Belgrade After the Cruise Missiles

Sent: Thursday, December 14, 2000 6:36 PM
Subject: Belgrade

Just got back from Belgrade. We only had one day there. We played to a sold out house, 1500 people and they were fanatic fans of our work. We sat around signing autographs and generally holding court in a club after the gig, watching the young thangs gyrating most delightfully to the throbbing presentation of DJ Hell, our co-touring companion whose influence was pretty much responsible for this whole hootenanny.

Belgrade itself was in remarkably good shape, we were in the company of a guy who runs the one radio station that people used to listen to to hear uncensored news, B-92, unadulterated by the Milosevic regime which pretty much everybody hated. He told us a hell of a lot of what life had been like in Yugoslavia over the last 10 years but no one seemed to be down in the dumps. For once, we all just shut up and listened, not tempted to put our ill-informed two dinars in. We saw a couple of bombed out buildings, in particular the former party headquarters which was hardly touched. Them damn missiles is so accurate, they would fly in through the elevator shaft and blow up everything inside while leaving the building still standing. amazing. The city was buzzing, cars were once again polluting relentlessly since it was no longer necessary to buy gasoline on the street corner from Mafia types. I guess acquiring certain things under the sanctions was like scoring crack, you would give some sleaze bag some money and he would run around the corner to his secret stash and bring it back. Belgrade looked pretty much like any other european city, shops open people milling around, a hell of a lot better off than the poor miserable denizens of Georgia. Almost anywhere seemed better off than Tibilisi. The Yugoslavians were never as isolated as the russians anyway, they had plenty of access to information and entertainment from abroad, including weirdos like us. Once again, the primary source of our records was from bootlegs, made in bulgaria and sold on the cheap. We found all sorts of our own stuff for sale including a couple of my own solo records that are no longer available in Europe.

I am not annoyed by this bootlegging. Without it we wouldn’t have an audience in these places and I wouldn’t get to go there.

Alive in Berlin

In the Rasthof

Sent: Friday, December 1, 2000

subject: back in germany

Here I am, back in der vaterland. Somehow I have always liked Germany. call me crazy, I speak the language, I like the orderly way things are set up, the hi-tech cleanliness of it all and the rather constipated but relatively violence-free manner in which the natives comport themselves. I suppose first on that list is the fact that I am fluent in this language unlike any other except english. I can make my way through a german town with little hindrance and I can maintain a low profile which I like. For this I must thank Mr. Rendon at East High who drilled this language into me and made it stick.

At the moment I am rather pleased or content, you might even say happy if you were feeling reckless. I can’t quite figure out why precisely. I am glad to be on the road, glad to be back in what I call civilization, glad to have some money in my jeans, glad to have the support of my band, sorry lot of old gits that we are. We went through one hell of a lot together and there is a love and a familiarity there that is not unlike family. This damn band is 23 years old for god’s sake and we have made about 50 or so records either together or solo or in collaboration with someone else. Not bad for a mexican half breed boy from pueblo.

I am at an internet cafe in Munich in the rain (well it’s outside). I got your e mails about melancholia and you are right about me, I am flourishing out here in the big wide wonderful world. I have to think deep and long before returning to the emotional miasma of Athens. Ifeel like I must do “what is right” don’t want to be a rock and roll asshole and leave kids trailing in the wake of my libido. I am however afforded a chance here to have an alcohol free adolescence again, to really SEE the places I go and to feel what there is to feel and get all jazzed up and alive, tiring though it is. We have been working like 10,000 dogs lately riding around on a big green tour bus, sleeping between one german city and the next. We have one more show in D’land then we go to Belgrade, then back to Italy and then presumably back to Athens for little guido’s first christmas. The night is shimmering in a black rainswept manner, gone all liquid and magical and I am on my own in one of germany’s great cities.

Got nothing on Berlin, though. Berlin is one hell of a town and I love it dearly. We always do well there and this time was no exception. Our hotel looked over the last standing piece of the god damned wall which is gone gone gone and the whole city is alive and buzzing in a way unlike any other european city. Berlin is like a politer version of New York. I wish you could have seen it with me.

On top of everything I met a woman  there who has my head a spinnin’, tall german beauty named susanne and I am in severe infatuation. Help me lawd. Makes a man feel alive to be walkin down the street with a german goddess kissing in doorways in the icy Berliner night. I don’t quite know what to make of this. This makes me duplicitous and furtive in communications with “the wife” but hey, men are all bastards, right?

In your working boy’s not so humble opinion, I have suffered through a whole hell of a lot of trauma these last coupla years and I relish (deserve?) a little hormone-laced self delusion, or call it romantic enchantment whatever you like. this is still all so new to me.

What is it with you women? You’re a member of this bewildering race of beings. You tell me and we’ll both know. Cliche upon cliche. Guido is in
love (or something) hurts so good.

whoopeeee. I am having big fun. I feel so damn alive I can’t stand myself