Ever wondered what happened to the estimated 1.6 billion dollars Richard Pearle made by selling fat young Iraqi orphans on Ebay to wealthy sexual predators and secret psy-warfare laboratories in places like Turkmenistan and Estonia? I have.
I am cursed with an inquiring mind, which over the years has led to getting spanked in front of Primary School assemblies, getting fired from easy jobs and losing many fair-weather friends. I just can't help myself. I have many bees in my bonnet, as the saying goes, but they never make any fucking honey.
Soooo... when we arrived in Zurich my first order of business was a quick visit to the central offices of the Swiss Private Commerce Bank, which is a sleazy, up-sclae institution mainly patronised by arms dealers, diamond merchants, Russian energy barons and other reptilian scum. It is a repository for some of the most gore-stained money on the planet, and word is that even the state of the art ventilation system can't entirely get the stink out of their high-tech head-quarters.
They removed the "all seeing eye" from the top of the building after a rash of bad press and some angry phone-calls from local free-masons.
"It's pretty bad in the summer." A low level staff member once remarked, on condition of anonymity. "Last July we had some really hot, still days and the stench of blood was overpowering. The building became surrounded by stray dogs, howling and pawing at the windows. It was terrible, just terrible."
I had tracked Pearles' pedo-profits here through long hours of intensely dull research and by the time we hit town I felt the need for direct action. But I was extremely fuzzy about what I planned to do when I got there, beyond causing a minor scene.
It didn't matter. The middle-aged, solarium tanned functionary who met me in the lobby was coy at first, then downright hostile as it became clear my homework was in order. So I snatched the expensive toupee off his head and ran outside, where I threw it into a muddy puddle and continued to run at top speed before expensive thugs appeared to put a black bag on my head and turn me over to Richards' people.
I ran all the way back to the grand suburban mansion where we were staying as guests of Janos Szenogrady, a famous Swiss musician and art collector and an old freind of Andys'. His dapper son, Julian, had organised our Zurich show and was also the drummer in the support act, Summit.
The two lived by themselves in this giant, rambling gothic pile which looked and felt like something out of an old episode of Scooby Doo. There were leering portraits with eyes that followed you around the room and huge fireplaces dominated by hideous gargoyles and medieval weapons. If crockery had started flying around or pale spectres appeared on the staircase I think I would have been more relieved than surprised.
Anyway, the sepulchral vibe was clearly having an impact on The Baaron, who suggested some sightseeing to deal with the hours before soundcheck.
"Let's get the fuck out of here." He said to me in a hoarse whisper. "The fucking doorknob to my room keeps turning by itself, and I think I heard a woman crying in the attic".
Since both the Baaron and I are big fans of synthesisers, social satire and moral decay our first stop was a visit to Cabaret Voltaire, where we drank thick black coffee spiked with absinthe and got in an argument with a young professional couple about whether or not Hugo Balls´1916 manifesto made our music redundant, thus making the continuation of the tour both uneccesary and un-natural.
Then off for some shopping. The Baaron was hot to add a genuine Swiss mountain goat to his impressive stable of trophy heads, but after checking out a few select emporiums he became angry at the small size and mangy appearance of the specimens on display.
"This is bullshit!" He snarled at one frightened old shoppe-keep. "I could just walk up a mountain with a fucking carrot and a rusty steak-knife and come back with better heads".
In contrast my own shopping mission was entirely successful. My long-held fantasy of owning a 500 euro pair of studded, fox-fur lined, white-tiger skin ugh-boots came to fruition at last.
Thank you Zurich, city of dreams.
Finally we took a stroll through the park by the lake, where we stumbled upon this, the worlds' first solid-state overdrive pedal, made in 1812 by a local crank named Wolfgang Driestuck, whose other inventions included the water-proof grandfather clock, the steam-powered "female comforter" and the wizard bong.
Anyway, to cut to the chase, we ended up having a pretty fun night in Zurich. The show was poorly attended, partially because both Best Coast and The Bloody Beetroots were in town and syphoning off any individual under 40 who gave a shit about, y'know, going to see bands and stuff.
So at least half the audience at our own spectacular concert were strange, spectacled, middle-aged men who all went completely berserk as soon as the music started. They danced like chickens on meth, screaming constantly in German and spilling big glasses of gin all-over the floor.
No-one knew where they came from, but they were enthusiastic, so I took them at face value and tried not to be disappointed at the complete absence of loose, trashy hipster girls and high-powered booking agents in the crowd. The road is, as I've said before, long and winding.
Note the copy of Cosmopolitan, in case of technical issues.
Summit busted out some carefully crafted pop numbers, and it was a rare treat to see Julian (a gifted drummer) bashing out the kick and snare patterns on a cheesy old Roland drum machine. They created a nice, warm atmosphere in the room, which we then destroyed with our abrasive, thuggish noise.
On a side note, I was bitterly disappointed at discovering that we had just missed both the renowned Meh Stuff! Metal Festival, showcasing some of the most uh-huh metal talent on the planet...
...and a rare public appearance by Land Uber, one of my Top 5 acts of 2010.
The venue was generous with beer, despite the slim turn-out, so by the time we got back to the mansion I was in a thoroughly obnoxious state. The Baaron had to wrestle me into a broom-cupboard and lock the door to prevent me from doing back-spins on the giant oak dining table and Andy punched me in the solar-plexus after I started singing "Mull of Kintyre" at top volume while he was trying to enjoy a camomile tea.
I remember none of this, but it sounds right, and why would they lie to me anyway?
We are, after-all, serious men with a serious job to do, and making up weird stories about each-others personal behavior is not part of our brief.
Many thanks to Julian and Janos for their generous hospitality.