Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Fast On the Draw

...and draw we did on this European Fast 'N Bulbous European tour from which I write you perched in a chair at the computer terminal in the lobby of the good old 4 star Hotel Josefshof in dear old Wien (my 4th or 5th stay in this cozy little gem of a hotel, quite near the Opera ring, I first came here in '96 in sub zero degree weather with my then driver Eric Don to play the Porgy and Bess Jazzclub solo, we got lost looking for that joint and picked up a friendly hitchhiker named Norbert who helped us get our bearings and delivered us to the club..wouldn't you know that that same Norbert turned up at our riotous sold-out show at the Amsterdam BimHuis last Friday night replete with the Gary Lucas t-shirt I had given him in thanks for his friendly assist---something I love about this touring life over so many years is running into various characters from various phases/highways and byways of my career--from different epochs almost-- for whom my live shows are primal memories still...primal enough to compel them to seek me out in the corporeal flesh for repeat performances in different guises some years later)...

Gary Lucas in London 11/16/06

Gary Lucas outside London Jazz Festival gig, 11/16/06

Gary playing with Fast 'N' Bulbous, London Jazz Festival, 11/16/06

photos by Vic Singh (legendary Pink Floyd photographer) | Click to enlarge

Suffice to say that our opening gig at Pizza on the Park for the London Jazz Festival was also sold-out and kicked off this tour in a big way for us, audience luminaries included Brian Hopper (Hugh's brother and composer of the Soft Machine classic "Joy of a Toy"--Mike Ratledge's fuzzed-out psycho-organ on this a big influence on Jerry Harrison during his stint in the Modern Lovers, it turns out), also Vic Singh, the genius photographer responsible for the first Pink Floyd album cover, who snapped madly away during our set and then did some solo portraits of me out on the Knightsbridge streets by Hyde Park south; also a bevy of Fireparty people from the crazy word of Beefheart.com; various debs and toffs in evening dress who looked like they had wandered in off the streets direct from the flaming drawing rooms of Belgravia to check out what this "punk-jazz thing" was all about; Caroline's old friend from UEA Scottish madman John Stewart and his missus plus sidekick Alan; Fred Barnes and Max Cross from my UK label Side Salad bearing the gift of my brand new spanking Gods and Monsters album "Coming Clean" with them in its spiffy Universal distributed incarnation (note picture of the 9 year old Gary on the back--hey my album's received 4 star UK reviews in MOJO, Uncut and Record Collector, to date!); ace writer/Beefheart biographer Mike Barnes and friends; Some Bizzare heavyweight Stevo and the lovely Yuliana Galitskaya and their galpal friends, a fetching female punk singer and the tres exotique French/Italian catalog executrix from Warner Jazz Florence Halfon, Caroline and I partied with them afterwards at Stevo´s invite at the exclusive Met Club down the road apiece and then wound up in a coffee bar in Soho at 2am-- very Expresso Bongo) and fans old and new ("I saw yer in 1980 at the Venue! in Penzance! at Royal Festival Hall!") (which time?)...we really kicked hard and heavy-lifted the bandstand and what a splendid venue Pizza on the Park is, a beautiful and elegant watering hole and boisterous boite indeed, special thanks to David Jones, John Cummings and Sarah from Serious for flying us in (and hey our show was listed as the #2 Pick of the week in Time Out London in the Jazz and World category!)...

Click to enlarge

Amsterdam was something else! PANDEMONIUM TOTALE, happy days toy town vibes reigned 'oer me, Dutch fans mobbed us, so many many old friends including the aforementioned Eric Don and Norbert, the fabulous Co de Kloet who produced a live taping from the show for broadcast soon on NPS national Dutch radio, BimHuis supremo Huub Van Riel who booked us into the spectacular new Movenpick Hotel a hop skip and a jump next door to the new Bim, a hotel so fine that classical music plays 24/7 in the corridors (Debussy´s Sonata for Flute and Harp was billowing forth when I checked into my comfy and well-appointed 17th floor aerie with impeccable view of the Amsterdam harbor), nu musik photographer Arjen Veldt, avant-pop muso Pascal Plantinga, old friends and music lovers Bas Andriessen and Laurent Sprooten, we sold out of our Fast 'n Bulbous cd really quickly during the first set prompting a frantic call during the interval back to Steve Feigenbaum at Cuneiform in the states, who called me back when I was onstage during our second set, cell phone went off just as I was finishing my reading of the Van Vliet poem "Untitled" (whch I read on the last Beefheart tour in 1980, alternating with "One Man Sentence"--this time I alternated our Fast `N Bulbous sets with "Hollow Smoke") and I took the call and relayed our CD-less predicament to Steve telephonically, holding the handy up to the mic to relay his astonished comments while onstage to much merriment and howling from the punters, giving them a naked-lunch view of the avant music biz up close (where you see what`s on the end of every fork)--what a fantastic night!! Sold 27 of my own cds there (beating the group sales by 3)--I LOVE THE DUTCH--and still had some left to flog (caveat emptor!) the next evening in Bern (a great gig courtesy of my old friend Hans Ruprecht, hung with him and his lovely wife Marianne Adank next day for brunch at their art-encrusted manse on the hill, then hooked up with Swiss avant-guitarist Gerald Zbinden who is preparing our duo cd for release soon, and drove out with him to his chalet overlooking Gruyere where his lovely wife cooked my fave spaghetti bolognese...mmmm good, had this 3 times in 2 days this week it is the perfect touring food), hung with fellow avant jazz travelers pianist/composers Anthony Coleman and Matt Shipp, and double bass/guitar whiz Joe Morris who were thee to play Hans's Taktlos Festival with us and then yesterday Phillip, young Jesse, Dave (our newly bearded "Old Man of the Mountains"), Joe, Rob, Richard and I were driven 10 hours yesterday to Wien by our ace driver Christian in a super comfortable van (for a change!) through the fabulous Arlberg mountain range in the Tirol which offered breath-taking alpie, snow-covered vistas, mountains dusted like powdered sugar sprinkles, after which we pulled into Wien and I dined on schnitzel and spaetzele with my friend Viennese graphic designer Martin Teifenhalter), and hey we just got our shipment delivered of more F 'N B CDs from Steve and Cuneiform in the hotel here as I write, more product to push, we play Wien this evening, then Schwaz tomorrow near Innsbruck--and then we crashland in fantastic Ljubljana Slovenia for our last show on Thanksgiving (now be thankful...)

I'll take you there...




Blogger Almbrauser said...

Hello and best wishes from the "short" evening at Schwaz and don´t forget: if u want to try skiing, call the EREMITAGE and the two guys in the corner.

11/26/2006 3:16 PM  
Blogger Gary Lucas said...

thanks almbrauser, i'll definitely take you up on this next time!


11/26/2006 6:22 PM  

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