Took Rachel's yoga class yesterday. I think if sweat could be weighed per bead my sweat would hold a guinness record for the heaviest sweat. I could literally feel myself getting healthier and lighter. It was necessary. I'll probably go back a few times this week, maybe even start a routine. The Sacred studio is incredible, and yesterday two of the teachers there won a pole dancing competition at Galapagos. Very cool!
It's not that tour is by nature unhealthy. It's just unpredictable. For example, on Day Two we ate healthy salads and flatbread pizza for dinner (prepared by the guy who runs KulturBunker, an incredible place in Köln-Mulheim)..
then drank until 2AM.
It's a bit of a balancing act. We try to explain it this way to our non-touring friends: Think of what you might do on Friday night when you go partying. Now imagine 35 days in a row, where every night is Friday night. That's what we're in for.
Some times it's really easy to stay healthy. For example, we take the trains, which means for at least a few hours, I'm resting and not smoking. Since Rachel is vegetarian the food we eat is usually pretty healthy. Even on days where we eat a falafel, it still feels pretty healthy. I' made a rule that any day I see sprouts for sale I will buy them. Spouts are such good food. And healthy vegetables in Europe are so much cheaper than in America!
Sometimes it's hard, when I'm super hungry I'll buy a Döner Kebab (aka Schwarma. Gyro, Pita Sandwich, etc) for a couple euros just to stay steady. That's not the healthiest food (but it is some of the best tasting and ubiquitous food in Germany). It's best to go to the places marked "Halal", because well, the food is usually higher quality and the place is clean in the next-to-godliness kind of ways. And not just in Germany - this is one of my favorite-kebabs-of-all-time from Lyon.
On Day 3 we went to Wuppertal and were thrilled to see our great friend Basti. We met through Creaky Boards, and he was throwing shows in Bonn last year when Rachel and I came through. We have a nice friendship and he is a huge music fan. After the show, he was playing Frank Hoier's music on his iPod - and Rachel runs up to him to say, "How do you know about Frank Hoier?" "I found him online one day. Turns out you know him, right?" Yeah, umm, we've known Frank for like five years. We've played in bands and on albums together.
The show in Wuppertal was actually right in the train station. Basti moved to Wuppertal for a job, and is trying to bring good music to a town which otherwise has very little music. His uncle has a shop in the station, and there's this multi-purpose room which Basti converts into a venue for concerts. It's pretty cool and there are taxidermy foxes around (Something about Wuppertal has to do with foxes.)
It was a great show, it feels so good to play to attentive audiences. They paid to get in, and since there's not a whole lot to do in Wuppertal, they seemed really into the show. It was the 10th anniversary of Joey Ramone's death, so Basti had suggested that each band play a Ramones cover. So we prepared "Bonzo Goes To Bitburg." The other band, Schreng Schreng & LaLa (who will hopefully be touring the states soon) prepared "Poison Heart." We ended up playing both songs together, plus an encore of "I Wanna Be Sedated." It was really fun and we found some old train conductor hats in the station which we wore for the encore.
Afterwards we went to Basti's place with a bunch of people from the show, and Rachel crashed early while I had long conversations about how in Germany there's a word for everything. My friend Lasse asked me, "what's the word in English for a word you take directly from another language?" I tried to find it, but turns out there's not a specific word for this. Best I can come up with a "borrowed word", or "loanword". Examples of loanwords from Germany to the English Language are rucksack, blitzkrieg, delicatessen, zeppelin, and probably the most famous, "kindergarten". Other examples (and there are so many) would be "a la carte" or "faux pas" (French) or "armada" and "vigilante" (Spanish).
It was ironic that we're talking about words borrowed from Germany, and what's the English word for that, and there isn't one. However, there is one German word that this whole idea of borrowed words makes me think of.
The next night in Bochum we met up with Sabine, a good friend who's largely responsible for connecting my ex-Creaky Boards-bandmate Darwin Deez with Lucky Numbers records and helping him along his ambition rise in popularity. It's really nice to see our friendships helping our careers a bit. Darwin's success is the most obvious example of this, I think. But also, the fact that we have so many shows and are able to pay our tour costs is largely due to the efforts of a wide network of friends all over the continent.
And thanks to the cats like Lenny who make people like Sabine feel good.
We had our second show at Rottstrasse 5 theatre. It's under an elevated train platform, in a kind of airplane-hangar shaped room. We love this space. Every twenty minutes a train rattles by overhead. Last year the power went out and for a few minutes we had to contemplate playing an all-acoustic show. This year the sound setup was extra great, and no power issues. We rocked the show, playing for about two hours.
Our friend Rick came to the show. He's what we call a "Superfan". I will save a special blog (and a special place in my heart) for the Superfans. They are always going to come to the shows, they are always so enthusiastic, and a really nice reminder of why it matters that we keep touring, as much as possible. In particular, Rick is a very thoughtful guy, and very well versed in Folk Music. I love his stories.
design by extreme silkscreen
So, the first four shows of tour were on a boat, in a bunker, in a train station, and in a theatre under an elevated train. Tomorrow we start the theaters, and the next show of tour was one of the biggest shows we've ever played. In Bonn, Germany.