Solex' Westcoast tour 1998:

Monday 11-16-1998:After touring the East Coast for two weeks, we're finally in Seattle. We arrived last night and spent the night at Rob's. He's a friend of David; our sound-engineer from Eugene, Oregon. We did the East Coast tour by ourselves and got quite used to low-budget touring in those weeks. To cut the costs we often stayed at people's houses for the night, something quite common for American bands, but unknown to Dutch bands. We've all been looking forward to next week. The band, because we finally play with Cornelius (who we toured with in Europe) and the Notwist (who we toured with in Germany) again. Also because we stay with Cornelius in a so called 'sleeper van', and so we don't have to worry about were to sleep, and how to drive. David is a happy guy 'cause he's close to home after being on the road for two months non-stop. The first show on the West Coast is in Seattle, in a club called Aro-space. The cabdriver that takes us and our equipment to the venue tries to rip us for $20. 'Everybody's got to make a living, right??' Yeah right.
The Aro-space is a nice arty venue with a temporary Cornelius-exhibition by Eric Brunetti. It's very nice to meet the Notwist again. We get plenty of time to do so, 'cause Cornelius takes more than three hours to soundcheck. Solex has gotten quite used to that. For the Notwist this is a new phenomenon. After Cornelius finishes the soundcheck Solex and the Notwist together get an hour to do the same. The Notwist sounds great. They always do, even after flying straight out of Germany.
The show is sold out, as all the shows will be on this tour. After the show we get to see the tourbus, which looks really cool. It's a fifties style turquoise touingcar, and we can imagine Led Zeppelin having toured like this. Bob is the nice busdriver.

Tuesday 11-17-1998: We can take a shower in Camiel's hotelroom. Camiel is Cornelius' Dutch tour manager. The sleepervan stayed in Seattle. Cornelius is a rather spoilt band 'cause even though there is a tourbus, the band and the crew stay in nice hotelrooms. So much for rock 'n roll. After we take a shower we get some genuine Seattle coffee on the street. Nice, 'cause we haven't smelled a decent cup of coffee in weeks. We leave for Portland at noon. The Notwist travel by themselves in two vans. One with the equipment and one with the band. Solex and Cornelius shere the rented backline. Traveling in a tourbus with 15 people aboard is very cozy. Listening to music, talking, watching weird videostuff and playing games are a few things you can do on those busses. Before this tour we were used to sitting in a minivan for hours. Now we can even walk around and drive at the same time. Portland is only a few hours away from Seattle. Tonight the German- Dutch-Japanese Musicrevue is staged at the Satyricon, a rather small club (300 seat), that looks kind of shabby. The sound in the venue is OK. Again Cornelius soundchecks for three hours, which means no soundcheck for Solex or the Notwist. It's amazing the Notwist sounds cool under these circumstances 'cause they have at least as much electronic stuff as Cornelius got. David finally sees his girlfriend after eight weeks of celibacy. The show goes down well. The crowd, usually with a fair amount of Japanese people, likes all three bands. We sell a lot of stuff on the road, and so does the Notwist, who seem to have Cornelius as their new fans. After the show we take a shower in Cornelius' showerrooms at a hotel nearby. It is very nice to go to bed right after a show on the parkinglot of a venue. In the middle of our dreams the bus starts driving towards San Fransisco…

Wednesday 11-18-1998: San Franpsycho!!!! Everybody talks to themselves on the street, a lot of panhandling; crazy stuff. The drive from Portland was very nice though. A good sleep, beautiful scenery at breakfast and of course very nice weather. In Holland it's freezing right now. At three o'clock we're parked right outside the Phoenix hotel. The swimmingpool was designed by Andy Warhol, and everybody who wants to be somebody in the world of rock and roll stays here. Rob Zombie's bus is right next to ours. We take showers in the Cornelius rooms. We're not playing until tomorrow so there is time for some serious sightseeing. San Fransisco is beautiful. We walk to Chinatown and buy lots of stuff. We eat dinner at a Chinese restaurant and write some postcards. For coffee we go to Starbucks where we sit outside for some time. In an hour time we meet three local lunatics. San Franpsycho… Then we go back to the bus. We go to bed early, 'cause the busses' generator is off to save electricity. Something is wrong with the generator. David goes out by himself to see the Groovecollective. I wonder why he goes by himself…

Thursday 11-19-1998: It was pretty cold last night. During daytime it gets quite hot here. We get up and have a noodlesoup for breakfast with Camiel. Then we all hop on the bus to go to Bimbo's 356. We unload, and there appears to be a very tight schedule. Cornelius starts soundchecking and we walk to Lombardstreet (the crookedest street), where we run into Martin, Micha and Mecky our friends from the Notwist. They had a pretty rough drive from Portland. We walk towards Fisherman's wharf; very touristic with a nice view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. Then we go back to Bimbo's. Bimbo's is a classy jazz ballroom, where, as in the rest of California, you're not allowed to smoke. The room is very well equipped. We get a decent soundcheck and so does the Notwist (of course not compared to European standards). The crowd gets to see three very good shows tonight. The evening starts very early, so our little house is back on it's parkinglot by 1.00 am. We go to bed right away, 'cause tomorrow there is more stuff to be seen.

Friday 11-20-1998: After our daily 'to go' breakfast, we take the citybus to Golden Gate park. From there we walk up to Ashbury Haight. Lots of hippies and panhandlers, but still a very nice neighbourhood. Amoebarecords is a gigantic recordstore that sells new and secondhand stuff. Anything you hope you might find one day is here. Amazing!
We walk a lot so at the end of the day we're all very tired. Everybody from team Solex takes turns eating. David eats a hamburger, Geert (guitar) eats a veggie burrito somewhere, and Robert (drums) and Elisabeth (Solex herself) eat burritos someplace else. That's the way it goes in America.
At night a beggar nearly gets killed near the tourbus. He was hit by a citybus. Earlier that day the guy had asked us for money. We hit the road for Los Angeles at 1.00 am.

Saturday 11-21-1998: When our eyes open themselves at 11.00 am, we're already right in front of the Troubadour on Santa Monica boulevard. It is bloody hot outside. In front of us is Beverly Hills, Hollywood in the back. Geert suffers from tourfatigue and stays in the bus. David, Elizabeth and Robert go for a hike through the Hollywood hills. We walk on Sunset Avenue, where all the wannabees meet. Los Angeles is a very dirty city.
The Troubadour is a legendary venue. The Doors played there, or so somebody told us. Again there is a very tight schedule. We feel sorry for the Notwist. They soundcheck for five minutes, and start their show right after that. They also have to set up in front of the other backline, so that leaves them about ten square feet. The show again turns out really well; nice reactions from fans and all. We go to the Cornelius hotel on Hollywood boulevard and do some late night sightseeing. We also go for some pizza and fit our hands in the concrete handprints of Jack Nickolson and Nathalie Wood. Then we break into the old Chinese Theatre, which looks really nice.

Sunday 11-22-1998: After breakfast (coffee, bagels and OJ) we leave for San Diego. Tonight we play a club called 'the Casbah', which is right under the landingstrip of San Diego airport. This club is rather small, and not built to have three large bands play at one night. Even through the (always loud) Corneliusset you can hear the planes flying in.
All shows are great (again), and since tonight is the last show of the tour, it's time to take pictures and stuff. Lots of pictures. After saying goodbye to the tourbus, Bob and Cornelius, we all go back to the hotel and have a party in one of the Notwistrooms. They even set up a small backline to play a nice set of dixielandmusic. It's not untill 5 o'clock that everybody falls asleep. Cornelius left earlier that night, 'cause they are doing a radioshow tomorrow. We fall asleep to Micha's horn still playing at the end of the hallway.

Monday 11-23-1998: With our eyes only half open, Solex and the Notwist have breakfast at Denny's. Hamburgers for the Notwist, eggs and pancakes for Solex. Not exactly what we eat at home, but we got used to it. Then we say goodbye to the Notwist. We see them again in two months time when they play the Paradiso in Amsterdam. Then we take a cab to the airport, where we say goodbye to David. His plane leaves two hours after ours, but unlike David, we've got a twelve hour flight ahead of us. Touring for eight weeks is pretty tough, so we all look forward to going home.