Photos and journal entries from my recent German tour:
Last September, quite out of the blue, I had a mail from a German lady called Shel, inviting me to Cologne to play some shows. She explained to me that she organises private house concerts and other small shows there, and that artists like Mundy, Mark Geary, Liam O’Maonlai etc. had all played at her place. I’ve always wanted to play shows in Germany so I jumped at the chance! The tour was arranged for the end of February – last month – and I went into it with an open mind and high spirits. It turned out to be one of the most enjoyable weeks I’ve ever had, musical or otherwise.
For the last year or so I’ve been keeping a daily journal on 750words.com and I made sure to keep up the habit when on tour. In this post I open up my private journal to give you a real and in-the-moment sense of the trip. As well as these journal entries, there’s also lots of photos and some German TV clips here too. Please let me know if you enjoy this kind of article in the comments section below. Big Musical Hugs ~Peter
“The house is beautiful and I feel very comfortable here with these good people. The room where I’ll be playing on Friday is gorgeous and will be perfect for a gig. I’m very excited about it. I am yet to meet their Labrador Ted but I hope to get around for a walk with him today. Apparently there is lots of nice walking around here.“
Yesterday was the first full day here and I played on NRW TV channel in Dusseldorf. I did three songs and had a short conversation with the presenter Emily, a blonde German-American lady who was very welcoming and easy to talk with. I think the show went well and I performed well. I played “The World is wide” , “Do” and “Moon”. Before I went on , Michael Schenker was doing a pre-record in the same studio. I was super excited about that and got to say a brief hello to him after he finished up. I told him that I had seen him play in Dublin when I was a teenager and he remembered that tour. It was such a bizarre and exciting thing getting to meet him. It put me in good and excited form.
GOOD CAKE, BAD CAKE:
After dinner Shel & I watched the documentary “Good cake, bad cake” about Dublin band Lir. I wasn’t aware of their music or existence at all but I loved the film. They were a band on the verge of success many times but it ultimately never happened. They toured and toured and were promised the world by various record companies and their management but in the end nobody delivered on the promises and it just fell apart. They could not sustain it. They were searching and working toward a record deal and gigging like crazy but because they had no deal, they had no records to sell. That was how it worked then. That was the only way you could make an album, if you were backed by the financial muscle of a label. I’m so lucky really that I can make an album like outlines so naturally and easily. I forget that it wasn’t always like that.
“Sure this is a slow way to grow but I think at least it’s natural and honest and I get to work on my craft and life over a period of years. I’m not depending that much on entirely on having a label to release my music. I like the new climate.
Lir sound like one hell of a band though. I loved the stuff. Very pearl jam in places.
… I have been treated so well here these last couple of days , it’s been amazing entirely ! Great food and company. This morning Shel made breakfast again and afterward we went for a good walk around the area here. We are in the countryside and all around are fields, hills and woods. We passed a small carp farm, Shel says Carp Is a very tasty fish! Poor carp. We also saw a shabby pony, an intelligent looking goat and a horse that had his mane curled like a judges wig. The sun was shining but there was still some snow on the ground. It felt good to move about some and get good air and exercise !
When we got back we drank fresh Apple juice and I asked for some more coffee which was quickly prepared and served with a plate of biscuits. I am being treated like a king. I drank the coffee at the kitchen table and sang through some songs – turtles, sacred place, slow motion car crash, perfumed letter and some of the new song which Shel really liked. I think its going to be very strong song.
Sitting now at the kitchen table at Rose hip cottage, right leg over left knee, green socked foot resting on the cold blue tiles. Ticking of clocks and cars passing by are the sounds in the room. Tonight is the night of the house concert here, which in a way will be the main gig of the tour. Certainly it’s the one I want to do my very best job for Shel & Stefan, to repay in song and energy all the generosity they’ve shown me.
Last night I went upstairs at about 1:30am after eating a small meal of home cooked Chinese food that was full of ginger goodness. Eating Chinese food late at night that actually felt healthy was a rarity. After getting to my room it was another hour and a half before I was actually ready to go to bed. My night time ritual is almost as drawn out as the morning time now. I flossed , then wrote in journal. I sketched peters Brauhaus in the small space at the bottom of the page. Lots of windows In the Brauhaus so it takes time. Then I had to do some reading for the day so I spent 15 / 20 minutes reading Hemingway on the Kindle. I’m almost finished “The Sun also rises” and am really enjoying it. His writing is so perfect in places. I love to read him and see the pictures he paints. I was getting really into the bull fight scenes too and appreciating the skill of Romero the bullfighter. We as readers in the 21st century are lucky to have such great work to enjoy. I will surely enjoy “Death in the afternoon” and hope to read it soon.
I am munching now on a red juicy Apple, it’s sweet and it feels good to be eating fruit. I feel just a little tired after a very late bed time last night and a decent amount of whiskey.
Last nights show here at Rose hip was one of the most enjoyable gigs I’ve ever played. Everything went perfect. There was a great crowd, the room was filled with good people who I hope had a great time. I think there was about 60 people who came and Shel did a wonderful wonderful job of preparing the house for the guests. She had so much great food prepared for the interval and everyone was happy and looked after.
The whole day yesterday went really smoothly and I put some thought into getting a good set list for the show which I knew would be in two parts. I wanted yesterday to be perfect from my end and that I’d be in good form musically and in good mood to entertain both the crowd and Shel & Stefan. The sound for the show was lovely and so so so much nicer than the previous night’s show. If makes it much easier to relax and enjoy playing when the sound is good like this !!!! There were candles Lit and the people were very attentive and I think into the whole thing. There was a good number of CDs sold too I believe.
“This show probably generated quite a bit of money which seems almost strange as I would have happily played it for free. That’s how good a time I’ve been having here. So perfect. An absolute life-restoring week here in Germany. So nice to be made so welcome and to have this chance to bring some musical joy to people.
I finished the first half with a very intense version of Sleepless Street – it’s rare I play it live – and Sascha joined me on violin for this one. He’s a good man and I introduced him as a television hating , wilco loving fellow and he liked that. He played beautifully and with the intelligence and feel of a great musician. Yet again I’m blessed to play with good people. We did three songs in total together – eternity , sleepless street and don’t touch my heart. It was very enjoyable.
It was one of the longest performances I’ve ever given, it helped that there was a break in the middle. At the break people ate the food and drank good beer. I just drank a beer and ate no food. I tried not to get too relaxed during the break which was hard because it had a definite after-gig vibe. I chatted with people and signed some CDs. It was tempting to just feel done and dusted. But I had probably another hour and a half left to play.
The second part of the show went even better than the first I think. It flowed very well and I felt right in the zone there. I opened with always kind and had a great sing along with the crowd on the end. After this I tried for the first time the song about growth and change and becoming a better animal. I think it’s a good song and the lyrics I wrote on yesterday’s walk with Ted may well be keepers. I think the people enjoyed it too. There was one very beautiful blonde there that I saw a lot during the show but I didn’t see her after. I planned on thread and goodness gracious me as the two final songs, that would be my encore.
After GGM I left the stage and walked into the coolness of the kitchen area. The people clapped and clapped and clapped and continued to clap … It didn’t stop so I went back to Shel and said “I think I’m done , I’m out of songs”… She said to play “waves” which was a good call, so I did. This was the most honest and true encore I ever gave and I was happy to sing for these people.
After the show I spoke to some more people and signed some more albums. I drank some beer and then the whisky was coming at me too. I ate all the food that I missed in the break. I talked a little with two pretty Germans called Rika (Ulrika) and Selena I think was the other girl. Rike wore a mustard cardigan and had a watch-face on a string hanging from her neck. She had nice black tights and cute boots. The other girl had a doll face and red lipstick on her small lips. She had auburn hair and wore a tight green cardigan on her petite frame. Both girls were attractive.
I went to my room after three. I was too tired to floss but I sat with a toothbrush in my mouth for twenty minutes and texted Nick and Brian. Miss the boys. I told Brian I played two great trade songs and we agreed to meet for lunch next week.
I rang Therese last night too and it felt wonderful to talk to her.
I slept for a few hours and woke around 8 am, the morning was beautiful but I was too tired to get up at that point. I read for a little while and finished The sun also rises. I slept again until just after noon. Lazy bones.
02.02.15 – Flying Home.
All at once I feel exhausted. Very burned out like a plug has been pulled. It’s airport warm, that uniquely dead and airless heat that you find in airports the world over. I am drinking a green tea and waiting for the Ryanair desk to open so I can check my luggage.
That week has passed by in a flash and was better than I ever could have hoped. I came to this trip with curiosity and open mind, not entirely sure what to expect but it has been one of the best weeks I’ve had in a long time. The shows all were enjoyable – apart from the Saturday night improv show – but that whole day was fun. Shel & Stefan were absolutely amazing and are such wonderful people. I’ve never felt more at home or better looked after. With music I have met some seriously legendary human beings but these guys top the list. The food, the house, the shows, the care, the sense of humour. Amazing amazing folk and I do love them already 🙂 it was sad to leave then behind.
But I have a lot to look forward to at home. I can’t wait to see Therese again and kiss her on the mouth and hug her well. I’ve missed her but a week is a manageable slice of time. It will be good to see the family again too.
Things look very positive for a return leg with November being the most likely time for it. I can not wait to get back – and I haven’t even left yet. That’s how much I enjoyed this week
Today we visited Sascha’s place and saw his old guitars and radios and the microphones that he’s built by hand. I played his Lowden and liked it plenty. He also had a great fruch (I think) acoustic that was very enjoyable to play. He’s like a wild professor this guy and I like him a lot. His house was chaotic with gear strewn everywhere. He made us a good coffee and proudly showed off his old cameras that he keeps locked away safely. Sascha is a dude and a great musician. When I’ve met him each time he’s been wired and happy and something in his eagerness and joy reminded me of Vinny. I miss Vinny.
I’m gonna go check in my bag now and go through security.