All right, pill-popping party people! The Apemen invaded the ancient Italian towns of Florence, Turin, Piacenza and Ronca in November 2000. We can assure you, the cities are still standing. However, the people over there will never be the same again, after witnessing The Apemen plowing through their setlist with fierce perseverance.
This mini tour was set up by a group of Italian hipsters called The Fog Surfers. Their boss Riccardo Seggatini was the instigator in getting The Apemen to Italy. And a nice job they made out of it. We played two big clubs with a capacity of approx. 800 people and 2 small bar-type venues. The trip to the first gig of the tour in Florence was hell! We had decided to break up the trip to Italy into 2 days. So on Wednesday night around 2 a.m. we stopped somewhere, deep in the hart of Germany, to get ourselves a hotel for the night. There were immediately two cops standing behind us to check out if we weren’t planning on robbing the place. Do we look that suspicious? So far so good.
The next day however we entered a traffic-jam the likes of which no man has ever seen! We just stood completely STILL for over 3 hours! It was caused by a gigantic road accident with trucks lying all over the place. So, by the time we arrived at the Club in Florence called Auditorium Flog, it was was well past 22.00 hours. So we had to carry our stuff in a hurry (well the humpers did, actually) and do just a little line-check. It was a giant club that had a cappacity of around 800 people. I guessed this night it was 70% of that. What can you do as a band, sitting in a little van for over 12 hours? Yes indeed, drink as much as you can do get rid off the boredom! So by the time we arrived we were quite wrecked, to say the least. The gig we did was not the worst one we ever did but i was certainly not one of our best. The people were digging the soulful sounds of The Apemen though and we were quite pleased that we could play after all. Next thing, we found ourselves at the diner table at 2.00 in the morning! Eating pasta and pizza ’till we bursted. All in all, not one of the most memorable nights in our long history play wise, but certainly a strange experience of adventure that we’ll treasure for our grandchildren.
The next day we had to drive up to Turin, or Torinno as the Italian people say. And very smoothly it went indeed. Just as the Apemen like it. Sleeping late in a fancy hotel. Have some local-styled breakfast and jump into the van to indulge in some seventies porn to kill some time while listening to some phat and funky Hammond grooves.
On our way to Turin, we were in the neighborhood of Pisa, so we decided to act like bloody tourists and have a look at the tower of Pisa.
We were hoping it would fall down as we approached it but i must sadly say that it still stands. It won’t be long though, by the looks of it! When we arrived at the club that evening were kinda psyched because the support act for the evening, called “Monkey buzzness”, had let us know that they were going to “destroy”, read upstage, us. And if there’s one thing the Apemen thrive on it’s good and healthy COMPETITION! They did a good job at trying to upstage us but didn’t really succeed in “destroying” us, and once again, The Apemen beat the locals on their own territory. The Club, called Hiroshima Mon Amour”, was quite a big one. Just like the night before. And I’m quite proud to say that it was almost full! Approximately 800 paying visitors. Not bad, not bad at all! Lotsa young people. The gig itself went extremely well. Musically i think it was the best evening of the tour. No strings were broken, no amps exploded on stage and no one got hurt. Although surf music isn’t really big in Italy, the people seem to understand the power-party vibes that flow from the music. And seemed to have a ball sharing the evening with The Apemen. Again The Apemen were the last ones to leave the building this evening. Heavily intoxicated with gin-tonics!
This night was The Fog Surfers gig. And what a night it was. The village was called Ronca. A small village near the town of Verona. The club was called Jack The Ripper and very crowded that night. The kind of place where the sweat drips from the ceiling. We arrived at the place quite early. So the only thing we could think of was to have something to drink and talking about the ten years of insanity behind us to get us into the right mood. A little Southern Comfort, a little Amaretto Di Saronno, a little Gin Tonic and then some more. I think this night had the best atmoshere. Everybody was in a party-mode. What else can you expect on a saturday night? And lotsa beautiful women. I still dream about a raven-haired beauty called Paula every night! Last week i received a tape with the live-recording of this gig, made by someone in the audience, and it’s just amazing how it sounds. Everything’s played twice the speed we normally play, with fierce intensity. Too bad it wasn’t recorded on professional equipment, otherwise it would have made a fantastic live album. The Apemen seem to work out best in these small clubs where the people are squashed together and ready to party. The bar is one step away from you so what more do you want?
At the end of the evening when The Apemen were the only people left in the club, and the atmosphere became more informal by the minute, the female bartender started singing: “the age of aquarius” at a volume that made my pants shake! Then she said something in Italian which i didn’t understand. It must have meant: “Get the fuck outta here and get some sleep, you look like shit!” That’s what we did, both of ’em
This was hangover day! The only hangover worse then this, was the one we had when we were in Barcelona after playing for a week in Spain. This one was second best. The one that takes you by surprise. You wake up, stand up and think “hey, I’m quite all right”. Next minute you’ll be dizzy, sick to your stomach and a man with a jackhammer bouncing around inside your head. Just a another glorious day. This tour shouldn’t have been a day longer than it was, otherwise there would have been some fatal casualties amongst the hardened diehards of The Apemen. The place to play this night was called Madly Pub. Decorated in the Scottish/Irish pub style and built in a remote area far away from civilization. One of those nights when you start thinking if all this is really worth it. Very cosy! This may sound negative but it isn’t meant like that. Every night with The Apemen on tour is a ball, brothers and sisters! The stage was one of the smallest we ever played on. I think it was like 2 by 3 meters. But, as versatile as The Apemen are, they did their best to cram all their equipment on the little stage. We decided to think heights. Like big Marshall stacks. Only this one was made out of a Fender, Farfisa and an Acoustic amp, and quite shaky i must say. This was a very hard gig to play. We were not at our fittest to say the least and the crowd was playing hard to get. Your typical Sunday evening crowd. People already thinking about Monday morning and the shit they’ll be getting. One of those gigs where the crowd starts to warm in the middle of the gig and really gettin’ gone at the end. All in all a worthwhile show to close off the Italian tour. And if it’s up to us we’ll be back next year.