|Joey Fake - The Genuine Fakes - Gig From Hell|
|Written by Joey Fake|
|Wednesday, 16 February 2011 05:00|
I did one particularly catastrophic gig with a band called Dexter Jones' Circus Orchestra in November last year. The whole tour was kind of badly organized by the booking agency. We only had itineraries for the first half of the tour and there were a few gaps in the dates that they promised they'd fill by the time we got on the road. That, of course, didn't happen and our booking agent decided to make himself totally unreachable - no e-mail, cell phone or anything - and he we couldn't reach him at the office either. So, we had to fill the empty dates ourselves by calling around to different promoters asking if they had any free slots.
One of these "filler shows" ended up being a gig at a small café in a small town in old East Germany. When we got there we couldn't believe that they'd ever had bands playing live there, 'cause the place was as small as a shoebox... There was no stage or any PA. It didn't help that no one at the place spoke any English, so we couldn't really get any answers to any of the many questions that arose. However, after a couple of hours the lady who owned the place (at least I think she was the owner, but I'll know for sure since I couldn't understand a word she was saying) opened up the doors and started carrying chairs and tables out onto the pavement. There was no promoter or anything there so we helped her empty the little shoebox of a venue. But there still was no PA. And now we had nowhere to sit...The promoter finally decided to show up sometime later, and he actually spoke some English. He said that a PA system was on the way and that we could just start bringing in the backline in the meantime. So we did just that - and about an hour after having set up our stuff some guy shows up with a speaker - ONE speaker. And it's a home stereo speaker! The promoter says "ah, no worries - another one is coming!" Sure enough, a while later another guy comes with another home stereo speaker, and some kind of receiver. We're all dumbfounded and really don't know how to react to all this, so we just sit (on the floor) as random guy after random guy shows up with little bits and pieces of home stereo equipment to build some kind of PA system. "But, where are the mics?" we ask. "Don't worry - they're coming!" the promoter cheers. So, we try not to worry and after maybe 30 more minutes a random guy comes with a microphone. "But, we need three mics, you know that" we said. "No worries - they're coming!" You see where this is going, right? Different guys bring in different mics and cables and what-not - it seems like every guy in town brings in stuff from home. We realize pretty soon that we shouldn't hope for any monitors... So, after maybe five hours in total, all that's left is one mic stand. Finally, an old man comes with his very own mic stand, telling us to be very careful with it. It's not like it was some kind of custom built, special kind of mic stand - it was just a standard mic stand, but we said that sure, we'd be careful... We're all thinking that it can't get more Spinal Tap than this.
Anyhow, over time more and more people start coming in - taking a seat on the floor or standing by the walls - while we do a quick soundcheck. We start the gig right after that and try to live through the horrid crackled and popping sound that comes out of the home stereo speakers. Needless to say, it wasn't the best gig we've done. But people are into it, and they actually buy some T's and records after the show, so we think "hey, it wasn't all that bad". Then, as the place gets emptied, we ask the promoter about the sleeping arrangements. "No problem, you can stay at my friend's place!" he replies in his cheerful way. When we see his friend - a 20 year old euro-disco guy, we start feeling a bit worried. But, we decided to check his crib out - maybe it's not so bad? So we pick up our bags and ask him if we should get in the van. He lets us know that it's very close so we should just leave the van at the venue. We start walking, carrying our heavy bags for what feels like an eternity. "Very close" apparently means a 30 minute walk in the rain in old East Germany, and when we're finally there we find that he lives in the filthiest studio apartment in Europe. There are dirty clothes scattered all over the floor, and dishes on top of and inside the washing machine! We see only one bed in there and ask him where we should sleep, whereas he just moves some of his dirty underwear and points at the floor. "Or, we don't need to sleep at all - we can just party all night!!!" he says, while turning on his stereo that starts blasting out techno music...
About 30 seconds later we're on the street again, making our way back to the van. Pretty pissed off as you might imagine. After three weeks on the road, playing mostly at bad venues and not getting too much sleep - we could've killed the guy on the spot. It's 2 am and we really think that touring sucks at this point. But, the day ends on a good point at least. As we're walking in the rain we're lucky enough to happen upon a hostel that's just about to close. So we spend the little cash that we got from the show on a small room with four beds. Not really what we'd planned, but at least we managed to kill one of the days in between scheduled gigs and we got to sleep in a bed.
You gotta love life on the road with an Indie band!
My full interview with Joey Fake will be up on Uber Rock next week, but in the meantime why not check out the band's fantastic music (and facial hair) in their video for the track 'When Reality Hits You' ... Cool beans!!!!!!