This is a tour journal put together by Jonah, the vocalist in Far. It's his thoughts on the tour they recently did with the Deftones. First time in Europe etc. He sent the posts out, and has given permission that it be used. So cheers to the man for that.
10/06/97, Wolverhampton, 5:50am
Couldn't sleep. Need to remember those gloves Dana gave me, my hands are freezing as I type. I'm on the roof of our hotel, waiting for the sunrise. I'm listening to 'All Go Down' off of the Godmoney soundtrack. I'm so undyingly happy that I created something that can give such a feeling to me. I have Radiohead, I have Miles Davis, I have Cocteau Twins, and I choose a song that Chris and I wrote. And it's beautiful. The wind cuts in, it's hard to see the keys as I peck. I'm really glad I woke up, that I just got up and did this. Wolverhampton is -- Is someone here? I'm a little scared. I think it's just the building waking up. The water heaters maybe. Clicks and low rumbles and the metal catwalk under my feet start to vibrate. It's spooky up here alone. I was lying in bed, sleeping and awake, (click, shake), stomach still sour. I whispered to Chris, but he was either asleep or more committed to getting there than me.
There is no one up here in the dark with me. That's scary too. There is a flag flying in the dawn, and it's not America's. It's another place. Wolverhampton looks like any city at 6am. Bleary glowing, waking up. There's nothing unique, but I have to remember to get up at 6am more. It's gorgeous and cool loneliness. I think I'll get down off this roof before someone locks the window I climbed out of. I think I'll walk, and put away this computer and it's neato little CD player. I'll leave the headphones on to keep me a bit warmer.
7am I'm on a bus now, a big double-decker! It feels neat up here. I'm riding to Dudley Station, only to turn around there and come back. Just a fun way to ride around, stay warm. The people I was asking when I was researching the adventure seemed a bit bemused, but that's all right. The streets here are tiny. The sky is finally bruising, turning a gorgeous purple. I hope I see the sunrise. Maybe I'll get back in time to head up to my perch on the hotel roof. I bought a phone card, seemed a decent rate. I can't wait to call you, Hannah.
Oh, Radiohead... So glorious. Driving through England dawn listening to Radiohead. Circling on bus lines, jostling my computer. I need to find a working phone converter and send all the stuff off. 'Uptight' as purple to gray, and the phrase 'English contryside' becomes real.
I think a couple is arguing a few seats up. I heard a voice, raised above the music. But maybe not. 'Exit Music' plays and reminds me of the sadness there is here. Maybe no more than America, but different. There was a Car Rental company called 'National Breakdown', and the 'Yield' signs say 'Give Way'. I even think of Elton John singing about Princess Di, something about a Country lost without her. It seemed romantic, but pathetic too. Maybe it was like Kennedy dying or something. Was it? And what was that like? 'Transport, motorways and tram lines, starting and then stopping, taking off and landing, the emptiest of feelings, disappointed people, clinging on to..." Can't understand the rest, but I feel like I'm in Asbury Park listening to Springsteen.
I believe it's in the Rock Rule book that you need to start the diary for the first show of the tour with a Spinal Tap-ism. Who am I to question Nigel Tufnel? Especially when the show is in ENGLAND. Luckily, the show was free of Spinal Tap mishap, but complete with all the good rockin'. It was a big, beautiful room. We were received really well; new songs, old songs, fast, slow, they went right with our moods. The barrier was pretty far from the stage, but I went and sang to them a bit, it was nice. During the last song they pulled me up into the audience and someone relieved me of my shirt sleeve (and then asked me to sign it later. Really.) I felt better when Chino lost his shoes during the Deftones' set. It wasn't violent out there, though, just crazy and playful. When we played a fast song, they wouldn't mosh and kill each other, they'd just hop madly, it was great. I wish American audiences would take note. After the show, they were just as nice. I gotta say it, I love hearing so many people say 'cheers!' It's just so cheery. Wow, I must be in a good mood, making a joke that dumb.
All in all, a great first night.
I met some really nice kids and had a pub meal with them. We traded pronunciations; I taught them to say 'Adidas' correctly, they taught me to say 'Palin' (as in Michael Palin, the Monty Python genius). Real cultural exchange : ) It was really nice just to spend the afternoon and talk about music, really. Now we drive to Glasgow.
On to Glasgow
Manchester, England, 10/08/97
"Manchester, England, England/across the Atlantic sea/and I'm a genius, genius/I believe in God/and I believe that God believes in Claude/That's me" - Hair
Remember that old hippie movie/play? Great stuff, and that song is still in my head.
We're three days in now, up in our little phone room in Manchester. We had good water pressure this morning, so I'm doing well. Rainy and pretty cold, but romantic cos it's England : ) We're playing at a University tonight, so there are students everywhere, which is way better than spending the day with roadies. I'm not staying on schedule and walking around as much as I'd like, but I'm still getting in neat stuff. Went to the Glasgow University yesterday and checked out a museum there with an amazing reproduction of a house that belonged to Charles Rennie Mackintosh. He designed all the rooms, from furniture to wallpaper to light-fixtures to fireplaces, and it was incredible. Tiny holes in the wall filled with colored glass that matched the fabric of the chairs. I don't know much about Mackintosh, he was recommended by a friend, but his architecture and design are amazing. One neat thing; some of his art was hanging in the house, and it bore a remarkable resemblance to the style of Gustav Klimt. Turns out they were great friends. I felt like such a scholar (which I'm definitely NOT). Anyway, check his art/design out if you ever get the chance, it's great.
The show in Glasgow last night was the classic Far show. The people wanted to ROCK, I'm sure they were ready for the newest 'LA Metal' band (a big catch-phrase in the rock mags over here, forget that the 'Tones are from SACTO) to pump them up. So we open in our delicate Far way, with 'Waiting For Sunday', and throw people for a huge loop. And it just gets more confounding from there. We rip in to 'In The Aisle, Yelling' and everyone goes nuts, then a few songs later we get to 'Man Overboard' and people sway and wonder... Then, just as the metalheads are completely exasperated and starting to throw things, we kill them with 'Love, American Style' and 'Punchdrunk'. The gig itself feels lukewarm, but then tons of people come up after the show and gush about how much they loved it and how much they weren't expecting a band like us and they GET IT and it's good. It's weird, I know that if we came out and said all the lines and did all the moves and never let up, we'd have a more instantaneous thing, but I love that it takes a bit for people to sink in. All the music I love is like that, so I'm happy that we're turning out that way too. For all the Coal Chamber fans that we may never have (and good riddance), we'll have that many people that love us for at least reaching.
The club was gorgeous; huge parachute-type things on the high ceilings that rippled with the air that we moved, ornamental stairwells, a nice attention to aesthetic that lots of mid-sized American venues lack. They turned it into a dance club when the show was over, that was funny. It was a neat curiosity, but it quickly became clear that the difference between Sports bars in the States and Sports bars over here is.... Well, nothing. The music was HORRIBLE. One song that really stood out featured a helium-voiced lass emoting this deep sentiment: "it's okay if you don't love me, cos I don't care / we can make love / and I don't care". Over and over and over again. I think it was sort of the Brit take on Alanis or whomever, marketing female sexual 'liberation' shamelessly. And of course, all the girls were singing right along, looking like a Virginia Slims ad (we've come a long way, baby).
A mildly humorous anecdote in the 'wow, maybe the Brits really are depressed' category: I was inquiring about what was considered a good-luck charm over here. A few people at the store were tossing out the average rabbit's foot, 4-leaf clover thing, and one older man said, "well, I guess we don't consider ourselves that lucky a Country really". Oh, Um. okay. Pass the prozac.
Really, though, everyone I've met has been super-nice, save a couple of drunk girls that laughed at me for having my laptop out in a late-night restaurant. But then, people do that in America too : ) I'm looking forward to the show tonight. More confusion, more good conversation resulting from it.
Love from London!
Another great night. Another REALLY great night. I'm on the bus, heading to Nottingham, in a beautiful mood. We're listening to Brad, Shawn Smith is a beautiful singer. I got two cool Radiohead singles today that I would have paid a bundle for in the US, and a U2 single that has a song on it that's better than anything on the record. More nice music for the road. We're starting the tradition of playing a song called 'Bron-yr-Aur' before we go on. It's a beautiful acoustic instrumental off of 'Physical Graffiti', it sets a wonderful mood. The show is starting to feel more and more like a nice ritual. Just before we went on tonight, we stood for a bit, in a little huddle, just being quiet while 'Bron-yr-Aur' played. It was a good moment of serenity. We played at the London Astoria tonight. There were more than 2,000 people there. It was like playing the Warfield. Funny that we're playing a place that big over here first. I don't regret it or anything, it's just the way it happened. We're going to a castle tomorrow, it's the one Robin Hood invaded. And, built into the side of the hill near the castle is the oldest pub in England. It's from somewhere around 1175 according to our tour manager. The story goes that the soldiers would go to this pub and have one last pint of lager before going off to the Middle East to die in the crusades. Yikes. Today started hard. I'm going to bed and waking up way too late, and I was in no shape for London today. Got a little walk around and visited some record shops, I'm hoping to snag a bit more proper culture when we're here on the last day. Still in all, a dream of an experience. Chris and I are talking about how many of our childhood dreams we're actually living. Lots more to do, but it's nice to sit back and just be thankful and proud.
What a Beautiful Night.
It's strange, how things can just be going along, and suddenly things just light up. The last two show have been good, really good. I'm having a blast, we're all having fun, people are enjoying us, no complaints. But then, tonight, something just happened. We turned out the lights, we played a bit of the 'Fire Walk With Me' soundtrack, and we walked on. Right from the start people were just so there, the prefect energy. And the set was perfect, it felt like home. It just happens once in a while, but to have it happen with 1100 people you've just met, that's special. Then, when it was over, they kept going. We've sold a reasonable amount of stuff, pretty much what we expected as an opening act. So I was at the shirt table, giving away stickers, and all of a sudden people start asking for CD's. We sell out of what I have there for the night, I think it was 36. I run to the bus, grab a bag of about 40, run back in. Gone. I run back, grab 40 more, the last we have. They're gone in five minutes. People were buying shirts, everything. Check this out: The CD's were selling for 4 pounds. People were giving me fivers and telling me to KEEP THE CHANGE. Just bizarre. Talked to people for a long time afterwards, just kind of dazed and grinning. Everyone kept asking if I went getting annoyed with them cos I was signing all this shit, and I was just laughing, trying to tell them how happy I was that they were so excited about our music. Now, if it keeps going like this, great. If not, that's fine too. Tonight was a blast, and I can't wait to get back to Manchester. 'Til then, though, I'm taking the spirit of this with me.
10/?/97, Copenhagen, Denmark
I'm tired. Water at a slow point, not all frothing and jumpy. I look around at the tops of buildings, that's a good place to look for history and difference, cos the bottoms of buildings in cities are all too similar. Beyond the chains even, the little convenience stores are what they are, the big fashion stores reek of the same perfumes, the record stores sell the same big hits for too much and unknowns for nothing. Rammstein are a German band; dark industrial metal. They've sold a million records in Germany. There are 70-80 million people in Germany. 1 in 7-8 people own the Rammstein record. I thought of them as a funny thing, I was ready to buy the record as an oddity, for fun. Then I hung out with a guy from Epic's German branch, and his disgust with their success reminded me of how I'd feel if I were that inundated with crap (hi, Alanis). Rammstein are not the Spice Girls, and yet they are. Utterly LCD (lowest common denominator), utterly cereal, just a different sound. It reminds me of malls, and how behind the food courts I think there's just a big machine that says 'product' and each chain presses the appropriate logo and out spurts what their product, be it burrito or big mac or fish stick, should look like.
I don't feel angry writing this. Quite peaceful, really. There is a gorgeous gray sun out the bus window, one of the prettiest skies I've seen this whole trip. I feel peaceful, just seeing things, Letting them in and through.
Last night in Hamburg was one of my favorite shows. Started as this odd, bar-type atmosphere, and for the first time in a while I wasn't daunted by that distance. The beginning of 'Man Overboard' was SO quiet, and I drew people in to the silence with us, and they never left after that. Made new friends that were actually from the States as well, but living in Germany for a while now. Had a mutual friend in Chico that hooked us up. They traveled with us from Koln to Hamburg, it was great to spend time, and having interpreters around was pretty darn cool too. I'm going to walk the streets of Hamburg now.
10/19/97, Stockholm, Sweden
The last day of the tour. There's a 20-hour drive back to England, and several hours to walk around there before the plane, but this is it. I've had a classic Jonah in Europe day; walking around on a Sunday when nothing is open (something I like), trying to exchange my Danish money or get my bank card to work and then walking all through town to the Central Train Station (only open exchange place), finally heading back to a Cafe I'd been yearning for all morning. I've found that I really trust the term 'cafe'. Totally ridiculous, but it's served me well and found me decent, pretty cheap, not totally McAmerikas food. The one I visited today was no exception. Not a word in English, so I got to laugh with the counter-person trying to decipher the menu. It took an incredibly long time to actually order, the whole rhythm of the place was very relaxed and talkative. I was waiting in line forever, but not minding it, and having the same leisure to contemplate different teas and desserts was nice. I had a great veggie omelette and the yummiest apple crumble something pie, with vanilla sauce and whipped cream.
Everyone was crammed in, sharing tables. I struck up a conversation with some really cool women, talked about America/Europe stuff, the invasion of American pop culture, etc. They told me the unfortunate tale of a friend of theirs that has been an exchange student and ended up in Orange, Texas for a year. What an odd view of America. I put them on the list for the show, I hope they come and see what it is I do. They're all in University, studying law, physics, and one to be a midwife.
There's a beautiful park near the club, I think I'll walk there this evening before we play. I daydreamed of seeing some people there throwing a Frisbee. The leaves look so beautiful, big and autumn as they are.