Reconquest Day 1
Flying off to Germany manana to begin rehearsals for a run of dates in Europe with my old band Green On Red.
Desperate times, desperate measures; how desperate are we you ask? Well, Dan Stuart our fearless leader, needs a new hip. I kid you not. So other than taking opportunity to have communion with old friends and spread the gospel—healthcare being what it is in these parts, we organized this tour partly as a fundraiser, partly as yuckfest but mostly we're on a mission to get that ceramic hip replacement.
Turns out that after holding out for 18 years, the guarantees for Green On Red aren't bad! We said we'd never reform; then again, we said so many things. These are different times, different people talking. There's a dark hole out there where we buried all our "happy horsehit" so watch your step and carry a flashlight.
We have a mandate, we're doing our part to make the World Safe For Hypocrisy. If fact, the Hippocratic creed emerges as one the approved talking points. We vow to stay ON MESSAGE. Yeah, right. In ancient Greece. Hypocrites were just actors. Like movie stars, ya know?
I've done long tours. Three months in a van at a stretch can be long. So can a week with the right or wrong combination of personalities. I hope for the best. In fact, I pray for the best. Apply some friction to the right combination of vaporized bad vibes and static cling and that's all she wrote.
Karlsruhe Day 1
First of all, it's not like in the movies. Where the limo hat donning driver holds up a sign with your name welcoming you. In reality, you de-board and there's no one to greet you. And worse, for me, as soon as I get off that plane in Germany, it's as if a phantom shoves a LIT cigarette into my mouth. An out of body experience not unlike crossing the state line into Kentucky where nicotine prohibition is a long long way off. You see, the monkey never left the building. He's in the corner quietly doing his push ups and sit ups You can't see him, but he's there alright. The first time you quit smoking, it's hard. The second time it gets easier, I'm told. My hands involuntarily pat down my chest searching for that elusive 20 pack. The elusive red and white rectangle of my ever-present death. When in Rome...
Do Europeans hate us Septics? Should I wear a disguise? A friend later suggests holding my cigarette with my hand upside down, you know, like palm up? Bloody hell, this could get complicated.
Here comes Danny. Boy, that walk. What a gimp. He's not kidding about that hip. I tell myself to emphasize the positive. Look at it as being a source of comedic opportunities. Lots of possibilities. But really, we're getting together after 18 years to get that fucker a clay hip? Here we are in this god forsaken German burg where they made the kind of white wine that Dead Jim died trying to puke up.
ANYWAY, It's the first day of a new tour. It's like the first day of school. And for little kids and big kids alike, that can mean tears, heightened excitement, trouble. Okay, we know who the gimp is. But, who's going to be the weird kid, the shy kid, the bully, the designated mope, the last in the lobby every morning? I have theories I keep to myself.
This'll be cool. Blonde chicks everywhere, but they all look pissed off. Did someone tell them we were coming?
Germany's biggest oil refinery is located in Karlsruhe, at the western edge of the city, directly on the river Rhine. Karlsruhe is also the internet capital of Germany. But more relevant to our cause, Karlsruhe is Green On Red keyboardist's Chris Cacavas's new adopted home town and this is where we decide to camp out Rolling Stone/Borsht-belt style for a few days to go through our marine like drills, rehearsing for our first tour in 18 years.
The eve of our arrival, Chris invites us to his lovely pad for a soulful home cooked meal. A feast topped off by his wife Rose's straight-from-the-oven pie replete with berry's picked from their own garden. Someone says what I'm thinking: "Dude, like... Paradise".
The Green On Red collective (me, Jack, Chris and Danny) and nu guy/drummer end up shucking, jiving, singing and playing till all hours of the morning in one of the bedrooms where Chris has set up some of his equipment. We deconstruct and re-arrange a cluster of songs and swear to uphold and recreate these inspired re arrangements when we reach the job site. Yeah, right. Chris's six year old son Dylan nods his head and shakes down to his bare feet in approval. All in all a promising start to this two week run.
STAY TUNED FOR DAY 2 (Fun fact: In Germany you can get a ticket for giving the finger.)