Episode six: Italy...second tour 1982
Our next jaunt to Italy comprising of maybe 4 shows was a bit more comfy for me... if I remember correctly Mark, Rob and I flew with Dave Wood of Neat Records to Venice where we had a decent hotel & great food (of course) and then the promoter picked us up and we met up with our crew who had driven there from England at the first show. The promoter and his wife spoke next to no English... which was just as well as we took an instant dislike to this burly bearded bear of a man...barking unintelligible orders at no one in particular... Rob christened him “Captain Pugwash” which seemed fitting! I remember playing Bologna and it being an extremely crazy show...due to our usual onstage demolition derby antics, the nut on my red explorer bass had disintegrated. (it can happen when you throw your bass like a javelin!!!!) For the uninitiated...the nut on a bass or a guitar is the bit of bone or plastic by the headstock that the strings pass over...and if it’s gone, you are rather buggered!
(click images to expand)
We found a musical instrument repair shop right in the town square which was just unbelievable.. all kinds of instruments from violins, cellos, double basses to acoustic and electric guitars adorned the walls of what appeared to be the oldest music shop on earth.. half of it was this giant workshop with 3 or 4 guys toiling in the shadows. With a lot of hand waving and gesticulating they saw the issues with the bass and told me to come back tomorrow.. luckily it was a day off so that worked out fine.
We also discovered that according to Dave Wood, the deal with Mr. Pugwash was he would cover all expenses... but that was it. No fees. We decided those expenses were going to be rather higher than he had expected... so each meal got longer and had more dishes added... more on this later.
Next day I went to pick up my bass and they had fashioned a beautiful new nut which worked like a charm.. so well in fact it’s still on the bass today... even though it cracked about 20 years ago lol!
The nut on my bass...still going strong!
We drove in torrential rain down to Rimini on the Adriatic coast... inside the car, abuse was raining down on the hapless Capt. Pugwash who insisted on having a broken English business discussion with Dave Wood at 100 MPH while looking into the back of the car .... against a backdrop from the other passengers of....“ WATCH THE ROAD YOU STUPID FUCK!!!”
Rimini in winter.. in the rain... basically Blackpool (or the Jersey shore for another analogy) on the Adriatic... locked up tighter than a drum, an endless procession of closed English pubs and “fish and chips just like back ‘ome” shops.... looked like we had not missed much.
The gig was in a recreation center/ basketball hall that was very swanky and gleamingly new. We set up and as nature was calling me to “ drop the kids off at the pool” so to speak, I wandered off in search of the facilities. I found the men’s changing rooms ... benches... lockers... and this long room that at first glance was a communal shower.... with about 15 white porcelain plynths set in the floor tile... but no shower heads. As I got closer the grim reality set in... each porcelain piece had two footmarks mounded into its frame.. one on either side of a drain hole.
I’d found the toilets!!!!!!!!!
Oh... the horror, the horror....
A communal toilet????? I’ve heard of teamwork but that takes the cake!
The type of toilet we are talking about....
The last show was back up north (maybe Parma?) and was in ....a circus tent! The drive took so long and we arrived very late.. setup and soundcheck were dispensed with just in time before the doors opened. As we had not eaten all day and we were out in the sticks as they say, the middle of nowhere...we’d asked for some food to be delivered as soon as we had arrived...which showed up 25 min before showtime.
Like the fools we were, we stuffed our faces as quickly as possible. This process enabled both Mark and I to take turns projectile vomiting off the side of the stage at various parts of the show... needless to say we have never repeated that mistake since!
Live pic from later that year....Moers, Germany
And Staten Is. NY
The next day was off... and in the evening, the good Capt. took us to a very expensive restaurant.. where the usual 4 hour meal was pushed into overtime. We had decided to make the cheap bastard pay for his sins.... so after the initial drinks... anti pasti... soup.... pasta... chicken... steak... cheeses... desserts...
The waiter came back and asked if we wanted anything else... we looked at each other and giggling like maniacs said“ENCORE” and did the whole damn thing again until we were physically unable to move!!!! The Captain was not a happy camper!
The following day we dragged our overfed behinds onto the plane back to England and onto our next adventure......