I’ve never understood anyone saying during a tour, “I’m ready to go home.” I never am. I may have plenty of loved ones left behind, but there’s an exhileration of being on the road that’s intoxicating to the extreme. Despite regular blacking out, bad shows, depression and frequent nervous breakdowns, it’s like nothing else in my life. A tiny little time bubble where I am moving at 186,000 miles an hour and the rest of the world slows down.
Because of this wanderlust, as the Germans call it, I always try and stay a bit longer. Hell, I’m so poor, playing music is the only way I can get a plane ticket to anywhere. As Aesop says, limited talent taking us infinite places. Besides, what better way to wind down than continuing to eat and drink in strange lands.
I was happy that Chirsty and Aesop could make the time to also stay with me this time. My usual travel partner has usually been Raul, both of us having post-tour excursions in Europe, Japan, and Mexico.
We tried to have one last group breakfast with some traditional food before dropping off John and Christy, but it was Easter Sunday. Oh, and the Bavarian dick wads in the tiny shit burg we stopped in were only willing to give us hard looks and told us their kitchens were closed. At 2pm. After the fourth inquiry at a restaurant we got the hint and instead ate some kebobs and pizza with Italians and Turks. So much for the hard-working German stereotype. The xenophobic stereotype, at least for these Bavarians, was still intact.
We dropped off Laurie and John at the airport with much sadness and hugging. Then we were on our way. I had a discussion comparing German and American inventions. Then we found the greatest German invention ever. Move over, jet engine, the time of the German travel pussy is now. Available at many German truck stops, the travel pussy is essentially a ballon with a gash. Maybe that’s why German truck drivers are so happy. I picked one up for Aesop. Because he’s gross.
We headed to Nürnberg and stopped off at the Reichsparteitagsgelände, the sight of the famous speech by Adolph Hitler documented in the movie Triumph of the Will.
We climbed the steps up to where the giant swastika was blown up as a symbol of the end of the Nazi regime. Nearby, there was a football game in a stadium full of chanting Germans. The ghostly echoes reverberated through the stands and provided a bone chilling soundtrack to this rotting memorial of totalitarianism.
We finally got our traditional German meal provided by a pretty fräulein in the city center underneath a castle once occupied by Barbarossa. I had the equivalent of mac and cheese, and it was amazing. There used to be a cheap box meal I had here the first time I visited with Exhumed called Hüten Snack, cheese noodles, and never could find it again. Now I was having the adult version. Age. It keeps happening. Fuck.
We headed towards Prague and camped somewhere outside Pilsn, the birthplace of Pilsener beer. Many people laud the Belglians for their fine ales, but for my money, the Czech do beer best. Refreshing, crisp, and it doesn’t make you feel like you’re going to regret having so many.
We had camped on the side of the road because we couldn’t find any of the campsites that were listed in our atlas. The next day we finally found it on the way to Prague, by one sign, listing the “town,” Camping. What the fuck? We czeched it out and found a beautiful campground with an open cafe. For about twenty-five bucks total, we each had a three course, amazing breakfast with my favorite meal, smazeny syr and kroketys. Basically, fried cheese and fried potato balls. I don’t recommend this when you come to Czech Republic, I demand it.
We went straight past Prague to see the birthplace of our favorite grind core 7″ covers at the ossuarry in Kutná Hora. In this tiny chapel lay 40,000 skeletons rearranged into fantastic art. This was my second time there, and it was still amazing.
We met up in Prague with our friends we made in the Turbojugend who put our show on a couple weeks previous, Vladimir, Stanislav, Jan, and Clint Eastwood. At least he was a dead ringer.
We had a traditional Czech dinner, which meant more fried cheese for me. Fuck yeah! We walked to the city square, one of the prettiest in all Prague, walked into some shoegaze show, drank and drank, and ended up at a bar near Vlad’s. I fell asleep, and everyone took funeral memorial pictures with me as the deceased (on Christy’s camera). It was all fun and games until the bar owner wanted to take one and woke me up with his cold, clammy hands all over me. Creepy.
Me and Christy stayed with Vlad and apparently Aesop witnessed Jan and Conny mosh till 8 in the morning. The Turbo Jugend of Praha are the most congenial and generous annihilators of my health yet. Great guys who partied us near to death. Awesome!
The next day, after some recovery, we headed to the Prague castle and St. Vitus Cathedral, where we did the St. Vitus Dance. First you groove to the sound like your legs was broken, it’s supposed to look like a fit or a convulsion. Golden Lane apparently is broken, so no tiny houses and golem gewgaws for us. Then we headed to the Wallenstein palace and gardens, where there is the most Dan Seagrave inspired monument ever, the dripstone wall. I can’t find any real info on it, but suffice to say, it’s BAD ASS.
We met up with Vlad again, and I made a last minute decision to stay with Christy and Vlad in Prague and go see the Macabre / Rompeprop / Birdflesh show. Aesop and Conny left, and we jumped on the tram, because Vlad, a Czech television repoter by trade, refuses to pay for tram and says, “no problem.” Problem. The inspector is on this tram.
At first when he came up, Vlad tried to sound American. It was not a good impression. Then the guy talked to me and I went into the mode an old friend from my youth would go into anytime he had trouble with the law: slack-jawed idiot. In Europe it’s even better, because you’re an idiotic American. This worked in Finland, too, when I forgot to check my Leatherman and tried to get it through security. The guy led us off the tram and after dealing with Vlad and looking at me and Christy acting the fool and saying we thought trams were free, he just let us go out of frustration. Score one for the morons of the world!
We made it to the show, which was awesome. Birdflesh and Rompeprop nailed it. It was fun to freak out my friends who didn’t expect my face to be showing up at their show in this place. The best is listening to Adde from Birdflesh yelling, “I can not believe!” Like the Swedish Chef. After the show, some folks got it into their heads to go to a strip joint they were told about to get a few more beers. From a previous experience in Prague 15 years ago, I was thinking there are no strip joints in Prague. When someone tells you they’ll take you to a strip joint, you’re gonna end up someplace more sinister. Still, Prague has been very westernized, so maybe – nope, it was a whore house. Note: there are STILL no strip joints in Prague.
Then nothing notable happened.
The next day, Christy, Vlad, and I did some more sightseeing watching the famous astrological clock tower in the center of Prague. Vlad saw us onto a bus, and we went off to Dresden to meet up with Conny and Aesop. Conny runs a tiny gallery there called Knark Art Gallery, and I had a piece in the current show, my Swans poster from a few months back. We drank then headed to the awesome punk club in the neighborhood, Chemie Fabrik. They have an excellent drink called Rattenhirn which looks like a rat brain floating in blood.
We checked out La Casa Fantom from Norway, a two-piece playing Man is the Bastard style power violence, almost. Later around the fire outside, I got into a bit of verbal tussle with the drummer. He started getting into it with me about American inventions, or something, and it was amazing how patriotic I could get when I knew I was dealing with some punk who was likely getting social welfare and healthcare from one of the nicest countries on Earth. You’re gonna try and compare your lazy no life sentencing fjord asses to my awesome failing empire prison-filled homeland? Nuh-uh.
The next day, our friend Maike took me and Aesop to get Zimmerman hosen. Basically, German cargo pants. It used to be these were the traditional pants of the German carpenter, but now that no one in Germany works more than 10 hours a week or gets up before noon, these are the Carharts for the hip German punk. Of course Aesop and I bought a pair each. It’s probably like going to Portland and buying a Pabst shirt. Fuck it, they’re awesome, with two zips in the front for a flap so you can comfortably get at your junk with your pants still buttoned at the waist. Let the uses for such a contrivance run wild in your imagination.
We headed to Berlin later on and took in the Jewish memorial, some Berlin wall, and the Brandenburg gate and made it to the Weedeater show in town to meet up with some friends we were staying with. “Oh mein Gott!” The next day, it was off to Tegel airport and – schade – home.
I thought we were back in Prague, becaue the airport experience in Berlin was Kafka-esque. First, we are in the normal line. But then we are shuffled to the self-help line by Christy. I hate these machines, because it always ends up you have to get help because their programming sucks. So, sure enough, lady sends us to another line, and that lady gets into it with us because it’s the wrong line. Then, only my name comes up, but Christy’s name doesn’t match her passport and they threaten to make us buy a new ticket. Then we get into it about carry ons being too heavy, which always pisses me off because I make up for that weight by being skinny, unlike this Fat Frau at the counter. Okay, so then I have to take our guitars downstairs, and THEN pay for the luggage somewhere else. I’m running and find the place, and Herr Dude says I have to pay for four pieces over my limit because Frau Fucknut has put all the luggage on MY ticket only. He makes a call and that gets cleared up, so we enter the security area for our gate. Of course, me and Aesop’s pedals get flagged, and we have to wait or something. So I put back on my metal stuff while this lady is watching, wristwatch, necklace, etc. at which point the lady leads us OUT of security. We go to a separate room, and the lady monitors us and takes us back to security, where we AGAIN have to take off all our shit, rescan the bags, despite being surveiled the entire time. AUGH! I finally get on the plane and my seat is next to a Jephova’s Witness preacher from New York, living in Germany to preach, and he wants to ask what I think of the bible. I knew I had to stay awake or I would wake up as a cockroach.
We transferred at Frankfurt, and because we were flying to America, there had to be two more lines with more beauracracy asking us more inane questions that were already answered on our fucking tickets. On the plane, United sucks, no more free booze on International flights, the cheap fucks. Lufthansa gave me a free beer for a CONNECTING flight. I tried to go Lufthansa the whole way, and thought I succeeded… ya gotta read the fine print about air partners online though, and see who is “operating” whom’s flight. I would complain more about United, but what’s the point. They’re gobbling up every other airline with the government’s help so pretty soon they’ll own all air travel and we’ll accept it like so many communist cattle. You become what you fear most.
That got deep. Shit. I watched a bunch of movies and got home. The end.
Doktor Ross Sewage
dispatched from Die Struwwelpetra Ludicra 2011 European Tour