Remora Euro Tour Diary (Originally printed in Mouthy #2)

February 9, 4:30 am

Itís my last day at work for two months.  Iím scheduled to work until 6:30 am, but we finished early.  Itís the first time Iíve had any realization that Iím really doing something unusual by working on music for 2 months.

February 9, 5:00 pm

I just decided to do a preliminary show tomorrow night in my momís living room & invited my few local friends.  Iím going out to dinner with my family tonight & then to my brotherís to play House of the Dead 3.

February 10, 8:00 pm

About ten people show up for the living room show, which is about as many as properly fit in the room anyway.  It works pretty well except that the keyboard amp Iím using for vocals could really use a pre-amp to heat up the signal.  Only one of my friends that showed up is a semi-pro-musician & I never play live locally so the kidz are a little surprised by an e-bow & a looping pedal & the cavernous sound of the Lexicon & some chest rattling bass tones.  If itís my worst show of the next few weeks Iíll be lucky.  I didnít even break any strings.

February 11, 11:00 am

My t-shirts didnít make it in.  Fed Ex guaranteed them by 10:30 am & Iím trying to get them forwarded to me in Oslo.  Weíll see if that works out.

February 11, 1:00 pm

Check in at the airport went shockingly smooth.  It took about fifteen minutes from walking in the airport to check in & go through security & make it up to the gate.  They didnít even make me open my guitar case at the checkpoint.

February 12, 12:00 noon

Scandinavian Airways is the way to fly.  They gave me a vegetarian meal on a trip that only lasted 2 hours.  The coolest thing might be that on the pepper packet it says, ďa gift from the orient.  Of course Ďgiftí means poison in Swedish.Ē  The lack of sleep on the United trip out of the states makes me kind of tired.

February 12, 1:00 pm

Customs is a breeze; it consists of a woman saying, ďWelcome to Norway,Ē as I walk by.  Kai from Kobi is at the airport waiting to pick me up & we take a train to his apartment.  Tomorrow night Reynols is due in for the show we have on the 14th.  When I go to bed after dinner, I sleep for 17 hours.

February 13, 3:00 pm

I get groceries to make lasagna & it costs around $50 instead of the usual $15 Iím used to in the states.  Everything in Norway is over-priced except caviar which they sell as a breakfast spread for toast.

February 13, 6:00 pm

Alan & Roberto of Reynols arrive.  Miguel (their drummer & singer) doesnít fly, so he made some pre-recorded tapes.  Itís funny since itís Miguelís band.

February 14, 11:00 am

It might be worth noting that Valentineís Day is not celebrated here.  Anyways, Reynols & I have some little radio sessions at Radio Nova (local college station).  Originally just Reynols was supposed to do a radio session, but the guys at the station give me an acoustic guitar from the back of the station & I play 3 songs & talk about how I got involved with Origami Republika (which is the underground scene of Norway that I am known for being involved with).  After the radio sessions we go to the ski museum where Rune Flatten (Origami Arktika) works & he takes us to the top of the Olympic Ski Jump.  Itís a kind of nutty tourist thing, but itís fun.  When we get back from the museum itís time for sound check.  I was supposed to use Bjarne (Origami Arktika, Salvatore) Ďs Roland Jazz Chorus amp, but he co-owns it & the other owner took it for a gig in Trondheim.  So Iím planning on using a Washburn Lunchbox amp, but at the sound check it seems really mid-range so I use a DI box (which I never trust because I donít want the soundman having that much control over my sound).  The soundman actually changes from a SM57 to a better vocal mic because of liking my stuff & that seems pretty great.  The sound check goes well & I only have to do two songs to make things sound right.

February 14, 11:00 pm

Itís time for the show & some things have made themselves apparent.  This venue Nyx is a bar first & foremost.  Itís two floors with shows on the second floor & music bleeds up from downstairs.  They do not turn the downstairs music off during the show & I am doing a relatively ambient minimalist set that kind of requires a bit of silence.  When I get on the stage to play something is screwed up & my guitar makes no sound & it takes a few minutes for the sound guy to figure out whatís wrong & it makes me look pretty amateur.  After a couple instrumentals I try to sing a song & the mic doesnít work & the soundman has me switch micís.  I want to just get off stage & fly back home.  This is pretty definitely my worst sounding show ever & Iím remembering why I bought a huge amp after similar problems with my first live Remora show.  Itís really hard to give a powerful performance when you know the sound is bad, but I go ahead & finish my set.
 Reynols are nuts.  They hang up a poster of their Drummer & turn the tapes on & use guitar feedback for 30 minutes & thatís basically the show except for when Alan trades his guitar for a plastic bag with a contact mic.  If Reynols werenít so great it would be stupid & pretentious, but itís awesome.

February 15, 3:15 pm

Everyone is going in this peace march here, so I go.  I donít think of myself as nationalistic, but I do feel offended by signs reading, ďI look to Bush but see HitlerĒ & hearing people chant, ďtwo-four-six-eight the US is the terror state.Ē

February 15, 9:00 pm

Me & Kai go to see Salvatore at a peace concert.  During tear downs between bands there are people on stage making personal slander type remarks about Bush.  It turns me off to the whole Oslo-utopia idea a bit because the remarks donít seem intelligent or usually even witty, just juvenile.  Maybe itís my problem for being realistic & giving up a lot of ideals back when I was a lot younger.  Itís probably worth noting that every girl in the audience looked more like a rock star than anyone on stage.

February 16, 1:00 pm

Tuesdayís show got cancelled.  Iíve still no word on the t-shirts.  The house Iím staying at is freezing cold.  I am not a punk rocker.  I want to go home.

February 16, 9:00 pm

Me & Kai watch The Terminator in English with Norwegian subtitles.

February 16, 11:30 pm

Hang out with Salvatoreís drummer listening to Norwegian drone music (Supersilent) while trying to email some people about getting some extra shows.

February 17, 9:00 pm

We (Kai, Salvatoreís drummer, & myself) try to go see Bowling for Columbine, but itís sold out.  Luckily the theater ticket guy is from Origami Olympika so he gives us some chairs to sit in (get this, the movies have assigned seating like they think youíre at a real theater performance).  So this movie is about the violent nature of US citizens & it kind of makes me realize how typical of an American I really am.  I believe that violence, threats, & fear are legitimately good tools for business & personal defense. I think itís quite clear that this has been the US governmentís foreign & domestic policy for quite a while & will be until it stops working as a survival mechanism.  The same is true for me as an individual.

February 18, 6:30 am

Time to get up for the train.  I eat breakfast, which is a mistake because Kai & I need to literally run to catch the train & the only thing keeping me from throwing up is knowing that I donít have time to.  Itís forty-five minutes into the train ride that not throwing up seems possible.  Glorious.

February 18, 4:15 pm

So we get to Copenhagen & it ends up the hostals are closed because itís off-season & we have to stay at a hotel.  The cheap hotels are $80 a night.  Reynols is playing tonight so we go to see them at the venue (a former church) weíre to play at next week.  The opening band is a local no-wave act (F.L.O.W.E.R.) & is pretty amazing.  Reynols plays & Roberto looks like he might fall asleep at anytime & gives his guitar to someone in the audience & crawls around on the floor shaking a maraca.  Itís really beautiful & seems symbolic, though I have no idea what it could be symbolic of.

February 19, 6:30 am

Get up, eat breakfast, and get on a train to Berlin.

February 19, 4:00 pm

We arrive in Berlin & go to the club.  The door to the main room is locked & we have to wait three hours for someone to show up with the key.  The venue is some kind of political punk place.  I donít understand the concept these people have about deserving not to work when all they do is sleep & drink.  Whatever.

February 19, 7:00 pm

So we get into the main room & they provide the guitar amp on my rider, but no mic stand or microphone.  Punk rock is so fucking cool.  Oh, & Berliners evidently donít clap at shows, they just sit & wait.  Then they want free cdís, which I donít have & nobody wants to pay for one.

February 20, 6:00 am

So it ends up this place is an illegal after hours bar.  Iím staying at the house of the guy who books for it, so we donít get to leave until 6 am. Fantastic.

February 21, 12:15 pm

So thereís this quite good experimental music oriented store in Berlin on Danziger called Dense.  I try to paw off some records, but they canít take them as theyíve actually only been open two weeks & donít have any extra cash.

February 21, 5:00 pm

Finally out of Berlin & on the way to Dresden.  Have you ever seen Fight Club?  You know that part where Ed Norton is fantasizing about a mid-air collision?  Thatís me right now on this train.

February 21, 6:30 pm

Finally a nice venue.  A good sound system & a good soundman & itís supported by the city so we get a guarantee & a real place to stay & two real meals.  This is what touring in Europe is supposed to be like.

February 22, 12:15 am

The kidz like the show.  Some kidz actually come up & ask questions about my e-bow (I need to see if I can get sponsored).  Itís the birthday of the promoter & he gives us some of his cake.  What a great place.

February 22, 11:00 am

We get up for breakfast & wander through Dresden a bit.  I played in Dresden about five years ago with burMonter & it was my favorite town in Germany then & it still is.

February 22, 5:00 pm

Halle feels like grandmotherís town.  It used to be universities & steel, but the steel pulled out.  Itís the kind of place where nothing happens & where Iíd want to live.

February 22, 10:00 pm

The venue is kind of not the most appropriate.  Basically itís a party (or disco or whatever they call them here) featuring DJís plus me & Kai.  The PA is really just a couple of JBL speakers & not really loud enough to beat the crowd noise.  I kinda want to be mad at the people who set up this show, but theyíre all such nice guys that it kind of makes the whole show a good experience anyway.

February 23, 11:00 am

Get up & go to Hamburg.  Thereís a possibility some of the people from 1SBH (the band that opened for burMonter on our German tour) may be there.  Weíll see what happens.

February 23, 4:30 pm

We arrive in Hamburg & go to the venue.  Punk rock with junkies on the steps & stairs that might collapse.

February 23, 11:00 pm

I guess itís no surprise given the nature of the venue that only ten people show up.  What is a surprise is one of them has a professional grade microphone & recorder & the recording of the show sounds pretty great.  Once again the promoters are so kind & apologetic itís hard to be mad at them (though I still am a little).  Also I got the best & most appropriate compliment I ever have about my music.  The club was unheated & the only heat was from a small open flame kerosene heater & everybody was huddled around it while I was on stage making sounds with my guitar & the guy working the bar said it felt like a scene from some post-apocalyptic movie.  Which is actually what my music is supposed to be.  Some kind of sci-fi future primitive sound.  So maybe Iíve nailed it.

February 24, 12:00 noon.

Another hole in our schedule.  I hate having days off because (a) I lose money (b) thereís nothing to do (c) it makes life unscheduled (d) it gives me too much thinking time.  I go to an internet café to check my email & Iím surprised it only cost $1.50 an hour.  I have received some orders, so I do have some income when I get home.  I really am ready to not be on tour any more.  The other day I was telling Kai how much I needed to make money on this tour & I think he thought that I had some source of money & financing to be able to go on tour & release cdís besides working overtime & staying at my momís house.

February 26, 11:30 am

Back at the church venue in Copenhagen & it feels like home.  Touring is starting to feel comfortable.  Iím not sure if itís the length of time away from home or it being close to done so not much else can go wrong.  Oh & I found these poorly designed post-apocalyptic bottle openers for 10 Kroners.

February 26, 11:00 pm

Probably the best set Iíve ever done.  I even accurately pulled off my cover of ďThe SoundĒ by Swans.  Why doesnít this make people buy merchandise?  Who knowsÖ.

February 27, 3:00 pm

Arrival in Aarhus & on the train ride I got some work done on the two new issues of Zombie Kisses.  For the first time the promoter actually shows up to meet us at the train station.  It should be a great night.

February 27, 11:00 pm

So appearances can be deceiving.  The venue is a place where Eugene Chadbourn plays so youíd think it would have a big underground following, but last week Reynols played for eleven people & tonight I get to play for twelve.  Oh well, these things happen.

February 28, 10:00 am

On the way back to Oslo for three nights off & then a final show on Monday.  How can I get my shows to be effective & consistent with so much time in between them?

February 28, 6:00 pm

It was bound to happen at some point I guess, a mis-connection & weíre stranded in Goterborg, Sweden with no Swedish money.

March 1, 2:00 pm

Thereís a train accident ahead of us & we need to wait until the tracks get cleared before the train can take us to Oslo.

March 1, 7:00 pm

I lost my passport & I have no idea in what city or anything because once you get in Europe you donít really need it.  What a hassle.  Itís the kind of little thing that lets me know that coming over here was a mistake & that I need to always be willing to take responsibilities for my own actions & I should always organize things for myself or simply not bother to do them at all.  On my last European tour I got so tired of dealing with people that in the end I was dropped off at the airport the night before I was supposed to leave & slept there & Iím thinking I should do that again.  I think after every tour Iím just so tired with the unprofessionalism of nearly everyone involved with music & I turn into a real jerk because of it.  In reality I donít want to ever leave my house & I hate being in smoky bars & I hate dealing with drunk strangers & being hit on by slutty girls & that means I shouldnít tour.  I really need to start trying to push my guitar & stringed instrument project (My Glass Beside Yours) & getting to do a tour playing auditoriums for colleges with progressive classical music programs because it would take out almost everything I donít like about touring & turn it into a way to legitimately make money.

March 2, 1:00 pm

Let me run you through my day.  I wake up & I lie still for four hours until Iím so hungry that it really hurts.  I eat & then do my laundry.  I suppose tomorrow I need to go to the embassy, but today thereís nothing to do.

March 3, 1:00 pm

I finally got my new passport.  It took about 4 hours & including the photos cost about $100.  This trip was such a waste of time.  Then again would my job be any better?  What about an actual vacation?

March 4, 12:15 am

The last show goes great.  I make over $100 plus I sell 10 discs.  If all the shows had worked like this I wouldíve been ecstatic about the tour.  I even did my song ďOblivionĒ that I can only do on last shows of a tour because it kills my throat.

March 4, 5:41 am

So I ended up getting to bed around 2:30 & now itís time to go to the airport.  Itís a fifteen minute walk to the train station & a twenty-five minute ride to the airport.  On the train ride itís snowing very lightly & the snow is melting on the glass & streaming like sideway tears & it makes me want to hear that Journey song that says something like, ďA life on the road ainít no way to support a family, still for me itís the only life I know.Ē
 

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