Tour Diary - June 28, 2019
Today starts with sending emails and WeTransfer of files to Poland and getting more cd duplication going. I also found out yesterday that I’m owed back royalties that I’m going to have to do some wrestling to get the American company that pays me to talk to the European company that owes me.
But I became a musician to avoid doing business stuff! Nope. That ain’t how it works.
Then I busted out my lap steel - I have a lap steel here that my buddy Roman made me. It’s the nicest lap steel I’ve ever owned and has a Duesenberg bender bridge so I can do some pedal steel type bends on it. Anyway, I tuned it up and started messing with it a little bit, remembering the tuning I have it in and stuff. It’s a pretty cool set up, I have it tuned DGDGBD. And with the three benders I can make it DGEGCE. I don’t know how popular this particular tuning is but on a lap steel it makes sense in my brain. Where I get lost is if I start thinking I’m on my pedal steel (which is 10 strings in E9 tuning) and then my brain gets lost trying to turn a C chord into an F on the wrong fret.
But why was I playing it? Because I’m going to join Emily on stage at some point for when she plays “Old Man” by Neil Young and I’m going to hang out and play the slide up in the solo. It’s the best part of the whole song. We rehearsed it today and everything. Sounds badass.
And Mona came over to rehearse vocals with me for tomorrow’s show at Haus am Walde. We ran thru things just a couple of times. She picks up harmonies so quick and just sings along. I love when things are easy like that. We don’t stress about too much. I play the song, she sings along. EZ-PZ.
Mona is in university here in Bremen and has become very active in the government activities at her school. We have a fascinating discussion about German politics both in school and in general.
While talking to her I notice today’s date - June 28 - and am immediately distracted. Today is me and Tracy’s “other” anniversary. The day we met and started dating way back in 1992. So I shoot a message off to Tracy and I notice on my phone that I missed a message from her when she woke up. Dammit. Nine hour time difference makes it hard to keep track of wake ups and sleeping.
This ties in with me working with Mona because Mona was born in ‘92. While I’m messaging Tracy, Mona picks up my guitar and starts strumming and singing The Pixies “Where is my mind?” and it’s one of those moments that 1) makes you feel old to realize that I’m old enough to be her dad. 2) links you together thru music. 3) inspires you with hope for the generation following you. Between all the activism she’s done and is doing and then singing The Pixies - the kids are alright.
My generation wanted to change stuff but I feel like we didn’t have the tools and didn’t know how to organize. We wanted to be outraged at Oliver North for being a traitorous piece of shit but we didn’t know where to get together. The generations following us have got this shit together and it’s inspiring. I’m feeling very much like my job now is to support by amplifying their signal and just being there.
The times they are a changin.
I’m playing a private type show in Delmonhorst tonight. It’s a theater group that I’ve done shows for before as have me Tracy and Ben. Petra is organizing my being there and I’m playing after a stage production.
The folks in Delmonhorst are an inspiring lot. They do a number of things to help the community and refugees and are just very socially aware people. The play they are putting on tonight is called “The Visit of the Old Lady” and it tells the story of a woman who returns to her home town as an old woman, she is now a billionaire and her home town is very poor. She makes them a deal that she will give the town half a billion dollars in exchange for them killing the man that got her pregnant when she was 17. (and forced her into a life of prostitution in Hamburg and a string of husbands) Now from what I could tell - and remember this play is in German, I’m just piecing things together from what I read about it beforehand and the little bits they’ve told me about it going in - it’s not made clear if her pregnancy at 17 was consensual or not, that is not part of the story. But what is part of the story is the audience. The whole room is set up so that you feel like you’re part of the town and the deciding of what to do.
There’s a vote made by the townspeople over “do we kill him and get bailed out by the half a billion dollars?” or “do we do what’s morally right?” There’s lots of nuance in the play but what puts it over the top for me is during intermission they pass out pieces of paper where you vote whether you want more money or should he live.
I know I voted to let him live and a few other people that I talked to did as well. After intermission they come out and say “We are performing the rest of this play based on how you voted.” So we don’t know how the voting went until we see on stage that they have decided to kill him for the money.
As he’s being sentenced - he sort of whispers to the people in the front row “Wie hast du abgestimmt?” (How did you vote?) and it’s chilling for the people sitting there. You become part of the town in the play that votes to kill a man for more money. And here’s the thing that I can’t tell, I don’t think they counted the votes at all. We’re all left sitting there thinking wow, everyone around me must’ve voted to kill him. That’s messed up!! Well done theater.
The play ends, everyone is hanging out and Petra announces that I will be performing now. I hop up on stage and just play unplugged and it goes great. I tell some stories, I get off stage and walk around and try to break down the 4th wall as much as I can. I stomp my foot on the stage as if it’s a kick drum, I walk down behind everyone to sing the last verse of Mexican Home -it just feels very interactive to me and they are all completely silent and listening to it all.
Thank you Delmonhorst!