I've recently gushed and foamed at the mouth about our Lunch Adventures In Italy. Any normal person would assume that we just went there to eat ourselves stupid.
But there was a great deal more to our recent Italian experience than stuff that makes you say OMG when you put it in your mouth. Much more.
There was this one time when we played in a tumble-down mansion on the side of a hill in a dusty, medieval town called Valeggio Sul Mincio, near Verona.
Paolo has it out with the promoter in sight of Mad Dog Fort.
The 4 hour drive from Padova had been filled with bad vibes and tension. I had made an obvious hash of the previous nights show, blundering in ways that pushed all of the Baaron's buttons, so as I drove our rented car down the Italian freeways he would occasionally crack the side of my head with the back of his hand and say things like....
"Your days are numbered, Green. The reaper is coming for you, you silly fuck-up, and I'm going to be there when he takes you... laughing so fucking hard. Count on it!"
Driving in Italy makes me nervous, especially when a corpse-like guitarist keeps giving me mild concusions.
Paolo wasn't used to our vibe yet, and he didn't really know what to make of this casual violence in the tour vehicle. At first he tried to defend my recent actions, and when that proved futile he tried to use his awful, coal-black sense of humor to lift the shitty mood. He was only half successful, and the air was still thick with hate when we finally pulled up outside Villa Zamboni, the venue for the oddly named "Alpaca Weird Festival".
Standing around, as real men have to do from time to time.
Circumstances soon undermined that atmosphere. The lengthy process of meeting the organizers and sound-checking ect was so relentlessly pleasant and problem-free that it was almost wrong, and by the time we sat down for pre-dinner drinks the Baaron was slapping me on the back and telling anyone who would listen that I was the best band-mate he'd ever had and that all my debts were paid.
Darkness and light, forever trapped beneath his scrawny hide.
He's a mercurial spirit, that Baaron.
Anyway, still nervous from the days abuse, I decided to explore our surroundings, and found that the hill on which Villa Zamboni rested was crowned by some sort of ancient fortress, overlooking a terraced slope dotted with the homes and gardens of the rich. It was a sight to see in the afternoon light.
The fortress turned out to be ruled over by a huge, black, deranged stray dog that stalked and menaced me (probably because of my strong odor). It was a wretchedly paranoid and senselessly violent animal, so I threw a few rocks at it and said goodbye.
The dying sun kisses the rose-bushes of the 1%.
Whatever my problem with that dog, the sun was almost setting, which meant the time for CC action was close. And I said yes!!!!
Looking to get in?? Meet Paolo, taste defeat.
Hey, the bar downstairs is starting to happen. I think we'll actually have a crowd!!
All the pieces were in place and the Baaron and I started the first of our many long and creepily homo-erotic warm-up rituals. But from out of the calm evening sky a bolt of disaster struck, just as the gates opened and boozy young Veronans started to bleed into the courtyard.
Somewhow Paolo's ex-landlord had broken through his carefully constructed personal smoke-screen and was suddenly calling and texting, demanding money and threatening to torch Paolo's father's beautiful old skiff, which was harbored back in Pescara under minimal security. Paolo swears it would be the death of the old man.
Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.
We had to keep the crowd milling around in the courtyard for at least half an hour so that Paolo could use the tiny concert room to conduct negotiations. Outside the assembled Veronans were already staggering drunk, and they were yelling and shoving and throwing empty beer cans at each-other while they waited to get through the door.
"I can't concentrate with these fucking people in my sphere." Paolo shrieked. "If I can't have some peace to work this shit out, I'll fucking lose my mind!!! I will shed their pissy blood, and you stupid Australian fucks will be responsible!!!!"
Anyway, in the end a verbal contract was reached and the show went ahead as planned. It looked more or less like this.
You can't tell from the photograph, but it was as loud as a thousand lawn-mowers in that fucking room, and just hot enough to be uncomfortable. The Baaron played every note like it was a hated enemy to be stomped into powder and spat upon in sight of his ancestors, and me, being a sensitive guy, I couldn't help but be carried along by his enthusiasm.
It was a stand-out gig and I will savor the taste of it forever.
After the show I managed to start talking to a ridiculously pretty girl with a huge Morbid Angel tattoo on her chest and a job writing real-estate copy at the local newspaper. She was blonde and young and eighty times cooler than I have ever been in my long life, but like a machine made of disappointment and rusty number-plates Baaron Von Cuddles swooped in and fucked the scenario for me.
"I spent half the afternoon slapping this idiot, repeatedly, in the face.... and he did nothing to defend himself!" The Baaron hissed, chuckling and rolling his eyes and draping his freakishly long arm over my shoulder.
Eight seconds later, the real-estate girl was gone. But even now, weeks later, the thought of her still troubles my sleep. One day I will pay the Baaron his back-wages in full, and the rivers will run a deep, deep red.
Just when he thinks he's safe...
Fuck it, who wants to hear this kind of shit at this hour of the day.
Here's some happy snaps taken the next day, when we visited Parc Sigurta Guinardino and ended up having probably the stand-out lunch of a stupidly lunch-tastic tour.
So anyway, I'm only just scratching the surface of our Italian romance. There's a blogospheres worth of awesomeness trapped inside those memories, and I'm a busy man. Move on!!!