Susie Asado

We are back in Berlin. I can still feel the Autobahn in my bones. A motor rattle. I feel strangely calm. What does it mean? I will try not to think about it and just enjoy the misty Berlin air and the pleasure of clean clothes. Coming home from tour is an art form. To do it gently. To rest, but not crash. To watch some TV, but not fall apart on the sofa with a catatonic stare into a flickering laptop. Or become obsessed with the lady bugs that have hatched in the cracks of my windows that crawl around on my floor. I’ve written down the numbers for the tour and Ariel and I cleaned the car yesterday at the local car wash. We power vacuumed the crumbs from the the road snacks using two giant vacuum tubes going at it from each side simultaneously. I took a long bath this morning and shaved my legs. Are these things you want to know about? Alicja says “Home is where you can take a shower”. Ariel says “Home is where the dirt on your sheets is your own dirt”. I tried to remember the bed where I slept on the first night on tour in Poznan. I can’t remember it. Not the sheets, not the bed, not the room, not the hotel, not the road. I do remember the venue Troche Kultury very well. I think I can remember the other beds I slept in, but not the sheets. I remember arriving in Vienna. Hanging out with my brother Philipp in front of Fluc. Our wonderful show that night. Getting to play Crazy for Jane songs. Crazy for Jane is the band I have with my brother that is all about and for Jane. It is a desperate serenade. It is funny and very sad and well, very desperate. I remember my heart in Passau. The sweetness of returning to a city I haven’t played in for some years. I guess I have been touring for long enough that you see time pass in the cities and in the people. Like seeing our promoter Petr in Strakonice after not having been there in 8 years. Our most playful audience was there. We were all cold in a kind of castle cellar, pretending stage lights are heating lamps and hoping our fingers move anyways. And then this awesome audience sets fires to the songs and they go off like little bombs. We shared the night in Strakonice with an awesome band from Prague: Oswaldovi. Oh Oswaldovi! Now I am sitting at my desk, watching the traffic on the bridge. The tour already has this sense that perhaps I made it up. But there are still the bags with the cables, pickups and CDs and on Sunday we will play a last show at Weserstrasse 58 in Neukölln. Excited to play in my neighbourhood. So things are coming home.

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Last night we drove through a midnight fog to the outskirts of Opole. Roman from the Opole Songwriter Festival drove ahead of us and Berlin’s Sorry Gilberto behind us. A caravan of red flickering lights. Everything appeared too close and too far away. This sense of being in the thick of it. Only a few meters ahead of you visible. No sense of the future, no sense of the past. We arrive at a country mansion. Pehaps even a kind of castle. We unload and stumble to our rooms. We fall a sleep. We snore, we dream, we wake up. Still fog. The colorful trees strangely luminious. Fogy luminous. The misty air smells woody and earthy. The mansion we stayed in right in the middle of a beautiful garden which seems to continue through some rolling hills. I would have liked to stay and explore, but we keep to our tour fog. We pile into the car. We drive to a roadside restaurant and eat perogies and watch truckers eat their morning soup. In our tour bubble fog, this seems to be a proper polish Sunday morning. The place and the people very real. I hold onto this short moment as we keep driving through the fog. We are on the way to Budapest. We have already driven through Czech Republic and are now driving through Slovakia. We have bought the respective vignettes to use the local highways. We watch the languages on the signs change. Trees are trees and roads are mostly roads. The first three shows are behind us. Alicja translated us through all awkwardness of being in a foreign country. I wish we spoke Hungarian, spoke Czech. I wish we were prepared for all countries. Could wink and play between the borders, could properly flirt and order food and ask all the necessary questions. Touring certainly always makes me want to learn languages. To feel less in the tour fog bubble. In the fog everything feels fragmented. The sun has come out. Flickers through the trees. I think hypnosis. I think strobe. I think seizures. We are listening to music in our bubble. Today was going to be the longest drive covering the longest distance and the most countries in a day. It actually feels like the shortest drive so far and we will arrive with time to spare, perhaps eat some local food and watch the light change over the Danube.

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There has been traffic. There has been a whirl of nights. Visits to gothic churches and castles. Everything is mixed up in English and Spanish and I am reading the subtitles to our movie we call the Asado Dacal tour. I am learning new words. I have to learn them again and again each day. Pablo is patient. We play each others songs. I am singing in Spanish. I feel very Asado. My back has been funky, some vertabrea knotted. I walk as if a pole keeping me upright. Somehow it fits this feeling between languages. Yesterday we met up with The Burning Hell in Zürich and I got to dance my body to their amazing songs. Yes, it is possible to dace with a pole. There is a panik that this tour will be over before I have properly settled into songs and the rhythm of packing, car, unpacking, plugging, tuning, eating, packing, singing, walking, unpacking, sleeping. When I first heard Pablos songs I was terrified by their elegance and rhythm. I imagined this Argentinian cantautor surrounded by an orchester, by dancers, by everything that glimmers and glows. But my name is not for nothing and so I guess it was meant to be that Pablo and I go on an adventure. And so we are. Sherlock and Watson deciphering the codes of our travels. Four more shows to go: Schaffhausen, Freiburg, Frankfurt, and Düsseldorf. I feel lucky.

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On our way to Prague. Alicja is driving and I’m sitting in the back contorting a bit to write on my miniature keyboard. We are wondering how many kilometers we have put behind us. As of right now perhaps 3200. That seems like a lot when you don’t think of it in bits. Every part of the tour being a bit. Like bites. Everything has been so well paced and just the right amount at the right time. Like when I started to get overwhelmed we ended up in Augsburg at the ambitious Grand Hotel Cosmopolis. A collective housing 60 refugees, offering spaces for artists and running a hotel. It is grand and inspiring and I was moved visiting the house and meeting the people involved with this awesome project situated right in the city center of Augsburg. I wish every city would make room for such an inspiring project that truly creates a space for dialog and brings together people who would otherwise not meet. We stayed in beautifully constructed rooms of the hotel. Each with its own story, its own design. I stayed in the “Frauenzimmer” which is a room inspired by women in crime stories, by female detectives and little feet who got away. It’s hard to explain the little feet, but the legs of the desk each had a little shoe on its foot. It all felt very Susie Asado and I would have liked to spend days there reading the collection of detective novels on the shelf and spending more time to meet the people of the house. Yesterday was another day of entering a strange space and being transformed by it. We had a day off in Vienna and went to see the “Leiblichkeit & Sexualität” exhibit at the Votivkirche. We got a tour by the curator David Rasaf and a whole world of magical symbolism opened up. The contemporary art pieces installed are playful and disturbing dialog with the objects/symbols and spaces of the church. My favorite was a piece by called “Erdapfel”, a solid yet delicate dome-like structure made out of wood. We all climbed into the sculpture and huddled like children in a tent. I got to sit on a chair and felt a little bit like holding court. David Rasaf joked about the piece being perhaps mass produced so people could have such a dome like safe space at home. I certainly would like one. But even being in there for a while was enough to put a sense of quiet in my touring heart and now on the way to Prague it seems strange that this will be the last show before heading home to Berlin tomorrow. Tomorrow. This tour has been grand with my double AA ladies that I’m a little sore about driving home tomorrow. At the same time I am especially excited about playing tonight in Prague and our homecoming show in Berlin at Grüner Salon on the 22nd of May. So still plenty to look forward too and some sweet new plans taking shape in our imaginations and in conversation. To be continued hopefully very soon . . .

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Recuperative Moments

When you play a show every night on tour you learn how to find recuperative moments. To recuperate from what? Well generally from all the impressions, from the many sandwiches we eat, sometimes from lack of sleep and from spending a lot of hours sitting in the car. Like right now hovering in a seemingly not ending traffic jam. My body gets tight and knotted and my stomach bloaty from all the foods I’m not used to. Also eating mostly snacks all day and then a big meal right before the show can do a number on your belly. But with a little help from promoters, friends and playful strangers, what could be an accumulation of stressful events can be quite lovely. I want to tell you about some treasured recuperative moments we have had so far on tour in no particular order.

1. When Silvana from the band The Woog Riots took us to the Vortex Garden in Darmstadt. A private Garden in the back of the “Haus Hubertus” at the Mathildenhoehe. The owner with intention of creating a kind of utopian space of recuperation and possibly attracting a stray UFO or two, built a garden filled with symbolic sculptures, eggs, swamps, springs, beehives, trampolines and endless secluded corners to meditate or conversation in. Here we wandered and contemplated and I made a couple of wishes standing on possible powerful spots marked with seemingly significant geometric shapes.

2. Hiking up to the fortress that is right above Sion and looks straight out of Game of Thrones. We hummed the theme music while we climbed the steep mountain. We were also out of breath and dehydrated because we forgot water, but still, it felt great.

3. Watching an episode of Game of Thrones all huddled together in the bottom of a bunk bed in Freiburg.

4. Going on a jog around the strange landscape of newly built town houses around the KAW in Leverkusen.

5. Sitting inside the suspended rail in Wuppertal cradled by the soft dangling of train.

6. Lying down backstage at L’An Vert while the ukulele open mic was going on. Listening to the sweet ukulele songs and imagining who might be playing them drifting in and out of sleep. Being horizontal, getting to lie down and nap before a show is one of my favorite.

7. Making drawings in my journal of the day’s events.

8. Eating Eritrean food with our Darmstadt promoter Andre.

9. There are many other recuperative meals I should mention: unbelievably tasty italian food in Torino, delicious lentil soup, chickpea smear and homemade bread in Leverkusen, coconut soup and spring rolls at L’An Vert in Liege, the gourmet meal at a fancy restaurant in Sion. I can talk about the subject of meals on tour for a long time. I do believe they are the key to a good show, and being fed well always makes us endlessly grateful and pleasant people to be around in general.

10. Floating in a tub of warm water at the Wohngemeinschaft in Köln.

11. Making eights with our butts in a park in Köln. Don’t ask.

12. Often we have to check out early either because people want us to leave, or we have to start driving to the next place. So getting to stay at a hotel or band apartment for a few extra hours the day after a show can be extremely restorative. Like when we all played house and puttered around the cozy Slow Club band apartment in Freiburg.

13. Doing laundry at Silvana’s house in Darmstadt. Yeah fresh laundry and yeah the ritual of doing something “every day.” Something that makes you feel at home and purposeful.

14. Sitting in the back of the car working on my blog. Like right now right in the middle of a traffic jam. I just asked Ariel and Alicja some questions regarding recuperative moments on this tour.

15.For Alicja her most recuperative moment has been watching the power plant in Waldshut gently puff out a giant cloud. I’ve also seen her mischievously send post cards from every place so far on tour and I imagine that being pretty recuperative.

16. Ariel just said her most recuperative moment was exercizing in the creepy basement gym at the hotel in Waldshut. And reading “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen when ever there is down time.

17. Also Ariel and Alicja went to a little “Oldie Pub” in Waldshut that was down the street from the hotel. “It’s fun to break up the routine of touring and do something unexpected on tour. And it’s fun to go to a weird old biker bar with christmas lights up front,” says Ariel.

18. One of the most fun and recouperative moments for me on this tour was yesterday playing with the kids in the courtyard of Casa del Quartiere in Torino. There was a charming and handsome clown, oh . . . who was skilfully engineering swords and guns out of balloons. We battled each other and the kids with our colorful blow-up weapons, jumped around and died many times. We made the loveliest little friends. It reminded me of how not knowing a language used to not be a barrier for making friends.

19. And of course playing an awesome show is incredibly restorative. Like our wonderful show at L’An Vert. There is a kind of magic that explodes inside every cell in your body and makes you feel like a super hero.

20. The more I think about it, the more restorative moments accur to me. Listening to Sibsi mixes is a big one. Sibsi aka Sebastian Hoffmann is our booker. He makes amazing CD mixes. I have a whole collection of them in the car. And we got an awesome one sent to us via Sylvana in Darmstadt.

Ok. We are still in a traffic jam. It’s restorative to think of restorative moments. Oh.

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A round stage with a carpet that has white polka dots. The stage mantled by a red velvet rurtain. The Devil is in the details at slow club in Freiburg. Marcus, the sound man walks us around the building right before the show so we can enter from the back of the stage. So we can be behind the curtain and wait for the gong that signals the curtain raiser. Yes curtain raiser. I belive this is our first one. Red velvet awkwardly and glamorously pulled to the side to reveal a small audience and from the perspective of the audience, to reveal us: dressed in black and white in our starship enterprise outfits to fit the white polka dots. And so we meet in that moment of the curtain being pulled aside. I love this effect of surprise. Of a proper stage, of a proper curtain raiser. I feel like we are in a Woody Allen movie. There are even parents in the audience. Alicja’s parents. There should always be parents in the audience. Especially in Woody Allen movies. So we are off to a good start and this single curtain raiser stays with us throughout the show. I would like to take this stage with us whereever we go. The curtain and the raiser. The parents too. Now we are sitting in the upstairs band apartment. Here everything is red and white stripes. We are busy typing away at computers sending out messages and composing thoughts. Very industrious. This is my hello. My conclusion of the day: there should always be a curtain raiser.

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All is packing and unpacking. Our perfect bags and perfect trunk. Doing our best to leave nothing behind. Doing our best not to move into the places along the way. There is always that temptation to stay. Like right now, Alicja, Ariel and I are listening to records in a beautiful apartment in Liege where everything has a place and a story. Sweet recouperation. Sun is shining through the windows, a train buzzes through the green back yard. We had a dreamy show at L’An Vert last night. Some nights it all comes together and we felt so very understood and got to be goofy and smart and sexy sticking out boobs and butts. Yes. I am learning to do such things. L’An Vert is a welcoming collective where all details and people are gentle and kind and so very attentive. It was an afternoon of ukulele playing. A once a month ukulele marathon with a show in in the evening. I never think of myself as a ukulele player so much, but yes, there is that sweet ukulele I like to play. So there was a kind of belonging. I even got to talk to other ukulele players about their ukuleles and perhaps I am a ukulele nerd and I didn’t even know it. Hmmmm, what else . . . We visited that amazing train station in Liege that is like a grand spaceship. Not one of those mall like modern trainstations, but a place for arrival and departure of the epic kind. I would like to arrive there one day. Step out of a train and be welcomed by that gentle roof. Yes, feeling pretty romantic these days. I think it was Leverkusen that did it to me. Those “struppig tanzen”. Or perhaps it started with the suspended railway in Wuppertal. But most of all singing with my lovely double AA ladies. So goes a little report from the bliss of touring . . .

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This is how we start. Ariel and Alicja come over to my house. We have a last rehearsal. We pack up the car Tetris style. Everything finds its place. As if all of our things were meant to be together. And they are. Just as we are. Me and the double AA. That’s what I call them. The two lovely ladies that are now my girl band. Alicija and Ariel. Our first autobahn ride is rocky. We hit all kinds of traffic. We are patient. We miss our radio gig in Hannover. We find Galaria Lunar. We meet our host Martin. We set up. We are nervous. We go for turkish food and sit on the patio, hopeful, eyeing the clouds. There are clouds. There is impending rain. We know it is coming, but are suprised, huddled underneath an umbrella, about the wet, the gush and the hail. We finally give up and sit inside. We imagine our first show. Will people come despite the spring storm. We are wearing costumes. Blouses and bows and feeling very much like ladies. I am feeling like a lady. Certainly dressed up as a lady if that makes a lday. Our first show goes well. A friendly audience filled the small gallery space. An audience that leaves the house despite a spring storm. The best audience you can ask for. I look at my double AA and I can’t believe my luck to be traveling with such great women. I sense they are up for anything. That night I am so wired from the show that I can barely sleep. I try to talk some sense into me, but my body refuses to give into the tired. The next day we head to Wuppertal. None of us have been to Wuppertal. Oh Wuppertal. Oh craddeling suspension railway. You dangled us along the river Wupper like a sweet mother. We were a little seasick afterwards, but it felt so very modern to glide through the city on this 1901 railway system. Futuristic even. I wonder how grand it must have been 100 years ago. It was built just in time for Susie Asado. I am sure she took a ride in Wuppertal mumbling her funny words. That night we play at Hutmacher. An old train station converted community house/collective/art space. The Hutmacher is the former entrance of the train station. Super high ceilings like a grand ballroom. When they put out all the chairs around the stage I can’t imagine that many people coming to our show and I get nervous. But those seats do get filled and we have another attentive friendly audience. The sound is beautiful in the grand space and it is especially exciting to sing with the double AA. Oh double AA. Everyone should have a double AA. And so we start the tour. Dressed up as ladies, singing proper lady songs. To be continued . . .

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It is the last day of tour. I am not sure how this happened. But it did. Here it is. I am sitting at Franz Melhose in Erfurt where we got to spend the night and it is a misty day outside. I am a little bit sleepy, but determined to write a little. Hello. Our adventures have been wonderful. I would like to rave about Ravensburg. Now I know where it got its name. Not only is this a beautiful town with towers and lovely houses, but it is also where Ravensburger Spiele, the German game company produces all its board games and puzzles. This might also explain some things about the playful nature of its people. We played at Mäkinen, a kind of secret community space. A living room reserved for special occasions. Inviting and cozy and with the best kind of audience. Funny and playful, they make us all giddy and strange moves and I try not to trip over anything on the lovely small stage. Ariel eggs me on with her awesome voice and we bounce back and forth and I try not to fall apart laughing. I can’t believe how quickly Mathias has learned everything and smoothly lays down all bass and guitar parts as if he has been on tour with us for months. The best is when he plays bass and melodica at the same time at the end of “Monstera Deliciosa.” A proper acrobatic move. Oh. The next morning we go to the Ravensburger Museum to learn a bit about the board games and puzzles. Part of my wants to just get Malefitz and Scotland Yard and run off and play for days. But our journey takes us to Ampfing to the house of the Klien family. We eat too much food, meet the people from the neighborhood, play songs and eat more food. A proper music loving home. The next morning we end up going to a bath near Munich with slides and sulphur tubs that Ariel calls “old man soup.” It feels amazing to move, to be in water, to pretend fish for a while and forget the autobahn under my ass. Ariel and I wear matching bikinis. We are turning into quite the pair. At the end of our time at the swimming pool paradise I rest under a cloud with red warming lamps and feel like I am drifting off into all kinds of cloud dreams. Oh clouds. We do manage to go back to the autobahn. Mathias drives us through bavarian traffic jams to Nürnberg where we play at the elegant and arty Galerie Bernsteinzimmer. So wonderful. Another tour high-light. It feels like the perfect Susie space. I have a sweet memory of playing there in the December of 2011 and it is awesome to get to come back and play there again. Returning to venues is a bit like coming home. A bit of familiar on tour. Like staying at Franz Melhose in Erfurt. And now we are off to Leipzig, our last stop before Berlin. Tomorrow our CD Release party at Ackerstadtpalast. I am so excited. Whuiiiiiiiiiiiii!

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Tour blur is happening now. Everything so fast, a kind of roller coaster of packing unpacking arriving departing plugging cables, eating food, thinking about food and talking about food. In Zürich now. It seems to be cooling down and I wonder if I will finally have a use for the warm things at the bottom of my bag I have been schlepping around. It is November after all. There have been so many lovely nights I want to share some high lights. A cozy top-floor apartment in Biel that had lovely little plastic figures tucked between the bricks of the wall. A house show, that didn’t miss any details, even had perfect stage lights and a cat face with antlers above the stage. The next day we had a lovely walk along the hills of Biel and down to the lake and Ariel and I were transfixed by the waves. We would like to be by the water at all times. Oh water. I keep thinking people live like this. They can just hike along a ridge by their house and end up at a windy lake-front where seagulls hover in mid-air. After our walk we could have gone back to sleep or eaten more food, but we drove to Geneva to our next adventure. Our evening at Bibarium felt a bit like a secret basement show. A kind of speak-easy below room. We got fed tasty colorful food and were excited to play to the little dark room being smothered by stage lights and the warm sounds that occasionally bounced back during songs. We have decided we really like stage lights. There was lovely conversation and we would have liked to stay and learn more about this city and the sweet people we met. Oh. It is strange packing up just after arriving. We drove to Zürich in a blur. So happy to meet Mathias there fresh off the airplane from Canada and ready to rehearse instantly. Clearly this man is made for touring. Our afternoon show at Kafi für Dich turned a bit into a family affair of parents and friends and children and dogs. By the time I had sold the last CD I was a little overwhelmed from it all even though I couldn’t wish for anything sweeter. Now we are about to drive to Ravensburg. We will take a fairy across the Boden See. Anything just to take a fairy boat. Water boat seagulls wind. Wushhhhhh

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