US tour November 2001

Ingredients:

Elisabeth Esselink=Solex

Geert de Groot=Guitars

Robert Lagendijk=Drums

Miguel Rodriguez from Salamanca, Spain=Sound

BEHIND THE WHEEL OF A LARGE AUTOMOBIEL

 

10-30 Tuesday

"If only we're in the Delifrance restaurant, drinking a large cappuccino", Robert sort of mumbles on the train towards Schiphol airport. And he's right! It's not even 7am and we're in the middle of the morning rush hour. An hour usually missed by the Solex foursome. At station Lelylaan we hold on extra to all our bags and instruments. The station's been in the news lately because a group of robbers operate here. They grab your bags as the train leaves and run. After a hectic check-in at the Air France desk, we indeed find ourselves slurping large coffee's at a Delifrance boot. It's three hours before boarding time and so there's enough time left for some major shopping. As if we are a busload of Japanese tourists, we fill our tax free bags with value packs film roles. We buy batteries and a bottle of Champagne for Rick and Birgit. We're staying with them the first couple of days in New York. They even postponed their wedding anniversary for that. That's so cool! After we're done boring ourselves, we can board the airplane. After an hour we change planes in Paris. The Charles de Gaulle airport is so big, that half an hour time is just about enough to make it onto the next flight. We're actually surprised to see how full the flight is. So no sleeping on 4 chairs. Bummer. Once we're up in the air, we can choose between 7 films and 10 computer games, that are all pretty boring. We kind of watch Spykids, a movie about a talking cat and another movie about a shrewd sort of Bill Gates kinda computerguy who kills in order to get this new internet program (hmmmm?). The French catering is not bad and we get lots of stuff to drink it down with. Of course, shortly after, we all fall asleep, and when the ocean stops underneath us, we all wake up again. The line at the immigration desk is pretty short, so 15 minutes later, we're all at the luggage pick up staring at the converter belt.... There's only a sign saying that Esselink, de Groot, Rodriguez and Lagendijk are to report at the Air France desk. Great! Our luggage and some equipment are still in Paris. The misses behind the desk gives each of us 100 bucks, and a small bag with toilet stuff and a pretty cool Air France shirt. In that case, people from Holland stop complaining. And so do we. We walk outside and look for the guy from the car service holding a Solex sign....who is not there. A couple of phone calls and half an hour later he shows up. "Where's your luggage?", the nice Indian driver asks. "In Paris", Geert answers with a big smile. "That sucks", the guy says. "No problem", we say, waving our fresh, crispy 100 dollar bills. We crawl our way through the Van Wijck Parkway toward Greenpoint, a Polish area close to Brooklyn. We get some pizza before we go to Rick and Birgit's place. After a couple of drinks at the local pub we crash.

10-31 Wednesday

At 7 in the morning we're all wide awake. Not really a problem, since we have a lot of stuff to take care of today. First the van is delivered here in Greenpoint. It's a snow white Dodge with three benches and enough space for our equipment. We are used to touring in a space wagon, so now we don't even have to think about 'how to load the van today?'. We take the Williamsburg bridge to Manhattan. It's the first time since the September 11th attacks that we come here and the sight of the NY skyline is really painful. Everything they showed in Holland on tv is still here: the flags, the flowers and the smell of an electrical fire. We park 5 minutes from Broadway and go further on foot. At Matador HQ we take the elevator to the 12th floor. We shake lots of hands, hug and talk about all the stuff that's been going on. A couple of people seem to be ready to leave NY for their hometown. Through internet we bought a nice white Slingerland drumkit at Ebay. It's from a year that Slingerland didn't do very well I guess. Now it's waiting for us in one of the small offices. A couple of nuts and bolts are missing (what would you expect for $208,50), and so we go to the NY drumshop for missing parts and new skins. Next door at Rogue, Geert is picking up the old Musicman that we also bought through internet. The amp seems a steal. Then we drop Elisabeth at Matador, where a couple of reporters are waiting for her. We go back to Greenpoint. Geert and Robert start testing the new equipment and after some tuning, screwing and polishing, everything starts looking OK. Rick works for NPR. He's doing this item about two Australian guys who, very cleverly, made a composition of the beeps of all the phone numbers in the world, and now claim they should be getting (publishing)money everytime somebody dials a phone number. Pretty clever huh? Anyway, Robert is going crazy from all the phone numbers Rick edited in his piece, Rick is going crazy from Geert's loud guitar and Geert is going crazy from the terrible loud hum that comes from his amp. It's probably funky electricity. In the evening, after checking out the Halloween parade, we all meet up at some fancy Japanese joint the size of a supermarket. Very hip, yet good. After a nightcap at the large kitchen table we all go to bed. O and by the way, Air France brought our luggage all the way to the front door, so we didn't have to carry all the stuff up the stairs.

SCARY SHIT

11-1 Thursday

After a nice and easy morning in Greenpoint we get ready for our first show in Philadelphia. Like last year we play at the North Star. It's a nice club but if you walk one block in the wrong direction, you end up in places you don't want to be. We wait for our buddy Randy Costanza who's coming along today. Today's troubles start when Elisabeth picks up the van, that we parked a couple of blocks away, and notices that somebody stole the left / driver's mirror from our car. We drive to a garage but can't find the right mirror. We buy a small 'blind spot' mirror instead, that we tape to the van. We leave New York via the Verzano bridge that gives us a beautiful view, but less impressive than last year, of Manhattan. Even though it's November it's t-shirt weather. In the venue the airco is blowing cold air like crazy. For the first time this tour we load our stuff onto the stage and get ready for a sound check. It seems that the hum in Geert's amp has gotten worse since yesterday. We, again, blame it on bad electricity in the venue. We left, because of the stolen mirror, New York in sort of a rush, and so Elisabeth forgot a bag with transformers, percussion stuff and Dutch power plugs. Fortunately, Randy carries a cell phone and 15 minutes later his friend Jesse shows up with a new transformer. Unfortunately it doesn't work, so we call Radio Shack if we can change it. It appears that we bought the last transformer, but the nice Radio Shack guy calls another nice guy at another Radio Shack (that's 'only' an hour away) who waits two hours after closing time to swap transformers. While Elisabeth gets lost at the other side of Philly, we meet Dalek ,hiphop from New Jersey, who will be opening for three weeks. It's pretty soon clear that these guys, that rap pretty angry over fat industrial beats, are very nice. We eat at an Italian place around the corner, where a lot of young crooks wait in front of the counter for their food, while a couple of ex-cons prepare their food behind the counter. When we get back the room is pretty full and we get ready to rock. Mainly we play songs from the new Low Kick and Hard Bop album. Despite all the (technical) difficulties, we play a reasonable show. After an hour and two encores we go to our friend Marc's place where we sleep. But first we finish his delicious Halloween pumpkin pie. Amazing stuff!

11-2 Friday

After a pretty heavy breakfast in a restaurant in the indoor market in the center of Philidelphia, we ride back to New York. Tonight we play the Knitting Factory. But first we go back to the guitar store on 30th Str. because during the last song last night the amp broke down completely. We leave the Musicman behind and go for a smaller Ampeg. Then we go to the Knit for a thorough sound check. Rick brings the bag of transformers, and finally everything on stage is OK. Bardo Pond kicks off, then Dalek then Solex. The place is sold out, lots of our friends showed up, so it promises to be a grand night. We believe we played the best show ever. People go crazy and we play three encores. The last song we do is 'Randy Costanza', with Randy himself playing the tambourine on stage, while smoking three cigarettes. After a couple of drinks we load out and go to Greenpoint. Robert prefers Birgit's bike over the van and decides it's time for some midnight sightseeing.

KNITTING FACTORY

11-3 Saturday

Still in a good mood after last night's show, we pick up the parking ticket from behind the windshield wiper, while laughing out loud. It seems that Robert had set the alarm clock wrong (AM and PM and stuff...), in order to fill the parking meter. Clever! Rick decides to come along to the Boston gig. It gets dark pretty early this time of year. Probably we'll arrive at the venues when it's dark the next weeks. Anyway, today we do. We play TT the Bears with Dalek and two local bands. Both 80's retro synth bands that are probably as good as Soft Cell and New Order were about 20 years ago. About 250 people fill the tiny room, and it's nice to notice that people have come to see Solex. Again, the crowd is pretty noisy and shouting stuff. Tonight it's almost as rowdy as last night when somebody shouted 'Elisabeth I love you' all night long. After the show we drive for an hour and find a hotel.

11-4 Sunday

Just after midday, Robert put the key in the ignition of the Dodge. He is ready for his first miles through the US. Driver's licenses are cool! In no time he races the car through New Hampshire and Vermont. It's getting chilly up north. Still there's a little sunshine. The scenery is beautiful, especially now it's fall. After six hours we drive into rainy Montreal. At the Canadian border it's obvious Sunday. The old guy on duty seems to want to spend all day with us. In the slowest way possible he tags the work visa in our passports. An hour later we're set to go. Outside a girl calls her mom to tell her she's not allowed into Canada, and now she has to come back to Colombia. She's crying, because she had all the right papers, but the guy didn't feel like letting her in. It's very sad. Anyway...Montreal. We play La Salle Rouge an old union building for carpenters. The room looks like a ballroom. One floor down, there's a Spanish restaurant so Miguel (originally from Salamanca, Spain) feels right away at home. The old gay waiter that Miguel is bonding with, is from Salamanca himself. It's a small world. In the meantime we set up our gear. The local tech guy who's helping us appears to be the bass player for Godspeed YBE and is making some extra money. The sound in the venue is amazing. This in contrast to the Miso soup we get at some veggie restaurant on the opposite side of the street. Everyone in both Dalek and Solex leave the 'soup' politely for what it is. For both bands the show goes pretty good. After we cleared the stage and cool down in the greenroom, the local promoter even shows up with extra booze. Then comes the bad news. He won't or can't pay for his share in the visa costs, something quite common for these Canadian shows. For us not a real big deal, since Uncle Matador pays stuff like this in advance, for the DIY guys from Dalek it means one hour less studio time for the new record. They hope they can finish their record and put it out from the money they make on this tour. To save money, they even stopped eating and are on a strict Beer diet. After an hour everybody is fine with the promoters decision. We think of bringing a baseball bat the rest of the tour... While Dalek spends the night at their friend's floor in Montreal, we drive for half an hour before checking into some motel.

GO TO THE MIRROR BOY!

11-5 Monday

We eat breakfast at the hotel (some poor excuse for croissants and a very very poor excuse for coffee) and go south towards Toronto. Because of all the lakes it gets colder by the minute. Today's drive is 7 hours. Geert reads Harry Potter, Robert reads again something about the Beach Boys and Miguel reads some Spanish book about the geography of rock ('where the hell can I find the exact location of Hotel California?). When Elisabeth is not driving she's sleeping. The Comfort Zone is in the middle of Chinatown, so dinnerwise we'll be OK tonight. The club is sort of a techno-joint. The guys that work there aren't the smartest of people and the girls all look like David Lee Roth. They all wear headsets to stay in contact. It's hilarious. The sound system is in a pretty bad shape, but after an hour of screwing, soldering and twisting knobs, Miguel gets the whole thing working. During our sound check, Dalek walks in the place with the bad news that their laptop has been stolen at some truck stop. Damn! Now they have to play some of the stuff from a backup cd, that they fortunately had packed in another bag. For the lofi New Jersey crew this is a big deal, since they don't have the financial support to 'just buy a new laptop'. Also: most of their two next albums was on there, and there are no back ups. Some over 200 kids came to the show tonight. Pretty good for a chilly Monday night. First the show was booked at El Mocambo (anybody 'Love You Live'?). However, the promoter was kicked out last week for no reason. When the landlord came to empty the place, the promoter 'threw something at' the landlord, who had the promoter arrested and so was in jail last night. Now, the promoter is pretty drunk, because the Comfort Zone is not as half as nice as the Mocambo used to be. The moronic doormen walk the place with their 2 feet torches. The floor is drowning in frying fat. The first band is a bunch of squatters from Montreal that look pretty gross. They brought a modest thrift store along, and wear costumes. Anyway, you forget to pay attention to the music.... After 2 AM we load out. An hour later we check into some country hotel in the suburbs of Toronto.

11-6 Tuesday

Last night's creepy people was only just a little taste of what is awaiting us behind the Tim Horton's counter. There's even a guy with an eye sown in his forehead. It's not a Haloween joke. With a Stax compilation blearing in the van we go to a used car lot to finaly find one of the two Dodge mirrors in Ontario. All the tapes in the van were recorded by Randy: some Pavement bootlegs, Stooges outtakes and ESG!. And of course a lot of 'crazy mix tapes'. Those are our favs. For 80 bucks we buy the used mirror and in no-time Geert takes apart the whole van with his letterman before he puts it back together again with the mirror. The tour doesn't get any better than this: we have a working backline and we have a complete van. Wow! It's only a two hour drive to London, Ontario, a small student town. We are well over an hour late at' Call the Office'. We push the front door open and hang around for a bit. There's nobody. Still not after half an hour. Still the cash register is on, and the air conditioning and all the computer games. You can probably still leave your sportsbar open here and nobody will rob the place. A tour like this one is booked around the weekends. In the weekends are all the important shows, on weekdays the less important. Tuesdaynight in London Ontario is unimportant. There's not even thirty people in the audience. Still we play a very good show. After the show all thirty people come up to tell how they liked the set and how much London sucks. We stay in London and book a room at the Best Western.

ONE NATION INDIVISIBLE

11-7 Wednesday

Today we re-enter the US. When we get to Detroit we turn left and when it gets dark we enter Cleveland. Cleveland is pretty spread out and we sort of get lost. After an hour we find the little record shop where we had some shirts shipped. It's risky to bring them into Canada because of the import tax. We're so cheap. A little later we arrive at the Grogshop; pretty much your typical punk-rock bar. The Dalek kids are laughing and waving from the bar area. Partying and drinking beer. Still on their diet. They don't let the stolen laptop let them bum out. After a quick sound check we eat killer burrito's at the next door Mexican place, and wait in some coffee shop till showtime. The girl behind the counter recognizes us and we put her on the guestlist, since she planned to come to the show anyway. Cleveland is pretty poor and the audience is for a large part made up of weirdo's, freaks and bums. Quite a few are pretty drunk or high on dope. We're obviously in Ohio. Robert outsells almost all the merch and people say real nice stuff. In the meantime, we're accompanied by Paul. Paul is from Chicago and wants to film a Rockumentary the next three days. Today and tomorrow he films just by himself. In Chicago he'll have a 10 people crew, that he pays out of his own pocket. The speed limit in Cleveland is 25 mile and thus it takes us half an hour to get out of the city. After two exits we are on the parking lot of a Red Roof Inn. Paul stays in the room next to ours.

OUT ON THE PORCH (AT THE CRACKER BARREL)

11-8 Thursday

The alarm goes off at 11.30 and just after midday we drive, with Paul's little red Jeep in our rear view mirror to Cracker Barrel for a nice 'country style' breakfast. Even though we're hardcore Denny's fans, we fall for the charm of the Barrel. Great hotcakes, hashbrowns and yes...even OK coffee. The same Interstate that got us to Cleveland, now brings us back to Detroit. Ohio is so depressing. The classic rock on the radio fits in nice with the scenery. We only have to be at the Detroit Contemporary at eight, but arrive at six, even though we stopped for two hours in Monroe where we did laundry. For the first time captured on film! ('lights, camera...laundry!'). Of course there's nobody at the club. The building is in the middle of a...dump, far away from the downtown area, that is by the way also sort of dumpy. We call (Matador gave us a cell phone) the promoter who directs us to a nice restaurant where we eat. Nice and safe. After the burger with fries it's almost time to load in, so we go back into the ghetto. In contrast to the neighbourhod and the building itself, the interior of the club (art gallery?) is really nice. Nevertheless, Miguel has to teach the local soundguy a fast course of 'how to build your own PA'. While we build up, the local opening act practices new dance steps. Dalek's been pushed forward a slot by these fratboys 'n girls. So Dalek kicks off. Their dark stuff falls perfect in it's place here in Detroit. The people like Dalek. The local band is next and is slightly ashamed (because they HAD to play second) to go onstage with their teen-variety hiphop act. Later they apologize to Dalek. But their friends applaud loud for their fratfun. We play an OK show, despite the small PA, but we can breath normally when Detroit's skyline is far behind us. We sleep in Ann Arbor.

11-9 Friday

With Paul's jeep in our rearview mirror for another day, we drive to Chicago. When we get to the citylimits, Paul takes over and show us around the downtown area and the coast for a bit. Then we go to the Empty Bottle. Paul's film crew (8 filmers plus 2 photographers) awaits us and start filming immediately. After sound check a couple of friends show up; Steve, who we're staying at tonight, Juan, who flew in from New York and Jason (we once played with his band in Athens, Oh, he once studied in Holland and still knows all Dutch 80's TV tunes by heart). Jason is crazy. The first guy on stage has a laptop. So has the second guy, but he's kid606 who made a Solex remix and is awesome. He has two laptops and fucks up 40 years of popmusic in 45 minutes (Black Sabbath, Britney Spears, Stranglers....). None of the songs play longer than 20 seconds. Very funny. The room is full before Dalek starts, and we fear the worst... It sounds as if the soundsystem has died. Well at least parts of it. At the change over all problems seem to be gone. We start and the audience is pretty wild. So wild, that the monitors die. The cables fell out or something. And back after a week: a hum in Geerts amp. This time it is weird electricity in the club. We survive and do two encores. It's 1.30 AM and the show ends. After a couple of drinks we say goodbye to Paul, who has 35 hours of footage to watch. Then we go to Steve's house and fall asleep within 7 seconds.

 

11-10 Saturday

Chicago-Minneapolis is a seven hours drive. After a too short a night, but a divine breakfast at Steve's, we get in the van. We leave an hour late, so we arrive an hour too late. The local soundguy is waiting for us and in a record time we sound check. The sound is great. The area where the club is has been pretty much upgraded to the max over the past three years. The price of your average Phad Thai has gone up from 5 bucks to 10. Next to the club is this huge stadium and tonight Jimmy Buffet is playing. It's freaking cold, but Hawai shirts and flower chains seem to be the hip thing to wear. When we get back to the 7th Street Entry the first band has started. A boy and girl play bass and guitar over their computer songs. Half an hour later Dalek is on their one red light bulb lit stage again, pumping their dark eastcoast beats. The crowd loves them. Tonight a guy from Aimes, Iowa came to see Solex. That's a four hours drive! We're touched and don't let him down. We play a good show. An hour after the show he gets in the car smiling to drive back....to Aimes.

11-11 Sunday

Today is the first of a couple of long drive days. We got three days to get from Minneapolis to Seattle. We start driving at 11, and according our schedule, we have to drive for 10 hours today. We cross North Dakota. An insane beautiful drive. The prairie seems endless, and we see a lot of dead deer along the road. At 17 hrs. it's dark outside and with the cruise control on 75 mls. (instead of the 55 mls on the eastcoast) we go west. Elisabeth is behind the wheel and three deer cross the road, just in front of her. One 'boink' later there's only two left, and soon we find out that the bumper scratches the wheel, whenever there's a bump in the road. So we stop. We stop near a police car that is with a guy who's car is totaled by a deer. The guy is in pretty bad shape in the police car. The deer, that first fell through the windscreen in the car, is now being cut up by hunters... It seems that hunting season just opened, and that both hunters and deer go crazy. The hunters because the season only lasts for two weeks so they just don't sleep, the deer because they might get killed. Anyway, the cop calls another cop to help us and within 15 minutes we're back on track. The damage is pretty bad, but thanks to Chuck (Chuck's towing co.) the van still lives. Ten minutes later, there's another (this time really big) deer staring kinda vague into our headlights. He's in the middle if the interstate. So we call it a day, and after a massive T-bone (fish for Geert of course) we look for a motel in Richardson.

T-BONE RESTAURANT

11-12 Monday

So we decided not to travel in the dark... We wake up at 7 AM and we start looking for a breakfast place. Everything is still closed. It seems that we passed another time zone and so it's even one hour earlier. So now it's 6.30. After breakfast (in between stuffed animals) there's more beautiful nature awaiting us. The prairies slowly change into Montana's mountains. Still a lot of roadkill along the way. Suddenly the APS-light starts blinking on the dashboard. And since no one in the van knows what that means (good or bad?) we decide to look for a garage. We find a couple of service centers, but no one has the time to check our car. Since we're all sort of hypochondric, we imagine the van driving worse than yesterday... Near Missoulla, after another long drive day, we take a Hotel 6 and eat 'southern food' at the Cracker Barrel. Pretty gross.

11-13 Tuesday

Another eight hours to go to Seattle, so again, we wake up at 7. There's a thick layer of frost in the windshield. We use cassette tapes to scrape of the ice, and after another visit to our friends at the Cracker Barrel, we hit the gas through the sunny mountains towards Idaho. Idaho is very cloudy and the clouds are so low that we drive through them. At some great lake in Washington we get out the van and play tourist. After 15 minutes of taking pictures and stuff, we find out how small the US in fact is. Next to our car, this other car stops...Dalek. They want to check out the mountain lake as well. Coincidence? While the Dalekkids celebrate their first westcoast visit by smoking cigars near the lake, we go on driving. It always rains in Washington. Now as well. Cats and dogs to be precise. In the dark we arrive at Graceland (not the Elvis one), a rockclub along the concrete interstates that run straight through Seattle. There's a small restaurant in the venue, where we eat pretty bad American cuisine. Fortunately the freezer in the greenroom is very well filled, so we can wash the burgers down. It's a rainy Tuesday night in Seattle: always pretty hard. Only 50 people show up. And that's good, cause by far we play the worst show of this tour. After a couple of songs some of the guitar stuff breaks down. Some time later we even stop the show for 5 minutes. With sad faces we get in the Dodge at two. Let's forget this one.

11-14 Wednesday

After our (almost daily) Denny's visit, we go to a guitar shop to check everything Geert owns. Then we go to an electronics store, where it seems something's wrong with the earth (you know what I mean·). Anyway, we go back to the guitar store and two hours later everything is working properly. It's only two hours to Vancouver, so we arrive way early. Because it rains, we don't feel like going into the city, and so we wait in some piss alley behind the Starfish room. There's a lot of bums living in the alley. Over the last years I believe a lot of stuff was stolen from bands in Vancouver. I believe the Sonic Youth, Jon Spencer and Cibo Matto backline, but also a lot of bags from Malkmus' van. So we watch our stuff, and wait, and smell the piss, and wait and watch and stuff till finally somebody from the venue shows up. Even though the Starfish room is pretty well known, tonight's show will be their last. The landlord kicked the club out. After soundcheck we go to this supercheapo sushibar and after we go to this nice Indian coffee place. The guy of the coffee bar is so nice he almost wants to give the coffees away for free. He insists on giving us something for free, so we walk out the place with free teabags. The people are very nice in Canada. So nice in fact that it's creepy. And they're very bad dressers. As we get back to the club, Robert spots his Vancouverian cousins, that he didn't see for years. After this big family reunion it's showtime, and we take revanche on last nights bad show. Two thirty at night and we're facing a very grumpy guy at the border· Fortunately we can pass and half an hour later we're in our super 8 beddies. 'Hey, is that a Denny's?'

11-15 Thursday

So we eat again at Denny's. Is that bad? Anyway, we go south to Portland: the Satyricon. A place that's always full, but where the sound (both out front as on stage) is pretty bad. Just as we finish our hummus platters cousin Rob gets in. He came with the misses all the way from Vancouver. For us the whole tour is pretty hard. Not because of the dead deer, the stolen mirror or the still blinking APS light, but because of the lack of daylight. In daylight we drive, at night we hang around in clubs. Tonight it's still raining. Dalek sounds horrible tonight and for the first time they see the advantage of bringing your own soundtech. Fortunately we do have our own soundguy. Miguel can even in the funky Satyricon make the Solexsound rock. A lot of American clubs are build for bass/drums/guitar/vocals. Having monitors hang over the stage might work for Nirvana, it's hard for Solex. However, it works tonight. After the show, we follow the Rob's 4wheel pick up, that brings us to the parking lot of a Hotel 6, where we can only sleep in our little room for four hours. The alarm's set for 7. NICKELSON WAS HERE

11-16 Friday

Why? Because we have to go all the way down to San Fransisco, that's more than 600 miles. A big fat 10 hour drive. In Oregon's mountains it rains constantly and the always beautiful views are totally gone. Miguel, Robert and Elisabeth take their turns at the wheel. Geert does the navigating. The 'on the road' grub starts to bore us after three weeks. Except for the V8 drinks, that we always buy. It's 6.30 PM as Miguel runs the Dodge on the carpool lane over the huge Bay Bridge into the city. 15 minutes later we're loading in at the Bottom of the Hill; a club that has their shit together. Tonight's show is already almost sold out. Cousin Rob came too as well as another cousin, who now lives in SF. The crowd is wild and shouts stuff. We play a cool show. Again tonight we do the last encore with Dalek's Will, something we did the past two weeks. The audience loves it. Christian, our booker, came to the show and already has some very good feedback from the whole tour. That's always good to hear. After some drinking we say goodbye to Robert's family and drive for an hour to a motel. At last we can sleep late tomorrow since it's only a 6 hours drive to Los Angeles.

MULLHOLLAND DRIVE

11-17 Saturday

Unfortunately are last week's early calls so regular, that we're all awake way too early again. In a nice little sunbeam we're on the balcony of our motel wearing nothing but t-shirts. YEAH! Through the green hills we zigzag out of the city and get to some road diner, where a nice lady ('Oh my God, are you guys a band? Let me get my daughter·she'll die!') serves us eggs and hashbrowns. Then starts the last drive of this tour. Tonight we play Spaceland, some LA rockjoint in the Silver Lake District, under the Hollywood smoke. The whole area must have been upgraded lately. Since ·'we're now looking at the Red Hot Chili Peppers bridge that inspired them to write Under the Bridge'· this must have been a junkie area. Now there's nothing but nice restaurants a little shops. The club is still closed, so we hang out at some coffee shop on the other side of the street. After two hours of drinking coffee, we enter Spaceland to sound check. Wow!, in the club there's a smokers lounge·fancypansy! Outside there's valet parking. The night is still young, however, our Dalek friends tell us every two minutes how much they are gonna miss us. And we are gonna miss them. We spend our buy-out at the Thai neighbor. Very tasty and even Elisabeth finishes her plate without a fight. In Spaceland the first band is already on stage: Helio Sequence (a drummer, a guitarguy and lots of samples and keyboard stuff). Everybody watch the guys in awe. And so do we. Then the subsonic Dalek basses blow for a last time the dust out of our clothes. With a drink in our hands we say goodbye after the show. And again. And again·. Then, the big doorguy sweeps all of us onto the street. Zanne, the girl from the coffee shop came down to the show and now helps us find a hotel. We decide to stay at the Holiday Inn, down the street. The tour is done and totally beat we fall asleep.

SDOALLEEXK

11-18 Sunday

While Robert, Miguel and Geert are having breakfast at Zanne's, Elisabeth is being interviewed by Matthew at the hotel. Matthew makes 5 minute documentaries (he already did one about Daniel Johnston, PJ Harvey and more I forgot) that eventually will form one big film. Two hours later we regroup and drive as close as possible to the Hollywood sign. The Hills of Beverly are pretty cool but the letters look sort of stupid from a 50 meter distance. Then we drop off the backline at some garage from a guy we know through Matador. Because last night's Thai was really good, we decide to go back and again, Elisabeth finishes het 3 kilos of calamaris. At 8 PM we're back at the hotel, where we're picked up by Matthew. We go bowling in this super 60's bowling alley that's being run by Koreans. Matthew's meeting his old classmates there. After a three hour bowling galore and lots of cheap beer and vodka Matthew takes us on a nightly excursion to downtown LA. Nothing beats seeing LA with a movie director as guide. He shows us great buildings and film locations. Especially the train station and old Broadway are great. The doorman of the Park Plaza Hotel (the Elk's club) even lets us in and we get a tour. There's a dusty 70's gym and a cool pool in the basement, that was once used in the 20's Olympics and the Catpeople movie. But also the hall and ballrooms are amazing. Next stop is a Korean bar where once Jack Nickelson sat down with a band aid over his nose in the movie Chinatown. In the fancy round, red boots, we drink and eat great (free YEAH!!!) snacks. And drink. And drink even more. Super excited we go back to the hotel. We love LA.

BETTIE RUBLE

11-19 Monday

LA is very Mexican and so we have taco's for breakfast. Then some more sightseeing 'till we go back to the hotel and wait for a cab, that shows up pretty late. There's not a lot of cabs in LA. You NEED a car. Miguel is bonding with the (Mexican) driver and laughs loud about all the guys jokes. No discount though· We have to be 3 hours prior to our depart at LAX but because of bad traffic we're late. No problem though. But then our very long journey back begins; lots of waiting, bad seats in the plane and a change of plains in Paris. But that's OK, cause in 15 hours we'll be home!

THE PLAYERS

THE END