The picture below was taken in 2013 in Dortmund, Germany. It’s my birthday.
I’m throwing up in my mouth slightly reliving the post show celebrations. I recall conga lines and arm wrestling Russian crew dudes- their prison tattoos clearly visible- emboldened by rum and cokes and champagne. Never mix those two. Our tour manager mercifully’s carrying anti-nausea medication prescribed to chemo patients.
And so begins an incredible two week run with the biggest band in Germany.
Earlier that day, I emerge from my bunk to Big News- they have a juicer in catering. A JUICER! And we’re parked next to an arena! In typical music biz fashion, the details are a little murky as to what we’ve signed up for. Turns out, we’re opening for a band called Seeed (yes, with three e’s). Who? I assumed we’d be first of three on a club bill but, hey, here we are, and evidently there's a juicer.
The first person from Seeed’s camp I meet is their production manager. Apparently, they sell out stadiums throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Tonight’s show will be small, he tells me. Only ten thousand. And their fans show up for the opener. Oh, and they’re usually hostile. The last opener quit.
Seeed’s running their new show for radio contest winners, and would I like to check it out? I’m still convinced we’re actually booked at a beer hall town the road. Inside the empty arena, an 11 piece hip-hop/reggae/pop/jazz band is practicing dance moves and busting each other’s balls in rapid-fire German. A contest winner's literally weeping with joy.
Where am I, what’s going on, and where the hell’s that juicer?
I hadn’t realized just how large the music world really is. As an American, we’re taught that success in the US is the mountaintop. Here’s a band I’d never heard of, popular in only a few countries, playing to tens of thousands. They're writing music that would send most A&R folks running. And they CRUSH.
As artists, there’s constant pressure to game the system and jump on bandwagons. Seeed reminds me that it’s a great big world, and inspired artistry always finds a home.