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Friday, June 26, 2009

Whiskey Daredevils Tour Diary — Day 7: Solothurn, Switzerland

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2009 at 9:00 AM


The Whiskey Daredevils just returned from a road trip in Europe. Frontman Greg Miller fills us in on what happened.

We wake up in our purely functional Etap hotel room. After last night’s stay, I now know what it would be like to live on a submarine with cable TV. I pull back the curtains to reveal more clouds and light rain for our drive to Switzerland.

We have plenty of time to kill today with the short drive, so a discussion ensues to decide where to go for the afternoon. I push for Strasburg, as it is sure to be picturesque and provide ample sightseeing opportunities. This is met with great resistance, as it is 40 minutes the wrong way. A compromise is reached and we decide to check out Mulhaven France.

Mulhaven manages to capture all the negative aspects of Toledo, Kutztown, and Dessau in one depressing package. Unattractive block buildings provide shelter to their equally unattractive inhabitants. Discount shops abound for young men in a weird tight shave mullet haircuts that Gary aptly nicknames “the skullet”. We drive around for 25 minutes looking for something of interest and find nothing worth even slowing the van down. The high point of our visit comes when we stop so Gary can take a leak in a porta john.

The town of Solothurn, Switzerland stands in stark contrast. The Aare River gently rolls through the clean 16th Century architecture. Cobblestone roads are lined with tasteful (but frighteningly expensive) shops. Good food and drink is everywhere. Ken says, “It’s like stepping into a Xmas train set in a department store display.”

We roll on over to the club and meet our primary contact whose name I can’t pronounce. I decide to call her “Lindsey” since her name is something like Lutko or Lektopf. She is blonde with a quick smile and twisted sense of humor much like ours. She shows us to our dressing rooms, internet access, private bathroom accommodations, and then sets Leo up with a small bag of the muskiest pot I have ever smelled. This is “smell it across the room” musky. Leo has been jonesing since losing the hash Bux had given him in Belgium, and is VERY ready to “party”.

After a quick drive to a nice hostel in the old section of town, we head back to the club for dinner. We meet the three guys from the Teenage Kings who will be our openers. These guys have all decided to get into snuff with semi disastrous results. All of their faces are streaked with it, and the drummer coughs and sputters every time he takes a snort. Since clubs are becoming smokeless in October, these guys have decided to get a jump on the New Frontier of smokeless club nights. Snuff is becoming part of their lifestyle right now! Do they enjoy it? I don’t think so. Do I admire their determination? I guess so.

We are playing the small room of the Kofmehl, with a German hip hop tour playing the big dance hall that is attached. In the larger dressing room, various German guys in baggy jeans and non ironic Ali G goggles play games on lap tops and walk around completely ignoring us (and we them). Their show starts 2 hours before ours, and all kinds of Swiss mooks that look like low rent Vanilla Ice clones are starting to fill the room. When the show starts, the now packed room goes crazy while the different MC teams shout unintelligible slogans against generic backbeats. Most songs translate to a variation of “I’m going to pull my dick out/We’re going to fuck fuck fuck!!!”. You can imagine the highbrow crowd that this attracts…

I walk back and forth between the Teenage Kings “Queers meets Oblivions” sounds and the almost non-existent musical ability of whoever the fuck was driving the meatheads crazy in the next room. By the time we start, the hip hop show is over, and some of the meathead crowd starts to drift over. People are drunk. Really drunk. Not so much “New Year’s Eve” drunk, but more like “Tomorrow A Comet Will Hit The Earth And We Will All Be Dead So Who Cares” drunk. A group of about ten meathead guys are up front, and by this time they are little more than drunken apes. While we play, they mosh around, stumble, drop their beers, and scare every female towards the back of the room. I am almost certain I will wind up having to hit one or more of these guys with my mic stand just to keep some kind of order. Even reflecting now, I’m not sure if they liked us or were applauding to mock us. They seem to be having a shitfaced good time, but they also are all dressed in super cheesy Euro takes on American hip hop culture, so I have my doubts.

I never really relax, as I keep waiting for trouble to start. Gary, on the other hand, is having a great show. Four girls and four guys that applaud his every move insulate him from the Mooks. He’s playing Woodstock over there, and I’m in Altamont about six feet to his right. Gary confidently crushes on “Greasy Box” and we whip out “Whole Lotta Rosie” again as an encore to big applause. They want more, but we’re done. There’s much more that can go wrong as opposed to what can go right at this point.

The scene has descended even further into chaos. Broken glass, spilled beer, a wall of cigarette smoke, and stumbling people are still packed into the club as a DJ begins to spin obscure garage rock. Gary must be lit up because I see him dancing (sorta) with some random girl. Leo is in his glory, smoking weed and reveling in the “party”. All I want to do is get the hell out of here before some Bad Craziness breaks out.

Ken, Christoph and I get the load out together. It takes forever because it is complete chaos backstage. In areas requiring a laminate only an hour before, drunken guys lumber through demanding to know if we are going to play one more song. “Yeah…in a minute.” I say while rolling the enormous bass amp through the back door exit to the van. Satisfied by the verbal response, he heads back out to the dance floor to report to his friends we would soon be returning to the now empty stage.

Civilization has now completely collapsed inside. Young women grab men by the shirtfront and demand cigarettes. Hollow eyed men stomp through the wet floors and carnage. A glass flies over the heads of the semi dancing throng and breaks against the wall. A young man, maybe 18 years old, throws up all over the walkway of the bathroom. His friends cheer him on while others walk by without a glance. We round everyone up while The Squirrel takes everything left in the post show spread. Leo decides to stay and “party” with the DJ.

The goal is to get to sleep before Leo and the DJ return to our hostel room. There are three beds set high up in a loft, and three single beds on the floor. I take the loft with Ken and Christoph and pray I can be in a deep sleep soon. Leo’s snoring has reached heroic levels, and I am becoming increasingly exhausted by sheer lack of sleep. I fall asleep by 330 am.

It’s about 530 am when Leo crashes into the room. He is snoring by 532 am. This isn’t a peaceful sawing of wood, but a violent struggle for life by a creature barely human. Noises rarely heard on this planet wheez and gasp and explode from his open mouth. I have to try and jump down from the loft to see if I can stop this madness. His arm hangs uselessly above his head, and I wack it again and again on the headboard with increasing violence to try and wake him up. “Lee! Leo! Leo! Lee!” Nothing. I try to put my shoulder into him to roll him on his side, and that adjusts the snoring from “ungodly” to “horrible”. Gary, only a couple feet away, curses and rolls over, also unable to sleep.

I climb back up the loft, toss and turn, and maybe sneak in another 45 minutes of sleep. Three hours a night is not going to work… Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

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