September 21, 2006

9:24 AM
OKTOBERFEST!!! Nothing more depressing than seeing mass amounts of belligerency in one place. The setting.....hmmmmm........Imagine your local county fair, but with a little more pizzaz to it. Carnival rides, plus a ton of huge banquet type halls with a band playing in the middle of the room on an elevated stage. Can you picture the scene?? Well, add about 10% of those in attendance dressed up in traditional Deutch outfits. Women with bosoms shouting out loud and men with suspended trousers which are calf high. Think European Vacation with Chevy Chase.. Add in complete insanity that large mugs of beer would do to you and you have Oktoberfest. I read that over 2,000,000 bratwursts will be consumed and over 250,000 chickens will be eaten. Holy moly. Strangely it all seemed familiar since there's a replica of such event at BUSCH GARDENS in Williamsburg, VA. and Hiro and I both went there in 2004. We kind of looked at each other and went DE JA VU?
But still, it's worth going to if you haven't been before. Especially if you like Beer and gawking at women with huge breasts.

Last night I played at a youth co-operative called Feierwerk. The city helps pay for this huge complex to provide activities for the youth. They have 4 different stages of various sizes, a half pipe in the back, lodging for all the touring bands, and a strong trust towards complete strangers. Here I am, given the keys to the joint and free access to their building after hours. It's insane. Think about it?? What business in the US would hand their keys over to a stranger and say "Enjoy your stay, just leave the keys on the table when you leave". Well, that's what they do in Deutschland. At least the clubs that I play at. CRAZZZZZZY.....

It took some time finding the club. Following the directions, we took the underground 3 stops from the main station in Munich and then exited on the right side where we should go left for about .5 miles. Unfortunately there was no left from the exit. Our usual standys of asking people for directions failed as nobody had heard of the club. I had the name SUNNY RED as the place I was playing where Feierwerk would have been the more familiar name. Oh well, we managed to make it to the club, but what should have been 10 minutes turned into 45. But all was good.

The first words from the guy in charge was "Sorry, but the promoter is sick. I will in charge". Followed by "I don't know how many people will come tonight. The show was kind of last minute and I don't know what will happen?" Ahhhhhh......encouraging. I told him not to worry and that I was just glad to be there. Which was pretty much the truth. There was no opening band, so just me playing an hour set starting at 10 PM. Perfect. Spend the night exploring OKTOBERFEST, get back at 9 PM. Rest up in my private flat til' 9:40 PM. Come on down to the club, set up and play music for an hour. How easy can this be? At 9:40 PM I walk in the club and doh!! There is just a handful of people inside. I set up and in 10 minutes I am ready to start playing. Eyes closed I begin the journey and when I open up my eyes....DOH!! There's only 12 people there. I thought I was seeing things at first, but it was true. But out of the 12 people there, 9 of them bought cd's. And it beats Kansas CIty, MO. where I had 0 people paid when I played there in January of 2005. So it's all relative really. Plus, the show will be remembered by those who came as something special. At least I hope so.

Well, there's only three shows left for me. Two in Austria and the finale in Germany. Seems sad to be leaving, but at the same time I can't wait to see Monica. She's 7 months pregnant now and I'm missing out on a lot of baby kicking. To be honest, this tour has been so easy and relaxing. It truly feels like a vacation. Very little stress involved and the surreal weather conditions can't be explained. Dating back to England, I've had nothing but sunny skies every single day. VIVA EUROPA!!!

People still marvel that Hiro and I are traveling by train. Which is puzzling to me, as there's no reason to pay the high prices of gas and sit in a vehicle for hours when it's just me playing solo. Actually, if I was in a three piece band like the Lawrence Arms, I too would take the train. It would be cheaper than renting a van and the stress of traveling is cut down tremendously. Of course you'd have to make some modifications such as borrowing gear everynight for your shows and having very little merchandise to bring to the masses. But actually that's easily fixable. Have a European band play support for the whole tour and you can use their gear and store your merchandise in their vehicle. Plus, if you can keep your guitars with them, you are traveling like a friggin star. Plus you won't even have to set up and break down your gear. It's like having free roadies do the work for you. Of course you help out here and there, but for the most part you don't have to worry about getting that stuff back in your van. You win!!

I'm rambling about nothing now. Be well. I'll check back from Austria.
Peace, mike