August 23rd, 2015 by Grace Ambrose
San Jose’s Permanent Ruin recently went on tour in Europe. Drummer Rich Gutierez wrote an extensive tour diary, edited by Leslie Patron, a portion of which can be read in MRR 388, available here. Check out the band’s interview in MRR 366 — back issues available in our webstore!
Tuesday, April 21: SFO to Bologna, Italy
I can’t tell if it’s Friday or Thursday. We left on Tuesday and travelled forward through time, and somewhere in the space from Calgary, Alberta to Glasgow, Scotland floating above the clouds we lost Wednesday. We left SFO at 6pm and almost immediately got in a fight. Fred flipped off some lady who honked at us and her husband barreled out of the airport with the bird out yelling in some bullshit ass British accent. I think he was forcing the accent to seem tougher. Fred yelled at him screaming “it’s none of your concern!” with the biggest, widest shit eating grin. The guy didn’t know what to do. I mean come on dude! You aren’t going to fight us so just go inside! We yelled at him to go away and he just kind of stood hard and unsure, then sauntered off. Who wants to pay for an ass kicking over a middle finger really?
Anyway the flight was long! 13 hours and a straight shot from SFO to Istanbul, Turkey. I have a slight head cold and have been dripping buckets of snot nonstop. There was a graveyard of tissue paper surrounding my seat; the lady next to me across the row was pretty horrified. What an unfavorable situation to be in on a plane. I watched 4 movies and listened to some sad music and passed out on this donut pillow that was cutting off my circulation. We landed in Istanbul and had a 3 hour layover, Merm was texting her new crush or real love or future husband or whatever and we all sat at around talking about bands we’d like to start. Mariam tried to do a headstand against a wall, but missed and fell, it was some straight up Jackass shit, Merm Knoxville freaking out the airport crowd.
We got on our flight and popped over to Milan, Italy at 12 midnight their time and headed down to gather our luggage and meet with FEBO who was swooping us and driving us the 3 hours to Bologna. When we got to the luggage we could not find the guitars and after some wandering and staring and confused looks and even more confusing language-locked convos we found out FEBO was lost! This is like what you always think about, but doesn’t happen, lost and found says they might show up in time before our first show, but they don’t know, what the fuck?
We eventually met with FEBO outside and his partner LAURA. FEBO is a sweet tall man with long hair dressed in all black. He’s got on a few rings and reminds me of the bad guy from The Crow; he smoked about a whole pack of cigarettes from the moment we met till when we finally got to Bologna where we crashed in the AGIPUNK basement HQ. It is huge and sorta confusing because it’s like an apartment complex and MILA who runs AGIPUNK gets this basketball-court-sized basement to store equipment and records and silkscreen gear!
We got our records and shirts and looked over our back line and grabbed the wifi key and chatted with FEBO about what the game plan was for the guitars. He organized us a guitar and bass to borrow and was trying to track down our tour itinerary because at this point we still don’t have addresses as to where we are going! We are pretty lax to a fault apparently. We do need to know where to go, but in our defense the homey who booked our tour has been having some poor correspondence. I think he is a very busy dude, and we are too polite to bug people sometimes.
Anyway Febo headed to bed, he told us not to shit in the toilet and taught us how to say “go fuck yourself” in Italian just in case.
Thursday, April 23: Bologna, Italy
We woke up in the basement around 1:30pm. Febo came in and announced we should get up or else we will fuck up our sleep cycle. We popped up and headed upstairs to poo and pee and wash our asses in the BIDET. Febo made us all some espresso and we chatted about rent prices: a problem for all us turds worldwide. We tried the airport again and still no guitars! We are just kinda like “I dunno.” Hopefully the less we care the better it’ll turn out?
Febo told us where pizza was and we headed out for a walk. We stared at some buildings ate some gelato and some olives and cheese and sat at a coffee shop, talking shit and drinking espresso, felt like some real chill laid back motherfuckers.
I feel like a real goon when speaking to anyone because the moment they realize I don’t speak Italian they are kinda just like “aww fuck” haha. It could be just me being hyper aware or self-conscious though. I bought some Vegan gelato and was too embarrassed to go get more, so I convinced Merm to go back and get me another cone, she ratted me out to the two girls working, but it was v worth it!
We got back to the basement and hung out until later in the night when our hosts had to go to the Acid Witch gig where they were working the record store inside the venue. We got there and didn’t want to spend any extra cash so we just checked out the spot and dipped out. We walked around center city and grabbed some pizza slices. I’m sure the pizza we got was probably like low-grade street fare, but man it was so good. I felt like a punk Anthony Bourdain walking down the old city streets of Italy eating street fare watching as the Italian night life pops off around me.
Friday, April 24: Bologna, Italy
We woke super late again. We were up all night talking and are still not used to the time difference. We did finally get ahold of someone at the airport and discovered our guitars never left SFO with us! Such bullshit, but they are sending them and we will pick them up in Madrid in a day. We had to be ready quick in the morning so Febo could take us to his favorite pizza place, it was fucked up good! He ordered for me because mine had to be vegan and I couldn’t explain what I wanted in Italian. After we chilled and tested out our equipment and packed up the van, and we talked more shit in their kitchen where Laura made everyone drink these orange liqueur spritzers. That is all the rage here; Fred took a serious liking to the spritzers immediately. It’s like an all-day mimosa, I think. Laura got a little buzzed and started telling me about her friend who was coming to hang with us and then looked me in the eyes and said “NO”! I don’t know what she meant but I guess she doesn’t want me to talk to her friend? She kept telling me her friend was married, I got really confused and embarrassed, but everyone else loved it. Everyone got a little buzzed before we left and we walked out as Laura stared at me above her friend’s head mouthing the words “hands off” while she pulled an imaginary knife across her throat, hahahahaha.
We got to the gig. It was at a cool squat called Atlantid. We helped set up and sat around and then they brought out some massive pots of food! I was starving so this was tight. Me and Fred were like, if they continue to feed us like this we will be eating healthier than we do at home! We ate and the other band and people ate on the steps. Me and Merm starting trying yoga poses and the whole gig exploded! Everyone was out front doing headstands and trying not to fall while holding all these poses. It was pretty awesome, people were laughing and cheering a bunch.
The show itself was such a great first show. We played last, so the band had to pace themselves with all the free drinks. It is almost expected that the headlining touring band back lines the gig which is how it should be I think, well at least the back lining part. The touring band back lining is weird because what if the other bands bust the shit up and we gotta head to the next city with a broken floor tom and take the hit money wise? Also it’s not our equipment so I feel weird being like “sure”! but it worked out well. The first bands played and were some heavy jammy stuff, it wasn’t my cup o tea, but the second of the two were near my cup of tea and were tight as hell, they were called MO’E pronounced moi, they are supposed to come to The Bay in September, I’m tryna party with them. The funniest thing was that the first band took themselves real serious and the power would go out every 2-3 songs because the power was janky as fuck at this place. Haha, I loved it.
I asked someone at the show who had toured the US before what they thought about it because it’s all house shows and no one really cares for the most part. He said “IT’S FUCKING WEIRD, BUT I LIKE SO MUCH.” It made me feel good because I’ve thought for years of booking international bands that it be a bummer. I always tried to overcompensate with chillaquiles or tacos and nice spot to sleep.
Any who, we played and we pummeled through 15 songs if I do say so myself! We borrowed guitars because we still don’t have ours, but it was tight! People were doing some ignorant ass push moshing like it was 98 Ozzfest and I was feeling it, it felt like home. The crowd chanted to play more because we played 20 minutes shorter than every other band so we gave them a taste of two more and there was a fight. I felt like I was back in San Jose. We had a great time. After the set some boy from Sweden bought Merm a beer and asked, (I shit you not): “how long have you been lifting”? and then someone said “your vocals sound like Melt Banana mixed with Infest.” So funny, much better than what we got once: “hardcore with Nausea chick vocals,” hahaha!
We packed and headed out for more pizza. I ate a falafel burger.
Saturday, April 25: Bologna, Italy and Montecchio, Italy
We finally are leaving Bologna. We hugged Febo and took off. We got to two blocks before we needed his help because we couldn’t map out the address in our GPS, Febo to the rescue again! He came out smiling as we apologized and he said “I’m happy to see you.” WHAT A FUCKING SWEETHEART.
On the road we stopped at the first rest stop and I milled through about 50 snack bars looking for anything without dairy. It’s fun learning all the different ways to say milk in anything but English, most places HIGHLIGHT milk and allergens in the ingredients which is helpful. There was a coffee shop, but these shops don’t really give to-go cups, you drink your espresso in lil ceramic cups and head back out. It’s amazing to me how moderated their waste is! There is guilt ingrained in me living in the states because of the amazing amount of waste that is normalized in our culture and if you choose to be somewhat sustainable you are alienated like some freaky whole foods dork, which is real haha, but it’s true that I just feel pressure living/being alive, it’s a fucked up feeling but I don’t feel that here.
There is a quiet calm surrounding the seeming sustainability here, because it’s not something you have to think about, it’s just how it is here. I like that.
We have to drive ourselves till Germany where we pick up our driver Didi. After securing our van for tour we realized only Jason can drive stick shift, so we had to scramble around to find a driver last minute. I wish we all knew how to drive stick then we could’ve driven ourselves the whole tour, but we got lucky to get a driver 5 days before we left the states, it’s probably for the best, we barely know what we are doing anyway, like I said we are lax to a fault. We do work well under panic.
We got our stride after stopping at a gasoline station to stock up on snacks. The snack selection was weird, there was like real ass salami and cheese and wide assortment of chocolates it is To. Die. For. I wish I could eat all of it, but whatever. We skipped out and tried to avoid all interaction with so many annoying d-bags with bad haircuts and v-necks at this fuel station. We got to the gig around 6:15 and I hopped out quick to immediately get a vegan gelato. Most of these gelato spots have a “soia” option. We talked to the promoter, this young thrash boy with killer side burns named Enrico and he told us when to be back for set up and food! Which was at like 7:30. He was a chill ass dude, like so calm.
Also, I absolutely love it how everyone says “JIG” instead of “GIG.” So fucking dope!
We got back after eating more gelato and the other band playing that night Rage From The Deep came up and started chatting our ears off, they were funny and had so much energy and looked as though they hadn’t been crushed by time’s heavy hand yet. They had Pantera shirts on and tight ass pants, I could see their bulges fairly easily. We all set up the equipment because we were all sharing and then the place just started relentlessly bringing out plates of bruschetta with olives and oil and little pizzas made with this flat bread which I guess is very popular in this region. It looked like something similar to a Lunchables pizza but tasted like heaven, the boys in the other band asked if it was true that in America pizza is made with ketchup! I was grinding down all these foods and then realized it wasn’t the main course! Then they brought out big plates of pasta!!! WHAT THE FUCK! I ate so much food it was amazing!
Everyone wobbled around for a bit and then all these metal head ozzfest hessians started arriving and girls with Dark Throne t shirts, metal culture is real as fuck out here, I feel like I’m in Oakland going to like some butt punk pirate Juggalo “Jig” but I actually appreciate these people and they are nice and so pumped on anything fast!
The show finally started at 11pm. A major gripe for me is that the shows start so late and the bands play FOREVER!!!!! We finally played at 12:45 and sped through our set in 15 minutes with a one song encore because people were mosh chanting which was tight. After we played, we got all these weird close talking hugs from metal guys, which I would usually be pissed off about if anyone touches me, but it seems so much sweeter, like it’s much more normalized and less creepy to be affectionate, people kiss and hug and touch a lot. It’s funny the little things people do like that and I connect it to a larger picture about living spaces and the co-op culture in Europe as opposed to culture in the states, which is another plague on our existence, the constant isolating force to be “independent.” It really separates us from simple things, like greetings. There are like 20 diff ways to greet and say goodbye here and everyone loves to greet and say goodbye.
Anyway enough with the rant. Next we chilled and headed to Enrico’s after hugging a million people. Also, every man winked and smiled after I hugged them, I found that so endearing. Before we left some guy stumbled over to me and Merm, he put his arms around us both bringing us in close like we were old pals about to snap a class photo or some shit and he said “you drum good” then turned to Merm and said “you sing great, you have it all: the boobs and the balls.” I paused to see Merm’s reaction and she fucking lost it laughing and then so did I because, well what the fuck haha. He got really embarrassed and apologized because he was so drunk and didn’t know how to say what he meant, but I think we both picked up what he was puttin’ down.
We left and got to Enrico’s house where he had two bedrooms full of beds made for each of us! I was in awe. Such a chill dude and he hooked us up with the comfiest sleeping quarters! I went to the bathroom and next to the toilet was another BIDET.
Now up until now I have never used a bidet so I will explain my first experience with one.
I pooped. Then after I was not sure if you’re supposed to wipe and then bidet or just dive right into the butt waterfall, so I wiped and then turned the knobs all the way up on the seat. I always thought the water shot straight up into your donut hole, but this one just sadly flowed out with a light amount of water pressure, slightly pointed up but mostly to the side. I really hope that I didn’t get a bunk one because that would make this more embarrassing. I lightly hovered above then eventually rested my thighs on the porcelain and had to pat the water against my b-hole and I didn’t think it was cleaning so I started to like rub my butt hole and then eventually just put my finger in my butt because I decided I’m already here I might as well rinse out and clean shop, but I mean this can’t be right because there is no way people get poop hand when using a bidet, right!? It just splashes and you’re done? This seemed too involved. I rubbed some soap in it and turned the water off. I wiped again and just kinda stared at it with my pants off. For the record I also took my shirt off because I didn’t know how wild these things got so, in conclusion I just basically wiped my butt with my hand completely naked. I washed my hands thoroughly and decided I would never use a bidet again. I’m sorry.
I ate a chocolate bar and fell asleep on my baller-ass cot.
Sunday. April 26: Montecchio, Italy
We left Enrico’s just in time to meet his lovely grandmother who offered us caffe and biscuits, but we had to cut out. She was so sweet and reminded me of my grandma, I thought for sure she would be bummed seeing a group of punk trash rats, but she had thee biggest smile and was SO SO PROUD of her grandson. He had to translate for us that we couldn’t stay, and Merm jumped to the front and told him to tell her that he’s a sweet young man. When he said it the little old lady squeezed him like a pillow, I thought she was going to pick him up over her head she was so excited! There were gunshots everywhere because I guess it’s hunting season and Montecchio is out in the cuts, twas very spooky.
We got lost trying to find a gas station mid-drive and almost ran out of fuel. It was scary as fuck, the roads have like zero quick turnarounds, I was so afraid, also upset because we missed what looked like could have been a very sick rest stop. You know I’m thirsty for that WIFI baby.
We showed up to the JIG at 2 pm as we were told with THREE exclamation points so we figured we NEEDED to be there that early. At first it seemed cool, it was in a squat underneath some apartments, Illaria (she said it’s like Hillary) who I met upon arrival told me it used to be a furniture store, it looked like a massive white stucco cave sprinkled with bad graffiti and your usual bright street art stuff, like cops and repeated snakey/wormy creatures and the occasional ACAB (sorry I’m a hater at heart). They gave us food which was great, some lentils and potatoes and bread and some seitan. I ate my food with almost four huge breath strokes and sat down full as fuck. It went downhill from there on out. I tried my best to just have a positive outlook, but fuuuuck let me tell you it was real rough. It’s safe to say it’s not a good idea to have bands show up at 2 when they play at 10:30 (maybe). There was a scribbled set order on the door which was confusing to everyone playing or maybe just us haha, it was like 12-13 bands. We just played the waiting game and they all played for like 45 minutes each, it was kind of like being in a really crappy bar. The whole place was filled with cigarette smoke, like so thick that if you took a hard breath out you’d see your path clear the fog for a second and drunk people would just appear in the space between, they were everywhere just splashing beers around and creating the perfect scenario for my worst nightmare (hater, I know, just being honest).
We got to talk to a few cool folks throughout the night, but it’s real hard when you are so tired and confused. We talked about the punk culture here, mostly to this kid Mike who is half Chinese and Filipino and most of his band The Seeker is Filipino. He told us about how rampant racism is in Italy and Europe explaining his experiences as a person of color (the show was still mostly white here) and was just explaining to me to be careful because I am the darkest one, but I already knew, I’ve always known, but yea I understand the threats might be different here, I’ve been getting hard stares everywhere we’ve gone, but its honestly mostly because I look dirty and have my head up my ass. I’m just trying to put on the blinders and enjoy myself. He also just talked a lot about how punk is more focused on a community effort and some acts of selflessness, which is so rare where we are from, but also where we are you HAVE to depend on yourself and it’s hard to go out on a ledge because you will be alienated. The punk scene in the states seems to be more focused on riffs than culture, but I have to say I am a fan of the riff, but also hate COOL. I really appreciated that.
Merm and the boys bought a pizza and I was sad because I couldn’t have any. I ate a protein bar and whined about it.
We received our guitars from one of Febo’s friends who picked them up from the airport and brought them to us! We finally played at like 11 at night! They stuck us at the end and I honestly could not tell if this was normal at all, but if fucking sucked because a lot of people had left. I would have never put touring bands that far at the end of a long ass show! It’s pretty rude. I think the local big draws should take that spot, but also I know nothing about how things work here and really we are nobodies, definitely not famous, just your normal butt hurt american rock band. As I was bring my snare up several people came up to me and said “are you playing now”? And when I said yes they let out a big “thank god!” Which showed me that 1- maybe this wasn’t normal and we got hosed and 2- up until now I had no idea if anyone knew who we were or wanted to see us, so that made me feel good.
It was a fun set, but everything went wrong with the amps cutting out and Jason’s bass stopped working and my drums were falling apart. We played fast and ended prematurely and were already pretty frustrated and tired so we didn’t care much, plus there was another band after us who were also on tour and we wanted to make sure people saw them and wanted to make a point of promoting the short fast and loud set.
Before we played this band from Scotland called Clocked Out came up to us because there was confusion on when we played, because they were told they were playing first, the promoter who we both talked to seemed to have a very hands off approach to the gig, he seemed disappointed and maybe overwhelmed, I felt a little bad. The show seemed to be a bunch mooshed together into one delicious pile of italian caca. It was so frustrating. They said he scolded them for not showing up at 2pm, but they didn’t show mostly because there was an address change for the show that they were unaware of. I told them they dodged a bullet with that move anyway. Our friend who hooked us up with the JIG told us that someone named Roberto would help us with a place to stay and then he left. Booking shows is stressful, I know the feeling.
Anyway, Clocked Out were awesome and were just saying the same shit we were saying all day about every band playing forever. We were in our sad confused zone with everything, I wish we met them sooner, we could have been hanging all day! Totally goofy ass Scottish dudes, they played and were raging thrash core with nonstop and an unrelenting intensity. All that waiting must’ve made these pasty freaks amped as hell. The drummer asked the crowd for weed in like 20 different ways, I think he may be addicted to marijuana.
I saw some interesting Italian mosh moves during the day though. One was the shoe mic, where they took off a shoe and pretended to sing into it put the shoe in the crowd like a sing along! Another was the rowboat where a group would sit on the ground crotch to butt and pretended to row a boat together. They were also obsessed with picking people up (I later learned that this was true in most of Europe) which was funny to watch, but also sort of frightening because the ground was drenched with beer and possibly shit and piss combo meal, because the only restroom was in the show space and it had started overflowing at 4pm. I expected way more casualties, death by Italian CACA cocktail.
After all that we were unsure where we were staying, we didn’t wanna stay at the squat and I lost Roberto, but luckily a friend from San Francisco, Hanna, had wandered to the jig wasted and pumped! She offered us some space on the floor of her airbnb in exchange for our rock music and a ride. She was telling us she barely dodged being attacked on the street and ran into a store where she saw some punks and she said she was in danger and said she was trying to find the Permanent Ruin show and they said that’s where they were going and she got an Italian punk escort! I’m happy she was safe. I am surprised she convinced her airbnb hosts to let us all stay without an extra charge, some people have wild drunk survival skills! I can barely order a smoothie correctly sober!
We hung outside with Clocked Out, swapped some stories and contacts, took a photo, hugged and gave our fond farewells.
We got to her place and after some confusing parking situations and Hanna insisting on us eating fries. I crashed on the couch, wifi in hand till my eyes were too heavy.
Monday, April 27: Milano, Italy to Munchen, Germany
We left the pad at around 730 a.m. I was awoken by a trifecta of odd sounds: Hanna’s whispering, Fred’s alarm and Mariam’s fart that could be best described as catastrophic. We all peed and drove Hanna to a bus station. We tried to find a grocery store, but just got angry driving around packed-ass Milano where driving lanes don’t exist. Hearing our GPS shout orders while it rained and people scooting by and fiats weaving around us was making us dizzy and our empty stomachs were making us all little moody turds. We eventually just parked and found a caffe to sip some espresso before we all started killing each other. I was luckily able to grab a vegan croissant: score one for me.
It’s a 6 hour trek to Munich where we gotta pick up Didi (our driver) and where our show is so we wanted to rush out, no time for tourist junk :/ We didn’t realize we had to cross through Switzerland. I guess you need a Vignette sticker to cross into there which we didn’t have, also passing through Switzerland they will search your van and tax you on all merchandise! We scrambled and panicked about what to do. Reroute? Stop and text? Call someone? Question risking it? After doing all of those things we decided to go through and play dumb and maybe have to buy a Vignette. We got to the border with sweaty palms. A patrol officer flagged us in and every Canadian border debacle played out in my mind, I was ready to sit in a room and be questioned about a million things I didn’t know and feel 2 feet tall. She said something which none of us understood, to which we responded “uhhhhh englisse Americano.” Her eyes rolled a little and she said “bye” and that was the extent of our border trouble, what a joke! Luck of the annoying american I guess? Hooray we are more trouble than it’s worth! Munich-bound baby!
I suggest this drive to anyone cutting through to Germany. It is breathtakingly beautiful! Huge mountains, greeny greens, old castle like structures weathered and standing on one leg. The fog sits low and heavy at certain points and goats trample around like you are in a Ricola commercial. We popped on some sad music and imagined we were living for real. Waterfalls just peek through mountain sides on every windy turn and the views of small towns from miles up is unmatched by anything I’ve seen before.
München, Germany is so cool. Well, I guess the place we played KAFE KULT is. I haven’t explored yet. The venue is in this weird place that looks like it was at one time like army barracks or sleeping quarters and each separate building was repurposed to have its own business or art space. We showed up and ROBERT greeted us and showed us around, while Jason and Merm left to go pick up DIDI from the bus station. We got fed a big ass bowl of chili and bread that was already prepared in this communal kitchen space in the center of the venue. I ate several bowls and drank a few weird sodas, they are always trying to keep you properly bevved up in Europe, whether you drink beer or not they always want you drinking, it’s tight. He showed us where we were sleeping, in an awesome room with 5 queen beds butted up against each other, it looked like one of those trampoline places. He showed us the “backstage” that was filled top to bottom with bands’ graffiti over the last 15 or so years! Some of my faves I saw were DS-13, ETA, Holier Than Thou, Blank Stare, Ohuzaru, and soooo many more, we made it baby!
They said someone was coming back in the morning to cook us breakfast which is just mind-blowing to me. I told them that I honestly did not know how to respond to such hospitality and people being so nice, I felt as though I had to state that because I felt really awkward being treated so well. They said “oh good” and it made them laugh, but Germans laugh after everything they say so I couldn’t tell if I was actually funny to them, but I wasn’t trying to be funny here, I was dead serious, I felt weird hahaha! Fred and I chilled hard in the backstage area drinking soda and drawing in the guest book.
Jason and Merm hadn’t come back for a long time and Fred’s phone was dead so we started joking that they were trying to contact him while they were sitting on the road somewhere with a flat, and then at that very moment Robert walked in and said they called him and they were stuck behind a demonstration! FREEEEAKKKYYY! I guess there has been an uprising in the fascist community here and Munich is somewhat conservative compared to other places in Germany so it’s even worse. Conservative groups claiming to not be fascists but accepting nazis to be a part of their groups have been demonstrating every Monday for a while and ANTIFA and others come out to counter their demonstrations. Cops come out every time, so it’s apparently very sketchy at the moment here or sketchy-esque. Jason and Mariam were stuck behind this mess searching for Didi.
Me and Fred stayed in the back room for a while longer as a few people piled in and then everyone showed and we set up. The crowd was a bit sparse, but I mean it’s a Monday and no one is famous here so I wasn’t expecting much, I thought it was actually a good group. Robert said we should come on a weekend and it would be better, which most promoters say, but I had a blast, the P.A. was feeding back a ton and Jason’s bass head was acting up, but I thought it was cool. A “ton” of people came up after and were hanging, telling us where to go the next day and just chatting us up, that was really worth it, feeling at home at a gig that isn’t in your hometown is huge! I might have also felt better because I drank more caffeine today then I had the whole trip. I met Didi finally and he was cool as fuck, we just sat around all night talking and I drank my first Club-Mate and they were giving me a German bev tour, I drank sooo many sodas it was fucked up. Didi made sure I tasted this malted non-alcoholic thing, I had to clarify I was straight edge because I thought they were fucking with me, but he assured me. It was SUCH A HEAVY DRINK it taste like I was drinking a loaf of bread and tasted like beer, I felt like one of the boys tossin back a couple of beers post gig (lol). I cheers’d Merm several times.
We decided tomorrow’s plan and I took a shower in this weird closet-like shower room. The hot water lasted about 3 minutes so I just cleaned the essentials. Then we headed off to our sleeping chambers.
I wish we had a place like this back home or that it was even a possibility to have a space such as this.
Tuesday April 28th: Munich, Germany to Offenberg, Germany
We took a trip to the Dachau concentration camp and spent a few hours walking through the memorial. It was so much heavier than I was expecting. I feel like I can be receptive a lot, but am also able to separate myself sometimes. I don’t want to delve too far into it, because it was a lot.
Being in that space and recognizing how many band names are taken from the holocaust really grossed me out. The disconnect seems too real and it’s disappointing. So many people play with nazi/fascist imagery and it makes NO GODDAMN SENSE!
The space was real and feeling the rocks crush under my feet and birds chirp and the beautiful scenery was such a mind fuck to know that we as humans could truly take away that beauty from people. The space itself would have been lost if it weren’t for survivors pushing to have it rebuilt as a memorial and preserve the atrocities. It wasn’t even a memorial until 1965! That is so recent! After the fall of the NSP the people had no money, no family, no housing, absolutely nothing but their own mortality which was still being questioned. There was a rush to forget so they basically turned the camps into transitional housing for people who were already in them and just pretended that they were not work/death camps previously.
The gate in front of Dachau had the words “Work will set you free” emblazoned along the top, but the entire gate was stolen in 2014! The people who stole it were never found. Positioning that idea with the prior day’s fascist demonstrations in the same town and some people saying that fascist thought has been picking up in Germany makes me so uneasy, because fascist demonstrations is how it began. It makes me imagine the gate is probably just hanging in some Fascist group’s clubhouse as a trophy.
It’s hard to be into punk currently when it’s such a trend to be some a-political ding dong and just the push of sketchy behavior and fetishizing nazi/fascist imagery. If you have a Death in June shirt on and I ask you if you are white power don’t fucking look at me like I’m the idiot! To you these problems seem worlds away, but they could become closer every day.
After we left, the van was quiet for about 30 minutes until we exploded into some lengthy heavy processing conversations, about a MILLION different things were brought up. We had a 3 hour drive to Offenberg where Didi lives so we let loose. I think one of my favorite parts of tours are the heavy conversations sparked by passing trees and the existential/introspective ideas that come from being cramped in a tin can barreling down unfamiliar roads. I absorb the most information in these moments and also I get to hash out my own constant internal dialogue, but by letting it leak out and bouncing these thoughts off others laid about haphazardly in this tiny space with me. These moments are the realest and are something “magic” or whatever hippyesque feeling that I’ve noticed and is one of the biggest pay offs for me because it brings you closer to people you know and maybe barely know. It is the gluing of ourselves to one another and it is humanizing. It is also something that can’t be weighed, the amounts of emotion involved in touring, but it’s all a building block, stacking you into something you weren’t before.
Didi took us up these mountains and into a forest where we decided we were going to die, we tried to think of a title for our horror movie that we were filming in our heads, spouting out scenes that would happen and deciding who would die first and how. We hopped out of the van and were greeted by a gargantuan castle-like structure on top of this mountain overlooking towns that were now spots of white in the distance disguised under fog and towering trees. It was decayed and basically in ruins. Didi told us it was built in the second half of the 14th century! We all laughed because this thing was so fucking old and it really dates our American existence. Fred said he thought it was wild that his house was built 100 years ago! Haha! California has built things only like 400 years ago and we already can’t take care of them and here’s this fucking bag of bones castle, which according to Didi was once a monastery for monks and destroyed by a lightning strike and subsequent fire. This thing was built and destroyed before we even threw together our first bullshit ass mud-rock fire pit. We walked down to a waterfall, but not before Merm and I snapped some handstand photos in front of the stones. During our stroll down Jason stopped me abruptly to show me a really big pile of shit he saw. We ultimately decided that the scary movie we were in was about a ghost monk at the monastery that left piles of shit along the path to spook away the visitors, our movie quickly turned into the worst movie ever, I think Didi thinks we huff glue now.
We drove to Didi’s and grabbed some food to cook from the grocery store. He picked me up some soda from this venue he helps run which is like 6 doors from his house! It was like walking through some freaky Parisian horror movie where it’s a long underground venue lined with bricks and markings like it was once used as a dungeon and at the end of the corridors there was a bar and little stage. He said it’s been here for 40 YEARS! Anyway, the important thing is the soda he got me, SPEZI, it was COLA, orange concentrate and lemonade and it was a game changer. After we ate, we plopped down in Didi’s room and him and Merm talked about German punk and Didi played us a million records and gave us the lowdown on classic regional German punk bands and some stories about their members, it was a cool punk history lesson. It makes punk seem like something actually real and that people can be historians about stuff that shaped them.
We all talked shit and after a couple rounds of chuckles we passed out.
Wednesday April 29: Offenberg, Germany to Leipzig, Germany
We drove up to a castle on a hillside to eat breakfast. It was very beautiful. I started to have that undeserving feeling creep up finally during my second sandwich while leaned up against the bricks and a crow stared at me.
I left the states during one of the worst mental health months I’ve had in a while. I was surprised I was even able to make it to tour, I felt mentally and physically weak, exhausted beyond a controllable realm. I sat with death a few times in that month which has happened before, but I was close to harming myself in a very mortal way. I’m happy I was able to make it out this time. Being out and participating in international hardcore is the only thing that’s ever really made me feel real or worth anything, it has been the most constant driving force in my life since I first decided I might want to die. I’m trying my best to feel worthy of all this hospitality that everyone is giving, but it’s hard for me. I am giving myself to the thought of resting my hatred for myself. It helps that I get to be around people I really care about and that they are in it with me, it is settling. My mom used to quote Susan Sarandon from that movie Bull Durham (I know haha) when I was young I didn’t understand and it fits so much more now that I’m older and constantly reviewing my impact in every situation and feeling shameful for it.
“The world is made for people who aren’t cursed with self-awareness.”
I slept most of the 6 hour trip from Offenberg to Leipzig. We showed up 2 hours late because of traffic, but people were just barely showing up. The area seemed pretty uniform to everywhere else we’ve played: small streets which might have been condemned at some point but were now flats on top and show space on the bottom floor, peppered ANTIFA and ACAB tags up and down the block and every door. There was a hanging banner on the building kitty corner to the show space for the squat, which I later found out was fake, because they were filming a TV show and they put up the banner to pretend the neighborhood was “one of those spots” I guess Leipzig is going to be the new Berlin. It was once a town no one cared for and now it’s an increasingly gentrified area soon to be filled with cafes and over idealistic people slummin it till it’s no longer cool or cheap. People were talking about it.
We met our host Basti, a very German boy who looked and seemed 25 but was 33. He was very intense, but in a way I liked, you could tell he loves the things he liked, they were things that he worshipped. He came from a v small village. He told me about how he grew up in a town with no punks just 3 metal heads and how he chose punk over all the fascist bullshit he could have fallen into. He was well versed in American punk and talked about how he would just order from catalogues until he was old enough to leave and how he would never go back there.
We got fed some delicious potato salad (Basti’s grandma’s secret recipe) and these falafel like bean patties and they made sure we had every freaky soda they had to offer like Rhubarb and some local mate drink. I love when they say vegan because they say “WEGAN”—it’s cute.
The show piled in and was quickly packed and Drux played first, it was their first gig and they were straight ahead American style hardcore, like Youngblood records I’d say.
We set up and tested Jason’s bass head because it has been acting wonky. When it turned on it shut off all the power in the venue, which it has been doing, so we had to borrow a head and hopefully we can get it fixed soon. We played the best set of the tour so far IMO, we got a couple people to crawl along the edge of humans, which is a big thing I think, it’s hard to get folks to move around in some places especially for a band they don’t know and on a weekday. I saw some promising head nods and we sold the most merch so far.
We headed directly above the venue up to Basti’s room after where he showed us to our super comfortable sleeping quarters (his bedroom) and we laid about a little. In the meantime Didi and Merm were having a tiff with German police. Apparently I tapped the car behind the van earlier and the lights started flashing which I just took as normal and it would go of eventually. I guess the owner came down and called the police and they brought Didi out and made him show all the info and in Germany when those lights flash you are supposed to call someone? So they called it a hit and run! She was claiming we broke part of her bumper and we absolutely did not. They tried to intimidate Didi but he held his ground and they took down our info and maybe we will get a ticket one day. Basti was going on about how he wanted to go down stairs and pop her tires or let the air out hahaha he wrote her license plate down so he could do it later if she moved her car. He is very intense haha. He said it would be hard for him to let it go, I thought it was so funny!
We sat in Basti’s room listening to his records and talking about punk for a long time and also talked about personal feelings about everything in-between and then we all slowly faded away. Right before bed we were all reading things about the rioting in Baltimore that started when we left after a young black man was killed in police custody. It’s hard to just get blips of info every night before bed when we get wifi. It’s an eerie feeling being around so many places that are staunchly anti fascist / anti racist and to hear about all this tragic racial inequality at home, makes my heart hurt.
Thursday April 30: Berlin, Germany
We chowed on some bread and spread (a classic German breakfast) and took Jason’s bass amp apart at the breakfast table, we just basically stared at it gutted until we realized we don’t know anything and walked to a music store where they said they couldn’t look at it. I bought a bass drum head and stole some random crap. I asked Didi what happens when you get caught stealing, he said you get cited, so I plan on stealing a lot because if I get caught I live in California and I ain’t payin shiiittt!
We googled a music store in Berlin to take the head too and we jet out, stopping at a HUGE German war monument on the way out that was pretty Romanesque, the statues looked like roman gods, larger than life I’d say.
We drove more through beautiful landscapes while listening to Thin Lizzy.
We got into Berlin the day before May Day, which is huge here. The day of usually yields gigantic events everywhere and the day before has become traditionally a day with rioting, so the roads were littered with piggies. There were sprinter vans packed tightly with cops and several just driving around, within 5 minutes of pulling in we got pulled over by cops. I didn’t know because I heard no sirens, but they pulled in front of us and flagged us down. DIDI slammed it into park and said “I hate Berlin.” The cops said a bunch of stern bullshit and ticketed us for not having some kind of sticker in the window that allows you to drive in Berlin, I think it’s equated to a smog check sticker in the states..They told us to leave Berlin or else we would get ticketed every time we got pulled over. We ultimately decided to just park the van at the venue and walk around after we dropped off Jason’s bass amp (we ultimately found out shit was fucking fucked) it was a sketchy situation because the cops were everywhere. It was gross. I later learned that the reason for pre May Day rioting is because the city now tries to make May Day some big family event so that people don’t smash or riot as much, it seems to work and so many tourist walk around all dumb fuck happy that they can grub a curry würst and soak in the culture. As if.
We got to the venue which was this gigantic building in property that spanned a whole city block. The building towered over me and it was dizzying looking up at its enormity and at all the painting and murals and signs plastered on every corner of its front. After we passed the gates at the entrance which had a sign stating NO PHOTOS we walked past a whole shanty town built by its occupants. The building itself was half squat / half rented, it’s really confusing.
We keep getting varying information about every “squat” and how they started. One person said that sometimes a person will squat a space and then just have their rich parent buy the property, one person told us that this place WAS a squat and that it was once a shopping center in the 1800’s which once again was mind blowing to me because 1- I believe it and 2- how do you even fathom building everything they have here, 2 venues, a full communal kitchen, a theater, a climbing wall, bike kitchen, housing and everything else you could think of and 3- how do you keep a building that old structurally sound while building all this bullshit on top of it and without proper funding? I guess the way most squats in Germany came to fruition (to my limited knowledge) is that when the GDP collapsed there were entire neighborhoods of empty structures without owners, not even city owned, just lonely islands in the center of oceans of concrete, so people could just occupy them and claim squatters’ rights because no one actually owned it and even if a company would buy them, if they were occupied prior to the sale than they could not kick them out. I feel very confused and naive, I really want to unwrinkle this confusion, but I don’t think I will. I also heard that squat culture is almost gone due to gentrification, because the city government has cracked down the last couple years with brute strength and in violent ways to which most people have responded by just saying they will take a deal and just pay a low amount of money, which is what the posers I suppose do because they just want to live in this “cool” space without the trouble. It’s gross, reminds me of people moving into poor neighborhoods in the states and sacrificing their comforts to live in spaces they are not accustomed to, these places are others reality. They ‘slum it’ just so they can live in a popular space and they ultimately change the entire climate of said place.
Anyway this place KÖPI was very famous and utterly fascinating regardless of its current squat or no squat stance. We entered and met Robert who runs Refused records and who was booking the Jig for us. He’s a sweet dude who is straightedge and very proud. The label is mostly straight edge and intentional in the sense that most the bands are edge and politically aware. I really appreciate his existence in that sense as I am straight edge and am very proud of it, but I don’t usually feel connected to most straight edge people or scenes. They are usually so devoid of substance (pun not intended) or especially just not wanting to be anything else other than moshing, riffs, and clothes. We immediately had some long convos about edge bands we both liked and bands he’s released, which I found out that I am actually on a record that he released! He released the seven inch for this band No Mistake that I played in for a bit. He had a huge distro with him that really pumped me up! I talked about how growing up every show would have labels or distros set up with a ton of records and I discovered so many bands this way, it was a cool way to interact at shows other than being on your phones, just sifting through records and chatting about certain bands and the person selling the records would suggest bands to me and there was no apprehension about not being aware or less of a cool demeanor just a couple of excited people chatting. It also was a lot easier to sell and trade records that way if you ran a label, now it seems basically non-existent.
I met Jenni, Robert’s partner who also runs a label Emancy Punx which is also intentional in the sense that it’s releases are largely all womyn. Her distro was awesome and packed full of Bay bands and I commented on each one that had a friend in it. She said “you all have a great scene” and I kinda giggled because maybe it seems that way from far away, but also it is great that in the Bay it would be weirder to see an all male bill. Most bands have womyn in them, which isn’t huge, but compared to other scenes it’s gigantic. How cool it must be to be partners that both have awesome labels and distros! I was reading some of the books Robert had and I realized that hardcore is not just held together by “glorified comic book Nerds” which I read once before, because it’s one thing to collect records and be a prick, but these people remind me that sometimes it’s more about collecting histories. I mean they could be punk historians through all the books and DVDs and records and zines they have themselves and sell. It’s just a really exciting thing! People really care about this stuff.
We set up our equipment in the basement that looked like it was once used as a Stoney dungeon, the walls were leaking from the rain 15 feet above us and the place was already fogging up with cigarette smoke but I was on my 4th club-mate cola, full of the wegan pizzas we were fed and floating on cloud nine about Robert and Jenni. I was feeling good as fuck.
The first band was a group of three queer women jammin some simple slow doomy stuff, they were from Finland but now lived in Berlin, it was their second show and they brought us a bass head because ours was surely fucked. I was excited to finally play because it was fucking freezing and I was ready to rock because at this point (1130 pm) the place was snug with people and I was pumped. We played a solid set, but could not get one person to budge or even crawl a tad bit. After we finished, like 5 people came up and told was we were amazing. Hahahaha, oh really!? It was so hard to gauge by all the stiff stares and crossed arms! I totally get it though, I was so happy nonetheless, everyone was really sweet and moshing isn’t everything. We sold a bunch of merch and drank sodas while chatting at high volume over very bad German acid rock techno.
I found out from talking to Jenni that all the cops are so focused on protecting the people with money during these two days that they leave the refugee housing projects open and susceptible to attacks from racist fascist groups. It really bummed me out, but it’s real and I tried not to think about it too much.
Friday May 1st: Berlin, Germany and Kassel, Germany
Jenni made us a big breakfast with delicious spreads that she made from scratch! I read a bunch of feminist literature she had laying around, some talking a lot about the intersection of color in feminism. I really liked them—Jenni is so cool
Robert and I got on a tangent about new straightedge hardcore bands worldwide and I wrote down some of my current faves and gave him my contact info so we could chat more in the future. He offered to help or maybe actually release a Busted Outlook record (another band I play in who was supposed to go on this tour aswell, but we cancelled) and he said he’d book our euro tour if we wanted to come! I feel real bad we couldn’t come with Perm Ru after all, I didn’t think so many people on this trip would be bummed we couldn’t come or even cared at all! Me and Jason headed out to pick up his amp, we walked 2 miles, picked it up, and took the metro to meet everyone at the core-tex store where there was a free show outside for May Day and to buy some bootleg tees. The streets were full of people and food. I searched for some club-mate cola on the walk to the van but to no avail. We got to the van and snuck out of town without any trouble from the cops, but I’m sure they were very busy with other stuff, thank god.
I woke up in Kassel as we were pulling up to the show. We hopped on this show last minute, because we were supposed to play in Göttenburg, Sweden right after Berlin, but it was going to be an 11 hour trip and then a 9 hour trip the next day so we said fuck it and cancelled. We were lucky to hop on this metalish show. The drive would have cost us a fortune and although I really wanted to visit Sweden, we wouldn’t have been able to see much and probably would have been beat! I heard there is a 6 hour long ferry you take, that sounded pretty cool. Luckily the show in Kassel was being co-run by an Internet friend of mine Annka who I’ve never met in person so I was excited I would get the chance to meet someone I only slightly know from world’s apart. The food was great as per usual, a massive pot of seitan and some veggies, I made like 3 huge sloppy sandwiches and rolled myself over to fully meet Annka, they were so sweet and had made us a peanut butter and jelly pie. We played in between 4 bands that sounded like emotive metalish crustish bands. A band from Greece played called Ruined Families and they were probably the best out of all the bands, the singer went pretty nuts and it was funny because by the time they played we were all really tired and/or drunk so at one point he read our set list aloud on stage that we left and Merm was pretty wasted at this point and screamed “TOP THAT MOTHERFUCKER! I WILL FUCKING KILL YOU” in Greek, somehow drunk Mariam could speak Greek, I don’t really know how that happened. The crowd lightly snickered and the singer looks v surprised and possibly scared. We left the gig early and headed to ANNKA’s flat. They gave me some fancy sodas and headed back to the gig while we all found our rooms to sleep in. Fred and Jason in Annka’s room, Merm, Didi and I in one of the flatmate’s rooms. I could not sleep because Didi and Merm snored SOOO loud, I was caught in stereo sound of what was like a muffled motorcycle engine. So I went out in the kitchen and ended up talking to Annka and slept in the room they slept in and we talked about current affairs in greater Europe and they filled me in on some things I was unaware of and we talked about where we grew up it was nice to meet them and connect in a cool way, I felt uncharacteristically calm and comfortable. I passed out in a snore-free zone thank god and dreamt that I lived in a town that wasn’t San Jose.
I’ve been thinking about leaving my hometown of San Jose a lot lately and this trip has kind of been a catalyst in that thought because I see there is so much more for me possibly elsewhere. Emotional ties can be great and that closeness is rare but also can tie you down and hold you back. That is a whole different conversation, but it’s sad to think I may have nothing more to offer my town or the people I care for or vice versa. It was just a dream, maybe this whole thing is a dream.
Saturday, May 2: Kassel, Germany to Kiel, Germany
I woke up so late and almost missed all the pancakes that were being cultivated in the kitchen. The Greek band came over to eat as well and we all chatted and gulped coffee till our guts split. it was time to cut out, we said our goodbyes and I gave Annka a big hug and began our short trek to Kiel. I am starting to feel a little tickle in my throat and the last thing I want is to get sick on tour! Fred has had this nasty cough since we left, actually this morning he ate all pancakes and when he coughed he vomited his whole meal up, a real RETURN TO SENDER moment. I started pounding Emergen-c and thought maybe I should try and get some rest, so I slept the whole drive, waking up intermittently to fill empty fizzy water bottles with not so fizzy human pee.
The venue Meirerei looks very punk like all these places we’ve been playing, but its huge and has a big stage and sound system. I’ve noticed that most venues are equipped with a kitchen which is so fucking awesome, I still can’t believe how efficient every place is and how it makes tours move like clockwork, it makes me feel like I play in Pearl Jam or something. I wish all venues came with kitchens, I would feed every band chillaquiles.
The support band helped us unload our equipment and the bassist tripped on a step and fell, putting his hand through my snare head :[ I didn’t say anything because he seemed embarrassed. I guess we gotta make another pit stop at the music store. We did our sound check, which is probably like the second time EVER that we’ve sound checked. It took so long because we don’t know how to turn down and instead of playing our songs we played AC/DC Thin Lizzy, Tom Petty, and Metallica. So we will probably sound like shit, but it’s all good, if we flop at least we have a career in a bar rock cover band.
I noticed that at most shows when I watch the bands I just smile politely because I have no idea what they are saying, I think maybe they think I’m feelin’ it or that I’m high. The best part of this gig was the dad-like man in bell bottoms skanking wildly for the first band, I don’t mean to mosh police or hate, actually who am I kidding it was pretty embarrassing to watch, but also so hypnotic.
They told us that, in northern Germany, if people start to head nod that means they love it, while we played there was a 3 person pit and a wide assortment of head nods so I feel like that is the equivalent of a full on DRI circle pit in northern Germany.
“The roof was on fire” as we say in the states.
After the gig, I pocketed a few club-mates and we headed to Jön’s, who was this really pumped punk dude with dreads. He had a room set up for us and he tried to convince everyone to smoke weed a few times trying his best to not seem desperate to smoke a lil rat dick joint, but no one was down. He played us some of his fave current German records which were really cool.
I sent someone a pic of myself in the large full body mirror to document my disrepair and have something other than food pics to send friends.
Sunday, May 3: Kiel, Germany to Hamburg, Germany
We went to the flea market today in town right after breakfast. Jön has a hanging jungle gym in his hallway that you can swing on, we all gave it try, seeing who could make it the furthest down the obstacle course. Another thing is when you open the door to the bathroom the light comes on, a fan and the radio lightly hums german pop music, it is so cool! I am gonna try and do that when I get home except I want it to play. Return of the Mack or Whitney Houston.
The flea market was a 15 minute walk across town to the city center. Most things are closed Sundays and the day was really nice so it was naturally packed to the fucking gills with people. None of us actually needed anything but it felt great to stretch our legs and walk somewhere outside and be somewhere that wasn’t a venue’s back room for a little bit. We tried to find a pouch for our money but ended up with records and a lot of sausages instead. Our friend Niels had his haggling jacket on that day because he was able to chat down some sellers for us. There were so many ancient electronics I don’t even know if they thought people would use them or if it was as a vintage aesthetic thing, I still can’t tell!
We said our peace out to the local hambones and headed onwards to Hamburg. The venue in Hamburg was the fanciest so far! It was still DIY but had this real nice official venue feel. We parked and immediately another tour van parked ahead of us. Before the van could even pull the e-brake, 9 Russian folks started pouring out of the van like bugs from an ant hole. They marched straight towards our van and all introduced themselves all while lightly smirking and were wildly social to my surprise! We all went in and grabbed the wifi and the lowdown on the gig, the place was making us food but the Russians went across the street with 4 bottles of vodka and invited us over to a bbq. At the bbq they had us take shots “in honor of international friendship.” There was a large crew of friends from Russia who lived in Hamburg now and people who tagged along and a band called What We Feel from Moscow. They told us stories about Russian punk and how it’s all encompassing HC, punk, straight edge, ska, etc..They also started telling us how involved the band is in the anti-fascist movement and to be punk it is a must because they are constant targets to nazis and the dangers of their ideals. They said it’s hard because they have to fight and defend so much to people who are ready to kill, but they are not. They told us about their friend Ivan who was murdered by a nazi group. One of the people who murdered him was afraid after and when he’d jog alone he would jog with a grenade with the pin pulled so he wouldn’t get attacked or arrested, until one day the grenade went off.
We sound checked and then ate more food, which was in my opinion the best food of tour. It was mashed potatoes flavored perfectly and steamed vegetables and this mushroom gravy loaded with seitan and a pinky-out fancy arugula salad. So good. The only bummer is we had to share it with this dumb band from Montreal who were playing upstairs in a separate show. They were just some random smug crusters who were slugging along and not speaking to anyone and the one dude with them was so obnoxious and just like really puffin his chest out and making a bunch of noise and flopping around taking up so much space and just felt like a scummer who probably likes cocaine, nachos, and doom metal only. He later cornered Merm and gave her some sad ass story about how he’s a broken man (yawn), he’s really trying to make up for his sadness by being a gigantic ass bag. They mostly had their manager talk anyway. They asked to borrow my hi hat clutch, even though I needed it to play…so dense I swear.
After we ate food the Russian crew returned and set up a movie screen and projector. They made video documentary about their friend who was a part of the anti fascist group that protected punks and others and was murdered by a nazi group, also a preview to another diy documentary they are making which had the most graphic content I’ve seen of refugees being beaten and punks being attacked in front of police. After the video I was in shock and kind of trying to process it all and was wondering if it was inflammatory or not. I feel that sometimes in the states people will talk up how hard things are for them to feel that they have purpose.
We played after and people were pretty into it, so into it actually that we played one extra song because the Russians were chanting! They gave us so many drink tickets so I had a constant flow of soda! I was pretty jacked on. It was good that I was hyper from soda because we met Flo tonight, who booked our entire tour. He was a very cool short stack of a dude who loves to talk and I was surprised that I was also so talkative tonight! I don’t know if it was the sodas or the vibe, but I think I rambled to Flo forever about God knows what! I also noticed that when people talk to me or vice versa I squeeze my arm really hard until the convo is done. I could feel the impressions of my nails in the fat of my arms. It’s already hard for me to talk to people at shows, but it’s harder here because I don’t have much practice with talking to people with English as second or third language. I feel like I talk weird because I’m trying to over enunciate every word and use my gestures a lot. Just some dumb loud awkward American dude.
What We Feel played and they were some Madball style hardcore mixed with some other modern and past US hardcore influences. I watched them just really own the sound and could see the earnest energy they gave out. I stared at the crowd of skin head and non-skin friends of theirs mosh like it was their first show ever, just bouncing around bumping into everyone as best they could all while smiling and singing along. I expected a windmill but instead got a group of stumbly people who looked much like those flailing blowing persons out front of car lots when they have sales.
This trip has been such a refresher to me, in the sense of the hardcore music world and their differing ways I guess. A large majority of the world idolizes US hardcore and we are fucking dolts most of the time. They can take the best parts and use it as strength. Like someone was upset with me in some dialogue once and took a jab at me for wearing a cro mags tee and said you know Harley has a Swazi tattoo on his wrist. As if that negated anything I’ve done or said. Some people like this specific group are seriously at risk of death for playing hardcore/punk/diy music and having a blatant stance against racism and are wearing Agnostic Front tees, a band whose lyrics were a little too right-wingy at times. It’s just pretty amazing to me the entirety of it. If they came to the bay area and played a show everyone would be immediately mad and write them off before they even had a chance even though they are sweet and genuine. Differing contexts I guess, everyone’s feelings are real and valid, just wish we could see more where we intersect, but that’s a tall order and complicated as well.
They made a diy documentary about fascism in Russia and their friend being murdered by nazis and showed it before their set! How’s that for a fucking heartfelt longwinded hardcore speech!? There is no safety bubble to be in for them. Also I bet if they toured the states and met or played with any of the bands they idolize they would be so bummed, their politics might not align, I’m sure.
The sounds they play are mimicking current stuff they’ve heard from the states and of course it’s these styles that have good promoting, but it’s not about riffs, although they definitely had a few. They could be playing any music like ska, which are actually bands they usually play with. It’s the politics that drive them, they take the sounds and energy and embrace it, adding their experiences to it.
Our driver Didi is German and speaks great English and loves German hardcore, but was telling us he learned a lot English from reading Maximum and U.S. hardcore bands’ records! We are so influential to the entire planet and are totally unaware.
Punk might have been bullshit at some point or at least is some dumb ass riff driven creature in the states, but it’s a really moving culture elsewhere, we should treat it as such ya know!? I feel sort of weird, like some of my problems are of little worth in comparison. My privileges are many (I mean I understand how things work) but one of those privileges is my friends not being shot in the head by Nazis.
Punk means something to people and they take us seriously. It makes me feel honored and a little disappointed.
I know it’s pretty hard currently to appreciate hardcore within the states for some, with all the ding dongs around. I know that sometimes I find myself further from the circle of hardcore to find politics that align with mine and/or just finding a place that feels genuine. But I think maybe it will get better, I think we are feeling the backlash of the reckless and shitty political climate of 90’s hardcore. People felt pressured and maybe feel the need to counter all that unrealistic extremism by idiots. I’m hopeful, but maybe more than the majority. Also, I could be totally wrong and also my opinions change. I’m not so dense to assume that this band is perfect and are not without problematic behaviors or other things, but at an experience standpoint it’s astonishing to me.
After the show we basically partied the most we had in a while, which is basically us staying up late and having long conversations and eventually walking with some drunk folks to get falafel and doner kebab, joking along the way. We had this cool little flat situated with several bunk beds and we all huddled up in there to sleep. I had to dispose of my favorite socks because they smelled so bad that I think people’s eyes were burning.
Monday, May 4: Hamburg, Germany and Bremen, Germany
I woke up to the thick smell of sock and musk and decided to shower and meet up with everyone eating breakfast. The Russian band was nowhere to be found. We just loaded and headed out to walk the river that was running through Hamburg, Didi took us through a tunnel and showed us where all the squats used to be before they classed up the joint. We sat on the edge of the water and read a sign that explained we were on a place that was once a concentration sub-camp where people were forced to clean and repair boats.
We headed to a music store to pick up a new bass amp, finally. We bought a cheap but loud amp and convinced Mila to take it off our back line fee. I bought a new drum head for my broken snare and we were on our way to Bremen. Bye Hamburg! I never got to taste your burger.
Bremen’s show was a squat that was laid directly next to a river bank. We met the French band Copcake and all immediately napped in separate spaces laid about in the sun. When I woke up the squat was full! For a Monday night I was so surprised! We played pretty well, but I think I got the wrong resonate head for the snare, it sounded a bit dumpy.
The person who did the show, Souren was a tall slender fellow who was soft spoken and very smiley, I found out later that he sang for the Now Denial which is tight and surprising given his demeanor. He showed us this trick where you kick open your bottle without a bottle opener me and Merm both nailed it, but Merm’s was real slick and got a triumphant applause. There were these huge bugs flying around about the size of a silver dollar and they seemed dumb as hell just slamming into walls. We thought they were locusts. Merm went to investigate and when she was looking down I unsuspectedly tossed a peanut in her hair and she spun around flapping her arms thinking it was one of them! After we settled some guy told us they are like cicadas in the states. They live underground and only come out and fly for 5 days to mate or die, sex crazed freak bugs. As he was explaining one flew directly into Jason’s jacket along his neck! I freaked out screaming! He thought it was a joke and just kinda smiled at me smirking a little annoyed, but then quickly realized he was being attacked! I was laughing so hard, I wanted to help, I really did, but my immediate reaction was to flee as fast as possible while screaming. He threw his jacket off, but it was now on his flannel so he threw that off and just kinda ran in a circle for a few seconds while we all panicked and ran around screaming with second-hand fright! It was the freakiest thing ever. Then some Steve Irwin brave ass animal lover walked over and picked it up with their bare hand and we all felt like children. Whatever I don’t care how harmless they are, there is no way I’m touching that thing!
Afterwards we headed to this cool guy Franz’s house and before we got there we hoofed it over to get some late night greasy grub. I got this falafel that had hummus with cinnamon in it and a ginger-orange fizz drink, it tasted fermented not like soda.
The apartment had super high ceilings and ornate rims, every place we stay seems so old and big and is accommodating to a large number of people. I can barely accommodate my own self at home.
It seems to get dark so early, although I’m sure it’s just my clock that hasn’t reset yet. That feeling I was speaking of a few days back, the creeping feeling making me feel low, has been latching onto the back of every good day since. I mostly sit up till 4-5 am here just wandering around my head. I know I’m going back home in a week or so and I’m stinging from the thought of coming home to the place I was so eager to leave and situations I would rather not have to work through. I think most my life I’ve been good at just taking problems head on or at least believing I could move past things with ease and a quick rationalizing sense, but I don’t know if I can do that anymore. So most of last night I thought of places I could move and planned out the steps to do so. I think that will be my main focus when I return: how to work out a plan to keep a band or two together long distance and just get my heart up off the ground and into another city. I think for so long I didn’t want to think I would run away or was running away, but what I want most is to run away. We will see when I get back. Tour is great for placing things in perspective, when you can see the forest for the trees. I’m still grateful for this trip and still having a good time, I’m just trying my best not to turn into a toad on the road.
Tuesday May 5: Bremen, Germany and somewhere in Belgium
I didn’t get much sleep, but luckily we have a 6 hour drive to Belgium today so here we are on the road. 3 hours in and I wish I had more snacks, you can never have enough snacks! Are you bored? Eat a snack. Are you tired? EAT A SNACK. Annoyed in a van? EAT A MOTHERFUCKIN SNACK! I’m trying to sleep on the back bench but it’s a little short and has a lump in the center so I keep walking up in different angles with different appendages dead asleep and in a slight pinching pain. It works a little better if you situate a big bag on the floor and you can extend your legs a few more inches which surprisingly helps a lot.
A truck driver hopped out and tapped our van in traffic because we forgot to lock our back door and the lock was sitting on the bumper! Whoops! That could have been a disaster.
I woke up at the show, we were late, we played at The Pits which is this old super small venue/bar that has been around for a real long time (duh). It was about the size of three cubicles and has been tagged top to bottom by so many good bands. There were flyers for Eyehategod and Gorilla Biscuits and Judge and a ton of others I don’t know how they fit, seriously it doesn’t make any sense. The merch room, entrance and urinals were all in the same room that was probably about 10’ x 10’ box. You could literally pee and buy a record at the same time. It was so funny.
It’s become a game to see who can hold out the longest before asking for the wifi password. We like to pretend that we aren’t all salivating for the Internet connection. It’s almost a feeling of shame for finally being the person to ask. Also, I can’t tell if we seem rude because we don’t talk very much or if we seem mysterious or just plain boring? I am probably looking into too much, because I think we are fun.
We ate after the show and shared a table with the other band. I feel that we are so polite because we are so not used to all the people treating us garbage piles like gold blocks. The other band seemed pretty rude, asking the guy bringing us food if he could bring them sodas and water and just like walking away without cleaning or straightening out there area. It was pretty annoying for us all to watch. At one point Merm told them to get up and get it themselves. They said this was the best meal they’ve gotten so far and up until this night they’ve been getting nothing but bread and spreads, which is like traditional German fare/breakfast which I think is delicious. We said you better not tour the states because no one gives you shit, you are lucky if you have a place to sleep. It felt good to know that touring in the states can be humbling in a way and help you appreciate a lot.
We drove 30 minutes to crash in a squat that was an old coffee shop. This person answered the door and just kinda pointed at the stairs and screamed gibberish at a dog for like 5 minutes, I laughed nervously because It was so confusing. On the top of the stairs there was a huge basketball court sized attic with probably like 16 beds or so, I heard running footsteps behind us, the person at the door sprinted up behind us, I turned nervously and she tried her best to tell us to close the gate because “dog will poop you.” We all passed out within seconds, serenaded by the soothing sounds of sped out punks screaming at a barking dog.
Wednesday, May 6: Belgium to Paris, France
Drive to Paris is windy and I am full of Speculoos. The sides of the highways are littered with rows of these yellow flowers that DIDI says they make some type of oil out of or tea, I don’t think he knew at all, but just didn’t want me to keep asking dumb questions hahaha, he is so cool. It’s really pretty regardless. I keep looking at my hands that are swollen from countless hits and cuts against my cymbals and snare. I’m certain one is infected because it hurts to make a fist. My wrist has been feeling really achy as well, I’m trying to stretch it as much as I can but it’s probably too late for that type of aid. I cut my gums on some bread yesterday and now it hurts to eat on the left side of my mouth. In the lengthy list of tour injuries I’ve incurred these are pale in comparison and I’m still feeling pretty limber.
I was just informed we have 12 days left of tour which I didn’t know haha! I usually run on tour, but when we left home I packed 10 hours before our flight and did not care because I was in some sad ass stupor and just didn’t bring running shoes or other things I usually bring. I think I’ll start doing pushups/body weight stuff to keep up my body’s momentum. I have a lot longer to go than I thought.
Paris is a clusterfuck. The city is dirty and reminiscent of New York, San Francisco, or even Berlin. Everyone is dressed fancy and clean and “traditionally” beautiful. It’s flooded with humans looking down at their phones and mini scooters weaving through the ever-present traffic. The city is old as fuck and hasn’t been able to keep up with its growth over the years so there is no space to move or to park. After squeaking along for an hour on the outskirts we finally got to the city, we had an hour before the gig so we parked and went into an old cemetery and wandered around, we had a plan to pee on Jim Morrison’s grave, but it was fenced off and a bunch of uncle rockers with their nerdy ass Indiana Jones hat wearing kids were standing on the edge staring into the grave holding back their tears. It was a sad sad sight
We stalled for a long time because there is no parking near the venue and we didn’t want to park and have to carry all our equipment downstairs to the show space. The plan was we’d show up late enough that we could just stop and ask to share the back line of the headlining band (clever sneaky smirk here), who happened to be the newest reincarnation of Poison Idea. It worked perfectly and Poison Idea was actually totally loaded in and willing.
We sat in the band room eating food, sitting directly next to Jerry A. Poison Idea is one of our favorite bands and this was a sold out show and it was just a scary thought to meet Jerry A. because what if he sucked? I like to never meet bands or punks I am inspired by, I know kill your idols/punk has no heroes or whatever, but I don’t have much so let me please! Meeting them usually kills that mystery or perception.
He was so nice, it was mind blowing to me! He immediately started chatting us up like he was someone’s cool dad, asking us about tour and sharing stories and him just being all around very sweet and in no way did he have one of those old punk dad rockstar vibes. The promoter Julian made us all food and we all thanked him. The guitarist asked for a soda and when Julian left to find one Jerry turned to him and said “He doesn’t work here, he’s volunteer in to do this show for us and already made us food, why are you asking him for stuff?” I was so surprised and thought that was cool as shit because I feel like it’s astonishing how much people give us. When Julian came back with a soda and water he bought Jerry said to the guitarist “do you feel bad? He had to go buy this for you.” He made the guitarist feel like a buster, I enjoyed that.
The set was in another bombshelteresque room and it was packed when we played, people seemed hesitant to us because they had no context or clue about us, but by the 4-5th song people were really feeling it and the set ended sweaty and with two kids floating towards the low ceiling while crowd surfing. We sold the most merch at this show than any other show of tour so far. It is weird because it feels very similar to the states because it’s a rock bar and there is this young late 20’s bar crowd and I just kind of sat and stared all night, I’ve gotten really accustomed to weird unusual and foreign show spaces.
Poison Idea played and besides me not being a fan of the drums they pummeled! So good! I felt like Jerry A. might pass out mid set. I mean he’s a big dude and has had a fast forward punk life, he’s gotta be mid 50’s now. He was telling me before that he’s been spitting blood after several sets so watching him on stage really reveling in the feeling of singing to a room of sweaty punks was heartwarming. I really gained a supreme liking to him, he was charming. Everyone should have something in their lives that can make them that happy for at least 40 minutes a day. I felt really good for him and what he’s done. Even if it’s weird to have a new Poison Idea album with no Pig Champion (the album is actually pretty good). In my mind I imagined him and Pig Champion being in Paris doing that hug and cheek kiss thing everyone does here after the set and just sitting on a couch laughing about the blood peeking out of Jerry’s mouth.
After the show Julian took us to the Eiffel Tower at 1 am it was cold and dark and I hate tourist stuff, but I’m glad we saw it. Also though, what a worthless structure, it serves no propose but to be a big hunk of metal, I didn’t actually know that it was made for the World’s Fair as an architectural marvel. What a dumb jerk off piece. LOOK HOW BIG I CAN MAKE THIS THING THAT HAS NO USE BUT TO JUST BE A BIG TRIANGLE, IN THE YEARS TO COME PEOPLE WILL KILL THEMSELVES OFF IT AND PEOPLE WILL ANNOYINGLY HUSTLE KEBOBS AND MINIATURE KEYCHAINS FOR SINGLE EUROS UNDER IT.
I was more impressed with the tunnel where the illuminati killed princess Di.
Surprisingly Didi asked for the wifi tonight. If you are ever in Paris and come across “Angela wifi” the password is vegancheetos.
Thursday, May 7: Paris, France and the French border
Woke up and ate some cereal Julian left for us and made several cups of Nescafé instant coffee. I was legit excited to drink a full couple cups of coffee that Felt a little normal for a moment. I also saw my first Starbucks on this trip, but Paris is real globalized so it made sense. I really wanted to get a venti anything.
Dano our bud and road dog just got off the Iceage tour and met up with us and is going to be with us the whole second half of tour, it was great to see him after such a long time and I’m pumped to be in a van with him again.
We have a day off and we couldn’t figure out what to do so we are driving to the French border and are going to get a hotel and just lounge and take a much needed break. It will also make tomorrow’s trip into Spain much easier.
We pulled over several times because I had to pee so much and basically used every bottle already to drain into, but it was not without reward because Mariam learned to drive stick during one of the stops and she drove for 2 hours, cursing and weaving the entire time. She has some serious road rage. Everyone was a little frightened I think.
Also, I was wrong! We aren’t getting a hotel, we are staying with the dude who was setting us up a show but it fell through. When we arrived we drove for about 40 minutes searching for parking. His name was Julian and he had a surprising resemblance to Gary Oldman. He and his partner took us to falafel and we talked about horrible tour stories. I got some good European gossip! After we just crowded in the living room sleeping in pads and couches like sardines in a can.
Friday, May 8: French border to Zarautz, Basque Country
We ate pancakes and left to Basque Country. We had to call our contact because we could not find the city’s name in the GPS. This is where Merm shined because she can speak Spanish so it was better translated and we started our drive after some back and forth on the phone.
We got to Zarautz and wandered for a bit. The streets are all thin and canyon-like with apartments stacked on top of businesses and the streets are like streams paved through the town. There is no grid, every street has a mind of its own and there are no street signs just clothes waving in the wind on strings. We called Maider and Abuelo, our contacts for the show, and they hurried down and met us and took us to the squat/venue. It looked like most squats we’ve played but it was filled with 16 year old boys and girls that were non-punks. It seemed like an American teen center, but it was so freaky watching 16 year olds siting at a bar smoking cigarettes. Maider and Abuelo are awesome! They are so friendly and so cool! I can’t understand a word they are saying though, Maider walked straight up to me and gave me a hug and kissed my cheeks and her smile was so big like it snapped the hinges off her mouth.
The language is beautiful, it’s pretty amazing it is some Spanish and Catalina and some random z stuck in here and there, but also very different and no one really knows where it came from, its source or origin is unknown! It’s so cool! They don’t like you to call it Spain either, it is BASQUE COUNTRY, which is understandable because it is different and they are very proud.
I passed out in the van with Didi and woke up to them calling us upstairs for food. We ate and then the show started immediately after. Everyone was already getting pretty drunk and smiling and eager to give us drinks and show us a great time. The venue space itself is a stage in a small room and there is saw dust all over the floor, I think to catch all the spilled beer, I’m not sure though. Most of the bands were fast bands with blast beats, which is different from other shows we’ve played. I like it. Abuelo’s band played before us they were called Metralleta they were a fast punk band with steady blast beats, it kind of reminded me of Hellnation with two vocals it was awesome! And Abuelo being an older short stubby dude losing his mind on stage was so fucking sick, they call him Abuelo (Grandpa) because he’s an older punk, but he had more energy than everyone else! He started each song with a jump-kick and was running around jumping on pillars and all around proving to be a mad man. I was pumped!
We played after and it was a good set and they chanted for more so we did our one song encore, that is always kind of embarrassing.
After our set me and Merm went to walk in the back room where the equipment was and the guy at the door stopped Merm for a second and then she had to tell him she was in the band. It was pretty ridiculous because they did not question me at all when I walked by before. It sucks to see that stuff and I’m sure worse to experience that “you’re a girl you must not be in a band” attitude. I’ve noticed a lot of places in Europe have big sign stating stuff like “love music, fight sexism” but there are almost no women present at the shows. The inclusivity of women on stage or booking is rare as well. This Basque Country show is one of the rare gigs of tour that was booked by a woman. Also trans* inclusion and queer inclusion are nowhere to be found at least not at our shows, I’m sure it’s here, I wish I got to see more of that scene. Maybe those things are present in more “intentional” gigs but not integrated well with hardcore, at least not the shows we’ve played. I don’t know a lot, only what I’ve seen. So it was dumb that had to happen because it’s one thing to have an idea and another to see it happen.
Other than that the show was amazing. People took pics with us and some little kids tried to fuck with us by saying “fuck you sir” and saying things in English trying to be smart asses like “Obama is president because he’s black.” We all just kinda laughed at them, mostly because they have horrible style and have some strange affinity to True Religion jeans, so at least I was content in knowing that they were drunk badly dressed 16 year old renobs (renob is boner backwards). I thought it was funny.
We had to go split up between two houses: Abuelo and Maider’s house and Tito the guitarist of Metralleta’s house. The translation was weird so we thought three of us were going to a house and the other three a squat. Throughout the day everyone’s allergies have kind of kicked in, something about the region has got us all fucked up, but Didi has been slowly devolving all day in to a snot filled mole rat! His eyes were cherry red and glossy swollen up like pistachio shells and he sounded like he had his nose plugged when he spoke plus you could just tell by his demeanor that he was in pain, his head looking like it would pop under the pressure. We rolled to a 24-hour pharmacy on the way to our sleeping spots to get him some meds!
I don’t know how the medical system works here but there are 24 hour pharmacy kiosks everywhere and you can get prescription strength drugs at all hours! You beep the sign, a little lady opens a slot and asks what you need, and a few exchanges later the lady hands you some prescription drugs before you even pay! We were out alone on a street at 2 am asking for prescription drugs and they just handed ‘em off no problem with out even a question that we would just run off! We paid and then headed to the houses.
Most of us were already sleeping in the car and when we stopped we had to split up who was going to the house and who was going to the squat with drunk ass Farro. Me and Fred and Didi just chose the squat to give everyone else the comfortable spot, mostly because I feel like Jason had been getting the short end of the stick sleep situation wise and he hasn’t been taking his iron pills which has me worried so we let them go.
We walked to Tito’s place while he would stop every few feet to explain to us something in English, apologizing along the way and asking for our names over and over. It was sweet and funny. We got to his place and to our surprise it was a super clean super nice apartment! I guess we got info lost in translation because it was CLOSE TO A SQUAT not in a squat. We all got our own beds and we just sat and talked for a bit and grabbed the wifi and passed out elated as fuck! Before bed Didi turned to me and said “I feel much better”—his head looked normal size now.
Saturday May 9: Zarautz, Basque Country
I woke up at 12 noon in complete darkness! I was so confused I walked out in the pitch black and saw Tito sitting on his bed. He hopped up and asked if I wanted breakfast. I said sure and he sat me down and made me toast and a fuckin latte! He pulled up the blinds that were air tight/light proof plastic roll up doors! And let all the light in! It was wild. We talked for a second then the others showed up with Maider and Abuelo and slowly Fred and Didi trickled in and we all ate breakfast. Tito is sweet and asked me about power violence bands.
We walked to the beach and looked around a bit before returning to Tito’s because he said he’d make us more food. We came back and he had this huge rice pilaf looking dish for all of us! He kept giving us drinks and bread and we all got so fucking full. While we were chewing we heard what sounded like sizzling but we thought it was water until he came in and took the huge pan and said second course is coming! All our jaws dropped and let out a slight whimper because we were so full! He brought us out some fried burgers and sauce and we all forced it down already too packed, but it was so delicious. After he made coffee and we sat in the living room like potatoes staring at Spanish tennis on TV because we couldn’t get up to change the channel. He brought in wine and we all just kinda stared forward in a daze.
We played a small town in Spain; it was an older squat with a library. The library was awesome. It was a smaller room with over a thousand books and zines and comics all organized with barcodes. I asked if it was dewey decimal but they said they just downloaded some bibliotheca program that creates a database and a barcode to print. It was pretty amazingly organized. The squat itself was just your run of the mill concrete slab stage with tons of band graffiti, a surprisingly loud P.A., and a bar in the front larger room.
This was the first place on tour that really had dogs though and there were probably about 10 different dogs I saw throughout the night, all super nice except for one loud asshole. There was a foosball table that we played and started getting challenged and then I realized that foosball isn’t just some little game, it was as cutthroat as billiards here! The games were short, two shot games and they were so intense! A little too stressful for me! They slammed the little players as hard as they could and would build up a sweat. The players in this table were made of metal and the court was larger and had one extra offensive member. They told me as best as they could that Foosbal tables are different here and the rules are a little different, I really liked that.
The show was running behind “schedule” by about an hour and a half and it’s becoming increasingly harder to stand in cigarette-filled rooms with people I can’t talk to. Merm seems to be getting annoyed fairly easily, it’s been happening the last couple of days with little outbursts. I’m unsure on whether to give her space or ask her what’s wrong, it’s hard to be a shoulder when she is being so mean to me. I’m getting a little worried because I want her to have a great time, but she seems to be having a rough time and I know how stressful being on the road can be, but also don’t know how it is to be the only womyn in a group for 3.5 weeks. I imagine it sucks. We were waiting for the last band to play before us and we all just kind of filed around pretending we were not anxious as fuck, at one point Merm stormed out and I asked what happened and she ignored me and passed me and then I kinda of said it louder and she still didn’t turn and then was completely out of earshot. I can handle a lot, but emotionally I can’t handle someone ignoring me. It really hurts so I went up to her and talked for a little. I made sure no matter what she should and could at least tell me to stay away or what’s wrong because I will crumble otherwise. I’m going to keep checking in and I hope it gets a little better. I have a lot of emotional space in me to help people who are having a rough time, I’m not sure if everyone else does, but that’s real, I’m sure it’s hard for them to, we are all experiencing the same things just interpreting them differently. I am the type to always worry and try and help people I care about regardless of its negative effects on me, so I hope she picks up on that as well. I started making a conscious effort to check in and make sure she feels acknowledged. Talking on tour has to be tactful and is like playing don’t break the ice.
We played probably one of our best sets of tour ( I keep saying that, but some keep getting better) and during our set someone grabbed the mic and started singing “California Love” by Tupac. It was so sick! As we were setting up the bassist from the previous band looked up at Jason when he picked up his bass and simply stated “I ammm…………….sofuckingdrunk.” I knew that people would love us after that.
After we were supposed to stay with the promoter’s friend but he only had room for 4 people and someone could sleep in his bed with him (no thanks) so everyone walked to his place and me and Jason slept in the van. It was real nice we talked a lot and processed through some stuff that has been weighing on us during tour and kind of unwrinkled our brains a little. I like talking to Jason; he’s very insightful and calm. I ended the night rambling about stuff that was going on with me at home and why I don’t ever want to go back. We joked for a little and I passed out with mosquitoes buzzing by my ears, show goers on speed screaming outside the van and a pee bottle reaching distance from me.
Sunday, May 10: Zarautz, Basque Country to Barcelona, Spain
I woke up in puddles of sweat! We are finally in hot country and it felt like I woke up at my grandma’s in Fresno, dusty, sunny and flies sticking to my sweaty skin. Jason walked off to look for coffee and within 5 minutes Merm showed up to walk us to the house, but immediately started panicking and getting angry that he was gone and that we needed to go. I kinda just crumbled and was trying to just be calm and not respond in the normal manner I do to these situation which is completely turn off. Luckily he showed up and she calmed and it was like it never happened. I felt a little uneasy.
I’m eating rice cakes on the drive to Barcelona. The vegan snack food shortage out here is real.
The spot we are playing tonight is outside of the city center almost to another city. A boy inside told us that it’s a tough time for Barcelona punk right now and that no one likes to come out to this place even though it’s not that far. It’s probably the last thing you want to hear when you arrive for a gig, but Perm Ru is all about the ~experience ~.
It’s a space that used to be an underground parking structure, we had to carry our gear all the way down the angled floors about four levels, it was brutal. When we were finished unloading it all we found a push cart, we are such dumb asses. :/
The show was hooked up by Laura who recently moved to Barcelona from Brazil and Hector Both of them were really calm and sweet and also both make great eye contact, I like that.
This was the first show of tour (finally) that had a ton of womyn at the show represented in bands and the crowd. My favorite band of the night was Siega who I’ve never heard but who were so spot on killer with a tasteful amount of 1-2 without over killing, not one cheat beat in sight and the riffs in tow. The vocals sounded like her throat was lined with gravel, chunky barks that were so fuckin brutal. They had just about everything that could go wrong with a set go wrong. Bad connections, bad cord, and they forgot a couple riffs, but the core shined through. I was pumped.
We played next and played surprisingly well in my opinion. Sometimes I’d look to my right and I see Didi fist pump and it makes me excited because he has such a chill demeanor, seeing him excited is enough reassurance I need that we don’t suck. Haha no one else matters as long as DIDI is pumped. We walked to the van before we played and we talked about running and people who fall in love too fast. I really like Didi.
Anyway people moshed and we played our one song encore, which is always super embarrassing, but whatever I will probably never do anything great with my life, let me have this rockstar moment in a parking garage with 40 people please.
I’ve been wearing the same tee shirt every day when playing drums, it smells and looks like shit. It’s a strange accomplishment, I hope no one washes it. When we are done no one talks to me, I’m sure it’s the smell.
There was some freaky old guy getting kinda close during Siega’s set and he was there when we played I’m unsure how to act in these situations because everyone sees the person standing out in a bad way and I can’t tell whether to react or not. Like, do we wait for this guy to fuck up or act before that happens? Also, I don’t live here so I don’t want to assume I can access violence in spaces that aren’t mine, but I told Merm that if he gets too close during our set that she should grab his throat and I’ll jump out from the drum set and punch him in his sketchy ass face.
After the gig Laura, who is so chill, took us to her flat and asked if we wanted to go drink and hang. I went over to Amy who sang for Siega to invite her to come hang, it was kind of a stumbly awkward invite because I very intimidated after talking to her and seeing her wreck thought their set, such a great front person!
After dropping our bags we walked out of Laura’s house to go get beers. She told me to pee on her neighbor’s apartment later in the night because she said she’s evil, I said I would oblige. I notice that people say “merci” here instead of “gracias” so I’ve been tossing that out whenever I can. We met up with Amy down a couple blocks and walked to a park to drink outside. Guys just lounge on every corner holding six packs trying to sell you beer. I can’t tell if it’s cheaper or not or where they even get them, I’m trying to figure out how they gain a profit. I mean they are literally EVERYWHERE! I see them pull beers out of drains and cracks between buildings. I can’t imagine how much cheap beer is hiding beneath all the hollow parts of this city center. They are pushy as fuck and hover around us as we drink in the park, waiting for when we inevitably run low and walk up again for the umpteenth time to ask if we want cerveza. We bought beer a from these guys because 1- fuck yea, get your hustle on player and 2- it’s convenient as fuck. Everyone got good and wasted as I drank a couple cans of apple soda. I try my best to not be some square straight edge dude goofy as hell sipping zany sodas and look like an 18 year old. Everyone in our crew are definitely happy drunks which is something I am glad for! Most people I grew up with got mad or sad, this crew just ups their game and I LOVE IT. Even Didi got tanked and was legitimately SCREAMING at certain points in the night which was so cute! Jason is also really drunk because him and Dano played some drinking game that was a guaranteed “you gonna be fucked up” kinda game. I think it was good for Mariam to be around so many women and amazing women at that! I really wish we had more women with us on the trip, it’s got to be a lot, she and Laura and Amy talked about hardcore and crappy bands and the usual, but I think it meant more to Merm than they knew. It was a good reset.
I walked off and embraced the muggy weather alone and grabbed some friites. I brought extra back to share and as I ate Amy told to me about so much hardcore and facts about language that I had no idea about, I’m pretty clueless on most things, but it didn’t feel nerve wracked in the “oh fuck I’m not cool” way. She’s a bad ass motherfucker and I was obviously v interested, because not many people talk about stuff I’m interested in, I’m easily punished. We talked about drums because she’s drumming in a new band and I kinda gave some “pointers” which felt a little weird, I don’t really have many pointers other than “do whatever the fuck you want, punk is for everyone. If it feels good do it” I also tried to convince her to bring Siega to the states, I think Stephie from Hysterics tried to do the same when they came through.
We all walked back after peeing in several bushes and buying more street beers.
Laura apologized for the show to which I said “what do you mean no one’s famous! the show was great”! It’s weird when people apologize for going out of their way. Like I said we always have a good time as long as the person is sincere we are all about the “experience.”
Monday, May 11: Barcelona, Spain and somewhere in France
I woke up late and somehow took all my clothes off and put my shirt on as pants. Everyone had already eaten and were walking around me, I pretended to be asleep for as long as I could hold my morning pee in because I was embarrassed, but I switched into shorts real quick before anyone saw. We grubbed and Laura left for an interview. We hugged and I told her to “stay real.” I don’t think she knew what I meant but she smiled anyway, she’s cool.
Hector came over and he, Amy, Jason and I chatted about current bands and the normal “what’s the deal with all these dogturds in hardcore” convos that I enjoy so much. We talked about the G.L.O.S.S demo, mysterious dudes and how funny accents are, while I ate almost a whole baguette to myself.
I love bread, but I think I will stop eating bread for a very long time after this trip, I feel like the Michelin man.
We said our sad goodbyes and all stated that we wish we could stay longer. Mariam seems in high spirits and that makes me happy.
On the drive back to France, Fred and Dano got wasted on cheap wine and I got a headache :/. We were supposed to play with Long Knife tonight, but we saw on the Internet that their tire was demolished. Dano facetimed them in the car and found out that it messed up a lot more than just the tire and they were still in Italy and won’t be able to leave for two days. What a disaster, sometimes you feel so helpless on tour! I feel bad for them, I was looking forward to playing with them.
Fred is real dad drunk. He is feelin’ himself for sure.
We got to the venue and had to get out and unload the entire contents of the van as fast as possible because all these streets in France are small one way/one road streets. It was a bit of a whirlwind: 5 cars immediately behind us and honking.
I made a new price sign because we lowered prices to get rid of more merch towards the end of tour and I ate some vegan lasagna, everyone at the show kinda ignored us, it’s weird.
We played to a small crowd and rushed through a 14 minute set in the hottest basement of tour! I was dying! We finished and started breaking down when all of a sudden the entire crowd was screaming and chanting. I didn’t really understand what was happening because they could not have looked less entertained during our entire set. I thought maybe they were screaming as some weird post show ritual or maybe in celebration that we were done? Eventually I realized they wanted us to play more and they also formed like a barricade and said they wouldn’t move unless we played more, so we plugged our stuff back in and played. During the song, I watched Fred break one string, then another and then I realized he was just shredding on purpose and half way through the song he was just yanking strings off his guitar losing his mind on stage creating all types of noise and literally trashing the guitar and turned all the knobs on his amps up and on Jason’s bass and then we finished the song as if it was some planned chaotic encore and the crowd went nuts! Little did they know it was the result of 4 wine bottles and beer and so we wouldn’t have to play anymore songs. It was hilarious. Dano applauded.
After the show we went to Olivier’s house, the guy who booked us the show, where we had to be very quiet because his wife was asleep. I think he was scared to wake her because he told us like 20 times. His house was filled top to bottom with miscellaneous punk and comic and art junk. DIDI said it looks like the house of an adult that lives with his parents and after a short pause said that he wants it. There was so much stuff to look at everywhere! It was a little anxiety inducing to me, but the collector will collect as they say. He runs a label as well so it makes sense, he also has the PUNKEST bathroom I’ve ever been in. It was filled topped to bottom with wheat pasted show flyers and had punk books, comics and magazines to read, it felt like I was in clubs bathroom stall, I thought I should maybe scribe something on the wall to match the ambiance.
There was some confusion before we arrived about where we were walking and Dano and Merm and maybe Fred (I couldn’t really tell because he was on a different planet by this point) got a little upset and irritated. It made me nervous. I just don’t like feeling tension wind up so fast. I guess we are at a point in tour where it’s easy for these situations to happen. The boys walked around, and Didi and Jason slept in the van and Merm slept in a room. So I sat alone in the living room on my phone for awhile in the quiet. It felt really good to just be alone. I have this defense mechanism on tour where I feel the need to acknowledge everyone and make sure everyone is having fun and it really wears me down, I place myself in that positing and then kind of whine about it alone to myself, but so it is.
I also felt a little uneasy, like maybe I’d have to be some weird social buffer for all the tension, its just difficult for everyone being out of our individual elements/comfort zones and then when someone reacts to stress with manic aggression it’s almost impossible to stay on their side because it’s like putting up with a tornado just because you understand where its coming from. Being alone was exactly what I wanted/needed. It’s not as though everyone doesn’t love each other or that it’s like “we are gonna break up.” Everyone just reacts differently, trying to cater to everyone’s feelings and reactions is tough and you might only have the capacity for that some of the days and that’s gotta be ok.
“Next time any of my bands come out I have to remember to make patches, people love patches here still!” That was a note I wrote on a napkin that I found in my pocket.
Tuesday, May 12: Somewhere in France to somewhere in Switzerland
We out on a 6 hour drive to Switzerland. I slept the whole time and finished my second book of this trip. We were expecting to get stopped at the border because we didn’t have the sticker in our window that allows you to drive on Swiss roads, but we’re afraid we’d be searched so we stopped a little before to throw away our price sign. A border dude with yin and yang plugs in his ears just waved us through with a smile and we bought a 40 frank sticker without being searched.
We rolled up to some backwoods ass country space with like 4 old people sitting in lawn chairs outside and a few younger people. We stopped, unsure if this was it, when a buff ass dude in a dirty tank top ran up with a little too much energy and told us where to park. We rolled into a space in the middle of this compound that Dano said looked like Carcoza from True Detective. There was a building in the center surrounded by dirt and buildings built around trailers, where people made houses. In the center next to the building they had set up an outdoor kitchen and a wood burning stove and a big assembly line table. Joshua, the buff guy, was so energetic and had the biggest smile, he was a real burly weird kind of guy. When we ask how he was he said “better than you” and grabbed us all beers immediately and me an apple juice. He explained that he was an iron worker and let us look at his shop, which made sense why he had that strong confident punch your arm “you ol sonofabitch” kinda attitude. A fair amount of crusters wearing all black started trickling in and they were making pizzas in the outside kitchen, it said pizza on the flyer and they weren’t kidding. They made pizzas NONSTOP all night and they were so fucking good! It was ridiculous! Didi had to ask them to make vegan ones every once in awhile because I’m too skittish to. Joshua kept coming up to us and offering us beer and activities like throwing gigantic knives against a tree. I was expecting him to offer drugs eventually but he didn’t, but I expected some people were on speed because there was some serious energy in this place. The first band played inside the building in the center of the compound. It was some crust metal stuff, it was ok. In the middle of their set which was (like every other band) at least 30 minutes too long, I walked outside to get air and I watched Joshua run buy holding a gun as he swiftly entered the show. He stood at the bar pointing it at people, it was the scariest/weirdest thing ever!
We played our set which took forever to start because they kept wanting us to turn our amps down, which was just a struggle explaining that we weren’t going to. We played and the crowd screamed for more and Joshua was standing in the front staring through me so I suggested we just do it, for fear of having a gun pointed at me. We played one and then they made us play another and when we did that Fred put his guitar down and walked away haha! After the set Joshua walked up to me and stared at me very closely and I said nervously “thanks for the great show.” He didn’t respond for a second and then all in one long word he said “you’re a badass motherfuckingdrummer” and punched me in the chest. He is pretty fucking awesome. Definitely the most eager and scariest promoter I’ve ever met. I really liked him. He had a very endearing air about him, always offering us weapons and beer and smiles.
We sold a fair amount of merch and I had a great talk with Merm that cleared a lot of air, I hope she feels better letting some stuff out.
This place was so cool! What a life to live. Out in the middle of Switzerland on some strange compound with 50 other people building shacks on top of trailers and containers and mobile homes. Cooking some of the best pizza I’ve ever tasted outside with a wide assortment of people from all walks of life just drinking, partying, and doing drugs. And all in the pursuit of just living your life with as little stress as possible. I often see things as weird here, but it’s because I don’t understand how they can just be so NOT STRESSED. I care too much about everything. What a chill ass show.
We fell asleep real late up in the attic in a room filled with beds and on the door it said MALIGNANT TUMORS DRESSING ROOM.
Wednesday, May 13: Somewhere in Switzerland to somewhere in Austria
We had to get up at 6:30 a.m. because we have an 11 hour drive to Austria. Greg, the other promoter of the show, came over on a motorcycle and grabbed us three bags of food for breakfast and took off, what a killer dude. Hard ass with a heart of gold for sure.
We walked outside to leave and there were 5 people already hanging out in the center of the compound and Joshua wide awake drinking a tall can at 6:30 a.m. I’m certain they never slept.
We drove through Germany and had to say a sad farewell to Didi at a train station. I’m gonna miss that guy! I really wish he could’ve stayed with us these last few days. What a well put together young man! We all hugged for a while and tried not to make it weird, we got a passerby to take a pic of us. He told me he’d send me nudes and I don’t believe he will, sadly.
We got lost 5 minutes without Didi and then finally got on the roadway onward to Austria, 7 more hours. I hope we stop to grab some club mate before we leave Germany again. I love Germany, best bevs on earth!
So after more traffic it took us nearly 10 more hours. It was such a fucked up drive. The venue was cool as fuck. It’s this gigantic property with like 5 buildings, each building houses a venue and they all share the big courtyard. I guess at one point it was a squat (no surprise) and then someone bought it and now it’s this multi-purpose venue. The sounds guy rolled up to us let us know where to unload and asked what kind of pizza we wanted! We each got our own. He was an old dude with Obituary sweatpants, needless to say he was very very cool.
We got drink tickets so I drank like 3 club-mates and fritz colas. Before we played we walked across the courtyard to the other venue in the center where Title Fight was playing. I’ve never seen them. It was pretty boring stuff to me, but whatever. We played a pretty short/sloppy set, but I’m gonna chalk it up to a long day of driving and nothing else. Afterwards we got our pizza and sodas and just chilled all night, we got our own private room upstairs filled with bunk beds and showers. It was a nice end.
Europe is filled with punishers—beware. They will corner you and talk at you without letting you speak for hours at a time. Sometimes you will be scolded for playing a normal hardcore set time and other times they will explain to you the best riff of an album you don’t care about and if all else fails they will speak quietly to you unaware that you can’t hear or understand their careless whispers and you will not know how to exit politely so you stay and stay and you turn into a blob pretending to sip liquid out of your empty bottle till you say “I have to pee” and then in bathroom where you’ve escaped a man will lean against the stall and take the opportunity to spark a conversation while you are ACTUALLY urinating. Then you die.
Thursday May 14: Vienna, Austria to Budapest, Hungary
I took out a bunch of Euros out of the bank to pay for my breakfast and now I have all this money I can’t use because we are headed into Hungary, then Croatia. I feel dumb.
We got breakfast at some random spot in Vienna. No one knew how to read the menu and so no one really ordered much, but it was weird because there is so much nondescript tension in the air and I don’t know why. It makes little decisions everyone makes that would normally just be no big deal into some weird investigation into intention. I don’t really like it. I’m trying to ignore it because for once I’m not actually involved and I’m in a good tour flow where I’m just going along with what’s best and not trying to make waves, just trying to enjoy my trip with friends. I’m sure it’s just an end of tour culmination of close quarters, feeling tired, strong personalities and a lot of feelings, doing the whole wake up early— hurry up and wait game gets old after a while.
The waiter never brought out Jason’s mysterious dish (he just picked the first thing on the menu). This was probably one of the first times we’ve eaten out the whole trip. When he finally brought Jason’s meal out it was the most sick joke because it was bread and spread. The breakfast we get for free at every gig, the traditional breakfast of Europe. We went out specifically to eat something other than that and now he has to pay for it, it was so cruel, but the funniest thing ever!
We drove into Hungary and stopped at a gas station to fuel up and pay for a vignette. We left and 10 miles down the road realized we forgot to pay for the gas. Oops! I don’t know why they don’t have you pay first, it’s basically their fault, whatever these gas station have the worst snacks anyway.
We got to Budapest and were greeted by Viktor one of Merm’s friends. He looks like he could be in Yo La Tengo. He and his partner Anna made us a huge feast and even made the group some pork dish even though they are both vegetarian. That was very sweet of them. The apartment complex he lives in has a center courtyard. Completely blocking out the outside world, it looks like a cell block with a prison exercise yard, but instead of dudes weight lifting it’s filled with old Hungarian women who stare at you really hard, impervious to your smiles.
We drove over to the venue which was in a city center and up on the 4th floor. I couldn’t really figure out the building. It was huge and we took all the equipment up in a freight elevator. We walked it through several sectioned off bars, each its own club, all of them connected. Once you were in your designated club space you COULD NOT float between them and they loved to tell you, you are trapped. The bathrooms each had their own old woman who sat next to the sink. And she doesn’t actually say anything but yells at you when you try to poop in the stalls because stalls are for women only, the men get a horse troth. I waited till she turned and ran in because no way on earth am I shitting in a urinal again. She just stares and Jason thinks she’s their just to guilt you into washing your hands.
Our bar had club-mate so I drank 3. Viktor gave the band a $10,000 bill for drinks! I’ve never seen that kind of cash before, but then after my jaunt into make believe I figured out it was like 50€ . The bartender hated Fred. Every time Fred put his hand out for change he just set it on the table away from him and wouldn’t respond, it was so funny. At least funny to me, Fred was upset.
The first band was a sick grind band that covered Napalm Death. I came pretty close to moshing, but this was before I had pooped so I didn’t want to risk disaster. The second band was a straight forward hardcore band that everyone seemed to love, I didn’t catch the name, I wonder how long they’d been around.
When we played I had so much mate energy that I pretty much went apeshit behind the drums and got REALLY exhausted, even though we played well and were giving our last bit of energy we could not get them to budge. A lot of cold stares.
Afterward we got a million compliments and people kept trying to smoke me out because I was so “bad ass”. It’s so weird to me we could barely squeeze out a head nod from these people I have trouble believing they were feeling it that much haha. Also I bet Hungarian weed sucks. Everyone was really nice though and I had fun!
After we took our 1,000 dollar bills out to buy booze and mate for me, before heading back to Viktor’s house. Viktor got Dano to buy some weird alcohol that made his breath smell like Christmas. We went to McDonalds and the McDonald’s security kicked Dano out.
At Viktor’s we just chatted and I passed out early on Viktor’s loft next to his bed leaving a small path from the ladder to his bed. I woke up after I don’t know how long to a big boom and a stumbling Viktor pushing down the ladder. I was really disoriented and saw concerned looks on everyone’s face and Merm saying underneath the loft “it got me a little I’m cool.” I started to piece the puzzle together and looked at Jason who was in Viktor’s bed with him and Jason’s face said “OH FUCK.” Viktor popped up, hit his head on the ceiling, and tried to get down but vomited all over the little pathway I left. I looked to my right and the smell of sour milk and lentils hit me like a brick! He missed my head by literally inches!!!! I almost got a head full of Hungarian gut sludge! Some dripped on to Merm below and we were all giggling and concerned as Viktor burped and coughed his drunk ass to the bathroom. Dano offered water and a towel. I was still in this really sleepy haze so instead of moving and trying to get as far away as possible I just put tissue in my nose and rolled over as Victor cleaned a liter of puke with tissue papers. Drunk cleaning isn’t always practical. He burped and sighed through a 20 minute wipe down while saying “I had too much party.” He filled a bucket with puked drenched Kleenex haha and then just plopped back on his bed. I fell back asleep beside the ghost of Viktor’s puke past.
Friday, May 15: Budapest, Hungary to somewhere in Croatia
The smell of vomit is gone. I got up and drank my pomegranate club-mate till it was time to head to Croatia.
Croatia is really pretty and massive, but the guy at the show told me that it’s only 50,000 people.
The venue is an old military compound that was squatted in the 80’s, but now it’s a legal place that houses 220 different businesses from practice spaces to venues to dance studios. It’s pretty cool. It’s amazing to me that people repurpose so many cool ass places like this for things like Zumba, I saw grandmas walking in to go take classes walking down halls spray painted and messed up. I feel like most people in the states wouldn’t go to Zumba in a building like this. They would probably only go to a place that was expensive and very clean. A space is a space is a space for people here. They took us up to the spot we’re staying and it’s a larger room with like 16 stacked and stained mattresses, I’m a little scared of bed bugs always, but I’m sure I’ll be exhausted and just pass out on one without caring.
After eating soup with the other bands, I went upstairs and fell asleep on the mattress before the first band ended, I woke up at 1:30 am and we had to play. Not many people arrived, we played and just hung out for a bit talking with a lot of locals and the other bands. before going back to the room to pass out.
A couple of people on this trip, but more intensely here in Croatia, came up to me at shows we played and would ask about the deaths caused by police brutality and asked point blank what I was going to do about police killing black folks.
This guy in Croatia told me he didn’t like Americans (US citizens) which is understandable being from eastern Europe and probably never being in favor of the US’ stance on mostly anything, which I agreed with, I think he understood we were on the same level at least on that.
It seems mind blowing to a lot of the world that THE POLICE are the ones killing people. I mean, I don’t know, it can beweird having White Europeans explain to you racism and oppression, because Europeans started white supremacy, also a lot of Europe has differing ideas of what is oppressive I feel. Comparatively, mono culture folks have trouble understanding diaspora. In Spain there were people speaking Spanish which seemed familiar and then at the venue we played there were several star of David’s crossed out spray painted on the walls, we asked what that meant and as a ‘reliever’ this guy said ‘OH NO NO NO! IT MEANS UMMM NO ISREAL as if we would be relieved and then DANO and Jason, the two American Jewish people, felt a little weird i think, but not too weird. At first i was like Damn these people got this anti-racist thing down!, but more and more I just think its a totally different context and sticking ANTI-FASCIST on every sticker is like wearing a Che Guevara shirt in the states.
Anyway, these separate people in Croatia were admittedly and understandably skeptical of why I was in Croatia at all. “why are you here”?..oh we just got booked here…”yes, but why here? what do you want”?….ummmmm..
They were also just confused as to why we ‘allow’ police to kill people. It’s hard for anyone to understand how mentally oppressive it is living in the states. I tried to explain as to how Europe seems to be in debt to its people for rebuilding so many times and most of its governing forces work slightly in favor of them (not perfect obviously, just saying some things are better in this aspect) and that in the states we are born into debt monetarily and physically the systems in place in the states keep us subdued from the moment we are born. People can actually question police in Europe. I can’t even look a cop in the eye in the states.
Also this is all just based on my limited understanding of everything/the world. I don’t claim to be correct. Experience-wise it is just so hard to feel so POWERLESS in the face of oppression especially when most of my social feed this last year and a half has just been black and brown bodies being desecrated.
What am I going to do about it? I HAVE NO FUCKING CLUE. I am currently just evaluating how much I value my life anyway and trying to decode if I value myself less because I am a depressive person or I am conditioned to feel like less? The system seems to be working in the favor of those who created it internationally. I wish I could do something other than just signing a petition to get a cop fired. Either way It was an experience to be in Croatia.
Saturday, May 16th: Somewhere in Croatia to Parma, Italy
We woke up, loaded, and headed out on a long journey to our final show in Parma, Italy
The car ride was quiet and I think everyone is ready to go home.
The show was at a squat in Parma and it’s an all day fest, which sounds like the last thing everyone wants. I don’t think we are at a breaking point now or anything, but I think knowing this is the last day has everyone’s attitudes already checked out.
I basically leaned against a wall with wifi most of the show going back and forth between watching bands, I also realized during this time that I smell so bad, like somewhere between salty bleach and a foot that stepped in shit. I’ve only eaten a bag of peanuts all day and I’m dying.
The guy who did the show, Pulce, was older and very excited and was thrashed out with a bandana and hat with a flipped up bill. He was pumped the whole day and got real live for every band. Dano kept reenacting the dude from Switzerland punching me in the stomach saying “youranadassmotherfuckingdrummer” and now everyone is in on the joke so I’ve been on my guard the whole day.
Febo and Laura came to the jig and are driving us to the airport immediately after. It’s good to see them, still a sexy ass couple.
We played last at 11:30 and successfully convinced them to not use our stuff as a back line so it was a quick set up and breakdown.
Our set was easily the best of tour! It was a complete whirlwind we played every song well and every time I looked up I’d see Jason leaping off the bass drum and Merm in the air being carted around atop of the crowd. We did played 2 extra songs and still finished in under 17 minutes. It was such an intense set. We tried to exhaust every last bit of energy into this last set and it was a great feeling to end on.
Afterwards we figured out all our packing situation, somehow we have WAAAY more stuff then we came with and packing every inch of bags and cases is tricky. We settled our debt with the van and back line and headed to the airport. We got pulled over, but I slept through the cops shining lights on me apparently.
We got to the airport gave hugs to Dano who is going to Denmark to chill and said bye to Laura and Febo and then we began the stressful maze back home through two flights and busy airports wearing the clothes we played in just 4 hours prior. Smelly and sweaty and tired and a little bit broken searching for coffee. This is a familiar feeling.