After our very fun show at Camba Bavaria, we headed to our Air BnB in the rural countryside (with a case of beer from Camba- thanks guys!). Tommy drove the narrow lanes through the fields, had to make a 3-point turn to park us at our home for the night, and we had a great time hanging out too late as usual.
Somehow overnight though, we managed to attract the attention of the local town officials. As Nick and Bruce were loading the van in the morning, a group of men came over and began yelling at them in German. Bewildered and flustered, Nick tried to understand what the stern authorities were trying to communicate, but he didn’t understand until one of the men (probably the Mayor) wiped dirt off our tires and waggled his finger in Nick’s face.
Apparently, Tommy’s 3-point turn had made a very slight inroad into a strawberry field, and the people of the town were NOT happy about this. As Mike came out to load his bag into the van, he was very confused as Nick just began pulling away slowly, stopping in front of the house only to yell at everyone to get in the van, now!
From this point on, we were known as the Strawberry Bandits, and fruit farmers across Europe banded together to cause us minor inconveniences to hassle the rest of our tour. “Whisky Kuss ist Scheiße!”
We were able to make our getaway to play the Rock n Roll bar in Ludwigsburg. Our awesome host Sasha hooked us up with some good old fashioned burgers and beers, and we played a fun show.
Then he took us to an incredible underground spot called the Black and White Bar. We had wine, and some of the best cocktails we’ve ever had in our lives. Then Sasha showed up, and we had more shots, of course 😝. We have been so blessed on this tour to meet just the nicest people in the world- not only did Juan and Sasha show us an incredible time, but they also refused to let us pay for the drinks. Just world class folks all around. So once again, after staying up too late, we headed back to our hotel to grab a couple hours of sleep.
In the morning, we slowly got ready, taking turns for showers. While I was getting ready, Tommy went downstairs for a smoke, came back up and informed Nick, “Well, Bruce is gone, the van’s gone, and the keys are gone”.
Bruce disappearing is nothing new, so Nick and Tommy headed back down, hoping they would find him and the van with all our equipment shortly. Fortunately, they did, but Bruce’s first words were, “Something’s happened. The police are on their way.”
Obviously this did nothing to help allay their fears. Bruce was pretty shook up, but they finally got the story out of him. Apparently, at 7 am, someone from the hotel came up to ask us to move the van, and Bruce was the only one who woke up. So he went down, and drove around looking for street parking. After a while, he found a spot, but he had some trouble finding his way back to the hotel. He finally found it, but then decided he should make sure he could find the van again.
But he couldn’t. Bruce walked the streets of Stuttgart for hours, but he couldn’t find it anywhere. He wondered if the construction workers he had parked near had had it towed, so he asked around. No luck. He called the rental car company to get the license plate number, then called the police to find out if it had been impounded. It hadn’t been, but the police offered to assist if necessary.
This is the point Nick and Tommy found him. They both listened to his story, and decided to try and look themselves. They each headed down a different direction, rounded a corner on the same street, and simultaneously found the van about 30 seconds later.
Poor Bruce had just been so turned around, sleep deprived, and panicked that he just missed it. But thankfully, Lucky was found, our equipment was still there, and Whiskey Kiss was able to get back on the road to meet Shorty and Walt and start the combined Voodoo Swing/Whiskey Kiss leg of the tour.
The fun never stops!
It’s official: we love Germany 🇩🇪! We have had such a string of great shows here. We kicked the German leg of the tour off with a show at Litfass in Bremen, but first: laundry.
Litfass sits on the main street of this fun town, where tourists and locals shop, hangout, and, of course, drink beer. We played through an open window towards the street, with Mike and Bruce inside, and Nick, Tommy, and I on the small stage out front facing the road. At first, the crowd was a little thin, but as soon as we started playing, the whole place, inside and out, filled up. People were stopping along the street to stop and take pictures, videos, and just watch the show.
Next we headed to the little town of Hechingen Germany to play at a fun little pub called Schwarz Brenner. We made a pit stop at the Waldorf Rock & Roll Weekender to borrow a PA from our friends The Booze Bombs. We didn’t get to hang out as much as we wanted, but thankfully we will get to see them more at their hometown in Calw this Thursday! By the way, the PA sounds great- thanks Stephan!
Unfortunately at this point, I came down with a cold, but thankfully the show at Schwarz Brenner was an intimate one. I traded my beer glass for some hot tea, the boys let me take it easy, and we had a fun time hanging out.
You’d think things don’t get much better than a fairy tale castle, but then we went to Camba Bavaria, a brewery on the water in Truchtlaching. Our hostess Daniella greeted us at the door with our logo drawn on their welcome signs, a clip from the newspaper featuring Whiskey Kiss, and delicious beer. Then they served us an amazing dinner of roast pork, sausages, sour kraut, dumplings, and apple turnovers for dessert. We still can’t get over the kind hospitality that people treat as a matter of course over here.
We kicked off the show to a packed bar, and had a few hiccups at the beginning with our sound setup. We took a break to work it out- Tommy and Nick fixed the PA while Mike and Bruce schmoozed the crowd. When we took the stage again, we were ready, and this time we rocked the joint.
We’ve been honored to be asked for an encore at every show so far, and Bavaria was no different. We played “one more song” by playing them the medley- a seven-songs-in-one that we thought more than covered it. Nope- it still wasn’t enough! The crowd clamored for more, and then did the coolest thing ever. Instead of just cheering and asking for another, the entire audience literally broke into song and Daniella told us it meant they wanted more.
This was one of the best moments we’ve ever had. Thank you Bavaria- you are absolutely wonderful.
5 more shows to go!
Spoiler alert: this blog post contains no catastrophes, only happy times.
Hallelujah! Whiskey Kiss played two shows in a row where everything went right! Friday night, in our new van we named Lucky, we drove down to Oostkamp, Belgium where we finally met Tom Calleeuw. Tom has been helping us out from across the world for a couple years now. In 2014, he reviewed Dangerous One on his site Street Styled, and for this tour he’s been nothing but helpful- even offering to help transport us to gigs when we were having all our car troubles.
It’s been so fun to see how people react to us. At first, every audience is a little skeptical. At each show, they watch us very attentively, but you can tell they are sizing us up. But sooner or later, they start warming up, getting into the show, and we’ve ended every night with a dance party and the crowd shouting for one more song, which we happily obliged.
So no disasters for this post, only good times. It’s probably not as fun to read, but I hope you’re happy to know that we are well and having a blast. We just crossed into Germany, headed to our show tonight via the Autoban at Litfass in Bremen.
We had such a great time at our first show at The Mini-Theatre de Melkbus. Marc put us up for two nights, showed us great hospitality, ran sound, and even did a live recording of our show (coming soon!). The people of Dordrecht were so fun and welcoming. Dank je!
Then we headed out to Gierle to finally play at the legendary Den Eik (“Down at the Oak!”). Chris and his wife made us dinner, and made us feel so welcome. The sound by Benny was excellent, old friends Dirk, Nadine, Vinny, Line, and many others came out, as well as all the new folks we got to meet and dance with. We partied all night, and learned that Belgian beer lives up to all the hype.
After the show, the real work began. We loaded the nine-seater van, and began to drive back to Hotel Fauwater. All of a sudden, the van started losing speed, we smelled burning rubber, and before we knew it, we couldn’t move at all anymore: the clutch had gone out. At this point, it was close to 4am, we were 1.9 miles from our hotel, and we had all of our equipment with us. After some deliberation, we decided our best option was just to push the thing all the way home.
I got to steer, and the boys began to push. Unfortunately, Michael had a few too many Belgian beers, and couldn’t assist in the effort. Slowly (s-l-o-w-l-y) we wound through the streets of Belgium (beautiful countryside 😝). You notice every little incline a lot more when you are trying to push a van up a hill. Tommy, Nick, and Bruce walked that van every step of those 1.9 miles. When we finally made it home around 5 in the morning, we collapsed in bed, setting the alarm for 8 am, when the Avis rental office opened.
The nicest person in the world, TJ from Hotel Chaletpark Fauwater, assisted us in making calls to the rental office, speaking perfect Dutch and English (and a few more languages). He helped us more than we can possibly express, extending our checkout without a thought, even offering to drive us if necessary. After he spoke to Avis for us, they sent out a tow truck to tow our van away in 30 minutes.
Getting us a new vehicle, however, took much longer (of course). They finally sent a very nice taxi driver to drive us to Antwerp (about an hour away) to pick up our replacement van. The upside of this is we got to see the beautiful train station in Antwerp.
Avis got us set up with a new van, we picked it up from a garage six floors underground, and we were ready to roll.
The ceiling had only a couple inches of clearance, and we had to go up one of those winding concrete ramps. When we were almost to the ground level, CRUNCH! We had gotten caught in a tight turn, and the entire back window shattered.
In absolute shock, followed by panic, then scheming, and finally acceptance, we drove our new van right back down to the 6th floor below and trudged back into the Avis office.
They were a little surprised to see us, but they were so kind and helpful (this seems to be the norm for everyone in Europe so far). Mehamel, the very nice Avis agent, took care of us, set our hearts at ease walking us through the insurance process, and got us ANOTHER new van. He told us it was our “unlucky lucky day” because they normally don’t have the large vans in stock at all at that location, but he just happened to have two that day. Mehamel offered to drive us out of the garage, and we gratefully accepted.
So- Day number 3, and van number 3. We’re hoping that’s the end of the vehicle replacements. We’ve noticed that stressful situations right before a show actually make us play better somehow, but we feel we’ve had enough stress to last the rest of this tour. I am writing this as Tommy drives Van 3 through the traffic of Antwerp on our way to Oostkamp for our show at the Kingsland Club tonight, so keep your fingers crossed that we make it ok. Never a dull moment with Whiskey Kiss!
I think we’ve been counting down to this European tour for what feels like years. For the first time of my teaching career, I didn’t have a countdown to the last day of school, but I sure had one for Europe. We had a pool party Saturday to say goodbye to Amanda, Jackie, and Christie, and then Monday morning we were off!
Taking a five-piece band to Europe isn’t cheap, so in order to save money, we booked our flight out of LA, saving almost $800 per ticket. However, this also meant we had to get to Los Angeles. Nick and I started our day at 8am at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. We picked up a small SUV (only $24 total to drop off in LA!) and picked up the guys one by one.
In our quest to save money, we booked our tickets through a third party website (Explore Trip) which somehow ended up with us all being on different flights. Originally, we were all supposed to fly to Dublin together for the first leg of the trip, but the Thursday before we left, Nick, Bruce, and I got the unwelcome news that our flight was cancelled. Several hours of being on hold later, we got re-booked on a flight to London that only left ten minutes earlier than originally scheduled. We breathed a sigh of relief: the plan was back on schedule.
Then of course, British Airways would choose that weekend to cancel all flights in and out of London 😣 But since we had no other options, we had to cross our fingers and hope it would all be sorted out by the time we got there.
We got on the road to LA just after 10 am. Our flight was scheduled at 7:40 pm, so we felt fine. We factored in Los Angeles traffic, and we should still have had plenty of time to get there. Of course, we hadn’t planned for a 100 mile traffic jam outside of the city.
We sat in traffic for hours. Suddenly we were sweating and wringing our hands, frantically checking the ETA on our GPS that started at 4:30 pm. Then 5. Then 5:30. When it read 6:09 pm, Tommy and I directed Nick (who was driving) to a detour and a wrong turn that pushed our ETA to 6:30 pm (sorry again!!). We got on the phone with the airline who basically told us there was nothing we could do except try to get there on time. Finally past the traffic jam, Nick drove like a bat out of hell, weaving in and out of LA traffic at top speed, narrowly avoiding collisions. (Seriously- someone began video taping our driving- probably not in admiration.)
We arrived at LAX at 6:11 pm thanks to Nick’s driving, but we still had to return the rental car first. We literally squealed into the parking lot, threw the keys at the attendant and ran for the currently-boarding shuttle, only to have the doors close in our faces to be told we would have to wait for the next one. The boys took the opportunity to run (really!) to the bathroom, having politely declined to use the bottles in the car for my sake, even though they were fairly desperate by this point.
We got on the next shuttle, and the nicest shuttle driver in LA got us to our gates at top speed. Bruce, Nick, and I said a hasty goodbye to Mike and Tommy who were headed to Dublin, and we all ran. Bruce sweet-talked the baggage people to check us in quickly, we got through security glued to our watches as the minutes counted by, and we arrived at the gate just in time to board with the last group. Believe it or not, Tommy and Mike even had time to grab beers.
20 hours, multiple flights, four countries, rental vans, and a lost saxophone and electric bass later, we all reunited at De Melkbus in Holland. We’ll keep you posted on the shows- it’s never a dull moment on the road with Whiskey Kiss!
We leave on our European Summer Tour this month! Go to the “Tour” page to find out more information.
May 31 2017- De Melkbus– Dordrecht, Holland
June 1 2017- Den Eik– Gierle, Belgium
June 2 2017-Kingsland Club– Oostkamp, Belgium
June 3 2017- Velvet Music In-Store and Album Signing– Alkmaar, Netherlands
June 3 2017-Taverne– Bergen, Netherlands
June 4 2017-Litfass– Bremen, Germany
June 5 2017-SchwarzBrenner– Hechingen, Germany
June 6 2017- Camba Biererlebniswelt– Truchtlaching, Germany
June 7 2017-Rock and Roll Bar– Ludwigsburg, Germany
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