Heading north through Denmark and into Sweden
We drove as speedily as our little Fiat would take us across Nordfriesland and over to Puttgarten where we caught a ferry that took us to Copenhagen, Denmark.
|Call me crazy, but does anybody else think this guy looks like the Colonel Matthew von Burink?|
|Fuck yeah we wash our hands!|
We made a quick stop at the Copenhagen International Airport and picked up Valentina. She is an Italian going to school in Denmark whom I met in Germany shortly before I went to Belgium. Got it? She brought with her a large vegan chocolate cake that was later dubbed the Chocolate Burden. Then we pondered why the only airport in the country needed to advertise that they were an international airport. Wouldn't that be obvious? Where else are they gonna fly but to another country?
|Dood, we totally fuckin' care about rainbows!|
Together we drove over the Øresund Bridge and into Sweden. Small note about this bridge: it costs 50€ (about $70USD) to cross but it is so short you can stand at one end and see the other. If I’m gonna pay that much money to cross a bridge I expect a little more, don’t you? Maybe go under water through a glass tube, or go 35,000 feet above sea level, or be slung from a catapult, something…
|Hey, we just paid you a shitload of money!|
Hey, this is Valentina, and I roadied with the Love Songs for 5 days in Sweden. I don’t know if I need some kind of introduction, I’ll leave that to Craig… I’ll just tell you that I’m the kind of person who bakes maybe a couple of cakes per year, and one of the two, I baked it for this special occasion. This vegan treat (or threat) was an uneven conglomerate of ingredients, which I christened “Chocolate heartattack with cornflake randomness and vanilla leftovers”. Until it became just “the Chocolate Burden”. This is the story of how the Burden became the 5th member of the Love Songs. Then part of a member of the Love Songs. Then, probably, feces.
|Next stop, The Mejeriet in Lund, Sweden, same venue as Bad Religion and Danzig (though not the same night).|
Craig asked me if I wanted to go with them to Lund - I lived in Copenhagen at the time so Lund is half an hour away by car. Maybe Craig didn’t even really expect me to say yes, but I did… So when I showed up (late) at the appointment, the rest of the band could see this small childlike italian girl they had never seen before approaching them with a cake. “It’s my ticket to Lund” I said. Awkward. Brad looked happy about the veganness of the chocolatey object though – but probably, just until he tasted it…
The Øresund bridge - this architectural marvel is notorious for its expensive toll. One would expect that bridge to be paved in gold and get a body massage from a sexy toll booth attendant. My theory is that Danes and Swedes built this bridge but then they realized that way too many Danes would go to Sweden and vice versa – and you need to consider that these people don’t seem to like each other too much – so they put that crazy toll as a deterrent. Plus, some street signs (those arrows in the curves that usually are red and white) in Sweden feature the blue-and-yellow combo of the flag; it totally looks like they convey the subliminal message “Danes turn back and go home”.
The place was huge and in true Spinal Tap fashion I got lost going from the dressing room to the stage. As they served us our dinner they asked if we knew where we were staying. We were hoping to crash on someone’s floor because that's usually the way it works. The promoter, a nice and hip cat named Jakob, excused himself and came back with a voucher for a room at the local 5-star hotel. Geez…imagine how they would treat a real band!
The opening band, the Bust-Ups, were a bona fide ska band reminiscent of the Dance Hall Crashers. I don’t normally listen to that kind of music but they were so well-oiled and tight I couldn’t help but dance while they played.
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We performed decently (not well enough to warrant a 5-star hotel, in my opinion) but people still stuck around and talked to us after the show which usually means we weren't too terrible. Then the party really started. The club workers and their friends closed down the venue but left the bar open (really open, like, free open) and partied with us till 3:30 in the morning. The DJ at the show was a friend named Andy whom I had met at K-Fest a couple years ago where we danced to a heavy metal DJ with 200 other punx for hours upon hours. I had forgotten what an amazingly awful dancer he was until tonight. He is the kind of guy who would be on the Gong Show but not get gonged just because people liked watching the debacle. You know, like a trainwreck. Morbid curiosity.
Guests of the show were the Ska band the Bustups and DJ Andy. Andy is the coolest guy. He runs the label Instigate Records, plays in Satanic Surfers and Intensity and is the best dancer in southern Sweden. I really mean it. That’s what I like to see on the dance floor! Show them what it’s like Andy!!! Plus, I will never thank him enough for introducing me to Butch Meier, author of the unforgettable “Mustache means respect”. The Bustups were cool too, friendly people and a very good live band: they actually made me enjoy ska like I hadn’t experienced in years. Highlight of the pre-show was the pictorial set list drawn by Brad, which was fun on the moment but then the dudes had troubles deciphering on stage, aha.
|Jack and a sexy bartender, a match made in heaven.|
|Craig and a 5-star hotel, a bad combination|
When we arrived at the hotel it was pretty late, and Seth and (mostly) Jack weren’t that sober. So we left them outside while a fussy receptionist with a mustache checked us in and treated us like we were a bunch of debauched troublemakers and probably thought I was a hooker or something, when he saw the reservation was for 4 people, not 5. When we went outside to retreive our stuff and the two hippie debauchees (Jack and Seth) the receptionist asked us with an annoyed tone “Are you going to go out to go party?” Thank god he had that mustache, that probably kept us from insulting him (see above).
I didn't bring too many shirts and, unfortunately, one of those shirts was my Dag Nasty shirt. It is unfortunate because I just heard a disturbing tidbit about Dave Smalley, one-time singer for Dag Nasty. Turns out he was part of the whole Conservative Punk movement last year. I shouldn't have to explain what an oxymoron 'conservative punk' is, nor should I have to say how disappointing it was to find out a person I looked up to was now in league with George W Bush. So I retired my shirt. Valentina was quick to note that my shirt design was based on the Wig-Out At Denko's record (with Peter Cortner singing) and not Can I Say? (on which Dave sang). It was good to know but not good enough for me to feel comfortable wearing the shirt again. It was also nice to know Valentina was geeky enough to know something like that.
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Instead of going back to Copenhagen to continue her studies Valentina decided another day or two with our gang was better than homework. Together we make the semi-long trek to Stockholm. It was an uneventful trip but what made it so grueling was that once we got to Stockholm we spent 90 minutes trying to find a way to call Per. Turns out the calling card we bought earlier only works from home phones. Furthermore, there is no such thing in Sweden as a coin-operated pay phone anymore. We were directed all over the south of Stockholm in hopes of finding a way to contact Per and even went so far as offer people at a gas station money in exchange for their cell phone. Eventually Per called us on Valentina’s cell phone (which had no credit on it to make outgoing calls and which couldn't use a calling card because it was an Italian phone with a Danish chipset) and the problem was solved. Spent the night at Per’s playing with his cat, Pixie, and going through his record collection. Oh, and watching boobies on the television because on Swedish TV they show boobies. Boobies. < next >