Friday, May 15, 2009

Scandinavian Tour: Day 6

Since leaving California and moving to North Carolina I've settled rather nicely into a non-musician lifestyle. I went from playing gigs almost every night to not playing at all the last 6 months. I started going to bed around 10:30pm and getting up to take my wife to work at 6:30 am. On Sundays I go to church and afterward mow the lawn. As a musician I had been starting my work "day" anywhere between 8 and 9:30 pm and not getting home sometimes until 2 am. Now that I'm here in Scandinavia I've had to go back to the old hours. Unfortunately, even though I don't get sleep until late I still get up early.

Last night was no exception. After leaving Bryne, Norway in the morning we drove another 30 minutes to the city of Stavanger where we played an upstairs pub called Ovenpaa. The crowd wasn't as enthusiastic as the night before, but we still had a great time. And even though Nathan and I haven't played together in quite sometime our sound is coming back together as if we just picked up where we left off last November.

Ferry Ride to Stavanger

After sound check we went back to the small apartment the club owner had loaned us for the evening to take quick naps and get ready for the show. We walked back to Ovenpaa, had some dinner and walked around town and harbor. I guess Stavanger is a fairly wealthy town, getting most of it's money from the oil industry. We didn't see any of that money when we were checking out our CD sales. We only sold two CD's and those went to two other musicians--horn players who had just recently moved to Norway from the UK. Neil, the trombone player, sat in with us on a couple of tunes while I accompanied on jazz horn (kazoo) and jug.

The streets in Stavanger were filled with teenagers who are about to "graduate" from Norway's equivalent of high school. Hundreds of the students come out on the town wearing red overalls with the straps hanging down. Each kid adds their own patches and designs to the pants, sometimes rolling up one pant leg, or other times both. The legal drinking age in Norway is 18, so each disco is bursting with the graduates all wearing their red, school overalls.

Arnt Ove (Andy) our host and "manager" informed us that we were going to have to catch the late ferry back over to Haugesund and that we needed to be ready to go by 11:30am the next day for an appearance on a weekend morning television show. That would mean we would be done with the gig at 1:30am, but only be able to catch the 3am ferry which would put in Haugesund and in bed around 5:30am. Fortunately, when we arrived at the ferry terminal we found that their was an earlier ferry that left at 2:30am. We crossed the channel in the dark with just a handful of other people and watched the sun slowly come up as we hit the sack around 4am I think.

11am came quickly this morning. I hung another blanket over the window before I fell asleep so the room would be relatively darker. The sun never really completely goes down here because we're so far north. It seems even in the middle of the night there is still a slight glow on the horizon.

Andy had only gotten about an hour and half of sleep. He still had to be at his regular job this morning. He took his lunch break and was waiting to take us to the TV station right on time. The station is small with the transmission only reaching the surrounding communities. We set up our instruments on their sound stage with the host, named Karen, while the production guy clipped microphones on our shirts for the interviews.

Norwegian local T.V. show

In Norwegian, Karen spoke into one of the cameras letting the audience know what kind of music we played and where we performing in town, I think. And then she turned to us and asked us a couple of questions about ourselves. Because it's a weekend show, the station found that no one wanted to get early and produce the show early on Saturday and so they record everything for the weekend during the week and run it on the weekend. So after our "interview" we stopped, made a couple of adjustments and then resumed recording. We played one song while the credits rolled, I guess.

Andy drove us back to his house, Nathan took a nap and I went for a run into town. I'm about to fix a sandwich soon and then catch up on some sleep myself. Tonight we're playing our first show of three at The Irish Viking here in Haugesund. This weekend is a Norwegian holiday--Constitution Day and so I hear that it will be pretty crazy downtown tonight and tomorrow.

More photographs available in the "photos" section at

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