Archive for June, 2012

Sorry i wasn’t able to keep this diary going.


The last bit I wrote on the road:

We’re in a small border town in Switzerland. You can walk down the street and go into Italy and get a very good pizza which we did with our old good friends Andre and Clemence (although Andre now goes by Stanly Brinks, I still call him Andre).

The pizza is amazing. Crispy thin crust almost burnt but not.

We sit at a bar and Andre buys us drinks. He speaks some Italian and talks with everyone at the bar. One man tries to ask us questions but we can’t really understand him. Andre who speaks 5 or 6 languages can’t understand him. At first he point at us (or Kristin) and says “American Woman, American woman,” I think he’s looking for a wife, but then he starts singing the song “American woman, get away from me” Then he points and says something about Israel. We ignore him. After a little bit he says something again about Israel and Andre gets annoyed. “I think he wants to know if you’re jewish” Now I’m a little disturbed. I’ve never really been asked in such a way by a weird guy in a foreign bar if we are jewish. “Yes, we’re NY jews, I point to Dave he is Bronx Christian, Kristin is a Portland Christian” I don’t think he hears me or understands because he keeps asking. Andre tries talking to his friends asking them why he wants to know. “What are you” He asks the man. “Swiss.” He says.

As we get ready to leave, the man asks again and because I’ve had one whiskey I get angry. “Why do you want to know, you want practice for the future so you get good at spotting jews. You know it was a problem in the past, so it’s a little weird you ask. You want to get good at spotting jews. You understand? Maybe you want a job in the future as some sort of Jew hunter.” I say something like this. I’m not sure he or his friends understand. “You know the movie, Inglorious Bastards, Quintin Tarintino?”

His friend  sort of nods. “He’s like that guy in the movie, the Jew hunter.” His friend is upset “oh, no, no, you … no” Oh now I’ve upset them, oh I’m so sorry for upsetting them. The jew hunter gets up from his table and I’m a little scared now. But he just wants to make amends. “Everything is fine, you are ok right?” yeah I’m fine. I’m not even very jewish, but when someone looks at me in a small bar in Italy and wants to know if I’m jewish it’s a little weird.

We play a big loud set at a little festival, I jump around like a mad man and sweat profusely, it’s fun.

Yesterday was another top 5 drive of my life from St Gallen through some other mountains. Truly spectacular views of lakes and snow topped mountains. We pass Heidi land and Kristin explains this is the land where Heidi is based on.

In the car Jeff has made a mix of what he thinks are the greatest songs of all time.

He did this because Peter Stampfel did the same. The rules are only that it has to fit on a CD, so only 80 minutes and technically it’s supposed to be as objective as possible. It’s fun to listen to but I make fun of him, because he’s obviously just making a mix of songs he likes, not songs he objectively believes are the best ever. There’s no Michael Jackson, there’s no Bob Dylan. There’s no Eminem. But still it’s fun. Dave makes a mix as well. They’re very different.

The night before in St Gallen we play at The Palace. We play with another Portland band Tu Fawning.

I get another Portland fix. One member Joe works at a bar just down the street from my house. I wish I had another saying besides “small world”

We have dinner with Marcel and his brother. We see Marcel every time we play St Gallen, he’s a bigger Fall fan then Jeff and he’s very excited when we cover Curious Orange in our set.  He also reads this tour diary and says he doesn’t care about reading about empty toilet paper dispensers (see part one).   Ha. Well I get to write about whatever I want.

(he also asks to be included in this diary, so there you go)

I have to go back now to Genoa. It doesn’t matter all this hopping around in time, there’s no real narrative thread, just little bits and tids and tids and bits.

It was a top 20 drive to Genoa (maybe top 10). In Genoa we are brought to a little restaurant where we eat special local pasta with pesto, which was invented in this city.

(I guess I didn’t make it, that’s it)

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Jeez it’s been a rough few weeks, and not because of touring, but personal issues back home. I thought I would actually for once be able to keep a diary for a whole tour, but I’ve fallen way behind. It’s June 10th as I write this and I wrote this last entry, I don’t know, maybe 2 weeks ago.. well here it is.

In Bordeaux, we play our first dud show, even though I think the music is some of the best we’ve played.  NO posters, no people, no promoter.  Ok, there were a few people there, but we need to start early and finish because the bar is hosting a salsa night.

It’s all very confusing I’m a little hungry so I run across the street to a Middle Eastern bodega and buy some amazing food. Bulk olive like what the have at Sahadi’s. Amazing fat bread that is so moist and delicious, halva and grape leaves. (+kiwis and almonds). The olives are perfect. Everything together only 12 Euros, a  real bargin.

We play a great show to 20-30 people.

After the show the promoter is still not around, but there is amazing Salsa dancing. I’ve never seen such a thing, the moves are so fast, and there doesn’t seem to be a pattern, but the partners young and old mesh together. You can see some are stronger dancers then others, but it’s all very fun to watch.

(this is not them exactly, though Kristin did take photos)

I talk to one guy who says he is representing the promoter and for us not to worry about getting paid our fee. He tells us to sit and we’ll be served empanadas from the owners. I’m told it’s a Chilean bar and it’s pointed out they have posters of  Salvador Aiende who was killed by Pinochet in 1973. Kristin has ordered a mojito and so we all order mojitos. They might be the best mojitos we’ve ever had. Perfect combo of sugar, mint rum and what ever else goes in one. We wait patiently for our empanadas. A long time passes. The promoter rep says he is leaving. He tells us he gave our fee to the boss of the bar and he will pay us. We say good night and laugh.

Why couldn’t he just pay us? Will they serve us poisoned empanadas?

After another long wait the empanadas are served, they’re baked not fried and could not be more hot, freshly baked BIG MEAT PIES filled with chicken. Delicious.

The owner is very happy to have us and friendly. He says he will bring more empanadas. We hungrily gobble up the 4 in front of us. After a while longer he brings more. Finally Dave goes to ask about the money and it’s no problem. Everything is fine.

We drive to Toulouse where we’e played shows booked by Jaques for 10 years.

It’s a surprise,  that we are playing with Kevin from the band Truman’s Water.

I met him in 2004 when I did a weird residency in Colmar France with Herman Dune. He’s on tour with friends of his from Portland called the Bugs.

It’s nice to meet new Portland faces on the road. The Bugs are Mike and Paul. Paul works at Cherry Sprout, I love Cherry Sprout. (a local little produce store near our house in Portland). It’s very rainy in Toulouse, but still there are a 100 people at the show on a  Tuesday night.  Jaques cooks us an amazing dinner and one of the best deserts I’ve ever had, some sort of apple cake. It’s really something special. I need the recipe so I can never make it.

There is a very cute bull-dog at the club.

We drive to Marseilles

Marseille feels like a really cool city. Lots of painted store fronts, mosaics, really old roman architecture. It has a lot soul the city.

One of the promoters feeds us an amazing meal with lots of dips (olive/fig, garic,) yummy bread, fried discs made of chick peas, mozzarella and grilled eggplant. All amazing. And homemade strawberry liquor.

The show is in a sweaty little club and goes fine.

We hang out with Lucas a local art student painter and his friends who we’ve met years earlier. Lucas’ father is a photographer who I met at that residency in Colmar and we played at his house a couple years ago as well. Very nice cool people.

This morning in Marseille my brother tells me some horrible tragic news. Our friend Dashan has passed away suddenly. Details are scarce and it almost doesn’t matter. I’m still in shock. There are so many friends grieving; I guess Facebook is sort of useful for that even if it feels dirty.

Today the drive is amazing along the French Riviera. Past Cannes, St Tropez, Monte Carlo. We don’t see any of these towns, but we see the sea. We’ve done this drive once before, but the other direction I think. I’m happy to do it again.

We stop at a rest area and again the road food is great. I get a pre-packaged paella.

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