Monthly Archives: March 2018

Day 11 – You Can’t Win Them All

Our eleventh day on the road was very relaxed. We took a few hours in the late morning to go to the natural thermal springs at Bad Ragaz for some much needed soaking. It was a luxury we have never had time for in the past, but since we played in Maienfeld it was just a ten minute drive. We returned to the home of Andreas and Cici just in time for their 11 year old daughter Monique to help us load out the gear.

My roadie Monique. She came home from school just in time!

It was a short drive to Gossau for our 11th gig in a restaurant that is run by Beth Wimmer’s husband Pascal. Restaurant Traube Mult is in a building that dates back to 1736. The ceilings were about 5’8″ high.

After load in and sound check we were treated to an amazing dinner by Pascal and his partners.

The actual show was pretty rough. The crowd enjoyed it but it was our worst playing on the tour. I think we are all very tired and worn out, even with our relaxing day. We sounded best on the mellow tunes, and I sang lead on “Crimson and Clover”. We all got good sleep after the show so I’m hopeful that we will get it together for show number 12. It’s difficult to be on night after night. I think next time we should plan a day or two off.

Day 10 – Maienfeld

It was a beautiful sunny morning in Sumiswald. On the way out of town we took a detour through the fog where I took some footage for the opening scene of a horror film…

Fortunately we are under the protection of a scurvy pirate.

We drove into Maienfeld for an early house concert organized by friends of Beth. Andreas and Cici had seen us play last time we were in Switzerland. The place was packed and there was barely enough room for the band.

Distance from audience area to stage area = -18cm.

We played two sets as usual, leaving a few songs off. We didn’t play “Crimson and Clover.” Maybe next time.

This tour is winding down. So far it’s gone pretty smoothly. We’ve had good food, good company, good gigs, and no major malfunctions. I’m looking forward to getting back home. Tours are simultaneously long and short. The beginning of this trip seems like ages ago but at the same time I feel like we just got here.

Day 9 – Over and Over

I’m keeping this one short. Sumiswald is an adorable little town where they make the clocks for Swiss railways. It also has a world renowned brass instrument factory (Hirsbrunner). Our hotel is over 500 years old.

We played a single long set on a three band bill. The first “band” was Beth Wimmer. I joined her on “Harvest Moon” by some Canadian guy. Then we played our long set to a loud crowd. I had a blast, it was definitely our most rocking show so far. I love singing harmonies now and never want to stop, though I don’t think I would give myself more than about a C when it comes to my harmonizing abilities.

The third act was a straight up rock band called Bubi Eifach. They were really good and sang in Swiss German. A lot of the crowd seemed to know their songs. It was fun being at a rock show!

There’s a lot of snow here. While I’m dealing with non-sequiturs I should mention that Serge found my lost sock in his laundry. Also it should be noted that we made it through customs without even having to show our passports at all both leaving and returning to Switzerland. Finally, I have bought no gifts and no postcards. I haven’t even seen a postcard.

Today we drive to Maienfeld for a house concert. Back to the mellow shows!

Night 8 – Why We Do What We Do

Perfect night. After working out our version of “Crimson and Clover,” our hosts at Kulturpunkt Flawil fed us an amazing vegan dinner up in the loft. The Geissberger family (Rita, Ralph, and Ananda) are wonderful people. We played to a very appreciative audience. The vibe here is intimate and everything just felt right. We had great sound thanks to Florian. There was a lot of love in the room. Beth joined us for a few tunes. She sings backup vocals on about four tunes. We do three part harmonies on a couple as well. I never knew how good it feels to harmonize with someone!

After the show we had to celebrate Ralph’s birthday. We had already had a few drinks and after the champagne we decided we were too drunk to drive. So instead we walked up the hill to the house where we are sleeping. We got lost a bit, but if you’ve never gotten drunk and walked up a steep hill covered in black ice in a small Swiss town with your bandmates, you’re definitely missing out. Eventually we found the place and our hosts (Hilarie and Rätus) had made three beds up for us. And for breakfast they made us waffles! We had an excellent morning chatting and eating before hitting the road for Sumiswald.

Celebrating Ralph’s birthday with Rita, Ananda, and Florian.

Breakfast with Rätus and Hilarie. And Mary.

Day 8 – Just Do a Thing. You Know. Whatever.

A few days ago we were listening to Serge’s iPod in the van. “Baby Britain” by Elliott Smith came on. The lyrics for verse three:

The light was on but it was dim

Revolver’s been turned over

And now it’s ready once again

The radio was playing “Crimson and Clover”

We had been bouncing a few ideas around for a cover to learn on the road and I suggested we try doing “Crimson and Clover.” Well, as it turned out we had a few extra hours in this beautiful loft space where we are playing tonight. We were set up by two and started running some tunes of Kevin’s that aren’t on the current set. After that we listened to the original version of “Crimson and Clover” (the Joan Jett version is not on Spotify), and we had it worked out pretty well in about an hour. It’s a song that I have loved since I was six and I’m glad that we are adding it to the set. It’s traditional for us to learn a tune or two on the road. Past highlights include “And Your Bird Can Sing,” “Norwegian Wood,” and “Born to Run.”

A note for those keeping score (Keith); we have played a few tunes that are not on the set list. “Sweet Jane” (Innsbruck), “Dead Flowers” (most nights as our last tune), “I Still Miss Someone” (most nights to start the second set), and “If I Needed You” (Tabea just started playing it in Stäfa so we joined in). Songs that we have not yet played that are on the set list include “Into Nothing,” “Hark the Heart and the Arrow,” and “Fourth of July.” “The Lonesome Widow and I” and “Ballad of the Parted Ones” have not been played since Stäfa. I’ll keep you all apprised of any other additions as we go.