by Frank Lewis
The Whiskey Daredevils just returned from a road trip in Europe. Frontman Greg Miller fills us in on what happened.
I sit in the van seat, which has only one position, that being a military straight up back posture. Somehow I manage to drop blissfully into a deep slumber, maybe for the first time in three days. “Hey Greg! Greg! Want to hear about these chicks I met at the after hours last night?” Leo has awoken me for the eighth time in the last 48 hours. He is relaxed, rested, and worry free. I want to kill him.
“Yeah, this girl was going to get her bag and go with that one Swiss guy with the fucked-up mustache right? But he didn’t have any place to go with her, so I totally was going to do him a solid.”
“Well, what were you going to do?” I ask in a measured tone. “Let him into the bunk area and they would have sex next to me and the snoring guy with the scary hand?”
“No Dude! The van! The van! But then her friends grabbed her before she could go off with him.”
Glad I wasn’t sitting in a damp spot from some early morning Swiss coupling, I closed my eyes and tried to put a game plan together on Operation Regroup 2009. I am going to have to get to sleep somewhere, and there is no hotel rate I will not pay for a private room of my own. If Ravensburg has only a Ritz Carlton with the Presidential Suite, I will take out whatever savings necessary for a solid five hours of sleep. No price is too high. I am very jagged right now.
Miraculously a half-block from the Café Balthus is a charming little Gasthaus. I spot it while we were driving in, and the second we stop the van I leap into action. I wordlessly grab my bag, walk up the hill to the hotel, and get a room. The room is large with a soft double bed. The curtains on the open windows breathe in and out with the breeze from my private roof top garden. I check in at 5:02. I am fast asleep by 5:04.
I wake up with the alarm at 8:15, crack open a Farny Pils from my privately stocked refrigerator, and stand in the hot shower drinking my beer. I am back. Lady Fortune opens her legs to me once again when I discover I missed what I expect to be the worst load in of the tour. The performance area is a cellar downstairs with a steep staircase featuring a tight turn at the top. Ken’s bass cabinet is as heavy as a box of barbells, so nobody wants to load it down steep flights of concrete stairs.
We all sit outside on the cobblestone streets at tables drinking Farny Pils from large glasses. Johan and Evil arrive. These two are the Laurel and Hardy of German punk rock. Evil is big and very dry witted. He may be the funniest man in Germany (except for our friend Toby who is 50 percent Spanish, so that doesn’t count). Johan is slight, almost sickly, and usually finds himself mothered by any women nearby like a lost child. There is no distance these guys will not travel to see a show that interests them. Evil is still nursing himself back to shape after a weekend flameout in England, so Johan has to step up to the plate and drink for two. We had a really fun show here last year, and I start to recognize people as they drift in. I see “1977 Punk Rock Kid,” “Really Drunk Guy,” and Jasmine, the free-spirited blond bartender from last year who pumped me full of spicy shots. The weird mix of retro punk rockers that live here start to come out of the woodwork, and you can feel it will be a good show.
I sit at a table inside and try to crank out the set list. Jasmine sits down next to me and tells me about a three-week vacation to Thailand with her boyfriend. She has a limited English vocabulary, but I know what she’s talking about for the most part. She reminds me of someone, but every time I think I have figured it out, I lose it again. Then again, after so little sleep, I am not exactly a genius right now. I can’t help but feel jealous that she was able to whisk off to Thailand for three weeks while most people in the United States are excited to get the occasional three-day weekend craptacular to Six Flags Amusement Park. These Europeans have a better grasp of the importance of work than we do here in the U.S. After a few minutes, her boyfriend comes inside to check on her status, and gets her back outside away from the sweaty cowboy.
The small club is packed, and “Johnny Rocket” opens. They play an aggressive rockabilly that I like. Good band. We play well, and the crowd is really responsive like last year. We do three encores and hear yelling for more. I wish we knew more songs so we could play all night. I love these people in Ravensburg.
After the show, “the people” force us to do shots. I drink Merabelle, a plum grappa that is not too offensive. However, after shooting my mouth off about that not being too bad, I am poured a corn liquor with an unpronounceable name that is like a pissed-off step-brother to a bottom-shelf vodka. I feel confident that if I drink a third shot of this stuff I will wake up tomorrow morning with a bad tattoo in some stinky guy’s apartment with GWAR records on the turntable. It is time to go to my little oasis of a hotel room.