Diary 2004

by the WOLFMAN
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.

Sep 2nd 2004
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.

Funny, 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).

Sep 3rd 2004
Wake up with strange headache ("Did I also only imagine the shadow puppets?").
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).

Later I go out with my friend Jan who is traveling with us. He buys me Jägermeister.

Sep 4th 2004
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.

Tonight's 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).

Sep 5th 2004
Sunday is an off-day. We find a beautiful lake near Leipzig and take it easy.
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?)…ass!!


by JOE
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 me.
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…almost.
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.

Saturday 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………must 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.

Sunday 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.

Monday 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.

Tuesday 24th Aug.'04
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.

Wednesday 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 night.

Thursday 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.

Friday 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 circumstances.
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.

Saturday 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…….Oh wait…..now it's coming back to me.….damn!
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?

Sunday 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 down like…….what's that old English idiom?……...PISS! 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!