Thanks to all who came out to Ft. Hunt Park Sunday night. Lovely evening - really enjoyed it
The Rhodeside Grill in Arlington presents a special show with LESSON ZERO and Taboo, Saturday evening, May 21, from 9:00 - 1:30 at 1836 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA. 703-243-0145. We haven't played in 7 months with George, Brett, and Kerry recovering from surgery. This will be our last show with this lineup, so come on out and party like it's 1999. See www.myspace.com/lessonzero or www.youtube.com/lessonzero for information and music.
The gig at the Mezzo Mezzo went so so. After boarding the train to Chiaso, we got off and walked to the border. The border patrol told us to go back to the train station. The bus picked us up at the station 10 minutes later but didn't get to Melpensa until 9:50. It was a little slow going through security. 3 hours to kill. I checked my bag and went through security where they questioned me about the Swiss Army knife in my bag. Oops, I forgot all about the Swiss Army knife I got in Lucerne in the Swiss navy store. Back through security and the check-in person said she would send the bag back to lost baggage where I could put the knife and bring it upstairs to check in again. When I went downstairs, I was apprehended by Italian police who took my ticket and my bag and made me stand off to the side while they negotiated with the powers that be by phone. They didn't speak English. I tried someone coming through the gate, and she translated for me elegantly on my behalf. They shooed her away. They brought down 2 more police - now 4. One of them just shook his head, saying "no". 2 more police - now 4. 2 hours later they took me back to get the bag. "Swing low sweet chariot, come down easy. Get me to the terminal zone. Cut your engines and pull your wings and let me make it to the telephone" - a little Chuck Berry just overcame me. It was then that we decided to hitch a ride home on Big Green Cherry's private jet, The Rusty Zipper. Happy to be back in the USA as they say, there's no place like home, there's no place like home...
Up In Smoke disappeared from the tour under mysterious circumstances. Big Green Cherry lit up the stage at the Cadenza, especially when Tim wore his flashing toilet seat around his head. Next stop and the final leg of our tour, Melpenza. Stay tuned for our last exciting adventure: Beware of Romans with guns
Took the paddleboat steamer from Lucerne to Tellsplate when a polar vortex whipped across the lake tossing swans in the air as if they were birds (well I guess maybe they are birds) and throwing 19' tidal waves across the boat. The captain was yelling, "All hands on deck" in Swiss which sounded like, "All hands on deck" because the language of the sea just like the language of the air is English. Most of the crew was already on deck leaning over the side feeding their lunch to the fish. It ended as suddenly as it began, like someone threw a switch - the wind stopped blowing and a minute later, the rain stopped. We made it to Tellsplate without further adieu in time to set up for our show at the Tafelmusik. Closing for us was a group touring from Hiroshima, Japan: Up In Smoke. Stay tuned for our next exciting adventure as we cross over into Italy: No merda, Sherlock.
It snowed on Easter in Lucerne. We went to a museum on Saturday for a Picasso exhibit, stopped in a music store, got a Swiss army knife in a Swiss navy store, and went to an Irish/English pub for a German beer in Switzerland. We took the ferry back to the hotel and went up the hill to a candle-light procession for Easter. We had dinner at the hotel – cheese fondue. The next morning we went to Easter service auf Deutsch and took a paddle boat, steamer down the lake to a station where we took the train the rest of the way back. Swans floated on the lake like ducks except they were about 10 times bigger. We rocked the pub along with Big Green Cherry, and no one set fire to the place. Stay tuned for our next exciting adventure: Capsized in a wind tunnel.
Checked out of the hotel, and dashed for the train station, just making the train. When we got to the next station, we realized it was an hour early - damn time zones. But sure enough the next train arrived and we were on our way to Zurich. But when the train arrived in Lucerne, I began to suspect we were on the wrong train. Hopped the next train, making it in time for the connection. Got the next train to Schaffhausen and a cup of tea. Picture is from Scherzo where we played with Big Green Cherry and our closing band from Poland, Checkz This Out. Stay tuned for our next exciting adventure from the road: Eaten by swans
Missed the bus from Munich. Caught another. Wrong bus - it was taking us to Lugano, but fortunately the Swiss border patrol stopped the bus at the border and removed a passenger. We waited. No one on the bus spoke English. My Italian is limited to "fortissimo," "pianissimo," "metzo, metso." So the border guard came back onto the bus to remove the man's belongings and extricate another passenger, I asked if she spoke English. She told me the way to get to Riva was to get off the bus and walk up the hill to the train station. I figured it was a good time to walk before she came back for me. The train we got on went right through Riva and on to Lugano where I got a beer and a cheese sandwich - hadn't eaten since early morning. Eventually made it to the hotel. The next morning we went on the tram up Monte Generosa right across from the hotel and walked up to the peak where you could see all of the surrounding mountains. There was an observatory with radio telescopes, snow on the north side, and no wind. Some girls from Moscow came to see us play. The Flint River Death Band closed for us again.
Missed the train to Munich because somebody told us it was the wrong train. Went to a park and a McDonalds with 2 hours to kill before catching the last train to Munich. Got there just before midnight and began searching for the hotel – 200 meters east, then turn left on Somethingstraussa and take 47 paces... After trying this in both directions from the bahnhauf, I stopped into a café, pointed at the hotel on my printout, and asked where it was. The guy googled it on his lap top, pointed across the street, and said, “There.” The hotel had cold and cold running water. We finally got to play with an American band from Michigan at the Easy Palace: Flint River Death Band who rocked the place. Stay tuned for our next exciting adventure: We climb the Alps in our underwear.
Street sign outside our hotel Grabbed a brochure from the hotel lobby for a tour of the Neuschwanstein castle – you know the one mad King Ludwig the 2nd of Bavaria had made at the end of the 19th century because he fancied himself living in the middle ages. This is the castle Disney used as a model for the Snow White castle. Set the alarm for an early wake up and went to the bonhauf after breakfast. Saw a lady hawking tour tickets to the castle in English. Not the same company as the one from the hotel brochure. She was North Irish and her partner from Zurich. The tour left an hour later, so I had a second cup of tea. Sat by a college student from Texas, studying abroad in Austria. The train took us to Fussen (mit ein umlaut). A bus took us to the foothills of the headlands surrounded by the snow-covered Alps – not to be confused with the snow-covered apps you can get for your smart phone. The guide told us the whole history of the area of Bavaria on the ride up. If the Bavarian people love their king, they erect statues of him as they did for Ludwig’s father who died of syphilis (he was well loved by many) and his father before him. Ludwig was good friends with Wagner and dedicated much of the castle to him with paintings all over the castle depicting scenes from Wagner’s operas, or as the 20-something German guide pronounced it: Oprah. Wagner refused to set foot in the castle. Ludwig himself never slept there. But did sleep in a little bungalow just down the road he had built for his lover. Ludwig died at 40-something without producing an heir, of course. His uncle became the next king. The people never erected any statues to Ludwig, but they did allow him to keep his head. He was shot in the back while running away. Before going up to the castle, we stopped for lunch. I had a couple of hot dogs, a roll, and a cup of tea with an older couple from Australia and a schoerne madchen, Jo, from London traveling with her 11-year-old son, Sam (I wonder if his father’s name was Sam too). They stayed with me throughout the tour while the guide told us a tourized version of Ludwig: he slept in the castle for a few months, was engaged to be married, but died of mysterious circumstances before this could occur. In concert news, Cocoa Batons stayed in Munich. We were joined by German band, My Leather Shorts who rocked Fussen. Stay tuned for our next exciting instalment as we meet up with 2 touring Iraqi bands - Sunni Or Later and No Double Header.