Up to this point I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this you already know about the end of our tour. What you probably don’t know is all the other stuff that happened before that ill fated event. This is my (Jamie Getz) take on the events of the tour, from my perspective. Here goes:
Got into Schipol, which is starting to seem like a weird home away from home at this point, walked up the same tube, down the same hallway, got into the same van, in the same parking space, with our same goofy friend at the wheel. Picked up gear near Amsterdam, got into Oostende Belgium, headed to a venue that Gertjan secured for us as a practice space for the night. We’ve known about this tour for almost 9 months, and yet here we are the night before the first show, cramming and learning songs to ad into the set list. I fucking hate that, and I hate that our band always works like this. I stress out, and everyone wonders why I’m mad, pissy or getting snappy. I got enough of a mess hoping all the shows go smooth, nothing gets cancelled, and everything goes as planned, then our band still doesn’t know all of the songs…great. Get practice out of the way, go to bed, wake up and it’s off to Paris.
Get into Paris and we actually go to the Eiffel Tower, which after all these years and around 30 times of being here I have still never walked up to and looked at. I saw it, I stared at it for a while, I tried to pretend that it had some relavance in my life, or something. It doesn’t. I’m the same way about art, I could go see the Mona Lisa, look at it for a minute and I’m good. That’s what I think about things like this. Head to the show, which is located down the street from the venue which we played at last time in February, that venue was so cleverly named The Cafe Of Paris. This venue we are at tonight translates to The Mirror Factory. I’m going to assume it’s because it was an old…mirror factory. We’re excited to see Flow, Anna and his crew of people, they have treated us great each and every time we’ve been in Paris. Jeff really didn’t want to sound check, didn’t understand why, and really didn’t want to do this…this is Jeff’s first time touring Europe, this is Jeff’s first show here, welcome to Europe. All of the sound checking in the world and the vocals are always too loud in our band. First show goes off without a hitch and we’re off to a great start. We are in Europe. Go to a French bar and drink too much. WE ARE IN EUROPE. Show up to Lyon and we get to spend some time in the actually center of the city, which is very nice. There’s this wild fountain with all these pissed off looking horses that break smoke out of their nose. Ben used this fountain as a point of interest to find, when he got lost for 2 hours. We don’t sound check here and we sound awful. The main point for me being here is strictly the shows, the tourist stuff and the hanging out and drinking, and acting foolish, that stuff all comes second for me. If we suck at the show, what’s the point of being here. It cracks me a bit. The show is OK though, Paul and Damien hooked it up very nicely for us and we go back to the Ground Zero to get some sleep but not before our new drinking friend Pauline makes us go to her house so she can pick up a bottle of some insane French whiskey that I think tastes like pure gasoline, the other seem to have no problem drinking all of this bottle.
Out of France and on our way to Bergamo, on the same highway that scares the living shit out of me every time we are on it. The Italian highway system in the the northern part of the country exist on a series of elevated roads about 200 yards in the air. I really don’t like this. I don’t even like step ladders. Get into Bergamo, which is the site of Ben’s infamous night 3 years ago, where we were playing the biggest show of that tour and Ben got so drunk he couldn’t plug his bass into the amp, nor figure out how to turn it on. We then proceeded to get out friends kicked out of their apartment at the time. Our band rules. Well, Ben is sober now, and this night was all about redemption. I have been personally waiting to get back here and play well for my own piece of mind. Our friend Lenore played with us this night. That’s cool, we played with her a few years ago here in America as well. The show was beyond packed as it was a free show attached to this bar and it was just crawling with people. We officially 100% redeemed ourselves here, and go back to Andrea’s house confident. Ben claims playing well was like “removing an emotional tumour.” We also met up with Iacopo at this show, he’ll be along with us for the rest of the shows in Italy. He looks like such a cute little teddy bear, with such deep brown eyes. Then he opens his mouth, and you wanna smack him. We love him. My voice started feeling strange this night but I made it through. Get into Forli and meet one of the nicest promoters we’ve ever worked with. Do a nice sound check and I feel like my voice is shot. Play the show, and my throat is so whack. I decide it’s from all the pills I’ve been taking. Note to sell, no more Mucinex on tour. Jeff, Gertjan, and Iacopo proceed to get so drunk, there is a fist fight in the room that winds up with Jeff throwing a couch on top of both of them, and surfing it. No one remembers this in the morning except Ben and myself. Get up and go see some town that Jeff really wanted to go see, there’s a church there. I said it before, I’ll say it again, I’ll say it 1,000 times more, I could care less about a church, or the history involved in it. I went and ate a cheese sandwich instead. If you’re reading this feel free to criticise me all you want, you can go on your own trip and look at all the churches you want to. We make our way into Pisa, get to the venue and it’s a total glam rock bar. I’m so excited that there is a Faster Pussycat / Enuff Z Nuff tour poster in there, I secretly lose my mind. Talk glam metal with the owner Mamo and ask him which L.A. Guns he likes better, like a true glam rock warrior he stays impartial to the gossip because there is no correct answer to that, Phil is the voice but Tracii is the main mother fuck. Why do I know these things? Go to the leaning tower which is a 3 minute walk, Jeff and Ben take a ton of very mature pictures. This is more sight seeing than I have ever done ever on any trip over here in my life, but I’m glad I came here and saw this. I tried to pretend to not see the stupid church behind it. Instead I looked at the grass. The show is great, and my voice feels fine. We stay with Iacopos friends and they somehow manage to get a woman who is obviously done and ready to leave her shop for the night to re open her store and serve us pizza. Italians…I love this shit. The next day we’re off to Comacchio to play with our friends in Pulling Teeth. It was nice to see Mike, and meet Dom. We played Comacchio and slept in the venue. In the morning there was no shower. I fucking god damned hate no shower. A few years ago I made up this thing where if there is no shower or hot water, I boil water and pour it all over a towel, then use it like that. I am so smart. One day I’m going to make a great homeless person. This was the last day Iacopo was with us. We love that guy. We tormented him the entire 96 hours he was with us. “Jamie, why do you give me the torment.” I love it.
Leave Comacchio and we’re in Slovenia, my all time favourite country, back at a very familiar venue in Koper, with a very familiar sound man. I inform him that we are only playing black metal songs tonight and he said “Please don’t.” I love this guy. Jeff and I take a walk down to check out all the Slovenian palm trees, and track lighting along the water. Go back to Luka’s parents place to sleep and make our way into Maribor. Our first time here, and man o man, it was a rough one. The squat is crystal clean and so professional. The people here inform us that no one comes to any event there anymore. Such a shame because the venue is so incredible, it’s just sitting there begging for a scene of some sorts. Lukas band Human Host Body played as well. They rule. Total crust. Maribor is so nice though, I recommend anyone looking for something cool to do to check it out, in the summer time at least. Because it was freezing cold here once the sun went down. We make a trail back to Ljubjlana after the show, and I lay down, for what feels like 30 minutes and I’m woken up to go play on the radio. Gertjan decides he’s coming along, so myself Luka, and Gertjan head over to Student Radio and I fumble my way through an early morning show. I break a string, which always makes me lose my mind, and to make matters worse it’s the only acoustic guitar in the room. This is why I yell at Ben about back up basses. I also decide to attempt to play a Misfits song I’ve never played all the way through and blow that too. Why do I do these things? Take my sweet time getting back to the house and we stroll all over the city. I know my way around the city at this point so I’m in no rush to get anywhere or go back to an apartment to stare at everyone else. Instead Gertjan, Teja, and myself go to H&M to try to buy a jacket or something warmer. I can easily see myself living here, I like it here that much. Get to the show which is one of my favorite venues in the entire world (that I know of at least), we realize this show is the most expensive show we have ever played anywhere in Europe and we are now playing last. Our friends from the band Nadja are playing tonight, and I really don’t want to play after them. I think they kill it. I’m actually excited to watch them, but Jeff lost his wallet and he actually is taking it quiet well. He calls and gets his cards canceled. If that was me, I’d have had a melt down. For some reason the promoter seems to think that I am an asshole, our band sucks and we are the worst people ever to deal with because I said “Chairs? They put chairs in the venue?” That’s cool. Everyone else there seemed to have a grand ole time except him. We also had our favourite sound person ever doing sound again. His name is Linch. He is fucking great. If you ever tour Europe and need a solid sound person, get at me and I will kick you his information. If you ever need a promoter who will cry on the internet after you leave, get at me I will give you Rok’s info. See, cheap shots are easy, anyone on the internet can do them. While we’re playing the show my jokes are at an all time high, and someone actually finds Jeffs wallet for him. Crisis adverted. Get up early so we can go check out our friend Sonya’s pig. Yep! She’s got a pig in her house. I’ve met this pig before. It’s a nice pig. Ben was so excited to see this pig. He was talking about it for weeks.
Luka comes along with us for the next week and we blaze a trail into Croatia, this is the first of many boarder crossings and the first of many of Luka’s stress outs at said boarders. The woman at the boarder claims Croatia has a special high tech marijuana detector. Sure. I mean Croatia is known for it’s high level of drug detecting devices. Same old hoopla as it always is but it takes about 2 hours, and we’re off and into Rijeka. This is the furthest our band has ventured east into Europe, we are now out of our comfort zone. Get to the venue and it’s crawling with kids. Each room is louder than the next room and every room is playing a different style of music. The other band playing tonight, has played in Philadelphia before, decent enough dudes. Meet the promoters who are both extremely nice to us, and we meet yet another great sound person named Augie. He gets everyone high and he totally understands American sarcasm. On the show posters for Gods And Queens it said “Punk/Indie Rock/Boring” So awesome. The show is OK, we drink till we’re stupid, Ben is bored to death and Luka falls asleep at the bar then we head back to a house to sleep. As we pull up to the house the parking is super tight and I’m pretty sure we just made up a spot on our own. Gertjan says “This isn’t a parking space.” Luka’s response “Welcome to Croatia.” Perfect timing. One of those, you had to be there moments. It takes a long ass time getting into Bosnia. The roads are all pretty much 1 lane highways and there is a strange sort of frost on all of the trees but it’s not a frost like we have here. This is different I cant describe it but it’s just different. It’s like a coating of half frozen air and salt. It’s very strange to look at and for a while it occupies my eyes and mind, then there is so much of it, it just becomes the landscape. Like driving through Iowa and looking at corn but different. We stopped to piss on the side of the road at one point, and Luka told us not to go too far because there still might be land mines from the war. Needless to say, we stayed very close to the van, and peed in silence. For me, playing in Bosnia was the “goal” of this tour, or the highlight. I really wanted to come here and play this show. I was honestly so fucking hyped to be here. We’re greeted by our host Zule then we make our way to the venue, which is a tiny bar, with a tent attached to it. Yep! A tent! It was nothing more than an extension off of the front door. We were basically playing outside and it was awesome. I was greeting by a drunk skinhead names Philip who punched me, and made me drink “liquid LSD” with him. Philip later poured a full beer over my head, and told me I was OK for an American. That was a sentiment that we heard a lot that night. Then again, if Bosnia came into America when I was 7 or 8 all I would know of Bosnian people was that they were war mongers and I would probably feel very ill towards them, as they felt towards us. It’s interesting to be there and realize that you are one of the only Americans some of these people have ever met or talked to in real life, that wasn’t a solider and we were probably some of the only Americans they ever met who weren’t holding a gun. Food for though I guess. The show was great and we hope that we made some new friends in Bosnia. The more everyone drank the looser everyone became and the more everyone started talking to us and us to them. I went outside with a girl who was going to school to be a Dr., and she proceeded to yell at me and demanded to know why were were in Banjaluka. She insisted it was because we wanted to laugh at how poor everyone was. That really wrapped my head, and I didn’t understand what the hell was happening, and we had a very intense conversation outside. Then I brushed her hair. How that wound up happening I have no concept. Alcohol makes people do stupid things. While this was going on outside, inside Ben was giving away American money, which the locals were burning in heating lamps. Aaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnndddddddddddddd we make a quick exit! I really hope to get back into Banjaluka again. We met so many awesome people here. Thank you Zule and his friends for bringing us!
Leaving Bosnia to go sit at the boarders for a while going back into Croatia to get into Serbia. Before we leave Bosnia we are met with hundreds of women selling hand made socks and gloves, and children begging for money as all of the cars go past. It’s one of those scenes where I replay it in my head, and I think “I have guitars that cost more money than this kids family will ever make.” My life as a punk isn’t so bad. Luka loses his mind at the boarders. I get it though, he booked this portion of the tour for us and he feels responsible for us in case anything goes wrong. I totally get that. It’s our turn and the Bosnia patrol tears our bags apart, take us out of the van and makes us empty our pockets, which isn’t that big of a deal. Routine I guess. Luka speaks 5 different languages and is very, very, very smart. He knows what to say, he sweet talks the police in their native language, explains how he met us and how we were so excited to come to Bosnia and how we made friends with everyone, and we’re out! I think I fell asleep for the entire ride into Serbia, except when a boarder patrol wanted t shirts and records from us. I woke up to Gertjan following a man on a bike to get into the show. The load in here in Serbia is crazy. 20 yards up and down steps then up a huge set of steps. The kids who are doing the show tonight are again, some of the nicest people we could ask to meet. I’m in a weird mood here and Ben asks “Are you alright, because you don’t seem alright.” I get my head out of my ass and go walk around alone for a while. I manage to get myself locked into an ATM machine. All I could think of was that I’m going to miss the show because I don’t know how to open a door. The show is probably one of the best, if not the best show that this line up of Gods And Queens has ever played. I was so happy after the show that I proceeded to drink until I fell over in the street. I love Serbia. Sadly we had to wake up at an ungodly hour to make it back into Croatia yet again to go to Split.
When we left Serbia, we had extra sweatshirts and coats, when we got into Split we had on t-shirts and I wanted to go to the beach. Split is so crazy that I want to come here on vacation on my own time. Split is also so crazy because we met 5 girls at the show who all lived in Philadelphia over the summer. Split is even crazier because our host Ivan’s apartment had the sickest view of the ocean ever. The show was great as well. I almost forgot about that, we played a show here in Split. It was great. The load in was crazy though, but the best part was everyone helped us load out. Even the 5 girls we met. We should have taken them on the tour from the start. All in all Croatia is pretty fucking awesome as well. I can’t go on and on enough about this area of the world. Again, we have to leave Split super early to get to Budapest. What a shame, our lives are so horrible, we have to leave one amazing city, in one amazing country only to get into another insane part of the world.
We get into Budapest and I’m immediately drawn to the city. I just get such a positive vibe out of Budapest that I feel like I have been here a thousand times, and I feel very comfortable here. Maybe I was Hungarian in a different life. Hopefully I was well liked and a highly regarded member of the community. Or a secret spy. Either would be nice. The room is super little and Jeff doesn’t want to sound check. If we’ve learnt anything at this point in our band it’s that we should sound check. Even if it’s just a vocal PA. Everyone always wants to crank the vocals and turn the bass down. Two things our band wants the opposite of. We like the turn the bass UP and turn the vocals DOWN approach. I’d rather take and extra 25 minutes and get levels straight then play a whack show and be mad in the van for the next 23 hours, but that’s just my stance on the subject. In fact that’s my only gripe of this entire tour and if that’s the biggest gripe for a 4 week tour, that’s pretty good! The show was one of those weird European shows where everyone is very silent after each song. Which albeit seems confusing between songs because you can’t tell if people are interested, bored, wanting to fight you or something but then once the show is over everyone is very excited and talks your ear off. Balaz and Geri are very young, but they know how to put on a hell of a show, that’s for certain. Geri took us on a personal tour all over the city and we shot bow and arrows on top of a castle. No one was injured. We acted like tourists, I think Geri was confused by how excited we were to go buy paprika. We are totally coming back to Budapest, and we’re going to eat King Kong Burger till our faces fall off. Oh yeah, I got drug to look at some horse statue in some square. It’s claim to fame in the punk world is that this horse is on the cover of Neurosis “Given To The Rising”. Even that doesn’t impress me and I want to go back to sleep.
Over the years, we’ve become friends with a lot of people in Europe. One of our collective favourite places to play in is Vienna, Austria. We have had nothing but the best times here, and tonight was no exception. I can’t go on and on about our friends here, or the people that come to the shows, or the venues we’ve played in. That’s all I can really say about Vienna. Thank you to everyone here who always comes to our shows, and to Jules and Seasick! Yet Still Docked for always helping us out, thank you to Moki and all of his room mates in teh apartment that we always sleep at. I know there are more people to thank here but hey…I’m on limited time and space. I can’t say enough positive things about playing in Vienna. I love everything about this place. Such an awesome night, such and awesome show. Everything is perfect in Gods And Queens at this moment. The next day we get into Graz, and it’s our first time here. I have a feeling that this city dwarfs many other cities but we got in and it was already night time. There looks to be so much activity though. Ate one of the worst pizzas I’ve ever eaten in my life and get back to the show. Our friend Eric’s band is playing tonight and I met him here in Philly right before we left, and it’s always nice to see a familiar face. He’s doing our show in Holland in a few days as well. We play first tonight, I love playing first. I honestly do. We have a good enough time, hang out and talk with the kids at the show and drink beers. I pay for my own beers here and everyone keeps telling me I don’t have to but, hey it’s a punk space, it runs off of donations and what’s made at the bar. I think it’s OK for me to buy a few beers. We make the decision to go back to Vienna for the night to break up the 7 hour drive the next day to Dresden Germany….
And, you all pretty much know what happened on that ride. That’s that!