Sep 1st 2004
I spent my two off-days doing a jazz-workshop and restocking my Hamburg
apartment with bare essentials like milk, cornflakes, three brand new
pairs of Buddy Holly glasses and a bottle of Holsten Edel (brewed in
the Pilsner tradition of brewing, but possibly not a Pilsner per definition).
I hardly see Joey who has closed off part of the living room and turned
it into a kind of recording studio, refusing to shave or speak. He is
on a mad songwriting spree again. Good. It just strikes me as unusual
that every time I do burst in, he franticly seems to be playing tic-tac-toe
on the internet, sleeping or just giggling to himself.
Jamie returns from Hanover with our faithful steed (Ford Transit) and
we play the upstairs pub of the Thomas Read. Our best gig there so far!
Though it's a quiet night on the Reeperbahn, we get a good crowd in
and everybody is having a good time. The a-capella group the "Wise
Guys" from Cologne drop in for a little party (after their
sold-out gig in the Große Freiheit). El Vino does flow and by
the end of the evening they all buy a CD, promise to come back the next
night, make us not only their steady support band but also part of their
show, give their first born daughters to us etc.etc.
Another Night at the Academy. The left table shows up in respectable
numbers. It's a fun gig though maybe we climax a bit too early ("That
has never happened before. I promise.") making the second set the
high point of the evening. Or maybe it's just my imagination, because
- having lost the paper-scissors-stone earlier - I have to face the
third set in a state of soberness, previously unknown to me.
All three of us are quite tired. We decide to make it an early night
and go home right away.
I later have a dream that we all got invited by the owner of the "Mary
Lou's" to come over to his bar for a final drink. That drink turns
out to be 27 shots of lickerish liquor and a few bottles of beck's (I
hope our mothers don't read the tour diary).
Wake up with strange headache ("Did I also only imagine the shadow
I have booked tonight's gig, so I make myself the new manager of the
band (Jamie can be "kick-ass assistant" from now on).
We hit the road slightly late and head towards Osnabrueck. Summer has
a warm comeback and Osnabrueck turns out to be a nice little city. We
play at the Volkshochschule-start-of-semester-party and people like
it. We even have a Hamburg fan in exile there with his Osnabrueck friends.
He buys us Jägermeister.
Karsten - who is organizing the event - thinks we really rocked the
Volkshochschule and wants to book us back next year as Pay-TV.
I think he is also impressed with the sheer amount of meal coupons (for
steaks and pretzels) our new manager (me, baby!) demands.
I'm happy. Being the manager of a successful little rock'n'roll outfit
isn't always easy. But I think I'm doing well (I hope my mother reads
the tour diary).
I go out with my friend Jan who is traveling with us. He buys me Jägermeister.
This is all screwed up. Jamie says I can't be manager anymore. Joey
wants at least two managers and also claims to have fired our old producer.
I end up as "navigator boy" and we start a long drive to Leipzig.
gig is at a wedding. Set to the background of an old mansion there's
an outdoor stage and romantic lighting. The people are nice. Surprisingly,
we have a hard competition: The groom plays in a band with his friends
and they're actually quite good. As a Grande finale he performs a self-written
song in German for his wife. She smiles happily and seems certain about
her choice of husband (not even Joey's excellent rendition of 99 Luftballons
seems to put a doubt into her heart).
Sunday is an off-day. We find a beautiful lake near Leipzig and take
Everybody's happy again. While I dogpaddle around the clear water, Joey
and Jamie challenge each other to more and more ridiculous headers and
somersaults from the calc walls surrounding the lake.
Oh bliss, I can still hear echoing laughter and Joe's muffled cries
of pain after he lands flat on his (how do you say in English?)
Friday 20th Aug. '04
Arrive at Luebeck airport, with the cold I've had for the last few days
refusing to let go. Jamie called me last night and mentioned that the
only chance we had to run through the Pay-TV set was directly before
the gig. Wolff meets me at the bus station and we head straight for
the Academy where Jamie is already setting up the gear. I tell you,
there is nothing like the smell of the Academy on a hot day to remind
you that you're back on tour, and back in Hamburg! We have two hours
before they open, and manage to run through 19 of our 23 songs before
my cold-ravaged vocal chords stop functioning. We have an hour before
the gig and decide to see if a spicy no.11 from Bella Italia won't cure
Note: never order spicy no. 11 on a weekend. They make them extra hot
as a joke at the expense of the tourists!
I'm not sure if the pizza helps my voice, but it certainly takes my
mind off it.
The academy crowd are out in force
a good omen for the tour. The
usual academy fun and mayhem ensue, and my throat even holds together
until the end
We pack the stuff into the van and Wolff and I drive us to Hannover.
What in God's name possesses me to eat that dodgy looking "rib
eye sandwich" at the petrol station? We arrive at 7am. I have a
taste in my mouth like I've been chewing on someone's old socks. Jamie
washes his face and leaves the house to be a good parent. I wash my
face, brush my teeth and go to bed.
21st Aug. '04
Go running around the Maschsee with Wolff. I blame my cold, and the
fact that I'm wearing Jamie's shoes, which are much too small, for my
slow pace. Wolff mutters some excuses of his own.
Meet Jamie and head for Stadhagen. During the sound check it becomes
apparent that my voice is much worse than usual (insert your own "is
that possible?" joke here). I decide to stretch out the guitar
solos instead of singing.
Ten minutes before show time, a terrible backdrop hanging accident occurs
and I'm struck in the hand by the hook of an over tight bungee strap
as it flies across the stage. I decide to jump around like a monkey
on stage instead of playing guitar or singing!
The "Hannover and outskirts" crowd are out in force
be a good omen for the tour.
We pack the stuff into the van and I drive us to Hamburg. We stop at
McDonalds on the way and I discover, to my horror, that my favourite
late night snack, the chocolate muffin, has more fat than anything else
on the menu. Wolff buys the McDonalds step counter to make sure he is
leading an active life. 17 steps from the table to the van.
22nd Aug. '04
Long drive. Early start. I'm behind the wheel and enjoying the driving.
Clear sky. Good sounds on the stereo. Hamburg to Binz without a single
stop. That must be a new "time between pee breaks" record
for Jamie. His previous best was about 25 minutes.
Wolff is feeling ill. We blame the McDonalds milkshake.
We are playing in a brand new designer chic hotel. It's a strange venue
for a Pay-TV gig, but the owner reassures us by saying that he's not
at all sure if anyone will turn up!
Surprisingly, people do show up and, although unusual, it's a fun gig.
My voice even seems to be getting better. I doubt if anyone even noticed
I was having problems. I speak to some fans after the show. The conversation
starts with "We noticed you were having some problems"!
Jamie wins the paper-scissors-stone and Wolff and I share a room, but
it doesn't really matter: No Pay-TV for Pay-TV.
23rd Aug. '04
Thank you God for sending us here!
After running on the beach with Jamie we explore the relaxation spa
section of the hotel. It's just what the doctor ordered. Hot tubs, saunas,
a waterfall and a swimming pool that plays chiming music as soon as
you put your head underwater. Wolff books us in for a session of light
relaxation therapy. None of us know what this is. We go into a special
room and various colours of light shine on us from the ceiling. Wolff
can't resist fiddling with some of the buttons and manages to turn the
whole thing off after about 20 seconds. We can't get it started again,
and sit there in the dark. Eventually we have to go out looking for
help. Once it's started again we stay in for about 20 minutes before
getting bored. I'm not sure what it was supposed to do for me but I'm
worried that the green light may have affected my ability to have children!
We set up our stuff in the bar next to the hotel. They tell us the atmosphere
is amazing when bands play there. We have fun on stage playing the gig
but I wouldn't call the atmosphere in the place amazing. We find out
afterward that we are actually the first live band they have had there.
More running on the beach. More saunas and hot tubs. Even a professional
back-massage. Even though it's a short ride to the next town, we manage
to get there late. We realise we have forgotten to eat anything all
day, but have to set up and play straight away. After two sets we decide
we can't wait any longer and try to eat a large, steaming hot bowl of
Mexican chilli each in our 15-minute break before the final set. We
also have the forethought to order a "real meal" for after
the show (jumbo steaks for Jamie and Wolff, Jumbo enchiladas for me).
Note to amateur musicians: Leave jumping around on stage after stuffing
your face with chilli to the professionals!
Finish the gig feeling extremely sick. Just then our food arrives. We
all feel guilty for ordering like pigs, so we try to eat it all anyway.
I manage to loose my hotel key in the 20 m between the bar and the hotel.
25th Aug. '04
Back to mainland Germany. We turn up at the brasserie in good time for
the sound check, but are surprised there aren't any of our posters hanging
outside. Jamie speaks to the owners and, after several confusing phone
calls, realises that for the next three nights, all the clubs we are
going to play have somehow ended up with the wrong dates in their books.
We cancel the Friday gig in the Fisherman's and decide to play two nights
in a row at the Brasserie.
The gig is OK considering most people think we are playing the following
26th Aug. '04
Jamie looks at the morning paper and sees a large article about us playing
at the fisherman's on Friday. More hectic phoning and the fisherman's
is back on
the campus is cancelled.
Find my hotel key from 3 days ago stuffed in the toe of my sports shoes????
The evenings gig is good considering some people thought we were playing
there the previous day.
27th Aug. '04
Have lunch at the fisherman's and meet the son of the owner who is on
his way to his weekly football training. He says it will be OK if we
join him so we change our clothes and jump in his car. 30 metres before
the football pitch, we are pulled over by the police who want to see
a driving licence and ID cards. Of course, we all have our football
clothes on and no wallets with us. The biggest, ugliest and stupidest
of the two policemen (hereafter referred to as "Bad cop")
fails to see the funny side of things and radios in for a check on the
car. It turns out the owner of the car had recently changed insurance
companies and apparently you are supposed to personally notify the police
if you do that in Germany. Anyway, Bad cop doesn't understand the situation
and decides to scratch off the licence plate sticker so that the car
is officially undrivable. He also fines Wolff and Jamie for not having
their seatbelts (Luckily for me he can't find the right form to fine
foreigners). He gives us a final warning not to move the car under any
We play our football match, say a quick prayer, then drive the car back.
After a fun gig, we take up an invitation to a cocktail bar round the
corner. The bar girl decides Pay-TV are worthy of drinks on the house.
This could be a mistake. White Russian's all around. Wolff decides we
each need a drink in the colour of our respective Rock House suits.
The Red and the Green ones are OK; I think I come out worst in the bargain.
Wolff gets sentimental for his days in New Orleans and tries to find
the recipe for mint juleps. The bar girl digs out a recipe that starts
with 10cl bourbon. "That's just how I remember them" cries
a nostalgic Wolfman.
28th Aug. '04
Early start. We have arranged a football match against the staff of
the Mah k' ina club in Bergen. It's a bloody good thing we didn't spend
hours talking nonsense at the indie club after the cocktail bar closed
at 4.30 last night
..now it's coming back to
We make it through the match without totally disgracing ourselves. It
seems a hangover based on mint juleps is less debilitating then the
caipirinha hangovers we had last time we faced the Mak'kina boys.
The evenings gig is fun, but Jamie and I seem to be making more mistakes
than usual. Could it be too much football?
29th Aug. '04
Driving back to Hamburg, it's a nice day for an out door gig. Get to
within 10 metres of the stage and the heavens open and it starts raining
.what's that old English idiom?
We watch helplessly as crowds of people run from the festival square
and into the subway. The rain has blown over by the time we start our
set. Maybe it was a good thing. We wouldn't want anyone who was not
a die hard fan to see the start of our show. As we play more and more
people come back into the square and it's actually quite full in front
of the stage when we start our last song
.That's when the rain
starts up again!