Spain Is Pain 2003
I had the most vivid dreams. The trees had colored blossoms, the flowers were singing, and the entire world provided. I drank from a deep, fast-moving stream. My feet remained firmly nailed into the floor. I love these moments.
…And now in Spain, having the time of my life. I haven’t slept in two days, now, but my promoters have assured me that soon I will sleep, and dream the dream that the dreamers dream. Hopefully I will be in a bed when this happens.
So far, I have had an incredible time, I ate some seafood, many delicately fried morsels of delicious matter, and the best wine ever. And that’s just on the plane! Tomorrow I think the real work will begin. I will write more and keep you informed about my fantastic journey, which begins, of course, in Spain. A dream that nearly came true.
The first thing I got to see was the airport. I flew into Malaga, because I didn’t want to cause a scene at the Madrid airport, like last time. I brought my bicycle, because the weather is so nice in Spain right now. My last visit was during the winter, and I wanted to really embrace the environment, and get a little exercise, you know.
So, I immediately started riding in an Easterly direction. The roads were like normal roads, but just dustier, really. I had to get to the “kids” section of town for my soundcheck. The great thing about this tour is that I don’t even need a guitar, don’t have to carry all that extra stuff. I’m mostly wearing shorts, but I packed some long pants for the gigs, of course.Malaga is a pretty good sized city, but bike-friendly. The cars are all over the place, so basically, you need to just ride in the culvert to avoid being run down.
I hauled ass to get to the sound-check on time, and when I got there, the sound man was nowhere to be found. The guitar that I’m supposed to use (apparently once owned by Paul Collins) is there, and it’s a beauty. It is a ‘99 Epiphone with the original finish, and even plugs in with a cable. I’m lost in my music for some time, with some beer, and suddenly it’s late afternoon. Two guys named Pico and Mic show up, and they’re my tour managers. They work as a team, even though I suppose one person could handle the task. They suggest we “take” a beer. I said, I took three already from behind the bar. So we loaded up the car with iced cerveza, and they wanted to catch the last of the day at the beach. I was pretty tired, so I sat on the sand, playing guitar, watching these guys survey-sa the area.
So far the audiences have been very weird, but in a good way. It’s like they’re totally tuned in, but then unaware of my physical presence. This is probably the most cosmic connection I have experienced in my musical career. All I need to do is think of a tune, and it begins. There is no rehearsal, no cheat sheet, and certainly no need to prepare mentally. It’s like I already did it, and I’m just here as the medium.
Phil Collins, from Genesis, has a house in Benidorm, a couple hours up the coast. I’m playing there on Monday, with a day off on Tuesday. Phil knows this ex-manager guy David who also plays soccer with him, a bit convoluted, indeed, but he got a copy of Wood + Wire from the guy David, and liked it. Phil Collins doesn’t have email, he says, but has an internet connection to keep track of tides and stuff for his boat. So Phil is going to put me up at his place (or maybe on the boat, if I want), and is interested in sitting in on Monday’s gig! Amazing. I’ve dreamt of playing with him… (pictures to come, I don’t want to be weird about meeting him)
Of course, after every live gig, the disco dancing starts, so I stuck around and got a few shots.
The Fiesta. Friends of Pico’s sister, who knows the Minister of Economy and the Finance, Pedro Solbes Mira, of Alicante. It was not really very rock ‘n roll, but the food was great. First thing we did was a round-robin of songs at the café next door, the only place to get a non-alcoholic drink in this town!
On the left is Carlo Montello, he handles most of the gigs in town. Strange, however, is that he’s actually Italian, and is just hanging on this side of the Mediterranean, for love. His girlfriend Lucretia was back at the house, whipping everyone into shape for what was a very late night. I’d almost lost my new camera and all these great shots!
Party for Pedro: Carmen, Luis, Paco (Garth Hudson!), Pedro Jr., Don Pedro, Mrs. Pedro, unknown man, Lucretia, Laura
The thing that’s so funny is that no one is holding a drink in any of the photos, and everyone was so smashed by the end of the night! Sal and Carlo had a combate del pie, literally, “foot combat” in the main room, which reminded me a bit of Indian wrasslin’, really.
This was one boring party, a real stinker. I should have gone to bed early, because tomorrow is the big scene in Benidorm. I ended up singing Eagles (Águilas) songs with the café gang until about 3:30 a.m.
I woke up at about 11am, by then Pico had gone down to the cafeteria to get his own coffee, then by time I had gotten packed out and ready, he was having his first beer of the day. He was having a little sandwich with it, so I guess he was just having an early lunch.
I had my choice morning coffee, which is a café con leche. In fact, I’d had two and started to write this journal when Mic came storming down, all pissed off about something. Times like these, I’m glad I don’t speak Spanish. Pico is leaning back, bottle in hand, nodding, while Mic is flailing about, and the only words I can understand are “Pelo” (hair), and “cuarto” which means room, or whatever. Hair in the room, big problem. Maybe it was the wrong kind of hair, in the wrong place, in the room.
The drive to Benidorm was a blast. We filled the car with gas, which cost about $100 or something insane. I suggested we pack some roadie bombers, so two six-packs of cheap Cruzcampo beer, cold, with no ice, went in the back seat. Spain is a desert, man! We keep driving but it’s just desolate, the occasional bull sculpture by the roadside. I pop open beers, and already Pico is a ranting drunk. Oh, no. One of those guys, useless after two drinks. Maybe he’s had a bunch already, not sure, but I thought the Europeans were into moderation. We stop to pee about 50 times, right, and finally we get to Benidorm, even though Mic was driving 100 miles an hour.
So, yes, we drive straight to the gig, an outdoor bandshell structure, and the sound man hasn’t arrived yet. It’s a little strange, ‘cause we were about an hour late. They wanted to get the load-in out of the way so that the club guy could get on the road for a trip. I thought, “who’s gonna pay me, then?”
Pico negotiated the beer part of our contract immediately. He had another bottle going by the time my eyes adjusted to the indoors. I called Phil Collins, and he arranged to meet up in time to go to his studio before the show. He, like everyone else, has some half-baked home system they record on, so to avoid paying studio fees. So I went over there and checked that out, we arrived on maintenance day, so we couldn’t really get a groove on.
Drunken Pico asked Phil if he would play that song, “Against All Odds” or whatever it’s called. And he did! The three of them (well, I kinda joined in the take a look at me now part) all sang, practically screaming, the way people sing a familiar hit. It occurred to me that the song is similar to “Theme from Arthur” by Christopher Cross.
We left the studio, and went back to the bandshell, where the soundman had hooked everything up, got it tweaked, and left again! I whipped up a set list. I figured I’d do a few solo songs at the start, but Phil was keen on playing on everything, so I let him.
He’s so touchy-feely!! Every time I got within two feet of the guy, he had his arm on me, grabbing me, pulling me somewhere, yelling something about something that happened thirty years ago. You know how those guys are, but he’s great. He said that Spain has changed his life, and the reason he stayed was a woman he met named Sussudio, “Now she don't even know my name, but I think she likes me just the same.” I finally figured out that Phil is not related to Paul Collins.
Pico flipped out on Mic today, it was like they switched personalities, or something. That or I can’t keep those guys names straight. We had to drive up to Valencia today, to meet with the boss. The drive from Benidorm isn’t that far, but it just takes forever to get anything done sometimes, with these guys. God bless ‘em, but Jesus, get the lead out, brothers!
I think everyone’s been a little wigged out because of the heat. It was sweltering as it was, and then the car overheated. Mic used to be a car mechanic, so he got under the hood, opened the radiator cap, and a huge explosion followed. I used to be a mechanic too, so I stayed the hell away. They don’t have AAA in Spain, I don’t reckon, and figured we were just going to spend the night there. However, we made it to Valencia without boiling over, as long as we kept the cap loosened, and had the heat on full. Man, it was HOT in the car! Probably about 120, actually. But it was a dry, heat, you know?
Today is a day off, Tuesday isn’t a big gig day in Spain, unlike in America, where bands play Tuesday nights all the time! Pico and Mic actually live here, so I went to Pico’s for a rest up, cool down, and relaxation…or so I thought. Pico lives with his whole family, including his grandparents, parents, sister, her kids, and a rooster. The kids were a fucking terror! They tortured my tired ass, playing The Ketchup Song by Los Ketchup about 100 times. I tried to be nice, but it was impossible.
See what I’m talking about? I wanted to get some decent pictures for my journal, and this is what I get. It actually made me wish I was back with Phil Collins, listening to Sussudio in his home susstudio. It’s going to be a long night. I hear they don’t put the kids to bed until super late here.
Tomorrow- meeting with the head of Criminal Records.
Something’s weird with the water. I woke up very thirsty at 5am, drank two glasses of water, and felt terrible! I swear it was that musty toilet water. Never drink water from the washroom anyway; it always tastes better from the kitchen or best from a drinking fountain. I was naked, shrouded in darkness and heat, exhausted, jet lagged, and probably hung over. At least it was quiet, so I made it back to bed before waking fully. Pico was up, eating something that smelled meaty.
Three hours later I felt great, and got into some coffee, and felt the urge to speak English to everyone, especially those bratty kids. “Good morning, you lousy children!” I said, then asked them if they wanted a bag of nails as a treat. Or maybe I could do a two-for-one crucifixion.
It’s gotten kind of hot here, but I insist on wearing my jacket and synthetic fiber shirts. I don’t look so great in t-shirts anyway. I’d go shirtless but now that I’m over 30, I can’t get away with that. Leave that stuff to the same guys that did it when I was in high school. The complaints I get aren’t that bad. I blame it on the smoke that permeates the leather.
So, I called my label boss. I called three times, emailed, and sent the Mañanagram, a second-rate telegram they use here a lot in Spain. It gets there pretty much instantly, if not, then the second day for sure. I figure something is wrong, but there’s nothing I can do, so we bail town. I’ve got about 50 CDs left of The Wild Horse, and those will have to get me by. At least the ad campaign is still on. The gig fell through because the label people never told me where it was!
We drove from about 6pm, through the night, stopping for drinks along way. Barcelona was a fairly easy drive, especially after Pico drove off with a full tank of gas in Castellon. I admit I wasn’t exactly asleep when I caught wind of the naughty trick my tour manager was pulling. I stayed low, giggling with my copy of the Spanish MOJO magazine, MOJITO, unable to read it, just looking at pictures of Tim Hardin on his Spanish tour, strangely enough.
Beware the ideas of May. I woke up really greasy and dirty, and figured it was time to clean up my act. Mic, the other tour guy, was cleaning his toenails with a penknife, and I pretty much decided then and there that we needed a day room to get a shower.
Pure desire drove me to suddenly being able to negotiate with the hotel clerk at Hostel Nuevo, and bathing ensued. It put a boost into me, and then I wanted some booze. No arguments there from the crew, and we needed a team meeting anyway. Someone has to take charge of this trip. We’ve got the resources, I said (in English), and why not go for it, you know? They agreed, of course, and decided that tonight was the night to kick in with a full light show. Pico, I found out, was a theater major in college, which explains a lot of other things. He is now director of lighting and attitude. Mic is still a roadie.
I let Pico use my laptop, and we got one of those projectors that the yuppies use in their powerpoint meetings, souped up the bulb and mirror mechanism, and we had one hell of a multimedia presentation. It was nearly evil. I sat in a tent/studio out back of the venue, and performed half of the show from back there, while the fans watched on a screen. I’m like Peter Gabriel or something. I’ll never do a boring singer/songwriter straight gig again. There’s so much art to be created.
The light show did the trick. We’ve been invited to do shows with the Rolling Stones and The Pretenders! The snag is that it’s actually a smaller stage outside Estadio Vicente Calderon, adjacent to the parking lot. Oh, whatever. I’m charged up for it. That gig is later in June. It looks like we’re in for sure, though.
Tonight we are talking about going to the Festimad, but we’ll have to cancel the show. I’m thinking of asking the label if we can upgrade to a plane, now that we’re getting higher profile shows. Just a small plane, nothing too outrageous, and with the money we save by not carrying a band, I bet it’d work out. And we can go to Festimad!!
Word is that the Italians are catching on to our new production. The light show, I bet. This worries me, as Pico could just start working for someone else, and my whole gimmick would go down the drain. I don’t want to pay him more, honestly. He’s already overpaid as it is. Good thing he doesn’t know about my website, or read English.
We’re going to take it easy next week, we agreed, and go to some museums, do a bit of tourism.
Friday night. Real mellow. No Festimad, and didn’t even go out after the show, although that’s not saying much, since the last set was at 2:30am, and lasted 90 minutes. Mic’s cousin, Pele, is visiting from Venezuela. We kidded him a little about name, since it’s like the soccer player. He’s so young, though, he barely knows what we’re talking about. Pele is a real drinker, I mean, he is constantly making that “drink a drink” motion, like tooting a horn, but tilting up and down. He’s not a violent drunk, but a drunk just the same. He insists on driving the whole time, which is crazy. But if it comes down to either him or me driving, I let Pele take the wheel. Hell, it’s my tour; I’m not driving if I don’t have to. He looks a little like his cousin Mic, but then again, it could just be a Latin thing. They seem to get along OK, better than Pico would if he had a cousin. Pico should have a cousin named Rico. Maybe I’ll make up a fake cousin and start talking about him- soon enough Pico will believe it.
5/17/03-6/16/03: (30 days in the hole)
OK, this is where the story turns. I’ve been away from my computer for nearly two weeks. We had the weekend off, and Pico, come to find out, is a big junkie. Apparently I wasn’t paying him enough, and he felt the need to generate more money. Of course the label has been really generous with the perks, like saying they’re going charter a plane, and buy me new clothes. So I had no idea that Pico, meanwhile, is barely making enough to support his $330/day heroin habit. Of course, I’m getting by in Spain on $20 a day…
Pico took a late boat to Tangier, to “meet up with some old friends” and basically got totally busted on drug smuggling on his way back. Worse yet, he implicated Mic and me. The cops searched our van and found the fireworks. Mic loves fireworks…a lot. He must have had about 200 lbs of fireworks in that van. Pico had been showing us how to use pyrotechnics. I tried to explain, in English, but they basically considered us potential terrorists by folks like the Minister for Justice, José María Michavila, who said, “Don’t forget that Spain is one of the ‘Good Guys’ in the war on terror.” So, we were held, not arrested, but kept incarcerated for a total of 30 days in a substandard facility near Barcelona. Pele was amazing. Pele got away, on my bicycle!
Pedro Almodovar's "All About My Mother" was playing every day in the jailhouse. It didn’t seem like a good thing to watch. After a week, I just wanted to watch Jerry Springer’s guests scream at each other, or maybe a DVD of Dog Day Afternoon.
When we were processed, but mind you, never arrested, I tried taking a few pictures of some of the guys in their cells. A warden yelled at me to stop, so I defiantly snapped a picture of the lone bare light bulb, and then he really got mad. Mic said that they were talking about carrying me out of there, and I said, “What, in a body bag?” I had to erase the pictures in the camera, including some nice ones from our drive around old town Barcelona with The Donnas, who were playing a weekend of unannounced gigs. Donna F and I actually got engaged for about 12 hours, but I never spoke to her again after the bust. She was going to change her name to Donna V and everything. Well, at least that’s what she said. It doesn’t matter, because women on the outside eventually stop writing, no matter how much they loved you.
I can’t really talk about the way some of us were treated (OK, so Mic nearly got renamed Michelle), but it was really terrible. For one thing, I never got a bed, because I lost it in a deal I was making to trade Mic for a guitar. The dealbreaker was the bed, and I forfeited my bed, thinking I was only needing to bluff, since everyone had a bed. Deals are weird in jail, because if you renege on something, it’s OK. You just get even later. You’ve seen Bad Boys, right? Same thing, pretty much. Payback comes later in an exploding radio or sodacan stuffed in a sock, used as a weapon. Or the dreaded “Shiv in the night.”
The good news is that once the gigs started getting cancelled, people began to wonder where we were. A small article appeared on an email list about our bust. A sympathetic Christian group, The Sol Singers, decided to have a benefit show to pay off the jailman. They raised the money in a week while we languished in our miserable cells, covered in our own filth, and the filth of others. When we got out, Pico kinda apologized, really unconvincingly, then asked for a raise. Pico was in solitary confinement, actually. His cell was much nicer, because he was actually arrested and charged, and stuff.
The payback for being released was that The Sol Singers needed songs, and fast. I thought maybe they could cover some of my songs, but they wanted something more specific. They had some good ideas but couldn’t string a tune together, and also, they wanted songs in English. They wanted songs for the “cause,” so it was back to the drawing board for me. I wrote a few pro-life, pro-Jesus ditties. The dance music is popular here, so they want it to sound like that. It was a shot in the dark, but I gave them some beautiful songs, inspired by Jesus and my time in prison. You know, things get pretty weird in there, and I felt maybe kinda how Jesus felt?
It was good to get back to work, even though the music style was a bit of a stretch. So without any further explanation, here are the songs…
Oh, one more thing. In Spain, you get one phone call, just like at home. I used my one jail call and rang up Phil Collins. What a mistake that was. He was actually a bit prickly on the phone, no concern for our welfare, (maybe he read my journal?) and implied that it was bad for him to be associated with a terrorist, even just an accused one, especially since he’s gearing up for another greatest hits disc, and a new tour. And so I rang back- I snuck in a quick hangup and redial- and of course, got an answering machine. I left a message telling him basically that he’s way too “touchy feely” for a straight guy, even an English guy. Some friend he turned out to be. Greatest hits, my ass.
There are so many things to write, stories to get down, but that’s the basic outline for now. I think maybe my life has been changed forever. My spine has changed, for sure, sitting on a cement floor for a month. Mic and I got pretty close, and then had a falling out around June 1. We reconciled after a neighboring inmate, Chipo, threatened to kill us mańana if we didn’t stop arguing about whether ABBA is considered rock music or not. Things are weird in jail, let me just say that. Glad to be out!
When I got my computer back, I noticed a bunch of new files. I must have been used quite a bit by someone, and while he loved downloading dirty pictures, he was a sensitive, talented poet. He wrote something every day, regardless of whether it was good or an original thought. It reminded me that I need to get cracking on some new music.
A big Hallelujah to the Sol Singers from “me and the boys!”
First of all, thanks to everyone who wrote letters of concern and wished us well. Amnesty International had some pamphlets at the prison, so I filled out the “Humanity Complaints Application” and mailed it. Bastard warden probably goes through that prison mailbox, so who knows if they’ll ever hear my story. I was hoping to meet with the American Consulate, but since I didn’t get a proper work visa, I should probably just take my lumps and move on.
Just playing catch up at this point. Many of the tour dates have been cancelled, and it appears that Spain has all but forgotten about me. Criminal Records, my label, apparently has disappeared now. A record retailer who is good friends with them revealed to me that they’ve revamped their whole business plan. The company is making software now, and their big flagship product is called NadaNova ®: a combo auction-tracking program that also keeps track of your finances. With this program, you can know in advance when it’s time to sell all that stuff you bought on eBay when you had more money to burn. It’s a really great idea, and I hope I can score a free copy that works on Windows 95. I used to have Windows 2000, but while we were incarcerated, the poet dude installed win95 so he could play an older version of Freecell solitaire that he preferred.
The great thing about the transition over at the Criminal Records label was that they transferred my contract. We’re now on Suspicious Records, labelmates with The Mockingbirds, Steve Wynn, Rick Buckner, and Red House Painters. The boss, Jilly Ranfred (and his assitant Tom Bead) said, when I asked about getting the master for the new album, “Oh, we have it. We’ve been putting out your records over here for years. Great stuff!” Bootlegging is a big problem here, but not for him. I asked him about a plane; he assured me that we would talk about it. I don’t even have any gigs right now, so it’s not a pressing issue.
Jilly took us out to his club, Jilly’s, and this is where I discovered I like my Chivas. No, not chiva, but Chivas Regal. Crappy whiskey in a nice bottle.
Pico and I patched things up a bit tonight. He explained that he has a wild side, and was trying to set some boundaries for himself. He also said that he still has 7 kilos of heroin that he wants to move, and Mic’s got a relative in the North that is interested in it. What is with these people? When is enough enough? But as Pico told his story, I realized that sometimes the telling of the story is better than the story itself. I didn’t want it to end, it was so entertaining and his life has had so many turns. After about an hour, I wondered if he was just making all this shit up just to keep me going. Pico said that as a child, he wandered around Spain, looking for any odd job that someone might have. I imagined it to be like those guys in the supermarket parking lot, looking to help you load the car, or help watch your car, feed the meter, while you shopped at the Carre Four, or Macy’s. Pico would often join a migrant work clan, and dig postholes for the Spanish highway. Handy with a saw, he also built several of those Toro bull statues you see along the road.
“Uhhmm…don’t you need to work for the state to build highways?” I challenged, faintly. He said no, no, not back in those days. Like ten years ago, I guess everything was different. And before that, when Franco was still around, things were even more different. I asked Pico how it was under Franco, and he just said, “It was sick, man. I did it all.” Pico used to be a professional gambler before he got into the music business. Before the Euro, he explained, the money was smaller, and gambling was easier because when you’d place a bet, the numbers sounded BIG to everyone at the table, so it was important to bet high, and preferably with odd amounts to add to the confusion. Even the dealers would get thrown off with all the zeros and millions of pesetas. Repeating integers was Pico’s trick. One time he placed (the equivalent of) a $180 bet, and it went down as $1800, and well, you can imagine the rest of the story. I didn’t believe a word of it. This guy landed my ass in jail. Sure, he’s my right hand man, but he’s a pathological liar!
First day of summer. I woke up today, thinking about last night. Pico and I shared a room, and he kept me up pretty much the whole night with more tall tales about the old days, growing up in Spain. At times he would speak in Spanish, laughing, forgetting that I didn’t understand a word of it. One thing he said that caught my attention was his twist on a quote by Abraham Lincoln. Pico announced from his bed, all coked out, “I destroy my enemy by making him my friend, so I can really screw him over.”
This tour simply has to get back in order, or I’m going home. I just reminded myself that we could probably still play the parking lot gig at the Rolling Stones concert this weekend. That might be our ticket to normalcy, some kind of professional environment to raise the bar and get us whipped back into shape. We ran such a tight ship before Pico got strung out.
Big news today was from the Sol Singers. I got carted away, to church, and was given a cellphone by their leader/mentor guy, Don Amore. It’s one of those global phones, a nice one. So I had my regular cell number forwarded over to this one. Any of my friends out there that want to give a call will get buzzed through to my Spanish phone! I haven’t quite figured it out (the manual is in Spanish) and so the thing went off on full volume ring with vibrate during Sunday Mass. I’m dying to get out of Barcelona now.
The other great news is that Suspicious is going ahead with the plane idea, as soon as we get some dates. They said they have a plane they use once in a while. Coincidentally, Mic’s relative, Kike, is backing Suspicious Records with some big bucks, and offered to fly the plane. The biggest expense in a plane tour is the pilot, because they make so much money. He was rather adamant that he gets to use the plane for a week or so for some of his own business before we took it on tour, very concerned for our safety. This is the guy who wanted to get into drug smuggling, but I guess he realized music is much better. Good for you Kike!
Kike wants a bike, a motorcycle. He’s already got a plane. He said, “Pedro Fonda, Easy Rider! Bultaco!!” I told him that he’d want to get a Harley, ‘cause a Spanish dirtbike would not go at all with “Born To Be Wild.” So now he’s hot for a Harley. I swear that guy is on drugs. He doesn’t even know a single one of my songs, and he’s already talking about what instrument he’s gonna play in the show. I told him he could be my producer. He got annoyed, but I told him that Phil Spector was a producer, and he’s the coke buyer in Easy Rider.
God damn it! More trouble. The simple plan was to go to Madrid to play the Stones parking lot gig, and to avoid problems, go a day early. Kike was going to meet us there, having just picked up Khoi-San (yes!) in Bilboa after seeing the Rolling Stones there. Khoi is a big Charlie Watts fan, just like Kike, who seems to love anyone who’s tried narcotics. Those guys were flying back today, and apparently ran out of GAS just before reaching the airstrip.
They had to make an emergency landing in the middle of town! Luckily, there was a shopping mall with a very big parking lot. The long and short of it is that the plane is toast, Kike and Khoi are basically OK, and Suspicious Records just lost $15,000 in the deductible on their insurance to cover the plane. We’re all probably going to get sued, or dropped from the label. I’ll ask if we can get another plane, but there are only a couple of gigs penciled in at this point.
Emergency Plane Landing, Central Madrid
The shopping mall parking lot is pretty much in the middle of things. When the plane finally caught fire, most everyone got out of the way, and the fire crew was on the scene. Ironically, the accident you see in the picture on the left was the result of rubbernecking drivers, watching the plane burn. Three cars were destroyed; they all caught fire. There was only one other minor injury, involving a dog named Prince, who twisted his neck trying to get away from the burning car. Clara, the vet assistant, took good care of him. She wants to come to the Stones show, and I haven’t told her we just have parking lot access, at this point.
Poor Khoi! He can’t even see the keys to play. The doctor said that they would both recover fully, and that they were lucky. Kike can’t sleep, because he’s worried about something that burned up in the plane. I told him that his life is most important, and the rest of it can be replaced. “Si,” he said. “That is the problem, my life.”
When this all happened, Pico just stood around like a fool, didn’t get on the phone, nothing. He just kept reading his book. Mic was really concerned, and he needed a Xanax, which I got from Pico. The show will probably go on, I think if we just play songs Khoi knows well, we can get through. It’s just a parking lot gig, but it’s pretty important. We haven’t gigged in over a month. Pico said he’s thinking about what kind of light show to do. He asked if we had any fireworks left. He thinks he can get some extra stuff from the Stones crew. Fuego! Fuego! Fuego!
Day #2 of post-accident trauma drama. Mic and Kike’s family threw a little fiesta/gathering to calm our nerves. Kike refused to leave the hospital, complaining of massive internal pain, and wants a morphine drip. The doctor insists that his only injury was to his wrist, and that apart from stress and shock, he’s fine. Kike is screaming bloody murder in his bed, pleading for morphine. They put him on a little IV of it, and plan to let him out later tonight. He expressed interest in going to the house party.
I’m sorry, but Mic’s family is crazy. They make Pico’s people seem pleasant. Whenever something bad happens, they pick on Paulo, the adopted son. He’s the designated scapegoat for all that is wrong. He’s the downtrodden one of the clan. He’s used to it, although if I were him, I’d get the hell out of that house.
From the minute we walked in the door until I bailed on the party, it was a scene. Screaming women, waving hands, trays of food going down on the floor, birds squawking. They have a whole aviary there, which was frustrating for Khoi, not being able to see it. He had to identify the birds by chirps alone.
The kids saw Khoi all bandaged up, and decided to use it for show-and-tell in school. The kids go to school all year round in Spain, but the classes are short. When they’re not doing dress up games, they’re playing video games, or watching American cinema. It’s still very arts oriented there. And everything is a big party.
Things are bound to turn around.
Thank heaven for small wonders. The parking lot gig did happen, but I just did it solo acoustic. Everyone was still freaked out by the plane incident, and Khoi couldn’t see the keyboard. There was not a lot of go-get-em from my crew, so I just cabbed it down to the venue, walked around the very big parking lot, found a good spot, and started to play. The lights from the Rolling Stones show actually lit me up some, but it was no Pico Castel show.
Clara found me, and brought me some beer and snacks. She actually cooked a lot of food, thinking there’d be a small army to feed. I think maybe the words “Rolling Stones” gave her the wrong idea. Once she saw what I was doing, though, I think the simplicity rang true. So, after a few hours of walking around the lot, we bonded a bit. They say that girls that you meet on the road are just looking for one thing, but I’m suspending judgment. Clara’s a nice girl, I think.
I asked where Prince was, and she stopped me, wide-eyed, “Is Prince playing tonight too?” I had to remind her about the dog she treated, and of course she remembered. She sees a lot of dogs in a day over there, she said. Prince went back to his home, which is nowhere, for he is a stray. We decided that if I stay a little longer, I’d adopt the dog, little guy.
However, this tour basically is in a rut right now. I’m going back to the states for some gigs in California. The Wild Horse is coming out there, and I just need a short break from the insanity that is my current life! Clara is hinting at being invited to the US, but I don’t think it’s that easy, I said. I don’t even know if I can get back in, with all my trouble over here. I’m just going to poker-face it through customs like I always do. I mean, if I’m a marked man, they’ll know it long before I walk through the “nothing to declare” door.
Watch this space for my return to the Iberian Peninsula in August. Pico has a deal for his new Spanish television show. Shooting starts next week; it’s something I could be in, even though my Spanish is terrible. Of course, part of the deal is that his entire family is also going to be on the show. Apparently in Spain, these days, anyone can get a TV show. The whole clan is moving to Seville for this. They’re leaving all their friends and family behind in the quest for fame.
Thanks for your support,
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