Back on the train, the DB, the German rail, speeding south away from Karlsruhe and eventually landing in Freiburg, a city I am returning to after about 6 years. Back then, I had an Irish pub gig for two nights at this place that, honestly, wasn't worth remembering. It was a pub in like a small, modern shopping building, and it was just lame. The owner wasn't happy with me, I am wasn't happy with him and, other than the pay, which he reluctantly did give me, it was a "lose, lose" situation. Today I am rolling into Freiburg to play a "great" Irish pub called O'Kelly's. I've heard good things and in my conversations with the young lady that booked me, I've got nothing but great expectations.
The fields and the towns are all covered in snow as they fly by in the window, and it brings that easy feeling to me. I've had a few days off the road in the "Gartenstrasse War Room" laying low, doing some administrative stuff and some empire building (as well as listening to some of the tracks that may end up on the next release, a downloadable one due out at Christmas) and this train ride begins not just another round of German adventures for me, but also this is the starting point for the rest of this tour's momentum. Two nights in Freiburg, followed by an intense travel day through France (and maybe a bed in Paris, but we'll see) and then I land in the UK with some intense gigs.
All the gigs are important that I do here, but my last one, at the Half Moon in London, will probably be one of the toughest. Not because it will be long or filled with crazy peoples, but instead, the people I am sharing the bill with are a mix of NJ/NY friends and some serious national act talent. Lucky for me, I was added to one of the Light of Day shows that are running through Europe right now. A long, long time ago, I made a couple appearances at one of the earlier LOD gigs at the Stone Pony backing up Bobby Strange and Mimi Cross, and over time I always wanted to get back on board. I couldn't have imagined that someone would let me on board a gig with my boys Rob Dye and Joe D'Urso as well as Willie Nile, Mick Kemp and Alejandro Escovedo, and in London, no less, a town I have had a gig in. Sure, I've done a lot of performing all across the UK in Scotland, Northern Ireland and in different spots around England and, of course, I played in Piccadilly Circus, Russell Square and in the tube, but never my own gig. So, thanks to the LOD crew for that one!
My switch is coming up shortly, in Offenburg. This town has some great memories for me. There is a venue here called the Spitalkeller that I had the privilege of playing back in 2003 when I got added by Ebong.org to a tour with the original lineup of the Stockholm Syndrome which only featured Jerry Joseph and Dave Schools back then. Somehow, I was in the right place at the right time and asked the right guy for the right thing and, suddenly, I was being flown out from Dublin to do the last three gigs with them in Switzerland and Germany. Offenburg is a cool old little town with lots of history and, from what I remember, it's a got this little old downtown that is used for amusements rides and carnival stuff. I remember because none of it was open and there was this closed boardwalk vibe that all of us along the beaches in Jersey can not only recognize, but identify with. The venue was literally the morgue of an old abandoned hospital (I kid you not) and there were so many Widespread Panic kids there that were most likely on the semester abroad in college. Needless to say, it was one of those shows I will never forget.
Anyway, I hope you didn't mind all the musing here, I should probably be looking out the windows enjoying the scenery. We are tucked down in the corner of the country basically riding along the French border and headed towards Switzerland.
It is strange, just two months ago I was driving through the Mojave Desert Preserve in California watching the wind kick up little dust devils through binoculars, or giving everything I had to topple the Kelso Dunes, and here I am now, gazing out over a German winter wonderland, the rows of the fields still visible under their fresh blanket of snow, wondering if I will be able to find a new wallet for myself at the Christmas Market in Freiburg, surrounded by the local revelers as they drink down their hot wine and smile to each other with rosy cheeks.
Questions, comments or requests?