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 and neither does the woman he left her for. Later in the evening, he records our organ player’s voicemail greeting.
Before he records our organ player's voicemail greeting, I disappoint Metal Chris, twice. We are, he informs me, mere steps from the Red Light District, and here’s the thing about a transvestite: she KNOWS, and for god's sake let her show 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 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, I'm in what might be referred to as a "pickle." 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.