We really didn’t want to get out of the super duper comfy bed at Harrier Hof but when they asked us if we wanted breakfast at 9 am we said yes and we KNOW that our breakfast will be ready at 9 am.
They have a small breakfast room for guests set up and today I think we may be the only guests. Bleary eyed we show up at 9:05 and the table is set and waiting for us. Rolls, meats, cheeses, a parfait dessert type thing, a bowl of scrambled eggs, coffee an tea and orange juice and a smiling face welcoming us to Frühstück.
If you ever get to Brake, Germany - you have to stop in to Harrier Hof. Tell Micheal we sent you.
Rebekka had given us the name of a doner shop nearby but we’re going to miss eating lunch there as we are too full from breakfast. Instead we hit the Autobahn and drive for 4 hours to the small vacation town of Kuhlingsborn and Tillmann Hahns Gasthaus.
My tour diaries are about touring and music but the food yesterday and today is too good not to tell you about. We met Tillmann a bunch of years ago and have been returning nearly every year. I’ve played outside on a stage, on the patio as well as inside when it’s raining. Tonight it’s not raining (yet) but it’s cold enough outside for us to be inside.
Tracy and I load the stuff in, do a quick soundcheck, have a great catch up with Tillmann in the cafe with tea and cake, get the info for his Airbnb, go stand on the pier in the Baltic Sea and then go back to the Airbnb for a little rest before we play.
I feel special because Tillmann lets me load in thru the kitchen. I feel like he knows that I’ve spent some time working in restaurants in my youth and knows that I’m ready to clear a table or two if needed.
Every time I sit with Tillmann I learn more details about cooking and really just food in general. He’s this dude with his own cookbook and restaurant and you can tell that he has a real passion for food and learning new things. A few years ago he taught me all about goats because I had mentioned having goat curry at a house concert. He has a source for goat meat locally and they are the goats raised for eating. Did you know that? No, of course not. Today he was explaining to Tracy and I the differences in Thai cuisine and what gets spicy and not and the different ingredients. I love the learning.
When we return he goes over the menu with us and Tracy gets the pork with potatoes and he explains what cut of meat it is and how it’s prepared and the wild mushrooms that come with it and I cannot do it justice because I really can’t remember but holy crap was it good. I get a beef and vegetables dish that he explains is traditional Austrian fare. It has a side of horseradish sauce for dipping the meat in. So good. SO GOOD.
Then we played a bunch of music.
We were fine but the star of the show is Tillmann Hahns food.
There was a moment when we were sitting there eating dinner that it hit me - I will never be as rich or as famous as some of my heroes and friends but we have something totally different. We can travel to remote places and be treated like rock stars, sing and perform for folks that dig us and we don’t have the paparazzi or the trappings of fame. Sure we don’t get the Grammys or whatever but we’ve created this other thing - this life that is pretty damn cool.
There is a couple sitting in front of us and the guy is wearing an Einstürzende Neubauten t-shirt.* I tell him I like his shirt. He says he likes my Berlin Bear tattoo. Tracy and I have a good first set and end with Cold War - probably the loudest song in our set. A couple have gotten up and left and they tell Tillmann that we’re too loud. No one else seems to mind, in fact they really dig this one. I ask Tillmann if we’re too loud during our break. “It’s not too loud for me. I don’t want you to be background music, this is a concert. I want you to be comfortable.”
And there it is and it makes all the difference. You set up to play and sometimes you’re in an environment that makes you think, oh, I better tone it down. But no. Be you. Do what you do. I mean, I didn’t crank up the volume or anything but it lowers that feeling of “am I too much for this room” feeling. No. I am enough.
I don’t care how many shows you do - there will be a time when you’re playing somewhere and think that what you do is too much. And to be told in the bluntest, kindest way that we want what you do. It’s everything.
After the show I talk with Einstruzende Neubauten guy and it turns out that he’s childhood friends with one of the founding members of that band. We talk about Berlin and my tattoo and the Wim Wenders film Wings of Desire that was shot in Berlin and he mentions that the drummer from his 80s band is in that movie and his friend’s little girl is in the opening scene.
What? Serious? The world is a weird wacky place.
Also here tonight is Dietmar Kampf, the artist whose work is on the walls. They range from traditional seascapes to avant-garde expressionism and we have a good talk about the artist life and then Tillmann’s wife an son are here too and really we just sat and talked for about an hour. Such lovely people.
I load the gear out through the kitchen and it’s time to leave.
*pretty much THE German noise rock industrial band. I think they invented industrial rock in the 80s in Berlin. I like them but it’s NOT for everyone. They came about in West Berlin in the 80s when they couldn’t get proper musical equipment so sometimes they used whatever could be found, a hammer, some pipes, a jackhammer… It’s fascinating what people can do with what they have available and are hell bent on creating art. They opened a bunch of shows for U2 in the early 90s and it did not go well.