Sunday, September 18, 2011


Drama on the West Coast Tour!

Usually I only keep a blog when I’m having my adventures in the Middle East, but I’m on a west coast tour with Raquy and the Cavemen and there has been such drama that I feel compelled to write about it.

Drama #1 – No Passport
So the plan was for us to fly in to Seattle and for Euphrates to pick us up and take us up to Van Couvar.
However, after driving 14 hours she realized she hadn’t taken her passport! In her defence, she had come straight from Burning Man where she spent all night flogging people and didn’t get any sleep.
We quickly recovered from this first drama by changing the plan – Euphrates would stay in Seattle with a friend while we took her car to Van Couvar and she would meet us a couple days later after her mom sent her her passport.

Drama #2 – Fishky Disappears
Euphrates finally made it to Van Couvar just in time for my advanced dumbek workshop. Fishky wanted to practice back at the house where we were staying so he said he would pick us up at 9:15 when the workshop was over.
9:15, the workshop ends and no Fishky. We wait for 20 minutes and no Fishky. “That’s strange”, I thought. Although he is a wild crazy musician he is always extremely organized and reliable when it comes to being places on time during the tour.
“Maybe he fell asleep at the house” we thought. We picked up some Indian food and another friend brought us back to the house.
We get to the house and still no Fishky. I try to call him and his phone is turned off. I start worrying. Euphrates says, “ lets just eat, I’m sure he’s fine!” but by this point I was starting to freak out and had no appetite. “He would never just disappear like this on tour”, I thought, “Something terrible must have happened!”
I start looking for clues. I see that his Dum Set is only half set up. “What does that mean? Why would he set up half of his Dum Set? Did he leave the house in a rush?”
Another hour goes by and I start seriously freaking out, so I called the Van Couvar police station. Here’s the conversation:

Me: My friend is missing!
Police: How old is he?”
Me: 32
Police: When was the last time you saw him?
Me: Three hours ago
Police: (After some silence) He’s 32 and you saw him 3 hours ago and you’re reporting him missing?”
Me: But he would never just disappear like this! Something terrible must have happened!”

At this point we hear the car drive up and Fishky comes upstairs throatsinging.

Me: Never mind, he’s back

It turns out he was at an ice cream parlour with 80 different flavors and it took him so long because he was having trouble deciding.

Drama #3 – Turkish Delight
Euphrates got me the best gift for the tour – a book called “Making Out in Turkish” about how to flirt and date and have relationships in Turkish, which I predict will prove extremely useful during my upcoming winter pilgrimage to Istanbul.

As luck would have it, we happened to be double billing in Van Couvar with an ADORABLE Turkish DJ! Sooooo cute! He was gracious enough to only speak to me in Turkish although his English is perfect. It proved the perfect opportunity to try out some of the phrases from the book!

Drama # 4 – My Kemenche gets smashed on stage

While I was in the dressing room before the show in Twisp Washington, apparently a lamp fell on my 12 string kemenche tarhu and crushed the bridge. Nobody who saw the fall realized that it had been broken.

We began the show with drumming and then I picked up my kemenche to play a song, saw that it was broken and screamed in front of the whole audience.

Some backgound about my kemenche. There are only two of them in the world. They are made by Peter Biffen in Australia, who now has a three year waiting list if you want to order a new one. The design is extremely unusual and complicated so any normal oud or violin repair man would be terrified to touch the thing.

Fishky and I were stunned – I’ve often had nightmares that I’m on stage and my kemenche is broken. I felt like I was dreaming. We were just beginning our tour – what will we do for the rest of the tour?

“Is there a Luthier in the house” Fishky desperately asked the audience.

Suddenly one of the most beautiful men I’ve ever seen in the front row says, “I’m a Luthier, let me have a look!” He was like an angel sent from heaven with the most incredible eyes.

He took the kemenche to the dressing room and proceeded to operate while Euphrates and I looked on hugging each other and weeping, In the meantime Fishky played some of his solo pieces.

Miraculously this stunning man got the maker of the kemenche in Australia on the phone and with his advise put it back together so that I could use it for the rest of the tour! And I was actually able to go back on stage and finish the show!

I’ll still have to send it back to Australia for a more permanent fix, but in the meantime it’s sounding better than ever and I have a new appreciation of my instrument.

I can’t wait until I’m rich and famous enough so that I can bring the luthier from Twisp with me on all of my tours just in case!

By the way , Euphrates and I usually have opposite taste in men and the exact same taste in food, making for the perfect friendship, but this was the first time we both agreed that the luthier in Twisp is absolutely dreamy!

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