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AntiProduct Tour Diary – Entry #2, 5/9/05

 

ANTIPRODUCT TOUR DIARY

by A.Product

AntiProduct has just been on tour in Europe, including some former Eastern Block countries! They’re off the road now, but that has only given frontman A.Product (aka former Life Sex & Death guitarist Alex Kane) time to collect his hazy thoughts and recount them just for you! Whenever he has an update, Mr Product will give us tales from the grottos, gypsy camps and gulags that dared to book AntiProduct on their recent tour.

PART TWO

Hermsdorf, Germany – Jugendhaus, April 8

Funny thing about life. It?s always writing stories that are more incredible than any movie you?ll ever see, but because it?s your own life story, you sometimes fail to see the poetry or lessons you?re being shown. Case in point:

OK, it?s just occurred to me, but I think the rest of the gang may have cottoned onto this a few days ago, Kerrie, Australian driver of our van all across Europe for the next three weeks, basically, can?t drive for shit. She freaks out a lot, isn?t that fond of reversing (which sucks if you have a tendency to get lost), and seems to be very uncomfortable in the role she applied for?and was hired as, driver. It?s not so much the panic attacks (hers, not ours) but more the crazed glint in her eye as she wields the steering wheel to curb us once again on straight roads or the 65 to 0 exercises in precision breaking that end up sending us and all our luggage into the front seat suddenly. Still, she?s family so we stand by her, or until the day your bet comes up in the pool as to when she?s gonna crack. Then it?s torture time! I love torture time! Where you see how far you can push someone before they have a nervous breakdown in front of your very eyes to the peels of laughter of those all around. Does that make me bad?

Anyway, tomorrow is my day in the breakdown pool, and Cwej?s (comedic relief/?tech?) directions never know the way and end up sending us invariably into the same cornfield in every country we follow them. We know the farmer by name now?and his daughters?and though the name never changes, the pronunciation does. So we?re lost and we got backin? up to be doin?, which means suddenly, jarringly pounding on the windows of the van a lot while Kerrie, nervously and sweatily, backs the van into invisible garbage can, after invisible garbage can, or pedestrian. The muffled shouting aids in creating this effect.

As the DVD player is still fucked we get the ads, the trailers, the warnings and then at the menu?it?s done. Just the delicious Pavolvian response of the immediate gratification movie you COULD be watching and the secret delights all trapped behind the tempting fixed-gaze of the menu, but alas? Four fuckin? days of this menu teasing and we?ve tried everything, including trying to interface Greg?s laptop with the fuckin? thing, every moment we weren?t sleeping or on stage. Nothing. We?ve had the remote (Don?t lose these ever, by the way. You?ll be fucked. It?s called built-in obsolescence and they figure it into their profit margins.) completely disassembled twice, changed the lens with chewing gum and a broken piece of bottle, had every battery in there but knew once we had vibrators out, we had gone too far?again.

So anyway, I?m in a bad mood. A real bad mood! I gots my needs and movies are part of my programming, babe. Anyone who knows me (my girlfriend says it?s my constant need to escape reality and thinks I have MPD. Whatever. No one talks to Napoleon that way!) knows I needs my movies. It shuts my brain down good. So I?m a double fumin? valve waitin? to blow a gasket. As we?ve followed Cwej?s way past the same gas station from four different directions by now, and asking our farmer buddy where we were this time, I volunteer to ask directions at said same station of gas.

Part of my Martyr trip (more on-coming singer disease than MPD, I believe), is to do everything and then just constantly moan about having to do everything. On the other hand, c?mon on. Wake up! Reality isn?t that terrifying.DO SOMETHING! By day four of a tour, I?m starting to look and smell pretty bad. I?ll shower maybe once every ten days on tour anyway, with daily shaves. What?s the point? Tonight I?m gonna sweat and puke all over myself again anyway and I?d rather smell like shit and look like a hobo in UV anyway. The looks I get (which can belie the overall vibe of the town) would have made even Han Solo feel uncomfortable.

So, in walk I into a gas station in the middle of Germany somewhere, big black fake-furry coat, yesterday?s make-up, anti-Nazi button, goofy hair, and a small limp from twisting my ankle during the Cwej in the way pounce rather than jump from last night?s Big Rock Show. Here?s Frankenstein. The local?s jaws make audible sounds as they hit the floor. The teller backs away from the counter as he eyes the ?Weapon? (my mobile) in my left hand. Serious as a heart attack. I?m like, ?Whoa, fellas. Settle down. We?re just lost, obviously.? So, in my broken German I try to let ?em know we?re giggin? in town to explain our unique to the locals look (inside I?m like, ?Clare, stay in the van. Stay in the van, please!?) and no one even wants to make eye contact let alone help out a weary and lost traveler. I?m back in the van, bitching about, why the goofy lookin? singer? makes sense to send in for directions rather than anyone else in the van, pointing to my open head wound. I finally, forcibly call Charles, promoter/booker/ing?nue?, and he comes to get us to the venue. Yes, the venue is directly across from the service station. Kerrie needs to back the van down an incline into oncoming rush hour traffic. I?m worried Greg?s gonna win the pool today. I?d be much happier if she broke tomorrow. Which she does rather admirably, despite Greg continuously screaming at the top of his lungs the whole way down. Anything to win a bet, huh? We do the load in and notice the general graffitied/stickered austerity of everything, other than the showers and toilets, which were pretty new. Even the whole neighborhood is kinda gray and flat, despite there being trees and sunlight.

Yumi Yumi, fellow Roadshock Agency new touring buddies of ours (two really cute Japanese girls in boiler suits playing punky, electro Nirvana punk with HUGE chorusii and loops.) play before us and are awesome, yet the crowd, a lot of whom are on crutches inexplicably (we were afraid to ask) seem pretty low key about it all. We?re in our dressing room/bedroom, which is a room with three couches and nine French Army cots where we?re all staying tonight. Today the pre-gig dressing room topic is penis size and does it actually matter? As at this point, I?m like ?This is interesting to hear,? and sort of quietly going about my business getting ready for tonight?s Big Rock Show, involving about an hour, hour and a half, of make up putting on, stretching, sports drink guzzling, into pitcher pissing/stashing stealth missions, vocal warm ups, jumpings around to get the heart rate up for another, hopefully, super-human performance of AntiProduct. The answer about the penis size, by the way is?

AntiProductSHOWTIME! We?re fuckin? rockin? here. I?m used to the blank ?What the fuck is going on?? initial stare thing when one first becomes ?acquainted? with in the room with AntiProduct time. It takes the first three songs before the uninitiated even realize they are not on acid at the moment. It?s pretty funny to see actually. It looks like you were all shot with a BB gun in the back of your head when you weren?t looking. By now, I?m swinging from the light rig and crawling all over people and I?m like an inch away from their faces (ok, I do get where it can get to be a bit intense, totally, and I?ve seen fights break out because of it) and they?re not EVEN willing to make any eye contact. Just kinda like, look away and it will go away. Really weird. It actually works in getting me to fuck right off, because I?m just trying to see who wants to be part of the Big Rock Show that night rather than maliciously fuckin? with someone, unless you?re an asshole and then I just try to start a fight, which is totally childish but I?ve never learned how to grow up.

Anyway, by the end, this gig, despite an earlier flare up between some of the girls (Greg and I had decided to pull the rock-star-gets-his-meal-trip from this really decent Italian place, having avoided Charles?, promoter/agent/auteur, suggestion of a German restaurant that served horse, apparently. Language barrier?? We get back 5 minutes before we we?re needed, expecting the other 43 people we have on tour with us to be able to set up the stage without the singer/Prima Donna there. No such luck. I get a less than friendly elbow in the ribs, more a kidney punch actually, at one point from one of the offended during sound check and ascribe that particular encounter to bear-attracting menstruation.) was definitely a level up on the intensity meter, 5 being the highest and considered average.

About a 3.5 still so we have a lot of digging and work to put in. 7 minute, whirlwind epic, Arms Around The World is catching Greg out with alarming consistency as I think to kill him and bury him on the side of the road and leave his corpse there to rot?sorry, MPD again. But the kids we get, we get going crazy and they had room dance. We do set closer, Blitzkrieg Bop, and suddenly, the whole place starts to shake. I always go for the biggest guy when I go into the crowd, so after I?ve climbed through scaffolding on the stage to jump from the button guy?s merch stall (whose expression of stone cold slightly, but only slightly, annoyed invisibility would make a great postcard one day. The inside would read ?Nope.?) into giant Aryan, skin-head, drunk, later-to-be-known-as Hampi?s face. He smiles like the Grand fuckin? Canyon, picks me up, lifts me the fuck over his head with one giant, giant mitt and starts shakin? me like I?m a maraca to Greg?s and Marina?s thunderous, turbo charged Blitzkrieg beat. Talk about appreciation but on some level I asked for it. At the very end of the gig, I?m kinda pissed at the audience for living in repression and not being able to let go and be stupid enough like Hampi here, calling ?em, not all but enough, names and stupid over-excited pompous babble, basically, on my part. And I?m off back stage/dorm room feeling slightly used for some reason.

Then I hear a muffled applause, which gets increasingly louder and louder. Then I start hearing or calls of ?Noch eins? (?one more? in German) but as Clare has knocked all her shit over, we?re done.) I?m like ?Why?d you wait till now?! We were just out there (and it was a decent, capacity crowd) rocking with you and all but 35 of you wouldn?t even accept we were in the same room together let alone part of a Big Rock Show. What the fuck??

Everybody?s comin? up after the Big Rock Show being so warm and so generous with their appreciation. Guy comes up and gives me the politically incorrect t-shirt off his back. Now, we?re the Beatles in Hermsdorf suddenly. It?s at this point, post-gig, in having another one of the MANY, MANY Anti-Fascist conversations I?d have over the next few days in Germany I see a dusty old plaque on the wall. It looks like it?s meant to be a reminder, like a picture of yourself when you were at your most miserable to remind yourself never to get that miserable again.

This plaque had two bronze flags and the words ?Friendship? written in German on the bottom and, above that on top of the plaque, the same word in Russian. The two flags, of course, are the Russian flag and the Former East-German flag. Then it hits me like the Hand of God in the Vulva: We?re now playing in what used to be East Germany, where the first thing you were taught to read, write and say in school was ?Russia is Your Friend.? This was the case up until about 15 years ago! What were you doing 15 years ago? Went to see Metallica? A late screening of ?Die Hard 2?? Maybe you were out on a Saturday night, getting a Denny?s Turkey Club down ya before you went home, having not pulled, but not feeling too bad about it. That was reality for you and I, my friend, but once I realized this that this was where we were now, my life took a sudden turn.

It?s not that I saw God at last, me and him have actually been on good terms for awhile now even though we?re kinda not speaking lately, but I realized that a mere few years ago and Die Hard sequels earlier, these people would have been arrested for being here tonight, listening to this kinda of music at all, or shot if they?d tried to get to the place we played the previous night. Shot dead. Like where the wall was in Berlin is now the middle of a street, right, and there?s Stop Lights that fall on either side of the former place of the wall now a street, and I walked across that cross walk like 2 hours one day a few years ago, my head spinning as I looked on all the memorials of people shot attempting to get to Western Freedom not that very long ago. 2 hours of back and forth over the same intersection, counting the bullets that would have entered my body had this been a decade and a half earlier. One bullet, two bullets, three bullets, etc., all in the back for crossing the street. We?re not in Kansas anymore.

I then have a 21 year old look at me, and what must have been my stunned expression, and earnestly say ?I was 6 when the wall came down.? Can you even imagine what a tool I was feeling like before he says this, let alone after? 21-year-old kid basically sending me to school. From here on in, as the bartender was known as making the best, strongest cocktails in the former Eastern Germany, and everyone was very eager to get us plastered on the house having now seriously bonded, things get hazy but I remember sitting with countless groups of kids and talking some pretty positive, deep shit, drinking with Hampi (remember Hampi, the giant who used me as a percussion tool) and meeting his friend, a bald little German guy who walked with a limp and was a small and frail as Hampi is big and strapping, watching The Anchorman commentary track on Greg?s laptop, seeing cots literally strewn over the length of the entire building as well as some kinda shower supervising/peeping Tom action when Milena announces she?s taking a shower (the plumbing and toilets are new because they?ve all been installed within the last 15 years, y?see, as they catch to what the West has had for years). I might be making this up though. Good cocktails, what can I say?

Mono and I go outside at one point having scored some hash from one off the locals and out comes Hampi and his buddy. We?re laughing our balls off, the four of us, as Hampi is sharing his totally and militantly anti-fascist sentiments with us at the top of his giant lungs, and he?s fuckin? WASTED. More wasted than I think I have ever seen anyone in my life, falling over wasted. He?s doing the moustache, (yea, THAT one) he?s doing the salute in the middle of the street, laughing about how he?d love to crush some Nazi skulls tonight. It may be early and deserted but that kinda of Nazi shit is TOTALLY VERBOTEN in Germany, even if you are saying how much you hate it. It?s just illegal and I?m getting visions of us in jail for Hampi having a weird sense of humor
and hating neo-Nazis. It?s also occurring to me, that Hampi and his little friend, both of who are nice as the day is long, may be kinda queer and then?I get the visual. Don?t even try, it?ll pollute your psyche forever, trust me.

Anyway, they point off up the road wishing us a great evening and safety for the road and head on up, singing and drunk, in the direction Hampi had pointed. Me and Mono are laughing our balls off, not at, but with these two characters as they head up the hill. They walk about, oh, I don?t know, 150 yards and are just about out of eye shot when they pull up and stop dead. Me and Mono are like ?Oh oh, this is where they come back and ask us to join them at home tonight.? And sure as shit, they turn around and start walking our way. Argggh! Pretend you?re invisible, I whisper as the pair draws closer. They get to where we?re standing, finishing off our second joint, and smiling say, ?We walk the wrong way. We live this way.? Hampi grabs a big handful of little buddies ass, way up inside the crack I might add, and they shove off in the opposite direction and into the night to do whatever they do in Hermsdorf, in the former Eastern Germany on a Friday night at 4:30 am.

At about 6 am Dangelo decides it?s pasta time and me and he and Mono and Cwej go to the kitchen to see what we can whip up. Cwej insists on taking the delicious gourmet pasta concoction Greg is creating, and trying to jam luncheon meat, like baloney and shit in there, saying how, ?The baloney is all prepped for you, Mr. Dangelo.? By now, I don?t know if he?s really this stupid or just taking the piss and has his own bet going on when I crack. We eat the breakfast pasta (without baloney), call a few friends back in LA in the middle of the night, and call it a long and eventful day, eye opening day, but not before the antique accordion I find in the pantry on a shelf gets a spin. Quick round of, ?Seasons in the Abyss? done polka style, boys? Lift and pull and?rip! The accordion comes apart in two halves in my hand and I know I just destroyed someone?s fuckin? family heirloom before bedtime. Greg suggests I put it back, which I do quickly scampering out of the kitchen and into my cot. I?m invisible?

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