Solex tour United States and Canada 2004

This 2004 US-tour, Solex  will operate as a duo. Marit de Loos on drums / backing vocals and me, Elisabeth doing the same shabang as ever; samples, loops, Moog and vocals. We arrive on October 6th at Newark, New York. Luckily we can crash the first couple of nights in at Rick and Birgit’s place in Brooklyn. Birgit made a couple of Solex video’s and we stayed friends since then.

The next day we have a video shoot for a video that has to go with the song ‘Hot Diggity Dog Run Run Run’.  We don’t really have a clue what the video is about. Hopefully the videocrew does. The directors/camera operators Kathy Horne and her friend Lawrence asked if we could look terrified, run away and fight each other. I just hope they won’t pitch in some voodoo-footage as well…

October 8th we have our first show at Rothko’s in New York. It is the first time Marit and I do a real live gig together. In The Netherlands we’d only done a session for radioshow Club3voor12 . There are three other bands on the bill; On!Air!Library! from New York, Worm Is Green from Iceland and Ovian from Portland-Oregon. We will do this whole tour together except for O!A!L!, they will only be on it for 2,5 weeks,after that they will support Interpol on another tour. Evan, one of the guys from Ovian is also the tourmanager and driver. He is also the owner of a 15-seat van. Quite a big one, but not big enough for all equipment so we had to hire a trailer as well. Everything goes well this first night. A lot of friends showed up, and the place was packed.

The 9th we head for Boston. We have a late soundcheck, and after that we do a video-taped interview for a really nice website called For dinner we meet up with Andy Hong. Andy has about 20 different jobs and one of them is being a journalist for DIY mag Tape-Op. We start playing at 12 and Marit and I are pretty tired but apart from a smoking voltage-converter I suddenly spot beneath me, everything goes allright.  We change the converter and finished the set. The place isn’t really that packed but people are responsive. At about 2 o’clock everything is loaded out and we are on our way to Portland-Maine and hope for a nice motel on the way. However,….every motel was completely booked. This seems to be a big holliday weekend. At 4 o’clock  Evan decides on sleeping in the van. We all agree.

After about 4 hours of sleep we wake up and continue the drive to Portland. We have breakfast at some biker joint we finally find a hotel with vacancies. A nice shower and a short nap we head to the venue. The last time a decorator had layed his hands on the place was in the seventies, or so it seems. The only thing that is missing is a big old wagonwheel at the ceiling.  In Maine it is the law that performers cannot drink any alcohol on stage and so we all trie to get into the right mood in the dressingroom. Everyone plays a rather short set, people were drunk and rowdy, and of course the local madman was dancing his pants off at the front of the stage.

At night we only sleep for a couple of hours ‘cause we have a big trip ahead of us to Montreal, Canada. Crossing the border is always a hassle,….especially if you’re travelling as a tourist with no workpermit. Aye! In the past the equipment we had with us had to be explained by a letter we carried saying we would do some recording  and would not make any money.  And now we don’t have one. But as luck would have it, they just recently changed the rules. It’s a tax thing. A list of clubs do not need to pay tax on certain performances, and so we don’t need a workpermit for Canada any longer. The bottomline: how not to make money and stay out of trouble…. To avoid any other problems, the merch is shipped to Chicago. We hide our tourschedules and put on our ‘innocent look’. Worm Is Green, our Icelandic friends who occupy two benches in the back of the van especially have a hard time to keep their cool. We arive quite late at the club ‘La Sala Rosa’ . An amazing place that looks like an old ballroom from the 60’s: a lot of red velvet curtains and chandeleers. I know this place from a former tour. Back then, one of the guys of Godspeed! You Black Emperor did sound. It appears he now owns the club.Well done! This night Marit and I play the best show so far. Marit asks the crowd to get of their chairs and step forward. That really helps. Canadians are sweet! We celebrate with a local brewsky and then we go to the hotel.

In Toronto we play in a club called  Lee’s Palace. It is a genuine rock club: a hughe stage, good equipment, large capacity, professional employees and finally a dressingroom with a couch…it’s so nice to be able to stretch the legs right before the show! Holly Crane comes to the show to film it on video. She’s a filmmaker, currently working on a film about music producers/musicians. A few months ago she already filmed in my basement studio. The local soundengineer I met before during a former tour when he was still making radio says it is the second best show he’s ever seen in the club. The best one would have been The Ex with Tom Cora… there you go! The Dutch are so cool!

We need to get new oil for the van and while that is taken care off Marit and I kill time at Wal Mart. It will be Halloween soon so the place is loaded with all kind of freaky masks, lanterns and other creepy stuff. Later this day we cross the Canadian/US border again. At American customs it seems only the creepy can get for a job. There is a lady that asks too much questions to our taste. Like the questions she asks to Brede, one of the members of Ovian; When did you get married ?, to whom?, why ? She looks very scary and angry too. Oh well,…we all survive and head to The Lager House in Detroit. Check in time is 8’O. We are a bit early so we go to a bar right next to the club and have beers. Marit becomes good friends with John B. A very warmhearted ol’ man who looks like a homeless version of Santa Claus. He says he was a car mechanic and used to be the bassplayer for MC5. There’s even a song that ends with John B especially dedicated to him. He had been in jail for 8 years for smuggling drugs and his brother got caught in Spain and got 5. Of course we all really want the story to be true, and they might even be. At 8 we enter the club. Adam, our soundengineer orders Mexican for everybody and tells us there will be no soundcheck. And that there aren’t any (essensial) DI-boxes but we don’t need to worry. Tonight the turn up is lousy, too bad since we had a percentage-deal. We all play short sets, get a few beers for the road and check in at the nearest Motel 6. It is probably the cheapest Motel 6 I’ve ever been to (and I’ve seen quite many actually). Marit and I both shower. The water not only goes down the drain but also down a gigantic crack in the tub.

The next day we first have breakfast at Denny’s. Two-egg breakfast is the bomb. Especially the hasbrowns that go with it are awsome ! Today we drive to Chicago. It’s probably the 7th time Solex  will do a show at The Empty Bottle. There’s a bonus DVD that comes with the new record that was mainly shot in this venue. The DVD is called ‘Solex Versus The Empty Bottle’. As Marit and I walk into the room, Marit almost collapses from shock. Her American boyfriend Troy flew over from Austin, Texas to surprise her. And I must say….it worked ! It is a great show and we sell an amazing amount of merch. Tonight we sleep at friends of Troy’s. They will drive us to Milwaukee tomorrow which is only about a 2 hour drive.

This morning we all wake up at about 12’O, have coffee and leave for Milwaukee where will be staying at Chris’ place. Chris is another friend of Troy and a generous guy. You donˆt get 1 towel, you get three. We go to The Cactus Club for soundcheck and than go for a bite to eat. Marit has to meet loads of Troyˆs friends. In about 6 months Troy will move in with Marit in Amsterdam. Quite something! The owner of the club remembered Solex playing his room about 4 years ago. That was nice. He tells Milwaukee is more about hardrock than anything else these days. But from now on that is a good thing ! During the show people are really wild, they scream their lungs out in between songs and dance throughout the whole set. After the show we go to Chrisˆ house play the new Badly Drawn Boy record, have a couple of glasses of wine and then we all turn in.

I have one of the best showers ever. It is also one of the nicests bathrooms I’ve ever seen. Heated floor, marble everywhere, not bad at all. After breakfast, Chris and Troy drive us in 20 minutes to The Days Inn. Worm Is Green and Ovian had spend the night over there. Today we will play the house in the 7th. Street Entry in Minneapolis. It is the small room next to 1st Avenue: home of Prince the bad motherfucker. We’ve never seen this much limo’s anywhere. People in Minneapolis really like to show off, or theyˆre just really famous. There is a pretty good crowd at the show. All goes well. The promotor is really nice gives us a bottle of vodka so we can throw our own afterparty at the hotel room. We all go to the Worm Is Green room and drink straight vodka, vodka-cranberryjuice and vodka-oj. Icelandic people are funny when theyˆre sober, but when theyˆre drunk they go mental. The two brothers shave grose moustaches. Think of George Michael meets The Village people. YMCA!

We have our first driveday today. In 2,5 days we have to drive 1600 miles: all the way from Minneapolis to Seattle. To me that means I can sleep a lot. Marit drives for about 3 hours. It is quite cold outside. In the afternoon we even have some snow.

We wake up quite early today and start driving. We cross Montana and saw truely breathtaking landscapes.

Today we arrive in Seattle. Rainy city of Starbucks and Grunge. There are a lot of homeless people asking for cigarettes and money. We play at the Crocodile cafe, a very nice club where lots of even nicer bands play. Just this time Worm Is Green will headline because there has been some kind of a buzz going on. The turn up is a bit disappointing though. We do play a good set and the audience seems to like it a lot. We have a really nice hotel a few blocks from where the club is, very modern. Marit and I bought a bottle of champagne (well it actually is some kind of bubbling wine) because Tuta of Worm Is Green has her birthday. Our plan was to offer it to her during the last song of their set, but the rules are strict in The Crocodile; you just cannot bring your own drinks into the club. So we wait untill we arrive at the hotel.

Poor Tuta suffers from a hangover and sleeps throughout our whole drive to Portland. This will be our day off in Portland. Evan and Brede from Ovian live here. Marit and I both do our laundry at Evanˆs place. At about 9pm Maritˆs boyfriend, Troy, will fly in to join us for a week. They are so in love. When he arrives we all take a cab to stay at friends of Troy. They have the biggest cat I’ve ever seen; 20 pounds. They also had the smallest dog I’v ever seen; 5 pounds.

21 October
This morning I slept 'till 12. Marit and Troy 'till 3. We have wireless at the house where we stay so I enjoy myself with that 'till we have to leave for Dantes. The club is right in the middle of chinatown and looks as if they have stand-up comedy nights all week long. A lot of small round tables with red rugs on it. After soundcheck we finally meet my label
big honcho boss Greg Glover. We have been e-mailing for like half a year and I have spoken to him twice over the phone, but never met him in person. A few months ago his label the Arena Rock Recording Company moved from New York to Portland. We have a real nice dinner across the street and when we come back the place is completely packed. A great show.

22 October
We all slept a few hours 'cause today we have an mega drive to San Francisco. When we enter the outskirts it is as if the sky is on fire. We’ve never seen a sky light up as red as this. Very surreal. We arrive quite late at the Bottom Of The Hill so we skip soundcheck. We all play for a big crowd which is super nice for Ovian since they had to kick off every night and never really had a big crowd 'cause of that. Again we have wireless·hurray ! Iˆm getting pretty obsessed about this wireless thing and everyone is making fun of it. After the show we drive for about two hours heading for Los Angeles.

23 October.
Breakfast at Denny’s is always the best way to start a day: ·there’s another obsession. When we arrive in LA I pick up my old backline at a friend’s place. In 2001 we ended the tour in LA and this friend had stashed the equipment for me. It is an 70’s Slingerland and a crappy guitar amp. Everything was still there. The new tennant of the house, Eric Gartner used the bass drum on several recordings and was sorry he couldn’t use it anymore. Eric is a session drummer. He'd played the kit for Ben Lee and Wayne Kramer amongst others. We play a good one at Spaceland, a nice club where I played before.

24 October
Today we have a big drive ahead of us. About 12 hours to Plush, a venue in Tucson Arizona. Again the landscape is breathtaking and we see a lot of cactusses.  Unfortunately it is a very slow night and we all play for a handful of people. The good thing about the club is the appartment that bands can use. There are only 6 beds however, so Marit and Troy share a bed and Brede and Evan sleep in the van. The weather is really nice so they don’t mind

25 October
Today we’re aiming for Denver, a 16 hours drive. We do have 1,5 drive day to pull that off, but instead we’d like to make it in 1 day. In Denver we can all stay at Troy's fathers place. He lives up in the mountains and we will probably get there around 2 in the morning. Troy sais his father's place is filled with stuffed animals. In his younger days he used to be a drummer who played at weddings and such. When we arrive Troy's father Gary and his wife Laura welcome us with gumbo and wine, quite a treat! It is a beautiful house, very spacious and luxurious. The view is awsome and outside they have a hot tub whitch is of course big fun!. They warn us for the thin air and that we to drink a lot of water otherwise we will get very lightheaded. We turn in at about 5 in the morning.

26 October
Laura has prepared a great breakfast for us. Fresh fruit, yoghurt cereal and homemade cofeecake. In the afternoon Gary makes us Bloody Mary's,·.hips. We basically enjoy the house and the mountain the whole day before have to be at the club. At 5 Laura even makes us a very good lasagna. They are really spoiling us. That night we play at the Larimer Lounge and it is the last night On! Air! Library! plays with us. They had good press in Denver and it is nice so many people had showed up for them.

27 October
This morning Laura and Gary have made breakfast burritos for us. It is hard to say goodbye to our sweet hosts so we start our driveday at about 3 o'clock. First we want to vistit Red Rocks, an amphitheatre in the middle of the mountains. It is designed in the 30's and had the best acoustics ever. Basically a great location for a theatre. That’s probably what U2 must have thought. We sre all a bit hungover and sleep most of the drive. Only Evan and Brede are driving.

28 October
Today we continue our drive to Denton. You can really feel that the air becomes more humid. The temperature also rises. Marit and I play 4 games of scrable. In the middle of our fourth all of a sudden the car startes shaking. Evan quikly pulls over and it seems we have a flat. A guy from triple A helps us out and changes the tyre. We arrive a bit late at Hailey's in Denton, but can still soundcheck. The turn up isn't that good but we still enjoy it.

29 October
Today we will play Emo's in Austin, hometown of Troy. Troy and his brother Travis rent a nice house with a garden. Marit and I stay at their place. Worm Is Green and Ovian check into a hotel. Emo's is quite crowded and we do a great show. I think I could live here, there's a good vibe and everyones really nice.

30 October
The Houston show has been cancelled so we have a day off in Austin. Troy and Travis make us a big barbecue in the garden. Travis bought a 7 pound turkey, that stays on a separate barbecue for a couple of hours. At about 5 all the others come to the house. Troy makes awesome marguerites as well. that almost seem like a smoothies cause he also put
some avocado in it, very very good stuff indeed! We all tumble into bed quite early that.

31 October
Troy and Marit have to say goodbye. Nothing too dramatic since Marit will fly to Austin at the end of the tour to spend one more week. Lovebirds·.that's what they are! We drive all day. Boring!

1 November
We finish our drive to Orlando-Florida. I’ve never been deep down in Florida and don't really know what to expect. The place will go down as the venue where the friendliest people work. Real sweethearts! At 12 they have 'electroclash disco'. This attracts a lot of young hipsters who apparently 'borrowed' the old 80’s outfits from their older brothers and sisters.

2 November
Today we will rock The Drunken Unicorn in Atlanta. There are not that many people but we try not to let that get us down. At night some of us sleep at Linda's parents place. Linda is a member of Magnapop. Marit did some tour managing for them when they played Europe and ever since they are good friends. The house is awesome, by the way!

3 November
We leave quite late for our drive to Knoxville. The club where we play is in an area where a lot of bars are. It seems that everything starts very late in Knoxville. Ovian starts at 11, Worm Is Green at about 12 and Solex at about 1. Marit bought a bottle of Vodka 'cause she gets kind of sick of all those weird different beers all the time. We all happily join her.

4 November
Chappel Hill today!
Marit and I really start disliking those long drives. Just a few more to go however· And as a matter of fact·I also kind of had it with writing the diary every day so let me just say we had a nice time at the club. It seems as if the sound engineer had just bought a stack of reverbs and delays, Solex never sounded as dubby as this night. We have dinner at an Indian restaurant. Every time the waiter comes by for water refills or something else he keeps saying 'skst' to attract our attention. “Skst,·do you want any more water
skst?˜ I can’t stop thinking of the Mister Bean sketch situated in the Indian place.

5 November
Today we do an all-ages show in Baltimore. We have to be there quite early because the show starts at 8. After we will finish, the place will be swept and another band would perform. There is a pretty nice turn up. I get a t-shirt from someone that sais 'Maiden Shiner'. It’s a joke on 'Made In China'·.funny stuff.

6 November
The drive will be a very short one today. We play at the North Star Bar in Philadelphia. For me it is the third show in this place. We arrive way too early and decide to kill some time at a bowling alley. The Dutch team wins 1 game, hooray! For a change we all can soundcheck which is really nice. This will be our last gig together with Ovian and Worm Is Green. One way or the other Evan from Ovian kept on mishearing a sentence from a Solex song called 'The Boxer'. I sing “You gotta move in”, but he hears “Get him in the ass”. Hmmm,·.a bit farfetched but hey,·anything is possible. During this song I ask Evan to join
us on stage to sing that line, and so he does. When we get to the motel we have some 'goodbye drinkies' and say our Icelandic friends farewell. They will take the plane from Baltimore to Iceland tomorrow. We all have a great last night.

7 November
We get up very early, have breakfast at The Crackerbarrel and start our drive to Jersey where we first need to get rid of the trailer. At 6 Marit and I have to be at North Six in Brooklyn for soundcheck. This will be our last show of this leg of the tour. It actually is an extra show for us. I'd asked my booker; Kork Agency to surprise me with an extra show in New York 'cause we had two days off in New York anyway. Ans so he did. The Victoria Lucas plays at 9, we enter the stage at midnight. In between there are two other
bands. One of them; The Advantage, covers old Nintendo tunes, very funny, great musicians too. At the club we bump into my buddy Wouter Verrijn Stuart (of the famous Dutch Kelt label) and his misses. Quite a surprise! The show went well.

8 November
We have our first day off and show signs of homesickness. Almost all conversations are about food,·.that is, · typical Dutch food like; boerenkool with sausage, zuurkool with sausage, andijviestamjpot with sausage·. you know·.the works! No Dutch food on the menu yet however. Marit and I take our New York hosts Rick and Birgit out for a farewell meal.

9 November
Marit flies off to her sweetheart Troy in Austin and I fly off to my nice hometown Amsterdam. Every time I'm away for such a long time I appreciate that damn city more and more.