So, in the last entry I left off with the Netherlands. However, at
this point, the Huggabroomstik tour has ended. I would really like to
give each city it’s due, but I’m afraid I am just too far behind to
really be able to do that. So, a whirlwind (yet not at all short)
review of a whirlwind tour:
The Netherlands: Zoetermeer, Amsterdam, Nijdmegan, and Den Haag are
the cities that the tour group stops into. I don’t know if I spelled
any of those cities’ names correctly. The country there is very
beautiful, and it appears that there as many bicycles as people. I
really miss riding my bike when I see the piles and piles of bikes
outside of Amsterdam bars.
The performances were a bit rough for Huggabroomstik: we were asked
not to play in Nijdmegan (they weren’t expecting us at all, and then
they heard our soundcheck and realized we would not please the dinner
crowd). The Zoetermeer audience was expecting some kind of metal I
think (kids were wearing “KoRn” t-shirts). We didn’t perform in Den
Haag – it was a house party in a very fancy house, but the WoWz gave a
great show. The Amsterdam show went all right though. I was talking to
one guy afterwards who came to see us because his girlfriend was in the
bar and called him saying, “There’s this band, and I think they are
anti folk.” So he came due to his interest in that and was satisfied I
After The Netherlands, it was into southern Germany. At this point I
was having a bit of a rough time with the trip – feeling very worn out
by the schedule of everything, and sometimes a bit melancholy. But
talking to some of the guys was helpful, and all was fine of course. We
stayed with Sibsi’s parents for two nights, in a very beautiful house.
We awoke to breakfast on the table, and after finishing, lunch was
brought out immediately. Much much too nice.
Sibsi grew up near Stuttgart, and my cousin, Natalie, came with her
boyfriend, Bernhart, to our performance there. So great to speak with
her. She visited my family several times while growing up, and I had
not seen her for five years. She lives just outiside of Munich, not two
hours drive from Stuttgart. We made plans for me to visit her there
once the tour was completed.
We also performed in Deggingen, at Pep’s house. Pep is Christine’s
mother. Deggingen is a little village set in a valley (or so it seemed
to me). We showed up there and went for a walk up the hill/mountain to
a beautiful church. I have photos, but have not yet gotten them onto a
computer unfortunately, so they’ll be up later. It was really calming
to stand high up on a hill, looking down on the village, a collection
of red roofed houses.
That performance was the last one Huggabroomstik had with Neil. He
had to go back to the states to attend a wedding. It’s unfortunate, as
the next show was an epic spectacle for Huggabroomstik. In Darmstadt,
there is a mansion called the Oetinger Villa. Beautiful old building,
large open spaces. Sibsi had been describing it to us as the “punk rock
mansion”, which I find to be accurate. I don’t know who is reading
this, but if you are a musician who intends to tour Germany, you must
must must try to go here. The folks there are very friendly, cooked us
a meal, afterwards we were given a room to sleep in with bedding.
Everything you could want. It’s late and I’m tired, so I can’t give too
much detail, but the Huggabroomstik show included Dashan’s guitar
finally giving in to the beating it’s taken: the headstock broke off.
Me trying to sing all of Neil’s parts. Sam James on additional
percussion and vocals. Me dancing during Automatron (Dashan played the
working guitar). HiKool on electric guitar. And for the finale, Dashan
jumped off the stage while singing “Throw Your Own Heart Away” and
wrapped himself up in a 25 by 15 foot rug that was spread out on the
floor (singing the whole time). It was also the biggest night for
Huggabroomstik merchandise sales.
Leipzig seemed to be a very nice city. Chris and I liked it very
much – we felt very welcome, especially after stopping into a fancy
restaurant and having only coffee and watching all the food go by.
Sibsi’s friend, Fabrizio hosted us that night. He is so nice, and very
helpful with our show. The show that night was a bit strange: after
such a wild performance the previous night, it was difficult to give a
knowingly calmer performance, and especially another performance
without Neil. I am no Neil Kelly.
The next day saw our return to Berlin, which really felt like a
homecoming, despite the fact that I had only been there a day and a
half the previous week. We performed at an underground club called
“West Germany” which used to be a dentist’s office. Very cool place,
sort of reminded me of the Glass House, except no art on the walls that
was being modified constantly. Ching Chong Song had arrived, it was
really great to see Dan and Julie. They are here for recording,
coincidentally at the same time we returned. I did sound for the
evening, except when performing, which was a lot of fun. I forgot how
fun it can be to have to manage the soundboard. The WoWz gave a really
great performance, as did Ching Chong Song. As for Huggabroomstik, we
replaced ourselves with Secret Salamandar for the evening, which made
the most since and went well considering we hadn’t rehearsed any of
those songs. The night ended probably around 4am, and I probably got to
sleep around 5:30.
Easter Sunday, we had a brunch type meal at HiKool’s apartment,
eating hardboiled eggs and breadrolls with different spreads on them.
Johnny and Sam were supposed to leave for the States that morning, but
when they got to the airport they found out their plane didn’t leave
till Monday! One more show was scheduled at the King Kong Klub: solo
performances by HiKool, Chris Maher, Secret Salamandar, and myself. Of
course, since the WoWz were there, they performed as well. It was a
great way to see off the string of performances, each night from the
4th to the 16th of April.
In the back room at the club, before we had performed, I was talking
to Dashan about how ridiculous it was that we were there. I was writing
up a list of songs I was interested in playing, and realized how many
songs were not on the list. And earlier that day I heard him practicing
songs with Simon. It was around January of 2003 that Dashan and I met,
and started making up and recording songs together. And at least to me,
it always seemed kind of like this silly fun thing we did. And we were
always taking it more seriously, but at the rate it was going, it never
seemed to be a shock to see where we were (artistically or
geographically). Standing in the back room of a club thousands of miles
away from home, unable to perform songs we made up three years ago
because there were too many newer better ones, I was amazed with what
Dashan and I had done as individuals and collaborators. Never in my
wildest dreams did I imagine that in three years something like this
trip would be happening.
That seems like a really conclusive point to end on. I’m very tired,
so I will take advantage of that. I suppose I should say though, I
rested and spent some time in Berlin, and am currently in Munich, with
my cousin, who is spoiling me, and showing me around. More detail on
all that later.