I am driving the smallest rental car I have ever, well, shit, it’s actually just the smallest car I’ve ever driven. It, shockingly, has 6 gears too. The name on the side says “Dolcevita” in cursive - I think it’s Italian for “three cylinder go kart”. I take a picture of it because I have self diagnosed “car blindness”* and I don’t want to lose another rental car.**
After picking up the car I re-acclimate myself to driving in Germany and it’s really not that different for me, I feel very used to it. I already pretty much drove like I was in Germany*** Driving here is only difficult if you don’t pay attention or drive like an asshole.
When I get back to Heike’s she is cooking something that smells amazing and it turns out she is making cinnamon raisin bread for me. Unbelievable. I make another cup of tea and snack on some fresh out of the oven bread. We have a great conversation about music and life while I change some strings and put my things together for tonight.
Tonight I’m at the Shakespeare Theater Pub in Weyhe. (Pronounced: Vi-ah) I’ve played here a handful of times before, both solo and with Riddle & The Stars and it’s cool because I can go in the back hallway and see posters of folks that have played here and see a lot of friends names on the posters.
Now Weyhe is a a little town just south of Bremen and has a fantastic city center that is always bustling with activity. They have a super active theater group that performs in the theater upstairs and they have a pub and live music downstairs.
I’m working with Tom tonight, he’s a punk rock drummer that is learning how to do live sound. He assures me he knows what he’s doing and everything is all set up and ready to go. There’s a separate DI Box for me to plug both of my guitar signals into. We struggle with this for a long time until we discover that someone has unplugged the power cord to the DI Box. After that all is groovy.
My friend Petra has asked if I would have dinner with her before the show so we sit down in the nice restaurant next door and have a proper sit down. I, of course, got the schnitzel with mushroom gravy**** and we have a very nice dinner and conversation.
When I return to the Shakespeare Theater Pub (it’s like a 20 foot walk) I’m greeted by folks wearing my t-shirt! It’s such an amazing sight. I don’t know who it was that said you should never wear the band t-shirt to the band’s gig because I tell you - from where I was standing, it was awesome.
I check in with Petra and HG and he’s got a lead in their theater production of “Murder on the Orient Express.” Manuela is here with her boyfriend. She is so sweet and she makes sure that I send Tracy her love too. Kevin***** is here, wearing my shirt too and he has been filling me in on the renaissance fair work that he is doing and they’re even camping there in like Middle Ages type of tents and making their own shields, it’s cool. Horst and Betty are here and they both have my shirt on too. I still remember meeting them in Achim with Riddle and The Stars about a decade ago! And even my friend wearing the Wien Americana Fest shirt - and I apologize, it’s 2:45 am and I’m blanking on your name but we talked about you coming to the house concert at Heike’s the end of the week. Please email me!
And then I performed.
The first set was pretty good, the room was mostly all listening except about 6 people at the bar who I could tell were annoying most of the other people there. A couple of times I had breaks in a song and the break would happen and it would be totally silent EXCEPT for their talking and it caught them off guard. It was actually quite funny. I struggled a little bit vocally in the first set as I got my monitor mix dialed in while the room was empty but once there were folks in there, it needed to be louder. I found my self pushing a little bit too much.
The second set felt much better to me as we adjusted my mix on stage and then even if those 6 folks were chatting, I couldn’t hear them so much now and I really enjoyed just going with the flow and doing some of the quieter numbers and just diving into them. Tonight was also the first time I’ve played Heroes in a while and I think it went over pretty well. I set up the E-bow part on the looper in the beginning and it was pretty groovy. We all sang APB together and Horst and I decided I should sing it for Norbert. Norbert and Barbara are great supporters of the arts (and are great artists themselves) and he takes so many fantastic photos of everyone that comes through town. I have used photos he has taken of me for years! (Always giving photo credit!) And it’s fun singing that with a bunch of folks that already know their sing along part.
I go deep during the second set and it feels real good.
There’s a great catch up and goodbyes after the show. A bunch of them are planning on coming to more of my shows this week. That really puts the pressure on me to mix up my set even more and play an even more varied set so I’m not singing the same exact set at them.
There’s some t-shirt selling and cd buying. My CD merch box has a whole bunch of Fallen Stars and Riddle & The Stars cds in there too so I’ve made every purchase of one of my CDs a “buy one get one free” of one of the older CDs, for 2 reasons: 1) I love those CDs but we’re not promoting them anymore so I’d love for them to get into peoples collections and 2) the merch box is heavy, I would like it to be lighter.
It’s a quiet drive back to Bremen and I bring Petra home so she didn’t have to take the train, she lives near where I’m staying so it was easy and did I tell you that she got me some chocolate? Her family worked at the Hachez chocolate company and she knows that I love dark chocolate so she brought me some as well as a Bremen 2 euro coin for my telecaster with all the coins in it.
I have the best fans/friends in the world.
Thank you, goodnight.
Oh and if any of you have any requests for this week, get them in now!
*I don’t believe the American Medical Association has assigned an ICD-10 code for it as of yet but Car Blindness a real thing. Most all cars look alike to me. I used to always get our Honda Civic confused with a BMW of the same color. I think most smaller SUV’s look like sneakers and there’s really only two cars on the road that will make me turn my head - a Subaru wagon and a VW Eurovan. Everything else, Hyundai SUV looks just like a Porsche SUV to me.
**Ok, so I didn’t completely lose the rental car but it was misplaced for over an hour with me looking for it. It was in Cologne a bunch of years ago and I was standing in the street looking one way and thinking this road looked familiar and I hit the button on the key ring and the car I was standing next to unlocked. I was standing next to my car and didn’t know it.
***Keep to the right unless passing, stop at red lights, stop for pedestrians, you know things American drivers don’t do. And don’t even start with me if you think Americans are good drivers, I’ve driven in nearly every state and we suck.
****Shut it Roman! I don’t care. I know it’s not real schnitzel if it has gravy on it but it was delicious!
*****Kevin requested “part time cowboy” and I was so happy to get a request like that. I love that song but I forget to play it all the time. It was a song that came out pretty easily when I wrote it and I’m always suspect of the songs that don’t fight me too much and having someone ask, “can you play such and such?” And it’s one of your own songs - that’s just the best kind of request to get!