Greetings once more from Helsinki…
I’m pleased to announce that the roadcrew and most of the band have safely arrived in Finland. They chowed down on some lunch and I imagine are catching a few precious winks at the moment.
I barely finished typing that sentence before our very own Mr. French sauntered into the hotel lobby, guitar slung casually over one shoulder, and informed me that I missed two incredible shows–Czech republic was “off the hook” and Madrid, in his words, was “fucking insane–55,000 fans losing their minds.” Damn!
Of the 15 shows this year, I will make 7…my Russian visa didn’t happen..of course now, I’m a bit bummed. My original plan was to catch every show Greece thru Colorado. I opted for extra days in Greece to go sightseeing instead of one day in Czech Republic and one day in Madrid. Well, c’est la vie, it’s that 60-hour a week pesky nuisance that I must tend to in order to finance my twisted passion. If I win the lottery (and yes, I do play the Powerball) I will follow the next world tour to every show, but alas! The cats need feeding and my job demands that I limit my time away.
Regardless, I’m pleased as punch with Helsinki. It is an absolutely spectacular city–highly walkable, safe….surprisingly quiet for a city…and a public transit system that is easy to use and efficient. I absolutely adore the juxtaposition of old architecture with contemporary. Despite getting caught in a downpour this morning, the day turned out quite nice.
Johnny (TS Lightman) and his friend Kent strolled downtown with me to a rock club called “Tavastia”–Helsinki’s answer to “The Marquee.” It is the oldest rock club in Helsinki, founded by students, and is the kind of club that many of you old schoolers would appreciate. We got a opportunity to look at the dressing room–a tight space in which the walls, ceiling and virtually every surface was covered with autographs and graffiti of past bands. (S.M.F. played there!)
Like so many European countries, Heavy Metal has deep roots here. Incidentally the Air Guitar World Championships are held here annually….as well as the International Wife-Carrying Races and the World Cell Phone Throwing championships. Finland has a delightful quirkiness that is absolutely endearing. I did partake of the sauna…..one of those “things you must do in Finland”.
I’m back after downing some kebob and taking in a few fascinating stories…the one most particularly enchanting was the story of Jay Jay’s new ring. He was dining in Portugal, in a scenic seaside chateau called Furnace De Ginsho, when the waiter, Marco, noticed his seahorse pendant and asked if he was a musician. And like most waiters, surprise, surprise! he was in a band, too! (sorry–not a dig on waiters or guitarists…just stating a basic truth. you know it’s true, c’mon now)
After some brief discourse about guitars, the waiter gives Jay Jay his ring, telling him that the rings were made and worn only by his group, and it would be his honor to give it to him. Jay Jay showed me the ring…very nice work. A skull made of copper, which incidentally, is supposed to holistically good for arthritic joints, so if Jay Jay’s solo is particularly good tomorrow night, I’m going to wonder if that ring had something to do with it.
Off to bed now….tomorrow is a few hours on the road to Kotka. Sleep tight my babies…tomorrow we rock!