Checking in from the road.
Checking in from the road. As I'm banging this out we're heading from Zurich to Vienna. A nice leisurely 8 ½- or 9-hour drive. The Alps outside the window. Chocolate wrappers strewn about my feet. Me and the Mission Express and young Max Gomez are at the end of a month-long tour. Making our way to Prague where after one last gig, we'll be flying back home. Just in time to dust ourselves off and start a U.S. tour in Austin on March 10th and 11th at our home away from home, the Continental Club. We'll be doing three shows there during the SXSW Film Festival. Early shows. Late shows. Special guests. All of it. One show Friday. Two shows Saturday. Check the listings.
ALSO: We just added a San Francisco show at the Great American Music Hall on April 15.
Anyway, the drives are getting a little more challenging out this way. Things are more spread out on the continent. It's enough to make me miss the Angry Island where the drives were a leisurely 4, 5, or 6 hours . . .
We've been touring the UK or "Angry Island" for a dog's life in years now. This last go-round was a real blast. The fact that people still come out to listen to loud music standing on a sticky black floor? Pretty cool. So yeah, we love you. All of you. Don't really KNOW you. But you came out and threw down the dosh and so we love you for that.
The UK holds a special place in our hearts. In light of it all, I've been trying to sell Stephie on the concept of moving there. Maybe open a pub. We'll have a dartboard, beer and tea. And instant coffee. (Instant coffee is so next wave!) And there will always be footy on the telly. What do you say Stephie? Let's adopt a puppy and enter the next chapter of our lives. Is that something you'd be interested in?
Who am I fooling? She doesn't read this newsletter.
I do have a couple serious things I want to share: Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins is out. (Humble brag alert!) And it's tearing up the charts. (Do you think I'm messing with you? I am not messing with you.) It's #123 on the Billboard Hot 200. People are excited about the record. And it feels good. I don't recall ever being on the Billboard charts. Except Green On Red's No Free Lunch might have grazed the top 200 back in 1986 or so? But how can I be certain? About anything? I'm not quite ready to call my mom and ask her what color she wants her yacht, but it's still pretty cool. You can't see me, but my head is swelling up pretty good. It's not fat. But it's getting there. I don't DESERVE it. But I'll take it. I'm too tired to argue.
In other news: Right now, if it was my style I'd be tempted to say: "Stop what you're doing and watch this." Or "YOU SHOULD WATCH THIS." Both of which are things I never say because I recoil when I'm on the receiving end of either.
But on the other hand, this riveting doc on refugees produced by PBS's Frontline is stunningly ugly and beautiful at once. You should watch it. There. I said it. Exodus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRs5BuvfI0M
The documentary should be on other end of that link, but if the YouTube version often gets yanked down just google "PBS Frontline Exodus".
Imagine your house is on fire. Okay, now what are you gonna do?
GET. THE. FECK. OUT. That's what.
To tell someone they can't do that is like telling someone not to breathe. Pretty simple.
The refugees followed in this film? Heroes. This is not a life you choose. Pray it doesn't choose you. It's something that happens TO you.
Over a million people smuggled themselves into Europe last year. They're still coming in droves. Oftentimes it's kids. Minors. Unaccompanied. Or as one refugee said, "One day you're running a falafel shop. And the next day . . ." Watching these harrowing journeys people take just to have a shot at a life. A life. ANY kind of life. People leave their families. And then trek across continents. More often than not on foot. Cross the ocean in a dingy. It's brutal. But it's inspiring to see such human spirit up close. And because cell phones have these little video cameras, it really does not get any more up close.
Dreaming of a better life. Surviving. At sea. On land. To have no compassion for these refugees would be pretty hard. This is difficult to watch. But probably harder to look away. All that struggle only to end up in a squalid camp known as "The Jungle" in Calais, France, sleeping on cardboard, clutching a knife for protection. Trapped in a No Man's Land with no way out. Calais, itself a port of entry to the UK that I've breezed in and out of probably 100 times. . . . Sitting in disease. Waiting themselves sick.
This doc is a dystopian grand tour. Especially in a world where news is hard to find. The film-makers really stick it out with these refugees. I learned a lot.
3/10/17 – Austin, TX – Continental Club
3/11/17 – Austin, TX – Continental Club
3/12/17 – Dallas, TX – Sundown at Granada
3/14/17 – Omaha, NE – The Sunday Roadhouse Presents
3/15/17 – St. Paul, MN – The Turf Club
3/16/17 – Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon w/ The Bottle Rockets
3/17/17 – Chicago – Old School of Folk w/ The Bottle Rockets
3/18/17 – Milwaukee, WI – Shank Hall w/ The Bottle Rockets
3/19/17 – Fort Wayne, IN – The B-Side at One Lucky Guitar
3/21/17 – Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern
3/22/17 – Buffalo, NY – Sportsmen's Tavern
3/23/17 – Worthington, OH – Natalie's SOLD OUT
3/24/17 – Newport, KY – The Southgate House Revival
3/25/17 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom
3/26/17 – Pittsburgh, PA – Club Café
3/28/17 – Washington, DC – The Hamilton Live w/ The Bottle Rockets
3/29/17 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom w/ The Bottle Rockets
3/30/17 – Philadelphia, PA – World Café Live w/ The Bottle Rockets
3/31/17 – Hudson, NY – Club Helsinki w/ The Bottle Rockets
4/1/17 – Northampton, MA – Iron Horse Music Hall w/ The Bottle Rockets
4/15/17 - San Francisco, CA- Great American Music Hall