Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Is Schützenfest every Monday?

I was sitting between strangers, flying to Brussels when I realized it was gone - an untimely death at the Frankfurt airport on June 17.  I closed my eyes and swallowed my grief.

Schützenfest!   Forgot it was this weekend.  We detoured out to a field where a huge white tent sat nearly empty, only a few dozen people left over from the 3 day bender.  The clean up crew was breaking down, carting away bottles, banners, beer carts, tables and chairs.

We played a pretty even mix of old and new music. I think we did the right thing. Old blues, Appalachia, and our songs. Somewhat educational. Must have been entertaining. Then Johnny took us on a tour at midnight. Old walls, castles, roman roads, and an unfinished nuclear tower that now hosts some of the areas most lively costume parties.

I went to sketch you with words
But I lost my book
And when I finally had a new one
I could no longer see you as you looked
And it hasn't been so long since you were within reach
But now there's a power plant on a crowded beach
I was careless with my marionette and now he's tangled in his strings
The moment I awaken I've forgotten all my dreams
Tick tock, the old clock does the only trick it ever learned
And we still have our ways of being far away

We are staying on the banks of the Rhein, that massive sculptor of red clay which flows silently, almost secretly below our perch on top of the windmill tower only a few meters away.

Wow! I had that crazy dream experience in Aaron's apartment in Berlin. I had the covers over my face and when I pulled them down and saw light I was so relieved. It was one dream after the other like machine gun fire.

I'm feeling much better, thank you.  Here we've come to the end of something again - this tour.  We just swam in Lake Michigan, but we're in Indiana, and tonight we'll be in Illinois with Sara and Gordy.  Mount Kimbie is happening.  I'm outside myself looking at me in my body.  

Walking back.  There is a full moon hovering over the river, everyone is quiet.  It is 4:00am and Johnny's midnight historical tour is nearing the end.  The Rhein used to flow through the field where we walked but the phantom shifted it's course years ago.  It always changes.  Come lads, there is history everywhere.

It is so very important to climb into cool water.  Wow every moment is perfect.  The wind is tossing back your hair, you are left-half in the sun, we are vibing to music, we are on our way home, there is nothing to fear.

A guy came over to Johnny and introduced himself to us.  There was blood all over his sleeve that David kept pointing at and asking what happened.  He just kept talking and told us his mother said he had to be home before the sun came up.

This morning it wouldn't stop raining and last night David left his shoes outside the tent.  We all woke up soaked, shivering cold.  Rainy walks to the train.  Tired and exhausted.  Why am I walking so far?  Spending my last 8 Euro on a purple scarf. It's your favorite color.

After the show I met a lady in a green scarf who told me where The Beatles played their first gigs. 800 shows, she said. Over 2,000 hours. They would play from 7am until 7pm. They did 98 shows without a day off! But in the end it was worth it for them. What about the bands that did that and didn’t make it?

"Is Schützenfest every Monday?!"

I had told the lads many stories about Johnny Collins - but there’s no way anyone can be truly ready.  He’s so fascinated with life. His brain is like a sponge. He’s got so many things stored in there, sometimes they all just come pouring out. And it all seems come from being absorbed with what’s going on around him. He knows the history of every bunker, tower, roman road and olde town wall. He knows how the Rhein has changed it’s location over time, and he pointed out where it used to be.

Crackers from the flight attendant!  And now we're up over the clouds.  Did I mention that this flight is half-empty?  I am horizontal and I like it.

Only the barges can be heard - and an invisible nightbird who is obviously very angry about us being so close to his nest.  We continued along the old city wall and kept seeing drunken uniformed men and dressed up women passing by.  

Last night we played at Artliners. It looked like a cool Noir kind of place, but really it was a noisy bar. I was happy to play in a noisy bar. We could just let loose and jam together.

I had a kebab on the way home, at 1:30am. That’s what gave me the dream explosion.

Our Hamburg gig was called Hasenschaukel. It was surreal inside.. weird bunny things hanging all around the place. Behind the stage there was a mantle with a television in it that was showing a video of a fire.

When I get to back to the pub it is 5am and I'm locked out.  I accidentally stole a lighter in my attempt to get the fuck out of there, and now it is the only thing I have to throw at the window where the boys are sleeping.  I wonder if I'll be down here for hours, halfheartedly chucking the lighter at the upstairs window on my birthday morning.

It was a little out of tune. But the vocals were killer and there were enough people in there to make it worth while. The sound guy and the bar tender lady loved it, so I was happy.

Me and Kris sang ‘Across the Blue Mountains’ real delicate. I listened as the strange old American harmonies filled the room- soaking into all the little cracks of that 400 year old German church.  What people had sung in there?what words had been spoken? Who had bowed his head in prayer? Who had raised his arms in worship? Who had dwelled upon a wicked secret? Sought divine guidance?

I lost my journal on my birthday.  Born on May 29 in the JFK airport for way too much money.  Written in every day of the Europe trip, carried in my purse-vessel to gigs, rainstorms, mood swings, backseats, green parks, and quiet moments.  In it's short life, this notebook and I traveled together and stole moments together whenever we could - I could never stay away for long.

A cook brought us some amazing vegetarian pasta with this hazelnut sort of paste in it. Just before we started playing, there were about six people there.  But by showtime it was full and more people kept coming in. It was amazing. The place was packed and the audience loved whatever we did.
David comes and opens the door after not too long and calls me a dork.  I am so unbelievably happy to see him.