We woke up the next morning to a big breakfast which we ate as we flipped through Spanish TV. A kid’s show caught my eye and upon closer inspection we noticed both Paula and Laura hosting it. It even said their names on the bottom of the screen so as to assure us it was them. They walked in the room and were horrified as if their whole image had been blown. We assured them that their show was geared towards people of our maturity level and that they should feel proud for helping us learn.
When Max is in the sun he claims he is ‘toasting the bagel’ referring to his gut which can be bunched into the shape of a donut.
One morning a bunch of chickens were following Devon around. With his silly red mohawk he must have looked like a rooster.
By all outward appearances Bordeaux, France is a total shitehole. For one, the garbagemen were on strike (which should be considered a plus since that meant they wouldn’t be waking us up) and so the entire city smelled like a dump. Secondly, the city planners decided it would be a good idea to renovate Bordeaux with every modern form of transportation – at the same time! Most of the city center was nothing but piles of ruble where train rails are being lain down and the underground subways are being built and the traffic lights are being replaced. Of course in the interim this meant there wasn’t any public transportation so everybody with a car had to use it. But since all the streets were filled with either garbage or ruble there was nowhere to park so some streets would be parking lots of unattended vehicles whiles other were parking lots with people sitting in their cars waiting for the traffic to move. Oh, and it’s HOT AS SHIT here. There’s some sort of mad heat wave coming through and people are dying from it. I can imagine wanting to die after the heat spends all day cooking up the garbage that is piled outside my window.
Be that as it may, France in general and French people in particular are totally awesome. They are goofy folks and they appreciate public displays of physical foolishness, of which WHN? are full of. Plus this crowd cheered with each new riff. They didn’t even wait till the song was over – as soon as a new rocking riff started so did they. Very encouraging, those Bordeaux borDorx. The singer for DONALD WASHINGTON was nice enough to teach Robert some essential French - Embrasse Mon Cul. To help him remember he gave Robert a baseball cap with those words in sparkly halographic iron-ons in exchange for Robert's Nashville Music City cap. Oh, embrasse mon cul means kiss my ass.
June 12 – somewhere
Steffen fell asleep in his skivvies last night. He also had no blanket as it was 230° c. At some point he made a coughing/grunting noise so those of us still awake turned to look. In his sleep he propped himself up onto his elbow and began snoring. Then he reached into his undies to scratch his taint and let all his junk hang out. And there he lay – on his elbow, pulling his boxers down so he was fully exposed, with his hand in his ass from the front, and snoring.
One night after everyone had fallen asleep a (platonic) female friend from the States and I ran around exploring until sunup. We snuck back into the room where everybody was sleeping and secured a small slice of floor without waking anybody up. Nine people in a room fit for five. The two of us fit between the legs of a table and we shared a pillow. I was just falling asleep when a succinct moan emanated from her sleeping body. My mind snapped back into consciousness and I wondered if I had really heard what I thought I’d heard. A moment later she did it again, only with a bit more intensity and, er, passion. Soon each moan came with a slight shudder and all I could think was "Please don’t wake the other guys up." But after a couple minutes I could see everybody in the room (it was light out and I was wide awake again) shifting in their sleeping bags, obviously subconsciously processing the sound and possible significance of a lady’s moan. Eventually the moaning stopped but I never did fall back asleep. Nobody ever mentioned it the next morning.
Those fucking Fiats found us again. It’s like they are on Cannonball Run, traveling the continent with a single mission – to wake us up.
Ah, the irony – Angers, France has been home to the least angry people we’ve met so far on this tour. Every preconception I’ve had of the French has been so far off the mark I am embarrassed to admit it. I was here 6 years ago and only spent time in Paris. The locals were so rude to my friend and I we started provoking situations for them to be jerky about because it was the only way to deal with their arrogance and condescension. But heck, get out of Paris and BLAMMỐ, people rule! My guess is that something about their love of all things physically anomalous (i.e. Marcel Marceaux, Cirque de Soliel, Jerry Lewis…) endears them to generally foolish people, like us. And because Devon dresses up like Wez from Road Warrior and we jump around a lot I think we get brownie points for it. And they are just as goofy and fun to hang out with in non-show environments. Viva la France!
Remember that time when Devon busted my rib? No, that other time. Yeah, that sucked.
Reins, France – our last show with MY OWN LIES. It is a sad parting. As a lovely parting gift I got a sheet of passport-style pics from a photo booth and pasted them all over Steffen’s equipment.
pics by Clementine:
Then we drove from France to Mannheim, Germany to drop them off at home and sleep 3 hours in their practice spot before hitting a music shoppe first thing in the morning to replace one of Max’s cymbals, then we drove to Masseistict(?), Holland to pick up another order of shirts, and finally pulled into Hoogeven in the afternoon in time for a big-ass festival. Two shows, two errands and three countries in 24 hours. We brought ‘running errands’ to a new level.
We pulled up just as DESTROYER were playing but we were told "eat now or you won’t be eating at all." Since we had driven 24 hours with no food, and since Hoogeven was closed for the next 36 hours, we opted for the food and missed what we would later realize was one of the best kept secrets in all of Europa.
Ralf says he found a guy who will buy my amp so I won’t have to pay the ridiculous airplane fee to get it home. I will be able to sell for enough money to be able to buy a new one when I get home, but it’ll still be cheaper for the guy who buys than if he bought it at a store here.
Shortly after I arrived a large man (all Dutch men are large) stopped me and said he knew me. "We met in a bar in Amsterdam in 1997 and you gave me a Your Mother sticker. My name is Jos." Sure enough, my friend Bradley and I went to see his band SEEIN RED in a bar in Amsterdam one night shortly before being mugged by a guy armed with a dirty syringe. I felt a little intimidated, but not just because of his incredible recall skills or his size. We have been billed throughout Europa as the ‘Grandfathers of Bandana Thrash’ or some other such offshoot of that idea – but this guy truly was one of the Grandfathers of Banadan Thrash. He was in fucking LÄRM for crying out loud! One of his newer bands, KRIEGSTANZ, played the fest and they were what Robert described as "the precise type of band I could listen to and watch all night." They were heavy and loud and powerful and angry and tight and grooving.
As awesome as KRIEGSTANZ were I was more impressed by the simpler punk rock vibe of LOMB. Also playing was TEAR IT UP from New Jersey whom we have bumped into every summer for the last 4 summers. We shared the ‘big stage’ upstairs which didn’t excite us at all. The only benefits to playing large places are 1) you get a lot of room to run around, 2) you can usually see what you’re playing and what’s going on because of the overabundance of lights, and 3) the sound is usually well-balanced. When TEAR IT UP finished their completely brutal and full-participatory set we went on. I hadn’t even turned my amp up yet and the soundguy had it coming through the monitors so that when I did turn it up the monitors themselves started feeding back. Of course he disappeared before we could fix the problem. The first song went by and I could hear absolutely nothing but feedback from the monitor. The second song I spent standing next to the drums so I could watch Max play because I couldn’t actually hear him over all the feedback. At the end of the song a stagediver somehow managed to disengage the entire lighting system, save one white light that shined directly over Robert making him look more like Jesus that ever. So by the 3rd song only Robert could see what he was doing and as such was stuck to that one spot. I was stuck standing within drumstick distance from Max so I could watch him play and play along. And all we heard from the stage was feedback. Yet from the audience’s point of view we were all on this huge stage playing horribly and in one place. Embarrassing. A couple songs into the set I unplugged the monitor that was feeding back so badly. Later one of the guys up front said it was the best part about our show because the thing was so loud and abrasive it was making him and everyone around him sick. Yeah, that’s just what we’re going for…
Breakfast the next morning included the normal variety of beverages and bread-ie snacks and fruit, but the Dutch – bless their dessert-friendly-hearts – also had five different kinds of chocolate toppings for our toast/muffins/pastry/fingertips.
24 hours with Destroyer has yielded the following observations:
Max gets yelled at for not shaving.
Münster, Germany – one of the hottest shows so far on the tour yet a guy spent the entire show in a gorilla suit, never once even talking the head off. He disappeared between two of the bands and came back covered in grass. Despite Devon and I dubbing this ‘the safest city on Earth’ it seems some hooligans jumped the guy and rolled him down a hill.
THIS JOURNAL YOU'RE
READING (or skimming, as it were) IS A COLLECTION OF EVENTS PUT IN SEMI-CHRONOLOGICAL
ORDER, BUT THIS IS IN NO WAY MEANT TO BE A COMPLETE DIARY. THE FOLLOWING
IS AN EMAIL SENT FROM ARND, THE DJ FROM 12-XU
RADIO. I MERELY INCLUDED SMALL PIECES OF OUR NIGHT IN BOCHUM,
GERMANY BECAUSE I COULD NOT ENCAPSULATE THE ENTIRE NIGHT INTO A BRIEF
ENTRY. HOWEVER, ARND DID AND THAT'S WHY I AM INCLUDING HIS EMAIL. PERSONAL
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR (ME, CRAIGUMS) ARE IN yellow]:
I read the whn european tour report and wanted to add something just for the record:
On July 16th you played a show in Bochum at the Wageni with Destroyer. Somehow this particular gig doesn´t show up in the report. I know it´s hard to remember all the shows you´ve played after a while, especially when it was such a long tour. So, here are some things that happened in Bochum to help you remember:
Before the gig in Bochum, I did an interview with you and Devon for a monthly radio show called 12XU (www.12xu-radio.de), where right from the start, I locked you in my car and drove hastily - and backwards - to a private corner of a nearly empty parking lot and threatened you by yelling, “gimmie your fuckin´ money!” It was a good laugh and the interview went pretty okay. You also met my wife Cathy there, the American expatriate, who vowed she will never ever return to the US. Next day in Bochum, nothing particularly stands out in my mind either, except that I did your laundry and forgot to take pictures of your dirty underwear for later display on the 12XU website Arnd - I got plenty if you want to borrow them. Check for them on eBay. The show itself went without problems. The highpoints I remember are Devon wriggling himself through a 19x19 inch hole in the wall that was used to hand food to people from the kitchen and thus, singing in the mini kitchen and behind the bar. I also remember a broken guitar string that gave Devon the chance to do some unexpected muscle flexing to your guitar tuning while the volume was still cranked up to 11 (some people thought it was the experimental freefusionjazzpunk intro to the next song) some people are right!. After the gig, you stayed at our apartment, where we watched videos of old Lärm and Naplam Death shows that went over really well with the Destroyer guys and showed what kind of a devoted obsessed Lärm fanatic Max is. You, Craig, had a definite interest in the Rockbitch video. You, Arnd, had the Rockbitch video! Too bad we all went to bed at about that point (it was close to 3:00 am). That night Matthias of Destroyer fell down the admittedly half-broken stairs from the attic where he slept. Slightly drunk and confused by the dive he took, he could not really explain what the hell he came down to look for (I agree with you that he mumbled something about looking for his towel in a very “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” way). Before you finally went to sleep you had an annoying conversation about British metal bands like Saxon with a guy who missed his last train home and who’d wound up staying at our place too.The only annoying part of the conversation was that it took place at 4am while my eyes were closed and my mind was off. Well, that and I can't stand Saxon. I remember this, because Cathy and I overheard the whole thing from our bedroom, giggling into our pillows about how serious the kid was with his fascination for the NewWaveofBritishHeavyMetal that he definitely was a part of, when his father dragged him to the european tours of these bands... (though he still would’ve been an unsatisfied spermazoa in his father’s scrotum back then). The next morning was an accident-free breakfast and a short delay, because the second key to your van was missing (it was lying under the couch). You were still able to get out of town in time to go to Dresden.
Last but not least,
you already posted some of our photos in the tour report, probably via
Destroyer. I have some more and will send
p.s. when the show was completely boring and forgettable, forget that I wrote.
the above-mentioned time in Bochum (pics by Rob):
Somewhere in eastern Germany: the serpentine belt for our van snapped so we rolled ourselves down the ausfaurt and into the next reststop. Max approached a group of guys hanging out by their car. He started talking at them until he noticed they were in the middle of being searched by two undercover police officers. Naturally we were searched next, and subsequently searched again every 30 minutes by other roving teams of reststop patrol officers until the ADAC truck arrived. It was with the utmost German efficiency that we were towed to a Mercedes dealer, fixed and back on the road in under 60 minutes.
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