OK, so where was I? Oh yeah, we get to bed in Madrid at approximately 3am after rockin’ hard with them folks and it’s mighty early when the wake up call comes at 9am. I head downstairs and meet the guys for a couple of coffees. There’s a 10:30 van call for our trip to the airport. We have two flights, first to Gatwick (London) and then on to Newcastle for our show at The Cluny that evening.
The flight to Gatwick was fine and we had a few hours to kill before we were to catch our connector to Newcastle. We wandered around the airport and lost each other for a while, although you can never lose Keith or Dan. Keith is always found at the bar and Dan is always at the smoking area. I was hanging out looking for a book to read (IN ENGLISH!)
But like everything else in London, they were all way too expensive. Roscoe found a bike mag and it was about $7 American. After going back through customs (always fun!) we finally board out flight (delayed by over an hour) just 30 minutes before our scheduled soundcheck time at the club. When we land we find the baggage RECLAIM and begin the process (fingers crossed) of waiting for our bags to come prancing out. All of a sudden there’s a siren, screaming loud, not unlike an air raid warning piercing our eardrums! Ahhh! The belt begins to move, “Oh yeah, come on bags, we’re late already!” One by one, the bags of other passengers appear and are grabbed up and whisked away. Nothing resembling our bags goes by. Finally the belt is clear. We stare at each other. Another group of passengers from another flight enter the baggage RECLAIM area. More bags go by, still no luck. Dan’s says “my tummy feels funny”. OK, another siren blast and the belt rolls again. Ah! There’s a cymbal bag. That looks familiar! And there’s the merch (merchandise) bag. Cool, at the very least if they lost everything else, we’ll have clean Yayhoos shirts to wear and cymbals to bang on. The guys always carry-on the guitars so the show WILL go on! IF WE CAN EVER GIT THERE! After waiting for 30 minutes in that bitch we finally get ALL of the bags and head for the car rental. The dude tells us that the car is “downstairs” so we’re looking all over, dragging these bags from one end of the airport to the other looking for an elevator or stairs to take us to the car park. We find nothing of the sort. Finally we go back and ask him again, “downstairs?” “Well, not literally downstairs but outside and down the hill a bit”. Oh thanks! So that wasted another 15 minutes.
We find the car, which is much too small and we have a hard time getting everything in there, the damn steering wheel is on the wrong damn side of course and we are LATE as HELL!
Our man, “Dah-veed” did NOT come unprepared though, out of his bag he pulls out our savior...
Tom Tom! It takes another 10 minutes to program that sucka but it will save hours on trips to come. Finally, he punches the address in and the map comes up. We stupid Americans are trying to read the thing but damn if it ain’t SPANISH! Shit! It’s Tomas-Tomas! But luckily, at least David can read it..as he tries to drive on the wrong side of the road! He keeps riding the line “You got PLENTY of room over here, man!”, we keep telling him. Down one winding road and up another, crazy turns through neighborhoods and suddenly “There it is!”
Well, we’ve missed soundcheck, so it’s “throw and go” tonight. We make it into the club just before the doors open. We’re at the mercy of the opening band for how we will sound. The drums look fine, the amps will work, no problem...let’s start drinking.
The openers were a Hayseed Dixie type of ensemble and did a good job getting the crowd ready to see us. We make a few adjustments before going on. Our hellish 8 hours of travel (including 3 trips through some sort of customs shake down) was about to pay dividends. From the first crack of the snare, we were on fire. The room sounded amazing and we were loving every minute of it! The soundman asked us at one point if “we could please turn down our guitar amps” ”Hell no!” was our rude response, but we were just so happy on stage we didn’t wanna change a thing. We later apologized and the guy was cool with it. But it was pretty funny, but not as funny as when the stage conversation turned to something about taking it in the bum. Which, I lost out on what started it all but wanted to make it perfectly clear that I had never endured such an occurrence. We had a great time that night and it was wonderful seeing old friends and being able to talk English again, even though it was the QUEEN’s English. Jesus! Sometimes I needed sub-titles for the shows I watched on TV back at the hotel! Speaking of the hotel, after the gig we arrive late and there’s a ”mix-up” there. They have 3 rooms booked and one has one double bed and that’s it. Uh dude, we’re FIFTY! And we ain’t sleeping together! So somehow we arranged to get all that messed cleared up and I got lucky and ended up in a pretty nice room all by my damn self. I had a few drinks in me and stayed up to watch a DVD that I had brought over called “Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones”. Mick Taylor was on fire!
The next morning I refused the fat bitch’s efforts to make me a nice English breakfast of runny eggs and beans and just opted for a quick bowl of cereal and bad coffee. It was rainy and dreary as we kicked it old school down the M1 to London. David had changed Tomas-Tomas to Tom-Tom so that we could ALL now read it. The drive was pretty easy and he had gotten re-accustomed to driving on the wrong side of the road…until we got to London, of course.
“I would rather s*ck Satan’s c*ck than to drive in London!” announces Keith.
The last mile to our hotel in London took a good 45 minutes as traffic was at a crawl, but when we arrived we were pleasantly surprised to see the club just across the street. Club soundguy, Matt made our soundcheck a breaze and we were soon downstairs and having a very nice meal on the house. I ordered Thai Fish cakes and of course, they were full of potatoes. Can the English make ANYTHING without a damn tater in it? Just wonderin’.
We seen "Scotty" here doing laps behind our London hotel.
The gig went great and I was really starting to notice just how tight the band had gotten, I mean stop on a dime tight! That’s when the shit gets really fun, when every song is seamless and we are running like clockwork, but still a little reckless, of course.
David made a few smooth moves and got us out of London the next morning in less than an hour, no small feat mind you. Tom-Tom didn’t recognize the address in Bristol so we were on our own. Someone said “It’s near the water”. OK, that narrows it down, I guess. We hollered out the window to some nice bus driver dudes who were standing around and they pointed us in the right direction. After we checked in we were all exhausted so we hit the hay for a bit.
Knowing that the club was only 15 minutes away, we waited until the last minute to leave for soundcheck. An hour and fifteen minutes later we arrive, crazy and thirsty from sitting in the insane Bristol rush hour traffic. Hell, the club was only three miles away!
We pull up to a church and David says “we’re here!” But, but..It’s a church! “Yeah, a lot of churches are doing this these days over here to raise income”
Hmmm..I don’t know about drinking and raisin’ hell in the basement of a church but if the preacher thinks it’s alright “what the hey!” The sound couple, (hubby and wife team) were pretty efficient. We were done with our work quickly. The crowd started pouring in on this rainy Tuesday night and sitting down at the tables provided. That’s right, tables! We wondered whether tonight should, instead of our regular show, be “An Evening with The Yayhoos”. It was then decided (after Keith turned down 80 euro to do an opening set) that we ALL would open for The Yayhoos. One by one, we took our turn in front of the firing squad. Unsure of what to make of our shenanigans, the older than usual (and that’s saying a LOT! Hell, one lady came in with her cane. She had to be 89 years old!) crowd gave quiet applause as I started things off with “Church Folks Comin’ (what else could I do..in church!), Roscoe followed with “Beware of Darkness”, then Keith messed around for a while, doing a quick comedy routine before he finally played “Reason to Believe” and for the last number Dan did “Daydream Believer”. Well, it looked good on paper, or as Keith put it “seemed like a good idea at the time!” But unfortunately the crowd of 200 or so was unmoved.
But were still enjoying ourselves and after our silliness and the only thing to do then was hit’m right between the eyes with “Oh Chicago”. Like George Forman taking a left from Ali, they were still unfazed. It woke up a couple of folks as a smattering of handclaps filled the room. One lady up front was still down hard though. Her head was hung and had she been snoring we would have stopped the show to put a mic on her, but she was pretty quiet in her trance so we continued. As we played on, each song grabbed one more ear and pulled one more person closer to our charms. By the end of the night they were eating out of our grubby little hands. They went from unimpressed to “You’ve changed my life!”, “I’ll never be the same!”, and “Please, may I have your love child!” What can I say, that’s just what we do.
We were all starving after the gig and really wanted a sit-down meal. (There wasn’t time before the show and we hate eating before anyway) It was almost midnight but we found Hadji and his place just in time. He seemed to have stayed open just for us and the Indian fare he laid down was right on time, and by far the best food we had gotten in England, maybe the whole trip thus far.
The next morning Tom-Tom got us to the airport, but not before we went through a couple of little towns and some one lane back roads. It seemed crazy, especially when we pulled up to a heard of sheep but all of a sudden there we were! Though the crowds were great in England (and especially for a Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night! Jeez! Unbe-LEEV-able!) and they DID speak English, I was looking forward to getting out of this expensive bitch!
The weather was beautiful when we left Bristol, albeit a bit windy. The EasyJet.com plane was festival seating which is never a good thing. The flight was bumpy and I was glad to get out even though it was cold and rainy in Amsterdam. The hotel was closer to town than we realized so after we checked in everyone but Roscoe (seeking rest) went out to dinner.
They said they had new carpet..they didn't say it was down yet!
On ‘Scoe’s recommendation we found a great Indonesian place. It was small and some fat bitch was sitting by the door and kept yelling at everyone who was coming in to “Shut the door!” “Let me get in first!.. if your fat ass don’t MIND!, bitch!” Of course, I was gonna close the door (hell, I even squeezed through, not opening it all the way!) but she really made me NOT want to, stupid ass! Thinkin’ back it still pisses me off but dinner was great though, and we didn’t have to sit anywhere near her or the cold front entrance.
After dinner we walked around and bought a few trinkets and watched a street performer who was juggling a soccer ball (that’s what we call’m in the states anyway) with his feet while he sat on a blanket. David was taking pics and the dude started to chastise him. “Let me make my money” “Why must you only take my picture?” “You are good looking!” And then as we walked away,”You are good looking but I don’t give a shit!” We laughed and used that line a lot on the rest of the trip. The night was soon over, but not before a stop into an internet bar where we did what you do in Amsterdam.
“You’ve got 10 minutes to get the hell out of this hotel or we’re charging you for another half day!” was our wake-up call the next morning. I had gone out for a coffee and when I got back everything was downstairs waiting to be loaded into the van. Luckily, I had packed my bag before I left. We shot’m the bird and left for Weert just before noon. It was a short drive of about an hour and a half and the rain was gone. It was a beautiful day. Our hotel in Weert was in a subdivision just a few miles out of the downtown area.
After checking in we went into town and had a great lunch.
We did a little shopping but we all knew that a nap was in order. We all fell out pretty hard back at the rooms and woke up at dusk to go to the club. It was a big, nice sounding room with a balcony above. The openers began setting up gear like they were about to do their soundcheck first and we were confused by this. We let them know what the correct order of business was and they were cool with it. The drummer was kind enough to let me use his kit instead of the club provided junkers that someone found out at the county dump. They were NOT a bad band either, a great little three piece with an unpronounceable name.
The sound guys had their shit together which made soundcheck almost fun. The lighting guy took a lot of pride in his work as he changed the lighting positions and gels while we found our sweet spots on the stage.
After soundcheck we had to wait around a while. We had dinner there, which wasn’t bad but not something you could serve in a resturant and get away with. Like we say in North Carolina, “It’ll make a turd!” There were practice rooms with other bands in them lining the hallways just off the stage area so there was a terrible racket going on as we hung out in our doorway, I mean “dressing room”.
Finally, the opening band took the stage and didn’t embarrass themselves in the least. I enjoyed them, actually. They had some pretty good songs.
Before we took the stage I noticed the crowd was scant. Maybe they’ll come in at the last minute like they do in Spain, I told myself, but no such luck. This was to be the smallest of all crowds for this trip. But no worry, we rocked like ever lovin’ HELL!
This was one of my most favorite shows that we played despite the lack of an audience. We all really played great and really had a lot of fun! I was beatin’ the drums like I was 18 and in high school again playing along to Mott the Hoople with my headphones on.
So we left for Belgium the next day and Dan and I needed to wash some clothes. Upon our arrival to the club,(owner) Bruno served up some little cheese sandwiches and then took us to the laundromat. I had a broken zipper on my cymbal bag and we all knew that wouldn’t fly, so we stopped on the way at a cool little music store for me to buy another one.
Later in the day we attempted a soundcheck but the soundman was set in his ways and gonna do it HIS way no matter what we asked for, so we finally gave up and left it to the mercy of the night. The place reminded me of a high school auditorium, in size, looks and sonically. It was a bit boomy but we made it through the night without anyone throwing rotted fruit at us and we were pretty happy about that. Unfortunately, the wine provided was not really what I would refer to as “drinkable” but fortunately we WERE in Belgium, famous for it’s BEER!
We started the show with “Dancing Queen” (“HUH?!” You say? I told you every show is different!), “Boyfriend” and then “Killin’ Down in Dillon”. It only got better from there. I keep waiting for the “sucky” gig, but it just never seems to come! I guess we have found all the ways to fight through all things sucky, whether it’s sound related or accommodations or whatever! We just hop on any stage and it’s, “follow this, Jerry Lee!”
The hotel they put us in was about 7 miles out of town. It was supposed to be haunted but apparently everyone there was a ghost because that place was FREEZING-ass cold. Jeez! I had to go downstairs and ask the old bitch to turn some heat on, and she did, for a little while. When we woke up the next morning icebergs were floating through the room again!
It was a brutal drive to Winterbach, Germany the next day. These little vans they have in Europe leave not so much room for gear or our asses, so we have to take turns “sittin’ on the hump” or in the middle of the bench. Roscoe’s back was hurtin’ so this SITuation worked out well for him. The trip though was long and it was bumpy and it was worth every minute of it. The hotel, Lamm Hebsack (say that 5 times fast) had to be at least a 3 star and the restaurant had to be a 4 star. After soundcheck, we were served just an incredible “white nackin’” sit down dinner, featuring 2 bottles of nebbiolo wine from northern Italy (thank God they didn’t force any German wine on us! “Some more Blue Nun, sir?” AHHH!) The second bottle was a misunderstanding but he had already opened it so we had to drink it. Damn it! That just cost the club another 60euro!
Not much time after dinner so we rush back over to the club for our 9pm start.
8:45pm the club calls “Where in the hell are you guys?” “Almost there” we say pulling into the parking lot. We are let into the secret door on the side. We grab whatever we need for the stage because it’s so packed that we know there’s NO turning back. For the next two hours them folks got rocked like they hadn’t been rocked since they lost their virginity!
They jumped up and down and bounced off the walls. The merch was bouncing too, right out the door. We had a really great night of merch sales. The area was set up with a half moon table and 2 cute sales girls. The band rocked like hell, who could resist?!
It was a great great gig! But man, were we starting to get a bit spent on energy after this one.
About an hour out of Winterbach, a car passes us and in the back window there’s a picture of our record cover and the guy in the passenger seat is pointing at his front 2 teeth. Now what did they mean by that? Who knows, anyway…it’s a quiet Sunday morning and we are all still beat down from the night before but none of us are opposed to the musical selection that Keith has picked out for us. Now we NEVER EVER listen to music in the van unless it’s a special occasion. And while this was not a special occasion The Band hardly ever gets a “NO” from any of us. They are at this time voted “least offensive music” by The Yayhoos. For the next hour and a half we quietly sing along to “Up on Cripple Creek”, “This Wheel’s on Fire” and the like.
Once we got to the club the situation wasn’t quite as pleasant. Soundcheck was joke. We knew we were in trouble when we saw the 2 Marshall amps (not only did we not ask for them, but we especially asked in our rider NOT to have them!) and the drum set with the double kick pedal and the handicap railing around it. We commenced to playin’ and they started up with the bitchin’ about volume. NOW do you see why we didn’t want Marshalls? I’m the only one of the guys who come back for dinner, everyone else stays at the B&B for rest.
Gig o’clock and everybody is putting on their best face. We turned down and I choked up on my sticks and tuned my snare down. We took the stage and gave the crowd Yayhoos-light, a less fulfilling (but STILL with great taste!) version of our show due to talk of not being paid if we went over 100 dbs…too bad for the crowd too, because they were there ready to rock, many from out of town. I guess since it was East Germany they guy had trouble reading our rider or something and just did things the way he wanted to, like billing the show as “Dan Baird and The Yayhoos”. And then after the show, he wanted 4 CD’s to promote the gig. Let’s see, the show is over, so why do you need CD’s again? Nah, that’s OK, anyway we don’t have any CD’s by “Dan Baird and The Yayhoos”. When Dan and the rest of us are together we are known as The Yayhoos and that’s all you need to say.
Dude fancied himself as the Easy German Terry Anderson!
The host at our B&B in Lauchhammer had breakfast ready at precisely 10am. We never saw the lady in the kitchen but he was glad to bring us anything we needed. We were out the door and on our way to Berlin by 11am. In the parking lot of a gas station along the way, I tossed Roscoe a candy bar left over from a couple of nights before. He wasn’t quite ready and as it slipped through his fingers we all watched in slow motion as it splattered in a puddle of someone’s egg vomit. Ooooohhh! Gross! Here Roscoe, here’s another, let me hand you this one.
We arrived mid-afternoon and spent an hour trying to get to the hotel. We drove by it about 3 or 4 times but the road was being worked on and Tom-Tom was completely befuddled. We could see it. We just couldn’t get there from here.
After finally checking we got back in the van and found a great Vietnamese place. It was mod and clean and the food was outstanding! There were sushi appetizers and the standard curry dishes that went quite well with our wine.
We talked and wrote to folks back home at an internet/phone café down the street and after a couple of beers once again got in the van and tried to find the hotel. It was an early night and we all needed the rest for our somewhat early flight to Finland in the morning.
We braced for bitter cold as the pilot warned us that it was 5 degrees (C) in Helsinki and headed for a balmy high of 9! Now that’s a cold like us Southern country boys don’t see but once in a very few crazy winters. The promoter, Mela picked us up in one of them “stand up” vans (meaning, you could stand up in it) and I noticed right away that a bottle of water in the back was frozen solid. Yikes! The wind really hurt as he dumped us out at our nice digs at the Ramada Presidentti, only a block away from the venue. Also, just up the street was a huge mall where I later shopped for and found warmer clothing.
That evening we had the night off so Mela took us to the club to hang and have dinner. I, of course, had to try the salmon soup with salad. The soup was great and the salad had pesto dressing which was both interesting and delicious.
Some dude walked in with a long fur coat and a pimp’s hat. He seemed to be trying to get noticed. We found out from Mela that it was Andy from Hanoi Rocks. WooHoo! Color me impressed! He’s an inebriated mess and stumbles around like the typical washed up rock star. I didn’t bother trying to meet him. We walked back to the hotel, trying not to bust our asses on the ice sidewalks, and hit the hay pretty early.
Dan’s coughing next door woke me up about 3:30am. I finally fell back to sleep about 6 and at 10 Roscoe woke me up and told me about the great winter sale in the mall. When I got back Keith was up and ready to walk the town. “Let’s go down to the harbor!” That was a ways and we really didn’t know which way so we stopped ever so often to see if we were going the right way, each stop giving us differing opinions. But we finally did make it down to the waterfront and we were both like “eh! big deal, it FREEZING, let’s go back, NOW!!” so we headed back.
On the way it seemed to be getting colder and we had to stop and pretend to shop in old lady shops and the like, just to warm up. It was so damn cold that I couldn’t put my lips together to spit. It was a hurtin’ thang to be sure! We both got back to the hotel and with our red frozen faces looked like two little 5 year olds that had just been out playing in the snow all afternoon.
Soundcheck was a breeze, a gas even. It sounded so good that we wanted to keep playing right up to showtime. But dinner was ready and we all needed a quick nap before we laid down the law!
The ass-kicking at Tavastia commenced about 11pm. That’s when we hit the stage running and tore through our best sounding show yet. It was one of those gigs where your feet (or ass in my case) never touch the ground. You’re floating on air and nothing can go wrong. You totally lose yourself in the moment and you forget about all the bullshit in the world. You forget about how old you are, because at that moment you are again childlike. The place is full of love, from us to the crowd and from them back to us.
Best news was that it had been recorded by three separate cameras, great sound included!
I woke up the next morning and met the guys at breakfast. This hotel had it going on! You name it and if anybody in the world ate it for breakfast, it was there. I had been lucky this whole trip about staying well. Dan and Roscoe had been sick off and on to varying degrees throughout. But this morning I was starting to feel a little “sneezy”, but only in my right nostril. Weird! Anyway, as the day went on I was feeling more and more like a real cold was setting in.
Promoter Lars Ericson and friend met us at the airport with 2 vans to haul our asses to our rooms at the Oden Hotel. The sun was out and it was snowing like a bitch. Hmmm…With the time difference we actually arrived at the same time that we had left Finland. The skies clouded and it REALLY started snowing by the time we settled in. It was decided that soundcheck and lunch would be at 3pm. Dan had a commitment to sing on a Diamond Dogs track so we went on without him. The soundcheck was unlike any we had had before. In-ear monitors and plexiglass in front of the drums were not something THIS band had ever encountered. The three piece of ‘Scoe, Keith and I ran through a couple of numbers and we were pretty happy with it. Just in time, out came Roscoe’s order, the world famous Hard Rock Cobb salad along with whatever Keith and I had ordered. We ate and walked back to the hotel in blizzard like conditions.
I arrived a bit early for our 9pm show and started catching wind that there might be a problem between the club and its upstairs neighbors. It seems that some previous “rock stars” had gone upstairs to party before and after some of the shows and making quite a fuss in the process. The neighbors formed a group and hired a lawyer to sue the club in order to stop the practice of them even having bands. It seemed that it was a game time decision now whether we would even play the show our not. Having seen the lawyer in the crowd with DB meter in hand was enough for the owner Lars to pull the plug on the show. Promoter Lars made the announcement to those in attendance who had waited for months, drove from Denmark and God knows where else to be there that the show would NOT go on. He DID buy boxes of CD’s though and gave them out for us to sign and we hung out and did so at our table as we ordered up food and drinks. I was disappointed for everyone there and felt like (especially after the Lauchhammer debacle) that could have done a show at a decent volume level.
We all woke up a bit late to catch our flight back home to Spain. Keith was especially late so Roscoe and I took the first cab available tot the airport. Dude started driving, “What airline?” he asked in his broken English. “Ryan Air” we tell him. He continues on a bit perplexed. About ten minutes later as we are approaching the airport (that we had arrived at), he asks again “Are you sure is Ryan Air?” Roscoe, always prepared for these kinds of questions, pulls out the details of out trip. “Yep, Ryan Air” “What airport, does it say?”
Mind you, it is now 7:50am and our flight leaves at 9:45 and we are 10 miles north of Stockholm. We tell him the name of the airport and he seems disturbed. “Are we going the wrong way?” “Yes, that airport is an hour and a half on the OTHER side of town.” “Ahhhhhhhh!!!!” Panic sets in. “Can you call the other cab and tell them we’re turning around?” “Jeez! We’ll NEVER make this flight!” Dude takes the next exit and puts the pedal to the metal! I have never seen such skillful driving. There is snow all over the roads and this guy is doing at least 80MPH! We are quiet the rest of the way save for the intermittent “We’ll never make it”.
About 9:20 sure enough, there’s the sign to the airport. It’s out in the middle of nowhere. The other guys have beaten us there. Thanks to Keith’s tardiness they hadn’t gone quite as far before having to turn around.
When we check our bags, the beautiful BITCH at the Ryan Air desk hits us with weight overages that cost us upwards of an extra $600! (Budget airline? I think not!) The flight is packed and miserable.
We arrive in London and realize as we’re leaving the plane “We are screwed!” They were not checking our bags (even though it was another Ryan Air flight) through to our destination in Santander, Spain. We were gonna have to claim our bags and check them in again and pay ANOTHER $600! Hell, I could have left my cymbals (most of the overage weight) in Sweden and bought new ones for half that much! So we go through the cattle line in London, taking off our shoes and belts and answering all of the questions correctly. We arrive in Santander just after 6pm local time. We then have to rent a van and drive over 2 hours to Gijon where we are scheduled to play at 10pm. It soon begins to get dark and it feels a lot later than it really is when we arrive at the club. We do a quick soundcheck as doors are to open soon.
The stage at Louie Club was one of the “driest” that we had come across and it really sounded great where I was at. We pulled another rabbit out of our hat (out of our asses really!) and played another great show. Like all of the shows in Spain, an empty club became packed just minutes before we went on. After the show, we had just an awful dining experience (for the purposes of this entry let’s call it SLOP!) before driving over to the hotel. There was a mix up (again) at the Albor Hotel where we were staying and somehow instead of getting our separate rooms as promised we ended up at what Roscoe later referred to as “Uncle Charlie’s Apartment”. Basically, it was a construction site.
There were 3 bedrooms and not 5 and 2 community bathrooms. Oh, the drudgery!
We left Gijon the next day at noon and took a beautiful 6 hour drive across the northern coast of Spain. I got whiplash from the scenery and took about 100 shots with my new camera.
Roscoe was in bad shape and unfortunately had to spend a lot of time laying down. After soundcheck at the club our cute little promoter girl took us (minus ‘Scoe) to dinner. The show was at the ungodly hour of 1:30am, so we decided to go ahead and do our sleeping for the night. I woke up feeling very late for the gig around 1am. There were no clocks in the rooms (like most of our rooms in Europe) and no indications of time anywhere on my TV so who the hell knew what time it was. David called from downstairs and wondered to my whereabouts. I threw something on and ran out the door. It was a 5 minute walk so I figgered we would be OK when we left the hotel at 1:15. Sure enough, I walked in just as the drums were being reassembled. Jose, Sugar Mountain’s drummer was nice enough to left me use his drums but the problem was that he was left handed so they had to be turned around. It was another “throw and go” gig for me as I had just awakened 30 minutes earlier out of a dead sleep. Roscoe had NO throat so he pulled out a couple of cool instrumentals and a quiet version of “Baby I Love You”. Dan and I picked up the rest of the load as “Highway Junkie”, “I Love You Period” and “Battleship Chains” were thrown into the mix. The after party was a blast. Keith, David and I hung out with our friends from Portugal and drank every last drop of alcohol we could find. We left the club at 5:30am and the streets were still full of people partying and waiting to get into clubs. Vigo! I love these people!
For some stupid reason I woke up at 10:30am and felt well rested. It was a beautiful Spring-like morning and so I took a walk for about an hour around town. I came back to the hotel restaurant and asked for a coffee and a plain yogurt. Somehow that translated into coffee and a grilled ham sandwich. The waiter spoke NO English and so I had to end up playing charades with a complete stranger in a town I had never been before at 11:30 in the morning. One by one all of the guys met in the lobby ready or not for the six hour drive back to Madrid. It was a beautiful day, but that didn’t mean we wouldn’t run into a stray shower along the way.
The beautiful thing about Spain is that, much like North Carolina, they have mountains, beaches and flatlands. We saw it all on this drive and even enjoyed some Beach Boys music along the way.
We stopped at a little town and had a delicious healing cabbage and garbanzo bean soup with bread and wine. Roscoe was still feeling pretty miserable though and few hours down the road we had to stop again to find a “Farmacia” so that he could maybe find some relief.
We finally arrived at our beloved Ateneo Hotel in Madrid and I grabbed my luggage and cymbals out of the van and threw them into the lobby. There was a cheap phone joint up the street so I ran there, dodging the hookers of course, to call home and check on my wife and kids who I hadn’t talked to since Berlin. It’s so scary being that far from home for that long and helpless should anything happen. Sure I was having fun but there was always that worry in the back of my mind.
In my haste though, I left the van without saying “goodbye” to our new friend and best tour manager ever, David. He never lost his cool towards us, though there were times we could tell that we were getting on his nerves a bit, especially in England when we were yelling at him about his “wrong side of the road” driving, which was much better than any of us could have done! He was a cool guy to hang with and we all will miss him, until next time.
The night was another early one as we were all pretty wiped out. Dan and I waited and waited for Keith to go with us to the fast food vegetarian joint and when he finally got downstairs, he said that he was gonna go try to find somewhere to have a sit down meal. So we said “whatever dude” and walked ahead without him. Five minutes later we’re standing in line and who do we see but our friend, “Chappy”. That’s our nickname for Keith’s British alter ego.
The next morning we had to catch our flight back home to the U.S. “Stretch” picked us up at 1pm and spoke very little English. He was polite but very quiet. When we got to the airport we found out that he had NOT been prepaid by the promoter as was the usual when we took cab rides. So every one of us had to reach deep and dole out 40 euro for the dude. We checked our bags and Dan ran to the smoker’s area as the rest of us had a great lunch and a glass or two of wine. We boarded the plane about 4:30pm for the nice, relaxing 8 hour flight. As the two crappy movies and meals come and go, I can’t help but wonder why I keep doing this. Why do I put my family through a whole month of changing their lifestyles for me to have those 2 hours of glory every night? I mean, we in the band all know that we’ll never be famous and that’s not even why we do it. Those days are long gone. We are much too old to fool ourselves into believing that our “big break” will come some day, so why? We make enough money to make it worth while but we’re certainly not making a killing! In fact, the forth week was added on just so we could MAKE money after expenses were paid. So the only thing I can ever come up with when I think about it is that this is just the way it’s supposed to be. We can’t help ourselves; we just were just put here on this Earth to play music and maybe in some small way we are somehow contributing to the positive vibe of the planet. What else could it be?
My kids stay up and ride with Mom to come and get me. Instead of landing at 11pm, my flight was delayed an hour and a half so they circle the airport for while. I’m feeling pretty beat up when I’m standing at the baggage claim looking for my bags. All of a sudden I feel two monkeys jumping on my back. Welcome home hugs are always the best.
I give the wife a big kiss and she hands Will, our eldest the keys. We’re not 5 miles down the road before I’m back in the swing of things, “Slow down! Do you know how much our insurance will go up if you get a ticket! Watch the road!”…etc. etc.
It’s fun being Dad!