Sunday, May 20, 2007


I think that maybe, not long ago, I was standing by a canal in Amsterdam trying to stay warm and dry in the pissing rain.

Ally and I took the remainder of our Euro change (totally expendable shrapnel once you exit the EU as far as most people are concerned) to Febo. A proprietor of local Dutch delicacies.

This of course is not true. Febo is a trditional automat-style restaurant (?) that caters to the drunk, stoned and gererally incapable of human interaction for whatever reason. There is a hipper variation of the same theme on St. Marks in NY, but there is truly no experience like the original. It is an impossible task to deduce the mystery filling of any of the orange and yellow fried lumps festering just beyond each little door. Truthfully even after biting into one of those little things it's not so clear.

So we did the most logical thing in the situation. We carried back armloads of oddly shaped and colored food-like items to the bus to see who would eat what and when. It was like a sort of culinary russian roulette.

Then it was off to London for the last show on that side of the ocean. It of course involved a ferry crossing around dawn, and a vague argument or two with a near-sleeping English customs official. As always, it's a miserable thought that a return to Britain is a return to civilization, but at least they have jaffa cakes.

It was a long day in Camden at a dirty, little club followed by the insult to injury of a steady rain during load-out.

It's a small world when you have a truly bizarre job, I think. This being the case I always manage to run into someone I know. After a show, checking into a London hotel at 2am it's a pretty safe bet that I know someone in the hotel bar. Yep. Good fun as always. Then it was a brisk, 12 hour flight to Los Angeles.

I read the last 3/4s of Rick Moody's Ice Storm, which is one of the best books that I've read in ages. It's all wintery cold, set in the Northeast, and revolving around traditional family values. This couldn't have been farther from my reality as I sat on a flight to Los Angeles in the early summer. I now have a pile of Moody's books on a table next to my bed. It's a momentary obsession.

Circus of Liquor. Interpol tour, 2004. Things certainly have changed these days. We are all older, wiser and I think less grumpy. Where we used to run wild we are looking for shops that sell our brand of vitamins or finding a good bookstore or watching a movie. It's a welcome change.

I opted out of the KROQ-sponsored Marriott in Irvine. While I cherish the solitude of an industrial park on the weekend (and relish the proximity to Taco Bell's corporate headquarters) I decided to stay with my pals Ally and Lilly in Silverlake. I stand by my decision. When we arrived Lilly had roasted an entire chicken (and most of the house unfortunatly). We settled in for the night. The following day Ally spent most of the afternoon constructing pedal boards for Manu Chao. [I just realized that most of this paragraph makes little or no sense at all to the uninitiated. So, KROQ is the biggest modern rock radio station in the country. It is awful. We were in town for the local station-sponsored radio festival where bands whore thamselves out for radio airplay. Usually this is done in a parking lot behind a 7-11, but given the nature of LA and corporate radio, this little party takes place at Irvine meadows where something like 20,000 people turn up. Oh, and it's called the 'weenie roast.' Classy. Also, Manu Chao is a Spanish singer who happens to be quite successful these days, which will come into play momentarily. A pedal board is a board for pedals] So Ally is setting up these cool pedal boards that fit all of the madness into one square piece of wood, and then fit nicely into a road case.

The band is selling a lot of records and concert tickets, so it would stand to reason that they, like most musicians, spend some money on their equipment, given the opportunity. Not so much in this case. When playing for 25 thousand people at Coachella, these guys turned up with some stuff in a backpack.

With some cable tied together with, well I think you could safely call that rope.

Thanks to Ally, they have gone from rollerblades, to the Cadillac of pedal boards. It is a wonderful thing.