So, as you may know, I was in Europe last week doing some shows. It was the first time I had been touring out there in over 7 years so I was pretty excited about getting back out there. However, what I was not excited about was the brutal jet lag and lack of sleep I’d be getting but, hey, those type of things are all part of this job and it’s better dealing with that once every few months than working in an office.
So, this here is going to be my rehash of the entire trip. Instead of mapping out the entire thing like some mind numbing slide show, I’m just gonna randomly talk about thinks I noticed, as well as a few things that happened. This will not be brief so , if you’re not a fan of words, just stop reading right here.
I’m a huge proponent of bullet points so, let’s roll with that…
Just to run it down:
First I went to Berlin. Then to Budapest, Lithuania, Moscow and St, Petersburg. I had two days in berlin and the rest of the places I was in for half a day each.
I like to preface all that I’m about to write by explaining that I’m admittedly a dumb american. I’m a fish out of water when i go down south so you can imagine me in a place where people are talking a different language. That said, I’ve also traveled more than most people. I’ve been to many , many cites all over the world. So, keep both of those things in mind. I know stuff and I’m always respectful of other places when I’m there but I’m also fairly ignorant and enjoy to make fun of peoples differences.
1)European babies/children are mad european
Before I even boarded the the plane, I saw all these little schnitzel eating mother fuckers running around. It’s funny cause the difference is so subtle yet so clear. While an american baby might be wearing some little t-shirt and sneaker combo, the euro baby will be wearing some swiss miss overalls and a tiny soccer jersey. I wanna say they were wearing wooded shoes but I’d be lying. But let’s just say they might has well have been. Ever heard a german baby speak? It’s fucking weird.
2)Food that has no business being in Germany
While in Berlin I was pretty much stranded. I mean, I could walk around but I didn’t know where the fuck I was or how to get around so I pretty much stayed within a close distance to my hotel. When it came time to eat, it was a hard choice. Eating in foreign countries is weird cause you can’t read the menu’s. So, what you end up doing is looking for places that have pictures on the walls so you can at least make sure you’re not gonna accidentally order dog dick soup in a jizz based creme fresh. The thing about european cuisine (low end cuisine) is that they like what they like. Some shit that is totally normal there may be something your mouth is simply not ready for. I mean, shit, have you seen their potato chips? They got flavors like “Tripe and chocolate”. So, Basically, you end up ordering what seems most familiar simply to be safe. This way of thinking bought me to eating a burrito in germany. How the fuck mexican food found it’s way to germany is beyond me. I’m pretty sure there isn’t a large mexican population ANYWHERE in europe, let alone Berlin. But, i said fuck it and ate there. You know what? It wasn’t terrible. It was better than taco bell but worse than Chipotle.
As for the sushi, I just avoided it. Something about german sushi just doesn’t sit right with me.
3)There is mad graffiti in Europe
It’s crazy how much there is. It’s everywhere and it seems like it never gets taken down. I asked a local about it and they told me that it’s simply too much work to take it all down so they just leave it be. This results in many parts of european cites looking like the background on the video game Double Dragon.
4)No one Jaywalks
Maybe it’s a new york thing but this bugged me out. People literally stood and waited for the lights to change to cross the streets, regardless of car activity. To me, that’s some next level shit. I followed suit though cause the last thing I need to do is get arrested for crossing the street in Germany.
5)Non-lesbian shaved head women everywhere
This is just specific to Germany but I saw tons of bald headed hoes. Not brute dykes or even punk rock nazi looking girls. Just normal , feminine ladies with shaved heads. It wasn’t a good look. I’ve said this before about things like shaved heads on ladies but if you look great with a shaved head, you’ll always look better with hair. Even if you can pull it off doesn’t make it better, it just means you can pull it off. But , hey, that’s the style out there so who am I to say anything.
6)The art of the backhanded compliment
i don’t know what it is about europeans but they are masters of the back handed compliment. Perhaps it’s cause of the language differences and they’re working with limited words but on more than one occasion I came across a dude who would tell me how much he liked my albums EXCEPT that one album he thinks was terrible. While I appreciate the honesty, I also didn’t ask for his opinion. On the other hand, in america, when a dude does that, he annoying presents it as him “being real” as opposed to him being ” a dipshit”.
7) I’m a dipshit
When I’m in a foreign country where everyone is speaking broken english to me, I have this thing where I find myself speaking broken english back to them. Like I’ll say “you come to show tonight, yes?”. It makes no fucking sense but I had to stop myself from doing it repeatedly over the course of the trip.
A similar thing that came up was when a stranger would just start talking to me in the native language and I’d just look at them and say “english”. Looking back, this is kinda rude. I found myself greeting everyone with a “Hello” just to put it out there that “hey, we got an ignorant american over here who hasn’t bothered even learning the most basic aspects of your native language”. I gotta say though, the “hello” worked pretty well.
8)The shit show
So, it’s the third day of our tour and we’re playing in Vilnius, Lithuania. A place I’ve never been to (I had also never heard of it prior to seeing the announced show dates). As we get to sound check, I open my computer. A computer, I might add , that is 100% how I do my live shows. I turn it on and the screen goes white…and stays white. Eventually, a little folder pops up in the middle of the screen with a “?” inside of is. I had never seen this before. I asked around the venue and eventually had a dude on his computer looking into ways to fix this. Nothing was working. The computer was dead. It was coming to a point where a solution had to be invented cause there was no way I was performing my live set that night. My tour buddy, DJ Cam, figured my only choice would be to do a dj set. Now, he was correct. Aside from canceling the next three shows and pissing off a lot of people while trapped in a land far, far away from home, a dj set was my only option. He was using Serato so all I had to do was load in all my albums into his computer and pick what songs to play. but here’s the thing, I’m not a DJ. I’ve “DJ’d” before but it didn’t involved mixing. It was just playing songs. So, I had to make do and “blend” songs the best I could. I did the show and it went as well as I could hope. Luckily , the crowd attending was more there just to party and didn’t really give a shit what I played.
The next day, we flew into Russia. I was told they had an apple store there and had faint hopes of maybe fixing this situation. Well, long story short, it didn’t happen and I had to finish the rest of the dates with a half baked DJ set. To the people who came, my apologies but it was that or nothing. To be honest, the show went over insanely well in Moscow. Like people were cheering and clapping whenever I did anything. I wish every show was like that. The St. Petersburg show was not received quite as well cause, apparently, the Andy Milonokis looking promoter was mad that I had promoted this as a “Live set”. he was also a cock sucker so i don’t really feel bad about it. The fans were great though.
I have since gotten home and it turned out what happened was the wire connecting my hard drive to my computer got fucked up. I went to Tek-Serve and got it fixed in five minutes (shout out to my boy paolo, who has saved my life more than once with the computers). Still, I was a panicky mess for a good 48 hours in a country where I could not have felt more isolated from the world as i know it. No fun.
Not a lot of smiling going on in the streets of Russia. The people were nice but walking around the streets of Moscow will make you think smiling is a capitol offense. When I asked russians about this they just kinda shrugged and said “Yeah, it’s like that out here.”
10)Fear in Russia
I can’t front, i was a little shook in Russia. Not cause it was dangerous but cause I felt completely helpless there. Aside from not having a phone and also not having a working computer , it’s one of those places that i could see myself just vanishing in. Like, had I gotten separated from the group i was traveling with, you wouldn’t ever hear from me again. It reminded me of the time I was in a small upstate NY town where there was no phone service and everything closed at 8 pm. You break your leg at 8:15 in the forrest, you’re pretty much a dead man. In Russia, while it’s has millions of people everywhere, there’s a distinct feeling of “I don’t know if I belong here”. i’m speaking about just walking around. Like i said, the people were all very nice and it wasn’t a scary place at all (at least, not where I was). But between the language barrier and the fact they use a different alphabet, it was intimidating.
11) And the award for hottest girls goes too…
Lithuania?!?!? Yup. holy shit.
You know how people will often say that some of the hottest women in the world come from eastern europe? It’s for a reason. Not just Lithuania. Russia , in general, was no slouch either. I noticed that they tend to be taller and leaner than you’re typical american hot girl. More Model like. I’m not even really a huge fan of that look but their faces were undeniable. Some were blonde , some looked half asian, some looked like James Bond girlfriends. I didn’t even get to Prague but I’ve been told that’s the jewel of eastern europe. So, yeah, don’t sleep on Baltic broads.
12)Getting hit on in broken english
Even with a language barrier, groupies are universal. I had a few funny situations pop over over the week but , being the good boyfriend that I am, I kept it in my pants. Getting hit on by girls at shows in europe is very different then when it happens in the states. In the states, it’s very overt and almost kinda cheesy. It’s rushed flirting with a lot of dependency on “what are you up to after the show?”. But, if nothing else, it’s very succinct. In europe , however, it’s a whole different ball game. The trouble with speaking english leads the girls to say amazing shit like “I have the strong feelings about you” and they often mis-use the perfect word that would make someone think “Um, i think this girl is deeply in love with me” when , in reality, she just doesn’t know the word for “hook up”. It’s similar to the way europeans give backhanded compliments. It’s all due to the language barrier and a limited vocabulary. Either way, getting hit on in any language is fun but I got a kick out of hearing a russian girl trying to figure out a way to say she was down to get down.
13)Sleep no more/old people are the worst
My last show was in St. Petersburg and I had a 6 am flight that morning after the show. We got back to the hotel around 2 am and I had a cab coming to pick me up to take me to the airport at 3:45 am. So, sleeping wasn’t an option. I had been up since 8 that morning but there really was no choice. I had a 15 hour travel day ahead of me due to taking connecting flights from St, Petersburg to Frankfurt, Germany all the was back to NYC. It was one of those situations where I couldn’t even calculate how much time it would take cause of all the different timezones and the lay over. All I knew was I was leaving at 6 am and arriving back in NY at 11:30 am. Sounds like nothing right? WRONG.
The St. Petersburg airport was a mess. There were like 4 check points and it appeared that all the people on my flight to Frankfurt were a tourist group of american senior citizens. Not just any senior citizens, these were a bunch of back woods southern idiots who were wearing american flag hats and all had on name tags. Little known fact about old people: They don’t know how to do ANYTHING. You should have seen them at the automated check in. It might as well have been the fucking Monolith from “2001: A space odyssey). Every part of boarding a plane was like it just got invented right there. “wait, we get in a line? I don’t understand.”
Think “Lord of Flies” but much slower and with far less violence.
Old people do not give a fuck. I was in line, red eyed and in a general haze. These motherfuckers were just cutting in front of me like I didn’t exist. Old people are nothing if not entitled, especially when out of the united states. I realize you’re supposed to respect your elders but these people had crossed the line of being old into simply being burlap sacks of shit that consume food and air and get their powers from pictures of grand children.
The funniest thing to me about it is that these sheltered fossils , who probably happily live in small towns where Papa johns pizza is considered exotic cuisine, decide to take trip to a place so far out of their comfort zone that they can’t possibly enjoy it. Like how long must they have spent walking around Moscow looking for a place to get some chicken friend steak?
I sat behind them , listening to them complain about their grandkids and their plans for when they get home. It was depressing. Just being around them I realized that there’s a definitive cut off age for when I need to be alive till. And it’s before I become one of those pieces of shit.
Anyway, because I’m a moron, I don’t sleep well on planes and I ended up being awake for about 50 straight hours. I dunno if you’ve deprived yourself of that much sleep without involving meth or cocaine but it’s Preeeeeeety awesome. It’s thursday now and I’m finally starting to feel like a human again. What can i say. I love my job!
I would like to add that, despite the complaining here, I did have a good time. The shows all went well , especially considering what happened to my computer, and it’s always cool to see new places. Hopefully I’ll be making it out the Europe more often…and my computer won’t break. A man can dream.