I’ve been coming to Germany to play shows for thirteen years. I’ve played more shows in Germany than any other foreign country with the (possible) exception of England. And yet there’s something about coming to Germany that can be more frustrating than anywhere else. Maybe it’s the righteousness - “Because of our history,” one kid told me last year, “we are now careful to be the ‘good’ country that does everything right.” I believe it, and sometimes it can ffrench eel like they’ve gone too far in that direction, like the pedantic refusal to jaywalk under any circumstances. Sometimes it’s an attention to bureaucratic detail that goes beyond the bounds of reason: In almost every (poorer) country in the world, you can buy a pre-paid SIM card, slip it into your cheap phone, and make your call - here, I had to call (how can I call without a phone, you might well ask?) and give name, date of birth, and address in Germany. Sometimes it’s the belief in ruthless honesty for the greater good. I added a classic example of the latter to my long mental list of post-show German honesty, after this, my third show at the Ramones Museum in Berlin:
“Was that you playing on a roof with Against Me?”
“I guess, probably.”
“I wanted to push you off.”
“That’s a weird kind of joke.”
“It’s not a joke.”
“You didn’t like it, then.”
“No, it sounded terrible…I liked it tonight, though.”
He bought a “Do The Struggle” vinyl.
I uploaded an EP of some “Do The Struggle” outtakes and it’ll be pay-what-you-want through the end of the month. Enjoy!
“Places do not exist. A place is just my idea of it.” - Michael Ackerman, Fiction
The tour began as a litany of logistical issues.
When my wife and I found out she was pregnant, I knew I’d have to rejigger my touring plans for the year - I’d had thought I’d do a month in Europe in April and May, maybe UK in the summer, and something else in the fall. Now, I sure wasn’t going to do any 250 dates in 2013, and in fact had better do most of what I wanted to accomplish pretty darn quick.
So, I figured, Europe it is, and earlier: I’d do some more Poland and Germany, since I hadn’t been there with the new record, and definitely some France, where I hadn’t been at all. Maybe a month, and then fly over to England and do two weeks there, and then I’d have the important stuff covered. Then I got an email from my old friend Anders, a Swede who records as Moneybrother, with a scheme for a two-songwriter bill; three more weeks in Germany and Austria but I’d save on rental car and more plane flights and baggage fees to England. So, ok, my four-week Euro extravaganza had become seven jam-packed weeks. Keep yer head down and stay healthy.
Franz Nicolay was our first musical guest at our Harlem digs, and he was such a gracious, funny, and captivating dude. Here is performing “Did Your Broken Heart Make You Who Are?” from episode 71 “First Night in Harlem.”
Also check out “This Is Not a Pipe” from later in that episode.
Get into it. And I mean deep into it. Watch this space for all the tour diaries and named names.
3/1 Cafe Borowka, Wroclaw, Poland
3/2 Klubokawiarnia Redakcja, Poland
3/3 Pub Lamus, Gorlice, Poland
3/4 Kawiarnia Naukowa, Krakow, Poland
3/5 Tektura, Lublin, Poland
3/6 Galeria Funky, Warsaw, Poland
3/7 Meskalina, Poznan, Poland
3/8 Ramones Museum, Berlin, Germany
3/9 Schaubude, Kiel, Germany
3/10 Villa Nachttanz, Heidelberg, Germany
3/11 Chaff, Brussels, Belgium
3/12 Le Petit Barcelone, Orleans, France
3/13 Pop In, Paris, France
3/14 Mac Daid’s, Le Havre, France
3/15 Le Galion, Lorient, France
3/16 Ecuyes, Caen, France
3/17 Petit London, Toulouse, France
3/18 La Miroiterie, Paris, France
3/19 Theatre De La Fonderie, Le Mans, France
3/20 Le Maquisard, Doyet, France
3/21 Off Kultur, Nancy, France
3/22 House show, Zurich, Switzerland
3/23 Mela di Newton, Padua, Italy (w/ Amy Kohn)
3/25 CK13, Novi Sad, Serbia
3/26 Tunel, Rijeka, Croatia
3/27 AKC Metelkova, Ljubljana, Slovenia
3/28 Klub Attack, Zagreb, Croatia (w/ Morning Glory)
3/29 Inex Film, Belgrade, Serbia
3/30 Roham Bar, Budapest, Hungary
3/31 Gambrinus Pub, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
4/1 Club Noir, Szeged, Hungary
4/3 TBA, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
4/4 Studio Sounds Like, Sofia, Bulgaria
4/5 Elias Canetti Center, Ruse, Bulgaria
4/6 Al-Kimia, Timisoara, Romania
4/9 Rocker33, Stuttgart, Germany (w/ Moneybrother)
4/10 Centralstation Club, Darmstadt, Germany (w/ Moneybrother)
4/11 Wuk Club, Vienna, Austria (w/ Moneybrother)
4/12 PPC, Graz, Austria (w/ Moneybrother)
4/14 E-Werk, Erlangen, Germany (w/ Moneybrother)
4/15 Tower, Bremen, Germany (w/ Moneybrother)
4/16 Werk2, Leipzig, Germany (w/ Moneybrother)
4/17 Lindenpark, Potsdam, Germany (w/ Moneybrother)
4/18 Kleine Freihet, Osnabruck, Germany (w/ Moneybrother)
Originally posted at Punknews.
Northbound again towards and then into Idaho, through the evocatively-named Snowville, Pocatello, Twin Falls, Mountain Home, on to what will be my goal for today, La Grande in Oregon. Both borders of Utah, the southern with Arizona and this one, are probably the most beautiful and not coincidentally empty places in America, and you can see different weather on each horizon. The Twin Falls gas station population is massively obese, with at least two full, neck-to-ankle Carhartt worksuits. The town is on fire, farmers burning the fields post-harvest, and is hung with an acrid smog for fifty miles north of the city. The wind whips me sideways, and gargantuan tumbleweeds, several feet across, pile across the road every couple hundred yards, and it feels like a post-apocalyptic video game as I dodge them while wrestling the gusts.
At InDigest today we have a strikingly honest recording journal from Franz Nicolay on his new record “Do the Struggle.”
Alap is an enthusiast by nature. I’d sent him solo demos of the sixteen songs I wanted to record, then went out to his production room in Union City, New Jersey to talk about the project. It was two hours later, after being treated to a hyperactive monologue punctuated by “listen to this, listen to this” that I knew I had my guy. It was, essentially, a lecture on the history and evolution of production techniques, culminating with the theory that in a post-J. Dilla world, instrumentalists were obsolete — or, at least, just the first step, providing the raw material for the producer to “play” as his instrument. How, he said, can we take the production innovations of the last few years, in which young producers have been brought up with the whole of recorded music at their fingertips, in which the aural signifiers of previous decades can be combined in one track — ’80s drums with ’70s Fender bass with ’50s slap-back guitar — how can we take the innovations of a Flying Lotus or the Weeknd or Rhythm & Sound and apply them to a record of relatively straightforward songwriting?
He’s also playing a CD release show in New York tonight at (Le) Poisson Rouge.
(Originally posted at Punknews)
We got into New Orleans the day after the hurricane in New York, staying with NYC transplants Karen and Justin, who settled in the Arabi neighborhood just east of the Lower Ninth, which I’ve heard described as the “ghetto for white racists.” Their house, near the massive Domino’s plant that provides a good percentage of the sugar processed in the US, seemed brand-new, but was a post-Katrina re-fab job. They’d had to check a box on their lease denoting that they understood that this was a “Katrina building,” about which I guess it’s better not to think too much if you’re going to live in it. They’d rented it from a landlord who went by “Shark Eyes,” who they’d never actually met. Justin had only had phone conversations in which Shark Eyes both talked to him and narrated his inner dialogue: “I can’t come down and show it to you myself, I’m out of town. (OK, you have an interested client but you’re not in town, you’ll see if your friend has an extra key.) I’m going to call my friend and see if he has an extra key, OK?” The neighbors were thrilled they’d moved in – the previous tenants had been running a meth lab.