Tour Diary - July 3-4, 2019
July 3 ~
I’m heading to Hannover with two shows, one in a record shop and one in a club I’ve never been to. I typically play a place called Kulturpalast in Hannover but that’s not on the schedule. This time it’s Rocker. I’ve already been warned about the place from Emily and my itinerary says something to the effect of “don’t be afraid to go wild.” I’m a dude with an acoustic guitar, when Joe Strummer went acoustic it still wasn’t “wild”.
25 Music is a great record store that has an amazing selection and even has a life size cutout of Josh Homme from Queens of the Stoneage. I knew it was him because of the MotorAve guitar that the cutout is playing and I love MotorAve Guitars guitars.
Anyway. I set up in the area they have sectioned off for live performances, they bring me some snacks, I peruse the shelves and think about the nightmare of trying to travel with vinyl records and opt to buy nothing. It’s something that absolutely sucks about modern car rentals as well - no cd player. I’ve got a couple of cds already and I don’t have anything to listen to them on. And yet I’m traveling and selling cds. At some point this is going to be an issue, maybe that’s today. I’m also selling USB keys with my albums on them but I haven’t sold a single one. NOT ONE. Where do we go with this? I don’t know.
There’s about 10 people listening in the record store, I play busking style, no amp, no PA, no microphone. I love playing this way. It feels very pure and I can move about and not be tied down to one spot.
I get a decent response from everyone but one guy really loves it, buys a cd and turns out he’s a radio dj from Salzburg. He’s got a bunch of questions about where I’m going, any shows in the Salzburg area and tells me about his radio show. He’s very nice and he tells me he’s going to come to tonight’s show.
Record stores can be tough because yeah, it’s advertised but record stores don’t tend to have a lot of customers anyway and they are invested in the stacks looking for whatever. It’s not as dire as the scene in Spinal Tap but so much of that movie isn’t even comedy, it’s just real touring documentary with punchlines.
There’s no money in the hat here.
I’m about 10 minutes away from where I’m playing tonight and have about 4 hours to kill. I don’t really feel up to exploring as I will just have to come back here so I seek out a restaurant and there’s a hamburger place right around the corner from Rocker - and it’s packed!
I’m beginning to notice the area that I am in is the Red Light district of Hannover. There are many strip clubs and the advertisements are not just for stripping but for what services are also offered. I’m beginning to feel very bad for Emily and Tori coming to play this venue last week. They are pretty progressive and capable women but putting women who aren’t working the Red Light district IN the Red Light district just doesn’t seem right to me.
I sit down for a burger and open up the next Richard Bratigan book that I’m reading. The waitress is helping the table next to me, she is wearing yoga pants that are not completely opaque and I can see the tattoo on her left ass cheek. I catch myself staring inadvertently and quickly look away. Then she comes over to take my order, leans over in front of me and her top falls down and I can see her entire bra and all the way to her belly button. This restaurant is not part of the red light district but the service definitely feels it.
It’s a breezy day and everyone is bustled up outside and I pull my hood up over the back of my neck and just lose myself in the book. It’s near 30 minutes later that I get my hamburger. Now it’s as good a hamburger as I’ve ever had in Germany. I’m going to say it’s near as good as White Trash was in Berlin. I finish a few more chapters, eat my burger and am on my way.
The strip bar next to Rocker is called Titty Twister and has a sign out in front advertising for blow jobs. I’m not a prude but it is still a bit of a “whoah, what am I looking at?” Rocker is a tiny dive bar club that assembles the stage when they are having bands. It’s a former Red Light venue that now is just a bar but still has all the interior charm of it’s former owner/operators. There are red lights hanging over the bar and a bunch of American themed stuff like the front of a 1970’s Chrysler complete with Texas license plate. They also have the original sign that was something like “Palais D’Amour” or something. I’m playing before a punk band tonight and they are called Jack Pott. There’s a soundman, everything gets dialed in fairly quickly, I sound check and then sit around and wait until 9:30 set time.
Out on the street there’s dudes hanging around waiting for the other clubs to open. That feels creepier than anything else, just these dudes lurking about sizing up everything that walks by. I go back in the club and talk to the bartender and soundman.
“I love having live music but it’s so hard to get people to come see anyone unless it’s a cover or tribute band and why do people want to see people pretending to be Motley Crue?” It’s a good question and one I don’t have the answer to. “We tried having a cover charge for the bands but then no one would come in, they’d just hang out on the street and listen and look in.” I’m supposed to pass the hat here, when I start playing I am playing for 10 people and 4 of them are in the other band, 2 of them work here and I know 3 of the other 4. .
I rock it up, I make show. Everyone seems to like it. I get no money in the hat. But the guy from the radio show has come and brought two friends to see me. When I finish his friends want to get the hell out of this area and to a different bar. He and I talk for a few and we make vague plans for me to play in Salzburg this year or next year and I record a station ID for his show.
Jack Pott is ok. They make a good bit of melodic noise with some crazy keyboard flourishes. They get appropriately “wild” in their last song and then it’s over. I’m sitting with the bartender and the soundman, they are both rolling their own cigarettes and chain smoking them. She has blonde hair, blue eyes and a black dress that you can see thru to her underwear in an intentionally sexy way. He...I don’t remember what he was wearing. It was clothes like pants and a shirt. No one ever cares what a man is wearing unless it’s ridiculous. She wants to buy my cd but she only has 6 euro in tips so far, we make a deal for a Rocker bar t-shirt and the euro. I haven’t made anything here but I do have another shirt now so I can go one more day without doing laundry and that’s not nothing.
It’s a long drive home even though it isn’t far.
It’s July 4th but that means nothing here. I check the facebook and wonder if the orange turd is going ahead with the Red Square style Kim Yong parade and see it’s happening. That juxtapositioned with concentration camps on the southern border, reports from the agency in charge saying that “reports of abuse and neglect are made up and sensationalized” and then two days later when it’s reported, with pictures and multiple reports that no, it’s not sensationalized and they are lying. Well, it’s hard to be very ra ra USA today. And thinking back to the dickwad last week blasting me and defending the concentration camps and it’s that thinking that has become normalized in the US. He’s a guy that when he was recording in my studio, his thinking was “Bobbo is straight and white like me, it’s ok for me to say homophobic and racist things in his presence and it will be ok.” No it never is.
And we have to have that same conversation over and over again with assholes like him and it’s exhausting. And it’s exhausting to continue to fight for empathy. I have a few family members I have decided to not talk to anymore because of this. There was no point in me telling them I’m not talking to them, I’m just done trying to reach them. They should know better. They were raised better. They want to defend trump and all this shit that he has stirred up. Done.
And it’s the 4th of July and I really just want to sit down and cry for my country for what it’s become and what we have learned about our fellow citizens.
Instead I’ve been invited to a friend’s house for a bbq. It’s not a 4th of July bbq, it’s just a Thursday bbq and that’s alright with me.