Amoeblog

sulla strada, capitolo quattro

Posted by Whitmore, February 1, 2008 02:52pm | Post a Comment
For once we actually arrived at our appointed destination early. This doesn't happen everyday. Actually this has never happened before. I doubt it will ever happen again.

Savona is a beautiful blue-tinged seaside resort town, and a town I'll always remember as the one where we given a police escort to leave. The main drag runs only a few feet from the beach and the quietly breaking Mediterranean waves, the road only pulls away from the shore near the marina where the dry docks are filled with impressive looking yachts sitting on blocks; either waiting for repairs, remodeling or a party. Savona oozes cash, you can smell the euros floating around, wafting from the wallets of elderly tourists dressed in three piece suits and full length mink coats as they wander the cafes, shops, boardwalks and beaches. Above the downtown corridor in the hills you can see the brightly painted stone and brick houses with their masterfully landscaped gardens and patios, and whose inhabitants I presume also dine in these restaurants, shop in these shops - dressed in their finely tailored Italian suits and floor length minks.

Since we were uncharacteristically early, we checked into our hotel, the club Rain Dogs provided for us. We dropped off all our crap, I took a quick shower. Afterward, I tried to dial in something on television. I unexpectedly became transfixed by Italian MTV and a show called Star Wars, tonights episode: Duran Duran vs Depeche Mode. Unfortunately, soundcheck beckoned so I wasn't able to stick around and see who came out on top. I can only imagine it ended in a contractually obligated draw.

Rain Dogs is said to be the nicest club in the area. It's roomy with a nice size stage and with a real piano. The upstairs green room also doubles on occasion as a small screening room, and the walls are decorated in vintage 60's rock posters from the classic shows of the Family Dog and Avalon Ballroom. The owner, I discovered later, is a huge fan of the Grateful Dead. I can safely say he is the first Italian Deadhead I've ever met.

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sulla strada, capitolo tre

Posted by Whitmore, January 29, 2008 10:09am | Post a Comment
Now, let me be your travel guide, speaking to you in my big television Edward R. Murrow announcers voice: "Tuscany is an insanely beautiful land, a weird blend of man's orchestrated genius and  misadventure punctuated by the chaotic beauty of nature. Think of rows of arrow-straight vineyards marching gently up rolling hill sides, surrounded at every mind-blowing vista by natures perfectly sculpted cypress trees calling you into the shade for yet another glass of vino. Every gently winding, narrow road leads to ancient farmhouses, moss covered castles, stone walls, cream colored villas, more stone walls, swimming pools, and the earths finest tableau of golden browns, sienas, burnt umbers and deep rich greens. Add the dizzying effect of too much wine, the visual and sensual overload of too many attractive people, midst the ensuing hangover from the previous nights folly at a Tango Club and you'll understand why Tuscany still enchants us today like that forbidden dance enchanted our touristy-grandparents of yesteryear."

Now back to our Winter 2008 tour of Italy and perhaps I should warn you ...  you should anticipate a terrible, terrible pun. I apologize now, but I had too use it.

Years (decades?) of bad habits, an ever shortening attention span, little actually useful talent, and the never ending need to disrupt and push the limits of wholesome god fearing good taste has taken a toll on my musicianship. There is little precision in what I do, I'm not really a loose cannon, but more like an untethered crate of oranges cracking against the hull of a Listing Ship.

The catastrophic effect of such imprecise methods was really hammered into my heart last year when I mistakenly took a gig playing pieces by Erik Satie in a classical guitar duet. My performance, lets say, was flawed. Flawed like you've never seen flawed before!

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sulla strada, capitolo due

Posted by Whitmore, January 27, 2008 06:11pm | Post a Comment
Dreaming on a tour can only twist your waking hours...

In the morning before our long drive to Florence, guitarist Lyman woke dreaming of zombies and a world segregated into vegetarian and constantly hungry, brain-eating zombies. Violinist Julie had a terrible dream about a job interview and making spreadsheets, in her words "a wasted dream" while traveling in Italy. Violist Heather keeps on dreaming of tasty meats, smoked sides of ham, pigeon pies
and cornish hens.

On the long drive from Naples to Florence it was my turn to dream twistedly. I snoozed in the sun in the van until the clouds rolled in and the temperature dropped, I woke up cold and confused and with a massive headache. I dreamt I worked at Ikea and I was up for a promotion, but first I had to pass a physical. The attending nurse detected that my spinal fluid was low, so she hooked me up to an IV and inserted a spinal tap.  While I laid there in bent discomfort, friends and acquaintances came by and rubbed my fore head. At one point someone started singing quietly in my ear, I looked up to find Bjork smiling down at me.

But its my brain in my waking hours that keeps on gyrating as if dreaming...

I assumed from the very beginning that the disappearance of our luggage was no accident, that it must have been 'displaced' on purpose, on the sly. Perhaps an inside job? (Remember- there are no coincidences). Were we the guinea pigs to a sinister Karl Rove, mind control, kind of plot? Secret governments/ organization/ syndicates trying to pin some international crime on us -just because they can!- an act accomplished by simply doctoring and packing our bags, guitars, toothpaste with something only evil-doers would pack. But something I've learned, the hard way, on the mean streets of LA, driving those wretchedly cracked freeways, trying to share the road with gargantuan SUV's, gargantuan egos, and gargantuan film companies screwing up traffic at their will at every turn, (as if they built this entertainment capitol of the world!), for their precious movie shoots.

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sulla strada, capitolo uno

Posted by Whitmore, January 27, 2008 05:57pm | Post a Comment

Bungled is a great word, its one of those words that even if you're not sure of  the definition, just the sound  -'bungled' - quickly gets you to the gist of  the situation. What Bungled is, is not a great situation.

Right now I'm in Italy on tour with the LA's own Listing Ship, and by no fault of our own... and I swear its wasn't our fault ( though historically there are two essential elements built into any band; incompetence and eventual obsolescences... these truths are perhaps not so written in stone if you play in the Rolling Stones or The Lawrence Welk Orchestra) ...  anyway, somewhere along the line all our luggage disappeared. Somewhere between the sunny palm tree lined dystopia we call home and the airport called the worst in Europe, Rome, all twelve pieces of our luggage vanished off the face of the earth.

Those of us who grew up on the west coast blamed it on our stop-over in New York's JKF airport, those of us who grew up on the east coast blamed it on the airport in Los Angeles ... our Italian friends blamed it on the airport in Rome. Ultimately it appears to have been yet another bungled moment for an airline we'll call "American Err-lines" ... All twelve pieces gone. Poof! We filled out the paperwork and were assured that somehow the heavens will open and our luggage will fall though a worm whole,  magically appearing on the front steps of our Managers apartment in Naples the next morning. But 24 hours later no record of our luggage - bags, guitars, drum gear-  existed anywhere, online or otherwise.

We played our first gig at the Cantina Mediterraneo in Frosinone... with borrowed gear, and I have to say incredibly nice gear! It doesn't get much better than this. Thanks to the excellent opening band, The Mosquitos, based in Naples, we played through gorgeous Fender amps and electric guitarist Lyman
was greeted with a vintage Gold Top Gibson Les Paul to play. When Lyman opened the guitar case a beautiful golden light filled the back wall of the stage, and I swear I heard a litany of cellos quietly filling the air ... and a voice, a deep resonating voice that said something profound in Italian, but I don't understand Italian. I'm not sure what was more inspiring for our first show in Italy, the great gear we were using or the 5 course meal the club provided for us. And the wine... the wine! Like the great river Euphrates, the purest waters from the river flowing from of the garden of Eden, the flowering of civilization, the flowering of sin, wine bringing us back back to life, yeah baby...wine wine wine!!!  we knew everything would be copacetic.

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