It’s fall of 2012 and our first time playing Hamburg, Germany. I’ve stuffed my face with Currywurst and am appropriately drunk, all before noon. Also before noon, I’ve endured our proudly alcoholic, aggressively pierced bus driver, Metal Chris, confessing in heavily accented English that his wife no longer loves him, neither does the woman he left her for. I can drink more than you, he says, because I have hate in my heart. Later in the evening, he records our organ player Greg’s voicemail greeting.
Before he records Greg’s voicemail greeting, I disappoint Metal Chris, twice. The first way I disappointment Metal Chris is by, as he puts it, displaying an American reluctance regarding stimulation (Metal Chris is German, but his english easily is better than mine). We are, he informs me, mere steps from the Red Light District, and here’s the thing about transvestites- she’s a woman now, and she KNOWS. Oh, she KNOWS and, trust me, let her teach you.
I decline. You’re a coward, says Metal Chris.
We play the show. This is where I disappoint Metal Chris for the second time. On this tour, each band member’s given a solo feature, and tonight’s gig isn’t a great one for me. I saw Modest Mouse a while back. Half way through their set, Isaac Brock stops singing, looks down at his hands and declares his guitar sounds like actual shit. That’s how I feel about our Hamburg show.
Metal Chris is in the audience, a rare thing for a bus driver. Post show, he grabs me by the shoulders and looks me straight in the eyes. Metal Chris is not a beautiful man. He looks, in his own words, like a feral Unicorn's nightmare (his english is, again, excellent). He shakes his head, mockingly slowly. Coward, says Metal Chris. You’re a coward.
Having played a mediocre guitar solo and declined sexual congress with a transvestite prostitute, it becomes clear to me I must Regain Metal Chris’s Trust. How does a jet lagged, cowardly American win back the favor of a belligerent, adulterous career drinker with a mythical creatures fetish?
Chocolate, obviously. I break free from Metal Chris's disapproving gaze, fumble through my backpack and produce a snickers bar. For you, I tell Metal Chris, I’d deliver the world. He laughs. You are not a coward after all, he assures me, but risk becoming fat. I’ve never felt so validated.