" 9/11/05 September 11th will always be one of those days for people that will always bring back an outpouring of memories. I woke up on that day (4 years after that strange Tuesday morning) in a parking lot with a Castle looking down on me from a nearby mountain. I heard Duncan stop the bus so I got up (see previous journals). He told me where we were as we stood in the early morning cool of mist and early sun. "If You want to see Neuschwanstein castle it costs this much and the tour bus leaves at this time, just go to the window and make sure you get the English tour by this time... I'm going to sleep". God bless Duncan and the great city of Liverpool where he hails from! I'd be lost without him.
He got back on the bus and left me alone in the dawn. This was easily the most beautiful spot I had seen on the whole trip. I serene lake was just over yonder and I was surrounded by close mountain outcroppings. It was still.
Walking around I saw I was in the quintessential German village. I could almost smell the lebkuchen and pfeffernuesse cookies. It was empty and felt like Disney World before it opened. I couldn't help but remember where I was on the morning of September 11th 4 years earlier.
Paul and I were in Woodstock New York working with Jerry Morotta (of Peter Gabriel, Elvis Cotello, Paul McCartney fame) on a Grey Eye Glances record. We had gotten up and were having breakfast in our rented house. Jen (lead singer) came down stairs and said her husband wanted us to put the tele on. We watched in disbelief as history fell upon us.
That day I cut guitars on a track called "Good Folks". I was in a daze all day and It was hard to focus on playing in time let alone coming up with parts. Whenever I hear that song from our album "A Little Voodoo" it takes me to that day. I'm sure everyone has a story like that.
After finding an unobtrusive tree to piss on I walked around the Hansel and Gretel village feeling abandoned like they did. My wife had left me back in March and all my thoughts were on her (as they always were) and what had gone wrong. Being on another continent did not lessen those feelings. "Sometimes all I need is the air that I breath and to love you" was a lyric by the Hollies that kept playing in my head. Our minds are strange and sometimes better sedated.
After a while the gang started to get up and peek outside the bus. It was sad to have the quiet ruined but I was glad for for the company of my friends. We are all so different but yet....
Since I was the first up I gave everyone the lay of the land. "The bathroom is closed till 8 but that tree over there works for pissing; no there isn't any coffee but the castle tour starts in an hour, we just need to get tickets, etc, etc"
An hour later we were on a bus with Otto The Crazy Cliff Driving Driver. I don't think your supposed to drive faster than 4 miles an hour on the climb up to the castles; he drove like Speed Racer on Meth!! We nevously laughed as the bus broke gravity rules and spit dirt and stone on hair pin turns with no guard rails! Getting off the bus I prayed he was the "Up The Mountain Driver" and I wouldn't have to see him for our return journey.
We followed the crowd of people through the woods on a path to a clearing. It came out on the Marienbrucke bridge. What a view!! You couldn't help but feel the vertigo crawling up your legs into your intestines. We must have been at least 300 feet in the air. My lungs took in the cool crisp air from the stream below. Wow. Thank you Duncan for bringing us here! Too bad he was sleeping but I knew he had obviously seen this view many times before. I could have stayed there all day but we had a show to get too and a castle to check out.
The walk to the castle burned any residual alcohol we had in our veins. I thought Joe and Brad were going to pass out as we climbed a damn near vertical hill. They had that look in their eyes. As we crested the hill the castle came into view. The castle is not that old (only late 19th century) but it has an old style to it, as any castle does. We found the English tour and were grouped with some older folks from Texas. The tour guide was hands down the most beautiful woman I saw on the continent. Tall, blond, and and a German accent. She showed us around stone hallways and large tapestry filled rooms. It seems Ludwig II (The owner of the castle) was a Richard Wagner fan. Wagner, for anyone that doesn't know was a controversial 19th century Composer. Hitler Idolized him and used his music as a back drop to the Nazi Party. Wagner was an egomaniac that lived off grants and rich Kings (like Ludwig). He loved to hear himself talk, and pontificated on every subject he could find a listener. His stories were the theme of much of the artwork within the castle.
It was such a treat to be witness to this history. It seems Ludwig was "Drowned" in a lake. He was said to be crazy. I asked our host if he had syphilis since I knew it was a common disease at that time with it's symptoms being "insanity". She briskly said no as if I just insulted her. I guess that's a touchy subject here in the castle.
The gift shop was cool as was the castle bathroom. We walked over hill and dale back to our bus rendezvous spot. Around the corner flying at bone crushing speed comes Otto The Crazy Cliff Driving Driver. AHHHHHHHHHH! We jump back from the bus stop sign because he WILL hit us if we are not standing in the correct spot. The door slammed open. We look at him, he at us. I know he is laughing at us with disdain. His eyes say "Get on zee shuttle you American Monkeys and let me show you zee hair pin turns!" God help us! I close my eyes and hold on to the metal railing as the trees go by in a green blur. There were times I swear we only had two wheels on the ground!
Safely off the shuttle we found a picturesque outside restaurant in the Disney village. Tom and I kept looking for Santa Clause or at least some elves in this North Pole looking town. Instead we found a guy selling beer and German food. We sat at the bottom of the mountain and had a few beers and ate our first German food. Damn good stuff! Paul called and woke up his mom to tell her where we were. She had been to the exact same restaurant!
Back on the bus we drove to Wurzburg. It began to rain. Our first rain load in. Duncan had to drive back a long alley with no room to spare. We loaded in very fast to keep the gear from getting wet. A band was playing as the sun started to go down and we finished loading the gear in. Charly Heidenriech (The Promoter) was a great guy with wild hair. He found us some beer and gave us the lay of the land. We had a few hours till show time so I decided to finally do some laundry. Luckily they had a machine to wash cloths... but no dryer (which usually is not a big deal but being on the road time is very important so you don't have time to let cloths air dry). Oh well, I desperately need to do laundry. I jammed my cloths, Joe's and jack's into the washing machine and let her rip. We all sat outside as the sun went down and had some beers as people came to the gig. A guy from Portugal and one from Italy showed up. Very cool.
At show time we went in and set up in front of everyone. I like that sometimes. It brings everyone closer in the room. It eliminates the pretense and divide between the band and crowd. We played a bit of a tune for sound check and people started cheering....this was going to be good. We immediately went into our first song. The crowd was very intense and we were rockin. On nights like that all the mistakes just don't matter. I felt like I was in a really cool band and time or age didn't matter. I felt real and vital. Everyone in the room was moving and breathing at the same time. Shows like that keep me going when I'm down. They erase malcontent. That night was my favorite night of the whole tour. Thank you Wurzburg!!
After the gig I got my wet laundry and stuck it in my suitcase. Oh well.
Duncan need to sleep so we couldn't leave. He had the bus parked in the alley. Evidently a Hell's Angels club was right by the club. There was no way I was sleeping on the bus. Fortunately there was an overhang sort of warehouse thing by the bus. Brad, Joe and I found some crates and an old box spring and took our blankets outside to sleep like homeless pros. It was drizzling but we were under cover and dry. I slept on a big crate and hoped there weren't any rats... .or Hell's Angels. Joe and Brad's snores echoed off the cement walls all night long, amplified and thick. Another long long night under the moon.
brett 11/05 "