As I have mentioned before, I have started a subscription service to the Wild Wild East Monthly, a monthly archive of adventures, thoughts, impressions and back stories to many of the entries here on the Wild Wild East Dailies. Our suggested contribution to be included for one year of the Wild Wild East Monthly is $25 but we won't argue if you send more. Many people did for my travel to see Todd Rundgren in Amsterdam last week. That story has now been sent to the members and they will be seeing it before you see this. To subscribe to WWEM just click the PayPal button the the sidebar and follow the instructions. This story will be continued today so come back later if you're reading this on a feed. Thank you. Following is the continuation...
Greg Hawks (former Cars keyboard player) comes out to get his Mac and some cables and a guy goes up to him with maybe 20 Cars albums, CDs and whatnot to sign. Greg sits down on the stage and is happy to do it. Michele Rundgren comes out to talk with some fans waiting at the stage, sees me and says, "Hey you!" recognizing me from our Facebook conversations. I'm pleased enough with that.
I have a beer, as the bar is still open and the place still a party. I go back out to the lobby and buy the USB stick from the show. You can get your own, here, if you like.
A number of us wait at the stage left side door as instructed by Michele but it is cold as fuck. Really cold - yet there stands a guy from Scotland in a full kilt and fans from Mexico (this guy flew in from Mexico!) , Denmark, The UK, Germany, America, Finland, Holland - my, what a diverse and odd mix, yet there is something we all share and some sense of calm out there in the cold, some sense of common purpose. Parts of the band come out, Jesse Gresse, Bobby Strickland and Ralph Shuckett. They sign a few things and pose for a quick photo or two, and then off to a cab.
A roadie comes out swinging the door with the call, "Hello! It's me!", and we all laugh at that. But no Todd. After a while, the English promoter comes up behind us and says that it's just to damn cold and Todd won't be coming out for any signings or photo opps. We wonder if this is standard bullshit or true, decide on bullshit, wait for five more minutes, and then figure it's true. Time to disperse.
On my walk around the front of the building I talk with the guy who got the 20 albums signed by Greg Hawks and ask him if there are any after-parties or anything. He says not really, but he knows what hotel the band has been booked in and suggests we simply go there and hang at the bar. It's called the American Hotel so that's where we go.
As we walk in looking of course for Todd with his skunk-like hairdoo, we spot Greg Hawks, Prairie Prince and another guy sitting in a corner. Greg immediately recognizes the 20-album guy and motions for us to come and sit down - and so for the first time all day, I am able to take off my backpack, coat, other small bag and sit the fuck down. Hitching involves mostly standing you understand.
We order a beer, chat and the guys are more than happy to sign the USB stick I bought in its nice little black gift box. It's all just nice and normal. Prairie is also the drummer for The Tubes and I tell him that I saw Utopia Open for The Tubes at the Universal Studios Ampitheatre sometime in the early 80s. He's pretty impressed by that.
One of their handlers comes up and tells them that their cab is waiting to take them to dinner and they all beg off immediately. "Can't we just hang and finish our beer?" says Greg with half a glass left. "Yeah", says Prairie, "it's just five minutes away, we'll walk and meet you all there". And so it's decided and we all hang out for another 10 minutes. Greg tags the waiter, pays for our beers and we all wish each other well for the evening. Just nice guys.
And another day comes...
Walking around downtown Amsterdam is absolutely charming and it doesn't take the sharpest tool in the shed to find the streets with all the pubs, brothels and pot joints - all of which would have been interesting to me, had I not just have hitchhiked for 22 hours and felt more like just chilling out with a beer and deflating a bit. And so I found a jazz bar with a trio onstage, beers for €2.50 and a real low-key atmosphere.
Sitting there, listening to live music and just enjoying that simple groove, I realized that that was something I had not done in six months. Sucked actually. And I had to come all this way just to realize that. To be continued, again...
For more on Todd Rundgren See:
1)Happy Birthday Todd
2) "Professor" Todd Rundgren will see you now