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AntiProduct Tour Diary – Entry #6, 7/18/05

 

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 SIX

Hi again. Sorry it’s been so long and to leave you hanging like this (between me and George Lucas, what the fuck? you’re thinking) with us lost and stranded in with our new drummer, the one and only Gregory "GD3" D’Angelo in primal Poland and what was until only recently (meaning in the last 15 years, right before Nirvana ruined your life) Communist countries but I had another adventure to go on. That was back home to the US for the first time since I started AntiProduct after finishing the Jesse Camp record for Hollywood Records and getting more money thrown at me than I ever seen in my life causing me to move to the UK.

Sure, we made our second album, MADE IN USA (currently on sale at www.antiproduct.com which you want bad as it kicks serious ass like everyone says) in New York but that was two months of nothing but work. Anyway, I just was back home (I’m in England now getting ready for festival season and another Euro tour before we head off to LA in November to make AntiProduct album number three as well as…ssshhh) for the last three weeks and underwent something of a transformation that I wasn’t expecting. Yes, I’m a woman now. Kidding.

Through various experiences too involved to go into here (I have a complete, too honest diary going on at the AntiProduct website, www.antiproduct.com, now for those interested) for the very first time in my life, I am actually proud of being an American. OK, admittedly, I’m not down with Bush for shit, but fuck, as a people, seriously, we rule and have much to be proud of! We are polite and generous and care about others and one another. We hold the doors for each other and are unevolved and stupid enough to care about the plight of strangers in need in the middle of the night. Sure we drive some dumb as cars (Hummers, c’mon boys n girls, I mean really. Just get a tank, fuck it) and our nasal twang an be a bit brusque for the more European of us, but shit man, I’ve lived in England for 6 long years now and have an all new appreciation of the things that do make our country one of a kind, and that is the people that live there. I shit you not, come live in the UK for a while and you will see exactly what I mean.

What all this means for my life and career I can’t say but I had more fun and was made to feel more welcome in my home country than I ever could have expected. Plus, I got to watch Anchorman 60 more times with "Kickin Ass" D’Angelo (needle, needle), I jammed with CC Deville which was a lot of fun (that dude touched me more than my girlfriend ever has) and got to say hi to one of my long-time guitar heroes, Tracii Gunns. Seriously, that guy is the shit on the guitar and should be given way more respect than he has so far.

Anyway, the US rules and you sometimes need to go away to be able to really appreciate that, which I have and now I do. I have gone from being a left-wing anarchist to being a left-wing true blue red white and blue American. Crazy shit, but it’s your fault.

And now?

The Drive Through Hell: the Final Chapter

If you?re lost just go back to AntiProduct Tour Diary 5 and get caught up. We?ll wait. (Whistles?). Yea right, fuck them. So, we?re following the support band to somewhere in the night in the middle of Poland and it?s rough. The girls are pretty wound up as in Polish culture girls seem to be more like pillows and sleepy time seems to be more like all day. We?ve had my friend (censored) on the phone strongly recommending we get screw drivers to stab any assailants and we?re about to leave the gig, which was unlike any AP gig ever before and that?s not necessarily a good thing.

We pull over the curb in our van following the support band in their station wagon and after the juddery jolt of hitting the road, they immediately pull over ahead of us. You can still hear the sound of our moan echoing through the lands it was so loud and heartfelt. ?Now what??!!?? Since I?m fearless leader, Dad guy, as I?ve been from the first band I was in at 15 all through Life Sex and Death and certainly up till now, I get out the van into the chilly and none more black night to go see what the haps are. We are of course on a deserted road with one barely working street light every 300 or so yards.

Me: ?So, now what, buddy??
Only guy in the support band that speaks the Eeengliish: ?We are having flat tire.?
Me: ?Oh, okay. Let me tell the gang.?
Only guy in the support band that speaks the Eeengliish: ?Yesss. Iss Good to sssay.?

I make my way back to the van and let the gang know. I?m sure I heard sobbing from somewhere in the back (Lemme hear you sobbing in the back.). Now, I?ve seen ?Good Fellas? at least a dozen times so no matter how much I?m the singer prima donna bitch, I?m out there in the night watching these roads like a dog likes to smell dog ass making sure there?s no fucker rolling down the street to kill and maim me and mine. But I?m expecting it fer sure.

10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, go by. Even though I?m smoking cigs with Mono outside the van, I can feel the anxiety level of a long drive and a weird day building inside the van like a volcano. One wrong word and its bedlam. I try to get directions to The Illusive Hotel in the Middle of Nowhere (that was actually it?s name, I believe) from the ?Only guy in the support band who speaks the Eeengliish? and he lets me know it?s so complicated, it would be impossible to give me directions. Yea, right. I?m liking this. Maybe it?s only impossible because we ain?t EVER gonna get there. After half and hour of waiting for this tire to get changed (and yea, our buddies are laughing and swilling beer and having an awesome time, just like in the movies before the carnage starts), I ask the AP contingent, ?Who?s up for Plan B.?

Greg says if Plan B is getting the fuck outta here right now and driving the 10 hours through Poland to the Czech Republic blind in the middle of the night with no Czech money or anywhere to stay, he?s seconds it. I ask (censored) if she minds attempting this drive as it?s gonna be a ball buster and she?s already started the van before I finish the sentence. In case this is like a scene from the Hills Have Eyes as we don?t need any psycho, mono-toothed, inbred family members chasing us down the street looking for retribution, I let ?Only guy in the support band who speaks the Eeengliish? know we?re gonna risk the drive to The Czech Republic ?cause he?s giving us the creeps. Not really. I say one of the girls is PMSing (typical male) and we need a pharmacy for something or other. He?s all, ?But theeees makesss no sense. Eet isss waste of maney.? Better a waste of ?maney? than a waste of my and my family/band?s life! And we go, utterly clueless where we?re headed, which could be anywhere.

We drive and drive and drive and drive in what would appear to be direction Czech. And drive and drive and drive and drive. And there?s no lights, and no highways; only darkness, bad roads, the occasional road sign and bombed out looking ex-Commie housing everywhere. Mid 20th century misery trapped in a time warp. I keep wondering how supplicant humans need to be made to accept this standard of ?living,? which makes England seem like a glorious Mecca of the future with it?s no showers, bad food and two tap hydration system. It would be great to at least show these people living in these darkened and dilapidated homes how other people in other places live, just so they would have the choice. Then again, who the fuck am I to say?

We?re all pretending we?re not freaking out to each other and laughing about anything we can find an excuse to laugh at because it beats the alternative. Of course, there?s no cell phone reception and just as it seems to be about to turn into the Blair Witch sequel we all wanted to see though certainly not live, past another clearing of droopy trees, there?s the border! We?ve made it out of Poland?but what are we to expect from the Czech Republic come to think of it.

We get past the sour puss, non-English speaking border guard who views us with all the contempt and derision of a bureaucrat forced to work in a Photomat booth in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere in a uniform. Once through the border, I try the mobile but no joy. It?s four in the morn and we?re not totally sure where we?re going but the machine that is AntiProduct, versus the people that comprise the machine, rocks in a very physical and kinetic way unlike any band you have ever experienced?bar fuckin? none. The people that make up the machine need any amount of sleep to lift off they way the machine requires, let alone that we have three lovely girls in the band and while there are consummate pros, I do try to go to any lengths to make sure their lives suck as little as they have to. Also, the bottom line is this, no matter where, when or how, anyone who comes to see us needs and should expect to see the best of AntiProduct, not what?s left of AntiProduct.

No reception, ah but there?s a pay phone. No Czech money. Ah, but the non-English speaking border guard. Ah, but he hates me, is afraid of the tattoos on me gob (UK for face) and treats me like a beggar when I approach him. Fookin? Grreet (Scottish of awesome.) Off we go. Now, I have no idea what your preconceptions of The Czech Republic are but I can assure you I had mine. I was sure I?d see Poland without the scenery and good manners. What I saw was: fuck, this is like Arizona near enough. The streets were freshly paved and wide. There were highways and streetlights and I wondered what could possibly constitute the difference between one side of the border and the other and I assume its politics and governments as usual.

Then, it appears. Civilisation in the form of gas station! I?m still in about 1/3 of my stage make-up and certainly lookin? worse the wear as we?ve now been on the go since 8 am this morning (and, despite my initial trepidation (censored) has driven for about 14 hours straight today, separated by load-in and merch stand minding and is proving herself in a way I never could have imagined before) and it?s 4 am the following morning AND we?re still not even close to Olomouc, nor have any idea what to do when we do get there.

I wander in as unthreateningly as possible, worried shitless I?m gonna freak these poor Czechian gas station attendentesses out.

Me: (very tentatively, displaying my All Access Pass figuring it might spark some light of recognition) Do you speak a little English?
Them: The What The Fuck Do You Want Stare of Death
Me: Any English at all?
Them: The What The Fuck Do You Want Stare of Death with Negatory Head Shaking

Try hand signals, I think. Air guitar, air vocal mike, circle us gesture (as Milly and Marina walk in behind me, followed by Mono and Julian, who actually look human), air steering wheel driving gesture, Poland finger pointing. And I see their once stone-faced facade slowly starting to melt. Then a hint of amusement and finally warmth and kindness appear in their eyes, slowly followed by self-deprecating smiles, from both. Just then a guy comes up, and in near perfect American asks if he can help us. I shit you not, I nearly cried and hugged this fucker. He?d lived in the States for 10 years and had studied at ULCA and was as helpful and accommodating as anyone I?ve ever met.

By now, the girls working there, have pretty much really taken to us and are trying, through their own hand signals, to find out who, what and why we are there. It looked like an Italian wedding. Problem is we still have no Czech money and most of the place’s in Poland only took this thing called a Euro card. As we were late for the Polish gig, no one other than me and one or two others had eaten. I, oh so hopefully ask if they take credit cards. And oh so thankfully they say yes.

Hey everyone, it?s dinner time on my credit card. Bad idea sure, and the crew was coming up to the counter with more food than I?ve ever eaten in my life. I?m like, guys, this is my personal credit card we?re caning here, so let?s not go too crazy PLEASE! I actually do the distasteful thing of giving everyone a budget on their free meals and don?t take it back from the next day?s PDs (which hopefully doesn?t give too much of the story away). I?m a good if resentful Dad. Sometimes though, you gotta take the bullet for the family and I?m only too happy to as long as I can moan about it later. So, we?re gassed up, fed on gas station food, everyone?s urinated and shat that?s needed to and we?re off again bidding a fond adieu to our new friends at the Czech gas station we visited.

Incredibly, and remember, we?re STILL miles from Olomouc our destination, (censored) has juice to burn and wants to keep driving. I?m like clutch turn around champ? Fuck me! And off we go. I have reception again and try calling both the promoters of our Czech gigs, one of which (tonight?s) I leave a message for and the other one (tomorrow?s) says he?ll look around for something. As it?s 4 am he doubts he?ll have any luck but he?ll try. 20 minutes later he calls back with a suggestion and 45 minutes after that we stroll through the lobby of the hotel he points us towards?except there?s no availability. 5:30 am and I get to walk back to where the van is parked with Mono, my ?normal looking? cig joining me for side kick, to spread this news to the gang as the sun slowly creeps up on us. Suggestions, anyone, or ?Well, someone else fuckin;? come up with an idea. I?m trying my best here.? Milly says we should drive through to Olomouc and see what happens when we get there. Everyone is in agreement and off we go again.

At 8:30 am we get to Olomouc with (censored) now having driven a full 19 hours in the last 24! We have arrived in Olomouc! We made it out of Poland and have arrived!!!!!!! And we didn?t get killed and eaten yet again. I?m able to get change to call Ales, the promoter of tonight?s big rock show again, but I?m still unable to get through. It is 9 am and who knows what kinda life style he leads.

I?ll tell you this other thing, as I need help finding anything I can think of in Olomouc in the Czech Republic, grubby, face tattoo guy needs to ask total strangers and I find they are warm and generous and helpful to a fault. I got Czech money in my pocket so I buy fruit and coffee and wait to call Ales again. We drive around town in search of the venue having a chance to study the brilliant architecture of the place and get a general vibe from the people. It?s a truly beautiful European morning as the sun warms the churches and buildings that have been standing in Olomouc the way it has since before there was anyone white in the USA.

Finding the venue and thinking that is some kinda home, we park up. Some common ground that we can call a safe haven. I can feel the perspiration welling up on my face as I lean back, tired beyond tired, I finally fall asleep along with my clan in the van, quietly and slowly nearly baking as Olomouc wakes up and goes to work in fashionable crisp, clean office clothing with sunglasses and Starbucks. An hour and a half later there would be a knock on my window by a stranger that would signal the start of the next day for AntiProduct in the East at long last bringing a close to April 10th.

Alex Kane

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