November 3, 2003

We're bumping along in the bus. One of those roads that makes the entire bus rattle, shake, and clank along. In fact, it's difficult to type this right now, I can't imagine writing on a notepad and being able to read it later. Like all bumps in the road, this should smooth out once we get down the road a ways.

This tour leg is the longest of the year, 7 weeks, just after the South American leg, too. So, everything is pretty much a blur of one city after the next. The ironies and breathtaking pricing of these hotels continues to be a source of amusement and frustration, especially since the only English programming on the TV's is CNN or BBC news. There's only so many times you can hear the same headlines over and over.

Here in Europe, a surprising number of hotels have Al Jazeera t.v. in all the rooms. On this trip, to France, Austria, and Germany, there appear to be more Arabic channels than English by a big margin. Maybe it's a function of the 4 and 5 star hotels catering to well moneyed businessmen of all nationalities. Maybe it's something else, I don't know.

In Germany many people are fluent and comfortable speaking English. In fact, in most of Europe, you can easily get by using only English with a little bit gesturing. I still find it fun to try to communicate in the home Country's language, to the unending amusement of the locals. It's always surprising how a very slight mispronunciation can result in a puzzled look or worse..... Like in America, someone trying hard but not knowing every single possibility of the language can say something like "I am reading this now", but to us it comes out like "Now I am red."

In Spain was the last of the warm weather, even then, we had somewhat cold fingers playing outside at night. We've seen snow through the Alps at the higher road elevations, and the prevalant gray overcast here in Germany usually brings a cold rain at some point. By the way, the scenery in every single country has been fantastic. At one point in southern France, our driver pointed to a little group of mountains that really did look like Nevada, followed a half hour later by what looked just like the Smoky Mountains of the Southeast US.

The shows have been going very well, and the morale of the band is very good. The new album, Bananas has us doing more new material than ever before, but we're mixing it in with the more familiar, older songs. A couple of nights ago, I met the guys from Molly Hatchet, who are playing a number of dates on this trip. Some of them are from my part of Florida, so we suddenly relate to each other by having that in common. Nice bunch of guys, and it will be easy to hang out with them, so things look good on all fronts, gigwise. 2003