Thursday and Friday: This has been an interesting trip. The first thing was that our flight had to make a 3 hour stop in Poland. I've never been there but I've felt that Poland is one of the most interesting countries in Europe. After being humiliated by both the Germans and the Russians in the World and Cold wars they have systematically pulled themselves up by their bootstraps to become a shining example of freedom for the whole world. However, all we did there was have some great coffee in a coffee shop and sit around waiting for the plane. I must add that the actual flights LOT Polish airlines were pleasant. The pilots were awesome and the service although spare was excellent.
The next thing was a long drive to Lazac where the festival was to be held. We landed in Niece and had to drive to Montpellier and beyond to get to the festival site. Before Montpellier we stopped at a little bistro for some dinner and what a dinner it was! I had fuits du mer, salmon and whitefish plus a nice veggie pilaf, others had veal, and bouef, plus a bottle of local wine from Provence. It was finished off by an amazing cheese plate featuring a selection of local cheeses. We arrived in Larzac late at night and met up with Mark, the promoter, who greeted us with a some beer, the room keys and a warm welcome. It had been a long day so after sharing a beer we all went to our rooms and off to sleep.
Saturday: I had a hard time sleeping in the morning so I finally gave up and got up around 9, went to the lobby for a petit dejune and brought my laptop (there was no wi-fi in the room) so I could check my email and update this website. I spent a couple hours there then got my stuff ready to go to the show. We got to the site of the Festival which was out in the country with virtually nothing around and stepped into a medieval village. We chowed to down to some awesome rustic French food then did a short sound check and got everything set for the gig. I wanted to use Wishbone Ash’s drums because they were a sweet sounding DW kit but they left before I got a chance to talk to them about it. Instead I used a rented Grestch kit which sounded OK but I did not have confidence that it would hold up to my relentless attack (I was right) when I got into the heat of the moment later that night. We then sat around meeting people, hanging out with the Hawkwind guys and then watching the opening act which was a local ACDC tribute group (they were good too).
We played a pretty storming set after that although Joe’s camera got set on close up when he was mounting it so you get a great view of the space on the stage between him and Dennis. I’m not in the video but the sound was good so maybe Joe can cobble something out of still pictures of me. Anyway after that we did a live interview with Joe Dennis and me on the local French radio station. Dennis friend, Patrick, interpreted for us when it got necessary and it was quite fun because the radio station was in a little tiny trailer parked at the Festival. We signed autographs at the merch booth and watched Wishbone Ash then went back to the dressing room for a snack then checked out Hawkwind psychedelic set. Later we went back to the hotel and Dave Brock, Tim, the keyboard guy and Dominique and I hung out until it was really late and we all scurried off to bed.
Sunday: Dennis, Cindy, Joe and I all went back to the festival for day two but this time we went as spectators. We chowed down again on more great local food then we wandered the fair looking at cool stuff for sale and watched the knights fighting and jousting and doing the exhibitions. We took pictures for Rock and Folk magazine and then we took pictures for ourselves with the Lepers. After that Dennis, Cindy and Patrick took of for San Merlo and Joe and I went back to town to do our email thing. I skyped my girl in Long Island and then Joe and I went out for a great French meal at a little bistro in the town or Larzac. Later that night Dominique came back and told us what a great show we missed but we were still jet lagged and appreciated being able to chill out for a bit after all that excitement.
Monday: We all got up relatively early and had a bite before Joe, Dominique, Albert (the bass player of Taste) and his wife drove to Montpellier so Albert and wife could take a train to Spain for their holiday and then Joe Dom and I continued on to Frejus where Joe and I would stay the week at a hotel on the beach. We had a drink with Dom and then Joe and I walked on the boardwalk and said how cool this place is. We had a light snack around 11PM of crepes and then tried to sleep.
Tuesday: I slept until almost 1PM. I must have been tired. When I got up I went looking for sunblock. The place downstairs wanted 13e for a little tiny tube so I went walking in search of a store that would not be so touristy. I found one about a half mile inland. It was a fishing supply store and they had a massive bottle for 9e. Armed with protection from the intense sun I headed to the beach. I had seen some kids playing with the girls topless the night before but during the day it was pretty impressive to see so many uninhibited people. I decided to take my first swim in the Mediterranean.
When I was little Joe and I lived in Thessalonika, Greece and we would go to the beach with our parents but I could not swim at that time so it was just little kid stuff wading in and getting knocked down when the rare wave would come in. We were only there for a year so by the time I learned to swim it was upstate NY in the St Lawrence River where the warmest it got was 60F.
It was cool swimming in the balmy Mediterranean. The salt made it very buoyant and unlike the ocean it’s much calmer. I swam for an hour then sunned myself for a half hour. Then I swam for another hour, just going back and forth the length of the beach again and again. I went back to my room and Joe invited me to share some food and wine he got at the Supermarche. We ate and listened to old Byrds music and then Brian Wilson’s latest masterpiece. After a while I decided to take a walk and take pictures.
I went back to the boardwalk to take shots of some of the nicer boats in the marina but then I started walking toward Saint Rafael. There was a mile of vendors selling everything under the sun. It was overwhelming. I decided to come back because Joe and I had a plan to get a drink later in on of the bars on the walk. I decided to go back using local streets away from the water but I ended up getting lost and heading out of town. It was an hour before I realized what I’d done so I turned around and head back in the right direction to the hotel. Joe and I headed over to a place we saw the day before and got a beer. After that I was toast so once back to the room I konked no problem.
Wednesday: OK so this day we were supposed to meet Dom to get my license added to the rent a car so that we can drive to Monaco and Saint Tropez because Joe had never been there and I wanted to go too but earlier in the morning I couldn't sleep thinking about getting the directions for driving in France, remembering how I got lost in England with Lesa and almost missed the gig and got sacked after and how it was going to be a hassle parking the car and I'd hate to have it towed because I parked in the wrong place. Anyway Dom shows up at 11:30 with his family and I said I was apprehensive about taking the car he said maybe we could take a train. That would be easier and maybe even cheaper because it would cost me 30 euros to have my license added to the rent a contract. We looked up the trains on my computer and saw that we had already missed the last one to Monaco for that day but we could take one on Thursday. Dom and I went to the train station so I would know where it was and got our tickets. It was only 12 euros each for a round trip ticket. After that I went to the beach and swam and sunned and swam and sunned some more. Later Joe, Dom, Isabel, Theo, Ivan and Julie went to Saint Tropez to have some pizza. It took us over an hour to go 10k because of all the traffic. We ordered a couple bottles of Cotes Du Provence and looked at Mars and the stars above us as it got dark. Later on our way back to the car I went in a discotheque there so I could say I did it.
Thursday: Joe and I both arranged for the petit jejune to be delivered to our rooms by 7:30 because we had to catch the 8:40 train to Monaco. It was the last train of the day and would get us there before 11. We took a cab from the hotel and got there tout suite. We weren't sure if we were on the right train but we asked someone who was sitting there and she said that it was the train to Monte Carlo. The train went fast through tunnels in the mountains by the sea. It was cool some parts were all forests and some parts were beaches and marinas and apartments. We went through Cannes and that was like a big city. we went through Nice and that was like a bigger city. Finally we arrived in Monaco. It was no big deal, no passports, no welcome to Monaco signs. Just another big train station and lots of tourists like us.
Friday: Got the petit jejune delivered to my room again at 9:10. I ate it on the balcony while watching all the families on their way to the beach. As soon as I was finished I set out to join them. I laid out my 2e mat on a soft spot on the sand and then headed to the water. The sea was especially calm today and there were more people swimming than any other day. I got out to the deep part and just floated on my back and watched the clouds in the sky. After swimming for almost an hour and sitting in the sun for a few minutes I returned to my room, took a shower and finished packing. When I got downstairs with my bags Dom was there and Joe came a minute later. We paid our bill and headed out to the picnic spot where were to meet Isabel and the children for some more fun in the sun. We got to Le Plage and waited for Dom's family to join us in the bar. When they got there we set up a spot for a picnic and had a great big meal of pate, cheese, sandwiches, wine, water, olives ham, chicken, turkey and vegetables.Then we rented a paddle boat with a giant slide in the middle. Theo Ivan Joe Dom and I went out in the middle of the lake and took turns paddling and sliding into the water. The water was very warm and although it was less buoyant than the Sea it was still nice. I did more crawl and less sidestroke and backstroke in the lake. We decided to explore a small bay on the far side of the lake and realized when we got there that we were far away from the beach and that we would have to paddle against the wind to get back. The slide acted like a giant fiberglass sail that was pushing us away from our destination. After a flurry of paddling by Dom and me we managed to get the boat back just at the appointed time. I hung out at the beach with the kids while Joe got something at the bar. AS the afternoon turned into evening we bid our goodbyes and headed out to Peymeinade where we would be staying and playing. We got a little lost once we got to the town but we found the place and met the owner, Dominique who showed us our rooms, gave us some rose wine and we met Tomas, her son and played his guitar. After another swim, this time in the pool we net Marco, the promoter, and his family. We went out to a tiny restaurant in town where we had the best food on the tour, extreme gourmet stuff, drank great wine, finished it off with cognac then drove Joe back to the guest house and Dom and I went to Marco's hose to hang out a little and then it was really late and it had been a long day so they took me back where I hit the hay.
Saturday: I woke with a little hangover and started to write a bit more blog. Now I will take a shower because I feel a little sticky. After our petit jejune du jour Dom and I went to the old village where we had some lunch and took pictures. I had raw fish and he had cooked fish. They brought little appetizers of pureed beet root and chocolate with sprouts on it and a little glass of tomato soup after they brought a chocolate mousse and cookie for desert. The food was outstanding but expensive. Then we went to a less formal cafe for some iced coffee and perrier water.
After that I went back to our guest house and had a little nap. I woke up when Dennis and Cindy arrived. We shared greetings and then they retired for a nap while Dom Joe and I went to the gig to see Marco's band open the show. There were a bunch of hard core BOC fans there so Joe and I signed autographs and got ourselves settled. They were making crew meal that was a gigantic pan of Paella in a huge wok that must have been 3 feet wide. The chef had a tattoo of a BOC logo on his shoulder with the Agents of Fortune cards arranged around it. Wow! After Marco's band I went back to the guest house with Dom to get Dennis and Cindy and my stage outfit. When we got back to the Festival it was Bloody Mary onstage and they sounded good. When Big Bang went on I took the wireless transmitter to the mixer to set up our wireless in-ear monitors and found that he couldn't speak English that well and it was loud out there so it was looking bad for the in-ears. When I realized that I had forgotten the European power adaptor back at the guest house I decided we'd have to go old school and make do with the stage monitors. I was glad it was the last gig for a while because I knew my voice would be shot by the end of the night. Big Ben was good too but we hustled to get onstage quickly after the were done so the headliners, Koritni, would not have to go on too late and yet we'd have ample time to play our 75 minute set. We played a high energy set that sometimes verged on the edge of chaos and in the end had to cut out a couple songs (classics, School's Out and Godzilla) because we had extended some of the others and we were about to go over our 75 minutes. We invite Nono from the French legendary band, Trust, onstage with us to close the set with 18 and Reaper. The rest of the night was a loveliest with our fellow performers, old friends, and fans. Everybody went onstage after Koritni's set and took bows. We hustled back to our guest house and set alarms to get up early for the hour drive to Nice and the flights home.
Sunday: Morning came too soon but we all got up and drove to the airport. We were there early so I was able to get on the computer and arrange for someone to pick me up at JFK when I got back later that afternoon. We flew Swiss Airlines and there was lots of food and chocolate. We had a connection through Zurich and the flight was late so we had to rush through the terminal to make our next flight. Just before Swiss customs I realized that my ticket had dropped out of my back pocket. I retraced my tracks back through the airport until I found it sitting in the middle of the concourse. It didn't help that we had to go through additional security before boarding but we made it with only a couple minutes to spare. The next flight back to NY was 8 hours but I slept most of the way because I was exhausted after all this fun. Not surprisingly the flight seemed to go quickly and before we knew it we were going through customs at JFK. We said our tired goodbyes and so ended another great Blue Coupe tour.