DAY 11 AMSTERDAMN

Strange Light

 

Just cause you don't have real job, don't mean you're making a living .

Across from our row on the train, some German students on their way to Amsterdam to ride bikes 50 K each day, engage us in a "are you in a band?" conversation.

One young girl says to Chris, "Wow, I've never met anyone who's made a CD."

I almost respond, "Yeah well, listen here fraulein, where we come from, it's hard to come across someone who hasn't released a CD." Instead, I carry on pretending that I'm reading. Exit Snarksville. It's Chris's party now.

Maybe I'm reading physics, right? It's possible. Maybe I'm pondering Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, because old Werner was a German and we're in Germany, right?

Or maybe Holland. The architecture just changed dramatically.

Jesus. There's no fractions in space, man.

Wish I had a bike to ride around Amsterdam on. That could be cool. I might just stop off at Wal-Mart and pick up a Huffy. Red, with a funky banana seat. Man, a Huffy.

There was a Wal-Mart just around the corner from the Reeperbahm directly across from the Knust. They sell firearms at Wal-Marts back home. I don't like firearms, oppose them, to tell you the truth. Don't fear the Reeperbaum.

Now we're at the Paradiso in Amsterdam. Itself a Church that's been renovated to a gig. A classic gig. Just follow all the posters, past the Bulldog and the jugglers in the square, you can't miss it.

It's getting crowded out here on

the rock and roll highways and bi-ways. Lots of acts playing tonight. Lots more playing this month.

But tonight's our night.

Underneath the venue are the backstage dressing rooms—they're murky, underexposed. No windows. No natural light. I go out for a walk. Strange light outside. I lose track of time and end up racing back to the Paradiso in a slight panic after our official start time.

Don't want to lose my job.

Rock and Roll is a funny vocation. Some guys hold on to their jobs by merely having the ability to go 400 miles without a piss stop. Horns or no horns. Some guys leave home for a week and become unhinged. Some don't ever want to go home.

Yessir, everything really clicks in on this gig. We dust off Down to the Bone, a live favorite from back in the day. Transcendent. Jack's focused. Dan's loose and tight.

Chris is Chris. It goes down easy.

Lots of old friends in the house: Paperclip gang, Irish Frank and his girl, Jose and Mart...

Someone asks me after if I'd be willing to lecture at a university for the arts. Why yes. Rock and Roll or Physics? I'm your man.

Nights like tonight keep me hanging around the wishing well. Of course, it beats doing dishes, parking cars, and hanging drywall. We're praying for sheetrock.

Strange light outside, strange indeed.