Our last day on the tour found us awake in our strangely linear hotel room in Koln. We decided to go get a load of the church, but first we checked out of our room and put all our shit in the baggage holding closet on the second floor. We went to Starbucks and then headed across the promenade to where the church was. It was raining torrentially. We went inside and BOOM! The place was huge and magnificent and old as shit. Withered little priests were tottering around while pious looking tourists craned their necks at the giant pipe organ and vaulted domes. A tiny guy in a priest getup came up to Dan and indicated that his coffee was blasphemous, or at the very least not allowed in the church. We apologized and zipped out the opposite door from the one we’d come in to check out the other side.
The other side of the church was pretty spectacular too. It also faced a McDonalds and we were both hungry, so we abandoned our tourism for a couple of double cheeseburgers, feeling every bit like the gross Americans that we were.
Post-cheeseburger, we headed back to the hotel and retrieved our luggage, went to our platform and boarded our final train of the tour. When we first boarded, we were in the front car and we were able to see the guy driving. He was sequestered in a glass booth and rocking a setup that recalled the Flight Of the Navigator a little. We found our seats and headed immediately to the bar car where we ordered some Becks.
The conductor came by to check out tickets. He was short, aggressively gay and generally unpleasant. He notified us that our Eurorail pass was incomplete because we’d thrown out the excess flaps of the envelope/sleeve thing that the actual pass came in. Now, to be clear, we’re not talking about any unique piece of documentation that is specific to our travel; we’re talking about part of the envelope our ticket came in. It was the equivalent to a flight attendant not letting you get on the plane because you ripped the front off the envelope they handed you your boarding pass in.
Dan essentially told the guy to fuck off and then mentioned that ‘hey, look, we’re only on this fucker for about an hour, and then we’re done with the pass entirely. So chill. Everything’s fine.”
We sat there and laughed about this guy’s attitude until we realized that his office was located right next to where we were standing and he was, in fact, in there seething at us. We moved to the other side of the bar car and took some seats. The train stopped at the Frankfurt airport and the train stop was straight out of Sprockets or something. It was all chrome and dark shadows and, well…let’s just say that if it was any more German it’d be filming itself shitting on something while eating schnitzel and listening to David Hasselhoff.
At this point, the head conductor approached us and said “I hear there is a problem vis your tickets?” to which Dan replied something to the effect of “no, that asshole back there was just kind of thumping his dick at us for no reason,” and then went on to show and explain what the ‘problem’ was. The conductor nodded very seriously and said “well, we are very strict and this is very serious” and we said “uh, no one else has had a problem and we’ve been riding with this ticket every single day through Germany and several other countries for the past 2 weeks” to which he reiterated that here, on the mighty Koln-Frankfurt line, shit was a lot more serious. We rolled our eyes and he said that he’d go get us a new envelope and that we MUST fill out our travel manifest. Dan said “dude, I’m just not gonna do that.” The guy asked us when we were done using our Eurorail pass and we said “about half an hour when we get to Frankfurt. The conductor then said “oh, then never mind.”
We got off in Frankfurt and immediately found a farmers market set up in the street and got two excellent frankfurters from a sausage cart. We checked out the horse steaks and other wares and then turned the corner and found ourselves in a very disturbing red zone where a man who resembled Mr. Arnold from the Wonder Years (5 o clock shadow and all) was standing in full drag smoking a cigarette through disturbingly cherry red lips, and clearly hooking. We passed a few more sex hotels which all featured women sitting out front on benches who were uh…gross. There’s just no way to spin this. Everyone’s beautiful and all that, but not these ladies. We turned the corner again and found a guitar shop that was absolutely awesome. The owner, who was the 3rd generation proprietor in his family, told us that his grandmother had sold a guitar to Elvis back in the day. When we said “Bullshit!” he showed us the picture that confirmed the story. Pretty cool.
We decided to make our way to the club so we found the subway and after a great deal of wandering around and not being able to figure out what the fuck was going on, we got onto a train and headed north. The conductor came by and looked at Dan and said “I don’t know where you are from but here we have NO FEET ON ZEE SEATS!!!” This last bit was shrilly screamed and more than a little bit frightening. The guy checked our Frankfurt subway day pass and, once our papers were found to be in order, asked us “acoustic or electric guitars in zeese cases?” When we told him they were acoustic he said, “Ah, good. Real music,” and then moved on to presumably scare the shit out of more passengers.
We got off the train and had to scramble up a weird embankment and through a hole in a fence to get off the platform because the stairs were broken. We crossed a bridge and came down on the other side and eventually found the club. The zone was completely quiet. Nothing was going on at all. It was astoundingly, almost eerily calm.
We went into the club and sat around on some couches and got on the internet and drank a beer and generally dicked around for a few hours. We went and sat outside and saw some of the GI’s who had been at the Koln show hanging out, waiting for the show, and Marcus, who was the promoter for all our German shows. As I looked at the posters for the upcoming shows at the club, I noticed that Hugh Laurie’s band was playing. I asked Marcus if he was doing the show. He said “Ooooh! You like zis doctor Haus?” in a guileless, excited tone that was so awesome that it threatened to unseat “You dumb dildos” as the best quote from the entire tour. We had a good laugh and then wandered inside and told the club folks that we’d like to eat dinner They served us rice mixed with pasta sauce. It was good enough, but we were both starving and so we each ate a helping and then set out to get some actual dinner.
We walked past a booth that sold booze, which had a bunch of surly, shirtless old men with big beards out front staggering around, but it wasn’t nearly as merry as it sounds, so we just slunk on by. Besides them, there were no people on the street. We saw a pretty cool dick spraypainted on an overpass, and that was the highlight. The town was dead. We stopped at a pizza place and ordered a pizza and 2 giant Becks. We drank the beers and ate the pizza, which definitely had completely different toppings than what we’d specified, but was pretty good nonetheless, and then walked back to the club.
The show was starting to get underway so I went up to begin. People were all sitting in corners and at tables in the back and I encouraged people to come forward, because this was “the last show of a great tour and I’d hate for the whole awesome tour to be sullied by our memory of Frankfurt simply because you guys were too cool to stand up.”
That never works, but it did this time. I played and the show was good. At one point, I said I’d play any request that anyone had, and someone asked for “Lose your Illusion” which is a song by the Lawrence Arms that A) doesn’t translate particularly well to acoustic guitar and B) is sung by our other vocalist. I had just mentioned that I’d do anything requested, so my balls were kind of in a vice. I tried it, but it was a disaster and I bailed on it almost immediately.
Other than that, the show was standard operating procedure. I killed, Dan killed. Afterwards we hung out and drank beer with the staff and some pretty awesome drunk girls who wanted to play Kicker (foosball) with us. We played a half a game, until our cab came and took us, through the rain to our airport hotel. We got some beers from the bar and went up to our room and the last shared double bed of the tour.
In the room, we drank the beers and reminisced about the entire experience, from the margaritas at Ohare to the rental luxury car on the autobahn, to Sam Russo and his bizarre choices in sandwiches to the bear pit and open air theater in Sheffield to the black guy/german guy team in Brussels to the suicide train and the Austrian techno morning. We said “you dumb dildos” and “oooh, you like zis doctor Haus?” a bunch and generally agreed that it was easily and by far the most fun tour either of us had ever been on. I don’t know if Dan was being serious or just doing a little drunken hyperbolizing, but I was serious, for sure. The whole experience was awesome.
My flight to Chicago was early while Dan’s flight to Quebec City, where he had an Alkaline Trio festival show, was later, so I slept for 2 hours and then slipped out while it was still dark. I took the shuttle to the airport and got through security only to realize that everything in the Frankfurt airport was outside security and I was 2 hours early for my flight, too exhausted to read, with absolutely nothing to do. I couldn’t get coffee or food. I couldn’t waste my Euros on chincy crap for my kids. There was nothing to do but sit there and stare at the rain bouncing off the windows.
I got off the first plane at Heathrow and burst out of the jetway into the most resplendently international scene I’ve ever been a part of. An Indian woman in a sari led six young girls in saris by to the left as a Sikh woman led a group of young Sikh girls to the right. Really dark businessmen talked in what sounded like African languages as British guys in rugby shirts drank beer at 8am. A woman walked by me who had no nose whatsoever. It was totally surreal and I walked through the terminal entranced by my surroundings. I stopped at a kiosk and got a yogurt and a beer and a coffee from a sweaty Italian asshole of a vendor and set out to my gate where I went through 2 more security procedures spearheaded by a woman with easily the most British teeth I’ve ever seen, before boarding my plane.
My flight home was full of kids who had been in Africa doing something that I’m sure was, on paper at least “Helping the locals” and also fingering each other, as evidenced by all the seat switching and under-blanket snuggling. I sat in a bulkhead seat next to a guy who seemed like a real pervert, and passed out before the plane took off. I woke up at home. I cleared customs with a huge bag full of black tar heroin and an entire uncut rhino horn, and then took the train home where I passed out and slept for days.
That’s it, folks. That’s the BK and DA euro tour journal. Hope you liked it. Tune in to BSC next time for random ideas about everything from republicans (boooo!) to democrats (booooo!) to punk rock (yawn) to Lindsay Lohan (hubba hubba) to shooting people (barf) to new pop songs and movies (didn’t see/hear em.) to updates on what’s happening over at Lawrence Arms/Wandering Birds/Falcon world HQ (New songs and a show in Toronto on the 9th/solo show on the 8th also in Toronto/absolutely nothing)
Love you, Dogs Of War. Love you, Dan. Love you, Europe. It was real. Let’s do it again sometime soon.