Tag Archives: switzerland

Day 1 – Anything Can Go Wrong

It’s been a hard day. Getting out of the airport was tough because our rental van is so high tech that we are literally like the three stooges trying to remove the seats and work the GPS. I ended up navigating Kevin to St Gallen to pick up Serge’s bass the old school way. You know, with a map? We got there late and the shop was closed for lunch but we killed time for a few hours. The Sprenger violin shop is the oldest in Switzerland and it was gorgeous and very cool. They had three basses for Serge to try out.

After getting the bass we headed to Stafa, having deciphered the GPS. But we arrived with only enough time to sound check and to head to the hotel for 30 minutes. At this point we have been awake for well over 24 hours and it’s been showing. We’re all pretty ragged but soon we will play our first show and get our first night of sleep. I’m hopeful that we will be rested for tomorrow’s gig. Now we’re off to dinner and the show…

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Day -1 – Dad, are you sure it’s a good idea to drill a hole in your guitar?

Tomorrow is Thursday. I’ll call it day 0 since our first show is on Friday. I’ve packed and I’m ready to embark on my 7th two week tour of Switzerland. Kevin and I have been doing this since 2004 but it’s always fun and exciting. This time I can tell I’ll miss my kids more than usual. They are older and more interesting and I really enjoy time with them. Kevin, Serge and I played a kick off show to a very friendly Ann Arbor audience a few nights ago. Keith Meisel, who has toured with us four out of six previous trips, sang some killer harmonies. I’m definitely going to miss him on the road.

Just before the Ann Arbor gig I decided to drill a hole in my 1930 Slingerland so I could attach a strap button to the neck heel. Bad idea. I ended up cracking the neck heel and now the Slingerland is in the shop, so for the first time ever I’m flying with a Gibson. It’s a beautiful ES-339, basically a 335 for short people, which I am. I’ll hang out with the kids tomorrow until noon and then it’s off to the airport. For the next two weeks my life will be simple. Drive. Play. Sleep. Repeat.

This is the current set list. I’m curious to see how it changes over the next sixteen nights.

Final Rehearsal

In five days I will embark on a 2 week tour of Switzerland supporting my long time musical collaborator Kevin Meisel. I’ll be blogging the tour here and hopefully I’ll figure out how to post video. The band is Kevin, me, and Serge van der Voo on bass. Today we had our final rehearsal, at a secret location in Ann Arbor. We’ve been rehearsing every Saturday for a few months now, making sure that our arrangements are worked out and that we are truly ready for 15 shows in 16 days! Tomorrow we will perform at Old Town Tavern to kick off the tour. Check back here for details and stories as we make our way across Switzerland!

Kevin and Serge at our final rehearsal.

Day Fourteen – Stäfa

It’s the morning of our last full day in Switzerland. We are staying at Gasthaus Macartney in Stäfa.
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We have our own rooms!
Last night we played for our largest audience on the nicest stage of the tour. We had professional sound and lights. It makes a huge difference in our ability to relax into playing. We split the bill with a local group called Singer’s Tale. They were quite good and I spent some time backstage playing tunes with the guitarist and the singer.
We left Austria yesterday morning and made the three hour drive to Paul’s house without incident. We dropped off the PA speakers that we have been lugging around for two weeks. This caused some consternation for Keith because now he needs a new plan for what Rob calls the vanpack. From there it was just forty minutes to Stäfa and the Rossli club. Hotel, showers, soundcheck, dinner.
Tabea Anderfuhren showed up to our show. We first met her in 2005 when she saved us from getting shafted by a club owner using mostly her native ability to speak Swiss German. She sings with Kevin on every tour. Usually she sits in on a few tunes, which is what happened last night. She is definitely more established in the Swiss music scene than she was ten years ago. A Swiss tour without Tabea would be woefully incomplete. After the show we went for a drink with her and her husband Tom.
One more show and then home. I’ve never been out quite this long before. We’re all exhausted but trying to enjoy the moments. We don’t know when or if we will do this again. It’s always amazing to me that I get to play music in this beautiful place.

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I’ve never regretted the choice to make music my career. I always tell people that it is a great way to almost pay the bills. It’s meant to be funny but it’s true. Music is not going to make me rich but music connects me with people. People like Rob, Keith, and Kevin who I have the pleasure of playing with nightly. People like Levin and Katharina, the musicians I jammed with last night. People like Veronica and Sven, who just love the music and can be caught singing along to our songs. I’m quite lucky.
That first show in Laupen seems like a decade past. Traveling with Emma in the van is a distant memory. Even the show two nights ago in Innsbruck feels far away. Time is strange on tour.
There will be at least one more blog post but when it shows up depends on too many factors to list here. I do want to report on our last show and maybe sum the whole trip up. In less than 24 hours I’ll be flying home.

Day Four – Obstalden

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The view across the Walensee.

      It can be hard to stay on the ball with these posts. We played our fourth show in Obstalden near the home of Paul Rostetter. We basically had to drive halfway up an alp to get there. Winding two lane roads all the way.
      Musically there have been some good developments. We played Drifter’s Son last night, which was not on the set list originally. We are also playing Broken Heart Tattoo and The Last Goodbye, the very first Kevin Meisel tune I learned. Emma has recorded some of the songs so hopefully at some point there will be YouTube evidence.
    The view from Obstalden is amazing, of course. The weather has been mild. No rain or snow. Tomorrow is a busy day. We have a radio interview and we need to do laundry. Laundry = critical.
Sound check at Hotel Sternen, Obstalden.

Sound check at Hotel Sternen, Obstalden.