Archive for the ‘Lvov on Tour’ Category

I can’t get this link to work properly. Ach. I guess you’ll have to copy and paste the URL. Who the hell is going to do that? What an amateur move. I blame WordPress.

Untitled Podcast Project: The Review

Wait, I think that works. Oh boy. If it doesn’t copy and paste the below link.


First episode of my untitled podcast project. This episode is called “The Review.”  It features a short story and a post show discussion with my brother Jeff and Drummer Dave. Topics include the show we just played in Nottingham, UK, Lou Reed and a review by the music critic Robert Christgau on NPR’s All Things Considered. It features music by My Two Toms, Ghostman & Sandman, The Teardrop Explodes and Lou Reed.

Photo 73

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Radio Piece Animation

The radio piece I did about my brother and I, for the BBC 4 show Short Cuts got re-edited and animated:

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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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Yesterday morning in Marseilles I found out our good friend Dashan Coram has died. Very shocking. I’ve known him for many years. Recorded in his bedroom and played in his band and he played in mine. He’s a huge presence in the NY music scene I grew up in.

I still can’t believe it. It’s so damn sad.

A few of the old songs he recorded for me appear on my new album. There is an out pouring of love and grief from the huge NY music community.

There is a memorial Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=607220471#!/DashanCoramForever

Back to the road days earlier:


Now in Lille, last night was Brussels and the night before was Amsterdam.

We’re supposed to write a song about the venue we played tonight in Lille. They are hosting us tomorrow and Jeff has been commissioned to write them a ditty. I’m not sure what he will write. We thought of these lyrics: “There is a stage and microphones and it is a venue” (just need a melody). Lou Reed is playing the big room of the same venue. Tickets are 85 Euros. Wow. He’s doing a whole European tour called “From VU to LuLu” I wish I could see one of the shows. (or maybe not)

The night before we were in Brussels. We see our old friend Guillame and we play again with our old friend Seth:

We stayed at our old friend Sabrina’s house. It was very nice. her boyfriend Louie runs a used bookstore and he shows us a book he has from the 16th century.

I stayed up all night on the internet and today was very tired. I slept through dinner.

Played with a cool band in Brussels called Joy as a Toy.

Back home I get updates from Marci about the new roof that we are getting, it’s very stressful that I am not able to be home to over-see the work. We had them put in 3 skylights, but they put them in very roughly and now we need to fix the holes. AAAA.

In Amsterdam I met up with Marci’s cousin Emille, who moved her years ago and has a wife and child now. I have a great time hanging out at the Jewish museum and walking the streets. We have a really cool conversation about lots of different topics.

Music, art, creative lives, relationships. It was good.

In Lille. I forget if I mentioned this. On the first day of tour I realize that I’ve forgotten to bring two pairs of jeans. I had two pairs ready to go, but forgot one. I can’t survive 5 weeks on tour with 1 pair of jeans. A couple days in and my one pair of pants has already developed a hole in the knee. What the hell? I just bought these jeans (second hand sure) but really they should last longer. Ach.

(When I image searched ripped jeans I found this image:

I tried buying pants in Amsterdam but they were pricey and didn’t fit that well. In Lille, there’s an H & M near the venue. I’ve never bought anything from and H & M, maybe never been in there, but I am now the happy owner of a fresh pair of blue H & M pants. Sort of like jeans, but not really. My brother was jealous of my new pants, he wanted his own pair. Ha.

The venue we play in Lille is hosting Lou Reed in a month (we played the small stage, he will play the big stage) tickets are 85 Euros, 2,000 capacity and he gets the whole door. The venue is government-funded and will lose lots of money on the show. French tax payer money going to support Lou and his crew. It doesn’t seem that reasonable.

Also in Lille, the venue is near a gypsy camp. I’ve never seen such a  thing. Lots of trailers and trash and scrap every where. And gypsy’s walking around, lots of kids.

Another world. I don’t think we see many real gypsies in America. More hippies and faux gypsies.

In Lyon we play a weird small festival that has two stages.One stage is techno DJs (or house or whatever dance music is), the other stage is weird cult bands not many people care about. Our stage is us, Gallon Drunk, Black Jaspers (Side project of King Kahn), Rocket from the Tomb (old 70’s punk/proto metal band with Dave Thomas who later formed Peru Ubu) and a  band called the Spits (who came out wearing Ronald Reagan masks (great shtick).

During our set it starts pouring rain, there are some hard-core fans up front and then everyone else hiding in the back. When the rain stops more people come out, but then there’s more rain and then hail and everyone disperses again. Oh well.

The festival has amazing weird/scary  composting toilets. The toilets  dust and the pissers have hay.





Some members of the band the Black Lips are hanging out with King Kahn.

We played with them in Barcelona at a big show for Primavera. I say hi to one of them who says his name is Cole.  he remembers  Jeff’s history of the Fall. I tell him I heard him on NPR with Kesha.


They’re much more media savvy then Jeff. Also they appear too cool to care really who we are. King Kahn is nice though. I had him read my tarot cards at Primavera a couple years ago.

Jeff and I watch Rocket From The Tombs.

Jeff tells me Cheeta Chrome is on bass and that he heard whole episode of Ken Katkin’s Trash Flow Radio dedicated to him. He says he told Dave Thomas backstage, but he didn’t respond or care at all.

After the show I decide to tell Cheeta. Dave Thomas is sitting exhausted. I tell him I saw him years ago at Prospect park, he doesn’t care. I tell Cheeta about Ken Katkin’s show. “Oh yeah” he says, “Cheeta really held the whole band together, was the glue” I guess he’s not Cheeta Chrome.

The festival is a day thing and it’s over on the early side. Back at hotel I’m able to have a nice video- chat with Marci back in Portland.  She’ shows me the new skylight in our bathroom and a bunch of garden work she’s done.

It’s late but I’m hungry so I go out and get churro and some pizza around 2 AM. Ug.

The next morning I wake up to the phone ringing. Drummer Dave says we’re late. I feel totally dizzy and hung over. I feel nauseous, I have some sort of pizza hangover.

It’s a long drive to Bordeaux. Err.

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4th day on the road.

Driving from Amsterdam to Brussels I put on an episode of WNYC Soundcheck. Mike Watt is the guest. He talks about keeping a tour diary to stay sane on tour.

I didn’t feel like keeping one yet, but I feel the craziness and depression creeping in, maybe it was driving in traffic today or maybe it was … the usual.

So some memories from the first few days.

I fly from Portland to Philly and get a flight to Paris. I’ve taken some Tylenol Pm to sleep and I drift in and out of some restless rest. My TV is broken so I can’t watch any movies. I suppose this is good I need to sleep. But perhaps I would have watched with Sherlock 2, The Artist, or ….

In Rouen. We’re playing an arts center, very nice space and they’ve let us rehearse in some studios they have there also very nice. But there are some issues with the bathrooms. The first night I use the men’s room and notice there is no toilet paper. Luckily I have toilet paper in my bookbag left over from a hike earlier that week. What luck! When I’m done I grab some toilet paper and paper towels from the women’s bathroom next door and leave some for the next person.

The women’s room is fully stocked. Which is nice. The next day I’m shocked when I return to the same men’s bathroom and there is still no toilet paper or paper towels.

Again I grab some from the fully stocked women’s room. I guess no one told the guy to re-stock and damned if I’m going to do it.

That night after our show there is another band playing in the big room. It’s a huge 35 piece big band playing great big band music,  Gypsy brass, Samba, big band jazz, white soul. It’s a treat to see/hear.

In Rouen we try to see the famous Rouen Cathedral made famous by Monet’s paintings. We drive around and pass two possible locations. We don’t have time to stay long. Jeff and I were here many years ago and we both drew pictures of the Cathedral, but we’re not sure which one it was.

The venue screens a French documentary about the radical 60’s group the Diggers. It’s not that great, but it does have some interesting discussions about freedom and liberty. I’m very jet lagged and end up staying up late. The next day I’m exhausted, but when the night comes I can’t sleep that well again. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diggers_%28theater%29)

Other Rouen tid-bit. Our rooms were on the 5th floor of a hotel. 1st off it was nice that we got hotel rooms, a real luxury for us on tour. 2nd, I forced myself to walk up and down the stairs at least a few times to get some much needed exercise. Man it’s tough to do that.

Other news. I don’t have toothpaste and haven’t brushed in days. Very bad. Just chomping a box of mints I bought in Virginia. I feel very embarrassed every time I talk to someone. (and I also feel bad for all the people I make out with —joking)

In Paris I meet Julian who is friends with the Herman Dune crew and Jeff, I feel like I’ve never met him before. He’s a painter/artist and it’s nice to talk a little art/music with him.

I’m sad the night before in Paris my old friend Carter played with the band Lower Dens. We just missed each other. This happens with Jeff Brodsky, another friend who played Amsterdam the night before we did. (he plays drums in Yacht).

We’re playing tonight with some old friends and influential people to Jeff’s musical life. Ish Marquez and Seth Fergolzia (Dufus).

Lisa Li Lund the Herman Dune sister comes, haven’t seen her in years.  We don’t have a place to stay for the evening, but then a friend from New York– Julie from Ching Chong song and The Wowz– is there and can host a couple of us.  she’s in Paris to perform in what sounds like a wild crazy experimental theater/opera piece that she’s been working with for years).

Jeff and I go to Lisa’s place. She has awesome books and drawings and stuff and a funny yippy dog named Cookie Balboa. She gives us shirts that she made for her band, they are amazing. Drawn by our friend Mayon. I wish our t-shirts looked half as cool. Our shirts look like shit.

In the morning we all meet up and Julie takes us to a special bakery. Oh my, we all get this special pistachio chocolate croissant. It is  …. I’m still speechless.

Some shots from the bakery: 




I suppose more to come.

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Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels.
For years I have enjoyed the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor Chubby Hubby,

especially  chocolate covered/peanut butter filled pretzels.
I’ve searched in vain (maybe not searched, but kept an eye out) for these magical items and have never found them. But on this tour I did find these peanut-butter filled pretzels which are pretty good. Drummer Dave eventually discovered that Trader Joe’s sold a  chocolate covered version , and they were good, but not perfect. Still on the hunt.

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