Mera’s Tour Diary

10AM. Volker called to tell us that 1) he has the flu, and 2) Martin is offering to drive his truck on the tour! That is excellent news – we get a gear truck now! No more worries about getting all the stuff in the van. Martin also wants to bring eight scanners instead of four; we definitely won’t be lacking for creative lights during the set. So cool!

11:15AM. Mindy should be here any second now to pick us up for rehearsal. If we start at 12 we’ll at least get a good 3 -hour start on yesterday’s rehearsal. Overall, things are looking good, but we still need lots more practice.

9:05PM. I am completely exhausted. Rehearsal was pretty rough, although we got a lot done. Rodney told Volker not to come near the studio today because he is afraid of catching Volker’s flu. This was unfortunate, because we needed him there for most songs. I can’t write anymore – must sleep now!

Mera’s Tour Diary

11:25PM. Just to recount the day: I woke up at 8:15AM after having vivid dreams involving the sale of odd, brightly colored masturbational aids in the setting of an old or abandoned venue or shopping mall with a defunct restaurant inside of it. Very strange.

Early in the afternoon I went shopping with Chris and Rodney. This was after I managed to break the nozzle on my brand-new, expensive hairspray bottle. We got a big bottle of bleach for me to use on the bathtub, which soaks up blue hair dye like I’ve never seen. I am now relegated to bleaching out the tub every time I get my hair wet. Otherwise, I have been told, we will all be in BIG TROUBLE. Fair enough. I can’t wait until we get to the hotels.

1:00PM. Mindy had been in our company for about an hour. The four of us went to Steinberg to pick up the Access Virus that Rodney is borrowing for Mindy to use. We had lunch at a little Greek cafe with two of the Steinberg guys, who said they’d be at the big Hamburg gig on the 18th.

At rehearsal we managed to get through “Realm of the Senseless”, which we called “Realm of the Cigarette” because both Chris and Volker take a break during that song. We also go through “When I Fall In Love”, “Valis”, “Second Shot” and “Voices” – all of which are now mixed down to minidisc.

Mera’s Tour Diary

9:00AM. Drinking very strong coffee and getting ready to shower. Was able to wash out my top to rid it of drool and sweat from the plane ride. Hooray!

7:30PM. Back at Rodney’s. Went to rehearsal today around noon; loaded in vast amounts of gear to a small studio. The studio itself is in an industrial area of Hamburg, and best of all, it seems to be someone’s house! We got through “Dion Fortune” and one other song before Rodney had to return home. We plugged through all the songs that called for cello, and put off doing the rest because we had power supply issues with the MS2000 (we didn’t have a Euro supply for it). At least we were able to get the J-Stations working. In total, the four of us (Volker, Chris, Mindy and myself) rehearsed 8 songs to the CD.

By the time we got back to Rodney’s place, Heidi had returned from holiday. She greeted us warmly and stayed briefly, but then left to stay at her boyfriend’s place.

Rodney found the German power supply for the MS2000, which should make for a better rehearsal tomorrow. I’m so tired. I have to stay up to do some programming on the J-Station tonight, though – and I wish I had the energy to go to the Hamburger Dom, which is a big carnival and tonight is the final night. Rodney’s pissed because the BBC is doing a documentary on him and they wanted to film him there, but as the festival is ending now they won’t be able to. The “beeb” will at least be around to film the last CX performance of the tour in Hamburg, which should be really good.

Mera’s Tour Diary

At some point, midnight (by some clock) was reached and it is now December 2, 2000.

8:00AM Amsterdam. Sitting in the gate (at least I hope this is the right gate…D62…there was some confusion…). The CitiHopper won’t leave until 9:30AM. Long wait. Fortunate, in retrospect, that the second flight was delayed. I am worried about the cello – it was SO cold in the air – hope I can still play it. Debating if I should walk around. My bag is really heavy and I’d just as soon not bother. I don’t want to have Guilders to deal with – though the thought of buying little cheeses is extremely tempting. BTW, feeling gypped re: airline. Northwest has been and will be the primary carrier for 2 of 3 legs of the trip. And – the “vegetarian” option sucks! They even had the nerve to serve the general passengers vegetarian pasta. Even the breakfast/snack is different – they get a yogurt and muffin, but I get a cold, dense bagel with PB&J. I have, however, eaten more fruit in the last day than I have in two weeks. Better for me, I guess.

9:05AM. Waiting to board. Watched the luggage get loaded onto the plane. Where the hell is the cello!

12:50PM. Hamburg. All went well at the airport; the cello’s case was slightly the worse for wear but the cello seems OK. Hooray for bubble-wrap! Volker Zacharias and Rodney both met me outside the baggage claim, then we went to Volker’s car and parted company with Rodney. He stayed behind to wait for Chris, whose flight was coming in about an hour later than mine. Volker and I went to Rodney and Heidi’s apartment, unloaded my stuff, then went to a grocery store to stock up for everyone. I stayed at the apartment while Volker went off to get air mattresses and his bass, which he was bringing to Rodney’s.

1:00PM. Rodney and Chris arrive. I let them in; Chris tells me he had me paged at the airport as “Admiral Mera Roberts”. He wasn’t expecting to meet Rodney. He gave me my J-Station, but it comes with 9-volt AC which is difficult to get here. I’m stinky but satisfied that all’s well so far.

8:50PM. Completely ready to go to sleep. I’ve been crashing all night. Today we went to an electronics store to get power adapters for the J-Stations and some 9-volt batteries. Later on Mindy Kumbalek, the other keyboardist, met us at Rodney’s apartment. She drove to Hamburg from Berlin with her car completely full of keyboards, rack gear and large pieces of metal she uses for drums. I’m afraid I left a poor impression with her, as it wasn’t long after she was there that I passed out with my mouth open in the living room. After that, Chris, Rodney and I watched “The Italian Job” and dined on pizza but I kept passing out. I think German pizza is even worse (if that’s possible) than California pizza. What’s so hard to get? Even I can make a better pizza than these places. I guess it takes a true Chicagoan to really know, understand, and create pizza the right way! OK – it’s off to sleep now. Rodney gave me a white sheet with some bloodstains on it. He said “oops – someone’s had a period on it. You don’t mind, do you?” Of course not. Just so long as it’s been washed.

Mera’s Tour Diary

6AM, LAX. Drinking very expensive fancy Starbucks (see splotches on notebook). Awoke at 3:30AM after going to bed at 3AM. I am not at all tired. Andy drove through fog so dense we estimated visibility to be around 0-50 feet. True horror-movie setting. Andy just got an airport BK Croissanwich. There was meat in it, of course. He is exchanging it. I am anxious because I think we may already be boarding by the time he comes back. That, plus I have to pee again. I will take are of that as soon as Andy comes back – which is now!

[ insert drawing by Andy of me on an airplane and Andy driving the opposite direction in a car]

Andy was reading part of the old tour journal (Blackout AD, 1999). Oops – time to board! Andy come back! OK. 6:35AM, and I’m seated on the plane. Forgot to give Andy the phone number for Rodney (doh!) but I’ll probably call him once I get to Detroit. I was proud of myself for not crying. Maybe it was a good thing he trotted off to the loo – less time to build up tears and replace them with anxiety. I got to move up a few rows on the plane because this flight is not full. All the attendants are back here and they want the space for their own private party. At least some people enjoy their jobs. OK – off to read “The Exorcist” now.

2:30PM, Detroit. We’re landing. Take off was one full hour late. I don’t know what time my connecting flight is – I left my ticket in my bag in the overhead bin. I have to piss like a racehorse. It’s strangely comforting to see the brown and faded green patchwork quilt of the Midwest again – even if it is Detroit.

3:10PM, Detroit. Just standing here at the gate, waiting to board. They’re saying 10 more minutes until boarding (I assume – they just keep telling people 10 minutes, not specifying what for). This flight is not as empty as the first one.

3:30PM. Successfully boarded; guy in the seat next to me seems OK – 20s, Midwesterner, not likely to be chatty. Good. I’m hungry again, not sure why. Going to read more of “The Exorcist”. The book, as I had hoped, gives meaning to stuff I had always wondered about in the movie even after seeing the completed version last month. I hope the cello is OK. I saw it get handled sorta roughly while getting loaded into the plane in LA, dammit.

4:20PM. Still boarded and waiting at the gate. Fucking captain hasn’t showed up yet. I hate Detroit! Some Indian dude sitting in some far off region of the plane came to stuff some baggage in the overhead with my bag. He smashed the hell out of my bag, fucking bastard. Hope Chris’ cigs are OK. I’m carrying an entire carton over for him so he doesn’t have to mess with customs.

5:50PM. Finally pulling out of the gate. I will most likely have to get re-booked to connect to Hamburg. Bastards. While waiting I slept. Drooled all over my top. Twice. Dammit.