its great to have our crew in the van right now… we’ve become one big happy family on the road these last two weeks… big dan the kadoo man, joe ‘the rock’ hungus, craiggers, rc/sleepyhouse, pete, barry and myself… and now kadoo drummer marion (with the pot). we’re rollin to the club for the ebong throwdown… a triumvirate triple bill of mammoth proportions: mars mushrooms, kadoo, and kiss the frog. the club, nestled away underneath the elevated traintracks, is split into two parts, the front room has tables and a bar and stuff and is painted a very pretty burgundy color… at least that what it looks like in the dark and half drunk. the back room is a dingy rectangular beer stanky graffiti hole with an ancient yet huge sound system and some vintage, duct tape covered mike stands… and thats what it looks like with the lights on. i remember watching an old video “iron maiden behind the iron curtain” back in 1984 and this club somehow reminds me of that. maybe i should bust out my maiden t-shirt and wear it on stage tonight. the frog contigent is the first to arrive at the club, the soundman, max, greets us with hellos and a case of becks beer. i could get used to this. we set up all our stuff and do a quick soundcheck, mostly i want to run through ‘stuporsonic’ which we haven’t played yet on this tour. henry benjamin wrote the words to that tune, and the refrain “you can scale the walls or we can tear them down” seem appropriate for a gig thats about 50 yards from where the berlin wall used to be. half-way through the sound check i realized that i’m wearing an arkansas razorback t-shirt that henry gave to me last year… an intersection of goodness?!? who knows… wish that ol’ h was here. the room is very boomy… lots of low midrange thunder coming out of the pa… hopefully when theres folks in here it will get soaked up a bit. after soundcheck we roll offstage and let the kadoo (w/sleepyhouse on bass) do their thing, then the mushrooms. we’ve worked it out so everybody’s gear will be set up onstage at the same time… craig asked me to coordinate some sort of ‘super jam’ at the end of the show… hopefully it will all work out. show time comes (and another two cases of beer) and kadoo destroys the joint… huge layers of guitar loops and sonic waves over some real bumpin rave beats… sweeet stuff…. rc is workin it on bass of course, he can’t help but be a rock star. one by one the mushrooms take the stage and the kadoo guys leave… transforming the epic wash of technoloop kadoo into a bouncing dubby bubbly mushroom groove. the mushroom groove quicky implodes into a very sweet and long spacejam… nice. the wrap their set up with a cover of phish’s cover of deodato’s cover of ‘also sprach zarathusra’ by richard strauss (theme from 2001) its pretty effective, they do it justice fer sure, although i would’ve rather heard some more mushroom originals…. regardless they took kadoo’s energy and destroyed the place as well. they’ve set up a pretty high bar for us frogs to jump over. pete, barry and i have been hanging in the dressing room drinking beers and taking slugs off the german red wine that we got in hamburg. i’ve found that i can drink tons before a show, mostly because it all gets sweat out in the first song anyway… i usually come off stage stone sober.
by the time we rolled up onstage the venue had become transformed into the death star. spacy spot lights shining horizontally along the back wall behind the band and some flood lights coming up from back foot of the stage straight up to the ceiling… the whole room has become pitch black except for the stage… real low lighting i like that. after a short spacejam we broke into stuporsonic, barry was a little confused at the first refrain… he thought we were playing propaganda. we worked it out fine and hammered stuporsonic out then segued it into a massive propaganda, probably the biggest one we’ve played the whole tour. the jam was pretty spacy drony and repetitive… barry set up a bass loop, and i played a repeating figure on the guitar. pete held down a slowly changing groove as barry added some laptop synth to the mix… as want to happen with ktf, it all slipped through our fingers and transformed into a real rocker about 25 minutes into it, repeated the opening riff and vocals, tore it up and got out of there. the crowd cheered energetically and barry immediately dropped into the taker… sweeet. i had fun teasing the intro, purposely playing the melodies backwards over the wrong changes… then we bounced into the tune proper. sometime during the solo my mind went blank and i got all sorts of confused as to where i was and what i was doing, i’m sure i played a few clunkers in there. but faster than you could say “safe!” newtron and pete stepped up and started hammering away at the improvisation, everytime newtron changed the inversion, the crowd cheered. sometime in therer newtron and i threw some weird stuff at hillman and he had a mosstock styled freak out/pause… when he finally barrelled in on the kit the crowd went nuts… he continually astounds me with his amazing ears and skill. we built the jam to about 7 or 8 higher levels then cashed in our chips and returned to the head. after taker we threw down destination imagination and worked it again pretty hardcore. the thing is, you wouldn’t be able to tell how diverse our shows were by looking at the setlists… it looks like we’ve been playing the same stuff over and over again (which IS true) but the improvisations on each of these tunes have been completely different every time… brand new tunes every night. i’m excited to get home and write some new music.
this show, the ‘ebong.org creative music confusion infusion’ was/is a historic event. this was the first time that three jam/improvisation bands have shared a show ever on the european continent. an intercontinental celebration of freakyness and freedom and creativity thrown right in the face of warmongers and pseudofreedom fighters… all of this taking place a mere 50 yards from where the former berlin wall stood. for our last tune – the superjam – i invited up the entire ebong crew, craig, the rock, dan, rc, the mars mushrooms and kadoo for a giant jam in the name of peace and unity… and what better a tune to jam on than ‘give peace a chance’ by john lennon. when all the drum thumps, bass blurts, didgeridoo honks, guitar squeals, and organ bloots died down, all that remained was band and audience singing “all we are saying… is give peace a chance.” repeating this non-violent mantra in the hopes that warmongers and oppressors all over the planet will tap into our group mind energy and somehow gain a clue… violence solves nothing. did you hear us mr. bush? mr. blair? mr. oil corporations? probably not, and if you did… you probably just wouldn’t get it anyways.
after the gig we loaded up the gear and were about to roll back to our trusty hotel bogota yet again, when craig realized that big dan went home to his flat and took the van keys with him. (essentially leaving us double parked on a busy street and stranded at the club.) rc and i went and grabbed some pizza and brews for the crew as we waited for dan to return (thank goodness for cellular phones.) then we poured our drunk asses selves into the van and headed back towards the hotel, but only to stop for directions and another bottle of scotch. back at the hotel, the quests on our floor comlpained at the noise we were making, some through the door and others by hanging out their hotel room windows. we got all sorts of shitty and but the big empty on that bottle of scotch. what a day, what a gig, what a tour… we’ve got one more show left in london then its time to go home… this shit is too much fun.