The Van


The tour officially started on Day 3 of our being in Europe. Our van is HUGE but it seems fitting when us and MY OWN LIES and Ralf’s distro are all packed into it.

Fun facts about MY OWN LIES:
Martin’s last name is Hubb. Steffen’s last name is Hinkel. Together in our minds they have become the cartoon team of Hubb n’ Hinkel and their unique personalities lend well to this.
Ralf sleeps in his bikini briefs and lets out little seeping farts each time he makes the slightest movement in his sleep.
Martin kicks in his sleep.
Steffen can not be woken up once he is asleep. Can Not.
Martin and Steffen are considerate enough to wait till we’re pulled over to have a smoke. This is perhaps the most considerate thing a touring partner can do when in the company of non-smokers.

First show was in Stuttgardt, Germany with DESUCKA and MOTU. Great food, fantastic toilet facilities.

Devon practicing his Craig-kicking extentions.

One time BANG TANGO played in San Francisco and their singer placed a fan between the
stage monitors
so his hair blew back when he sang.

As a joke Robert and I secretly arranged to have WHN? sweatpants made. Red with yellow lettering. It was to be a nod to both the 88 youth crew style and the ’86 Bay Area thrash metal style. When they spilled out of my guitar case for the first time in front of Devon and Max I suddenly realized what a remarkably stupid idea it was. For one, they look DUMB. Just the sight of them will get eyes rolling. Secondly, they were expensive. We have a new record (also a joke) titled No Cash? No Thrash. with a cartoon of us selling ridiculous over-priced merchandise, and yet here we are actually selling ridiculous over-priced merchandise. One kid stepped up to the merch table, felt the sweats and said, "Those sweats are for sleeping, not rioting." Touché.

Sadly though, we outsold ARTIMUS PYLE’s best night in merch even before any of the bands played.

First night on tour I opted to sleep in the (fucking huge) van. Funny thing was, I didn’t sleep. I wasn’t even tired. I laid there till the sun came up then read a book until somebody knocked on the side of the vehicle and demanded it be moved so another car could get out. Learning to drive that monstrosity was a trial by fire but I managed and on the short trip around the block I suddenly found myself getting sleepy. Go figure.

HUGE breakfast spread in Stuttgardt, Germany
taco salad, green salad, oatmeal, muesli, coffee, chocolate soy milk, fruits, vegetables, totex, toast,
bagels, fake meat bricks, juices...

German toilets are very effective tools for quickening one’s time in the restroom. They are designed with a shelf so one can poop, inspect the turd for worms or chunks of carrot or narcotics, and then flush it off the shelf and into the abyss. Since it’s sits on the shelf and not in a pool of water (like in western toilets) it starts stinking immediately and immensely. And if that doesn’t quicken you up perhaps the fact that if it sits too long the water wont be strong enough to push it down. It’s kind of embarrassing when you have to nudge it with some TP. It’s even worse when you try to flush but the water just hits the poop and splashes all over the bathroom.

Fighting over the last roll, Lady and the Tramp-style.

Second show was in Freiburg, Germany. We played a mundane set until Devon landed a flying leap into my rib (which was broken last summer at a show in Brasil). I went flying into the curtain separating the stage from the backstage. I knocked over a stack of amps and bounced back with a vengeful fury reserved only for situations like these. Devon claims I kicked him off the stage last night and he landed – nuts first - on the very edge of it so I had it coming. Either way I went at him and we wrestled a bit (all in good fun, mind you) and we both went down. And then the dog pile happened. From this point on I will go on record as saying dog piles SUCK and I never again want to be party to one.

This makes me look like one of those little yellow emoticons on Yahoo! Instant Messanger.

Sorry to everyone at the show in Graz, Austria (all 12 of ya!). We were late because our van got broked and once it got fixed we had to manage at a 130 kms/hr through a storm just to make it by the time we did. Thanks for the vegan brautwurst and wafer cookies though!!!

Steffen - almost as tall as his amps

In the first week here I deduced that 9 out of every 10 people with a job does some sort of social service.

After a walk around Bologna, Italy Devon pointed out how many people just ‘hang out.’ In every city we’ve had time to scout out there are droves of people out in public with friends doing nothing more than sipping cappuccinos, talking, whatever… No watching TV or microwaving TV dinners or getting home late from work to watch TV in bed.

After the show in a squatted municipal building in the heart of downtown I washed my hands and face in a sink with what I later found out was laundry detergent. I tell ya, those chemicals really clear out the pores – burns the dirt right out of ‘em and leaves the skin a nice rosy hue.

On just a few hours sleep in three days Robert mistook the green pump at the gas station for a diesel pump (like in the States) and filled our tank with unleaded. One of the Italian gas station attendants was nice enough to help us siphon it out, but he was not so wise as to put out the spliff that he let dangle over the gas-filled bucket while we all stood a safe 20 feet away.

I don't know who this guy is but he deserved to have his picture taken.

We got pulled over at the Italian/French border presumably for driving a van filled with potentially G-8-protesting scumbags. I was a little concerned when they brought out the rubber gloves but one of the guys leaned over to us and said about the leader, "Don’t worry, he’s just really drunk."

Van garage stop #1.

An unnamed squat in an unnnamed city won the award for shit-holiest shithole of the trip. The small dusty, dingy brick basement had an open sewer line just under our merch table. We each took turns watching the table lest one of us got fecal bronchitis. It never dawned on the promoter to secure a PA so the show was postponed while our food was brought in and left on the table over the sewer hole. The show did happen and afterwards the promoter disappeared for a short while leading us to worry about getting paid and whatnot. He was later spotted snorting something behind our merch table, and then he bought merch with our door money. It’s funny that a promoter for the grodiest anti-club I’ve even played was still doing the most cliché rock club promoter thing that can be done. But then I could be making all this up because, after all, I was totally high on feces fumes.

Jesus Rocks...........................................Jesus Sleeps

Drove through a 5 mile long tunnel in southern France. We also drove the National roads which differ from the Toll roads in that they are free and anything but direct. The scenic route, as it were, was quite scenic and visually rewarding since much of the vast and varied landscapes of Europe all seem to stem from some sort of green. However, an entire five hour drive from St Entienne to Toulouse was marred by foul and repulsive stinks which emanated, surprisingly, from outside the van. Yucky industrial and agro-factory smells. The kinds that make your eyes water, your nose burn and anything you eat taste like a bike tire. Thankfully, most of the public restrooms in France have an eau de toilette dispenser right next to the soap dispenser. In one particular gas stations we stopped at the radio station was playing pop music a la Madonna and J Lo. As I was looking down the chocolate aisle a hip hop song came on and it started with the obligatory "Mm Mm Yih, uh huh," only the rapper was saying "Mm Mm oui, uh huh. Oui."

Woke up at 6:30 one morning (30 minutes after going to sleep) to garbagemen singing Lionel Ritchie’s "Penny Lover" at full volume while throwing metal cans and beer bottles at each other. Then the dueling Fiats followed us all the way from Martin’s house and proceeded to do further battle outside our window. The next morning in Barcelona we went to bed at 4 only to be awoken at 4:30 by even more gregarious garbagemen who thought it fun to park right outside our window and see what sort of noise things made when run through their truck’s trash compactor. My personal favorite was what sounded like a case of empty beer bottles, some wind chimes and a large bicycle. An hour and a half later over 200 crying kids and yelling parents convened in front of the kindergarten across the street. We waited for someone to throw a car alarm through our window as a coup de grace but Barcelona let us down at keeping us up.

Steffen from MY OWN LIES is a reputable unphase-able sleeper. He fell asleep in the van on the ride from the venue to our hosts’ house. His elbow was propped up on some of our bags. We tried to softly wake him but Ralf and Martin assured us it was no use. Eventually we yanked the bags out from under him and Steffen fell headfirst into the inside wall of the van with his elbow dangling between his seat and the wall. Still sleeping. When Robert saw him the next morning Steffen was still in the same position.


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