European Tour Diary 1995
Originally appeared in "Moon SKA Skazette #22 Slammin'"
"Bucket's Tour Diary, Summer"
It's a long, hot Summer. It's not until you go to Europe that you realize just how comfortable life is in the USA! It's the little (or not so little) things like A/C in the van, hot water in the hotels and around the clock availability of things that you actually want to eat that makes the difference! Nevertheless, Europe is always a blast -- everyday another language, and "how much is this money worth anyway!?"
The tour started out in Holland and wound through Germany, Austria, France and Spain. We were scheduled to go to Switzerland, but that had to be canceled since my filofax (including passport, airtix and address book) got left in a cab in Heidelberg [ed. sparks writing of the song "I Wasn't Going To Call You Anyway"]. I managed to get back in the US by the skin of my teeth. People had better call me, since I don't have any numbers!
The German scene seems to be rebounding from the low of the last two years. We played a great festival at Popkomm in Koln with Skaferlatine (France), Mr. Review (Holland) and the outstanding Dr. Ring Ding (Germany) -- who featured Rico as a guest artist. Some familiar faces in the crowd at this German indie equivalent to the NMS were Mattzge (Pork Pie, Germany), Lol Pryor (Dojo, UK) and Lee Cuellar (Jimco, USA). Attendance at shows in West Germany were well up, with capacity shows in Berlin, Munich, Nuremburg and Hannover. This last gig was in a swimming pool with The Busters, who now have a new frontman, since Thomas Scholz has left to concentrate on his booking agency, Booby Trap (who are organizing a Eurotour for The Scofflaws in Spring 1996).
After playing the Reggae Sunsplash in Vienna with Alpha Blondy, we embarked for the desolation of East Germany and an array of bizarre venues. First in a bombed-out youth center outside Leipzig, then the hold of a ship moored in Rostock harbour, and in the dungeon of a castle in Freiburg on the Czech border. Since Matt's bass amp had already blown up in Berlin, we put the bass through the guitar amp, since there was no D.I. box to be had. East Germany is still very resource poor, but we're very grateful for the way in which everyone put themselves out 110% for us! Turnouts in Spain were definitely the high point of the tour, with excellent shows in Barcelona and Madrid. Once again, the Kommando Moriles crew turned up in a coach! Although the tolls in Spain are a killer, the paella in Barcelona more than made up for it.
Finally to France, with four shows that culminated in a festival in Parthenay. The French scene seems to be starting to form a network behind a few movers and shakers like Frod Radet (of Skarface). It's important to note that in Europe the ska underground doesn't exist to the extent that it does here, and that even though there are some established labels (such as Germany's Pork Pie), there is no homogeneous organization that crosses international lines. Once again, it's the USA that is leading the charge in terms of new bands and a happenin' scene. So, let's go do it!