Tag: tour

FEZ’ FUZZTONES FINALÉ

After 5 years on and off as bassist for the Fuzztones, I am gracefully retiring from the band.
I had an absolute blast playing with the band, especially on this last tour of Spain.
The gigs in Greece got postponed until the following week, and my other obligations have a higher priority at my age these days. I am proud of the work we did and my contributions to the band over these years here in Berlin and all over europe. It was a great run.

Madrid, 2012

Great venue last night in Madrid, the Carcol… Very professional crew, great sound, stage, spirited audience…

However, was very displeased to see that the support band was using my bass amp without my knowledge or permission. This is fucked for a number of reasons, respect being only one of them. In our tech rider, we are to be supplied with two guitar amps at every venue, and the clubs usually avoid rental fees by asking the support band to provide amps. Fair enough. This was also the case last night, so one can easily make the argument that we are using their guitar amps, so why shouldn’t they use our bass amp. If I were the support band I would use the same logic, BUT I would surely ASK before doing so, and not just assume that it is okay to use. I do not blame the bass player, though had it been me, I would’ve at least asked the sound man if it was okay. The promoter however never sent the club the tech rider, and everybody always claims they never got it anyway. In the end I only blame myself for not making it clear to the sound engineers that my bass amp is NOT to be used by support bands, and here is the reason why:

A support band is usually local, and if something goes wrong, they know where to fix it or get another piece of equipment. A touring band that carries their own gear is out in the wilderness with schedules that leave little margin for extra excursions. If a support band spills beer on or blows the speakers of my amp, I am fucked. I have no backup, and it’s not a rental I can just have replaced at the next town. It’s mine, and if it’s out of commission, then it’s an ordeal to wrangle one on foreign territory. If I myself fuck up the amp, then it’s my fault and still my responsibility to get fixed or replaced, but then I at least know how it happened and don’t have to deal with blame and extortion. End of story.

We stayed in a very crappy hotel though with no breakfast, so this morning I made a pilgrimage by public transport to one of the only Taco Bells in Europe… Only to find they open at :30, which is the time I was scheduled to be back at the hotel or at the club loading our gear. Thrilled to know it at least exists.

The tour is going well in most respects, and it’s great to be on the battlefield with the gang. I was never much into camping as a youngster, but touring is very similar in a lot of respects, and for me, this is roughing it. The iPad is an amazing companion when touring with a rock band, I gotta say. All the frustrations and mood swings that are par for the course can be assuaged easily with a game of scrabble or catching up on news feeds. It’s value increases tenfold if you can successfully get your mobile wifi devices working properly. I however am still part caveman.

Today we take a relatively short drive to the city of Valladolid, which I remember being a pretty wild and raucous time when we were there last in 2010. There is a bar called Fuzztones which seems like a lock for the after party…

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I think there are 4 more shows before we head back to headquarters before the brief Greek campaign. I am very much looking forward to the paella and the beach in Valencia this weekend.

Hotel recommendations in Spain

I’m not one to go plugging businesses very often, though I do occasionally contribute my thoughts and reviews on Qype… But I gotta say, every time the bus pulls up to an NH hotel, or one of their lower priced sister chains like Hesperia, I get very happy. Don’t let the 3 star rating fool you, these places are first class. The rooms vary from bitchen-ass pimped whirlpool tub suites to no-tell motel style, but the breakfasts are always top notch… We’re talking goji berries and fresh squeezed kiwi juice, eggs to order, fresh bread and the heavenly Spanish coffee…

Receptionists are always helpful, and they provide nice amenities like toothbrushes and sponges packaged in day glow orange plastic.

So far, Algeciras h been the highlight of this tour. The audience and the club were fully energized, and the band hit on all cylinders that night… What a crowd, what a night. So many fans who’d travelled to Granada or Madrid in the past to see the band got to see us in their hometown for the first time ever. Pretty frikkin’ cool!

We spent the night in Murcia, where I played poker in the local casino for 2 hours late last night (earning a measly 40€ after playing my aces poorly), and today, my taks are to find a tailor, a laundromat, a music store, and be at soundczeck by 19:00.

Wish me luck!

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Tourend

The tour ended a couple nights ago as we delivered an amazing show to a hip crowd at London’s legendary 100 Club… & as the van (my home for home for the past 9 weeks) trickled out if sight into the Waterloo Sunset towards Dover, I waved goodbye, & strolled down Bayswater Road to begin my extended stay in the capital of Britain.

It has been an amazing experience & I didn’t want to sink immediately into a post-tour depression or melancholy, which I know from experience now as an occupational hazard.

The idea is to immediately jump into another project, which for me us not too difficult since my stove has run out of back-burners. I have some film in the can ready fir editing & lots of contacts to begin following up with for upcoming tours next year when I hope to be back on the road mire than not.

I’m currently in Islington neighborhood of London, staying on a cozy couch in the flat of three international angels, grateful for their hospitality, giving me a chance to wind down before returning to Berlin for serious decompression and major reality czeck.

If you don’t hear from me in one week, I’ve either been kidnapped, incarcerated or murdered. Love you all!

Andaluzia

Andalusia, the part of Spain that every British holidayer wants to own a timeshare in. What beautiful pastoral landscapes, great old city barrios, & that dusty Spanish feel wherever you go. Siesta culture is fascinating, especially to me coz I consider myself to be an ambitious lazy man… Laziness can be a lot of work.

Hello Atlantic Ocean!

We arrived in A Coruña today around 3pm, czecked into the NH (Fez’ favorite hotel chain)…I have ethernet connection & a large bathtub.  Mark Lane, my roommate tonight has gone a-wandering with Lana & Rudi who were in search of fresh calamari during siesta time…  Keko & the crew are chilling & napping or some hybrid of both, and even though the sun is shining on the sandy beaches on both sides of the peninsula, I have to protect my new tattoo from those nasty UV rays for at least the rest of the week.

between Vigo y A Coruña

ah, the sea...

approaching A Coruña

Bus-call is at 6pm, & we’ll mosey to the club for load-in & soundczeck, & hopefully find a good paella or local seafood dish in the neighborhood. I’ll take piccies if we do.

tata for now…

the water temperature in the bath should be just perfect about now…

Nougat town

It becomes more difficult being incognito in a French provincial city somewhere just southwest of Paris when a) i speak very poorly when faking it in French, they immediately hear my Louisianian drawl & point their nosehairs in my general direction.

Nevertheless, the squadron landed yesterday here in Nogent le Rotrou on a night off which shoulda been a gig in Paris, but the promoters had blown it some weeks back. I got to see the venue a day ahead, even got the chance to visit a little farm in the countryside with some massive dogs, horses & scooters. Had dinner with the Black Rippers, a local band here who oeganized the festival. Called it an early night & Keko and I played blackgammon & Scopa till 1 or so.

Slept in till 10:50, made it to my 11am appointment & convinced the rather fetching sandy blond Frisseurin to blacken the whitewalls. While i waited she brought me a gardening magazine & a gossip mag. After i thumbed through through the celebpix, she returned to the rack & cutely apoligized & handed me a couple car magazines. They had a good giggle.

On the walk back to the hotel to get ready for soundczeck, i ran into Derek Smalls, the bassist of Spinal Tap.

Then i realized it was only Keko, my drummer, who’d just gotten a Fuzztones makeover. Bravo!

the "before"... Keko wants to fork Mark Lane in the backside...

the "After"

Another nice dinner courtesy of the Rippers, powernap at the hotel, & we go on in 45minutes, so gotta start tilling my hair. Be seeing you, l’Arsenal!

Random BeNeLux Shenanigans

The first night is still a blur, but hopefully some pics & videos will eventually surface. The next day was gorgeous weather like the first, but the first signs of chem-trails told us to pack our shite from the Melkweg & get the hell outta Dodge.

Coulda sworn it was the Paradiso… oh no, that’s just the Paradise Wallpaper:

I like truth in advertising… & tasty pie

Faithful crew bonding at rest stops…

Keko, Halb-Thruthan & Steppel...

Before this trip, I hadn’t spent any more than 12 hours in Belgium at one time, & now we spent an entire weekend in a town of 43,000 people, & which is best known for being the town of a famous child murderer… the crew thought all my wisecracks about Belgium being the “Wisconsin” of Europe were an exaggeration until they googled this town, Dendermonde.  Anyway, props out to the promoters for hooking us up in this charming little B&B:

Torenhof B&B

The show was fabulous, the people were great, Belgians are a great audience for sure.  We drank a lot.  Thew next day was full of shopping adventures & the club was kind enough to let us rehearse before packing up our gear… so after 2 gigs on the tour, we finally had our first REHEARSAL!…

Today the sun is shining, & we are off to Sittard in the Netherlands…

Amsterdam Part One

To do a full recap of the events as they transpired yesterday night in Amsterdam would take much longer than I have before we are to be onstage tonight in Dendermonde, Belgium, so I just wanna put it out there that I have yet to have experienced an “opening night” gig as fantastic as the one we had at the Melkweg last night.  Wow!  hats off to the amazing crew, the cool opening band, the adorable monitor gal Fiona who made us sound sweet to our own ears… and big hats off to Mark, Keko, me, Lana & Rudi for pulling off such an awesome set without any rehearsal other than 6 or 7 songs at soundczeck.

My Kodak moment was looking at the setlist, seeing Romilar D & having to ask Mark Lane “dude, which note does this one start on?”… somehow it all came back & no one was the wiser.

My buddy Troy & some friends accompanied me & the band back to our hotel with the promise of a rollick on the piano in the bar downstairs, only to find the bar closed.  I suggested to the young lad runnign the show that if he didn’t do as I insist & let us in the bar to drink and stain his paino, that we would be forced to party in the room upstairs, & if he had to come tell us to keep it down it would be more work for him.  He didn’t seem to mind, & it was a roc knroll hotel, so… the rest is a blur & I think no pictures were taken.