November 16, 2017
“I don’t think instruments should define genre. If you’re rock, you’re rock. If you’re rap, you’re rap. If you’re country, you suck.”
The Bone Cathedral.
We don’t get much time for sightseeing, but when you’re in a town with an attraction like that, you find a few minutes. The Bone Cathedral, aka the Sedlec Ossuary, is an ancient church in the Czech city of Kutna Hora. It’s the final resting place for the remains of about 40,000 people, most of whom died from plague in the Middle Ages. Now, you might think it practical and appropriate to bury those remains, but why bury thousands of bones when you can turn them into an art project?
The Sedlec Ossuary is indeed a work of art. A creepy, strange, weird, and oddly peaceful art installation. There is so much history in those cold stone walls. The Middle Ages seem like mere legend to us, but then there are the skulls. The bones. There were people. They had stories. They’re gone. It’s pretty sobering when you think about it.
But we didn’t have time for thinking. We left the cathedral, picked up a delicious Czech coffee, and were on the road again, this time to Austria. Our soundtrack for the tour so far has mostly been the new record by The Killers and some Sufjan Stevens. Yesterday we decided on a little inspiration in the van, turning to one of my favourites, Geoff Thompson. We listened to his podcasts on abundance, courage, and surrender. We’re actually kind of a spiritual little group. We talk a lot about life and the universe and intention. The podcasts fueled us up a bit as we drove. We all feel like we're on the right path.
And then we were in Vienna and what can I say? I’ll talk more about the city in tomorrow’s entry, but I was just stunned as we were driving in. Viennna is so old and beautiful. It was dark when we arrived but it was still light enough for me to see that we were in a special place.
We found Reigen Live – our venue for the night – and met our latest awesome guy: Wolfgang. Wolfgang showed us the club, which is a really classy listening venue with tables and a nice stage. We soundchecked and then were taken to our rooms for the night, which were wonderful – high ceilings, art on the walls, drapes. Just classy, man. Back home when you find out you’re staying in the band house, you brace for the worst. This would have been one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed in.
Then Sarah drank three litres of water at dinner.
The show was fun. We’re enjoying having our voices again, though we’re all at probably 80% right now. A few days ago things looked dire, so 80% is very welcome. The Austrian audience was polite and really liked Sarah. Deni killed it again with his opening set. When it was over, we retired to our upstairs apartments for a rare after-party with our superfan Schimmi (who drove 1,000 kms from Dortmund for the show), Sarah’s friend Tanja and a few others, and another great new character: Ms. Gisele Jackson – a soul/disco singer from Vienna via Brooklyn, NY. What a firecracker. We have never heard her sing, but we could tell she’s awesome. It was great to meet her.
It was a nice little party, and then it was bed time for Sarah. I thought it was bed time for me too, but the evening was young by our standards and Ken and Deni had light in their eyes. Yes, they were going out. Yes, I was coming with them. And so off we went into the Vienna night, for about 10 metres. Then we realized there was no place for us to go. There was McDonald’s, but not much else, so we went back to Reigen Live for a nightcap.
That’s where we met Anna.
Anna’s an Austrian student who looks like a young Uma Thurman. She was sitting at the bar (normally she’s on the other side of it, but she was off duty), and she didn’t blink when three scraggly rockers from Canada pulled up beside her. She told us of California dreams and sharing custody of her dog with her Swedish ex-boyfriend. She was like a character in a movie. She told me I need to see myself playing on all of the big stages in the world and she’s right. She’s one of the people you meet on the road who’s in and out of your life in a heartbeat but becomes part of your story. We love those people.
Then at last it was bed time. At one point Deni said, “Hey, remember the time on this tour when we went to a church full of bones? Wait, that was today, wasn’t it?” It was. From the bones of Kutna Hora to Anna at the bar in Vienna was around 12 hours. Makes you wonder how many lifetimes you can live on the road. It also makes me glad that I’m doing this blog. I’d hate to think The Bone Cathedral or Anna or Tomtom or Caroline the palm reader or Kateryna the dancer or any of the others might get lost somewhere in my memory, like so many old bones piled silently in the dark.