this $ 20 to get the unique picture? Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org . Remember this is the ONLY way to see the one and only ever lost shirt button of Eddie Vedder on November 7 1996 in Paris!
Now this is Rock and Roll! ………You get the picture?
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Hey Hey Yo man Yo Yo. Remember these guys House Of Pain. H.O.P. Yes these horrible white guys with that very commercial shite song called “Hop Around”. Well lucky, They do not hop around anymore. Jesus! did I had a bad experience with these Fascistic Asholes. Yes I am not ashamed neither shy to say that. Do not get tough on me because you like them and their later solo projects. This is Opinion Man! We are all free to have them, and about HOP I have a Strong one. Respect! I have lots of support of Buddies in the Rap scene. People who would respect open mind and freedom of opinion. There are The Pharcyde, Prince Paul, My buddies from The Goats, “Bam” Afrika Bambaataa,…… Don’t believe me, surf this site and find out! Back to HOP.
Was on the road with my buddies “Consolidated”. A great open minded band that mixes rock/electrics and rap together with a cool political critical message. The tour was nice and long. Main part was a stretch were we double-billed with HOP. We peaceful people arrived at the first show, together being cool and supportive. It was obvious that after HOP saw our first show they turned extreme un-cool. We both had our own bus. Next day it was July 4th, we arrived at the Longhorn, a venue in Stuttgard, Germany. HOP arrived before us and was checkin’ their turntables and mics. Everlast (one of the HOP rappers) was on purpose testing the mic, rappin’ for hours by himself, aware of taking our build-up and checking time. As Pro we are, we did it anyway. The show starts, and ofcourse Consolidated raps one of their great political critical songs “America No. 1”. A Big Hit the buddies in the audience were so anxious to hear, enjoy and sing along.
Next day we arrive at the next venue in Offenbach. The manager of HOP contacts our manager at arrival. HOP does not want us to play with them anymore! What???? Reason: Consolidated played an anti-America song on July 4! Jesus what a dummies. So what is wrong with being critical with people who start useless wars, let buddies die of
starvation, spread drugs around, a.s.o.? July 4th is THEE day to sing songs like that. It even got worst. The HOP rappers behaved like infantile little kids, came out of their bus dressed up in military clothes. So un-cool and NOT tough whatsoever. This did not scare us. Danny and Everlast looked like FOOLS. Since that day this band means nothing to me anymore, never listen to Danny or Everlast again. They Neverlast!
Friday, July 18, 2008.
Early 80ties. Do not exactly remember the year. The magical 1984? We went on tour in Spain with Pandemonium and No Pigs, a punk band from Amsterdam. They had most of the contacts and booked the shows, we joined. It was a short, about a week, trip. Jack (driver) had no time so Ger came along. A very good friend of mine. Sadly passed away in 1997. No Pigs rented van and gear in Amsterdam. Since we were located more south, in the direction of Spain, they picked us up. We dropped our guitars, drumsticks and sleeping bags in the van and of we were.
Most memories of the trip are dissolved, as usual (again). Assumedly due to converting the drink-tickets. One town with two events I remember clearly.
We played a few bigger towns and some village. One village was near to Pamplona. An absolute memorial show. Friendly people, small cozy gig-room. We had a great time. Punk-rock outfit was still a futuristic thing on the Spanish countryside in those days. We (Pandemonium and crew) look very normal. No Pigs was dressed as the latest punk-rock fashion, also of-stage. Maarten, the singer, was a big guy in leather jacket and torn-up jeans. Waking up late morning we wanted coffee. Strolling the village streets a coffee and cake place got located. Inside light green tables dressed with pink cloths, fragile chairs, flowers, ice-cream, cookies, bonbon’s and tea. We walked to the glass-show-counter, ordered coffee. Our presence caused some unrest with the few (only female) other guests. Zipping the absolute necessary morning-crack we noticed a small crowd walked up outside. Checking outdoors it was for us. The outfit from Maarten did so not fit into the sweet coffeeshop. Some older ladies must have been shocked, and gossiped the scandalous news around. In no time the village walked out to witness this “crime”. Probably it’s still a subject during summer-evening meetings under the big tree on the village square.
No Pigs versus Pandemonium is a very good example I was talking about many posts ago. The “heavy punk-look” against the “innocent school kids” Got pictures of the same gig here. See the amazing difference. Soon Pandemonium music on this site, so you can hear what does so “not fit” according to “average accepted standards of cool looking”, with what you see. Probably Pandemonium sounded heavier than No Pigs.
………………………………….No Pigs…………………………………….. Pandemonium
Next day was off. No gig, no drive. Pamplona is in the mountains, the Pyrenees. We though it was a good idea to go out in nature, get some fresh air, do a bit exercise. With some local girls as guides we drove up. It was a great experience. Came back more often in the Pyrenees after this day. It’s a beautiful, rough nature wonder. Great mountains wrapped in an air of silence and peace.
We started to climb. Not difficult. Followed a path. No rough climbing involved. But it was going uphill all the time. For some of us this was too much. They stopped and waited for others to return.
The girl guides, Peter, Ger, ?, Maarten
Mountains always attracted me. Another reason for me to move. Maybe weird for a born lowlander. “Der Berg Ruft”
Thursday, July 17, 2008.
Metall Tanz was one of the bands I played in. It was early 80ties. Performed in several bands during the 70/80ties. Was I good? Probably not, and still not brilliant. But for any form of pop related music this is not important. The energy counts.
German band-names were popular in that time. Everybody came with English names, so not cool. French was too snobby. German sounded solid, modern and new. Anyway, our “hometown” was at the German border. We grew up with two languages, so why not!
Metall Tanz was 4 people: Floor, Johnny, Pino and me. The band had the exact right ingredients to mean something. A solid rhythm section: Johnny on drums. A charismatic frontman: Floor on vocals and bas, inbetween all that were Pino on percussion and me: guitar and percussion. Like most underground bands in that time we were playing strong rhythmical orientated music with industrial/funk/rock influences.
Our rehearsing space was the basement of the Martinusstraat (see Limbabwe History link). Floor, Pino and I were living in the same house. Johnny was the “outsider” in the club. Besides acting the “creative political correct punk rocker” amusing ourselves with cops, we jammed regularly in the basement. The most fun band I ever played in. Somehow it must have appealed to others. We got some real gigs in qualified rock clubs. Ofcourse mostly as support band, but the crowd liked us. At least, they never boo-ed us. Supportive handclapping was mostly heard of the stage. Here a not so great picture. Floor’s face is covered by the bas. Pino is more to the right, out of the picture. But hey, ain’t I young and “cute” rockin’ my guitar?
Weird, we never did a studio recording session.
Do not remember real fun stories from the Metall Tanz period. Massive alcohol abuse sweeps out memory.
Metall Tanz was only together for a short but intense period. What broke us up, I do not know. Think it had something to do with the relation between Floor and Pino. Besides the pictures I still have many rehearsal and live tapes. Another Limbabwe release?
Wednesday, July 16, 2008.
Regular readers figured out I am reorganizing and cleaning. Sorting things out again. Has to be done now and than. Once a year I go through all Limbabwe masters and multi tracks that are saved. Rewind, play parts, glue, clean.
Most Limbabwe releases are recorded in the basement of the club Bauplatz/OOC, in Venlo Netherlands. Don’t look it up. Do not even bother to go there. All is gone, so is also the great inspiring-driven underground scene of those days. They are either death, in mental hospitals, moved or simply got old and worry about grandchildren. Generations after were not capable to keep equal kind of high creative-energy going, so Little Venlo is back to its middle-class boredom. Still in those days, late seventies/early eighties we had a great time.
The Bauplatz basement had a very low ceiling and bad acoustics. I could barely stand in it. In the seventies somebody made a wall with glass window. The worst sounding (every recording was a gamble) control room, was born. In the beginning we recorded on 4 track TEAC reel to reel, Dynamix mixer, few really cheap bad gates and compressors (so bad, I never used them) and one delay unit. The stage monitors functioned as mastering play-back. We recorded all early Pandemonium songs like that. First two tracks drums, track 3 bass and track 4 guitar. After the multi track recordings I did the mix on a Tascam two track. While mastering the vox was added, live directly on the master. Wow, those were the days. All original pressings go for ridicules amounts on EBay right now. Still have the instrumental multi tracks. Was thinking to release a new cassette “Matski Sings All You’re Pandemonium Favorites”. Featuring the original Pandemonium members! Ha, Ha.
The 4 track got replaced by a Tascam 8-track. Investments in better mixer, more fx and a usable compressor. The gates stayed bad, but became a great “industrial-experimental” machine for my individual projects. The complete “ Bauplatz scene” experimented a lot in that time. Not only within the musical range of instruments, chords a.s.o. The purchase of the 8-track opened a new world for most of us. We experimented with endless layovers, dubs, inbetween mixes. In the live-room everything that could make sound became an instrument. By the handy-man welded steel ashtrays (thanx Walter), turned into weird steel-drum style percussion instruments. To be heard on many Limbabwe tracks. Myself freaked with the 8-track a lot. Recorded songs as if 30 people were involved. Created loads of industrial music. Hearing it again, probably Genesis, Blixa, Janni, Paul,…… would get jealous. Me too shy to release any of that material, realize now I made the same (similar) music. Oh well, probably the complete generation was experimenting. We didn’t know eachother. PTV, Einsturzende Neubauten, Laibach, Test Dept,…. were in their first days, or didn’t even exist yet.
These exciting years died a slow death as it always does. Everything must pass. The studio and club is gone. All what is there are some memories of old farts, a few pictures, some amateur films and the tapes that I am rewinding right now, for the yearly maintenance. Not for long anymore, folks. Most master tapes are gone. Despite my care, they got old, rusty, sticky. Vaporize due to atmospheric conditions. Sometimes a tape snaps. Saved some old white splicing-tape-dispenser. Glue both ends together again, knowing its useless. Lucky the cassettes recordings preserved very well. Anyway, I copied all tapes before it was too late, on better, recent formats. The music will still be available for a while.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008.
Cables, cables, cables. Do not how this is in you’re house, but these fuckin’ cables are a pain in the as. They are everywhere and you need them for everything. Underground, in the air, walls, floors, over doors, stuck in windows, glued in corners, stapled on plinths or just loose lying on the floor. For internet connection, tel, tv, stereo, speakers, heating. And even more if you are in music. Mic cables, fx cables, connecting cables for tape recorders, mixers, guitars, synthesizers. Midi cables, ADSL cables, USB cables, multi cables. Whaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!!!!. And they are always in my way. Tripp over them, have long fights unfolding. Whatever you do to keep them straight; hang , roll-up,…… It does not work. Find myself unfolding the most impossible knots everyday, sorting out spaghetti every week.
Every other half year I reorganize the cables. “This never needs to be changed anymore!” I think proudly after the job is done! Sure, within a few months all leads are replaced, repaired, rerouted,… until it became a mess again. Wireless is no solution. Only a few cables can be replaced by air signal. Too much wireless means cross-signals, interruptions, breaking up, sounds from other broadcasts plus the neighbors might (not) enjoy half of what you do through their satellite tv.
The worst is Coax cable (mostly used for tv/video). Who ever invented that should be killed. The cable is impossible to cut, fold and jumps wild and dangerous in all kind of directions. Coax sucks! I will start the ACL (Anti-Cable-Lega). A terrorist group that violently fights cables.
Did I think to be smart. Reformed all equipment on a desk in the middle of my studio room. Could walk around, reach all machines easily from front and back to connect or disconnect. Great idea! After about 8 months total chaos. Today I changed the complete room over again. Re-connected, and decided to use lesser equipment, need lesser cables. You can read in yesterdays post, I go and dump shit I do not use. A list on this site soon. Throw the cash at me, you will receive ancient collectors crap!
My retirement will be a house in the middle of nowhere without electricity.
No electricity, no equipment, no cables. Sounds like a great life!
Monday, July 14, 2008.
Got to get lighter. Have too much rubbish. All that shit I carry with me for years, most of it I never use. Mainly music stuff. From instrument parts to tapes. All these tapes gotta go, need some space. The only reason why I kept them is because they are unique. Gigs recorded by myself being the FOH engineer of the show. Looking at the pile, it is barely 1% of all the shows I did. Most were never taped. Sometimes I slid a cassette or DAT in the bay and pressed record.
Ignored almost all these recordings. It was just una momento in life. Fuckin’ hey, so many gigs. Often, after the show, I handed the tape to a bandmember. That’s probably why I end up with just a few. Coming home from tour dumped the recording in a box without ever listening to them. Play them all now. Most tapes for the first time! The last week only heard live-gigs from 1979 on. I am half way now. Do not play them chronologic, simply whatever next tape comes up, goes on. The cassettes preserved astonishing well. No sign of time at all, even the over 20 year old ones are in excellent shape.
This collection is a great document of popular underground music over the years. The many unique moments make it a valuable piece of art. You hear Consolidated play Voodoo Chile or, absolute special; perform “You Suck” by the 3 male members themselves, no Yeasty Girls. This was almost never done. There is Steve Albini covering a 70ties disco tune, a.s.o…..
These tapes also dig up memories. More stories for future posts. Personal, funny interaction between me and the band (Once after correcting a mic on stage, I did a little dance in front of the crowd, mid-stage, that was in Rome, Consolidated gig). The Prince Paul tapes are the most surprising. How could I forget about them? This crew was so nice and we had such a great time. They made a complete rap song “Mat the Scarf” that got performed every night. Good memories, but hey…. Live goes on.
Most recordings are reasonable quality. Some straight of the board. Bit out of balance. The loud-on-stage guitar player problem. Recordings result is very loud drums, vox and FX. Other tapes are recorded by mic. Many are very good sounding, but ofcourse not like an official multi track cd.
These tapes are special. Nobody has a copy, I never made copies for friends. Until today nobody, except me, even knew these recordings existed. Often not even the artists. I am going to sell them. Will never play them again, so why keeping them absorbing space! Its worth something, I know. All tapes are unique. I do not throw them out just like that for some cash. You wanna have a Steve Albini gig from the late 80ties (Rapemen)? A Test Dept show in the smallest club ever? I can assure the uniqueness of the tapes, but communicate first. I give Limbabwe site visitors a first chance, write to me email@example.com We communicate, let you know what I have. Otherwise the complete thing goes to the well known online sale pages. Be aware. This is for private use only. Public use means dealing with legal matters. Enuhhh hey you oldies, do not worry, I keep the Limbabwe tapes/masters/originals. As I am obliged to be the maintainer, until the end.
Sunday, July 13, 2008.
Saturday, July 12, 2008.
Oh yeah, its horrible….., these sound-technicians always rapping in their coded language about equipment. Hate it myself and mostly avoid those conversations. Sometimes I like to blow of about great old analogue equipment used by myself. Here a story:
It was during a Gogol Bordello or Firewater tour in the USA. Don’t remember which of the 2. Somewhere in a mid- America town with Oren, guitar player in both bands. We killed our time hanging in music stores. Not common for me, but hey, it was the only thing to do in the shopping strip. After wanking some guitars, pedals and such we went out strolling the street. Bit further was a pawn shop. Why not! Musicians are poor people. Pawn shops are full with cheap musical equipment. In a glass display cupboard I saw a Big Muff II Electronic-Harmonix/Sovtek distortion pedal. Got a bit exited. It was the big army-green pedal, made in Russia. All original parts still on it. Only thing missing the little lit on the back that closes the battery compartment, not a major prob. The Sovtek Big Muff has massive turning knobs on a big piece of strong steel that the heaviest metal-boot cannot crush. An absolute beauty not only to see but also hear!
Being obsessed by distortion sounds (ever listened a The System track?), wanted to test the thing. It sounded perfect. A real Big Muff sound. Oren was exited to, but I saw it first. Russian Big Muffs are not “ancient”. The first pre-Big Muff was played by Jimi Hendrix, who made it popular so a USA factory started to manufacture them. After a bankruptcy the factory had a re-start early 90ties in Russia. This big green Big Muff was one of the first Russian models. The Big Muff is a popular pedal since the seventies and responsible for the basic of a few rock-cult-sounds (f.e. Grunge). I am not very impressed by what most musicians manage to get out of it. Besides Jimi Hendrix, it was only Kasper Brotzman (see a post way back months ago in the “old Post” link) who could make it create a fine distinguished personal sound, in my opinion. Proves that music (and sound) is in the musician, not instrument, pedal or amp. Back to the pawnshop. The price tag said $ 50 (With original wooden box). In pawn shops you can bargain. “This is too much” I told the store-owner, “In the music store down the street they cost $ 45 brand new”! “What do you want to give for it?” he replied. I offered $ 25. He looked at me with disbelieve in his eyes and called the music store. They confirmed the price of $ 45 for a Big Muff. What the pawnshop guy didn’t know is that the new ones are cheap, modern USA made re-issues. Not even close to the special design of this big old green thing. We agreed on $ 30. As I walked out I heard him yelling: “wonder with what kind of ancient thing I got ripped-of here”. And he was right. Checking the web today I saw that they go for Euro 125 ($ 160), used. A forum informed that the prices of this model are only rising. I am not going to sell (yet), still want to enjoy myself and bother the neighbors a bit longer with it.
Friday, July 11, 2008.
Records you like but hide. Episode 2 (go back more than a week in the posts for episode1). “The Sound Of Music”. Either you get a stroke or burst out in hateful laughing, yes! Proudly I announce to be an owner of a “Sound Of Music” vinyl. Not a collector’s item. Billions are pressed. You get them for 25 cents at the flee-market. I even have 4 SOM (Sound Of Music) vinyls. An old scratched one, almost unplayable, replaced by a better copy. That makes 2. On that same flee market I found a cover version, lyrics in Dutch language. Thought it was funny. Mistake. Absolute horrible, an insult to the original. The fourth, also 20 cents, is a lounge jazz quartet playing variations on SOM themes.
SOM was a popular musical and film, especially in the 60ties, standing time until today. Fanclubs, sing along gatherings, dressed up parties, all still exists. You’re mom is probably a member. SOM was one of the biggest Hollywood successes ever. Let’s stay with the record. The music and lyrics are by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Its not really one of the most brilliant music pieces created. What does it are the catchy, easy to remember, tunes. In my childhood SOM music was unavoidable around in the family. Memories are the main reason to own a copy.
The record opens with whistling birds, same type that announces every start and end of the day here. After a kind of intro (prelude) the theme song starts. Acceptable, but the record quickly develops in a typical musical soundtrack. Songs are not independing tunes. You have to see the scenes to understand. A cheesy nun’s choir attempts Gregorian chapel singing, stiff imitated. No flow, bad harmonizing followed by chattering about Maria. “I have confidence in me” is the first real song. Pitty, next track “Sixteen going on Seventeen” strands as a sully adolescence statement as if women emancipation never happened. “My Favourite Things”, well known for the easy string of chords, interesting enough for John Coltrane to adapt and create memorable improvisations. Side one ends with the highest moment of the record. Mother Abbess sings “Climb Ev’ry Mountain”. A bombastic anarchistic message performed by a nun character (Peggy Wood) in “opera-diva” style. They had some cynical humor that time. It became my most favorite moment of the record. B side; two weak “musical style” moments followed by the even worst “Do-Re-Mi”. Obvious no time to come up with better lines than “ti, you drink with jam and bread”. “Something Good” is the only reasonable song. After that the nuns start again followed up by “Edelweiss”, a dull “schlager” about country adoration. The record closes with “so long farewell” followed by a grand finale version of “Climb Ev’ry Mountain”. If it wasn’t for this song the musical would be worthless. SOM ‘s story takes place in the beginning of the Alps. Many scenes are filmed on location in the early Northern Alps. Landscape very similar to here, the South side. Sometimes, when the morning sun chases the last fog away, I play SOM. A perfect soundtrack to the scenery.
Ford ev’ry stream
Follow ev’ry rainbow
‘Till you find your dream
Thursday, July 10, 2008.
The Northern part of the Balkans, close to Austria and Italy, has a kind of “inbetween” frustration. Not wanna be East, but totally brag-of about the culture. Wanna join West, but behaves too underdog to be. An interesting study for psychologists. Basically it doesn’t matter. It is what it is. The combination of both creates colorful situations that I turn into stories to tell friends on drinking nights.
This place has only one photoshop, just taken over by youngsters. Dropped a film there earlier, came back in the afternoon to collect the results. 2 people in the store waiting. In the back room (door open) clearly a conversation between a girl and boy. Shop door opened, someone else came in, and again door opened, more people joined. The buzzer to alarm the employees that customers arrived went of a few times. The small store got crowded. None of all this stopped the voices from the backroom, or activated an employee. We all stood there, patiently listening to the conversation (I could barely follow). My mind drifted off. A flashback to the old Yugoslavian days. Visited a photoshop. 4 employees, 4 counters: for film, camera, deliver/pick up and cash register. Standing in the silent, empty store, nobody of the bored looking salesmen showed interest to assist the only customer.
Back to now and here. It all felt so traditional Balkan. Nobody cared either, not the store owner (no competition), not the customers (trained in the old days), not me (got used to this). It was comical. Suddenly no more talking. The girl came from the back, faced surprised than arrogant the store crowd and rushed out. The guy appeared from behind spotting me first. He mumbled “oh yeah, pictures on a cd…”. It wasn’t even my turn. 2 people were before me. Oh well, to much chaos to explain. Clumsy he grabbed an envelope. Realized the negatives were still a roll. Nervously pushed the film through a slicer. Charged me barely enough to cover the cd. I paid and left.
Yesterday a rock band from Brooklyn gigged on the town square (“how the hell did you end up here”). Spotted the photostore employee. “Alexsi” he introduced himself. We went for a drink. “So”, I asked him, “what was that all about?” “I remember” he replied, but not exactly the conversation in the backroom. It was not his girlfriend neither an argument.
Spoonman always says that foreign languages you don’t understand sound like singing. The language here sounds more like fighting. Often I think people argue, after asking, it seems to be a friendly conversation.
Returned from tour with Laibach when borders still appeared. Arriving at customs, something was going on between Laibach members and the border patrol. Few band members went out the bus. The conversation sounded like stressed arguing. Although being the TM, I thought better not interfere. Do not speak the language. Sudden English from a stranger might fuck-up the situation. Border employees are not hired by IQ. When the bus finally could pass and everybody was back in, I asked what that was all about. “Oh, nothing special, they asked for an autographed cd”.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008.
For my whole life I collect vinyl records. No, not interested in the discussion about better or nicer. Simply a preference. On the other hand I cannot restrain my love for analogue recordings and therefore sometimes point out the advantages of this music carrier in this article.
My vinyl collection is not extreme big. Approximately 1000 records. Not much for somebody of my age who collects his whole life. Prefer a compact and personal favorites gathering. Records come and go. Many purchased enthusiastically but do not seem to please that much anymore after a while. In my younger years I made the mistake completing collections of favorite artists. Later realizing these artists produced only 3 worthwhile releases, the rest is rubbish, made to fulfill contractual obligations. Do not expect that the “complete-collection” is worth money. Millions were pressed, only a few want to have them now. Go online. Find out.
Last week online. Blog about Neil Young’s “Time Fades Away”. According to many “the Holy Grail” of his releases. Only pressed once in the early 70ties. Never officially re-issued on cd! The record is horrible. Bad played and recorded live tracks. But assumedly billions pressed that first (and only) time. Online markets I found the vinyl. $ 9.99, used, perfect condition. Another one had even no bid whatsoever 0.00. Discovered easily a bootleg cd and free download. It was all there. That’s it for the “Holy Grail”.
End 80ties, the cd pushed vinyl almost away. On the road with Test Dept (see yesterday). During a break I used the time record shopping. Purchased just released vinyl of Neil Young’s “Ragged Glory”. A period the industry dumped vinyl as “the last years of this format”. Produced with lesser care. The complete “cd” release pressed on one record. Therefore thin grooves, scratched quicker and “thinner” sound. Back on the set some crew member disst me for buying vinyl. “Almost the 90ties, Mat, get a fuckin’ cd player”! In the 90ties I had to deal with many of these dumb remarks. Also here, south of the Alps, vinyl is looked upon as something ancient what “we modern people” do not do. Meanwhile in this decade the real obsessed music listeners and lovers, found out that vinyl is the best format. Besides the great dynamic and warm sound, you have a real product in your hand. Mechanical made! You can see the sound-waves (grooves). Vinyl can still be played without electricity (that’s how it started). Cd, mp3 is just some bitts that must be converted into music. Cover artwork looks so much better on a record sleeve. Some smaller indie labels, probably run by vinyl freaks, started to press good quality records of cd releases. Mostly spread over 2 plates in one sleeve. The space allowed wider grooves. Made music sound even better and more dynamic. Plus, often because of space left, extra bonus-tracks, not released on cd! Used records-store owners told me most sold records are from the jazz and classical music section. The more serious music! This was not related to an older age group. The major industry became aware of a never-disappeared market.
So here we are 2008. 5 minutes to twelve for the definite death of the cd. Yep, the cd! I say it again; the cd we know as a pre-recorded music product will be gone soon. Cdr will stay for home use file burning. The major industry decided. Making and promoting a hard (cd) product is nowadays too much of an investment with the endless come and go of popular artists. Many releases do not sell. Profits are going down. From now on only downloads. For the real music freak who mainly prefers “hard” product, vinyl will be made. Don’t believe me? It is already happening.
See the advantages. Finally pop music is where it belongs. Lots of music is only made for light mass-entertainment (also indie guitar, metal, rap, soul a.s.o.) I have no problem with mass entertainment and am very happy finally the carrier is found were it belongs, a meaningless temporary passing thing, just some bitts easy to delete. Second advantage is for the small music producer. No more investments in expensive pressings. You can throw you’re music online and make it even accessible for free! Maybe, finally someone listens!
Best part: Vinyl survives again. Did you also notice the upcoming return of the cassette tape lately? That’s another post. Anyone who disst me the last 20 years for my vinyl’s still some comments?
Tuesday, July 08, 2008.
My best learning school for FOH sound-engineering was working with the UK band Test Dept in the 80ties. An absolute weird, but funny freak and drunk with the name Jack, was doing this job before me. He “mysteriously” disappeared of the scene (later rumors: got married, wife and kids). I took over. These were not my first tours. Already numerous experiences learned me working the desk. Crew-colleagues on these TD trips didn’t teach me much either. It was the challenge, dare and own guts trying to deal with something that looked like an impossible situation.
Test Dept was a very unusual band. Their instrumentation was a compilation of all different kind you can imagine. From self build to non-instrument sculptures to modern high tech sound machines. They went out to scrap yards looking for good sounding steel objects. Size, weight had no restriction. Instruments were made out of smaller pieces of scrap steel. F.e. a big iron alpine horn. Then there were traditional instruments like bag pipe, Spanish drums and cello supported by often more than one traditional rock drumkit.
On top of that electronics: synthesizers, sequencers programs. And to finish it of, a 4 track tape recorder I had to operate as well from the FOH desk(s).
So here I was, sitting in my FOH area, all alone, looking at a 6 meter (18 feet) knobs and faders. We added two mixing desks together; mostly Yamaha PM 3000. 40 channels per desk. On the end of this long stretch FX’s, inserts and the tape machine. 62 microphones on stage + line inputs. If I looked up to the stage I saw a symmetric organized chaos of big steel tanks and dishes, drums, a self made marimba on the side, the earlier mentioned alpine horn on the opposite side. And this was not all the torture…..
Test Dept had the habit to perform “on location”. Meaning, you do not play in a regular venue or gig set up. Mostly we turned old abandoned factories over into concert arena’s. Sometimes also quarries and castle yards. I remember the huge empty train factory in Glasgow, Scotland. The stage was 200 meters deep. A real train came on stage during the show. Many concerts were a combination of music and performance with actors. Massive spectacles with artificial made hills, water-canons and oh yeah,….. somewhere also a band.
While all this chaos was in action, I sweated in the FOH area. Not only because of the massive pressure trying to make something worthy listening too in these impossible places, fighting the many acoustic problems. I literally sweated because of intense running around from one side of the desks to the other, turning knops, resetting delay times, moving faders, switching tapes on and of. This was serious exercise! But I did it. The dynamic of interesting live music always motivates me until today technically and creatively supporting performing artists on stage. And I learned with Test Dept. Dealing with most extreme dynamics due to the combination of instruments, difficult acoustic reverberations of the locations, figuring out how to catch the full sound of unusual traditional instruments, and then, on the end, make it sound as one transparent piece of music.
After the Test Dept years I could handle every FOH engineering problem
In the future more about Test Dept on the Limbabwe pages.
Monday, July 07, 2008.
Another great place to visit is Idrija. This is a small town a bit south/west of Ljubljana in Slovenia. Idrija is situated in the beginning of the Southern Alps. Tourism does exist, but still not overtaking. The town has besides the usual castle the second biggest mercury mine of the world. Mercury was the reason for settling. Since the 70ties commercial exploitation stopped only a small part of the mine stayed open for tourists, worthwhile a visit. More interesting is the surroundings of Idrija. The beginnings of the Southern Alps are a wonder of nature. The mountain rig grows out of the Adriatic Sea and turns quickly in high and very steep hills. This makes the area wild, rough, impenetrable and deserted. In the Second World War a popular hiding place for Partisans, reminded by many memorials. Some Partisan buildings are still there and open for visitors.
Idrija is situated in a valley surrounded by forests overgrown steep hills. Being there makes you feel cozy, warm and sheltered. Once a visitor said: “Idrija feels like you are back in mom’s womb”. The area around creates a beautiful and interesting nature. West of Idrija is the Krajinski Park, protected nature of amazing sights, views and wild life. Many clean, drinkable water wells. Great for hiking and adventure. A challenge for cyclers. In “Bela” you can swim in natural spring water.
Swimming in Bela
The place is not only enjoyable for sport-orientated people. Easy accessible wander-routes over clear indicated walking tracks to great sightseeing’s and relaxing places.
View the amazing cloud sculptures on the horizon. Situated on the break of Mediterranean to Alp atmosphere, the sky creates lots of surprises. Unbelievable cloud moves you normally only see in complicated movie tricks.
In town enjoy the many bars, outside terraces and few restaurants that serve excellent local food. The locals are friendly and easy.
Pity there is no hotel or camping and just limited overnight stay possibilities. If you want to know more about this or look for accommodation contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Idrija is perfect central located for longer stays during every season of the year. Not only is the local nature park a breath-taking miracle all year, nearby are the famous stalactite caves of Postojna. The ski-tracks of Cerkno. The Triglav Park with the famous Trenta valley. The capital city Ljubljana. The beaches of Piran, Izola and Koper. There are many attractions and activities reachable from Idrija.
A perfect place to enjoy the wonders of this marvelous spot in Europe if you prefer to avoid the more popular, but therefore more crowded, tourist places like Bled, Koper and Ljubljana, without missing anything what Slovenia has to offer, in a more personal and friendly atmosphere. Wanna know more? Contact email@example.com
I think the local tourist office will be jealous about this article.
Sunday, July 06, 2008.
If you are still not convinced that traveling is BIG FUN, and for those who didn’t see it yet, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlfKdbWwruY
Seeya tomorrow or somewhere…..
Saturday, July 05, 2008.
Amsterdam could be one of you travel destinations. Ofcourse, an interesting city, lots to see and do, especially if you have never been there. Many visitors miss the actual sights as in lots of popular tourist locations. Asking tourist office or locals who are born on the spot is mostly the wrong information source. Out of nationalistic proud they show you the usual famous attraction you already were aware of, or they simply do not know. Noticed often that born natives are the least informed about their surroundings. Not strange. You grew up with all that, so it is a normal “nothing special” part of your daily live. Visiting for the first time, you’re impression can be very different. I know a family living for generations in the same London suburb. They never saw Piccadilly Circus neither visited the Tate or Soho. Same experience I have here. Most locals do not dig my enthusiasm about the great wild rough nature. They do not see, and therefore ignore, even the tourist possibilities that might bring a different economic wealth than just the boring local factory. I understand. If you’re born here, you’re used to all this. For that reason it is in many places better to meet the obsessed stranger who’s impressed by the place and turned it inside out. That person often can show you more with a great enthusiasm, instead of locals. Back to Amsterdam.
Ofcourse you go and do it all. Walk the streets of the red light district (I advice evening/night. It looks great in the dark), hang on Dam square. See the juggling forgotten hippies in Vondelpark. Try weed in a coffeeshop. Visit the o so many museums. Pick the Paradiso early show and than wait in line for the midnight disco of De Melkweg. This is all great to do, but hey…. Does not every cultural metropole (London, NY, Berlin, Paris, Istanbul, Rome,…….) have gigs, disco’s and a multiple choice of museums. It is ofcourse great to catch the party scene in another place, but once inside I always had the idea that nobody is local, and it could be anywhere. So before you go and queue up at De Melkweg, walk just 100 feet further (I suppose you come from direction Leidseplein). Right there around the corner is a beautiful part of Amsterdam. Peaceful canals with traditional bridges, cobble stones streets (I have something with cobble stones lately). Very quiet, not many tourists. A forgotten corner, according to many locals the only bit of “real” Amsterdam with still the for generations long natives living there. It is called De Jordaan. Sure you will impress you’re partner much more with a romantic moment in this hood, than anything else of the attractions mentioned above. After that you can still turn around to wait in line of the Melkweg nightdisco. That will not stop till 5 anyway.
Friday, July 04, 2008.
Organized robbery mainly practiced in tourist areas (read yesterday first). This was in Paris, Montmartre, popular destination. Last gig of a long tour. The band insisted to be paid in $. It was some time ago, before the Euro. Shit, I was mainly loaded with German Marks and billion other European currencies. Take some time ransack the hood from bank to bank, changing money. As I was done there was no cash $ left anymore in whole Paris, plus stupid me, almost back in the hotel I got pulled into one of the most well-known robbery tricks on earth. Learn from this one. It was organized. Close to the hotel someone with a tourist map in his hand, stopped me for directions. While showing him the way, he had an excuse to step more aside, away from the pavement. than two other guys showed up identifying themselves as police and asking for id. I opened my belly purse (holding my id) full with $ (hey, I didn’t reach the hotel-safe yet). At that moment they tried a grasp into the purse. Alarmed, realizing being tricked, I pushed them away and started a little fight, screaming for police. Not such an easy victim after all, so they ran away. This was clearly a set up. I think one of the bank employees was even involved tipping his friends. The police id’s were vague and probably false. It was a good lesson, learned a lot from it. Do not think now that everybody approaching you for directions or help plans to rob you. I helped thousands of people this way, still do, and it only went wrong once. Here what I learned: Get suspicious with unusual moves. The fake tourist probably did not really resemble one. He carried a map, and camera around his neck. But closer observation could have warn me. On the other hand I do not follow the rules of stereo typing. There are all kinds of people on earth. Take them as they are. What should have alarmed me is the move aside, away from the middle of the pavement and the sudden join of more friends. No tourist I helped did that. Back in Paris, same hood and street, I think back with a smile, but also a bit of revenge. Better for those scums that I do not accidently see them.
More positive story. Porto, Portugal. Just unloaded (small van). Centre of town, close to the harbor, booming tourism. The promoter came with me to show a spot leaving the van, not far, but safe. Turning around the block we parked in a quiet neighborhood street. After soundcheck, during dinner, someone from the venue came up to me and said calmly, you better come along, there is something with the van. Shit, crash? Complaining neighbors? Robbery? It was the latter. Arriving at the van locals from the apartment buildings around detained a skinny, poor local junk. He smashed the small back-side window of the van. Nothing was stolen. The windows were blinded and had steel barriers from the inside. The police was already called in and on their way. Ofcourse this was shite. Had to get up early in the morning searching replacement for the broken window. Still I was pleasantly surprised by the extreme kindness of the locals and the immediate action they took, although I was a stranger. The police came, paperwork got done, junky arrested. Next morning as we drove out of town, I saw him swerving over the street.
I sincerely advice Porto and the rest of Portugal, as your travel destination. It is great, easy going, beautiful. Sauntering the old harbor quays and narrow streets . Fado music everywhere. The smell of good food….. I’ll be back.
Frankfurt Germany. Wanted to get lighter dropping cash at a bank so I counted in the hotel room. Checked out and had a coffee in the bar. A local employee came up to me and asked if I wanted to come to the front-desk. Someone damaged something in the room, I thought. At the desk the receptionist handed me a DM (German Marks) 500 bill. Found by the maid, he explained. Must have slid of the table while packing.
Central Italy, a smaller town we gigged. Almost end of tour, and again loads of different currencies. Huge pile of cash in white envelopes. Counted all the money in the (minimal furnished) hotel room, using the bed (white sheets) as “table”. The stash, too big to carry on you’re body, I dumped in my bag. No prob, it’s in the back of the van, with us, until we arrive at the next hotel-safe.
We checked out and hit the road. After about 50 miles I started to feel uncomfortable. Familiar feeling, always have that if something important got forgotten. Stopped at the first parking. Checked my bag. The stash was not there. Shit! Must have forgotten in the hotel. White envelopes on white sheets. Easy to overlook. Calmly I told the band that I forgot something important and have to turn around. Please wait here in the roadstop-coffeeshop. The guitar player immediately suspected what happened. “I come along, think you need some help”! As soon as we drove of he said “you forgot the tour money from the hotel”. I pushed the pedal, racing back, he called on my cell alerting the troops: hotel, local promoter, touragent and whoever we knew. At the hotel desk I asked for my room key explaining “I forgot something”. They handed me the key, I rushed up the stairs hoping the maids didn’t start cleaning. Too late. The sheets were gone. No maids. Coffee break time.
Back down at the desk, feeling miserable, a smiling receptionist took the pile of envelopes, visually filled with money, out of a draw and handed it to me.
Later I recounted, not even one small note was missing.
Here I stop. How much more true stories do I have to pull out proving this world is an honest, safe and reliable place. Pack your bag. Go and find out!
Thursday, July 03, 2008.
Its holiday time. The period you yearn to travel, and you should. Traveling is besides music my second need to survive. Meet the world, people, exchange ideas, cultural habits and find out what a great place we all have here. The collected impressions are an important addition to your knowledge and can (will) influence you’re ideas and views. Besides meeting other people (what I prefer the most), you can visit museums, rough nature, ride the NY underground, go rafting on wild rivers, join local reggae festivals, sunbathe on beaches, discover in every European corner an ancient castle, try local food, whatever you like. Ofcourse, if you take the prefab commercial beach/party trip to the standard holiday resort (Benidorm, Mallorca,…..) you have not been anywhere. If you like this, fine, its good to relax and party for a week, but not for a traveling experience.
Going around the world for 30 years I learned that most people are reliable and nice. At home media only show you the excessive moments of what went wrong. Leaves the impression the world is a dangerous place. Traveling proves opposite.
The planet is a fuckin’ great football to ramble and rock on. People are everywhere interested, helpful, supportive. Doesn’t mean it never went wrong. There were negative incidents. After some time this wears out, turning into funny stories on sultry summer evenings. Plus the mistake taught you.
Madrid sometime in the 90ties. We just packed up and dropped the band in the hotel, to our luck central located. It was late, very late. In Spain live starts after midnight. Venues open at 1 am shows start at 2. Must have been morning, 4/5 am. Still the streets were full of people and activities. Not in the mood for sleeping, the roady/driver and I decided to go out for a drink. Inviting crowded streets lured us outside. Hookers, dealers ,… all hanging around the corner. As an experienced traveler I took my precautions. Little bit of money in my pocket. Sufficient for a couple of beers. Bit cash on the body, under the clothes, the big stash in the hotel-save. Jumping of the hotel steps, we got immediately approached by a bunch of hookers. “Hey honey, where you from?” “You have a momento”, “Hola, come with me and party”, a usual ceremony. Hands all over you, grabbing arm, touching as. We shook them of and picked a bar. Ordered a few beers. Drinks only supplied by cash on hand. Grabbed in my back-pocket. Shit… what he fuck…. Empty. Money gone! I grinned, paid out of another stash. Hope the hookers spend that bit of change the right way.
Experiences like this never kept me away from Madrid. Can happen everywhere. Besides, I was prepared. Tomorrow a few more “rob” stories.
Wednesday, July 02, 2008.
Tropical summer temperatures make me wake up early to enjoy the cool morning freshness before the breathtaking thick heat drops in, and creates another little fine nature surprise. The early eastern morning sun produces sufficient heat to dry the dew. Hill tops slowly disappear in thickening fog. “The dragons breath”. The beautiful effect of the bright light filtered by this damp creates a short lasting miniature nature miracle. Sunheat insists making her way trough. Within a couple of minutes the damp dissolves.
17 and 18 June 2005 (wow! An exact date!). Tour with MEC (Magnolia Electric Co). We had a few no-gig days. Sometimes agents do not manage to get concerts for a couple days. It creates a “hole” in the trip with the question “how to spend this cheap”. Hotels, eating in restaurants is BBB (Big Bite in Budget). Lucky, always one band/crew member knows people en-route where we can stay. In most cases a friend, owner of bar with bandstand. We gig for accommodation, food and drinks.
Slomo, the slide guitar player knew Simone and his wife in Pavia, Italy. He had this music bar “Spaziomusica” we could stay and play. Getting there it was typical Italian. Via nice old small cobble stone streets and narrow bends, we reached a quiet dead end in a forgotten corner close to the town centre. The inner court yard was a pleasant organized chaos of plants, trees, tables, chairs and empty bottles. Indoors the place surprised me. A cozy collection of pictures, articles little presents guests contributed through time. This club is around for ages. First you enter the small bar merging into a backroom with tables, chairs and stage against the backwall. Watching and reading, not really famous artists come here to play, but that’s not so important. The air was loaded with positive energy. There are places on the planet that simply feels good.
Unexplainable, created by a mysterious force. This is one. Many indications in the place taught us that the original force was a “Karl Marx” resembling person who, assumedly, passed away.
The second owner, Simone gave us a warm welcome. We got invited to his house were mom made a great dinner (ofcourse we are in Italy!). During our stay it became more and more obvious this once so popular hot spot was going down. Not many people visited the bar. The two nights we gigged were barely attended. On the second night Simone said it was over with Spaziomusica. Despite all efforts gaining funds, maintaining the club became financially impossible. Visual emotionally touched, it felt him hard. He barely could understand himself. How can a great place like this…..
In front of a few people MEC played one of their best performances on this last night. After the gear was packed, we walked out as last visitors, leaving Simone and wife behind with tears in their eyes.
Before writing this post, I typed the club name in a search system. To my surprise the place in Pavia opened again couple of months after our visit. Simone must have found some financial support. If you get close to Pavia, drop in for a visit.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008.
“Dig” was broadcasted last night on local tv. I’m not a tv watcher. The amount of hours a year I spend in front of this media failure is countable by the fingers of one hand. Don’t own a “real” tv. Only an old b&w small thing from the early 70ties. Build in former Czechoslovakia. Drag it with me for ages. Mostly dumped in a far away storage or cupboard. For occasions like this, I have to dig it up.
The bands the movie is about, Brian Jonestown Massacre and Dandy Warhols, did not make me going through all these troubles. Barely familiar with them. Ofcourse I remember the names from the nineties. Some tunes that never impressed me. Standard college radio guitar pop. I mainly wanted to see the movie because it was “hip” for a week when it came out in 2004, plus Gen (Genesis P. Orridge) a good friend of mine, appears for a few moments.
Well…. I know its soooooooo negative, but I’m sorry to tell you that the complete movie is a lie. Dig is a compilation of private filmed home-movie-style bits. Made by a friend of both bands. Many shots of band rehearsals, recordings, at home, on the road a.s.o. It’s a documentary. But than it must be all true!? The individual scenes, yes. Not acted, all real. But what makes this docu (as many others) a lie is the editing. Imagine you have 100 fighting scenes, and 400 love scenes. You edit all fighting scenes together, leave all the love scenes out,…. Dig it? Made me nervous watching Dig. Gigging all these stages at least 3 times in my career, I know the reality of this bizznix. This is the next boring statement that musicians are no more than a bunch of irresponsible fighting drug addict losers. A freewheelin’ live that speaks to the imagination of so many teenagers. Do not wanna sound here as an old wise granddaddy, but young starters in this bizznix might take these scenes as an (wrong) example. Truth is that most artists who take themselves much more serious have a much longer life than these two bands. hard working without drugs, with good food, exercise and sleep and be yourself, makes you survive.
Still the film is somehow interesting. It gives a good view behind the scene. How worthless you are trying to be a “rockstar”. You clearly see the fuck ups of music bizz. The big cigar managers who lick as, the musicians who lick as. The movie proves what an empty, meaningless, big nonsense blow-up this bizznix is, better to be avoided if you want to have a pleasant stay on this planet. Maybe Anton is a very passionate and devoted musician, but so far his songs sink in the mud of “so many”. With the massive growth of world population, passionate musicians increased to. There are many. Famous and unknown. That he chooses a live of a rolling stone is up to him. It might have a reason and back ground. But hey…. We all carry our luggage that made us what we are. Lucky for those with a strong will that maintains their live-style.
Meanwhile it says enough that after 4 years Dig ends up as a vacant summer filler on local tv. And who remembers Brian Jonestown Massacre or Dandy Warhols?
New generation, new heroes, same songs.
Monday, June 30, 2008.
The question was dropped on me so often. Mostly I avoid the subject with an obvious funny fantasy story (eyes closed, dart-pin on a worldmap). Didn’t feel for going into endless discussions about countries, politics, fake liberalism and soccer. Until today still don’t want to.
Have many reasons not mentioning the countries (political territories) in this article by name. With some imagination you will figure it out. Oh yeah……… the question: Why and how did I found this place in the Alps? Here the truth:
Travelling around endlessly I located many great places to live on this planet. Never felt/feel tribewise, rootwise or nationalistic connected to a spot. Economical I was not depended on it either. So why not go somewhere else where the sky does not turn grey non-stop for weeks, and the view looks like it is filtered by a filthy unwashed lace curtain. Besides all that, it became an over-organized community. So many people on a few square meters needed massive organizations, rules, regulations. Nothing is allowed anymore. Soon there will be forms to request “fart-permission”. So lets make some space, I thought. For many years the idea was spinning around in my head. Had some friends down south, on the “sunny side” of the Alps. This place was opposite; deserted. A very thin populated political territory. Great nature, lots of space, lesser rules and after the rain the sky turns clear, bright and sunny. So why not having a spot there to hang and relax. Talked with my “southern” friends often about this. In my mind I made preparations.
1999. Returned from a tour. Got of the train. On my way out the terminal to the bus home, I bought a newspaper on the stand. In those days I still liked to be mislead by the media. At home I dropped my bag, switched on the coffee machine, sat down at the table, unfold the newspaper and the first thing I read is a headline “Minister wants law that all garden fences are equal in shape and color”………!!!!!!!!???????
Something snapped in my brain at that moment. I did not believe my eyes. Read it again! Wait… enna momento…..; wars fought, people die of starvation, rainforest is being chopped down,….. but this political territory, world wide known for their “liberalism”, is busy discussing laws regarding garden fences….! I couldn’t believe it. Checked the calendar. It was not April 1st, fools (joke) day. The newspaper purchased was known not to be “paparazzi” bullshit orientated. Readers, believe me, this is true. Probably it is traceable in archives. Search in the period May 1999. This article made my hunger to be in a place I can breathe, a desperate urgent need. On the spot I called friends in the Southern Alp place. “I’m coming down now”. Grasped my unpacked bag and drove away playing Thin Lizzy loud on my car stereo “whoooeee I’m going southbound……”
Arriving bought a local free-add magazine. Checked some rentals. One of the most suitable offers was in a small isolated community. Coming down the mountain-road I knew and felt that this is it. Rough nature, peaceful, friendly, hard to reach, silence, easy going, no bullshit. A new address on the same old loneliness.
I’m going to pack my case
I leave without a sound
Disappear without a trace
I’m going southbound
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Blown tires. Lets stay with this subject (see yesterday). Have a few stories. This was their first European trip. The famous Pharcyde. Jobbed almost all European trips with this crew. They were great! Created two legendary records that will survive time; “A bizarre ride” and “Labcabincalifornia”. Also from this band you can expect loads of stories here. The Pharcyde was still in their original line-up: Fat Lip, Tre, Imani, Bootie Brown and ofcourse dj Walk, their constant companion. Writing this down I realize that I miss them a bit. Had always a good laugh at the loud discussions about “PC or Mac”, “Burger King or Donalds fries”. Their very honest social attitude, the great music,…. The Pharcyde didn’t get to Europe for a long time now. What’s up with you guy’s? Anyway, besides 5 mentioned there were a few musicians (The Pharcyde always played with live instruments). Do not remember names (sorry). Players changed more often during the years. Suave, a big guy, manager, joined the trip too. We were driving in the UK, crammed packed in a small van. Suave sat next to me (I drive again), everybody else in the back with the luggage. Just finished a few shows on this island and headed for the ferry towards continent. It was on the M26, that little stretch of highway connecting M25 with M20. My speed was 120 (km, not miles). In Europe considered standard and “save”. Suddenly a bang. The van moved dangerously from left to right. Due to the wrong divided overweight, this sudden change made the vehicle swing like a belly-dancer barefoot on a nail-bed. Outside noise of steel scraping asphalt increased. Inside a timorous silence. I was trying to hold the steering wheel straight, using all strength keeping the 4 wheel (now 3) in line. With so many passengers, this had to end up alright (makes you aware about the responsibility drivers have). We survived. Like a weary roller-skater on cobble-stone pavement this steel “coffin” jolted onto the hard shoulder. According The Pharcyde I qualified myself definitely for the job. From now on hired forever!
Saturday, June 28, 2008.
Noteblocks with pencils are swerving around everywhere in house. (My memory is a strainer. Forget things on the spot, one second after I thought about it). This way I create shopping lists, renovation lists, things to do lists and posts to write lists. The latter I am staring at. What to write about today. The list is long and choice becomes difficult.
Ok, here we go. This person is a special memory in my live. That he had (still has) a big following is not so important to me. Even this little story is the lesser exciting one, and more an introduction on a few posts I will write about him in the upcoming years. I talk about Dee Dee Ramone. Yep! The founder and bass player of The Ramones. He lived in Europe for a while in the 90ties, with his wife Barbara. The “official” story about Dee Dee’s time in Europe, you find on the many Ramones sites, is one of those typical music bizznix lies. There never was a commune in Amsterdam Dee Dee lived in. He stayed at my house, in the house next door, in an apartment in Amsterdam that I rented for him and a house in Belgium that I arranged for him. The complete period that Barbara and Dee Dee stayed in Europe, I hosted and helped him. Besides Barbara, there is nobody on this planet who can know this part of Dee Dee’s live better than I do. For the disbelievers; I can prove this by papers and witnesses.
Dee Dee created a real bad reputation in the bizznix for his “extreme impossible unpredictable” moodswings and character. He for sure had that, but somehow I saw from the first moment we met, that there was something very positive in him. This was a person with a good heart. Something happened in live that made him this way. Despite our very different backgrounds, we became good friends.
It was summer. We were driving in my old car to somewhere. Do not remember where, why, what for. In earlier posts I mentioned my weird habit of driving old wrecks. This one was a Volkswagen Golf. Dark-red brownies color. 4 door. On the highway suddenly bang. Tire blown. No panic. The car rolled out on the hard shoulder. Dee Dee sat next to me. Calmly, smoking a cigarette. As we came to a standstill I got out, unloaded the spare wheel, some tools and started to pump up the car. A door slammed. Dee Dee stepped out, picked up a tool and started to unscrew the bolts. Together we changed the tire. I know what you think. It is not so weird for friends offering a hand in this situation. But sometimes certain people (famous) are put on a platform by others (fans). Their adoration makes this insignificant event important. Something I also disapprove, as this story does show that Dee Dee is no different than all of us. Still I was very aware that nobody ever would believe that Dee Dee Ramone helped me changing a tire.
Friday, June 27, 2008.
We all have these records in our collections. Those you try to hide for visitors, but don’t want to dump, because you love them. That can have lots of reasons. Especially pop music is often liked for other reasons than the soundwaves produced by the music source. Could start a blog about it: “records you like, but hide”. Probably something similar exist already on the web.
I have a few releases, but not ashamed of it at all. Especially younger visitors show sometimes traces of condemnation, checking my collection. Lucky me, born before the world got divided into small-minded groups of limited, bordered, music cults. I am raised to like good music, whatever it is. The disapproval and unbelief often disappear if I present the latest, hard to get vinyl release, of a recent “modern”, but interesting, artist too. So I proudly introduce sometimes the weirdest music to visitors, pointing them out what is so good and enjoyable about the piece playing. No, not the mathematical complicated style of playing. Regular visitors here must know I go for the drive and feel.
So let me start of: Harry Belafonte “At Carnegie Hall”. Yep, I see the cynical grins on your face. Still I present and play this record to many, young and old. Its simply one of these high moments in music. I know that the propaganda media say the same. Sometimes they are right. No, not a Belafonte fan. It’s the only record of him I have. Actual, 2 versions. The first one I had was called “Excerpts from….”. A strange release (see picture).
Could find no info why or what. Learned from second hand sales pages, that this version was only released in Europe, assumedly Germany, Netherlands. The actual real release was a double vinyl with the complete concert. Have both, prefer to play the single LP. This version was around in the house when I was a kid. It is also more compact, therefore more dynamic and lesser draining to listen. The cover and all web info blow of about the great technical live-recording quality in that time (1959). I agree with this. The record sounds absolutely magnificent. The more I enjoy it because of the massive entertainment value. Harry Belafonte was a great artist with an amazing voice. He could sing, no tricks nor dubs. Not possible in that time. Technology did not exist yet. The band is jazzy musically supportive in Harry’s not always that easy to follow, improvisations. The gig “rocks” very dynamic. Many ups and downs. Funny moments with “daring” remarks (for that time) about issues as the being a boy in the West Indies, or try to activate the crowd with a sing-along Matilda version by yelling “Now only women over 40”. I am absolutely not ashamed playing this record. Its ofcourse all a matter of taste. You do not need to like this record, but if you do not dig this record, you do not dig music.
To finish this article; if you base your purchase of music also on “social correctness”, well…. Only a few years ago, when Bono was licking the ass of politicians to raise his own “god” status, and Bob (the famous “protestsinger” Dylan) confessed in an interview that he only imitated Woody Guthrie to raise the figure on his bankaccount, not giving a shit about any social issue, Belafonte publicly called Bush a nazi. Maybe many activists should re-consider their music collection.
Thursday, June 26, 2008.
Today the heat got me. Normally I like it and can stand high temperatures really well. Think I overdid it yesterday with my bike. Pushing myself up against impossible steep hills in the bare naked sun. After the last one something snapped in my left chest. I felt like throwing up. Ok, I thought, think that’s enough for today. Lucky, only the hill down. On the bottom is home. This morning my body felt sour. A slight headache bothers me already all day. Tried another ride, I don’t give up easy. Stepping the pedals I decided to do a short one. Arriving home the stories didn’t wanna come out. To exhausted, and nothing in reserve. So this is it for one day. Hopefully tomorrow everything back to normal.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008.
On my one day bike rides (see yesterday) I take a small towel and empty plastic bottle for water. Wrap the bottle in the towel, put it in a plastic bag and string this on the bikecycle luggage carrier. The towel is for wiping the sweat. Water is everywhere out here. Fresh pure clean cold drinking water straight out of the mountain. You can fill up your bottle on the many springs and wells you find easily. Some are clearly indicated. A small chapel with Maria statue, spring water floating out of the wall. Others you see on the side of the road, someone cleared a path for the water to become easy to catch and consume. The clean fresh natural drink water is one of the main things that attract me to these surroundings.
Sometimes I meet “colleagues”, also alone on their cycling trip. Obvious going for the same goal, searching your boundary. Most are more “official” equipped. Similar bike, but stripped of all unnecessaries to be “light”. The outfit is more pro too. Cycle helmets, trousers, knee/arm protectors and sport shirt, mostly blue or darker red. You might need all that here if you plan to go wild. The hills are steep. If you fall, you can get serious hurt. I am not so afraid of that. I go slow and careful, especially the downhill. This is not a race against another. It’s a competition with me, and I always win. Therefore I wear simple old (legs-cut-of jeans) shorts, and on top a bright yellow t-shirt delivered to me by a famous rap crew I toured with for over a decade. A funny picture of a waterpost taking revenge kicking the pissing dog. Have a few, very useful for my bike rides. The yellow is a full conscious choice. First of all I like to be seen. Especially here in Slovenia, were cyclist do absolutely not exist for car drivers. Second reason, it’s the winners color. In one of the most world famous cycle competitions “Le Tour du France”, only the winner is allowed to wear a yellow shirt. Obvious everybody respects this “rule”, even if you do not take part in the race, riding far away from France. But not me, for one simple reason: I am a winner!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008.
Regular readers must have noticed that the time I post here, changed. For months I placed my articles in the morning CET (Central European Time), the last week it is more often in the evening. Weather got so nice. Finally the summer is full on with temperatures around 30 Celsius. Started my bike rides again. It feels so good to be out there, pushing the pedals, soft warm wind-blow tickling your legs, enjoying the views and clean water. It’s the first time in 2 years I can do this again. Last summer I was knocked out by some health problems. Doctors forbid me to do any bike action for at least a year. Since a week, as the weather improved, I jumped on the bike again. Pushing personal limits. Winning competitions with myself, after few days of warming up. The price: my favorite view, well known by locals, but not an easy bike ride away, and ofcourse the satisfaction, standing under the shower releasing yourself from the sweat realizing you won again. I think it is healthy if you do something that clears your mind and body. Doesn’t need to be a sports activity. Can be anything, you will figure it out with yourself.
My bike I purchased in this village 8 years ago. It’s a worldwide famous brand for mountain bikes. The village has 3 bikecycles stores. That’s a lot in such a small community. Especially since the surroundings with extreme steep hills, do not look very inviting for bike rides. Getting around, and surfing the web, I realized that that is the reason for the bike stores to survive here. The place has an international reputation for the intense bikecycle tracks.
I was looking for a multi-use ride. Something inbetween a mountain and city bike, so I could push myself up the steep hills, but also hang a bag over the back seat to transport shoppings, or use it for longer trips. After choosing a fine bike in one of the 3 stores I wanted to pay cash. This was before the Euro. The German mark was not the currency here, but used often as the “European standard”. The price tag said DM 700 (700 German Marks). Cheap, but in this country still 2 regular month wages in that time. I took 7 bills of DM 100 out of my pocket. The cash register showed DM 630,–. I got 70 back. “Not that I mind, but why do I get a discount?” I asked the cashier. “Because you pay full in cash we give a 10% discount. Most people pay in 12 monthly terms with a bankcheck”, he replied. Ofcourse I was happy with my unexpected profit. Still again a prove how unfair the capitalistic system is. Another example, on a small scale, of economic discrimination. Rich people get richer and poor have to pay more. Strange to see this in a former socialistic country, you might expect there would be some skill gained from a recent past. But enough wining now. Time to jump on my bike. Till’ tomorrow.
Monday, June 23, 2008.
This one I looked up on the internet so my details are correct. It was 1993. I was with the band Consolidated. Summer and, ofcourse, festival touring time. We played the Hultsfred Festival in Sweden. For those who do not know; a festival in the middle of nowhere in Sweden. No major town close. Too far out of any routing in our schedules. Only option was flying to Stockholm and take a long drive to this nice place in the middle of nowhere. Besides the yearly festival, Hultsfred had (has) not more to offer than lots of trees, a local gas pump and a small landing field for private planes used by farmers wives for their shopping trip to the big city. That field brought the festival organization on an idea. Why giving all these bands a hard time figuring out how to get here. “Let’s think BIG!!!!!”
They chartered a plane. The artist check inn and production office was located on Heathrow airport, London. Yes, London. Only 1000 miles away from our dressing room. As we arrived (2 hours in advance) it was easy to find were to go. A long line of the familiar black flight cases watched by the familiar tattooed hairy roadies, accompanied by the important looking bored cola zipping rock stars, stressed by their in mobile phone screaming tourmanagers, was blocking half the terminal clearly irritating tourists and ground employees. Only one check-in desk was available for 30 bands and their crew. The idea was great, but this would take ages. Hours later, after everybody was finally checked in, the plane took of direction Sweden. I realized the funny situation of being here with many rockstars, Manic Street Preachers, Carter (unstoppable, but we did not stop to forget this band), Front 242, Iggy Pop,…… many , many more.
We approached Sweden. The plane slowly sank direction earth. The land became visual. Trees, more trees and after that even more trees. Suddenly a small gap between all these pines. Located a few signs, a small white building and some tiny little puppets running around. “This must be the airport” I concluded with astonishment. So must have the pilot. The charter was not a small shopping plane, but a Boeing 747! Full! Every seat taken! “In this case, dear pilot, do mind the gap”, I thought. The pilot must have had his doubts too. He made a circle, and, to be sure, a second one. Then decided to land. Immediately after the wheels of the plane stopped scraping the tops of the last pine trees he sat the 747 on the ground, pulled the break full on with the force of a Formula 1 emergency stop. I banged with my head against the chair in front of me. The safety belt pushed the crappy airplane food back in my mouth. We came to a stop. I thanked Reagan for the Vietnam war, were the captain of this ship assumedly did his experience. The doors opened, the stairs rolled up. Stepping out I realized that the cockpit’s nose was only a few feet away from the trees that market the end of the airport.
Sunday, June 22, 2008.
We all sometimes end up in an embarrassing situation. One that is difficult to handle.
It was in Spain. The band nor tour I do remember. Called the promoter a day ahead.
She was really nice and friendly. Mentioned explicit that she found something very special to eat for the (pre-announced) vegan in the crew (me). Wow. That’s great, I thought. As a vegan I do not have problems finding something to eat anywhere so far. It doesn’t need to be a top meal everyday. Especially Spain is fairly easy. It does take some afford to make them aware of the strict diet you’re on. After digging it, lots of restaurant employees kindly invite you in the kitchen. “Just point out what you like to have prepared for dinner”. Still I was looking forward to my “special” vegan meal tomorrow. Next day during the drive I ate less as possible to save much space in my stomach for the great expected dinner. At arrival the promoter was often talking about this “very special” food they found and would prepare for me. “It is very exclusive” she assured me. Finally it was dinner time and we all took place at the table. Had some wine and bread. The main courses came out. Mine was brought in by the cook herself. Proudly she putted the dish in front of me on the table. On the plate was a complete, uncut, big leek! That was it. Nothing else, no sauce, no sides. Strait out of the ground. Assumedly washed than simply cooked in big pot of plain water. My mom used to make leek sometimes. Cut in small pieces, cooked with salt and pepper, served in a butter/milk sauce (I wasn’t vegan in my childhood). Never did like leek as a main vegetable. Do not hate it either. Use it myself as a taste maker, like the other (related) veggies, garlic and onion. I can totally imagine that leek is a specialty in Spain. It is a cold-weather plant. Leek likes rain and cold, it stands winters. Spain is not a good environment (dry and hot) for this plant to survive in. It was probably imported and expensive. No skill in this culture about how to prepare.
So what to do now? The locals were so enthusiastic about this great “delicatessen” they discovered for me. I couldn’t eat it. This big tasteless overcooked watery green grey piece dwelling on my plate! Out of politeness I took a few bites. Killed my hunger with potatoes and bread. Tried to explain the promoter honestly all I write above. My plate with almost the complete leek disappeared into the kitchen again. Think, until today they didn’t forgive me.
Saturday, June 21, 2008.
Although I always wanted to write this story down, I waited due to the “delicate” issue. Maybe you think that’s exaggerated after you read this, but hey…..
It was the nineties traveling Poland with Dr Israel and the Trumystic Sound System. The East was already open for some years, but still exposing themselves to the “newest” from the west. Drove somewhere in the middle of the country looking for food. No reststop with diner for a long time. On the horizon we spotted the well-known sign of the worldfamous (for their very shitty food) fast food chain. Approaching, it was obviously just constructed. Totally fresh, still marking the parking places on the asphalt. The familiar thick vomiting smell in the air told us that the kitchen opened. What the hell,…. we’re hungry (btw, I did not eat there).
For the rest of the story it is important to inform you almost everybody in the van was Afro American.
A few minutes after we stopped I noticed a little walk up in and outside the fast food place. I went closer to see what’s going on. Local Polish dinner guests were attracted by the look of some Trumystic members. Ish (a band member) sat on a big stone on the side of the road, taking kids on his lap while their parents took photographs. Ish is a big Afro American guy with long dreadlocks. He smiled friendly and let the whole thing simply go as it goes. Other Trumystic members were also approached, touched, admired. It was obvious, most people saw an Afro American for the first time “live”. They probably did see some on tv, but here were a few on the street (I know…. the Twinkle Brothers brought Afro culture to Poland in 1992, I still have that record). Trumystic was for the first time in Poland, and not popular at all overthere. So that could never be the reason. The overall feeling of this moment was very good, positive atmosphere. People were laughing, not to joke or out of discrimination, but out of happiness sharing this, for them great, experience.
Why do I think this is a “delicate” story? Lots of people (I know a few) would explain this situation differently and feel very offended. With all respect, I do understand that. Even positive discrimination is a form of discrimination. I have many examples of that, probably a few will appear on this page in the future. This moment in Poland was different. It was obvious these people had no negative ideas or feel in their heart. They (and we) all learned something together, something very simple, basic but good. We are all the same and can have fun and joy with eachother, whatever color you’re skin is. Thumbs up for Trumystic who handled this situation so perfect.
Friday, June 20, 2008.
My daily posts are spontaneous. Whatever comes up, triggers my mind/memory, I write down. Regular visitors know this. There is a lot to fill up this space: Move on with yesterday’s article about the “freedom of the web”. Music bizz memories like that night I had a drink with Bono, The Edge and Eddie Vedder. Yes that happened and is a boring story only interesting because of the “famous” names. The past, how I piled up and linked endless amounts of cassette decks in my Limbabwe office to copy tapes. The present, my whereabouts, plans and opinions. I leave you alone for a day though. Just simply a picture demonstrating what I plan and feel for today.
Switch your com of and have a touch of the reality instead of cyber bullshite.
Thursday, June 19, 2008.
The more the web develops, the more confusing it becomes. Lately a few companies took decisions that also I do not understand. Until recently MySpace installed a program that automatically chooses a language based on the location you visit from. Not all worldwide languages were in that program. If the program did not “understand” the country you visit from, it gives you the page in a language you “might” be able to read! This was for the visitor unchangeable. No little language flags in page corners. Not a smart move. Suddenly a huge amount of potential customers cannot visit your site anymore, because they can’t read the language. Gives you an impression how “smart” computer programmers are. Probably many protested, it is changed, back to normal.
Now Veoh has a similar “brilliant” idea. They excluded (banned) many countries from visiting. Reason is unclear. To many visitors they say. No money to pay the machines and space, I say. Strange for both sites to even consider taking actions like this, since they are companies who blow of extreme about the “freedom on the net”.
I promise everybody that Limbabwe will stay available for everyone, everywhere in English. Sorry, only one language. No possibilities (yet) to change this. Was not my choice that English became a kind of standard. It is not my “mother language” either.
Anyway, the weather is too good to moan. I’ll go out. Here a picture of the valley I sometimes mention in my posts, so you dig it more what I write about.
Have fun, till tomorrow
Wednesday, June 18, 2008.
Sorry for the bit of chaos on this site lately. Especially in the site links. Am working on some changes. Takes a bit time getting it together, gathering info and such. Soon everything will be re-organized.
At the moment as I write this “Highway 61 Revisited” from Bob Dylan spins on my turntable. Loud. My whereabouts is a small valley. Turning up the volume, music echoes all over place. Neighbors do not care. Some told me that they even enjoy it and switch their own radio of. Not that we are such a big Dylan fans. Play lots of different styles. Simply good music. Folk, Blues, Pop, Balkan, Country, Classical, Jazz….. The great moments I like. Tunes beat the title and carrier. I prefer the vinyl. That’s a personal choice. This is the second “Highway 61” I own. Because of intense use the turntable needle scratched over the surface of my first edition that often, I could almost listen both sides in one play. Bought this new replacement a few years ago in the store were I purchased records before it even existed (explain you this in another post). The owner behind the counter for 30 years, aware of my music know-how, frowned his eyebrows. He probably didn’t remember that I got the same record in this place decades ago. Have a special relation with the album title. Highway 61 ends in the small town I grew up. The road to the solid prove of my memories. Drive it sometimes if I visit family and such.
Thunderstorms chased the rain away yesterday. The sun is full on. Temperature is rising. The longest day is just a few sleeps away.
Shinin’ through the trees?
If I die
On top of the hill…
Tuesday, June 17, 2008.
After a long drive on country side roads, were a local tried to kill us with his furious racing style, we reached this small village on the north-west coast of Norway. The landscape we enjoyed before arrival took our breath away. Amazing rock formations, canyons, fjords. Another day that turned into a priceless gift.
The village name I forgot. It was their yearly summerfestival, as every town in Europe has. This one was different. Sometimes you encounter a local promoter who does take the effort to look further than the local populistic amusement orchestra. A big tent on the square at the harbor plus a few local bars, were the stages. The festival was stretched over a week or so. The acts tonight: We (Magnolia Electric Co) and Ray Davies. Here I take a sidetrack of the story.
Coming home after this tour mentioning to people Ray Davies, I was amazed how many do not know who he is. We all, also the young ones, have more than one tune written by him, in our memory. Ray Davies was the main man of The Kinks. They scored many evergreens. As birthday present for a friend I purchased a double greatest hits cd. While the cd turns, more and more surprise screams from the younger calling out “wow, he wrote this song too?” Yep he did. Maybe many do not remember anymore who Ray Davies was, but his tunes still seem to live on. Back to Norway.
After the soundcheck we (MEC) and Ray Davies were the only ones having dinner in the hotel-restaurant. Ray ate fish. It got to little small talk conversation that resulted in a long drinking night with some MEC members after the show.
We finished the “bar stage” (a few pictures in the gallery), Ray started in the big tent. As expected with artists of a passed generation, the audience existed mainly out of 40+ too much make-up women with their “Do you think these jeans still fit, dear” husbands. The gig was great. Ray still rocks as you hardly see anymore nowadays. An intense over 2 hours show, containing many great hits from the past; You really got me, Sunny afternoon, Waterloo sunset, Where have all the good times gone,…….. and ofcourse Lola.
Publicly known, Ray has an alcohol problem. Caused up and downs in his career. Someone told us to make sure that Ray stays sober until showtime, he is by contract not allowed to drink until on stage. A personal manager travels along to keep him in control. During the gig, after about 5 or 6 songs, his “alcohol roady” walked on stage holding a huge pint of beer. With a big smile Ray accepted the drink and finished it in one go. After that the performance got better and better with each pint.
Monday, June 16, 2008.
What I write about in the last 3 posts is not new. For thousands of years others have similar opinions regarding useless materialistic behavior. Still nothing changed. That is not remarkable. The basic instinct to build machines to survive (f.e. an axe to build shelter, obtain food, defend attacks) is so deep into us that it is the blame for today’s situation. We do not really need cars, televisions, computers… to protect the body (existence) for attack. Neither we need philosophers, religion, entertainment….. All this is a materialistic money making industry too.
Basic instincts like the fight to become a leader or an important figure in the tribe,
combined with the materialistic needs to survive, created the human situation as it is now. That is natural, understandable and unchangeable. Maybe humans are not such a smart animal as they think they are!
Sunday, June 15, 2008
It is wise to start to read two days ago, Friday, June 13.
The natural grow of the landowners materialistic system is understandable. Most do not know better than it is the only way to survive within the tribe. While many working hard gaining success (money) by creating and selling material, landowners live a wealthy life, laughing about it and enjoying the profitable results of these servants.
Within the tribe you gain admiration and status if you are materialistic successful. Even if the product you make is crap. Influenced by the plan and to obtain tribal success many among us create bad, useless material to buy for the same worthless money.
Demonstrating materialistic achievements nowadays is an insult to intelligence.
You’re thoughts, feels, energy, soul… mean more than the useless land-contract, building or machine. Worthless goods that will only last a short period.
It is time for other values than the materialistic ones.
Saturday, June 14, 2008.
Are we all believers? Sometimes we have a good laugh about the middle ages, primitive organization of the tribes and fights for leadership. The use and abuse of the population as being nothing more than work slaves owned by some knights or powerful landowners. We feel so superior looking back into history. Well, nothing changed. We are not in modern times. The only development in the last centuries was a materialistic one. The industry changed, People are still the same. Those who think that we do live in an advanced civilization are the prove of a massive success the landowners had by setting the tribe to their hand the way we all think we are free, under their law!! The freedom we have is very limited. It is controlled arranged and handed to you as a part of what the landowners allow. Probably in our deep consciousness we all know this, so we all want to be landowners. Buying our little real estates. As long as this stays within certain range, the landowners allow this. It was a marvelous idea from the beginning, sell the right of a piece of nature (read land) that was there already long before the human developed on this earth, to someone who basically has the right to live on it by nature law. It’s all a part of a great designed master plan. Do not get me wrong. Nobody in the first place came with that plan, but trough time fundaments of these tribal organizations developed. So why not keep going on with it, and explore even more. It’s a great feeling to gain more personal power by oppressing others.
Peace/war/entertainment/work/food/drinks/machines/….. All this under the flag of freedom. Landowners do not care about you. You’re life has no meaning. You are already death. Those who think they figured it out, were allowed to do so, otherwise they would be gone. It’s a scary, primitive, situation.
Friday, June 13, 2008.
Unaware being a rebel. I simply couldn’t just follow, like most in the tribe did. It was not even a mind decision. I simply didn’t feel good. I did not feel good playing in a football team, if sports had to be done it worked much better for me to push myself up on a hill with a bike. No competition, not inside the team, not against another team. I only compete with myself. The food everybody ate did me no good. It made me feel bad, without energy but with stomach problems. So I started to eat different. No animal products whatsoever. Made me a lot stronger and feel better. It’s not that difficult to find out that everybody is an individual. You do not need to read Nietzsche, Freud, Marx, Camus or whoever. Just look and listen what your inside and surroundings say.
People are tribal to survive. They have to, since your body is weak. Those who made it to a leader function know this. They use this to control you. Quickly some figured out that the mind is thee part of the human body that you can actually direct the most. Just influence them, and they are yours. The few that notice and protest this? Oh well that’s a minority so small that they will not form any danger, and if, than there is always a way to eliminate them.
Stay away from my flesh, than I survive.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
The sound slowly increases direction my whereabouts. The hills are green, the sky is grey, the air is thick. The first time hearing it I couldn’t figure out its origin. A sound, pattering, spooky, as if a big herd of mice arrives.
The valley is narrow, not like a canyon, but not wide either. A couple of 100 feet further is the end. Follow the usual mountain stream that probably created this ditch in a few million years, leads you to the narrowest part of the valley. That’s were the trees form a forest. Not middle of nowhere yet. Too close were people live. Clear easy paths, relaxing benches for the views. Pick nick tables.
The natural surroundings create this sound. It’s the rain, approaching like a grey lace curtain. Drops reaching their destination on the many tree-leafs. The soft wind pushes the shower to me, and still, you never know, a blow unexpected from another direction might send the curtain back. Just to be sure I collect my things outside that cannot survive getting wet.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008.
The articles I post here are quick notes. In these almost 30 years of traveling I gathered many memories, wisdom and ideas. Traveling gives you another, more correct, view about the planet than most people have who stay at home and have the information filtered through the media. In the last 10 years of my touring I drove bands crazy with my stories. At every roadstop, hotel, venue, traffic jam, street crossing,…. my memory got triggered and I started to tell another one. Got often advised to write a book. Somehow this is the start. What you read here is me practicing. The writings are often chaotic with lots of mistakes, I agree. This is how it comes out first. Most are not even proof read. My finished book version will be far from what you see here. I rewrite everything. Some stories slowly reach the final version. Improved language and construction. Research brings back more correct memories. Sorry that you have to deal now in the beginning, with the more negative tone. It probably has to come out first. Overall I feel positive and happy. Think that is because I write the negative out of my head.
This page forces me to write on a daily base. That’s good. A lot has still to come. It will take years for the book to be finished. Meanwhile enjoy my (s)craps.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008.
We were hanging at the bar. 10 guilders for one beer. Expensive in that time (early 80ties). The place was some kind of a night club. Forgot the name, Tiger or something. Chicks dressed minimal, tiger skin design, with name tags. The club was in Den Haag. Was there with Jack. He probably did the driving (see post 2 days ago) and a few other friends, do not remember who. The entourage was perfect for this artist. We went to see James Change, aka James White. Impressed as I was by the No New York contributions and the records released so far (still have them) I had to see him live. James Change makes (he is still around) a kind of aggressive punk/funk/jazz. Take George Clinton, John Coltrane and James Brown, add some gun powder and speed, mix well, the result: James Change. His decadent look we knew from the record sleeves fitted very well in this place. Nothing could go wrong. This is going to be good.
We confiscated a spot on the end of the bar, close to the stage. From here we could order drinks and watch the show. While waiting someone worked his way through the crowd to the bar ordering drinks. His face looked beaten up. Black eye, scars, stitches. All looked recent. “You should have been here yesterday” he said (it was the second night of 2 gigs). “He trashed me up totally, it was supergreat”. Hmmm, weird kind of place this is. Ok, James has a reputation, but his audience also?
The show started. First an instrumental of the band. A very hot looking woman, long legs, no unnecessary clothing, high heels, was standing on the side of the stage wiggling her ass, holding James Change’s saxophone. After the introduction (an expected but funny club imitation of the world famous James Brown introduction) the “laziest man of show bizznix” ran on stage. Totally hyped and freaked-out he immediately placed his foot in the face of a front row guest. Wow! This is going to be heavy. The audience in the front pushed themselves up, begging to be beaten. James was trembling, jumping, crawling grabbing the mic and started to scream in it. Jesus! What kind of amphetamine was this guy taking? When he wanted to play his sax, he snapped his fingers, yelling at his female “sax stand”, looking at her with big angry eyes as if he wanted to kill her. She walked up to him, shaking her ass. James snatched his sax out of her hands and threw her back in the corner of the stage were she landed with a big smack on the floor. People this is true, it sounds unbelievable, but anyone who was there can confirm. James was a small tiny skinny guy. Were did he had all this aggression and energy from? A dwarf-frustration?
After playing a bit he ordered his “stand” to release him from his sax. Than turned to the audience and grabbed a woman in the front row by the hair and dragged her on the stage, yes by her hair! She screamed it out. Pain? Joy? Watching her face I keep it on the latter. Suddenly James was standing right in front of me. He must have jumped quickly in the audience. Shaking all over, staring to me with big eyes. Than turned to Jack, standing at the bar on my right. James grabbed Jacks shirt and tore it of his body in one move. This all took not even a few seconds. James was gone. On stage again, screaming one more song and the show was over. Lasted not even 45 minutes. Slowly I recovered from this hurricane. Jack was getting more and more upset. “My shirt” he yelled. “Fuck this ashole, he ruined my shirt”. “I want another one or money for this”. “Where is the fuckin backstage, I want my money”! We went to look for the backstage. Found a door on the site of the stage. A security guy noticed us as we passed, and followed. The door came out in a small hallway with stairs. More bouncers showed up. Jack was screaming that he insisted to see James Change to get a refund for his shirt. This was seriously heading towards a lesser pleasant confrontation. I never knew Jack like this. He was always very quiet and easy going. The more “normal” civilian in our scene. Friends had followed us. Lucky, now we were not outnumbered. The club owner or manager heard all the noise and came down the stairs. Probably not in the mood for a fight with a few “small town farmers” he told one of the bouncers to give Jack 25 guilders. But then we had to leave immediately. Jack got his money and we were pushed out the backdoor on the street.
Monday, June 09, 2008.
For me it was the second generation (read yesterday first). I was older, more from the very first 70ties punk rockers scene. The generation that was tired of the incense – half an hour bass solo – hippy shit.
These “punk-hardcore” kids thought we played to slow. They had also all these “rules” who was “correct” and “real”. As a kind of “Granddaddy” I was deep involved in this early 80ties scene. Honestly I can tell you, it was no more than what it always was and is, kids trying to have a bite of the industry cake. A band was proud and happy if their indie product got licensed by a major or bigger indie company. Negatione, DRI and many, many others were very pleased when they finally made it and became famous “metal” bands. Is not every new generation “scene”, simply just going for that? Making money in the entertainment industry. The documentary “American Hardcore” is a good prove of how empty and meaningless that scene was. It looks like “Pim-Fritsjes” (fake middle class punk kids), having a good time. Nothing wrong with that, but please do not blow it up more. Ofcourse there were also great bands in that scene. Historically the documentary is a failure. Many mistakes and left outs. A bit “popular Hollywood” done, and (with respect, a great band) it’s mainly a Black Flag docu. If you are young and not much informed about that period, you might get the impression that this was the only thing going on. Wrong! The late 70ties/early 80ties was a period with many different, innovating directions in music. First generation punk musicians developed, looking for new ways. That delivered us very crappy “New Wave Pop”, but also great bands like Joy Division and the well known “No New York” scene. Lots of “experimental” music. It was the start of Einsturzende Neubauten, Test Department, Laibach, Psychic TV,…. I know, the film is about that hardcore scene, but still I think very incomplete and misleading if not at least somewhere would be mentioned that it was one of the things going on. Not the only thing.
The hardcore club was funny. Probably musically the most meaningless scene. The (for real going on) competition between all these bands about who is the fastest, made the music lesser. Listen to it carefully. The Death Kennedy’s is nothing more than speed up rockabilly, MDC is fast country, a.s.o. Lots of records out of that period disappeared from my collection. Not worthwhile to play neither keep. Food for the “collectors” crap. Will spend an article on that one day.
Pandemonium was mainly noticed by their look. While everybody tried to pose independent-punk-political-correct wearing leather jackets with the usual anarchist symbols, the peaky haircut, the boots,…. Pandemonium stayed “normal”: highschool kids climbing the stage right after mathematics class. It was funny to see them with their normal jeans, sneakers and “grandma knitted” sweaters inbetween all those “heavy looking” punkers. The fact that all 3 members were not very tall, added more to the effect. In the beginning it triggered some reactions from the audience that quickly turned into admiration while the band was playing. The rough guitar of Danny, high pitch screaming voice of Peter while plucking the bass and chaotic drumstyle of Rowdy, sounded more as a “trash-jazz” than structured hardcore punk. Some achievements were made with an incidental review in a jazz magazine resulting in a gig with one of the most famous jazz musicians from The Netherlands; Hans Dulfer.
Soon I will add music and pictures from Pandemonium on this site. Give me a week or so to sort it all out.
Sunday, June 8 2008.
We were mostly going in a car. An old Opel Kadett or something similar. Jack was driving, I was drinking, the 3 kids that formed the band on the backseat. In the trunk guitars and drumsticks. Maybe sleeping bags, depending how far it was. We would use the amps and drums from the band playing before or after us. The band members were still young. Drugs nor heavy drinking didn’t reach them yet. They were not the “types”. Still unspoiled. On later age that would change. Yes I talk about my early tours. The band was Pandemonium. A famous and legendary hardcore-trash-punk band in the early 80ties. They had this song that reached a few good selling compilations and became a punk “underground” hit: “Wir Fahren Gegen Nazi’s”. The singer/bassplayer was very impressed by “war” (still is). He used sometimes Nazi-song themes from the 30ties as intro’s for the popular “we-play-faster-than-you” style of that time. “Mit Schwarze Fahne” was another one. Anyway, it was a great time with loads of memories I try to put down here. This will not be that easy. Somebody had to spend all the free drink tickets. Jack drove, the 3 musicians were to young, that left me for this task. Jesus, what did I got home totally wasted after every gig. We toured a lot in The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and also Italy, Spain and Yugoslavia. The drummer and guitar player were brothers and had that kind of relation ship. Laughed a lot during the show, standing behind the FOH desk, listening to their arguments on stage. It went shameless. As if there was no audience or paid gig. The drummer stops in the middle of the song yelling at his brother “You go to fast”, his brother (Danny) replied “No, you go to slow”. Than they start to throw at eachother nasty words “you asshole” “dumb idiot” and so on. The fight could escalate. One night, it was in “De Boerderij” Geleen, NL. I remember well. The arguments during the gig went up so high that Danny smashed his guitar on the floor and walked of. Rowdy (drummer) reacted by throwing his drumsticks angry in his brothers direction and followed him leaving Peter (vox, bass) astonished and uncomfortable alone on stage. He smiled a bit and said in the mic, “uhh, well folks I think that’s it than”, and disappeared back stage to. When I reached the dressingroom they were all 3 sitting there in total silence. No word was spoken. The air was tensed. This was clearly brother love, better stay out. Despite the short set still got paid in full. After I collected alcohol for the last drink ticket we got into Jacks wreck and cruised the road home.
Saturday, June 07, 2008
For some articles I do research to avoid mistakes. About this one I could not track back a thing. No info on the web, whatever I tried. But it happened. Those who were there, and still alive, can support me in this. Forgive me for the (minor) mistakes regarding dates a.s.o. It was 1976, I would guess. Could be 1977, but that “feels” to late, maybe it was even earlier. John Cale came to play. Yes thee John Cale in this small provincial town. As I mentioned many posts ago, the director of the town concert hall had an open mind, although, somehow I do remember that this gig was initiated by a hippy youth club from a nearby village, Zopo Horst, as a part of their 10 year anniversary. Visiting the Zopo site, no info about this whatsoever. I could be right about the year, since the club started in 66. (Further many pictures of regular up till now reunions. Remember some faces. Jesus, are we really that old?) Anyway, back to John Cale. This was going to be an exciting event for me. I was a big fan of The Velvet Underground and John Cale. Not often an uncontroversial artist of this level reached these wastelands. Expectations were high, and I got it all. Growing just out of my teenage years, I still was impressed by the rock and roll lies. The Velvet propaganda machine kept on producing many to keep the sales going. John Cale showed that night it was all true, or it was a deal of his contract, or he just wanted to impress the “countryfolks”. Not many people were there. Just a couple of hundreds. The crowd was too small to make the room look filled. Probably Cale was a bit extreme for this part of the world. After the support a break that took longer as it should. Finally the band came on. For some reason I remember that Nils Lofgren was playing guitar on that tour. But somehow I couldn’t find anything about a relation between Cale and Lofgren on the web, so I assume my memory is fooling me here, it probably was Chris Spedding. Fuck it, this is more than 30 years ago! Anyway, The band started to play. A song from one of the albums in that period. But where was John Cale? I got nervous. The second song started and ended also as an instrumental. At the third song a dark tall shadow swerved over the stage. Stumbling and falling over cables, kicking microphones. This person could barely walk. I got overwhelmed with excitement when I recognized him. There is John Cale! The one and only John Cale. The big man behind “Sister Ray”. John was too stoned out of his mind to do something decent. He mumbled undefined words in the mic. Tried to play guitar but got totally mixed up with the cable that winded around and in-between his legs, reaching feet he came to fall. A roady walked on stage and dragged him on the piano chair, where he splashed his head on the keys, arms widely spread. Meanwhile the band kept playing song after song. Following the running order of the set list, as if nothing happened. I was thrilled. This was more than what the press ever wrote about (drugs addicts from New York). After a few minutes the same roady came back with a pill and a glass of water. Lifted Johns head up, shoved the pill in his mouth, poured the water through his throat and dropped the head –bang- back on the piano keys. The pill worked. A few minutes later John suddenly sat straight and yes he did it. I almost faded of excitement. He played his famous one-finger-note. You know the one key that is being hit with one finger, heard on many John Cale recordings and productions, not only with The Velvets, but also f.e. “I wanna be you’re dog” (Stooges). And here I was, watching him doing it live right in front of me for a long time. At a certain point the band was finished with the set. John walked (as much as he could) to the mic with a book and started to read. Couldn’t understand one word out of his stoned mouth. That’s how this great show ended. Maybe it was all a theater act. If yes, a very convincing one. With this post another important historical moment in rock and roll is archived and now to be found on the web.
Friday, June 06, 2008.
On the road with Laibach. An old band from Slovenia. Was already around in the Yugoslavian days. I will write about my Laibach trips in other, still to come, posts. This one fits to the yesterday story. It was 2005 or 6, somewhere there. The most recent USA Laibach tour. Besides band, the crew was a light engineer, roady/stagetech and me. The stagetech’s nickname was “Desi”. A big guy, lots of muscles. Someone hard to overlook. He very often impressed locals with his appearance. His habit was to wear military clothes. A perfect outfit with such a look. It provoked remarks as we walked over the street. Lucky Desi never heard, understood or ignored that. He is a real easy going super nice person. Do never go for the look. If you want to know somebody, communicate to find out what you deal with. What you see is mostly not what you get!
It was Desi who started to complain first. We were a few days in the tour. He felt unstable, disorientated. Problems with concentration. Never had this before. Few others in the band/crew confessed similar symptons. I blamed it on jetlag. They were not such experienced travelers. A few nights of good sleep, and it will all be ok. Few days later the complains stayed, got even worse. In Cleveland, yes the few posts ago mentioned “Beachland”, a doctor got called in. A few had problems working and performing due to this strange disease. The doctor examined Desi and few others carefully. Checked their eyes, balance, had them walking over a line. He noticed something was wrong, but what is it? After some communication, general questions about lifestyle and so, he snapped his fingers. “I think I know what it is”, the doctor said. “What kind and how much coffee do you drink at home?” Yes readers, this story is true. The coffee in Slovenia is made the way most people know as “Turkish coffee”. Grinded coffee cooked up in boiling water. The result is stronger than espresso. They drink this in straight shots, many, on a regular base during the day.
The serious lack of decent caffeine made half the Laibach crew sick. The doctor advised to look for Turkish, Greek, Balkan or related neighborhoods every town we got to, and find some home made coffee in local restaurants or bars. We did and it helped. Also me for future tours. In some American cities I know now were to find the real coffee.
Thursday, June 05, 2008.
My desperate need for coffee is mentioned and visualized more often on this site. The caffeine is an absolute must for me, especially in the morning. For that reason I could almost give up touring in the USA. I know, it’s a well known story and you can get good coffee in the USA, if you know were to go. But travelling around in the USA with a band, you never stay long enough in one place to figure out were that good coffee place is. The average US coffee is dishwashing water. Unbelievable bad tasting weak rubbish. Once on a roadstop, were the pot was empty, I saw with my own eyes that the servant added just water, that’s it! The coffee neither filter got replaced. No wonder it tastes so bad. How long is that coffee in that filter (probably weeks)? How many gallons of water let they drip through before fresh coffee gets added? According the taste I assume billions of gallons on a once a year coffee refreshment. For those who live in cultures were coffee is made different: most places in the USA use filter coffee. Yes I know. You can get extra strong caffeined coffee. Still it is not the same thing as a good normal European continental cup (Brittan serves mainly horrible instant coffee). Also the world famous Starbucks supplies only rubbish. Anyway, I never feel comfortable in these artificial “yuppie look” hang outs. As an emergency I bring European continental instant coffee with, and add some spoons of it to the average roadstop crap. Yes, horrible, but if you are addicted as I am it’s a temporary relief solution. Well can’t help it. Growing up other kids stole out of the cookie tin, while I was secretly lifting the coffee bean jar. As a kid I loved to chew on these raw baked coffee beans, the real beans, not these chocolate candy coffee tasting ones.
Sometimes I let myself go on tour. One day I walked into a coffeeshop and ordered a triple espresso. $ 3 for one makes $ 9 for a triple. Still the triple espresso has the quantity and taste of a normal continental European regular cup of coffee. I am used to 3 of these in the morning (at least), so I ordered a second triple. It got served with a
bit of disbelief. As I ordered the 3rd one, the waitress got concerned. “Are you sure” she asked me? “Do you make it out of here alive?” “Hope I don’t need to call a doctor!” I convinced her that this was my normal coffee quota. Bit expensive. 3 coffees (9 espresso’s) for $ 27 + tip. Cannot afford that everyday, but that day I felt great!
Wednesday, June 04, 2008.
Reading my posts it gives an impression I do not like music. Its actually the opposite. Think that my negative experiences and the music I dislike comes first in my posts. Generally I had and have a good time with what I do, professionally touring as technician and TM with musicians. The job is hard work. Lots of people have the wrong “romantic thoughts” about it. In a later post more about this. Also on the trips with Gogol Bordello we had a great time. I simply like to put critical notes. It seems we all forget easily that pop is mainly a money making industry, not an artform. All media blowups around the pop artists is a part of the selling campaign. Sometimes a pop musician is a real good artist and just does the “thing” for the money, being totally aware that he/she is only in it for the cash, and the music created is simple and sucks. You gotta do something to make a living. Nothing wrong here. Millions of people world wide have a great time with partying and amusing themselves listening to cheap dump factory music. But please, do not take it more serious than what it is. Also about this I would like to spend another post in the future.
Lets write about a great artist called Benny More. Although he is not unknown, still I can imagine that many never heard of him. Not strange, it was a Cuban singer who died in 1963. A good friend of mine once brought a box with 11 records of Benny More, as a present, from Cuba. The cover claims these are all recordings he ever made. Might not be true, Benny More did lots of recordings out of Cuba, in Mexico and other South American countries. Am in doubt these recordings are included. Still it is one of the greatest presents I ever got. The records (yes real vinyl) are 100% Cuban. Everything done and pressed in Cuba (Areito/Egrem). The box design is basic: white with a “Benny More” imprint. Inside all 11 records have the same cover, a black and white negative of Benny with the follow up number in roman writing. On the back the song titles and, per record, a different picture, mostly taken at live performances. Benny looking into the lens with “dreamy” eyes. Probably a popular pose in those days. The vinyl pressings have a few mistakes. Of many records the hole in the middle is too narrow. Difficult to get the record on and of the player. Should carefully make them wider with a sharp knife in the future. Some songs go extreme out of tune. On these moments I see the turntable-arm swinging dangerously from left to right. Not the band, but the vinyl factory to blame here. The music makes it all good. Besides Benny More was a great singer, also the compositions are full with surprises. Benny could sing very dynamic, as you almost never hear. A deep tenor voice that he could easily change into different tone variations. Especially on the higher numbered records (8/9/10) the music is very interesting. Never before heard variations on well known South American styles. Almost experimental. Benny could not read music but had his own big band in the last 10 years of his live. To demonstrate his musicians what to do, he sang the melody lines for them. The band members copied these vocal examples with their instruments. This explains the strange arrangements the music sometimes has. I assume the 11 records are mainly recordings of this period. The best part is that all the playing has an intense spirit, soul and drive as not heard often. Benny More was one of the better musicians last century. A valuable present.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Am already writing about Gogol Bordello for a week. Had enough now. Time for a change. The band is not that brilliant neither important. Lets finish up the story.
After the tour (see yesterday) I did one more US and one more (the last) European trip with the Gogols. My prediction came out. The big industry guys were fishing, it was time to go. My last show was the Tate gallery in London. An interesting place for an ordinary popshow. You would expect that the taste of Tate would be a bit more “sophisticated”.
Yes, I predicted that Gogol would become a well-known band. That wasn’t so difficult. What it does to make a pop band known? It’s a combination of many factors. The right time, place and people. The European Eastern borders were open for 10 years now. The most recent emigrants started to settle in their new surroundings, meanwhile the Eastern culture became slowly a more popular export product. Balkan music was gaining more and more interest. NY needed another prove of their “proud” status: “The Big Apple” were everybody can have a bite of. “The Capital of emigrants, were cultures mix”. Gogol Bordello was the perfect club to use for these propaganda purposes. A mix of recent emigrants from Russia, Ukraine, Israel and born Americans. That was the reason for the Major of New York to declare Gogol Bordello his favorite band after they gigged as support of Mano Chau in the Central Park. Their first important show. NY had its new “heroes”. Ofcourse all this helped. It made the band noticed.
Eugene’s hang for fashion. Jobs as a model a.s.o. gave a good push in the right direction.
All the rest is pop as pop always was: a big lie. Nobody from Gogol Bordello, not even Eugene, has anywhere some Gypsy blood. They are not Gypsy’s, do not even look like Gypsy’s. They look like stereo type “Disneyland Hollywood Gypsy’s”. Eugene’s character in the show is more like a Russian Cossack. The skinny guy with the big mustache. You would expect a sable dance any moment. Real gypsy’s from the Balkan look very different. Much more normal with roots way back to India.
The massive amount of energy some band members invested in this project, is very important too. Especially Oren, Eliot and Eugene were busy with the band a lot. Oren musically supported the band during recordings and rehearsals. Eliot worked a lot on the organization side; administration and so. Eugene was very hyper busy finding weird combinations of clothes and symbols together for the show, printing promotion papers a.s.o. Together they formed a “think-tank” going for the same idea. They worked hard for it and deserve it to cash the results at the moment.
As it always is, pop is pop, and pop (that includes rock, metal, r ’n’ b and all other popular music genres) seemed to be something that is about everything except music.
I will spend a few articles about that in the future. The “Shantel’s”, “Gogols” and who else that brings a folk pop show on stage, are just an entertaining circus crew. The level of their music doesn’t reach even 1% of the real high musical qualities Balkan Gypsy’s give. As I mentioned many posts ago, I prefer the real thing, listen to Boban Markovic.
Monday, June 02, 2008.
On the road again. Another round in Europe. Lucky, Gogol Bordello was a “light” band. Almost no backline. In that time the band still didn’t had a bass player. So all equipment was one guitar amp and drums and some little things they use for their show, the two bigger bass drums, the violin and accordion. Started of in Warsaw than to Praha. In Prague we played this “strange” venue. A room behind a restaurant called Baracnicka Rychta. At arrival, tables still had to be cleared out. The place was in the middle of the old town centre. The road was very small with a 90 degrees bend in it. A van would never pass trough. The closest place to get with a vehicle was a wider street 200 meter down hill. From there you had to carry all stuff up. On that wider street is the USA embassy, what caused a next problem. Id check points 200 meter before, plus the closest stop to the club was right across the embassy. Immediately cops at the van trying to make you move. A local promoter had to negotiate with them for the time it took to unload. When ready, the van had to be parked somewhere else. Same with loading up at night. That’s were this funny picture is from, that I use a lot and is for ages on my site. Eliot (drummer) took it while loading the van. This is right in front of the USA embassy in Prague. Still have that drum. Make an offer by email and its yours!
It was always a pain in the ass getting everybody in time in the van. The Russians were drunk every night after the show. Hanging with audience, often still playing acoustic sets in the bar. All ok and funny. Didn’t mind, but sometimes I was in a situation like this one, that it was impossible to wait. Cops threatening to tow away the van. A promoter and assistance putting pressure on me that I had to leave. A venue owner that screams to get out of here quick. Meanwhile Eugene, Sergey and Yury had someone buying them another vodka, ignoring all this pressure.
The tour in Europe went on. A regular stop was the Bucovina Club in Frankfurt. A weird Balkan party on monthly return organized by an ex-techno dj, Stefan Hantel, in the lobby of the Franfurt concert building. A modern big glass window, room. At that time Balkan gypsy music was just coming up. First “discovered” by a bit more wider audience. Mainly the jazz-scene. The Glass lobby filled up with the usual woolen sweater 40+ semi intellectuals. But they partied. The set up was not very band orientated. The stage and PA equipment was reduced to a minimum and hard to operate with for a live band. Stefan’s artist name is “Shantel”. It was obvious that these “Bucovina” nights were all about Shantels self promotion. The live band equipment was kept down, to make the dj come out better. This became very clear when Stefan handed out free T-shirts. A big picture of his face printed on it. Sorry, can’t wear that. I am not a teenage girl. Now Shantel is pretty well-known in Europe with the worst Balkan pop version imitation I heard so far. Serious bad musicians. Crappy Balkan rip-offs on a boring disco beats with fake catchy titles like “Disco Partizani”. Ran into this on a day-of on tour with another band. Had a glance at their live show. An insult to the real thing. Weak songs, no dynamics and Stefan, the frontman without personality standing on stage like a sandbag. I was wasting my time here. Better of with a drink at the local drug dump behind the railway station. Tomorrow more.
Sunday, June 01 2008.
Was it in the beginning just a few lines, and trying to keep it that way, now my posts became pagelong stories. What the fuck. It all rolls out so easy. Today I keep it shorter.
Did a bit of drinking yesterday. Was not my plan, but you know how things go. Ended up at a “Tuperware party”. That’s how we use to call them. “Tuperware” are these plastic containers for food and so. The lid seals very good. Kitchen material. All different kind of sizes. We (old days) called these gatherings of mostly women, “Tuperware party’s” because in the 60/70ties the company who made these foodcontainers, organized sale gatherings at peoples home. Didn’t know I was going to one. Ordered some homemade wine at an aunt of a friend. Got invited to pick it up. Happened to be a sale party for cosmetics at the same time. No prob. Had some drinks and a good time.
Back in Europe with Gogol. Another tour. November/December 2002. After arrival went for dinner. This was also the usual Gogol chaos. Entering a restaurant the Russians of the band could not easy sit down and wait for the waiter or menu. Walking in they immediately jumped on an employer, whoever working there, or rushed the bar and started to discuss food. Waiters tried to get them in seats to choose something from the menu. If they succeeded the ordering started. For me eating out with Gogol was very cheap. I mostly only asked for a drink. The Russians, especially Eugene, always “over-ordered”. Probably a pre-immigration frustration. Due to lack of choices back than, in the Soviet days. Eugene wanted 10 different things from the menu. Much more than he could eat. Clearly afraid that he would miss out something, and never be able to get it again. Some material for shrinks here. As the food arrived Eugene saw what others got. He wanted that too. So more got ordered. The serving staff didn’t mind. Money to make here. When finished eating. Lots of dishes were still untouched. I ate the vegan leftovers. Salads, potatoes a.s.o. Not only because of the money, but also the unbelievable waste of food. All not eaten dishes would be thrown away. I was, and am skeptical about this “throw-away society”. So much useful things get dumped only to keep bizznix and money rotating under the flag of “it keeps the economy up” but for the cost of environment. On the end the pockets of only a few are filled, the crowd is there to help them wasting useless product and stays poor. Tomorrow more.
Saturday, May 31 2008.
Have a bit of a slow go with this Gogol story. It doesn’t really wanna move. Have sufficient distance from it by now to write it all down, or is it my memory? It wasn’t that long ago, but these “Gogol Years” were so extreme hectic and busy. Probably too fast and too much for my memory chip to keep up with. For those who wonder : no, I do NOT use drugs. No stimulating rubbish. I eat vegan for a long time. That supplies massive amount of energy. It’s well known that meat and other animal products slow you down.
The next trip was in the USA. Gogol Bordello had their own van and trailer back than. Eliot, the drummer, invested some money. It was painted black with the typical “Gogol Bordello” writing in red on it.
The trailer didn’t last long. Drove one of these endless lonely highways in the US (jesus, I calculated this once, but I sometimes drove over 70.000 miles – 100.000 km, in one year. This is more than an average truck driver does). The road was standard good old US: shitty and bumpy. Suddenly a heavy sound. I feel that the van wants to pull in a certain direction. Ori (sax) sat next to me. His face turned pale for fear. I kept the van straight and managed to move on the hard shoulder (had simular situations before, will not bore you know with the endless list of “almost” accidents). The trailer’s axle broke in two pieces. Not a very strong thing. That was the end of that then! Crammed everything in the back of the van.
In Cleveland we played the Beachland Ballroom. A nice theater-type venue in the suburbs. I know how the “scene” feels about Cleveland, especially after Spinal Tap, but I liked this place. A “family-bizznizz” atmosphere . Lead by an involved woman, always trying to make you’re gig good. Have been with several bands in this club (still to come: a coffee story in this venue). It didn’t go so well. Think the place is gone now.
Columbus: we played this weird small underground dump. Nice promoter. For those who have never been in the USA, watch thye scenery in Jim Jarmusch movies. Gives you a more realistic impression of how the USA looks like than these Hollywood crap movies. The club was in one of those desolated areas, right of the town centre, industrial waste land. Some buildings spreaded in uncontrolled sand and green. Open roads and crossings. Alcohol laws in the US are in most states excessive. No alcohol until 18 or 21 years young. Absolute no alcohol use outside in public domains like streets, parks, ….. .
Did some technical work inside the club and walked out to catch some fresh air. In the middle of the crossing, yes straight on the asphalt middle of the street, the 3 Gogol Russians, Yury, Sergey and Eugene were swerving drunk sharing openly a gallon (3 liters) big bottle of vodka the promoter handed them a few minutes ago. If now a cop car would turn around the corner, I can cancel the show.
Later Sergey and Yury disappeared as usual in the Russian quarters of town, showing up hours to late for showtime. This became a regular situation on tour.
We moved on doing the usual routing. Minneapolis 7th entry, the small room of a major club, once owned by Prince, were I always received compliments regarding my sound. Seattle, Portland, had a drink here with Adam, as I always do getting to Portland. Check out his Free Music stuff. San Francisco “Bottom Of The Hill” club. Some kids hanged in front as we arrived. They started the speech “What the hell are you……” from the first The System cd, as I jumped out the van. Hey! I’m getting famous! Should consider a “rockstar” career myself. LA, Tucson, Austin ofcourse “Emo’s” were the boss once offered me a shit loads of money if I would stay as inhouse engineer. New Orleans, Atlanta, Carboro, DC and back in NY. We did more cities in between. Just want to give an impression of an average US tour. This time Eugene had a 16 page “newspaper” printed. Pictures, collages, copied articles about Gogol and tourdates. handed out for free to the audience. Not many were made. Have one here; email me a decent offer and its yours. Tomorrow more.
Friday, May 30 2008.
Time goes fast. It’s almost June. Summer is on. Nice warm weather. Towards 8 pm (20.00) I take a seat outside, on the little porch in front of the house to hear the birds calling. Before going to sleep, at the end of the day, they gather. Do not know much about birds, but there must be many different types living around the house. It mostly starts with the typical “Sound Of Music” bird. Absolute the same kind that opens the movie. Slowly the variation of birdsounds increases until it ends in a UmmaGuma (Pink Floyd) cacophony. What a symphony. Beethoven would loved it.
Back to Gogol. Did dive well in the archive for the rest of this story. Will go more detailed than the usual posts. Checking the saved stuff I realize my mistakes. Its Yury, not Jury (sorry). Also; we could have played Piestany in Slovakia on the second trip, or did we do this town twice? Do not exactly remember. My memory gaps are the very first European tour and an American trip. One USA tour I have here in front of me, but I must have also been on another one, since something happened after we played Spokane. The tour I see in front of me goes the other way around. For those who are unfamiliar: Spokane is in the North (Seattle). From Seattle you can go South, were the tour goes on gigging Portland, SF, LA a.s.o…… Or you go west. Then there is only Spokane already in a couple of hundred miles. After that 2 driving days trough nothing until you reach Minneapolis, Chicago,…. Or you sink a bit to the midlands, Kansas, Denver, Columbus. We just had Spokane behind us, still driving the suburbs, heading for the east. The long (days) drive I just talked about, plus a few more off. We planned on forehand to go a bit south on the level of Yellowstone Park. Some in the van were interested to visit the hotsprings there. The road was a bit bumpy (my opinion: USA has bad roads for the “developed” car territory it claims to be). I was driving. Suddenly a scream from the back. Oren (guitar) was pealing an apple with a fuckin sharp knife. A bump made the knife made slide into one of his fingers, about 60% trough. The girls in the band jumped on him to help. Lots of blood. “He’s going to pass out” I screamed to the back. Toured with Oren before. He was more often unlucky with his fingers. Another time was with Firewater, were Todd slammed the van door while Oren was holding the post. Ouch! Total blue fingers and a bit of blood. Also here Oren faded for a few minutes. This was worse. Oren was already “gone”. I noticed a hospital few miles earlier. Turned around and raced back. That’s were I discovered that hospitals are the best roadstops on USA tours. While waiting, we found in the hospital free to use very clean toilets with disinfecting soap and a little restaurant with excellent first class food. Choices for everybody, meat, vegan, vegetarian, sugarfree, glutenfree. Lots of possibilities and cheap! Oren’s finger was out of order for a few days. No sweat, it was the beginning of a no-show stretch. It all came good. Tomorrow more Gogol.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Off the road we were with this crazy circus. Forgot most places we played on this trip. A tourbook I found does not bring more to my memory. The thing was written and stapled together by Eugene himself. It has minimum or no info. Lots of nonsense “we return back to Praha to drink”, a.s.o. Probably this book, rare, no more than a few made and disappeared, is worth some money to collectors and fans. Do a bid by email.
The trip was in November/December 2001. I do remember the show in Piestany. A small town in Slovakia. Great fun there. People were going crazy and the place had a good fibe. Smaller town venues I like the most generally. The audience is mixed. All kinds of people go to every show. Reminded me of the 70ties and early 80ties, the great time before audience got divided in their small minded, based on music taste, groups.
Where else can you go in a town far from everything, if there is only one club and one gig a week? Because the gig is an incidental event, the organization, promoters, local staff and audience is so much more motivated and enthusiastic than the so called “professional” jaded lack of interest attitude of the “bigger” city.
We played the gangster club in Berlin. See the “DI under glass, post” months ago (somewhere in April). A Jazz basement in Halle that didn’t even had a PA. The people were these typical stereo type “stiff” jazz freaks. Also Vienna was a similar jazz “arty” kind of place. Why is that? Why are jazz freaks so boring stereotype arty soft fake-sophisticated? Jazz is much wilder than any Rock and Roll ever was. Played by musicians who are really hooked junkies, not just faking it. Wonder what these “easy” looking people in their grey wool knitted sweatshirts do behind the bedroom door.
Arriving in a town, Jury (accordion) often went off buskin (play on a street corner). Probably some automatism still in him from the Russian and first NY immigration days.
His main job in NY was playing in a Bulgarian restaurant for tips. Its amazing to see how real musicians get so ignored by society. Jury is probably the only real talented person in the Gogol crew. Ofcourse Sergey and Oren could play their thing, but Jury was married with his instrument. He carried it with all day. In the van, backstage, hotel room, on the street, and played it constantly. If he wasn’t playing the accordion, he was working on it. Cleaning, fixing, improving. At night, but sometimes also before or after soundcheck, the two Russians, Sergey and Jury disappeared in the Russian quarters of town. Mostly returning very drunk and long time after announced show start.
The attendants on the gigs were good. The rumor already circulated. Not bad for a band who’s press was limited to local NY so far, and record deal was with a label nobody ever heard of until today, that did the astonishing job of selling no cd whatsoever.
Obvious this band needs a “manager” or something. On request I took the impossible job. From now on I was : the roady, tourmanager, driver, soundengineer, stagetech, European manager and agent of Gogol Bordello. Hell of a job it was. Tomorrow more
Wednesday, May 28 2008.
Eugene use to deejay before and after the show (read yesterday first). His dj sets were similar to the Gogol performance. Big chaos. With 2 cd walkmans and a pile of cdr’s he got the crowd crazy. At home Eugene had an external harddrive full with dj music he burned selections from for on the road. These cdr’s got thrown around, spilled (warm) beer on, walked over. His sets turned into a total chaos of skipping and hanging cd’s also due to the crappy walkmans he used. The show he pulled of, hanging on the ceiling, dancing on the table,…. made it all good. The combination of an old Russian gymnastic demonstration and the Kusturica Balkan craziness worked positive on the audience. Meanwhile Eugene drank warm beer. He hated cold beer. We all wondered were that came from. The music Eugene played was a mix of modern Soviet, Gypsy Balkan and western pop/punk/rock/disco. All tracks were more based on high energy, lesser musical quality. No prob here. Its all just a pop show getting the crowd move, not a musical education classroom. Eugene was a fresh immigrant from the middle of nowhere Ukraine. He discovered “new” music every day. Most of this music was for the rest of us ancient old (had it, done it, dumped it). Nothing wrong about that. His enthusiasm was funny. Every time hearing some old new music, Eugene had an irresistible desire to share this with us and his audience. He played his “latest” discoveries on the deejay nights as if it was the new hip thing.
We were on one of these USA trips driving in California. The well known highway from SF to LA. Eugene just discovered Johnny Cash (I listened to in the 60/70ties) played on the van stereo. At a roadstop somebody of the band wanted to hear something different and bought a Jimy Hendrix cd. A cheap on sale “best of” compilation. Moving on, the cd got loaded in the van player and the first well-known riffs of “Voodoo Chile” started. Eugene dazzling away, flew up, eyes and ears wide open turning his head all directions. “This is great”! He screamed out. “What is this?” We all looked at each other in surprise and thought the same thing “this guy never heard Jimi Hendrix before!”
Ofcourse the next dj night back in NY Eugene played, to the surprise of the audience, Jimi Hendrix. Tomorrow more.
Tuesday, May 27 2008.
Yesterday it was the 26th. What’s wrong with me that I keep fuckin up the dates. Oh well, time doesn’t exist. Just people trying to organize.
It was Oren, guitar player of Firewater, who called me. I knew him from a few Firewater tours I did. Oren told me that he was desperate looking for a tourguy. A European trip with Russian nutties. “Its all chaos” he informed me. The shows were partly set up by a jazz promoter from Austria, a rock promoter in Switzerland and the band themselves. The band? Oh yeah their name….. : Gogol Bordello. Yeah Yeah Yeah, Their “famous” now! Whatever that means. I will try to remember most and spread it over a few posts. For sure it was funny. Mostly we had a great time.
Back to the story. Since I had some time and am always in for something new, I confirmed. Hired a van and a few basic needs. Forgot were we hooked up. For this story I dived in my archive. Pity, most documents of this tour got lost. Think we started in Praha (Prague). The tour was short. Only 10 days or so. We played the weirdest places. From well organized “official” music halls and Jazz bars (Austria/Germany) and real rock venues (Switzerland) to absolute dump basements and garages. From main cities to hell forgotten villages in middle of nowhere.
Meeting the band was as everybody knows Gogol Bordello. 3 totally drunk Russians. One of them was Eugene. A confused hyper refugee from the Ukraine. An American drummer useless trying to keep it all in control. A nervous sax player I also knew from Firewater. 2 happy dancing girls and Oren, who desperately tried to convince me that this was having a good time and worthwhile doing.
I just wanted to get the show on the road. Most places we went I don’t even remember. The first night I had a great laugh and a very good time with the Gogol show. Ofcourse it was more pop than pop can be. Nothing to serious, especially not the music.But it was good pop. I liked the improvised ways of Eugene trying to realize a glamour show. It all looked like a 60ties highschool music theater play (later I found out why).A total chaos that was difficult to control. Oren stayed cool during the show and tried to keep everybody musically in line. Meanwhile glass and confetti was flying everywhere. Eugene stumbling over his own acoustic guitar that nobody could hear anyway. Yuri’s accordion dropped on the floor because the belt broke. Big bass drum kicked in Sergey’s (fiddle) face due to small stage sizes. Whatever could go wrong went wrong, but it fitted in the total silly look of the show. It was obvious that Eugene was very impressed by some Kusturice movies. A well known Yugoslavian-Serbian movie maker. Eugene “stole” a lot of ideas from these movies. Cheap copying from real artists is a common thing in pop. But that’s another article. You should watch these Kusturice movies. Made wenn Eugene was still a shepherd in the Ukraine mountains. The movie that influenced Gogol Bordello the most is “Time of the Gypsies” original title “Dom za Obesanje” (Home for Hanging). A great movie and a “must” for everybody to see. Other, very famous movies are “Underground” and “Black Cat, White Cat”.
Gogols music was the usual mix of polka, pop/rock and a bit of Balkan Gypsy. Nothing new for me. Was familiar with Balkan Gypsy music for a long time already (and until up today a big admirer).
A repair I did on Yuri’s accordion gave me sufficient qualifications to stay with the band for some more roadtrips. More about that tomorrow and following days.
Monday, May 27 2008.
Now the product is out (read yesterday first), it was time to let the audience hear what we created. Consolidated just released a new cd “The End of Meaning” and planned a tour in Europe. The System went along as opener with the title “The End of Music”.
It was only Zoran and me. Zoran on vox, I play the tape with the beats adding some noise. Our goal was LOUD! We took our own PA (Nano) with us on tour for stage monitoring. Other equipment was the fx and mixer as mentioned yesterday. Made a splitter box to split the vox. One line to my mixer on stage, another to the FOH PA. From my desk I controlled the monitor sound while the local FOH engineer was instructed to get the vox out above all noise. It worked. A heavy industrial Rock and Roll band live. Only 3 outputs. Minimum set up for maximum violence.
Our first show was a small village in Poland. Do not remember the name anymore. Sure somewhere in my archive is still the tourbook, but fuck that, to much work digging it up. Try to rely on my brain-memory-chip. I also don’t remember anything of the first gig nor venue, but I do remember the hours after the show. The locals invited us to a late night bar. Obvious the local “hip” hang out. Friendly and drunk. On stage a cover band. Thought they would amuse us by playing one of those famous “afro American” pop tunes. Don’t remember which one. Think it was “Wonderful World”. Kevin, drummer from Consolidated and “afro American”, got dragged on the stage and pushed behind the mic. No escape here. He had to sing. After a few lines the Polish locals, brainwashed by media stereotyping, learned that not every “black” person sings like Louis Armstrong. Kevin was quickly released.
Next day we drove over the famous bumpy Polish dirt tracks to Warsaw. Played the CDQ club. Found out at soundcheck that the DAT player broke. These fuckin Polish shite roads! (got improved by now). Had to fix it otherwise the end of The System for this tour. Although, I did think of a disc and cassette back up with the beats. Preferred the DAT. The loading bay was out of position due to all the shaking. Therefore the tape did not end up exactly in front of the heads. After some fuckin around I managed to repair the thing improvised. The show must go on! During the trip I had to re-adjust the bay a few times, but it kept running. Unbelievable, I still use the DAT machine until today, pushing the bay in a correct position now and than.
From Warsaw to Berlin were we gigged The Knaak club. Great promoter and friend Stefan likes Consolidated and complimented them with their gig. We did that night the worst performance of the trip. How exactly the tour routing went on I forgot, but we played Tilburg 013. Great show, had loads of compliments from the audience. Munich was very funny. Performed at a social gathering in a welfare building. Something social political. Everybody hated The System but was too polite to say this because “we are all here to support the good cause” whatever that was. After the show a lady walked up to me saying that she thought it was “very good, but why do you have to play that loud?” Hahaha. Its never loud enough sweetie!
Zoran was a great live performer on this trip. Every night he walked on stage looking at the audience with an arrogance as if he wanted to say: “who the fuck do you think you are that you can be here at my show”! It visually shocked the audience. Zoran never said a word to the crowd. He came on stage just before he had to start singing, and left immediately after the last word, leaving me alone to start and finish. During breaks and instrumental parts he stood impatiently on the side of the stage, arms crossed with a “not finished yet?” poseur. Or he sat down, looking bored and irritated. After the show many people asked me why the singer is so angry. Told them that he is a nice guy. Nothing wrong and do not take it personal. Its all showbiz. Nothing is real nor true. Madonna is actually a man, Bono a dog, The Rolling Stones were actually The Beach Boys and Kurt Cobain is still alive. Lies sell! Leave a message on my forum, or write me an email : -email- SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE
Sunday, May 25 2008 This is a more recent memory, still to me it seems ages away. I think it was 2002 (or 2003?). The first (and so far only) real tour of The System. In that time The System was only 2 people, Zoran and me. Sometimes Slavko joined in to play bass. We just recorded and published our first cd; “Not Owned By The Music Industry”. The best cd The System ever made, and probably one of the best music releases of this decade. Its still available, email me if you’re interested to hear. We worked out the cd in a few months time. Locked ourselves up on a pig farm in Belgium. Came back to Idrija and recorded the whole thing within 6 hours in a local rehearsal space on a cassette tape. Yes, a cassette tape. A normal stereo cassette tape, not even a 4-track. Mastered the complete session on cassette (within these 6 hours) and copied to a DAT tape. Obelisk transferred the DAT to a disc. Lots of people do not believe me if I tell them this. The cd is massive dynamic. Waltz over you like a hurricane. Only 22 minutes. All songs one ID, intro is a 2 minute speech where I diss the music bizz. Zoran sings, Slav plays bass I do the rest. How we did it. Simple, a cheap drum computer with programmed beats went with Slav on bass on one track of the stereo tape. Zoran sings on the other track. That’s how we recorded the basics. Some people do not believe that it is a machine on drums. It sounds sometimes so “lively”. Trick : Play the beats loud over a good balanced strong PA. Experiment with some mics (cheap ones, do not bother about all that expensive nonsense stuff) in the room. And re-record the beats PA play back. Effect : great live sounding dynamic drums. After the vox/beats and bass were recorded I mixed the two tracks to another cassette and added the noise/fx live at the same time to the master. Result is magnificent. For the tech wankers here the list of equipment used : SM58 mic, Klotz Nano 800 PA, Legend bassguitar, Zoom 234 drum computer, Boss distortion pedal, DanElectro reverb pedal, Korg Stage Echo, Roland SDE 1000 Delay, Sony TC-KE 230 cassette recorder, Akai HX 27W cassette recorder, Sony DTC 690 DAT recorder. Monitor system : JVC VN 300 amplifier, Pioneer CS 565 speakers. Last, and absolute least (the worst rubbish you can get, and the most pain in the ass during these recordings) : a Beringher analog mixer (sorry, I am still ashamed that I ever used something of the worst brand ever designed in this bizz. Basically I have problems mentioning this fucking thing). For those who know a bit about equipment; all cheap and old stuff used. Minimal equipment maximum result. Now you. Tomorrow about the tour. My blowing of about the recording is enough for today.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Keep it short today. Am very busy. Wonder who reads all these posts on this page. Have the impression nobody, although feedback comes in my mailbox sometimes. So there must be somebody reading this. The tunnel in “bad shape” I was complaining about in an article a few weeks ago, got fixed up last week. Makes me wonder! Car driving in Slovenia did not improve, despite the reactions I had. Sometimes I am surprised about the weird traffic lay outs and situations in many places. Probably it all has valid reasons, or what is more to be expected; someone incapable or careless has the wrong job.
The main state road passing Skofja Loka goes straight trough the old traditional city centre. A small road with historic old buildings (hundreds of years) suffering under massive traffic. Trucks, busses, cars, tourists,… . Driving there the other week saw that one house got supported by big wooden pillars from the outside, simular like you see in Amsterdam. Probably on the point of collapsing. You wonder what the problem is to make a road around the town for passing traffic. Nowadays technology and laws make any obstruction, nature or landowner stubbornness, solvable. On the other hand, I am more a person who likes the heritage of nature. The human made construction and art has lesser my interest. Especially if it comes to industrial shapes and things. It was all build and made to use, not only to look at. As far as I concern we should use the old buildings (castles, old houses, …..) and roads for living and transport. It was originally made for that purpose, so what’s the big fuckin deal. Europe is full with old buildings. Every village has its own castle and historic mansions. Lets go and live in it. Everything is here to dissolve. Nothing stays forever and does not need to.
Friday, May 23 2008
For two days I am a day behind (see date’s above articles). Time goes to fast. Wish I could put the complete existence on hold for a day. Gives me some space.
Do not know how this is with you, but I like to explore, go new ways, try other things. Pioneering is in our nature. Without it we were nowhere. It is the only way for us to survive. Pioneering is progress. I never understood the people who want to keep everything always the same. Have it as it always was. Most people seem to go for this. It probably gives a feeling of safety and comfort. It is ofcourse an easy life only to be a slave that follows leaders. The funny thing is that keeping things as they always were is the lease safe thing you can do. We have to progress to survive, otherwise others in nature catch up. Not that this would be a disaster. Would be good if another living creature starts to rule the planet. We fucked it up anyway. Time for a lesser important role of human kind in this system.
Back to the pioneering. In the music bizz imitating and “doing as anyone else does” is massive popular. Not only that everybody goes for the same music carrier format, the cd in the plastic box/digipack (see article a few days ago). So many stick to the unwritten rules of “how it suppose to be done”: The music, band line up, band picture (always these boring photographs of 4 guys staring in a picture), same rap video car/swimmingpool, and not to forget; everybody the same sound. Music is suppose to be an action of expression and creativity. If you do it as above, you are not creative. It is obvious that you’re only in it for the money. Yes; 95% of the music around is non creative commercial rubbish. Unreal, only made for money. Also the independents. Do not get fooled. You might as well start making soap.
One of the worst things somebody can say to me as an argument is : “Because everybody does it like this”. Or “this is how it is suppose to be done”. I hate that. People who try to defend something with such arguments immediately end up on my blacklist. Don’t want to deal with them anymore. It’s a standstill, and standstill is boring. If people would always have done as what they always did and were suppose to do, we would still be running around naked in the jungle, being food for some kind of another animal. History shows that pioneers among us got mostly laughed at, hated and sometimes even killed. But after time get admired because they moved our complete existence up to a next step. Do not see myself as the great changer of the world, but I also cannot stop my hunger for following different paths. What about you? Is you’re live boring? Well, stop you’re small minded attitude and try something different. Not tomorrow, NOW!
Thursday, May 21 2008
Previous articles were in the direction as this one. The locals here probably think “what’s the big deal”, but I still enjoy the surroundings every day.
Was working on the attic yesterday. An intense job removing the dirty, useless unnecessary isolation material. After some hours I took a rest in the back part of the attic. An open hole that once had the use of a door looked out uphill over the field behind the back neighbors house, ending in forest trees. On the field a deer was relax quietly eating. Carefully picking the most favorite tasty greens. Lots of choice, not many deer’s had dinner on the same spot before this one. Deer’s do come close to the houses more often. The visit was not that new to me. What made it a bit more interesting was when the neighbor came back from work. Drove with the car on his parking spot, next to the meadow. The deer, just trying some young leaves from a bush, looked disturbed direction car. The “get that stinky noisy thing out of here” look.
Right it was. And remarkable, it was not scared at all. The deer kept on eating not planning to move nor run. I notice more often how save and comfortable wild life is here. Even birds do not fly away if you pas them on the dirt track to the shed. This is how it should be. They are at home here in nature, and so am I. Life and let life.
Wednesday, May 20 2008
So let me introduce to you (read yesterday first) : From the USA , New York, LA, San Francisco, Austin and Seattle ; THE SYSTEM!
The musical roots of The System go way back in time before the members were even born.
While George Antheil was shocking Paris with his punk attitude hardcore modern classical music, the son of the neighbor of the grandfather who’s granddaughter in law will give birth to the guitar player (Picky) of The System, played football in Central Park with the cousin of Gerswin ’s gardener. Strong musical influences in the nowadays guitar style were unavoidable trough time since the remover who helped his parents moving in 1957 (before he was born) from Seattle to Austin, once had a drink with a referent from the neighborhood were 2 aunts from the mother in law side of Link Wray use to live.
Meanwhile the cake of an old aunt from the singer (Barky) burned in the oven, because she was helping the daughter of a schoolteacher (who also educated kids living in the same block as Jimi Hendrix’s grandma) with her mathematics. The fireman alarmed by the black cake-smoke bought vegetables from the same greengrocer as the aunt from Bob Dylan did. These influences are still noticeable up today in the song texts of The System. The musical roots of the drummer (Zoomy) are close to the wave sounds of the ocean. His uncles brother in law had a car repaired in the same shop as were the truck was repaired that did move the actual beach sand from the San Francisco beach to Brian Wilson ’s house in LA. You can still hear the harmonizing of the sand grains in the backing vocal parts on The System recordings. The rumor goes that Zoomy’s main influence comes from the sound of pan-lids created in the restaurant kitchen below the apartment were his mom’s best friend use to live. The cook in that kitchen is the son of the father who’s grandfather was best friend with the grandson of the window washer of the theater were Ludwig Von Beethoven used to perform regularly. The window washer’s son immigrated to the USA.
Many years later the “manly” sister from the daughter of the bassplayer’s (Sticky) next door farm in Montana, was sitting on a tractor in a field. Meanwhile on the freeway nearby the tourbus passed from The Beatles, on their first US trip. The influence got stronger when on the chicken market the father from Sticky got in a fistfight with a pig dealer who kissed the mom from Bill Laswell during a trip with the first grade of the Montana Elementary Catholic Bible Class. It is known that an illegitimate daughter of Sticky’s grandparents, who abandoned Montana for a better live in New York, got a job at the Birdland jazzclub as a cleaner. She cleaned the toilet after Miles Davis used it. This qualifies The System to perform live at a well-known Slovenian jazz tv show.
All these influences together made The System the great legendary band as it is now. If you want to see and especially hear Barky, Picky, Sticky and Zoomy live on stage
performing their beautiful sounds, do not hesitate to contact me.
Tuesday, May 20 2008
What is wrong with these continental European promoters. They simply do not get it. It’s very obvious that the continent of Europe has no cultural background regarding pop/rock or any form of modern music whatsoever. Yes the classical and the related to that, more serious music gets full support by government money. Also the youth is not forgotten, and local authorities nowadays are happy to throw some money on the table for a local rock-club. But what about the people who run these clubs. They are stuck in some kind of a weird idea that if you book a band it must at least have the son of Keith Richard (did he ever had one?) playing in it. While in the USA and UK rock venues are aware that you can keep rock/pop or whatever you want to call this music, going, by letting bands climb the stage (bandstand). In Europe the bookers still think that music only goes after you hit the charge. Well dear promoters, to hit the charge you first must get a chance to actual show the audience what you got. So learn this : In the UK it is normal that on a gig night 4 bands play. The first two maybe only 20 minutes. New bands, no pay, a free drink, but it keeps the scene going plus these kids get a chance to build up something. The USA, the spot of rock tradition is even better. Its easy to do a tour with a total unknown band in the USA. If you ask for a gig, you get it. Even in big world famous venues. The well-known Emos in Auston f.e. has the small side room were endlessly bands are playing. Besides those places, there are loads of bars with risers. Ok, you get only paid $ 20 and 2 pitchers of beer, but at least the promoter has an attitude of “there is the bandstand, show me what you got”. If the 10 barflies and the pinball addict like you, the owner asks to come back a next time for $ 50 and 4 pitchers of beer. That’s building up a scene and keeping music alive. On the continent in Europe this is all different. Call a promoter, first thing you hear is that he is tired of all these bands, it has no sense, nobody knows you so nobody comes,…… blah blah blah… If they are all so tired of it why don’t they quit? Somehow I have the impression that European promoters do not like music and are trend followers. Trend setting was not an European thing in the last 50 years. They all follow America. Well, dear promoters, the reason why you are grumpy is because you do not give new artists a possibility to set a trend or build up a following. You waste a meaningless live.
Tips for the bands : Tell the promoter you are from the USA and the drummer is the son of an uncle who’s neighbor worked in the same factory as the father of the owner of the grocery store were the mother of Bruce Springsteen use to go shopping before he was born. You might get a gig. Prove that I am wrong.
Monday, May 19 2008
From an external source:
Notes on Advantages and Dangers for Independent Artists.
You don’t have to perform and/or release material under one single name, or in one single configuration. You can be multiple bands or projects or personas, which could be defined by varying styles. One group of people can also be multiple bands or projects, in different instrumental configurations and/or structural configurations (e.g., a democratic group, then a group with a leader or music director, then an improvisational “jam” group, then one that does all written and rehearsed material). Signed musicians and bands are contractually obligated to perform and release material under a single moniker, and there are expectations to do so in a limited stylistic range (i.e., they are expected to repeat themselves with slight variations for their entire “career”). Musicians who are not obligated to labels via contracts are free to explore, change styles, change names, change images, change incarnations and embodiments and identities. These multiple expressions can all be truthful and honest and from the heart, or they can be playful explorations of fictional identities. Your catalog of recordings could embody an entire fictional record label made up of a roster of a dozen different fictional bands and musicians. Or, you could make a couple of albums under the guise of a band that then splits up; your subsequent musical output could continue by embodying the resulting other bands and careers of the multiple fictional musicians who then move on, have rivalries, make up and then record a reunion album years later. Even in this fictional approach, the songs that you write can still be truthful and meaningful. Or, rather than concocting fictional identities, you could choose to adopt different personas periodically as another way of representing the different stages and eras of your life – a simple but meaningful poetic flourish as an expression of identity.
Your recordings don’t have to be released in a standardized format. The CD-in-jewel-case format, while graciously providing a few square inches of available space for artwork, is really just designed to streamline shipping and retailing needs. A few standard variations on this format are offered by manufacturers in order to take advantage of artists who worry about environmental issues – that is to say, they charge you extra for wanting to manufacture an album that is packaged in biodegradable materials. They charge thousands of dollars to artists who are duped into thinking the key to success is to imitate an image of “professionalism” – your CD has to have a UPC barcode and shrinkwrap, and somehow that’ll help get you sales. Well, none of these things will really sell CDs… in fact, you’ve gotta ask yourself if there’s many people who even want to buy CDs anymore. A lot of people don’t want their music collection to embody much physical space at all (MP3 collections), and for a lot of people, the “album” concept might be outdated. Now, on the other hand, there are still some people who love albums and if they love an artist, they will collect much of their body of work and enjoy the visual artwork, the physical packaging of the music. But unless you’re touring regularly and paying for some publicity and promotion, you’re probably not going to sell 1,000 copies of an album within the amount of time it takes you to write a whole ‘nother batch of songs and put out another album and so on… so why not avoid the whole “professional” manufacturing service and focus on “packaging” your album in a beautiful, unique, handmade container of some sort? Or maybe some weird and interesting alternative CD-R form, like mini-CD-Rs or weirdly shaped little CDs that come in unique tins or envelopes or boxes? Or include your CD-R in a Xeroxed zine, or a strange custom-designed origami container, or in a repurposed toy that you find at a second hand store. Or it could be a collection of MP3s that are hidden in a custom-designed puzzle website. You also have the freedom to give your music away for free, and trade it for other independent musicians’ work. Some people might insist on giving you some money for your music; you may accept or deny the money they are offering, but either way be respectful of their effort to show you some appreciation in this way. You can always redirect that money to some grassroots activism or nonprofit organizations whose work you admire. There’s also always going to be some people who love vinyl, and although it can be quite expensive and does require some interfacing with manufacturers, there are really cool things that can be done with records like picture discs and uniquely shaped records. There are still people who are into cassettes as well. Once you’ve freed yourself from the notion that you need to imitate a veneer of “professionalism” designed by the music industry, you can get back to the much more interesting matters of making sure that your music is embodied in a physical form that is as artistic and unique as the music itself. A few other notes: there is no law that states that your CD has to have an artist name and title on its spine, or on its cover, or a record label logo, or a track listing, or even any text at all. With unique artwork it will still be instantly recognizable. There are no rules and the standardized design elements of the music industry can be taken or left, or satirized, at your whim.
You are free to create and discard “record labels.” Previously, record labels, and “getting signed” with them, were supposed to be one of the main goals for musicians to strive for. As more and more people have realized that they are equally legitimate artists as the “successful” signed artists who contractually work for record labels, the business model can’t handle the volume of people who want to participate in the business. Record labels functioned in some ways similarly to banks (or perhaps more like loan sharks) – they fronted the money for the incredibly expensive processes of recording and manufacturing records, publicizing them and arranging and promoting the tours designed to expose the material to potential buyers. Insidiously, some of these businesses did all this in such a way as to perpetually keep the artists in debt to them. Nowadays, you can find ways to record and duplicate your own songs and albums and avoid these businesses altogether. There is still a general perception that an artist should be “on” a label in order to be considered successful, but the concept of a label can now be redefined to the artist’s preference – even eliminated entirely. Now, a label can be completely imaginary. It can be a collective, or a symbolic “umbrella” of likeminded artists which is merely designed to signal to listeners that “if you like this artist, there are a few others who you might want to check out.” It can be a satirical expression. It can be a signifier of a “series” of works, in a similar manner to the way that painters or sculptors work in series. John Prine said that one day he realized he could just walk out into a field, put his foot on a rock and announce “I am a record label.” It can be anything that artists want it to be, including gone and irrelevant.
You have as much time as you want to record your music and prepare for shows. You can take years to record a single album. Or you can make a game of it and record an entire album in a week, or in a day. Playing with different time frames can break you out of compositional ruts and habits and give you new ideas. You can play shows every week or you can only perform once in a blue moon. You can play shows that are arranged differently than “a bunch of spectators staring at a few performers.” Everyone can participate. You can play shows in places that aren’t clubs or performance halls. Instead of trying to get your album into a retailer’s precious shelf space, you can just leave it laying around in random places downtown, the pockets in the back of seats on Greyhound buses and airplanes, giftwrapped on a café table.
You are not bound to particular musical genres. The names of types of music are by and large imposed by business structures to streamline their processes, for their convenience. Myspace music categories are in place to provide market research that they can sell to advertisers. Some music genres, of course, developed organically and have identifiable stylistic characteristics and regional characteristics. But things just aren’t that simple. Eventually things seize up and get kind of gross – we’ve all encountered (maybe even been) someone who grouses bitterly that this or that isn’t “real” punk rock or “real” hip-hop, that things have changed in a bad way. But the “real” stuff doesn’t stick around forever within its fossilized categorical delineation. It keeps moving and changing. There are also ridiculously fine-tuned variations and categories, for some reason, especially of electronic dance music. But the best musicians listen to and learn from everything, and intentionally seek out music that is very different from what they are trying to do. This gets actualized in various ways, some more obvious than others. The point is, you are free and anything that is too restrictive should be mocked, satirized, and otherwise played with until it loosens up.
Musicians are not required by law to take promotional photographs in which they balefully stare at the camera, but it sure seems like it sometimes. It also seems like some people became musicians because they secretly just wanted to be photographed umpteen times staring expressionlessly at a camera. You are free to be more imaginative than this. You are also free to ask someone else, who is visually very imaginative, to help you with this if you really feel it’s necessary to be photographed and can’t think of anything unique yourself. You are not even required to appear in your own photographs, or even to have photographs that correspond to your artistic identity. There are lots of different types of visual art. You are not required to lip sync to your song in a music video while staring at the camera.
Some Pitfalls to Carefully Avoid
Inverse Nonreality: The perception that an artist from another place (who is either completely inaccessible or accessible only within a disempowering fan-to-icon dynamic) and the mass-produced and machine-manufactured products they promote and sell, are somehow more “real” and should be more highly regarded than the hard-working artist who is a member one one’s local, immediate community, and their limited-edition and handmade products.
Indicators of False Authenticity: Things that don’t really need to be on your CD – shrink wrap; UPC bar codes; label catalog numbers for labels with fewer than several dozen releases that aren’t distributed through retail; label names and logos for individuals and collectives that do not function as business entities; copyright and trademark symbols and references. All of these sorts of things could be omitted entirely, or subverted in creative ways to draw attention to their artificiality in referencing and aspiring to an outdated and elitist business model imposed upon the arts.
Cop Syndrome: A musician who only has other musicians in their social life is as creepy, dangerous and out-of-touch with reality as cops who only socialize with other cops. The best artists are well-rounded people who fulfill other social responsibilities and roles within their families and communities in addition to crafting their artistry – in fact, your personal relationships are your most important artwork.
Recursive Dullness: Songs complaining about the music business are as interesting as paintings of bad art auctions. You gotta express what you feel, though, so just express it and move on; it’s not necessary to dwell on the business and write multiple songs about it.
Void Focus: A tendency for artists to assume an outlook of dissatisfaction and eventual bitterness by focusing on everything they don’t have and ignoring, taking for granted or failing to perceive the extraordinary and wonderful things in their life. (Of course, this danger is not limited to artists!)
These notes are based on my own mistakes, experiments and play. Take them with a grain of salt, add to or subtract from them… enjoy the wall of text and good luck with your unique path!
Sunday, May 18 2008
For the locals who visit this site every morning (and I know they do), tonight on tv1 the movie Strawdogs. I mentioned this movie very often here. Take a look at yourself, watch or record it.
Now further with the “usual”. Scroll down to yesterday to read the first part of this article.
An “undercover” cop on the road is easy to recognize. They have a certain behavior that you can know on forehand that you will be stopped. The car and look (outfit) can be whatever. Once I was stopped by 2 cops looking like a hippy couple driving an old rusty Mercedes. Thought it was funny. In Italy drug cops look stereo type junky. Jeans, brown leather jacket, funny hat. Straight out a cheap Hollywood tv show. They always try to make you confess by telling you that they smoke joints, sometimes in a way as if that is the most normal thing to do.
In Germany on the highways undercover cops are recognized by their driving style. First they take you over and go drive in front of you. Mostly they even slow down a bit or stay behind a truck that you just wanted to take over. This is already very weird. Get suspicious if this happens. Next move is that they will drive that slow, you go and take them over, cursing and mumbling to yourself what stupid driver you deal with. Than they take you over again (approaching a parking or reststop) and will identify themselves as cops inviting to follow them on the parking.
In Europe cops are always with 2 in a car. Never alone. Also not undercover cops.
If they stop you, do not trust them. Check their ID, do not let them alone in the car. Keep an eye on what they do. The fact that they stopped you is a sign that they do not trust you, so how can you trust them?
Saturday, May 17 2008
Somehow I have the feeling that politics turned this world in a more “stereotype” place than it ever was. Some will be grateful for this. Especial those who play with the not legal side of the law. Nowadays cops are so fixated on the “different” that the criminal can move around unrecognized as long as you behave like everybody else.
I belong to the typical “stereotype” outcast. Badly dressed (I do not care nor know about fashion), unshaved (only 2 times a week), chaotic hair (have it cut when I think it gets to annoying long) and worst of all I drive an old Volvo 340 from the 80ties registered in The Netherlands. So here we are. I must be a serious drug and weapon smuggling, robbing and killing criminal. Driving these German highways I get stopped regularly because of my “innocent” look. The stopping is so often that cops start to know me. Never anything was found, neither in car or cop-register. I don’t do anything wrong, but the cops do. Without realizing they help the real criminals. If I want to smuggle something or commit another crime, I would shave, wear suite and tie and rent a new Mercedes registered in Germany. Take family with (preferable a woman with kids) and race on a speed of 200km an hour in the left lane of the highway. Trunk full with drugs and weapons, but no cop looking at me because they are busy with that weirdo in that old Volvo. I take all these controls for granted. I learn with this a lot. Besides that, I know now what to do not be noticed committing a crime and learned a lot about cop behavior. More about this tomorrow.
Friday, May 16, 2008 On request : Try this at home. Vegan cakes are tasty to eat and easy to make. Whoever thinks this article is misplaced here; I like to keep it dynamic. Its my spot and it will go with up and downs, lefts and rights. You will never know what to expect to read here. I promise a more “biting” article tomorrow again.
This cake is easy to make. All basics are the same as most other cakes. As always, my recipes are vegan, but you can replace eventual typical vegan products also for dairy.
75 gr raisins. Let them well for a day in water, this is important. You avoid that they will sink to the bottom while baking the cake.
200 gr flower
2 tablespoons vegetable margarine
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons sugar
2 dl fruit juice (any kind)
One ripe peach
Half a teaspoon of spices : cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, anise, coriander powder, cumin powder
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
1 tablespoon hazelnuts
3 tablespoons dried grained coconut
Mix the margarine, sunflower oil, honey and sugar to a fluffy paste. Add the flower, spices (not the coriander seeds) and baking powder. Mix all this really well.
Add the fruit juice. Again mix this well until it becomes the usual wet cake-mix. Add the raisins. mix the raisins in by slowly turning the cake-mix over with a tablespoon until you think its well mixed. This way the raisins will be better mixed in. Do not go rough mixing with forks, spoons,… anymore.
Turn the mixture in an oil greased and floured baking tin.
Clean the peach, cut in small pieces. Sprinkle these pieces equally divided over the top of the cake mixture.
Crumble the hazelnuts and coriander seeds. Mix with the dried coconut. Sprinkle this over the top of the cake (peach pieces)
Put in the middle of a pre-heated oven 180 C. Baking time 30 minutes.
Do not panic if you do not have one of the spices. The taste of the mix is so strong that a spice will not be missed. You can try mixing other spices. Since it is a cake, they should be sweat-taste related.
The coriander seeds are only for the topping. Gives a nice sharp tasty edge. The coriander powder goes into the cake.
The topping is not absolute necessary, but nice. Some fruit makes the cake more “light” tasting, and a topping looks nice.
Instead of the peach you can use any other fruit you like or have.
Some people put a bit margarine or oil in the crumble topping of Hazelnut and coconut. This way the topping “glues” better on the cake. I experienced this is not really necessary.
Wednesday/Thursday May 14/15, 2008
The tour is over. Everything falls back in the usual “home” routine. Sorry about missing a few days with the articles. It is difficult on the road to keep up with daily writings. Not everywhere is network available. My computer broke down and sometimes I am to busy, no time to write. I will try to keep up with an article every day as much as possible. Still expect that I incidentally will have to skip more often a day in the future. Will try to pre-announce this.
The tour was great. The band rocket as always. Who wasn’t there missed something.
More news, pictures soon on this site.
Tuesday, May 13 2008
Fucked these chicks lame last night. What a party. Finally some good coke that got me going. Looks like my manager is capable to do something. Lots of people at the show. Only to see if I can make it trough all the way. They all hope I die on stage. Fuck that. My manager video tapes every night. But I got them. Did it till the last minute and I still stand strong as long as I get the right fix. Wow these blonds in the front. Had my bouncer take them backstage. We had a good laugh and some champagne in the limo to the hotel. Big party after that. Should have been slower with the drinks. My head hurts. As if somebody chops wood inside my brains. Need something strong to solve that problem. Were is my manager. He is never around when I need him. Fucker. Without me he has no penny to spend. Tonight my last show of this tour. Had enough anyway. Stupid audience. Always wanna hear the same songs. At home I get at least the right stuff from my homey. Much better than that local road crap. Plus that manager stays out of my face. The limo is approaching. See ya later.
Friday/Saturday/Sunday/Monday May 9/10/11/12
Jesus what a shite that stuff was, there in Budapest. Fixed up one hour before the gig. Half an hour on stage I totally blacked out. Collapsed. Woke up the next day in the hospital. Its that fuckin manager of mine. He’s fired. Putted something in the horse he gave me. Told me today that the ticked sales were to low. Needed some extra publicity. The fuckin ashole. Yes the media are full of it. Had to cancel two shows + 2 days behind with my diary here + my computer broke down. Live is hell. Why not suicide right away! Death sells probably better than collapse. Fuck it. This hospital is hell to. No decent drugs here. Tried to get into the medicine room last night. Very good lock I cannot break. Some morphine would do it at the moment! Nice nurses to look at. Wanted to have my autograph. Only if you give me something in return baby! Hate white walls. Gotta get out of here. Today I am back on stage again. My manager is coming to pick me up soon. That fucker. Do not trust him anymore Get my needs from another man. Keep it short. More tomorrow.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Not many people at the show last night. What a fuckin promoter. Should tell my manager we need another agent. How long am I with this record company anyway? 2 more cd’s. Shit. They do not promote right. Is the cd even available in this shithole. Somebody should check out the local store. Local mtv does not show my clip either. Fuck it man, David is on it every hour. I am so much better than that smug. He doesn’t know the difference between a banana and a guitar string. His songs suck. How is it possible somebody even listens to his crap. The only good release he ever had was the one were I helped him out with the piano parts. Remember that session. David’s manager knows the best men in town. Had some great hits. Got me on a high energy stoned trip. We rocked the videogame for days. Freaky fun. My manager should get these contacts from David’s. Goddammed were is this idiot anyway. Its almost time for check out. Everything is still intact. Need some publicity in this town. He’s gotta smash the toilet. No, everybody does that. Have to think of a better one. We should steel the painting. Fuck it. Might be to big to move out unnoticed. It’s a fake anyway. Not very sensational. Got it… Throw that tv out of the window. Wow, that’s going to be good. The window does not open. Gotta smash it. Great like the idea already. Tv trough a broken window on the mainstreet. That makes it to the press. Maybe it causes a major crash with many wounded and deaths. Even better. Death sells!
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Rocked that fuckin crowd yesterday. The way I wanted it. The guitar player was much too loud and draws more attention than I like. Maybe I should throw him out of the band. Gotta look for another one in the future. Fuck it, who cares, everybody can play these 3 chords. As long they play it the way I want, move the way I want and stand the way I want, in the back, quiet, in not to much light. Have to tell this to my manager. Let him yell at the fuckin light guy. Its my money he gets paid. I must be the in the light, the band should be more dark, but enough for them to see what they play. These fuckers, it does not make a difference anyway. Difficult to find some good musicians lately. Dark red or blue. Looks like good colors for the band. In the front more yellow and white. Preferable from underneath. Floor lights, make me look bigger. Hate it that I have to look up talking to these idiots that live from my paycheck. Maybe make a new rule. Everybody who talks to me has to kneel down. Maybe I am not the tallest, but I have the biggest brain! Make the most money and its my face on the cover of the Rolling Stone. Why is there no vodka at the breakfast table. I want a shot with a beer in the morning, not this juice crap and coffee. Were is my manager…… goddammed,………
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Fuck it man. In this stupid hotel light I don’t even see a decent vain. And than those needles, what a crap they give you here. South Germany! What does my manager think. That I can perform without a decent fix. Need to get this done quick. Show starts soon. My head is exploding, my stomach turns upside down. Got to get this done and over with soon. Fuck it, were is that guy, I pay him to work for me. Doesn’t he realize I have to give it all tonight? Lucky that I run into that kid two blocks further. He hooked me up with some weed. Had to go through the stupid traditional stuff first, smoking a joint together. Later he can write a book about it, making some money. Should not forget I inform my lawyer about this. Strong stuff. Good. Need that. Let me roll a fat one to kill the time until that lazy dumb bitch comes with the real shit. Wow this is good stuff. Wonder were he has it from. Should get some more. Gotta lay down. Sally looked good two weeks ago. Nice smooth body covered by a silk dress that felt down from her neck till her feet like a sprinkling spring water fall. Goddammed. Who’s at the door? Shit, might be hotel security. Probably you can smell this smoke all over the hood. Fuck. Gotta hide the stuff, flush it down the toilet, no wait, or what? Who? Jesus you punk ass. You scared the shit out of me. You gotta? Love ya. You’re the best manager in the world! Maybe I don’t pay you enough! Give me 5 minutes in the bathroom and I am your man.
Is the runner here with the drive? Lets rock and roll man.
Monday, May 05, 2008
When you read this I am on my way to start a short tour with PTV3. See dates above.
Had to leave very early (midnight). The band arrives at noon. Before I pick up the van, backline and some administration stuff. This all takes time. I like to be at the airport before the band arrives. I mostly succeed.
PTV3 is a band worthwhile to see. Their shows are great live. Professional energetic, positive rock and roll with industrial “velvet” influences. They can play up to 2/3 hours. I like that, not a band that tries to get of cheap and easy.
Hope I can keep up with the daily posts on this spot. I will try. Some might got used to the new writings in the morning. That will now be more problematic, since a network is not always available, and I do not want to pay the ridicules high rip-of prices for one hour internet in a hotel.
Now its time to Rock and Roll. Come to check out the band, see dates above, and do not forget to say hello.
Sunday, May 04, 2008.
The border we approached is now another by the EC annexed territory. Then there were still custom officers checking your ID and maybe car. It’s not a job done by the smarter among us. That’s a general knowledge. We came from a northern country, famous for dykes, windmills and more. The car was also registered there. Did some shopping, eastern spices from a toko, unavailable in the area we enter. I bring for friends and own use. As expected we got picked out and searched. The spices, packed by the store in self sealed plastic bags marked with a copied label looked suspicious. I told them what it was. The goods were taken in the building. Despite the well sealed packing, the room started to smell like an Indian market within seconds. Again the same questions and answers. Cynical remarks related to the spices in combination with cooking. “Who’s the non educated dumb fool in here” I thought. The main officer of the drug lab got called out of his bed to come over with his mobile research vehicle, one of these typical small shopping cars most drive in this part of the world. In the office every bag got opened, a sample taken out, tested in a tube, sealed again. All results negative. Without even an excuse I could drive on. This took altogether two hours, and I assumed cost the state lots of money. Hiring well educated employees with some more brain cells would save the taxpayer loads of money. On the other hand, those who can think don’t want to do a job like this.
Saturday, May 03, 2008.
A Rock and Roll roadcrew is compiled out a diversity of characters. All kinds of different backgrounds, places of birth, reasons to be here. The production team, agent, tourmanager mostly base the choice of crewmembers on experience, quality and “who you know”. Often you go on the road and you do not know who the others are you have to share you’re life with for the period it last. In other future articles more about that.
In my career the gathering of strangers mostly worked out. You come here to do the job, you know the skill and how it works. Not much is said about that. Tourstories are exchanged the more you learn to know eachother. On the end of the trip you split with a short wave, maybe an email address exchange. That’s it. You know you’re gonna meet again one day, even if never working together. This is the road and the world is small.
Sometimes you are surprised about unexpected skills from a crewmember. The stage tech on this tour was pretty “fresh”, but good and willing to learn. He picked up the score quick and was pleasant easy going company in the team. One day a bandmember sprained her ankle. In the tourbus she complained that it was painful. The stagetech walked up to her and offered help. He told her that he could not cure the wound, but can take away the pain. Concentrated on the ankle he started to move his hands slowly up and down over the painful spot. The pain went away. We were all wiped out. This tech knows a bit more than how to hump a Marshall amp.
Another night we were crossing one of these waters in Europe with a longer, night-over, ferry. You still have a few stretches like that in the north, Scotland, Scandinavia,…. . These ferries supply entertainment to keep the passengers from getting bored. Cinema, bars, casino and always the 70ties disco with the horrible cover band. We were hanging at the disco drinking, having a good time. Unavoidable the most famous dance tracks from the 70ties had to be played; the well known songs from the still well known John Travolta “fever” movie. The stage tech jumped on the dancefloor, we couldn’t believe it. He did all the moves. John would not do it better. Amazed we were staring to the dancefloor, and not only us, the complete disco was wiped out. People made space, girls were dazed. A loud applause for our stage tech as the song was finished. During the rest of the tour he did not show more hidden talents we were not aware of but he might still have a few.
Friday, May 02, 2008
I never saw the landscape between Moscow and Leningrad (oops, sorry, St. Petersburg).
Travelled this stretch only by plane and nighttrain. This time it was the nighttrain. It’s a nice trip starting from a well functioning disorganization in Moscow. Still didn’t figure out how the, for me very chaotic looking, parking situation works in front railway terminal. Inside all is cool and easy to oversee. The train is nice and luxury. Wagons with 8 separated cabins. Sleeps 2 per cabin. Little presents for each; a small pot of caviar I do not eat, but take to give present. Cookies, and a glass with little bags containing instant coffee, thee, sugar, powder milk. Very suitable for the morning, since I am one of these people who cannot make a move without a caffeine injection first.
The train contains a bar/restaurant. Pleasant employees. Good place to hang, life is easy. In the evening a lady comes to make the bed in your compartment.
As the train approaches destination, the same lady wakes you up. I swing out of my bed and grab the instant coffee. No hot water. Cold coffee I consider inappropriate on a chilly Russian morning. The lady is nowhere to be found. I shake and get massive irritated. I need coffee, pizda….!!! The bar/restaurant is closed due to the upcoming arrival.
The train rolls into St Petersburg station. Before it comes to a standstill I jump out and rush to the first coffee sales-point I see. Push myself in front of the line and demand aggressively a black coffee. The perplex woman behind the counter handed me the damping cup I started to zip on immediately. The fog in my brains is clearing. There is life and happiness after all. Dropped some banknotes. Without waiting for the change, I walk back to the platform were the band is gathering their luggage. I feel good.
On the return trip the lady came with a large pot damping hot water in the morning. I tipped her generous. Happy wiggling her fat ass, she moved on through the narrow wagon corridor.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Today is the first of May. It’s Labor Day. A celebration day for the working class heroes (not something to be). Today’s celebration is not for Derek Sivers, he does not work, he only sleeps (see yesterday).
In Europe, May first still means something for most inhabitants. It’s celebrated in almost all territories.
I do not have a tv anymore. Never watched that flickering tube. Assume that the media give non-information as usual. Big parades from some socialistic country (probably Cuba). Riots in Berlin. This news comes as a yearly return on May first as long as I live. Indicates how total useless it is to watch/read or listen settled media. They feed you with a pre-set re-run entertainment news show. As if there is nothing new to tell in a newsbroadcast.
Were I am May 1st is serious celebrated. Big bon fires everywhere. With the neighbors we build one on the field right next to the house. Wood from surrounding gardens people cleaned in the early spring. Lots come out of the house I am fixing up. Because of to much rain in April, it was a bit difficult getting the fire going. Diesel out of my heating system gave it a final go. With neighbors we gather around the fire. Some bring wine, some a harmonica. Life has good moments. That explains why I am late writing this post today.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Let me inform you about someone who made it a profession cheating small independent labels and DIY (Do It Yourself) products. His name: Derek Sivers, his company: CD Baby. For those not in music bizz or unfamiliar with CD Baby, this is how it works: CD Baby is a cd mail order. They take and distribute every cd, even if it is f.e. a handmade sharpie drawn cover with a cheap self burned cdr inside. But to drop you’re cd at that baby you have to pay him $ 35 per release. They take 5 copies of you’re product in stock, keep one for themselves (only 4 left to sell) and you get a page on their site. The rest is as any other cd-store.
Derek claims he takes care of you. So he endlessly bothers you with his irritating emails about how brilliant, great and wonderful he is. He suggests you “great” ideas how to become famous. Ideas we “never” thought of like: looking for a certain agent, find the address and contact her/him. Or: want to have your song on the radio, call the broadcasting station you like. Sure Derek, we never tried these things. You are the only smart person on this planet, we are all stupid!
Once I had a mail of Derek in which he claims that he helped the indie musician by sleeping on his office sofa for 7 years. I must say Derek, I am impressed. We all would like to get rich, sleeping. But how many indie musicians did you really help?
Derek is a typical example of a loudmouth, Pim-Frits juppy rip-you-of smug. Surfing on the web I found out that besides being selfish, he is a huge crazy narcistic maniac, handling several websites. Learning Derek’s “way of writing” he clearly talks “great” about himself in a third person! What a joke. So I read on your own pages, Derek, that you are a musician for your whole live. If you’re advises turn somebody so easy into a “big star” how come you are not the biggest, richest most famous musician in the world? Or is the name Derek Sivers a cover-up? Is you’re real name Britney Spears?
How did this mental hospital patient manage to rip poor people of? Simple. With all their false promises his company managed to get shit loads of cd releases in their warehouse. Famous and totally unknown artists. The balance between the known and the unknown is a reflection of reality. There are loads of bands and performers, only a few sell. The screaming CD Baby propaganda is the usual misleading statistics. “We pay every week over $ 60,000 to our artists”. Yes, to a handful well-known indie “stars” who’s managers leave their product at CD Baby. They would have sold these cd’s without CD Baby anyway. 95% of the cd’s at CD Baby are forgotten plastic. Collecting dust in their warehouse. Never to be sold. But Derek has $ 35 for every contribution. With all these ten thousands contributions of never selling indie cd’s (we honest real musicians worked hard for to create), Derek got himself a nice figure on his bank account. Let’s get real here. If you go to the corner store to leave a few copies of your home made cd, do you give the store owner $ 35 on top? Hell no! Since the strong indie 70ties you can easily negotiate a profit/sales price with your local salespoint. I know what I am talking about. Did and still do it myself. Have that many years behind me. Derek was probably a test-tube fetus in those years.
Yes I admit, I got tricked too and dropped some Limbabwe products at CD Baby. Got suspicious at the tone of Derek’s first mail that arrived in my box. Since that time I ignore these nonsense. He tries to lead you to other companies, probably also owned by Sivers, or his friends. And again you are asked to waste hard earned money while you’re music is lost like a needle in a haystack. Believe me, these companies are not the magnet.
We all know that it takes a lot more than one online cd store with some advices, to become a regular selling artist. If you’re cd goes well, yourself with others did the job, not CD Baby.
At the moment Derek sells the company CD Baby. Just in time, now cd sales dived to an absolute lowest level, and will only sink deeper. Whoever took over must be a big fool. Derek does not care. His bag is filled. A good figure with many zero’s earned with our sweat.
Derek steals from poor musicians in full consciousness taking in consideration that he is smart enough setting up bizznix and sell them. Do not fall for the trick!
Lucky me, there are just not enough brain cells under his skull to understand that we do not all go for the same thing. Hopefully that keeps his unfair bizznix far away from my surroundings.
You wanna have some real advice? Don’t even bother wasting your cd, time and money at CD Baby. That $ 35 is thrown away. Spend it on some phonecalls to concert promoters, or better, a set of new strings, drumsticks or other useful instrument parts. No need for this? Buy some drinks and have a jam with your friends. Than you play real music, do real music and are real music. Plus you know what, its fun. You will have a much better time than getting frustrated over these Derek emails.
CD Baby takes $ 4 of every cd sold. This is a standard cut salespoints take. If CD Baby would be a true honest competitive company, helping musicians, they would give everybody their $ 35 back without cutting services. They would get equal to similar stores and have to sweat it selling all this unheard music, earning their share from the music buyer and not the music maker. But that would be too hard of a job for the money, isn’t it Derek? Derek….Hey Derek….. Wake up! Napping on that sofa again?
As soon Derek wakes up he will start spitting around his usual bullshit. I will disappear next door, were my gear is, to jam some tunes. Maybe I switch the tape on and record a few, or invite friends to jam along. We might take it out of the house and become big stars among the local kids and apple trees, famous and beloved by the passers-by and neighbors cat joining our gig in the front lawn. For free. Hand them gratis self recorded cd’s. No stage, no soundcheck, no contract, no deal, no CD Baby, no music-bizznix, but lots of music and honest fun brought with a good spirit (apple moonshine?).
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Massive big threatening dark clouds move by quickly from the west. A big wall formed by high rocks few miles further east, pushes them direction south. Warm winds that calmly float above the waves kicks them east. The sky is not the limit. The sky has no limit! Cannot stop watching the movements above me. I posted some articles before about the thrills of nature here. It is one of the enjoyable beauties in this part of the planet. The sky I watch the most. It has a simple reason. I do not need to leave this spot. Just look out of the window, sit on the balcony or in the garden. Sure there are more spots were you can admire similar weather types. I happened to be on this one. It’s exactly were the Mediterranean meets the Alp atmosphere. Day after day the two weather cultures clash, fighting like brothers. The one keeps the other going by kicking each other.
Do not need to stay on these few square meters. Just a stone throw away rough wild nature starts. First easy. A bit organized by people who created paths and resting places improvised out of rough wood. The further you go, the lesser human influenced. Wild with many wonders. Trees, deer’s, waterfalls, spiders, bushes, snakes, flowers, hawks, rocks, bears, views. Non seem to wonder that I am here too.
Monday, April 28, 2008
(Scroll down to the day before yesterday to start). So what is than good? Well to start with; this question is asked wrong. You better ask : Where do I find good music?
Let me first tell you were you do NOT find good music: In record and cd stores, on tv and radio, on mp3, in venues, clubs and bars or any other establishment run by the music industry. Yes, you waste you’re money. The days that someone’s music got recorded or performed because the music of that person is so brilliant, are definite over. Nowadays its all about a money making product. Not music! And who makes the money? Not the “musician” but the tie wearing yuppie creep who tries to make you believe that his products are immortal. Well, he doesn’t believe that himself. He laughs about you fools, at home with a drink on the edge of his swimming pool. Conclusion: whatever appears on the settle down stages and music stores is not good music.
Hang out of you’re window and listen. Or take more notice of the musician you always rush by in the underground, railway station, street, park,…. . Often these people are better than anything in the established industry. The funny thing is that assumedly they even make more money by what is thrown in their hat, than the crap artist that appears on mtv every hour. No Joke. I work in this bizznix and know what’s going on. All these fools blowin’ of with their temporary, by the industry borrowed to them, mansions they show of in the media, make no penny and are thrown out as soon as the year is over. Back on the street because another fool takes over. Good! Nowadays the street is thee place to make real music and cash!
Do not ignore the free music you get, and do not denigrate the music carrier. Lots of musicians nowadays record their own music. Often they hand copies out for free. That this music is not released by a label, not been heard on the radio, not available in a store neither visual on tv, does not mean that it is not good! Opposite, probably that music is better, since the established industry only comes with crap for money. So instead of ignoring it, give this music a chance. Listen to it. You will be surprised. On tour I get more often free music handed to me. I listen to all at home. Lots is bad, but often I am totally wiped out by the great music I got. Do not let the format and look influence you. Even the most amateur looking cdr marked with a sharpie or dirty looking cassette tape, can contain the greatest thing you ever heard. Yes cassette tape. You are still an industry slave and music hater, if you restrict yourself to only one playing format. Dig up that old cassette player, turntable, tape recorder from the attic. Wipe the dust and open you’re ears. The media restrict themselves by only accepting the one well known digital format. Proves how limited they are.
Give it a go to the free links on the web. The more modern way cash-less musician uses to drop their expressions. If someone hands you a crumpled up note with a link to a page, visit it and listen. You get more value for you’re time than hanging in a record store.
The industry I write above also includes the all these other so called “independent’s”. They are just the ones who dream of gaining a position in the old money industry.
Real music is on the street, not stage nor store. So next time when you walk by, throw money in that hat.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
People you got me going with this (scroll down to yesterday). I listen to music for my profession. Heard more hours of music than there was available time in my life. I can and do listen. Also to the music I don’t like, so if I diss a “musician” or “band”, believe me I know what I talk about. I heard it probably endlessly.
The Doors. Oh my god! What did I do wrong that I have to live up till today with that horrible music. I am not religious, but if I hear The Doors, I still do not believe in a god but for sure start to believe in the existence of the devil. The Doors is evil to my ears! Poetry? What? Say that again : Poetry? Did you ever read any REAL poetry? A one year old child can do better than that bearded leatherpants smug. “I am the lizard king and can do everything”. Can do shit you mean! He achieved after death as much as before: nothing, nihillos, niche! Lets close The Doors forever, turn the lock and throw away the key in the deepest spot of the ocean.
A lot of music is very overrated. Ofcourse, I know, everybody their own taste blah. What an argument. Most people do not have a taste. They just eat what the society and their propaganda dogs bark to them! Anyway, this is not about taste, this is about media blow ups. Do not give a shite that you listen to dump music at home or with a headphone. As long as I do not get involved. The industry commercial bullshit machine endlessly brainwashes new generations with old music that should have been forgotten, buried, burned! Why? To make money, you fool. The music media are owned by the same companies who also own the music. They keep on lying to you that these bands are immortal. Well I tell you, 100 years from now nobody will remember…., I hope.
Same happens with classical music. So overrated. Mozart, Strauss,….. They were just the “Michael Jacksons” and “Britney Spears” of some centuries ago. Simple popular music. Meaningless. No art whatsoever here. Lets declare Strauss (Johan) as the first famous “dancing Queen”. For that he can go into history, forget his music!
Needless to say its useless to whine about the “David Hasslehoff” of jazz; Chet Baker, brainless childish compositions of Charles Mingus or the high on dope non-music from the non-musician Sun Ra. Or what about the more “modern” John Zorn? Does anyone listen to his crap? Think John Zorn is the most famous no-one-listens-to musician in the world. Lets keep it that way.
Not insulted enough? Tomorrow more.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
My favorite artist? Hmmm, good question. Have many, have any. I do not know. Its “dangerous” to be public about the music you like the most. Nowadays too many brain-dead idiots on the planet make judgments based on that. (“I don’t like you because you do not like the music I like”). Foolish to think like this. Who cares what somebody listens.
Back to the music. Its easier to say what I don’t like: music cold technical composed doesn’t do anything to me. Ok here I go, lets fight : Heavy Metal, Hard Rock and lots of shite related to that, is meaningless, emotionless boring rubbish. I can appreciate the “No sleep….” Live album from Motorhead, but that’s about it!
Another shocking one : Progressive Rock from the 70ties. Jesus, all these musicians should be electrocuted for making my life so miserable with their simple designed semi-intellectual “complicated” composition played by 3 neck guitars, 18 toms drumkits, 12 string bases and 24 keyboards. What a bullshit.I never understood the endless adoring of Led Zeppelin. This band sucks. Threw all their records out of my collection. How can a band so bad, survive history until today. Must be the industry in lack of energy and money, milking the back-catalogue. Did anyone ever listen to them? I did. Weak compositions with boring lyrics. Artificial designed songs that do not rock nor feel. The best tracks on the first records were the cover songs which sound like weak blubber compared with the original. The more records Led Zeppelin made, the worst they got. I suggest we collect everything ever printed and released by them, including the masters and multitracks. Put it in a rocket with a timebomb, and send it, one way, into space.
Lets clean the planet up. Tomorrow more.
Friday, April 25, 2008 We were driving the interstate that follows the Mexican border. The freeway connects Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Somebody warned us for controls. That got ignored. Nobody was illegal in our van.
Unexpected the traffic stocked in the middle of a dry dessert-type landscape. A traffic jam. Nothing around. Total emptiness. No town, village. Not even a single farmhouse! The road was straight. No crossing, no side road, no traffic light. What’s going on? An accident? The cars moved very slowly. We got closer to the cause of hold-up. The sun sank solemn behind the hills. It was twilight we came in front of the line. A police control point temporary set up in the middle of nowhere. Big bright lights fed by batteries. A few vans stranded on the side of the road used as temporary office. Dogs! We were not worried, nobody from the other side of the fence in our van. We crawled by. The dogs started to bark and pulled hard on their leash. They picked us out. I had to drive into the sand (I was driving). An officer took our id’s while commanding to step out and sit in the sand. Another cop searched the van. It took a few minutes. A coat owned by one of us, was thrown on the hood. “Whose coat is this?” the first cop barked. Nobody answered. The jacket contained a small bag with a little bit of marihuana. The cop threatens to call the local sheriff if the coat owner did not immediately identify himself. Someone stood up. Meanwhile another small quantity was found. Now the sheriff would definitely be informed. The sax player, an emotional soul, started to whine. “We are poor musicians, we don’t do anything wrong, we are no criminals, we bring joy and happiness to the people”.
For me it all looked very surrealistic. Like one of these cheap American tv shows. The lights, the yellow sand, the screaming cops. It was amusing. The worst would be deportation. An early return to Europe in a period that I toured non-stop. Unexpected vacation looked attractive.
The cop came back to inform us that the local sheriff had no time to get involved. Probably considering himself as a righteous civilian he started to yell a long speech. “we were very lucky the local sheriff didn’t want to take this case”. “It is dangerous to smoke marihuana in the van. You intoxicate the driver. Blah, blah, blah……..” But his best line: “If you want to smoke marihuana, smoke it at home!” What? Wait a moment! A policeman in duty advices us doing something illegal is ok if you do this at home?
As we drove away we realized that a real big stash of at least 100 gram, handed to us by a friend in SF, was still under the mattress in the back of the van.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Last year was the first spring/summer/autumn period I was here so often that I finally could admired the changes in the field next to the house. This field is big. Situated on the west side, starting up hill, floating down passing the house ending at the asphalt road. The size of a football field. Close to the road a few fruit trees bring a pleasant change to the front of the house view. On May 1st we (the neighborhood) burn a big bonfire in the middle of the field. No problems here. Water streams down the hill endlessly. Even in extreme long dry periods the field is always green. Through the seasons, different types of wild flowers bloom at their turn, changing the color. A feast for the bees.
The field has a natural rotation of plants. We call this a healthy field.
Sometimes a local comes with a scythe, cutting the tall weed, creating space for the next generation to arise. Food for the rabbits. With his wife he rolls it in a big pack. Together they lift the bale of weed on the roof of his car. An old Renault 4, antique by now, almost disappeared from the streets.
Besides a few local children who incidentally use it for expressing their fantasies, the field is the rest of the year only here for me and the bees to enjoy. It s blue now, interrupted by yellow spots. I know as time passes by, the field will get purple, red, white, yellow and blue again.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Would like to make some remarks regarding my post yesterday (scroll down). In the last few weeks several people asked me if all the subjects I write about are true. Did this really happen? Was it like that?
Honestly people, I am not making anything up here. Am surprised people even questioning this. As I wrote a few times in former articles, my life was much moved. Many true stories still to tell. Maybe the reactions are based on my “look”. I simply do not fulfill the stereo type Hollywood/pop tv person of an; anarchist squatting punk rocker sound-technician tour-manager music-bizz nature-hiking house-repairing freak driving old cars. I know that the media took over, and especial younger people think that what you see on mtv is thee way. Believe me, nobody in the real world looks or acts like the stereotypes on tv or Hollywood movies. You must be a simple mind if you base judgments on that.
Another reason is maybe that most of us do not live a life as I did and do. They cannot imagine someone experiencing so much. But we all have our own story, just not everybody writes it down.
I do not feel I have to defend the honesty of my posts. Those who doubt, tell me something. You measure my corn with your bushel!
The article I posted yesterday was one of my more problematic subjects turning into text. The memories of that day wake up deep emotions and anger in me. A wound that never heals.
It was my first eviction. More followed. Time pushed the event far away in my brains. The ambulance and the screaming old man were always upfront in my memory. Old pictures brought more alive. The rest of the story came back while writing it down.
The unnecessary aggressive violence by the legal force did change me forever. The anger I gained that day, is still with me up to now. It made me a strong spirit. I had and have a goal. To support and inform those who want or need to hear. I knew I would never do the “normal” life, whatever that is. Many on this planet gained anger with similar experiences. We should all turn this in a positive force supporting eachother as respected living beings. Do not bother me with politics, territories, religion or competition. Life rises far above that!
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
5 O’clock in the morning. The silence thickened the air. It’s always quiet at this hour. The town lives up around 8 AM. This morning the silence was different. It weighted upon us as a tensed pressure. First an ambulance came. Parked about 100meters down the street. A symbolic pre anouncement. We knew that today was the day. After barricading all doors, windows, stairways and galleries with nails, wood, glue, pin wire… we withdrew in the most difficult to reach apartment.
To keep it short. Our home was a squatted apartment building. Luxury living units to be sold. Empty forever, nobody bought. Great place to live. We offered rent, they refuse. The judge spoke; we had to leave. It was eviction time.
In the barricaded apartment we decided not to resist, but also not to cooperate by leaving the building voluntary. The ambulance indicated what to expect. Its presence drew attention of some neighbors. They were also informed about the upcoming event. The streets looked emptier as usual. Later we heard that the cops blocked them already. An old man, familiar face from around the block, screamed emotionally; “Come down! Come outside! This is not a game anymore! You’re gonna get hurt! Save yourself now you still can!”
We locked ourselves in.
The room was silent. Unidentified noises from outside slowly increased. The only interruption. Suddenly hard bangs on the door. Wood splinters flying around followed by a loud crack. The glitter shine of a helmet visual through the hole. A man dressed in riot police clothing pushed himself through the door. Soon more followed. Not much was said. The cops looked silly and sully, mumbling something. We kept quiet. They started to carry out the first person by lifting him/her up from the floor as a sandbag. We showed absolutely no form of resistance nor cooperation. It was my turn. 2 cops in riot uniform picked me up and carried me trough the broken doors over the gallery. This way of transporting got to difficult on the stairs. The cop behind me swung his arm around my neck, strangling so hard, I couldn’t breathe anymore. Being aware of this he putted a stupid grin on his face and pushed me down the stairs until we reached the police van.
the dumb slaves
This happened almost 30 years ago. Even now I write this down all kind of feelings and emotions arise. That day definitely changed my life. How horrible rude some people are!
Not only the cop who strangled me, but also the persons behind all this. Still didn’ forgot the names of these criminals; Fey, Huskes. Dumb idiots. Probably gone by now.
I hope they died a slow and painful death. If still around, I curse they will. They lost the game. Fools, too dumb to realize the building is just a material thing, but I am a living spirit who will, until the last second inform people about injustice done by them, and others, everywhere every time!
Those who are familiar with people from Japan know that their English is often lesser good than shown. No comments on that, my Japanese is a lot worst. Still for some reason English became the most used language in the world of musicians. Traveling with a couple of Japanese artists, I learned that in Japanese culture it is impolite to deny or ignore. Often yes is nodded although nothing is understood. Also the several meanings and different contexts of English word-constructions are often wrong received. It’s difficult if you come from a part of the world were letters and language are totally different. Imagine yourself trying to speak Japanese! Time for the story:
We were in the UK. The leader of the group had a thing with T-shirt texts related to the word “fuck”. One morning in an English hotel I met him on the stairways going down to the breakfast room. He wore a shirt with the one-word print “fistfucking”. Wow! How to explain before anyone reads this? I tried. On the stair landing I pulled out every thinkable explanation. Being someone who doesn’t care what people wear, neither get offended by texts like this, it was difficult. Tried the “sexual meaning”, “offending/insult to some”, “gay related”, “the very conservative society we are in at the moment; the UK”. Nothing seem to ring a bell to him what it means to walk around with a shirt that says: “fistfucking”. “This is going to be a very funny day” I thought. We had a good start in the breakfast room. The waiter approached our table. Obvious shocked he tried to note the order, staggering on his feet, looking at the ceiling trying not to read the hard to ignore, screaming text on the shirt.
The shocking and insulting of the small minded among us came to an end in a UK highway roadstop restaurant. We were quietly zipping a coffee, upsetting grannies without talking or making moves. Suddenly the police. They walked straight up to our table and said to the T-shirt person “Excuse me sir you have to change shirt or turn it inside-out immediately”. The bandleader reacted confused. He didn’t understand the weird difficult English accent of the cop. I explained to the police that they are from Japan and do not understand English very good, neither me speaking Japanese. They insisted, and after confusing words and gestures the shirt turned inside-out. That was the last day he wore a shirt with a fuck-related word.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Writing these daily posts for some time now. A few days ago I took a minute to re-read them. Jesus, I barely started. Maybe one post a day is not enough. Hope I will live long enough to put it all down. So far the posts are morning fresh. Write them after waking up while I zip my first coffee. Noticed the big differences in quality. Some do need re-writing, others are very good. The Slovenian driving and Sex Pistols stories are ok. Some others are lame. Had a visitor in the house last week. That’s noticeable. The articles written in that period were done quick, short and lesser inspired. Change is in progress. Got into a “writing mood”. For the first time I am a few posts ahead. Discovered new positive vibes in live. Was thinking for years about transferring my memories and meanings into text. Do not see myself as a writer, neither seek for perfect language high literature creations. Go more for the what than the how. It does to me the same as hiking in the mountains and forests, working in the house or operating the FOH mixer at a concert. It ease my mind. I feel confident and relax plus the chaos in my head gets organized. Sometimes stories drop in out of nowhere and start as if you missed the introducing lines. In that case keep on reading. It all will make sense on the end. The, for almost 50 year stored files in my brains, jump from one memory to the other, ignoring time and place. As if everything happened at the same moment on the same location.
Slowly I gain a final peace. The self constructed and re-build myspace, the mountains and forests a glance of an eye away, the creation of sound on confidential equipment, the writing in digital on a word pad. Do my restless travels finally come to an end? Is this home? If it is, it’s good…..so far. Leave a message on my forum, or write me an email : -email-
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Scroll down to yesterday, were the story starts.
They were fixing up the Tauern tunnel. For months I had to drive over a small mountain pass around. Nice landscape. Major detour. Driving for my work. This takes time.
It was a nice sunny late-summer day. I drive in Austria, enjoying the weather and landscape. Radio on. Music got interrupted by a local news reader who announced that the Tauern tunnel was just re-opened. “people you should see the tunnel now!”. “It is Beautiful, bright, clear and….. save”, He screamed enthusiastically. Hmmm, since I am driving here, lets have a look. I reached the tunnel and must say he was right. A perfect bright lighted up tunnel. White walls, cats eyes indicating the lanes, sharp lights making the pipe almost as bright as sunny-daylight. They did a great job. Also the traffic was behaving. Everybody still remembered the drama half a year ago. So drivers go calm, keeping distance and reach the other end safely.
Memory and bright lights have a short live. We’re just a few years later. Last week I entered the Tauern tunnel again. The white walls turned black due to the vehicle fumes. Cat eyes broke, or barely visual. Big wind turbines lost the fight with the clouds created by exhaustion pipes. The tunnel became again a long dark, misty pipe. Worst; stressed out drivers ignore speed limits kissing each other bumper. Up to the next crash.
Hope I will not be too close that day.
Friday, April 18, 2008
People forget very quickly. Remember the massive tunnel accidents just a few years ago in Europe. In the famous Mont Blanc tunnel (French-Italian-Swiss corner) over 40 people died. Lots more got injured. Just a few months later a major accident in the Tauern Tunnel (Austria). Lesser devastating, but still deaths and wounded. I drive trough these tunnels often. Know them like the self made path in your garden. Especially the Tauern tunnel. Remember that accident clearly. It happened just after I drove trough.
Rolled over the Austrian highway direction Tauern tunnel. Before the tunnel some signs warned for construction activities inside. With the usual distance between, I drove behind a truck. Suddenly the truck hits the breaks and makes a 100% stop. So did I. No panic, kept enough distance and nobody behind me. Still the question what’s going on? The truck in front of me formed a blinding wall. Stepping out of the car in the middle of a 6 km tunnel is a bad idea. Nothing looked panicking, no smoke nor signs of fire. Some loud construction noises nearby. Suddenly the truck moved on. Passing by the construction I saw a temporarily traffic light. No pre-warnings set up for this. Not before, neither into. About 20 minutes after I left the tunnel. The usual, but still by me very much enjoyed, mountain landscape. Radio on. Local station (listen sometimes radio on longer drives). Interruption by a news message. A major crash in the Tauern tunnel. Fire, deaths, wounded, many cars involved. I just drove trough this pipe. What the hell!! Yes you guessed it: the unexpected traffic light. A sudden stop. Not enough distance did the rest. To be continued.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
I am fixing up the house. That’s fun. The house is over 100 years old. Made out of stone. It’s huge. Some people say : “this is not a house, it’s a hotel”. Sometimes I think to turn this building into a hotel. 2 floors have 10 rooms, bathrooms not included. Than there is the basement, attic and garage. Rebuilding this is a lot of work. Changed all electricity, water and sewer pipes. Replaced floors, walls, heating system, chimney. What a job. Busy for more than 2 years and still not ready. Sometimes I also think the house is too big. Working on it gives me peace. Relaxes the same as some people have with yoga or meditation. The results of all that work is very satisfying and creates space. Every time a room is finished, I realize how much space I have. This is a real organic MySpace where I can invite friends for a talk, drink, dinner,…… much better than the cyber one.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008 Sometimes an idea/business move becomes very fast world wide popular. It’s mostly the overdone propaganda around it that draws the attention. At birthday party’s we proudly talk about these “society heroes” that “made it”, as if they are our own sons and daughters. Mostly they are just smart business people who cheat you. The “idea” gets big, many get involved, and some stupid employees at the “brainstorm department” try to keep it “innovating”. New ideas mostly make the use impossible and customer-unfriendly. A perfect example of all this is a very famous product in public known by the name MySpace. Got introduced to this site years ago, before it exploded, by a musician I was on tour with. Commented : “prefer real friends above cyber friends”. Still think that way. The incidental times I visited MySpace until recently I can sadly only see it is either a free business promoting advertisement location (especial for music), or a bunch of individuals racing for the maximum amount of “friends”. These so called “friends” are not friends. Friends are people you communicate with, have dinner with, play football with, go on holiday together with their wife’s and kids with,…….. . Most MySpace page owners do not even know their “friends”. Now the no-brain “brainstorm” team of MySpace developed a new system. If you check a page on a server that is not based in an English spoken country, the program sends you the page in a weird, unreadable language. No way to change this unless you log in, and even that is very user unfriendly and get lost every time you clean your computer (we all do). So be aware, your page on MySpace is only readable by members. Not such a good advertisement at all! I gave it up. Will avoid MySpace from now on. Prefer not to waste my time in a club of losers who like to be controlled by a computer program. Got some real friends here plus music bizz has not much to offer nowadays. MySpace is a waste of space.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008 Sticking to the “rules” and “regulations” is thee thing of the now-generation. Looking in my own surroundings; the “music scene”, I notice that many newer bands/artists try to do their things as you “suppose” to do it. The unwritten rules of the pop bizz. They release the cd’s as supposed to, they tour as supposed to, they use the same (lesser genius as often announced) producers as supposed to, ….its boring. All these bands, Explosions, Mono, Isis, Gogol, Alabama, Devandra, or whatever they are called, will not survive. Forgotten in lesser than a live-time, because they do it as you suppose to.
I know, it’s a part of the definition of pop not to be creative, as you suppose to.
All just done to make a product for money.
History proved that those who innovated and pioneered survive the memory-lost that time causes. I prefer pioneering. Makes my live lesser boring. Be aware young ones, rebellious parents are taking over.
Monday, April 14, 2008 The internet. Was this week getting very aware that there are people who spend enormous amount of time on the internet. Not just working on the computer or have a quick lookup, but just surfing, watching tv, or whatever. Of course everybody is free to spend their time however they want. Be aware though, you can compare the internet with just a huge collection of papers, magazines and books. All created, written and made up by people. The only difference, net space is cheap. Many run their own “magazine”, like me doing this one.
Still, it’s a one way communication tool. The info is dropped on you. Keep questioning if it is true what you read. Even (especially?) the settled down media (cnn,……newspapers, discussions blogs). This system makes it too easy to pretend something different than what it is for real. Real!!!!? There is a real world out there people, with real trees, fresh air, mountains, deer’s, dogs or if you prefer, streets, bars, clubs, alley cats,…. . And you can touch and see and communicate directly yourself. No keeping up or pretending here. Information comes by what you see, feel, hear and experience yourself. Something I prefer.
Sunday, April 13, 2008 He had one bottle in the hand and one in his guitar case, were most players have their spare strings and other necessaries. For Caspar was the vodka necessary. 2 Bottles a day at least. First thing at breakfast a beer with a shot.
Caspar Brotzman is the son of the famous avant garde jazz musician Peter. He started his career in the early 80ties. More rock music, as young people make, strong influenced by Jimi Hendrix. Still remarkable because his interpretation was more impressive than any other who had the luck to get more attention. Through time style developed into a more personal one. In the 90ties a few great recordings were made under the name ‘Massaker”.
Modern underground sound. 3 piece band. Caspar with a strong rhythm section.
In 2000 I did the last tour with him. I assume it was his last tour, because he disappeared without a trace. Some told me Caspar played, as a hired in musician, temporary back up guitar in a poppy German Hip Hop band. That stopped. After this never heard of Caspar again. No concerts, no new releases. Caspar played unbelievable good at these last solo performances. Instrumental music with ultimate guitar control. Beautiful sounds. Music that was so full with deep feelings and energy that it carried every night all of us (the audience) away in a different atmosphere. These were the better moments in my live. You can hear a touch of this music on a cd called “Mute Massaker”. On the web I found his name, involved in local art projects in his old hometown. If you read this Caspar, drop me a mail!Leave a message on my forum, or write me an email : -email-
Saturday, April 12, 2008 The not-answering is something I do not understand. We are all familiar with this situation. Someone sends you an email, on you’re reply only silence. Through time the mails and person behind it got forgotten. It happens a lot in this music bizz, lesser with old friends finding your site and reacting. I do understand, some people have enough of a mail once a year. That’s fine, its still contact. Others you write more intense with.
In the bizz many complain (or blow-up about) the huge daily amount of mails in the box. Spam is limited, we all know by now how to deal with those writings. So most mails you have are people seeking for contact, with questions, proposals or even react on a mail you dropped to them. If you started of the conversation by writing someone asking for….. seeking for…….. . Here you started of the conversation. It’s indecent and inhuman to simply stop the contact and keep total silence. Whatever you say how busy you are, a short line; “sorry I am not longer interested, tanx for your reply” takes just a few clicks. It’s strange, the easier communication tools become, the lesser we are able to communicate on a normal human level.
Friday, April 11, 2008 We all have our periods playing different types of music. The last months I am very into older recordings again. The 40ties, 50ties last century. Especially blues and jazz recordings. Famous and lesser famous. Billy Holiday, John Lee Hooker, Elmore James,….. . Its not only music out of the heart played intense with lots dynamics, the sound of the recordings flatter you’re airs. Bass sounds with long sustains, notes zooming, building strong foundations. Scratchy mean guitars, out of tune and beat. Vocals bubbling up out the deepest parts of the body. These are musicians and these are good sounding recordings. Here are humans at work who want to say something. Everybody can learn of these old recordings, nowadays. Even the most “respected”, ”famous” and best paid players, producers,…. . The modern clean nice sound nowadays is not a human good sound. Therefore it will not last. I do not care how many hear your show or recording. You are a nobody, forgotten in 50 years, because you only wanted to be a sheep in the herd, following, afraid for exploring and dynamics, with other words, afraid for human live. That’s why you are meaningless!
Leave a message on my forum, or write me an email : -email-
Thursday, April 10, 2008 Emir Kusturica. Well know Balkan movie maker. Often I think of him looking at situations over here. Ok. This is Slovenia, the edge of the Balkan, but the influences of the past are clearly present. Nothing wrong with that. It makes live colorful. On the main state road, passing the town is major construction going on. Only one lane is available. Therefore a traffic light. The light goes red, but almost every driver seem to ignore this. They see the bumper of the car in front of them who just made the yellow, and think I can quickly join the end of the line, nobody will notice. Problem is that 10 cars in a row do the red, meanwhile the other side gets green and starts to drive. They meet each other on the narrow one lane track in the middle of the construction. Nobody cannot go anywhere anymore. Despite obeying the traffic light, major “kusturica” kind of chaos situation is created. I look around to see were the film crew is, and have a good laugh. Why bothering buying a cinema ticket if you all get it “live” for free.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008 What a day yesterday. Rain kept poring down all day. Never stopped. This is rare in these parts of the planet. Had its beauty also. The misty clouds covering up the tops of the hills. At the moment the fog is clearing and sun comes out again. Looks more promising.
Have many “rainstorm stories”. Once on a trip with The Pharcyde. Drove the North France coast road up to the UK connecting ferry. Beautiful weather. Suddenly the sky turned black in no time. It was night in the middle of the day! Rain came down so heavy that sight got limited to a few feet. No asphalt visible anymore, but with some guesses and luck I figured out the side of the road to stop and wait till worst was over. While we were standing there, engine of / hand brake on / car in gear, wind and water came so heavy that the van slowly started to slide more forward leaning right, headed direction road ditch. The sky changed blue again as quick it got dark before. A truck, driver obvious blinded as us, stopped one feet away from our bumper. Survived another one. Do not worry, I will keep my “almost died” stories limited on this side.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008 .
Part 3. Scroll down two days back to read part one and two.
The pre-sales were a couple of days before (a week?), started at 8.00 pm at the entrance of the club were The Sex Pistols came to play. Maasbree was about 12km away from were I lived (Venlo). Got on my bicycle around 7.00 pm. I wanted to be sure to have a ticked, only 400 available, and somehow I had the feeling arriving at opening hours would be ok to belong to the first 400. In Maasbree I expected a long line in front of the club. It was 07.50 pm, turned around the corner, the street was empty. At the level of the club no living soul! Parked my bike against the wall, walked up to the front door! Nobody! The door was locked. A poster glued on with some celluloid tape, clearly announced pre-sales starting here today. The world wide most discussed rock band of the year is coming to play, nobody is here at the pre-sale! 5 minutes later few more people came. Nico was there plus few others I had seen at other punk rock gigs. 8.00 pm the door opened. Was the first in line, the first to go in, and had ticked no. 1. The ticked was numbered by pen and sold by the organizer, Matje Nellen, himself. Still have that ticked.
The gig got sold out that evening by pre-sales.
A week later the concert. Again I left early. Doors open at 8.00 pm, better be there in time to have a good spot in front. Same routine, leave 7.00 pm and again, at arrival nobody there. At 8.00 the doors opened. I walked in alone. Nobody in the place, except in the front, on right hand next to stage, a few punk-looking people. Walked up to them. They came my direction, obvious planning to leave. I realized it was them; The Sex Pistols. I moved to Johnny and yes, you will believe it or not, but in 1977 THEE Johnny Rotten did speak two words to me : “Go Away”………………….. I stayed.
The place slowly packed up. A support act that I do not remember played. Now it was time for The Sex Pistols. People what can I say. It was a fuckin’ amazing gig. The Pistols played great. Sid was tough, Johnny was evil, Steve played great and Paul kept control. This band played for real. Of all punk bands I saw so far, it was the only one that actual could play their songs. For those who do not believe me. The club still runs the video on there site in two parts. Here the links :
Part 1 : http://www.mafcentrum.nl/main/index.php?pagina=video&id=1
Part 2 : http://www.mafcentrum.nl/main/index.php?pagina=video&id=5
I am standing all in front, left, were Sid Vicious is. Sid was 1 foot away, Johnny 2. I could touch them. Sometimes you see an arm of me sticking up out of the crowd. During the show I did what was common to do at punk rock gigs, the anti-rock star thing. You show you’re admiration by spitting. Sid and Johnny got a lot of me. One moment Sid grab his chance and took revenge by sending a greasy slimy one my direction. It got stuck on my coat, soon to be washed of by a fountain of beer.
The last song, Anarchy in the UK, Steve is a bit out of tune (never heard John Lee Hooker playing in tune either). A tray of beer goes trough the audience, made it to the stage, Steve quickly grabbed a beer, therefore misses a cord. The whole band is of the track for a moment. Even Johnny lost his lyrics. Again Steve saves the gig, pulling the complete band back in line. Clearly Steve is the musical leader of The Sex Pistols. This band rocks.
Its good to see that some of your past is saved. I had a great time in the 70ties, but also all the decades after that, as you will read the upcoming years on this spot.
Monday, April 07, 2008
To read the start of this story, scroll down to yesterday. Part 2 :
And of course there was Nico. The local punk who was the best example of the middle class idiot who follows a trend. Nico was more dressed up punk than most punkers. As he said in the interview: “it was no more than a dressed up party”. For you Nico and probably for many, it was. Without going into any form of settled bullshit talk, in the beginning punk was for sure a natural reaction on what happened before. It was before money tried to control the next logical evolutionary step. Many of us, teenagers of the 70ties, were tired of the intellectual violin on guitar show-offs from Led Zeppelin, the triple neck guitars from Supertramp, the endless boring solo’s from Alvin Lee and the 18 keyboards stack of Rick Wakeman. Rock and Roll can also be played on a cheap, used guitar and an old radio! It’s all about the energy, the only thing pop has to offer. Back to the tv show. So there you sat as an old fart denying it all. What is that? Are you dissatisfied because you’re attempt a decade later with a 45 vinyl flopped totally?
Than there was the “mister music specialist” The village musician who “made” it. A local farmer musician, that sells records in The Netherlands with a horrible imitation of traditional American Tex Mex music, who tries to tell us The Sex Pistols could not play! Were you at the gig? Did you see the tv show? Did you even listen? The Sex Pistols could play (more about this tomorrow). At least not better or worse than any other pop musician. Lets be honest, whatever you play; blues, punk, tex mex, heavy metal, techno,……. We all play the same thing, a meaningless simple riff. Real musicians play a different jam.
Tomorrow my story of the Sex Pistols gig at the mafcentrum, Maasbree in 1977.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Some memories take more lines. Would like to keep this diary to a few lines a day. The longer stories will be cut in parts. This is part 1.
He runs a successful T-shirt printing company in The Netherlands. A few months ago I came at the warehouse to pick up some merchandise for a band I was with. “Did you see it on tv yesterday?”, he asked. “What?” (I never watch tv).” The concert of The Sex Pistols we were in 1977”. Both the same generation and both visited the same gig when they came to play. Was also the only live concert of The Sex Pistols filmed by a Dutch tv station in that time. Went on internet into the archive of the program. It was all there. The local village shots, the interviews than, the gig and ; the interviews now :
Matje, we all know (pop) music bizz owes its existence to big blow ups and lots of nonsense stories, insinuations, lies. In that time the Sex Pistols were the “talk of the town” world wide. Like old fashioned, early sixties, a typical British blown up promotion money making project, were “banning” it from media, and using the same media by saying “fuck” in public, is all a part of. The Pistols could easily get gigs in every venue of the world. They travelled before, playing the major cities and stages on the level a band like the Pistols was at the moment. The “village tour” (the management of the Sex Pistols – Malcolm McLaren- thought it was very controversial and therefore “punk”, to have a tour with gigs only in weird small local country side villages) was nothing more than one of these cheap publicity stunts. This gig was not a selected one, it was a part of a tour, were they play 4 or 5 shows in The Netherlands. As always, the brain death tv makers in Hilversum (Dutch broadcast town) used a very old trick to make their program interesting: “look at these dumb southern farmer dealing with the modern sensation” And you gave away yourself, you’re club and your village for that. The only reason why this gig gets digged up endlessly is because it was one of the few filmed.
Nico : you’re turn is tomorrow. To be continued…… .
Saturday, April 05, 2008
The concert building was just down the street, around the corner. A short walk. I was familiar with the place. The in-house promoter did not only do the stiff provincial classical music or boring theater plays. At least once a month a rock band climbed the stage. This night was different. Teddy Wilson with the Dutch Swing College band came to play. The Dutch Swing College band might be questionable, but Teddy Wilson….. . Heard somewhere a great recording of him with Lionel Hampton and Gene Krupa, that kicked ass. Definitely a reason to go and check him out. We are talking 70ties here. Do not exactly remember the year. 1975? I was a teenager, or just passed that stage. Happy with my cheap ticket, good for a chair on the last row I moved around 8.00 pm towards the theater. Dressed casually, as I always was in that time, army trousers, sweatshirt, army jacket, cheap sneakers. Opend the door. The lobby was packed by middle age people in gala. Lots of long black slips mopping the floor, and deep cut out splits showing just not enough. Am I here on the right place? Do you need to be dressed up to see/hear one of the most addicted heroin junky freaks of the music scene? Teddy tried to go for it, the Dutch Swing College band was lame, the audience was dull. I was satisfied getting a glimpse of a sort of “Rock and Roll” that reached the end of its existence. Is that why everybody was dressed up for a funeral?
Friday, April 04, 2008
Today is my birthday. According to western European human calculation I am now 49. A regular reader here, figured out that I do not believe so much in these useless attempts by humans to catch the ecological environment in a metric system. The universe and rotation of the earth is not metric. It is also funny to celebrate you’re existence. If you would have never been born, you would never be aware of anything, and also not be able to celebrate your non-existence. So lets say it like this: I saw winter going into spring 49 times now. And as mostly, the first week of April gives nice first spring days with sunny weather like today. It will still snow a bit later this month, as it always does in this part of the earth. Would like to inform you, Prince, that not sometimes, but it always snows in April.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
The sun is out again and I am cooking. A good meal that relates with the weather. A mix of Indonesian and Indian/Pakistan food. Have a few dinner guests tomorrow. Were I am foreign food is by most people suspicious looked upon. They do not have pioneering in their blood. Overhere most prefer to have it like it always was. As a fish in a wrong shoal, I am more of the pioneering kind. Looking for new ways, new mixures, new territories, new material, new sounds, and so on….. . If everybody/everything always would only been done as it always was and others do, we would still be running around naked in the nature trying to catch rabbits and be food for other living creatures.
Leave a message on my forum, or write me an email : -email-
Wednesday, April 02, 2008 Although it is improving, backstages (dressing rooms for artists) in many clubs are a collection of germs, diseases and plagues. Through the years I learned to sit only on hard chairs. Avoid the couch or fauteuil. Once on a tour I suddenly got all these little red spots on my hands and arm. It didn’t want to go away. After a week I decided to hop by a doctor (on tour in Switzerland) just to see what it was. The doctor looked in a funny smile at me and asked what kinda job I am doing. I explained. She understood and said I picked up flees, human flees. Spending a couple of hours in the Laundromat, and washed myself for a few days with a strong disinfecting soap solved the problem. From now on I sit on a hard chair. Its safer. Leave a message on my forum, or write me an email : -email-
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
The house were I am stands in nature. Not totally deserted. Have a few neighbors, but after that rough nature starts. The beauty of all this cannot compete with anything. There are also funny little exiting moments. Yesterday, was working outside in front of the garage, door wide open. It is a very nice warm, early spring day. At a certain point I look into the garage and see a snake slowly crawling over the floor pushing itself by the back end than pulling the body up with the front. Like this it slowly slides further into the space, probably looking for a cool spot out of the sun. I enjoyed watching. Great to see fellow creatures of the ecological environment finding their way. Especially those you do not see to often. Do not know much about the local snakes. Is this a poisoning dangerous one? The neighbors (for advice) are still at their job. Managed to hop the snake on a spade and moved it into the big field next to the house. Have a good live with lots of luck snake!
Monday, March 31, 2008
To write on a daily base a few lines on my site is easier than I thought. It’s the 19th day now. Still have so much to say and write about all kinds of issues. Memories, opinions ideas,….. endless. Looking back at my live (isn’t over yet), it was great so far. Did hell of a lot. Travelled intense for years with many bands/artists. Had some sensational experiences in my youth. Was in many situations, saw a lot of the world, meet a lot of interesting people. Its so much that I barely remember 10% of it. Memory works strange. It gets triggered every day, so the 10% of memories are changing. New stories to tell every time the sun comes up. And it’s still not over. By the time I managed to write all my stories down, new once will be there. Great! Hope to bother you for a long time! I will never ever give up!!!!! RIDE A BIKE. Leave a message on my forum, or write me an email : -email-
Sunday, March 30, 2008 FUCK. Strange the word that covers the meaning of the one and only action in live to keep the maintenance of mankind, still seemed to be a shocking forbidden phrase in most layers of our society. Of course there are other ways: test-tube or clone propagation. But with the tube we are not so certain of the great result and cloning is more a standstill than a progress. The funny thing is that especially religious sides as well deny the word fuck, and see the tube/clone as evil. In lots of places world wide you have to sign a paper before joining a live radio/tv program, not to use the word fuck! Was in Portland (OR, USA) went out for a bite with a friend. Had some drinks in the restaurant. As always that makes me talk a bit louder. A hippy looking woman with her about 7 year old dreadlock daughter was at the table next to us. She got up to me and asked “can you please keep more quiet with the f…. word, my daughter is just in the age to pick up words”.
What the fuck is wrong with you people. You fucking hell deny the only fucking thing that keeps our fucking kind fucking going in this fucking existence. Without fucking you’re daughter would not be here! Anyway, you’re fucking daughter is picking up the fuck word (and not only that) one day anyway. FUCK is a GOOD word! Fuck you! Leave a message on my forum, or write me an email : -email-
Saturday, March 29, 2008 Everybody is talking to me about them because they come to play next week, Gogol Bordello (used to work with them). Its announced as the “new” great thing cannot be missed. Well, these fake, white “Hollywood Gypsies” from New York was “new” and “hip” 5 years ago. If you go now, you are too late and not much of a trendsetter but a follower giving in to the bullshit, commercial unreal money industry. I prefer to stay at home, play a cd of the real thing; Boban Markovic. Leave a message on my forum, or write me an email : -email-
Friday, March 28, 2008Get lots of shit in the mailbox if you run a website with a public email address. There are begging for money mails wasting their time. I know its programs that search for public emails on the web and than automatically drop a mail. Do the people who activate programs like that, know that everybody deletes these mails before even opening them. Other mails for example are from this Derek CD Baby, who claims that he did a great job “helping” the indie musician by sleeping on his office couch for 7 years. All he can be proud of is that he found a way to rip off lots of unknown hard working artists. I am getting desperate! Is there still a real true artistic independent world out there, or is everybody just trying to make money, even if no one has any!
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Despite the many warnings that they are “crazy fools”, “drug addicts”, “chaotic weirdo’s”, I took the job. Never worked with them before. Didn’t know anyone of the band. First gig. Set up before soundcheck. Was busy with some settings at FOH. She (member of the band) came up to me started to talk : “ I know how important this thing is for you, honey. You cannot do without it, and need it all the time, but still I would like to ask you if I can borrow you’re sharpie for just a minute. Will bring it back to you right away”. And so she did. The first person with common sense I encountered in this bizznix.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008 We were in this basement club right in the centre of Berlin, run by an old mafia freak who had to escape NY to stay alive. As usual the place filled up the more time moved on. The concert started with lots of energy quickly adapted by the audience. Enthusiastic glasses followed by a cloud of beer took kamikaze dives direction stage. No more sound from the acoustic guitar. I pushed myself through the crowd. The front of the stage was a chaos of beer and glass. Somewhere underneath all that I saw the vague contours of a DI. Oh well, the show can also go on without the guitar. Nobody ever noticed the difference. Leave a message on my forum, or write me an email : -email-
Tuesday, March 25, 2008 A vegan cake is easy to make. Lots of people think you need replacements for eggs, milk, or whatsoever you use that is animal based. Bullshit! 50 grams sugar, two spoons of margarine. Mix the sugar and margarine to a fluffy paste. Add 100 gram flower, 1 tea spoon of baking powder, 100ml water (or soya milk, makes it a bit more creamy, not really necessary). Mix it all well. Turn into a greased baking tin. Put little pieces of fruit on top, or a small layer of marmalade. Sprinkle some dry coconut over it. Put in the pre heated oven 30 minutes.
Cannot go wrong, cheap ingredients, everybody can do this. There are lots of different receipts for vegan cakes. Without going into political discussions (everybody should eat what they want), vegan food makes you feel better and gives more energy! Yes, my shoes are leather. I do not eat my footwear. Leave a message on my forum, or write me an email : -email-
Monday, March 24, 2008 I can write down here whatever I want. Nobody reads it. Nobody reads anything. The information stream became too massive. The settled down media turned into an endless commercial of their sponsors. No info supplied. It’s interesting to see how we know lesser, despite the increase of technologic possibilities to learn more! Unless you think that the knowledge of “what Maroon 5 has for breakfast” is important for your psychological development. Humans evaluate to be dumber. Leave a message on my forum, or write me an email : -email-
Sunday, March 23, 2008 I lie on my back. The sky is vague blue. Clouds move in slowly from the right. Light grey white wool surrounded by a close to yellow shine. In the left corner of my eye’s I see a white shine turning into the shape of clouds floating in from this direction. On the meeting point colors mix to a dark grey substance. A rumble in the background. After a few minutes the blue is back reaching for a golden horizon. I can lie here for the rest of my live. I know the sky will be there, at least for that period.Do not leave a message nor email. The sky has more to say than people
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Just woke up zipping my first coffee. According to the time drill of humans Spring started yesterday (as if the ecological system we are part of takes any notice of these useless attempts by humans to organize this system). Opened my curtains and see that the surrounding is covered with a thin layer of crystal clear white snow. I like the thrills of nature in this corner of the world. Rain, snow, cold, heat, wind, fog, sun, every condition has its own peaceful beauty. Something I need for the start of the day, before I have to face the ugly humans with their unimportant problems.
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Friday, March 21, 2008
Was a year ahead yesterday. Fuck it, who cares. Time is just another fascistic schedule to keep the tribe in control. I am not a part of your tribe.
Flue is crawling up in my bones today. I feel it. Shit. Tomorrow is my best friends birthday party in town. Hope I am able to go. Promised to dj. Keep it short. Go back to bed!
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Thursday, March 20, 2009
“Eve of destruction” was written by PF Sloan in 1965 and we’re still in that eve. Critical pop-songs, or so called “protest songs”, have always been written, and adored by people seeking for confirmation that something is “wrong”. The industry and artist are very aware of this. Here money is made. Whether you are Bono or Bob, Consolidated or Crass. Their concern about the cash is more important than social circumstances. The ”Kollaps” (collapse) never came, instead did money and fame. Biafra has his holidays on the beach in Montenegro now. If the message would be real out of the heart they would give their music away for free! Can you “Imagine” it? “People get ready” wondering “what’s going on”, meanwhile the “answer is blowin’ in the wind”.
Thank you for the money.
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Wednesday March 19, 2008 Cassettes. Who still remembers them? I do, have many and use them! Got an extreme extended collection live shows I recorded myself in the last 30 years on cassette. Most (all?) gigs it’s the only copy. Played a few weeks ago a cassette tape from the early
70ties. Despite that it was a cheap, store-brand, tape in that time, the sound is still very clear, and the tape rolled without problems! Something I cannot say about the so called expensive “professional” studio recording tapes I have from the 80ties. They all make problems and start to sound bad. Anyway, cassettes is a medium so handy to demo, quick record something, play or record again. It stays in the machine for a while serving an optimum use, especially if you work analog. So much more dynamic than the crappy cdr.
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Tuesday March 18, 2008 Driving lessons for Slovenians part 5 (end, scroll down to read other parts first). Attitude: The most dangerous drivers are those with an attitude. SLO is full of them. If you drive a bigger (more expensive) car does NOT mean you have more rights. You die equally as someone in a cheap small shopping shite. Anyway, we all know that you’re wallet is empty. You’re income is the same as us, but you sweat every month a lot to pay of the loan, only to show of. What are you an idiot wasting money like this. Money is something most SLO drivers have loads considering their driving style. The “racing” on country side roads (quick acceleration, useless overtaking) cost much more fuel (money). But what are you worried about since you will be 6 foot deep soon, leaving you’re wife and kids behind with the bill.
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Monday March 17, 2008 Driving lessons for Slovenians part 4 (scroll down to read other parts first). Highways:
I know, whatever you think; but I drive sometimes in SLO and get god dammed nervous about the road attitude from lots of drivers there. I have to stress this out publicly on this site. So this will go on for a few more days. Most SLO drivers like to die driving onto the highway. How to do this save: if you are on the drive on ramp, speed up on the ramp until you have a similar speed as the traffic on the highway, than turn in. It’s that simple, still 90% of SLO drivers do not seem to know this. If the drive on lane comes to an end keep going on the hard shoulder, keep making speed until the moment comes you can move in. That will be soon. Do not stop or slow down, you create a “risk to die” situation. You are on the highway and see that someone wants to drive in, make space by moving to the left lane, if possible. Even if you drive a bigger car! The price, made or size of the car doesn’t matter. You are NOT a better driver and DIE equally.
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Sunday March 16, 2008 Driving lessons for Slovenians part 3 (scroll down to read other parts first). Roundabouts: It became a European (EC) standard instead of the regular priority crossing or traffic light. SLO joined the EC (their biggest mistake of the century). Now it has to have roundabouts too. What a disaster! Needless to say, these few times I drove in SLO lately, saw many “roundabout mistakes”. Driving on it going left, waiting for traffic from the right,…….endless. The roundabout is a one way, (mostly) priority road. You can only drive on it turning right. Do not indicate that you go on the roundabout. You only indicate when you turn of. Indicating before you go on the roundabout means you tell the other traffic you are going to take the first turn of (indicate right) or last turn of (indicate left). If on a roundabout with more lanes, choose the lane based on were you plan to turn of (how far you plan to drive the roundabout). F.e. if you go for ¾ round, take the most inside lane. This way you make space for other traffic that wants to come on/go of . Reaching the turn, indicate right and move towards the outer lane. I know that save driving is a problem for most motorized traffic in SLO, but now its time to try. Believe me, it’s healthy for yourself and all of us. To be continued.
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Saturday March 15, 2008 Driving lessons for Slovenians 2 (scroll down to read part 1). Distance. Most drivers in Slovenia feel very lonely, are short sighted or gay. They drive so close on the car in front of them that you think they look for a relation ship. Drove the “Zala” (road to Idrija named like this by the locals) down once in really bad weather. The winter just started. Slippery, no salt on the road yet,….. I was careful. Some local in a Yugo (Oh my god!) drove so close up my car that I thought he wants check my trunk. On purpose I started to drive slower, until I finally stopped. He did not even take pass by, but stopped right behind me. Got out of my car, walked to the “ass driver” and told him to keep funckin’ distance. If I had to hit the emergency brake, he would be all over me in pieces with his commie shite. See SLO fuckers all over the country driving like this. Even in high speed on highways. A save distance from the car in front of you is 50 meters. If you think this is to much, keep at least a save distance the situation reasonably allows you. This can never be less than 10 meters, and for sure not 50 centimeters, you dumb ass surfer.
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Friday March 14, 2008
Driving lessons for Slovenians 1. Introduction : I know ; the boring “birthday party” subject, the “bad” driving in other countries you experienced during your holiday. First of all I do not believe in “countries”, second the word “bad” in this case is wrong. It’s different in other places. The car driving in Europe is overall bad. There are too many people who see this motorized piece of material (it really has no soul, life, neither feel whatsoever) as a status symbol, stress relieve or life partner! What are you a simple mind! Still some places hit the jackpot if it comes to extreme shite road behavior. This is the case in a territory south of the Alps that calls itself “Slovenia”. Sticking to traffic regulations is not so much the problem, but dealing with traffic situations needs major education. Besides that, what makes the “Slovenian” a real bad driver is the mucho attitude they get as soon as they turn the key of their 4 wheel. Even if it is a cheap small shitty French or Italian made rust bin (lots of those in Slo), they sit in it with an attitude as if joining a formula 1 race. It’s said that man showing mucho behavior with cars have small dicks. Well, if that is the case, most Slovenians must have nothing between their legs. No wonder the population does not want to grow! To be continued.
Thursday March 13, 2008
It did became rare, but sometimes you get in touch with music that surprises and is worthwhile to listen. Got the cd 168K from Dial recently. Great piece of music. Soon more about Dial on this site. The beautiful music on this cd is recorded with a cassette! You still remember what that is? Lots of music should be released only on cassette! You don’t have the player anymore? Fool! How can you be so stupid to exclude yourself from a communication media! What are you old-fashioned dumb
Wednesday March 12, 2008 Communication channels became so easy to excess and payable. With a free obtained old computer that you’re brother dumps, and a free modem that somebody else does not use anymore because of obtaining a new laptop, you can access the world cheap with free software calling people all over the world or send emails for hardly any money. Still, despite all these modern facilities, people do not seem to communicate. They hide themselves behind the machines using cold meaningless messages. Are we really becoming more machine and lesser human? Is there anyone out there who understands that music is much more a form of expression and energy instead of a technical skill?