Greg and I raced away from Backstage in Munich on another one of our pre-show jogs. We followed a long row of silent streetlamps that led to a dark path near an apartment complex. We decided to push a little further into the unknown. Our curiosity was rewarded with a mysterious midnight playground, all to ourselves. Greg and I bounced up and down on opposite sides of a giant seesaw.
An hour later, it was almost showtime. I scooted into the backstage bathroom to take one last piss. As I did my business, I heard the familiar roar of excitement that happens when the lights dim low and the crowd realizes that the show is about to begin. “Ha ha,” I thought to myself. “Joke’s on them. I know for a fact that the show CAN’T be starting yet, because here I am in the bathroom holding my dick.” But following the crowd noise I heard the bombastic Van Halen yelps that make up our new intro music. The joke was, in fact, on me. The show was starting! I finished as quickly as possible and scrambled across the long catwalk, barely making it onstage in time to raise my fist and run with the devil.
We met up with our Munich partners in crime, Joanna and Leone, now for the third time. I told them that I have written a whole blog about them (see November 2010). They hadn’t seen it, but it made the sisters very happy. Heading back to their new flat, Joanna led me through the still streets of nighttime Munich past an ancient looking building that she believes is used by the mayor. The centerpiece of the building was one of those quaint old-fashioned European clocks, the ones with the animatronic characters that come to life and do a slow jerky dance around the bell. “At ten minutes to noon, the square is filled with 100 Japanese people,” Joanna explained to me. “They wait until noon because they all want to take a picture of the moving clock. Only it’s stupid because all the characters are always visible, and when you look at the photograph, you’re not going to be able to tell whether they are moving or not.”
On the way to Berlin, two German police officers pulled over our van. The difference between European police and those in the United States is sometimes astounding. “Hallo,” they chirped cheerfully as they waddled up to our car wearing bright neon vests, more public servants than cops. “Sorry to bother you. We just need to check your passports. It’s a routine thing we do here.” All of the macho power-trip dance-of-intimidation stuff that we grew up with in America was noticeably absent. They gently patted down Darwin and I and some of the other members of our party, finding nothing but toothbrushes, guitar picks, and used tissues. “So, no one in your band does drugs?” they grinned at us. “Nope,” we collectively shrugged. “We’re not that rock ‘n roll.” “Sure,” they chuckled, as if they didn’t believe us but were playing along.