"Queue Also sprach Zarathustra, Theme to 2001:A Space Odyssey…………
baaaaaaaaaaaaah…Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeh..BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER...BENAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!! ..bum bum bum bum bum bum bummmmmmmm
Duncan, the greatest bus driver in the world, had driven through the night so that we would have time to visit Alsace, France, home of Monkey Mountain. He had been raving about this place like kid on his way to Disney. Ya gawtta see it!!! It’s fawkin grayt!!!! Once again, Duncan was right. Barbary Macaques running free to live and re populate their once endangered species. And we were going to stand right in the middle of their colony……..We’re what??????
I’ve been around monkeys in the past. These things will tear the skin clean off of your hand. They attack straight at the eyes. They fling poopies at you. I’ve heard of African Greens beating body builders unconscious. Why are we going to bother these things?
Before entering the jungle we stopped at the snack bar. OF COURSE!!! They serve beer there. OF COURSE!!! we were going to have a few. Nothing says “security” like entering a forest of wild savages half pissed. We saunter up to the gate. “10 (baaahhhrp!) adults pleesh”.
The handlers are waiting at the gate. (With French accent):
“Please do not look them in the eye”
“Please do not pet them”
“Please no flash photography”
“Please hand them the popcorn flat in the palm of your hand”
“Do not hug them”
“Do not give them food other than the popcorn”
“Do not make remarks about their mother’s”
“Do not try to sell them Amway”
“Do not tell them they smell bad”
“Please do not enter if you are menstruating (looking at Ray[?])”
“If one hands you a bug, eat it, Failure to do so will be construed as an act of hostility”
“Here is your popcorn. Enjoy your day at Monkey Mountain ( …..stoopeed Americans).”
I was wondering how well these gorillas detected fear (Not the members of the band. I’m talking about the actual macaques). I walked up to my first one. (“Please don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me.). He gently reached and casually grabbed the popcorn. As I walked on I heard the monkeys grunting “Dude. You really need to relax. Less caffeine. Eat a dung beetle now and then. Groom your sister.” I heeded their advice…about relaxing I mean. Another great diversion, courtesy of Duncan.
Through another customs booth, we are now in Switzerland and a particularly irritating traffic jam. Poor Dunk. The guy was tired, running late and covered in monkey hair. People were pulling out in front of him and cutting him off. Only a guy of his experience could say “Skeeerew this!!!” and find Z7 via back roads and get us there on time.
Z7 is a humbling venue. Rough guess, this place could fit about 2000 people. It was a concert arena. Once again, another phenomenal crew! They were out the door carrying our gear inside straight to a stage fit for Pink Floyd. What the hell were we doing here? There were many great surprises on the trip, but filling a 2000 capacity arena was not anticipated. BUT WE DID IT…….No we didn’t. There was about 40 people that night. Nonetheless, they were great crowd and they were able to keep our energy level up.
The staff at Z7 served us breaded turkey and the greatest mashed potatoes in history. Anyone who grew up with me knows that I will eat mashed potatoes until my nose oooozes like a tasty freeze dispenser. Oh God!! And the gravy!!!! I was moaning like a cow being branded. Cheech, the house monitor guy, was telling me that Z7 is a regular stop for Ronnie James Dio, because he loves the food so much. “IF YOU LIKE YUMMY FOOOD!!!! THE MAAAASH RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Another great thing at Z7! Washer and dryers!!!! Our clothes were starting to emit heat refractions. The aforementioned macaques were gagging as we passed. My socks were being used for chemical terrorism. Tim and Brad took on the grim task of throwing our loads into the machines with salad tongs and wearing biochemical suits. Like all big rock stars Paul and I were pulling our laundry out of the washer and folding clothes out of the dryer while Brett and Ray performed “One Voice”. We are a model of efficiency.
If we were Motley Crue, Brett could have broken a string, thrown is guitar back stage, have a conjugal visit with Pamela Anderson, bought an island in Tahiti and have his guitar back before the second measure. But we’re Econline (er) Echelon (oops) Echolyn. Brett’s string breaks, Brett fixes his string, and we don’t have room to carry extra guitars. None of my stories, jokes, remarks, limericks, or sonnets made it through Swiss borders that day. In a rare instance of group stage fright, we all stood silent waiting for the string change
and we’re back!!!!! 67 Degrees on four.
Still, The stage sound was great! And I think we played a damn good show. After the show we hung out with the staff over the thousands of beer that had not been sold that evening. I took time to drunkenly and loudly tromp around an empty arena. How often do I get to do that?"