I technically had today off but still found fun and some great rock and roll by the end of the night.
This bed is very comfortable for me and so sleeping has been easy. I’m super appreciative of my buddy Brett for letting me crash at his place here and have been trying to maintain a small footprint in his space and just dirtying a teacup and teaspoon and washing and reusing the same ones.
Touring always reminds me to try and keep life simpler. It’s definitely easier said than done.
I get a message from Roxy that there’s some good music happening tonight in the Freetown Christiania section of Copenhagen* at a venue called Loppen and how she can get us in and sends me a link. The show is Jason Ringenberg (Jason and The Scorchers) and Dan Stuart (Green on Red) and I’m like “I know that dude!”** So I send Dan a message and tell him I’m coming to his show tonight and he sends back “you’re on the list.”
Dan also has a book out and he’s been weaving in a reading from his book as well as his stories an songs - so I’m really looking forward to seeing him and I’ve never seen Jason live but every performance I’ve seen online is a house on fire type of show.
But before that we’re going to the Christiania food market for dinner. We’re meeting at 7 pm at the central station and I proceed to walk to the wrong bus stop and get on the wrong bus. The fantastic bus app still won’t work for me with my throttled signal so I pull up Apple Maps and just sort of chart out where I’m going on the buses I’m on.
When the bus I’m on takes a turn in the wrong direction from where I’m going, I press the stop button and get off at the next stop. Cross the street and take one going back the other way. The Central train station is only about 3 miles away and I’m able to do it in 4 of the wrong buses and was about to keep riding the one I was on when I realized I was in fact at the station where we planned to meet up.
I’m waiting for about 2 minutes when she shows up.
“Come on we’ll take the long cut, we’ll make it eventually.”***
The next bus drops us on off in the Freetown Christiania section and we walk to the food market - a huge collection of shipping containers of restaurants and beer gardens and a beach area and ocean. There’s most every kind of food here. Thai, Vietnamese fried chicken, Louisiana style home cooking, pizza, vegan, hamburgers, Indian, Turkish, Pakistani - I can’t even remember them all but we do a once around to see what we want. I go for some Indian tikka masala and it’s delicious. Roxy gets a vegetarian bowl and the wind is howling through this area. The huge beer garden roof, which is a super heavy duty tarp, is blowing enough that we move to a different table.
(Stopping here to fall asleep)
It’s not far to The Loppen, whose motto is “Going out of business since 1974”, and it’s got a great stage and sound system. When we arrive there’s plenty of seating and we wander backstage to find Dan and say hey. Coming back up stairs to find a seat and the place is now full. No empty seats to be had. We go to the side of the stage and sit on something that looks like stairs but not like stairs to anywhere, just stairs in the middle of the floor. It works.
Dan’s set is a classic lesson in being comfortable in knowing who you are as a performer and trusting your instincts to carry you through. There is no set list, he tells stories and weaves a “choose your own adventure” story type of performance and lets the show flow where it wants to go and then he takes out his book and reads an excerpt from it. And this feels just as much part of the show. Yeah, he’s reading but it’s also a performance. Wow. I am full on inspired by him.
Roxy is taking pictures, I think she said for the venue but maybe not. She has a nice DSLR camera and spends the show at the edge of the stage snapping away.
Jason takes the stage in a flourish of tall, lanky, country showman and he is all that. It’s great stories of getting signed and opening for the Ramones and an extensive history of Crazy Horse and the Native American’s plight in the 1800s - into a story song about Crazy Horse.**** To me, Jason has always been the red snap shirt wearing dude that I saw perform on Conan in the…90s? Shit, I have no idea when it was but when I bought the same snap shirt, it is who I was thinking of and the Scorchers were exactly that, a white hot band.
The one-two combo of Dan and then Jason is inspiring to me as they are singer songwriter dudes out in the world still troubadouring it up and making those connections.
I talk with Dan for a few and we commiserate over the difficulty of traveling with cds and merchandise and how it might not have been “better” in the 90s when you couldn’t sell cds at gigs because the label wanted folks to buy them from a store, but it was “easier” to not have to travel with cds and vinyl.
Jason and I talk for a brief moment after the show and I tell him it’s my first time seeing him live but it won’t be the last. We talk briefly about the music and traveling and even though I know I’m not at these guys’ level, reputation and experience, I feel a kinship through my years on the road as well.
I’ve done a lot, I’ve seen a lot. I’ve been on labels, I’ve opened for heroes, but I never had the money or expectations of a major record label on my back and I wonder how that affects the performer you become. Does having that kind of business behind you make you perform differently or think about what you do differently? This is a fleeting thought as I will never have that kind of dilemma, there aren’t even that many record labels left and the ones that are left are not signing dudes in their 50s.
It reminds me of the time I was approached by a hockey scout in Huntington Beach, CA and offered a tryout for the Long Beach Ice Dogs. “I’m 39” was all I said and the guy said “Ok, thank you.” And walked away. You still have the dreams of stardom but what “stardom” means, changes. The room they played to tonight was pretty great and if you could find rooms like this that you could travel to scattered around the world, well that’s a different kind of success.
We say goodnight and I hope to see Dan again soon. I dig his stuff, I’d love to work with him again. Jason says he’s going to look me up as well. That’d be cool. You can’t help having the daydreams of future gigs.
Roxy and I walk to a bus stop talking about the show and she shows me some of her pictures, she’s quite a talented photographer. And it’s super nice of her to make sure I know which train is mine as my app only works when she hotspots me some wifi. I take the train from the central station out a couple of stops, exit the station, walk down the street about 300 meters to the bus stop and take the bus back to the Valby section of Copenhagen.
I am tired now. I have three shows remaining in my tour and this is the place when my fatigue sets in. It could be 60 shows, it could be 25 shows or even 8 - when I get to the last three I am beat.
Wednesday night (tonight) I’m playing Tjili Pop here in Copenhagen. When I get back to the flat I will do a re-pack of bags so things weigh more evenly and I will catch a train at 7:15 tomorrow morning. I’m really hoping for smooth transfers and ease of trains as I won’t be arriving in Herdecke, Germany until 5 pm tomorrow night. Yes, that’s a full 10 hour travel day on trains and then walk a half mile to the venue, sit down for an hour and then play a show. I’ve already gotten messages from some folks going to that show in Herdecke and it’s that sort of expectation that gives you added determination.
Ok, off to rock in Copenhagen now.
*This is an amazing section of town! This is an intentional community commune in the Christianshavn neighborhood. It began in 1971 as a squatted military base. From there it gets more and more interesting - please look it up!
**I played a show with Dan in LA a bunch of years ago with Jack Waterson and Don Antonio from Sacri Cuori and then I played on the album he was recording at the time as well. I think Tracy sang on it too.
***From the song “Long cut” by Uncle Tupelo. I should maybe look into learning this song as it does seem to suit me quite well.
****I started videoing the story but it’s too long, I can’t upload it here.