Amoeblog

Sulla Strada, Capitolo Sei

Posted by Whitmore, February 8, 2008 07:10pm | Post a Comment
FIRST: This Listing Ship tour of Italy entry is a little old, the problems of traveling without a laptop and not having enough time to write … the events outlined here were ultimately an insignificant blip on the radar map of my life, a night and a mood I should just forget and ignore, but what fun is that! And though it culminates with a walk though the pitch dark (literally and metaphorically) there is -as always- whenever I can invent one ... a happy ending.

BLOOM: In late 1991 Nirvana played their first gig in Italy at this club just outside of Milan. Club Bloom holds about 300 hundred people, but if I’ve done the math correctly, (though when I presented my equation to guitarist Lyman, a Math Professor, he seemed puzzled by my efforts – but I deduced that those with a doctorate in math are just constantly puzzled), … since I figure every fourth person I’ve met in Italy was at that Nirvana show, that means at least 12,125 people were packed into Bloom that night witnessing music history. There is the other possibility that just by dumb yankee luck I’ve actually met most of those 300 audience members and my math skills and equations are as erroneous as Moses supposes his toeses are roses.

CLICKS: Early in our set, probably around the 4th or 5th song I swear I heard a click, it was the sound like a door’s deadbolt unlocking. I thought, shit this isn’t good. It’s a sound I’ve heard before in my head, and only in my head. A place where my mind paces back and forth, at a place I sneak a peak, sometimes, other times I take a seat in the dark. Luckily so far, no one has caught me, locked me in, as there is always that possibility.

OFF: I looked around the stage, the club, the back wall and everything seem to be going well. The songs were jumping, the instruments were in tune, the monitors were kicking out plenty of sound, I could see the wine in my glass gently vibrating on the amp, the lighting was cool and moody, the crowd of about 150 or 200 people were pushing closer to the stage. Earlier in the evening we had yet another incredible meal on a tour of incredible meals; and though my mind was swimming like trout up stream to die, my belly felt fine, fat and warm …

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sulla strada, capitolo cinque

Posted by Whitmore, February 2, 2008 03:26am | Post a Comment
In Milan, Milano ... we'll be here for over a week staying in a friends apartment as we have several shows in the surrounding area, including a big show at a club called Bloom (famous for being the first club Nirvana ever played in Italy). Anyway, this apartment will have to be our home away from home for a while, and it's big enough, I think, for the nine of us on tour ... And over here, alongside the piano, where this strip of carpet is, well this part of the floor is my very own ...

But I can't sleep. It can't be jetlag, I've been here a little too long. I'm not tense or stressed, nor depressed, nor starving - far from starving - and I really do like sleeping on the floor - I do it all the time at home in LA - but I just can't seem to sleep ...

On a night I don't sleep I don't think anyone understands 'undisturbed' less than I do, its suppose to mean untroubled by interference or disturbance, I wouldn't know ... of course if there is someone else out here walking with me, they are more silent, invisible ... I should be concerned, but I'm actually undisturbed by such a threat. Hey, there it is, definition!  If there is someone else out here on the streets of Milano at 4am, and if they too are halfcracked from sleeplessness ...  I suspect he too doesn't understands 'undisturbed' (well, the chances are he'll speak Italian anyway!) and except for the fact that we most likely couldn't understand each other, this other insomniac and I could probably talk till dawn about what undisturbed means and doesn't mean to us.

Actually I'm lying, and I'm laying in bed in our temporary home in Milan, I can't leave, I couldn't get back in through the security doors ... the other 4am night walker out there, and you know who you are, is just going to have to remain invisible without me.

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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