Sunday, September 30, 2007

nourallah breaking things across europe tour '07

Day 8

woke up
fell out of bed
noticed our power adapters where all dead
found a shop around the corner
where the man miraculously fixed them
then i turned on the video camera
to tape some scenic scenery
and guess what?
no dice
"eject tape!!!"
this cannot be true...
try again
"eject tape!!!"
you've got to be f'in kidding me?
paris in 2 days and no video camera?
this was my japanese tourist nightmare coming to full fruition
i collected myself
and then we drove to yet another tiny town
called Frauenau
we were nearly at the end of a beautiful country drive
through winding farmland
and mountains
when we happened upon a grizzly scene
it appeared that a tractor of some kind going
in the opposite direction from us
made a left turn in front of a motorcycle going our direction
the motorcycle would have been fine if the tractor had not been pulling a trailer
Jayme got out of the car and ran down the hill to see what was happening
when she came back she said there was at least one person lying in the road
and possibly another
but she couldn't tell because of the debris
within seconds two ambulances and a medivac helicopter arrived
and there was much running and scurrying to the scene
but then the hurrying stopped
they were apparently dead
we sat for 30 minutes until the fire department arrived
and took over
making each car turn around one at a time
it was sad and disturbing

when we finally got to the club
it reminded me of Switzerland
it was really old
and unkempt
with all kinds of funny things hanging on the walls
the 3 guys running the place were really very nice
but seemed to be extremely nervous about the show
the town only had 3000 people and was miles and miles
from any other town of significant size
yet there were 2 other shows going on that night
they had also apparently not known i was playing solo acoustic
and were visibly disturbed by this knowledge
but they were very kind
and hospitable
ordering pizza for us
and then putting us up in an apartment nearby
it was cold but tidy
Gavin made friends with some local cats
talking loudly to them and telling them he loved them
he also made friends with a large stuffed elephant
that was very sweetly left in the room for him
we were at a much higher elevation than we had been before
so it was getting very cold as the sun went down
we decided to take showers that night
so we could hit the road early for our 9 hour drive to Paris the next day
the showers were ice cold

i arrived to Gistl around 8:45
and the mood had changed considerably
the place was hopping
about 60 people sitting at tables
standing room only at the bar
i guess they were all waiting for the guy from texas
to do something
now the owners were only nervous about 1 thing
that i was alone
with just my acoustic guitar

almost 2 hours and 3 encores later
the previously skeptical bartender
(and third mayor of the town)
was positively giddy about the way things had gone
he shook my hand
smiled wide
and said it was one of the best concerts EVER
that made me feel really good
it had been a fantastic show for me too
i felt like the audience was with me every step of the way
they even sang along at the end
with "hob keine angst"
aka: don't be afraid
a group of hiply dressed 15 or 16 year old kids
that checked me out on myspace
were even there
sporting their converse sneakers
and leopard skin matching accessories
i had a great time hanging out and talking with them
one boy even wore his Ramones t-shirt
because he said he saw Gavin in one online
a rowdy skin-head soccer hooligan guy
came in at the end of the show
wasted and craving punk rock
or maybe even a fight
i could tell the entire room was nervous
about what might happen between us
he shouted things from the bar at me
but i had fun with it
at the end of "hang on" i screamed it right to his face
and he loved it
he ended up singing along
and wagging his beer in the air
he even bought me one

it was fantastic

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Day 7

we LOVE Heidelberg (and dave heidle)
it's one of the prettiest towns i have ever seen
last year we only spent an hour there and really wanted to return
so the world's most efficient tour manager
figured out a way for us to spend an afternoon there
on the way to my next show in Buchen
this time we got to tour the old castle that overlooks the town
Gavin had a great time running around in the grass on the castle grounds
we sat in a little café within its confines and had a very expensive and slightly gross lunch
the atmosphere was worth it though
then we took the funicular railway all the way to the top of the mountain (hill)
which took about 20-30 minutes
destination: FAIRY TALE PARK
it has to be capitalized because that’s the way Gavin says it
it was the coolest little theme park
with all these rides for very young children that cost about 50 cents each
Gavin road on a giant caterpillar around a little village
and then rode on some kind mythological witch creature
with me
weaving around some giant mushrooms
there was even a little bumper car arena
that you could just pay 50 for your car and drive around until
someone else got in the arena to bump you
it was awesome
then we came back down the mountain
and rushed to our favorite Heidelberg bakery
we bought these gigantic chocolate ball things
i am not sure what their real name is but
we call them gigantic chocolate ball things
they're made of white cake
filled with hazelnut marzipan crème
and then toasted and then dipped in chocolate
they're as big as your fist and we bought 4
the drive to Buchen was gorgeous
it was really in the middle of nowhere
we drove for miles and miles on tiny windy roads
through forest and farmland seeing occasional farms and tiny villages
when we arrived at Cafe Pfeiffer
we had a slightly awkward moment trying to figure out
the accommodation situation
proprietor Gregor
led us upstairs to meet his wife and kid above the club
then pointed to his kids bedroom as our potential room for the night
Jayme and i exchanged secret "no way in hell" glances
and suggested the noise downstairs might be
too much for G
Gregor was totally cool about it
we drove the 500 yards to the center of “town”
to look for a hotel
we figured it would be a piece of cake in such a small place
the first two hotels we found were completely booked
go figure
we were stunned
what are people doing out here?
we were on a hill in the middle of the forest
in the middle of NOWHERE
Jayme finally found a hotel that was located in the center of the center of town
which does not allow cars
they spoke no English at all
so we had no idea how much the room was
no big deal
it couldn't be much
so she just nodded and smiled and asked for “einz zimmer, bitte”
the room was small but was literally across the street
from a beautiful cathedral
that you could almost reach out and touch through the window

after we settled in we had our second electronic fiasco that night
our power converter had stopped working
this meant no way to charge our laptop
video camera or my camera batteries
it also meant a lot of bad hair days with no hairdryer
hello again my favorite old hat!!!

the show at Pfeiffer was fun but interesting
it was a hopping little bar
cooly decked out by Gregor
with all kinds of lights
and Hawaiian paraphernalia
it seemed to be the placed kids
from all over the area flocked to
playing pool
video games
hanging out on cafe tables in front
not really the place to attend an acoustic show
so although i had a loyal group
close to the front of the stage
trying to follow my ever chord
and word
at times it seemed like it was pretty difficult
for them to make out anything
over the noise from the rest of the bar
i had fun anyway
played two sets
made some new friends
(even met a guy who looked exactly like my friend
John Jay Myers - with a huge cranium!!)
Gregor played "it's ok to be sad" at least
3 times over the club sound system
so even though i wasn't planning on playing it
on this tour
i dusted it off for him
he sat intently at the very front
and rocked back and forth as i played it
it was a nice feeling seeing him enjoy it so much

Monday, September 24, 2007

the great schwerte revival

Day 6

we felt a lot better after a great night of sleep
in our super mod Aachen hotel
the Mercure
we were determined to have a good day
and we did...
we had plenty of time to walk around Aachen
it’s a small town that not many people have heard of
a university town right on the border of Belgium
with a huge old Cathedral in the town center
and tons of charm
the whether was perfect
sunny and 70
we had a nice lunch at an outdoor café and then window shopped
through the cobblestoned streets
Gavin was thrilled when we found a small children’s carnival
in the center next to the cathedral
he rode on a tiny little train all by himself
and pretended to call his imaginary friend, Jake
on his imaginary cell phone
he also rode on a merry-go-round
and then on a huge ferris wheel with mommy
of course mister avoid danger i tried to convince them to ride in the enclosed car
they didn't
but i was ok
don't be afraid
don't be afraid
don't be afraid
it was a beautiful afternoon

we then drove to another even smaller town called Schwerte
a suburb of Dortmund
we stayed in a hotel that was old but cute
the venue was a state of the art place in a huge old industrial building
it was converted into a restaurant in front
conference rooms in the middle and a beautiful concert hall in the back
i don’t know what it used to be but it was cavernous with barrel-vaulted ceilings
we ate a gourmet dinner for free with the opening act
Nic Boray and her band
they were all really nice
especially Jorge
who loaned G a bag of soccer balls to kick around
then Gavin and Jayme watched my first set
it was a bit daunting at first
i was plopped in the middle of this giant room on a massive stage all by myself
in front of over 100 people sitting at little tables drinking
and not making a sound
following Nic in her band too (who were really good)
it went great though
the audience seemed to really like my set
we sold a bunch of cds later
and we found that the audience was full of musicians
including one very famous German musician
whose name we never quite caught
after the gig i had a nice hang out with Nic and band
plus Matthius
the hilarious publicist
we sat in the posh/cavernous restuarant and had
some more pasta
talking until about 1am
it was a good end to a great day
and really good show

Saturday, September 22, 2007

bonn gone wrong

Day 5

we woke up this morning full of energy and positive attitudes
had a nice relaxing breakfast at the hotel
in it's big old dining room
then i dragged our luggage down 3 flights of stairs
and through the parking garage
before we set out to find an electronics store
to buy a new GPS system
i had been given written driving directions from mausefalle's owner
and my new musical sidekick
we made the first two turns
got on the highway
and headed to our exit only to discover it was closed for construction
we had no choice but to drive on
and quickly found ourselves heading out of Bonn into the german countryside
10 miles later we came to an exit and turned around
to try and come back to Bonn
we then called Gunther (the GBS system)
and he somehow managed to guide us
gingerly to the department store
after about 45 minutes of missing streets
making u-turns
and occasionally *#!#$%^
i then headed inside to procure the golden GPS
after finding a nice man who spoke english
to help me find the right system
(the tom tom 1 europe XL)
i then took my prized possession to the checkout counter
and whipped out our Amex
only to find a bewildered cashier
at the other end of my card
wagging her finger and speaking loudly in German
now this place is like the Best Buy of Germany
and they don’t take credit cards
special German EFC cards and cash only
a fascinating but sucky discovery...

so now poor Gunther has to guide us to a bank
to try and get some cold hard cash
30 minutes and several rounds of cusswords later
we arrive at the bank
no parking within miles
so jayme does some fancy parallel parking into a spot that is actually too small for our car leaving about ¼ of the car sticking out into the street
good enough, right?
i dash inside the bank for some quick cash
only to find they will not accept our ATM card
but they helpfully suggest going into the center of town and finding a Citibank
that “might” give us cash from our credit card
now things are beginning to get a bit "rough"
at this point we are extremely tired of our Bonn fiasco and decide we should head to Dusseldorf
my TV appearance is scheduled for 1:30
and even though it's only an hour away
we have a feeling even leaving at 11am was pushing it
jayme had been noodling with the GPS system that is built into our microwave car
and we decide to give it one more shot in taking us to Dusseldorf
we punch in the address and VOILA!
it gives us a route
we are thrilled...
so we start following the route and after 15 minutes become worried
as the roads are getting smaller instead of larger
and cows are appearing alongside or toyota microwave
10 minutes later we are literally in the middle of nowhere
when our british tour guide proudly announces
“you have reached your destination”
we are at the end of a dead-end street
in the middle of a farming community
we shake off our microwave GPS bungle
and somehow i navigate us back toward Bonn
after cruising down a hill where i swear a camera flash went off
as we sped past
(i bet i have a nice little surprise coming in the mail for me soon)
by this time Gavin is saying from the back seat,
”i don’t want to go back to Bonn! no Bonn! no Bonn!!”
we stop at a gas station to ask directions to Dusseldorf
no one speaks any english
i buy a map
that turns out to be 10 euros worthless
we have no choice but to call the Gunther Buskies telephone guidance system
once again
out of sheer desperation
now i'm sure we sound like complete idiots at this point
but let me share
a few things about driving in Germany we you...
their street signs can sometimes be 3 and a half feet long with names like Gerscmuddelbilderkindertanzen and then the street immediately following it is Germutterbilderkindertanzen
so when someone tells you to turn right on Gerscmuddelbilderkindertanzen
and you say, “Germutterbilderkindertanzen?” and they say, “No! Germutterbilderkindertanzen!!”
you turn right and of course it is the wrong road
and of course that road turns into a highway that is taking you to another country
also, sometimes there are no street signs at all
sometimes the names are worn off of the signs
they have multiple street signs on one corner
one street – three signs, three different names
i have NO idea what that is all about
if you are not in the city but are being guided on the autobahn you will often find many exits with similar names – its fun to try to decide between two of them at 120 miles an hour
then there is the double and triple exit phenomenon –
where you exit the autobahn only to find that your exit has an exit and so does that one
which one do you take?
we like to randomly choose the middle one – we feel it is lucky
another fun fact about the autobahn is that if you make a mistake
and you are headed in the wrong direction you can drive for 30 minutes before you reach an exit
there are only very specific exits that you can use as a u-turn
we believe this is a carefully guarded German secret
because we never actually found one

so to re-cap our fiasco…
we left our hotel at 9:30 am to make an hour long drive to Dusseldorf
we finally made it at 2pm
the ride to Dusseldorf
with our GBS phone guidance system
was pure spinal tap
i then missed our exit only 1 kilometer away from our destination
this is when my first big #$%*!!!!!!!
let loose
then we spun off on another 45 minute wild goose chase
trying to get back to that exit
poor gunther
i felt really bad for him
trying desperately to guide us
while we were clearly unraveling
and our cell phone started dying
this is when the real panic began to set in
i must admit i was beginning to come a bit un-glued
but just when the phone was about to die
a miraculous stroke of good fortune
i accidentally turned on to the street where i had originally missed our exit
spinal tap 8 nourallah 1
we were back on track now and finally got to the TV station
around 2
what should have taken an hour
took about 4
but the good news is we made our target
the TV show went really smoothly
it was a state of the art studio
with a really nice hostess
who interviewed me for about 10 minutes
then they played “the world is full of people” video
on a gigantic screen
then we chatted some more
in front of this cool backdrop they assembled
of various images from my website
i performed “don’t be afraid”
without any screw ups
it was all really positive
so although the journey to get there was beyond terrible
at least we’d accomplished object 1
now you might think this was the end of day 5
and this blog
you’re wrong…
we’re only about have way through our day
it’s only 2pm!!!
we still needed the GPS and a bank
so we decided to go by taxi
the safest way
the taxi took us to a Citibank
we got the cash (thank god)
and then he took us to a store where i run in to purchase the system
Gavin and Jayme waited outside watching the meter tick rapidly away
and smelling the unique and disturbing body odor of our cab driver
i finally returned after 3 trips to the top of the high rise trying to find floor 5
and the taxi driver took us back to the garage
where our car is parked
30 euro cab fare
thank you
now we’re mentally exhausted and starving
it’s 3:30
we inhale lunch in beleaguered silence and then head for Aachen
where I have a gig later that night
at least the new GPS works like a charm and we only get lost once
(damn second autobahn exit)
Jayme slyly booked a posh hotel from the TV station
because she knew we would need something to make us feel better
it was really nice
super mod
with great big floor to ceiling windows
and an absurdly euro cool bathroom
it was also right in the center of town
my show was at the Rastatte
another place i’d played last year
and actually my favorite show from 2006
it’s called a “culture room”
which hosts book readings, art showings
and occasionally
live music
the people who run it are the incredible hosts
they all live in the 4 story building the houses
the club
this year I got to meet its founder
he was away on business on my first visit
we had a really relaxing dinner upstairs
and great conversation
in one of the upstairs apartments
we ate some sort of amazing salmon/potato/spinach/cheese dish
with a salad so fresh i’m sure it was from their own garden
the best meal i’d had yet in germany
the show was fantastic

about 40 people

listening intently

3 encores

lots of cds sold

so although it was a long

and hectic day

in the end

we escaped unscathed

and the TV and gig

were both fabulous

Thursday, September 20, 2007

spinal tap 1 nourallah 0

Day 4

we got up early and left Gunther’s house
so that we could make it to Dusseldorf by 1:30
we thought we were supposed to be on a German television show
i was sad to leave Gunther’s
we'd had such a great time there
we arrived in Dusseldorf about 45 minutes early
parked the car and started walking around looking for the building
our GPS system had said we were “there”
but we thought we had seen the television station about a mile earlier
so we called our contact at the station nadine
who informed us that
A. we were not close to the station at all
B. we were almost an hour early and
C. the show was not until tomorrow
spinal tap 1
nourallahs 0
i said "so sorry to scare you nadine we will come back tomorrow..."
so we had lunch at mongo's and headed to Bonn
where i was playing that night
we made it to Bonn around four o’clock and stayed in the same hotel
we stayed in last time
the hotel is great on the outside
on a little residential street filled with Victorian houses
but a bit grotty on the inside
after one look at the matted and stained carpet
i pledged never to remove my shoes
we decided to have a little look around Bonn and chose Beethoven’s House
as our destination
since Gavin is such a huge fan
we managed to drive there and then walk through the little town square
to find it without incident
when we went inside we were greeted by a surly woman
who told us with much sneering and hand-gesturing
that we would have to leave our stroller
bag and cameras
ok, nice lady
settle down
when we asked her the price in broken German
she pointed to a sign that said 4 Euros
so jayme gave her 8 for the two of us
since children are free
she haughtily insisted jayme did not give her enough
jayme insisted that she knew how to count but finally gave her two more Euros
just to get her blood pressure back down
she then pointed in the general direction
of the gift shop and that was that
so we wandered around the first floor of this house
which appeared to be all gift shop and exit doors
for 5 minutes trying to find someone
other than Leona Von Helmsley
to show us where to start
we finally saw a tiny sign outside
across the courtyard on another house that said museum
when we got to the door
we were shoved aside by some rude Americans
(ha! rude Americans? never!)
who were shouting something about having to turn in their headsets
because the place was about to close
good thing to know – there are headsets
that we obviously were not offered
and the place was about to close!
we decided to just stay and walk through it anyway
rather than returning the next day
there was a ton of fascinating information on the walls - all in German
sadly, everything in the place was in German
except the huge signs on Beethoven’s pianos that said
we were followed nervously by a woman with a cell phone
who was either trying to hurry us along
or who was afraid we could not read the sign that said
just when we thought it was uncomfortable
we suddenly found ourselves surrounded by literally a hundred students
from, possibly, Turkey
were all perhaps 18 and had the manners that I had at 18 – none
we got in the most awkward traffic jam trying to scurry quickly downstairs
and out an exit to avoid the human wave that was hurling us from room to room
in a cloud of loud chatter and hormones
traffic on the stairs was definitely one direction only
and there was a stream of sweaty bodies coming up that i thought would never end
the cell phone woman was nervously plastering her phone to her ear
while trying in vain to keep the giant children from trampling her
it was more than annoying
it was almost stroke-inducing
just when we realized we were running out of air there was a break in the crowd
and we leapt down the stairs
now we were irritated and extremely thirsty
we walked aimlessly in search of water
through seedy looking shopping streets with stores that sold winning combinations of items like batteries and pantyhose
or children’s clothing from Korea and kitchen utensils
Beethoven would not have been proud
after 20 minutes we gave up and headed for the car
with the plan that we would stop at a gas station on the way back to the hotel
we finally managed to navigate back through the parking garage
that had broken elevators
(i assumed they were broken from the wires that were shooting out of the hole where the button was supposed to be)
and no actual walking space for humans – just enough room for cars driving 40 mph to scrape you with their side mirrors as they squealed around blind corners
when we got to the safety of our electric car that would not start
we discovered that our GPS system had DIED!!!
now "the terror" is our background musak
there we were in the middle of the city
with 20 minutes to get back to the hotel so i could leave for soundcheck
and we had no GPS system and only a map the size of a postage stamp
to steer us back
oh, and Gavin was begging us for food
no food or water in our electric microwave car
nice parenting on our be-half
we tried to coax our Japanese electric back-up GPS system into working
but after 15 minutes of talking nicely to her in German
and prodding her buttons angrily with my index finger
we gave up
we then decided to try to vector our way out with jayme's tiny little Barbie map
within 5 minutes we were hopelessly lost and parked illegally in an alley
desperately, we called Gunther
who had to guide us back via cell phone while he looked at a map of Bonn on his computer
we now call him the GBS system
we made it back eventually and had to hurry to club mausefalle
after a sound check that could barely be heard over the growling of our stomachs
we were told where our dinner would be served
some of the clubs give us free dinner at a nearby restaurant along with hotel accommodations
anyway, i only halfway listened to what the bar owner told me about the restaurant
because i assumed it would be the same place we had eaten at last year
after going inside and being yelled at by the raving lunatic behind the counter
who made questionable remarks about Schnitzel
i realized i might have made a mistake and that there was an apparent feud between the bar owner and the enraged restaurateur
we eventually made it to the correct restaurant
which was a pub with no English on the menu
we tried in vain for 30 minutes to both decipher our food options
“hey, i think this one might say cheese and i am pretty sure that word right there means pickle” and to get someone to serve us
after partially translating the menu we ordered
and left
the first show of the tour was somewhat unremarkable
a small group gathered in the mousetrap's basement
george the owner is a sweetheart
and i worked him into my set by reading his direction's to find a GPS in town
it had kind of been a bad day…
hopefully our only one

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

microwave on wheels

Day 3

9am we went to the Tapete office with Gunther
so that he could later take us to get our rental car
we were able to have lunch with Dirk D.
another Tapete exec and friend of ours
Lars, his drummer, and the man responsible for turning Tapete on to my music
came along too
Lars ended up telling me the whole story of how he purchased
the Nourallah Brothers cd while on vacation in Italy
then he brought it over to Dirk's for a year
raving about it
when Dirk finally listened to it
he loved it
and that's when Tapete contacted me for the first time
after lunch at a Pakistani restaurant and coffee in a café we went to get our rental car
in the now pouring rain
we thought we were getting the same car we had last time
some kind of small Mercedes
but instead we were given a Japanese electric car
this was fine except for the fact that we couldn’t figure out how
to turn it on
you don’t turn the key
you just push a big button
it feels like you are about to drive a large microwave
instead of a car
there is no engine noise at all
so the only thing that lets you know the car is running
is if it moves when you put it in gear
so we sat in the parking lot for 20 minutes
laughing our butts off
as we pushed the button over and over again
trying to get the damn thing to start
we managed to turn on all the interior lights several times
and turn them all off again
finally, we sucked it up and asked the rental car guy to help us
the only problem was that he was not sure how to turn it on either
he finally got it started and we really never understood how
he seemed to be doing the same thing we were
pushing the button over and over
and randomly turning the lights on and off
it still takes us 5-10 minutes of pushing the stupid button
and trying to shift into gear to get the thing to move
the car is not as powerful as the Mercedes
was but it is a tiny bit larger
and is definitely more amusing
it has a GPS system in it that we can't get to work
the instructions are in German
of course
we can get it to turn on and show us pretty pictures
but show us where to go?
not a chance
(thank god we have the GPS system that Tapete loaned us last year)
we completely relied on it to keep us from driving into the wrong country
we only did that once!
the car’s miniature TV screen also has some very fascinating charts
that show some kind of fuel to electricity usage ratio
that we don’t understand
but at least they are nice to look at
i did manage to control the temperature and the windshield wipers
with it after only 10 minutes
we think it gets satellite radio
but we can’t figure out how to use that either
the radio does come on all by itself occasionally
out of nowhere
which can be a bit startling when you're going 170 kilometers an hour
on the autobahn
after getting the car we returned to the offices
for final instructions and then headed into downtown Hamburg
where we took a boat tour
Hamburg has an inner-city lake that has canals shooting off of it in all directions
we were told that there were English guided tours
but we accidentally took the wrong tour
we were supposed to take the two hour tour
which would take us through the canals
but got instead on the one hour “drive 4 miles an hour around this big lake” tour
it was relaxing though and Gavin got a huge kick out of seeing
a “real live swan” in action
we really need to get him out more
after the lake we ran across the street to H&M
and jayme bought a coat to replace the one she neglected to bring
we had dinner at an Italian restaurant near the store
that had the ugliest piece of art in it that i have ever seen
the painting was of a nude woman trying desperately to look sexy
as half of her body turned into a big stiletto shoe
yes, a shoe...

Monday, September 17, 2007

casa buskies

our first 3 days were spent at Casa Buskies
Gunther and Andrea’s house
before we officially started the tour
Gunther has such a sweet family
Andrea works in PR and studied in San Angelo Texas
the kids
Helena (6) and Jan Merten (4) are adorable
Gavin couldn’t pronounce Jan Merten
calling him “boy” then “young man” and finally settling on “young mattin
in a kind of New Jersey accent
the first day the kids played in the backyard
jumping on the trampoline and playing soccer
Jan Merten is a 4 year old soccer prodigy
he is freakishly good
a right hook that could take your head off
i even witnessed a fearless header or two

Gunther took us to the harbor in an attempt to keep us occupied and awake
it was Gavin’s very first train ride
he was giddy
at the harbor we toured an old sailing ship built in the 1860’s
anchored but it still had enough movement to keep me clinging to the railing
then we walked a mile or so under the harbor in a long tunnel
because Gavin LOVES tunnels
the boys played tag and laughed and screamed the entire time
the rollicking continued on the train ride home
they were like two drunken soccer hooligans
it was funny to see two kids who couldn’t understand a word of each other’s languages
somehow communicating with each other
they were inseparable
pushing and pulling on each other
giggling all the time
and i’m sure only slightly annoying to the other stoic train passengers

we returned to the house with only 5 hours left to stay awake
i nodded off in the middle of a few conversations
about health care
guns in texas
but managed to make it to 10:30
because our conversations were that stimulating
then i went to bed for 11 hours

Day 2:
our good friend and tapete records booking agent superstar
basti (Sebastian) tim came over to casa buskies
to spend the day with us
basti has a mound of tall curly locks
which earned him the “breezy haired” moniker
from G on euro tour #1
he is a happy go lucky
lovable fellow
with a great smile and instantly charming demeanor
basti could be a superstar in texas
you all would love him
our first stop was a local “biological” farm
we spent an hour picking apples
in a serene orchard
Gunther instigated a contest to see who could pick the highest apples
as those are supposed to be the sweetest
Gavin tried his best by sitting on the shoulders of Basti
then Jayme and finally
myself to try and top team Buskies
but i think Helena might have won in the end
with some sort of stunt gymnastics move
we weighed and paid for our several kilos of apples at the farmhouse
then went to a café upstairs that had a large balcony
overlooking miles of green rolling hills and farms
yep, farms in the middle of Germany’s second largest city
the view was incredible
the sun was shining
65 degrees
it was idyllic
we ate fresh apple cake and drank apple juice and coffee
such a relaxing and beautiful experience
the kids went down to feed the rabbits for a while and then went “exploring” through some dense bushes
actually, Jan went running through the bushes and Gavin followed
he had no idea what was going on because the narrative was all in German
somehow Jan managed to get stabbed by thorns while Gavin remained “thorn-free”.
i believe Gavin has inherited his father’s “avoid danger” motto

after the apple farm we went to a beach along the Elbe
we all sat at a restaurant eating pizza and watching huge cargo ships pass
the water was too cold for swimming but that didn’t keep loads of German children from stripping naked and playing in the sand
little white German butts everywhere
on our way back to the car from the beach we had to hike up a tall green hill which was perfect for rolling down
Gunther’s kids went first
Gavin watched several times before developing his own technique and giving it a try
his technique involved holding the sides of his head with his hands and then trying to push off sideways with his feet
it was hilarious
he would get a yard or two and then would somehow end up rolling along the hill instead of down
the kids then started running from the top of the hill
squealing like girls all the way down
it was a beautiful moment

Saturday, September 08, 2007


we left dallas at 8am
missing carter's funeral
i listened to his unfinished album
on the plane
and read his notes on how to finish it
and cried
i thought of all my friends saying goodbye to him
as we flew over the atlantic
then i wrote some words about taking another human life
for the man who murdered him
and the others who think it was his god given right
as a TEXAS citizen

we arrived in hamburg at 7:30am
the plan was to try to stay awake until 10pm
in order to beat the jetlag
it's been really hard
nodding in and out during conversations
all day long
but i'm in the home stretch now
it's past 8pm now
the kids are in bed at the buskies household
G passed out after 3 minutes on the pillow
i finally feel like i don't need to tape my eyelids
to my eyebrows
in order to keep them open
tomorrow we see basti
i can't wait

it was so hard to miss carter's funeral
but i'm so glad we're here
i had to get away

2 hours after we found out about carter's death
we found out we're going to have another child

Monday, September 03, 2007


we're all just barely here

my friend carter albrecht is gone
just like that
murdered this morning
i'm never gonna see him again
he walked out of my studio wednesday night
like so many other times before
"see you later man - have fun in europe"
as we exchanged nonchalant goodbyes
never in my wildest dreams
would i have thought that was the last time
i would ever see him
i am in complete and total disbelief
i am heartbroken

i've known carter for over 10 years
he played on each one of my records
he was always there when i called
to come over and scatter brilliance throughout any song he touched
he played on countless recordings that i've made here at pleasantry lane
he was a cornerstone of our music community
we were working on his first solo album
it's one of the best things i've ever been invovled with
i had to pinch myself every time he played a new song
they were all so good

music wasn't something carter did

it was in his soul

i'm sick to my stomach that he wasn't able to finish his record
that the rest of the world will never know of his brilliance
he was one of the most talented musicians i've ever been around
a beautiful kind person
consumed by music
it poured out of every part of his being
he was an amazing guitarist
james dean cool with the passion of joe strummer
and funny too
he was loved by so many
he was truly one of a kind
his senseless death
is a devasting loss for the dallas music community
my heart goes out to his parents and family
and to all who loved him

it will never be the same here without him

good bye, carter

i love you