Rock from Chicago

Not Afraid to Bite Tour Diary 2015

Posted by on Apr 13, 2015

Rain, Rain, Snow, More Rain, and Lots of Fun

The rainy, rainy (and snowy) weather couldn’t stop us. Here are some memories from the “Not Afraid to Bite” tour.

March 27 Moers, Germany – JZ Henri
After being greeted by our two-day tour manager Hannah, we were treated to a great homemade lasagna dinner at JZ Henri and got to see our great friends Simon and Christopher at this youth club venue—which was filled with nice, helpful people. Two bottles of scotch awaited us in the backstage room, compliments of JZ Karo’s Mathias Schüller, whose new album features a bit of singing by yours truly. Boy Cries Wolf opened the show and our show featured the talents of Lukas Schlattmann (aka Radio Lukas), who joined us for a cover of “Purple Rain” to end the night. The show also featured our friend Barbara as the first appearance of the “human music stand” for our cover of Die Toten Hosen’s “Here Comes Alex.” Accommodations were at the highly recommended Hotel Moers Van der Valk. The end of the night featured some lovely stories and scotch around the fireplace in the lobby.

March 28 Bonn, Germany – Harmonie – Rockpalast Crossroads Festival
After a lovely brunch at the Van der Valk, Hannah whisked us away to the big city of Bonn. The boys were very excited to become one of only two bands to appear more than once on Crossroads/Rockpalast since its inception. We played Crossroads in 2003 at Harmonie as well. Fast forward 12 years! We were greeted by the Rockpalast crew and said hello once again to our friend Peter Weber—and our longtime tour manager and best friend Carsten. Then, after a beer and some snacks we were shown to the “dungeon” interview room, where we were interviewed by our dear friend Rembert Stiewe, one of the first persons we met in Germany—in 1999—and one of the main persons responsible for the longevity of our musical career. An acoustic performance by Leach and me followed and then it was on to what Tom Petty once referred to as “the hardest part”—the waiting. Luckily, great food and beverages were provided as well as the chance to meet the kickass band Hayseed Dixie. It’s funny that sharing a backstage area with another band can be one of the best parts of a gig—if the bands get along. And we did nicely—and the HD boys had many stories to share—characters like that you only meet once in a lifetime. We played to a packed house filled with a lot of great old friends and played a long encore as well. The night went on and on after the show until the needle on the record somehow put us all to bed. Videos, pics, interviews and acoustic songs can be seen here: http://www1.wdr.de/fernsehen/kultur/rockpalast/videos/thegreatcrusades_banduebersicht100.html

The full show will air from May 24–25 at 1:30 a.m. on WDR in Germany, so set your DVRs or stay up late! Parts of the show will also be available for view later at http://www1.wdr.de/fernsehen/kultur/rockpalast/

March 29 Norderstedt, Germany – Music Star
The people at Music Star—and the atmosphere—have quickly made this one of our favorite places to return to. Wolfgang has treated us like his brothers and the entire crew at the establishment is nothing but the best. I did an interview after dinner with Torsten Folge of Querbeet magazine radio show that was quite enjoyable/interesting. Torsten has been a longtime supporter of the band. The interview will air on Monday, April 13. Here is the Facebook invite to the broadcast event (https://www.facebook.com/events/890034201039168/). Check it out. The show, as usual (also attended by our longtime bud Norbert) was quite the great night. After the show, we all ended up chatting around a table back at our hotel—the very nice Hotel Kampe.

March 30 Solingen, Germany – Cobra Hat
We weren’t sure if anyone would come out on a Monday night, but it turned out to be quite a good night for us. We once opened for Elliot Murphy in Solingen but this was our first trip back in many years. We got a great surprise when a nice crowd showed up and we were able to hang out with our friend and the owner of the establishment, Fritz. Thanks for the show, Fritz, and thanks to the people of Solingen for getting out on a Monday! The bonus of the night was being able to simply walk upstairs to the “musician apartments” and say hello to Dreamland.

March 31 Ravensburg, Germany – Balthes
Ravensburg has become one of my favorite towns in Germany. There’s a little bit of everything—history, art, a charming vibe, but also a young student crowd who love to rock and roll. And it’s also the home base of our “sister” German band—Planeausters, who we’ve played with in the USA and Europe at this point. Balthes is part cafe/part bar/and big part punk rock Cavern Club room in the basement. We had the pleasure of having the Planeausters share the night with us and they did not disappoint once again. And another packed house for a strange night of the week—a Tuesday. But no one cared. And we didn’t either. As punk rock of a show as we had on this tour. We had the bonus of staying with friends that night and being able to walk around the town the next day a bit.

April 1 Langenau, Germany – Kapilio
There’s no place in the world like Kapilio—and now Langenau has become somewhat of a second home for us. We first played there in 2000(?) and have returned there almost every tour since that year. What can I say about Kapilio? There’s just something magical about the place and being packed in with 100 of your biggest fans in a room that houses probably only 80. It’s something that we will never forget—and we’ll never forget to return to Langenau either! Such a magical place and it’s great to see some of the closest friends we have in Germany for at least one night. Accommodations for the night were at the fabulous Hotel Linde, where we are always treated like kings and where maybe we’ve become their adopted sons at this point.

April 2 Arnstadt, Germany – Kulisse
We’ve had very many magical nights at the open-air venue Kulisse in Arnstadt, but this was the first time when snow was actually falling! This also marked the first time we’ve played in nonsuit attire as a result—because all the band members wanted to bundle up. But it made no matter—the place was still packed with people and that might have helped keep everyone warm—along with a good supply of Glühwein. We played a short set that night to keep from getting sick but everything ended up working out just fine. Thanks to Rainer and all our friends at the Kulisse for making lemonade out of lemons. The people at the Hotel Golden Sonne made us feel right at home.

April 3 BC Club Ilmenau, Germany
Our “surprise show” happened at midnight (to avoid live music bans in Germany on Good Friday) so there was quite a bit of time to kill. For me, taking two showers in my hotel (Illmenauer Hof) room, naps in which I dreamed it was snowing in my room, a visit to a nice cafe in town (Cafe Himmelblau), and a visit for late-night coffee at the Greek restaurant, Irodion, that was attached to the hotel. I ordered coffee at the restaurant and of course I was served coffee and ouzo, because who would be drinking a coffee at 11 p.m.? Anyway, it was on to the show and a great crowd showed up at this very cool student club. The people at the BC Club also were very very nice to the band and took care of us like we were rock stars. This even included a great barbecue that I had to oversee for a bit—to compare my own BBQ techniques. It was definitely the latest night of the tour—we got back to the hotel at 3:30 a.m. or so.

April 4 Heilbronn, Germany – Red River Saloon
The last show of the tour! Luckily it was in one of the coolest rooms we’ve played in Germany—pure rock and roll vibe with band posters everywhere and lovers of music to fill out the energy of the club. Edgar from Blue Rose Records set up the gig and we pretty much tried to blow the roof off of the place with two sets of rocknroll music. After the last note sounded that ol’ melocholy/joyous feeling started to set in for a bit, wondering if the tour was really over. But that feeling didn’t last for long, because after midnight we had to celebrate Carsten’s birthday in style! And so we did—as only we could.

It’s strange how every time I’m back home after a tour, the memories start flooding back. It’s all a bit surreal, but there’s always a yearning to make new music so we can be able to do it all over again. So, keep in touch. Keep posting pictures and videos and know that “The Great Crusades Love You.” See you soon.

—Krumm