The Time The Germans Thought I Was A “T” Word. Part I

It’s time now, for another look back on my old MySpace Blogs. Yes, you remember MySpace. It’s what we did in that timeframe between chatrooms and Facebook.

This one is part on of an incident that happened back in 2002 on one of my tours. As usual, I have changed it a bit to protect those who were involved, but beyond that, it is just how I told the story on my MySpace blog, back in 2006. Please, if you do enjoy it, let me know and I’ll be happy to post the next part. Yup, this is a four-part story.

polizei

May 4, 2006

Current mood:nostalgic

Random tale from life on the road…

Back in 2002, on one particular tour, I was accused of being a terrorist.

So, in usual European tour routing fashion, we had an 1800 km drive from Porto, Portugal to Ludwigsburg, Germany.. no double driver, and one day to get there. About an hour into our departure, the driver realizes there’s a definite problem with the trailer, filled with heavy gear and merchandise dragging behind us. He pulls over only to realize that one of the tires has blown. Simple enough, change the tire, right? Wrong.. the spare was left behind at a gig a week prior and no replacement had yet been purchased. We’re EXTREMELY pressed for time, so the crew is taken out of our drunken stupor and sobered up with the news that we must now, move the majority of the backline and gear (equipment), into the bays of the bus, as well as fit whatever we can inside the bus. Now, it’s important to make this clear… there are 16 of us on this single-decker bus with only one small lounge, where there is already not enough seats to accommodate us all. So, the fun of the re-packing begins.

Now that the majority of the weight is out of the trailer and we move on, very cautious of the speed as not to draw attention to the fact that we’re riding on 5 tires, rather than 6. Several cops in Portugal and Spain pass us, none the wiser of our busted trailer. We’re coming to the home stretch… in Stuttgart, only 20 minutes from the gig. Doors are scheduled to open in 45 minutes meaning we’ll just make it before the crowd comes in. But what’s that? Sirens? A 5 car police escort surrounding our little purple tour bus? Busted…

The cops proceed to pull us off the autobahn into a highway truck stop. We desperately explain our situation, insuring him that as soon as we get to the gig and drop the gear, the bus will immediately take off to get the trailer serviced. No go. Zis is zee Deutsche highway patrol! Zis is not acceptable! They’re going to make sure we get it fixed asap. They give us that same 5 car police escort over to a station they know can have it fixed zee German efficiency way.

I feel it necessary to interrupt momentarily and point out the fact, that this is the last day of the tour for me. The bands are travelling to Greece the next day, and I’m heading back to the US the day after that to start my next tour. I get in only a day early to get things ready for the boys, who will be joining the tour 3 days later directly from Greece, and who have asked me to tour manage the tour only a short 5 days prior. Those of you who have toured in any crew, or have seen me in all of my last day of tour chaos, knows that any and all time is precious in closing everything out. Accounts, final inventory, paying out necessary parties, disassembling the displays, etc. This is all very time-consuming. Add to last day chaos, start of tour chaos (advancing, arranging gear, etc. on only 5 days notice), then that’s a whole lot of stress.

Now where was I.. oh yes. The bus is pulled over at the service station that the polizei escorted us to. What better way to pass the time of fixing the tire, than a good old-fashioned drug raid! Oh yes, we are all individually questioned, several not so cute hounds are brought onto the bus and our belongings are sifted through “delicately” with rubber gloves. Surely a heavy metal tour bus will be a jackpot! Nope… and after two hours of this (doors are now sooo open back at the gig where none of us are), these guys are pissed.. What to do, what to do? Eureka! Let’s pick on the little American gal with the beat up passport… Hmmm..”Miss Tourmama?” (allow me my anonymity) “”Yes?” I reply meekly with the innocence of a child sitting on Santa’s lap for the first time when asked if she was a good girl or not. “Zear is a problem viz your passport”. I’m shocked. There has never been a problem viz my passport before. I run through borders like the Taco Bell dog and have never been questioned about anything.

So, I walk over to see vat zee problem is. It’s then I noticed the problem.. and a BIG problem it was! They had torn up the lamination over the photo section of my passport and started ripping the photo off! I can assure you, it did not look like this when it was given to them. I reply with”You’re damn right there’s a problem! You destroyed my passport!” Their reply? “Vell, it looks like you are a terrorist… zee laminating over your picture has been tampered with”. Refer back to my pictures if you’re not sure what I look like.. but what is going through their minds when they think that a 5’3″, 110 lbs, almost transparent, I’m so white, girl, who is the furthest thing from inconspicuous covered in tattoos and piercings.. is a terrorist? I’m curious. I pointed out that the lamination was not torn on my passport and now they have destroyed it. They tell me that it looks like it was double laminated and that’s why they tore the picture up. I show them every piece of identification I have on me but they’re not convinced.. “You are not who you say you are… you are a terrorist,” they keep telling me.. I’m flabbergasted.

I ask them what we can do to get this moving along. They want to take my passport to the Stuttgart airport and run it through passport control. I tell them fine.. anything to get us moving to the gig. I grab their badge numbers and all info, climb back onto the bus and we finally proceed to the venue.

At this point, doors have been open for over 2 hours. The place is packed and the only way for me to load in the merch, is through the entire crowd. That’s around 16 full boxes of t-shirts, through roughly 1200 people.Now remember.. last day of the tour for me, all boxes have to come in, record company has to be paid.. bands have to be paid. Chaos! I manage to get everything set up and the tour manager comes out and informs me the cops are back with my passport. Relieved, I go out back and meet them with a smiling, but flushed, face. “Everything ok?” I ask. “Yes” they reply. “Well, can I have my passport back? I have a lot of work to do.”  Get ready…

“No,” they say, “we must arrest you for being a terrorist”.

It’s at this point, the hysteria kicks in and I begin laughing at them. They assure me they are serious though… now panic and fear sets in.

“We could not prove you are who you say you are, so we must arrest you”.

Needless to say.. I’m freaking out a little bit. Me. My only encounter with the law before this was a speeding ticket and a part-time job at Dunkin’ Donuts where part of my job description was to give them free coffee and donuts. I tell them this is bullshit and I want to call the embassy, the consulate, an American lawyer, a German lawyer and my mom! Mom first.. yes.. she can help!

My mom doesn’t believe me at first, but quickly realizes, this is not one of my normal tour pranks. She gets on the horn with the consulate and faxes over copies of my birth certificate, etc. The guy at the consulate then calls me on my cell phone.

What I’m going to tell you is true:

“Hey Tourmama. (again, anonymity) This is blah blah.. can you say something for me?”

I speak.. telling him the story…

“Mm-hmm..m-hmm.. I see. Well, you certainly sound American (-thanks fuckface, I’ve been working my whole life on the accent!-), but I can’t be sure of that. So here’s what’s going to happen.. the Germans can take you into custody and since you can’t make a phone call to us over the weekend because we’re closed, you’re going to have to sit in there for a few days, but we should have someone to come get you by next Wednesday.” It’s Thursday by the way…

Yup….

This is unacceptable.. I hang up with Uncle Sam and go back over to the cops to begin pleading my case. In the meantime, my friend B, who lives 20 minutes away in Stuttgart shows up and starts vouching for me. Long story made slightly shorter, they agree to let me into her custody, providing I pay 350 EUROS bond and they take all of my identification. They are going to take my passport to an “expert” tomorrow and get it checked out. FINE! Anything not to sit in a German prison!!!

I go back in, completely frazzled and attempt to finish the night’s work and the tour accounts. I get it done, drink half a bottle of vodka to numb myself, then go back to B’s place and pass out from exhaustion….

If anyone’s slightly interested in hearing part 2… oh, it gets sooo much better..then let me know that I’m not writing this for my health…

*** LIke this and ready for Part II? Link direct here.***

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11 responses to “The Time The Germans Thought I Was A “T” Word. Part I

    • Thanks for checking it out! All 4 parts are complete now. I’ve left a direct link that brings you directly to the next part of the story at the end of each part, or go to Random Tales – True at the top of the page. You can see all 4 parts there, as well as some other road stories. I’ve considered the book, but I would need to change A LOT of names…too many to make it worth it, perhaps, but if I get enough readers and feedback on here, you never know 🙂

  1. This is scary, I would have freaked out like hell. Actually I’m freaked out only reading it… have to read on and get to the happy end asap!

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