In the Chainsaw

It’s hard to write when you’re not sitting around in a bus being bored out of your mind, or listening to your mp3s to tune out some inane conversation about searching for weed. Instead, I’ve been in the Chainsaw traveling around Europe seeing amazing sights.

So, it’s been a few days. To keep this a proper tour journal, I’m breaking this up from the end of tour to the beginning of the next tour… the one where I wasn’t having to play anymore shows.

In the morning, we decided to take a happy trip to Auschwitz. It was about an hour or two outside Katowice, so Yanich, the sound guy, suggested the trip and the Yurgen the driver agreed… after he was guaranteed his gas money. We arrived early, which come to find out later on, was a very good thing. It seems Auschwitz turns into Six Flags Death Camp later in the day.

When we got there, Sean, Jacobi and Eric from Deeds of Flesh, and I took off ahead of the group. We missed out on the guided tour, but we also missed out on some choice comments apparently made by some of the still drunk members of the tour package. Note to all: Auschwitz is a pretty bad place to make jokes about showers or flirt with girls.

With all due silence, we passed the gate with the marking “Albeit Meicht Frie,” which means “Work is Freedom” or something. It was of course ironic at a forced labor and death camp, but I wondered about the irony of the wage slaves working the museum. “Capitalism Meicht Frie” or something. Anyway, the Execution wall was pretty heavy, as were the standing cells, the gas chambers… pretty much everything was depressing. Some American said to me in the gas chamber “Shocking, isn’t it?” Yeah, well no shit ya numbskull.

When leaving the first part of the camp, we encountered the throngs of tour groups. It was weird. Eric and I wondered if their was some kind of Space Mountain ride or something we’d missed. The weirdest thing was this Jewish group, carrying in a HUGE Israel flag. As the obese group leader of the students went off about how he was disgusted it was called a museum and not a death camp (no one was currently dying there, I think), I wondered what would happen if a gay tour group came through with a big rainbow flag to remember the scores of homos killed. Sean caught a really good bit when the teacher asked his students about a contemporary statue on display. “And what, ironically, is this statue of a victim shaped like?” “A swastika,” replied his droll and bored students. “Yes, ironically!” No, you dipshit, it’s metaphor, not irony. FUCK I hate that!

We went to Brikenau the second part of the camp but with very little time. It was then I was in the bus with the whole group and I nearly went mad. Not everyone, just a few people, were being complete idiots. Complaining about getting McDonald’s, and singing “America, fuck yeah!” First off, McDonald’s sucks in any land, secondly, if they were making reference to the liberation of Auschwitz, that credit would have to go the Russians. “C.C.C.P., fuck yeah!” Then when Colin said, “Can we just be quiet and get on with the tour?” mirroring most everyone’s loss of patience with the whining, one guy actually threatened him. Colin is an alright guy. This other guy, well… I think about 15 people on the bus would’ve been really happy if he’d tried to do anything.

The time at Brikenau was blessedly short and free of most incidence. Oh wait… except for when the Hebrew text in the lookout tower was referred to as “monkey language.” How sensitive.

The last show was in Katowice. I kind of dreaded this show a bit, we having fucked up our first show in Poland so bad. It was especially embarassing to this in front of Mariusz, the tour promoter. We want to come back, after all. Apparently, we didn’t do as bad as we thought, because there seems to be an opportunity for us next year. Hopefully it pans out.

Earland, Sean from Deeds, and I walked around for a bit. Poland can be a bit depressing. Turns out we went the wrong way. Earland wanted to go titty watching again, which we thought would be unsuccessful until I sniffed out a college. Well, we sat, politely took in some of the beauty, and got to have some pleasant discussion about our mutual lives. What we missed was the real town center that wasn’t totally depressing. Oh well.

The coolest thing about this show was my friend Conny was showing up to take us in the Chainsaw (her truck, with chainsaw stickers on the side) afterwards. I was on the roof when I spotted her and her giant dog, Dr. Radonski, and ran down to greet her. We took a walk back the Chainsaw to repark it, and upon viewing, I realized Raul, Conny, Dr. Radonski, and I were going to have a hell of a time traveling thousands of kilometers in this thing. From my coffin on the bus to an even smaller dwelling. Fuck it! It’s adventure.

Derrek, the merch guy, shared with us his real love, cherry vodka. God damn… Then there was the high percentage beer we found. Then there was drinking vodka in the back room. If this show didn’t start soon, I was going to end up obliterated before the first note was struck.

The show was weird. The stage is set over the stairway to the way up. There was a load of railing around us, with a roughly 7×5 square of empty space in front of Sean then 6 feet of stair until people could stand. The only place for dancing was in front of me, and on Jason’s side, nothing, as that’s where the band gear was kept. Odd. About halfway through the set, I screamed out, “This is not right!” I grabbed kids out of the crowd that we’d been talking to before the show, plus whoever else would come up, and put them in the empty space in front of Sean. The end result was about 8 headbangers right in front of Sean rocking their everloving hearts out. That lasted for about three songs before security pushed them back out. Still… a unique experience for all. We had a cool show.

After the show, I spoke to some folks about a place to stay. It was that or sleep in the Chainsaw, something I could tell Raul was not so into at the time. I found us a place to stay, but we would have to leave early. Time to jam, get our shit together, and make brief goodbyes. It kinda sucked, leaving the tour early. Quick hugs all around, got a few emails… I felt like a dick, but dammit, more adventure awaited! Especially by the end, I got really close to some of these people, so I can only hope we get to see each other again. One never knows.

We loaded in the Chainsaw, said goodbye to the tour, and started a new one.