Sunday, January 16, 2005


I love being in European cities. I love walking the streets of cities with hundreds of years of history. I love hearing voices speaking languages other than English. I love hearing voices speaking English without American accents. I love public transit that is convenient AND runs on time. I love how Europeans aren't uptight Americans.

Amsterdam is an amazing city. Beautiful AND tolerant. Let adults be adults as long as they respect each other. What a concept! My return to the city began appropriately with a crazy shuttle van ride from Schiphol Airport to the hotel.. A road closure forced the Rasta driver to take an alternate, long-way-around route that included driving on the sidewalk, nutty u-turns, irate pedestrians pounding on the side of the van, and a near head-on collision with a horse drawn carriage. However, at no time did I feel the driver wasn't in control of the situation. As he careened me through the narrow streets I had a nice conversation with him in which he called me "Man..." a lot.

Umlaut's trusty confidante Skychick enables him to see foreign lands and have adventures in them. Every once in awhile these adventures include the magic of Lock 'N Loll. So it was in Amsterdam.

Green Day -
Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam, Holland - Jan. 12, 2005

The Rock Godz work in mysterious ways. After 23 years, Old Metal friend Doug and Umlaut were in the homeland of The Dynamo at the same time. Many of my Old Metal, Punk, and Indie Rock friends will be disappointed that I REALLY dig the latest Green Day album. Dude, it's the best Who album since 1973! However, if I must defend my cred: I saw a copy of Aardschock for the first time in YEARS on an Amsterdam newstand. If you don't know what I'm talking about then YOU are not Metal. Jaguar would call you a poser. Oh yeah, are you going to the Slint reunion shows in March?

The show was "uitverkocht", as the Dutch say, with Dutch ticket brokers selling tickets for up to 80 EUR ($105 USD) each. Anyway, I've said it before, but Green Day were fucking GREAT GREAT GREAT on all levels. Showmanship. Musicianship. Songs. Pyro. Humor. And The Kidz LOVED them.

There was something profound about being in the midst of almost 7,000 Dutch kids singing "Don't wanna be an American idiot!" Hmmm. Perhaps the rest of the world really doesn't give a shit about America after all. Shock! Horror! Vot abowt MacDonalds?!

"Tonight long stick goes boom...": The setlist with pyro cues.

After the show, the main floor was COVERED with empty plastic beer cups. While walking across the floor, every step caused loud crunching sounds that made me laugh out loud. There seemingly wasn't an inch of the floor that didn't have spilled beer and plastic cups on it. I imagined myself to be Elric of Melnibone, walking across the skulls of his slain enemies. The Geeks shall inherit the Earth.

Best Quote - Tour Manager Doug regarding the crazy amount of thrown beer and the beer cup graveyard: "That's because you can drink when you're 12 here.."

(Note: The age of consent in Holland, with parental consent, is 12... Otherwise it's 16.. No shit.)

Green Day have restored my faith in "good" Rock Stars: Every night the band brings kids onstage to play Operation Ivy's 'Knowledge'.. At the S.F. gig a couple of months ago, Billie Joe said the kid playing guitar could keep the axe. At the time I thought this was just show talk and the kid probably had to return the guitar and simply kept the guitar pick as a souvenir.

With my own eyes I saw the supply of brand new Fender guitars backstage meant for the lucky kid in every city on the tour. The jaded folks reading this may say "Who cares?" All I can say in response is "Hope I die before I get old.." I smiled when the Dutch kid onstage gave Billie Joe a big fat kiss on the lips when told he could keep the guitar, because I knew it wasn't bullshit. I doubt other major bands are doing fan base maintenance like this. And you know what? The band's $200 a night investment will go a long way. That kid is a fan for life now... and so are his friends.. and that kid... that kid might even start a band... and that band.. and that kid.. might even write a song that will blow your FUCKING MIND one day, man! Mark my words.

7,000 crazy, beer throwing Dutch kids in a confetti storm.
(Pic by Skychick)

"Dank je wel" to old Umlaut friend Doug for the hospitality and +1 into his All Access Pass World. Keep it real out there, for The Kidz. Now more than ever...

A couple of days later one of Skychick's American colleagues attempted to bond with Umlaut over music. In an attempt to raise himself to Umlaut's level he bragged of once meeting Warrant in Denver and "hanging out" with them. They wanted to go to a strip club, so he took them. He also met Motley Crue on their 1999 Reunion Tour and got backstage passes. These tales did not impress Umlaut in the least... For these "bands" are not worthy of his attention... Verily, they SUCK mightily.

Something I bet you didn't know: "Vliegende Schotel" is "Flying Saucer" in Dutch... and De Vliegende Schotel is an EXCELLENT vegetarian restaurant in Amsterdam.

"Pulverize the Eiffel Towers that criticize your government..."