11/21/21 Day 26: Kappelrodeck, DE

Masks and white cotton gloves required at the breakfast buffet. I can get behind it… I don’t like using the plastic gloves. What a huge waste. White cotton gloves can be washed and reused. Plus, you are encouraged to do your favorite MJ dance move on the way to the buffet. HeeHee.

We traveled west along the Rhein before heading north past Basel and Freiburg. Last gig of the tour. Can it be?! Vaya Casa is a favorite spot of ours and practical location to end any tour; Kappelrodeck is only 1.5 hrs away from the stuttgart airport AND they give us bottles of Schnapps to take home, which would be dangerous at the beginning of the tour.

We rolled up to Vaya Casa in sleepy Kappelrodeck around 130 and were greeted by Christian and Sabine who poured us coffee and sliced up some cake. Very civilized. Sound check around 4pm with the great Matthias behind the board. Rapid tests all negative. Watched a little FC Freiburg soccer and the show at 6 bells. I was in a bit of a zany mood until about four or five songs in. 1000 Little Pieces.. I could not get the lyrics right to save my life.. sang the third verse three times. Somehow we salvaged it and ultimately landed the plane but damn. The guys did what they could to hold on but the look on their faces said it all. Happy to say, that was the only flagrant foul and I take full responsibility. Otherwise the sets went off without a hitch. Got called out for two separate encores again. I like how we adjusted the set and the parts continue to gel and set. We recorded both audio and video. I’m excited to share that.

“the stage was set and the words were mine, i’m not complaining.”
Christian decided to really socially distance, add air cleansers, he even did rapid tests for all the staff before the show.

Per tradition, we got some to go Italian food which was delivered around 830. We feasted like kings on pastas, pizzas and salads and washed it down with local wine. Alex broke out some Tums and we were thankful. The Vaya Casa family, now with son Toby at the helm and soundman Matthias quietly sipping his post gig beer, gathered around the cozy bar. Local whiskey appeared. A tasting ensued. More Tums.

We retired to our rooms to repack and secure the bottles of schnapps but gathered upstairs 15 min later for the post tour debrief; which was the best döner? best stage (including sound and lights)? coolest greenroom (including hospitality), etc. This is also when we take stock (and finish) anything left in the car bar (the bag of various beverages that accumulates on the road) and split up any remaining snacks from the snack bag; green room chocolates, cookies, nic naks, etc. Toasts were made, glasses raised, schnapps was enjoyed, tour highlights shared. At some point, later than I had hoped, I bid the gang adieu and retired to my room for some shut eye. 5:20 alarm is gonna suck. But tonight was well worth it. A fitting end to a great run of shows. I couldn’t really be any more happy or proud of the squad… Even with all the obstacles, delays, apprehension, we were able to pull it off. Too many friends to thank, but huge love goes out to Tommy and Sue who, against the odds, were able to book us in some incredible venues. I’m sure this will take a moment to all process but my heart is full. I know that. I’m once again hopeful for the future. Thanks to all who came out and supported on this tour. I hope we see eachother again soon. Hugs from Phoenix.

11/19/21 Day 24: Wolfegg, DE

Up early for breakfast. Maybe it was because I was hungry OR maybe it was because I shared my room with The Captain, who takes after his father in the snoring department. Either way, up and adam for a fairly thorough breakfast. On the road at 11 for another 3 hr drive back south towards Lake Constance to the small town of Wolfegg. We have played this town before and am excited to return for what might be our biggest show yet. We have graduated to the big room!

We arrive at our very comfortable hotel in the neighboring town and decide to hit the supermarket for snackables and beverages. We opt to keep it chill and watch the recent Pats game that Jeff recorded on his laptop. I had to bow out in the second quarter for a nap otherwise I would have been toast for the show.

A little bit of confusion locating the venue in the dark and fog but once we did we had a super efficient sound check with Elma our sound guy and then snacks in the green room. Tonight we are in a gym, but the sound is surprisingly tight, the lights were great and there is a proper stage. 140 chairs are socially distanced throughout the hall. Covid numbers are apparently on the rise again in Germany (as well as Netherlands and Austria). We are debating calling this tour “The Super Spreader Tour.” I feel like we kind of timed this tour perfectly. Folks are talking about another possible lock down in the near future.

We hit at 8 to a socially distanced, masked crowd and did a 75 minute set. I’m not gonna lie, it was a little strange to be in such a big room and look out and see the spaced out chairs and everyone in masks… they were appreciative and polite and clapped and sang when asked but i’m sure folks are freaking out a bit. And honestly I’m sure this little town, well, every damn town, is sick of this shit. The main restaurant here, the one game in town, shut down for good because of Covid. This shit is just going to drive everyone back inside for another shitty winter of isolation and fear. This may well be the last concert they see for a while. If that’s the case, I think we delivered a solid show with plenty of healthy human emotion and good vibes. I am thankful for the opportunity and am hopeful Wolfegg weathers the winter and we can finally, fucking FINALLY, get back to normal again soon.

Photo by The Captain
Photo by the Captain

after the show, we took the slow road back to the hotel. The fog was so thick at times we could barely see 30 feet in front of us. Once we got back home safe, we opened it up a bit. We dug into the snacks and the car bar and played cards while watching bad German TV. I’m saving energy because I know the next 48 hours will be exhaustingly awesome. Gute Nacht.

11/20/21 Day 25: Laufenburg, DE

Surprisingly lackluster breakfast offering at the hotel. I had high hopes. Once the two Alex’s caught wind of this they bailed in exchange for more sleep. Jeff and I are usually the breakfast front line. We report back via group text. Tough decisions are made. Short drive through the fog to Baienfurt at 11 for lunch Chez Seitzinger and some homemade chili. Greeted at the door by Lotta, Emil was perched in the corner of the living room quietly assessing the scene. There was a very brief Uli & Salka sighting before we had to get on the road at 1:30 for Laufenburg; the city divided by the Rhein one half in Germany, one in Switzerland. Unfortunately, it was too foggy to truly enjoy the drive. Usually you can see the snow covered Swiss alps in the distance. Not to say it wasn’t pleasant, just a bummer because we were eager to show the two Alex’s the sweet views. Obligatory stop at our favorite fruit stand for a Pinova apple and some Brandy. One Conan podcast later and we arrive in Laufenburg around 4pm.

that’s the swiss side in the background. someone needs a nap…

Checked into our hotel, got cleaned up and made the 13 min walk to Museum Rehmann on the Swiss side for load in and sound check. Light dinner of salad and quiche and then we retired to the green room for red wine and, ugh, Ohio State football… Thanks Alex. I think he has a problem..

We hit just after 8pm. The crowd was in good spirits. The music is still getting sightly better with each performance. I shutter to think what another week on the road would do. We played one 75 minute set with two encores, Renata our lovely hostess sent us home with a rose and an advent calendar. After the set we shared a bottle of local Blau Burgunder and made the short, cold walk back to our hotel. We still had some gas in the tank so we sat outside (covered in blankets) and had a night cap at the bar across the way from our hotel that is perched over the Rhein.

vibes for day courtesy of Simon the soundguy and Frowald on the lights. RIP Till.
a piece by Herr Rehmann, the museums namesake
on the bridge connecting the swiss and german sides of Laufenburg
the squad, pre-blankets

have I mentioned that life is good? Found what I’m looking for…

11/17/21 Day 22: Baienfurt, DE

Well. I was right. I didn’t want to get out of bed but we have another beefy drive. The light at the end of the tunnel is that we are going to another favorite spot on any tour; Baienfurt! Home of the Hof Theater and dear dear friends Familie Seitzinger. Said our goodbyes to C&K while making plans for another visit next year and hit the road southbound to Baden-Württemberg. Not only did we have a 4pm load in, we had to pick up Alex “The Captain” Bliss at a nearby train station. That’s right. Tour achievement unlocked… The Captain just climbed aboard… Buckle. Up.

Load in ✔️sound check ✔️pick up Alex ✔️and we had about an hour to spare so I went toes up at the hotel for 45 mins. It was critical. But I awoke refreshed and ready to rock. Tonight is kind of a hometown show… We have been playing here for years and there are so many memories, on and off the stage, that flood back once we get even close to this magical place.

come on! one of the best in the biz.

The show went well overall. the first song out of the gate was Barrelman and I completely spaced on the bridge. I’m not pointing fingers because it definitely was my fault 1000% but I will say the sound guy was using a heavy vocal delay which he didn’t use in the sound check and it totally through me off. We recovered and I doubt many folks noticed (Vanessa, you don’t count), but I was rattled for a moment. Otherwise, I thought the set was pretty damn solid (once he turned the vocal delay off).

thanks Elke (and Mathias) for the photo!
photo by the captain

Had some brisk CD sales after the show, ordered up some Boeuf Bourguignon, another Landzüngle and a few of us family and friends hung in the green room for some catch up, a little light stormy dream in honor of the small man, and some laughs. So many dear friends in the audience this evening. It was great to have Sabine there (all the way from München), Vanessa and her friend, Elke and Mathias, and of course our Hof Theater family Tommy and Simone (and her parents!), and of course Salka who runs the joint. Warms my little heart… We are so lucky to feel so much love in such a special place.

11/18/21 Day 23: Baden-Baden, DE

Full band breakfast at 945 today. Late check out requested. On the road at noon on a warm, sunny day back north to Baden-Baden for a gig at Rantastic. Three hours on the highway listening to Crime Junkie & Smartless podcasts. Checked into our hotel with about 30 minutes to spare before getting back in the car for sound check at 4:15. Proper stage and lights. Beefy monitors. With sound check complete, we dig into some green room beers and waited until our 6pm hit. We order dinner: Three schnitzels and a pumpkin risotto. We mill about. We discuss tonight’s set list. We make adjustments. Unlike 99.98% of our shows which are listening room type performances, this one is a corporate; background dinner music. It was a last minute addition to the schedule. I’m not mad in the least. For us, this is a paid rehearsal for the remaining three gigs which will be pin drop events. Back at the hotel by 10. The guys went on an evening walk about and I just chilled in my hotel room. Ive been to this town before. Gonna save my strength for what i’m sure will be a fun yet exhausting last three days. Schlaf gut Freunde.

Photo courtesy of The Captain

11/16/21 Day 21: Bad Dürkheim, DE

Day off! Let’s do this… Around noon we went into the city. Bad Durkheim is a small town but it’s still worth a stroll. For a rainy and cold Tuesday it was fairly busy. Cafes advertising Glühwein, folks sitting outside despite the elements. We grabbed a morsel at Instanbul Döner, maybe not the best on the tour, but damn good. Usually top 5. We window shopped for a bit then decided to visit the old monastery ruined of Lindburg on the hill above town. The valley looked beautiful in the mist.

Looking back to Bad Dürkheim
Lindenburg Kloster

From the vantage point of Lindenburg, we saw the Hardenburg ruins and I remembered visiting there in the summer of 2018 on my solo summer mission to Germany. I thought the guys would dig it, so we drove back down the hill and to the next town over and walked the 300 meters up to Hardenburg. Built in the 1500s, this was a proper fortress. The ruins were closed so no pics from inside but it was a nice walk in the light mist. We nerded out for a minute and then walked back down the hill to the car. I had a hankering for glühwein so on the way home we stopped at a supermarket and bought some bottles of spiced wine, some oranges, some pretzels and mustard and headed back to Charly and Konny’s. Chopped up the oranges, poured the wine into a pot and let that simmer as we devoured the pretzels and the mustard. We spent the afternoon watching TV and straight relaxing w warm mulled wine. It was pretty bomb.

Hardenburg ruins built into the side of the mountain

At 630 we all assembled for dinner at the world famous Fass Restaurant. It’s the biggest wine barrel in the world which also happens to be a restaurant owned by Charlys friend who invited us to enjoy a free meal (he was at the house concert). We enjoyed some beers and some proper German fare. I went with Jäger Schnitzel. Potentially the last of the tour. It didn’t dissapoint. It rarely does.

He who doesn’t love, drink and sing will never find true happiness. Just ask Charly.

After dinner we needed a walk about so we strolled into the evening. We stopped by the only other game in town for an Amaro. Back at the house for more shenanigans including singing Monty Python songs with particular gusto. Tmrw morning is going to sting a bit but once you climb aboard the Charly and Konny train it’s hard to pump the brakes. They seem to have the stamina of teenagers. Gonna miss these fine folks. What a great couple of days.

11/15/21 Day 20: Bad Dürkheim, DE

Woke up to this familiar view…

After a solid 9 hours of glorious sleep I woke to a selection of goodies for breakfast in the downstairs kitchen; some fresh bread and pretzels, cheese, something I would describe as sliced olive loaf, and of course one of Charlys favorites; Wurstsalat, which is thinly sliced ham, I think some vegetables (?), in mayo. It’s like potato salad with meat instead of potato. It’s… an acquired taste. It’s really more mental than anything else. I’ve tried it. It tastes okay. It’s everything else that’s the challenge; the concept, the texture, what it stands for… just kidding. I don’t know it’s political views.

Charly asked if we would be interested in a small family and friends house concert and we of course said yes, so we spent the afternoon organizing the living room with some chairs and setting up the PA. We watched the Patriots game on Jeffs laptop afterwards. Nice to see the squad put a hurt down on the Browns. By 6, some folks started to roll up and we started around 715 or so.

The show went well. It’s like most of them have heard these songs before (spoiler: they have). But I did delight in playing the new songs. I’ll be honest though, the German wasn’t coming as it should after three weeks being overseas. Maybe it was last week speaking English the whole time in the Netherlands, but I was rusty. Na ja, so ist das. What I did notice was that at the end of the show, i was a little fried. And so the typical after party hang that would last until the wee hours didn’t happen. I was in bed by 11. Am I old? Yeah probably. It’s all good… we are on a tear until we go home on the 22nd. Best to save up energy.

11/13/21 Day 18: Echten, NL

9:40 AM : theres a knock on the door, “your breakfast is ready.” Luckily I was already up. Otherwise I would have rained down terror on that pour assuming dutch woman… who… graciously brought our breakfast up to the third floor. Fine. I wouldn’t have rained down terror, but I would’ve given her some sharp words. I don’t like to be woken up. She should know that.

On the road just short of noon. I suggested we bag the Grohl book (I’ve heard enough stories of him meeting famous people) and we started into a hardcore history podcast about Julius Caesar and the Celts.. Way cooler imho. We barely got into it before arriving at our next BnB in Echten, NL. I’ve stayed here before with LG and Todd two years ago. It’s a nice spot a mere 4 mins from the venue down a tree lined street flanked by horse pastures. We had some time to kill so we went to the closest biggest town, Hoogeveen, which sounds like a town in a Dr. Seus book, in search of lunch and a small walk about. The little town was busy. Nov 12th is a holiday here in the NL. Sinterklaas, the day when St. Nicholas arrives to the Netherlands by boat from his house in Spain accompanied by his white horse and his helper “Black Pete.” I’m not fucking around. Okay, so maybe aspects of this holiday festival didn’t age well considering kids dress up in black face to celebrate but hey, all in the name of gifts, candy, and holiday cheer, right?! After reading more about it, I find it pretty fascinating.. Learn more here:

https://www.expatica.com/nl/lifestyle/holidays/sinterklaas-100660/

In any case, the streets were packed with families celebrating Sinterklaas, in addition to all the regular saturday shoppers. Listen, I know you are going to quietly give me shit about eating another döner but I will say this… 1) there aren’t many options for food at 3pm and 2) i’m slowly convincing myself they are borderline healthy and 3) we walk an average of 10k steps a day AND 4) they are delicious. Now, get off my back. This one was good too! Grilled chicken, crispy bread, and jalapeños and pickles!!? It was super tasty and you missed out. Now stop hating.

Didn’t have time for a power nap by the time we got home, so we turned it around pretty quick and made the short drive to Klein Paradiso in Echten. Happy reunion with Delia and Serge our hosts. Delia and Serge made dinner; pasta w a bolognese and salad. Quick sound check with Bart behind the mixing board and we were ready to R O C K in the usa. Tonight was two shows with covid spacing; so two shows with 35 people. Both shows flew by. Shout out to Edwin and Lara who made the trip. Tonight was glorious. Checked most all the boxes.

kerk tour 2021
Delia and Serge, our hosts.

Back at the BnB for homemade apple cake with whipped cream which Jeff fired direct into his mouth to “make sure it was ok.” White noise on, eye mask on, lights out.

11/14/21 Day 19: Bad Dürkheim, DE

Lovely breakfast at Marious and Anneke’s air bnb. Long drive today back to Germany, so we split right after breakfast, waving goodbye to our hosts and the horses. We sat in silence while Dan Carlin regaled us with stories of how Julius Caesar waged war against the Celts in 57 BCE. Fascinating stuff. A couple pits stops along the autobahn and we arrived at Charly and Konny’s house in lovely Bad Dürkheim around 430.

Over the years, this place has become a sanctuary. We eat well. We do laundry. Get good sleep. They have become dear friends and so the reunion was joyous. Beers and champagne were poured as we caught up around the fire in the living room. We placed a pick up order for some thai food which was quickly devoured upon arrival.

The evening wound down relatively quickly. I for one was pretty fried, so after discovering the green bay packers game on TV, I hit the hay. Curtains drawn tight. Tomorrow is gonna be another good day.

from the 2019 Live from Laurel Canyon Trio tour

11/12/21 Day 17: Nijmegen, NL

Say it with me “Nijmegen.” Now, remove the J and the N and you start to say it correctly. Nijmegen is more like “Nigh-may-ga.” In any case… Nice short drive today. We had a little 10am breakfast at the BnB, packed up the ride, and split. It was cold today. Feels like we could get snow at any moment. Kind of hoping we get another week of Autumn, but I’m not holding my breath. On the drive Dave Grohl talks about meeting Joan Jett. I don’t know, I’m kind of over it.

We find our new BnB. An older, chatty Dutch gentlemen greets us at the door and walks us through his 3rd story rental above his home. We drop our bags and start off on a walk about. Noticeably chillier today but we soldiered on in search of lunch and some sight seeing in the pedestrian shopping zone.

We find a döner (surprise surprise) for lunch. Döner doesn’t really change that much from country to country. You’ll notice little things are different but it’s not like Dutch Döner always has a fried egg on it or something. It’s either bread or a wrap, meat, veggies and sauce. Todays bread was heated up in a panini press (nice touch), meat was average, veggies standard lettuce/tomato/cucumber, but today I added cheese (some goat/some sliced cheese) and as usual, I went “sharf” or hot, so they add some red pepper flakes and a couple slices of pepperoncini. Have yet to have a proper hot döner but I think it’s kind of cute how they try. Enough about döner. Let’s move on.

🤯

Back to the BnB for a short power nap then walked 10 mins over to a bar next to our venue to meet my friend Sarah for pre-show drinks and a long overdue catch up. The boys met us for a quick brewski and then we walked across the street to Lutherse Kerk, a small church that this evening will feature a little BC3. We greeted Geert, Hans, Tony and Sue and decided that, the natural acoustics being what they were, we should just play unamplified. It was the right move. Sounded glorious. Nice crowd this eve. Some familiar faces as well as a batch of new ones. I felt our set was super strong and the stories and banter were on point. Another banger of a show.

Photo by Sue
Photo by Sue

We were told that friends from our first Netherlands show in Eindhoven had made the trip but the trains had delays and they missed most of the show. We decided that once the majority of folks left, we would play them a few extra songs including Ghosts, Can’t Be Right, Love Song and Morning Sun.

Short walk back to the BnB where we talked down the set over some red wine from the car bar. Spirits are high. On top of that, we found out that the show in Echten tmrw is happening 100%. The tour rolls on! Sleep tight friends.