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Mike Randle

The personal memoirs from Mike Randle's Summer 1996 tour diary with Baby Lemonade as they back up Arthur Lee as "LOVE". "We'll jump off that bridge when we get to it..."


Summer 1996 Tour Diary
Part 4

MONDAY, May 27, 11:24 a.m… Waiting at the London Waterloo Train Station now. Someone at Waterloo screwed up the tickets, so instead of being on a 9 a.m. train and halfway to Holland, we’re scheduled for a noon train and eating Burger King (Yuk!). That means we won’t get to Amsterdam until about 7 or 8 O’Clock. At least we don’t have a show until tomorrow. In the morning, I’m going shopping and maybe bike riding. Gene was very pissed at the Waterloo cronies. It’s the first time I’ve seen him blow up. To make up for the fuck up, Euro-star (the train service from England to the continent) gave us 1st Class seats so we weren’t too upset!

SAME DAY, 3:15 p.m… This train ride is amazingly smooth. Out of my window, I see the Belgium countryside, drunk from French red wine, I’m listening to BIG STAR with headphones on. Our server’s name is Isabella and she’s bringing more wine as we pass through landscapes, over rivers, and through flora and fauna. Music, my soothing escape, a dreamer’s paradise.

SAME DAY, 5:17 p.m… Just made our Brussells train (the first train goes from London to Brussells; the second one goes from Brussells to Amsterdam). This ought to be a 2 1/2 hour ride. The first train ride was 4 1/2 hours. When we arrive in Amsterdam we’ll get a taxi and head straight to the TEARDAM HOTEL.

THAT NIGHT, 8:40 p.m…The train ride was cool. We all drank a bunch of Heinekens. It was a short taxi ride to our Hotel, which is small but cozy. I need a room itinerary list so I can know who’s in what room so I can call the guys and tell them to meet me down at the bar. Richard and Ringo will arrive here tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully, we’ll run into Cindy Lee Berryhill tomorrow. She plans to come to the Paradiso show since she’s got a few days off from her tour.

TUESDAY, May 28, 3:06 a.m…Slept for a bit then went out to the Red Light District, which was a lot of fun, with Fairweather. I’m not sure where the other guys went and I don’t know what happened to Arthur, Gene, or Gene’s friend (who’s been with us for a few days now), Eric. Eric is American but he lives in Stockholm. Both he and Gene speak Swedish fluently. Fairweather and I had fun walking around. I smoked some Hash and ate a Salami sandwich. We took a cab back to the Hotel around 1:30 a.m. and I headed right to the bar, but the bartender said he had to close up so I had to convince him to keep it open (that was easy) and give me free drinks (that was hard). The bartender’s a pretty cool guy. His name is Walter. There’s nothing to do but hang out. I kinda miss everyone back home (but not that much). More and more, sleep is becoming a rare commodity.

LATER, THAT SAME EARLY MORNING, 9:00 a.m… Had a good 6 hours of sleep. I’ve got my own room and it’s very small. As soon as you walk in, there’s the sink. Then the bed. Then the bathroom. One thing is certain, this ain’t no Sweden. I need to call Morley and get Greit’s phone number. (Note: Morley is a friend of ours in L.A. who also plays keyboards with Baby Lemonade sometimes.) Greit lives in Belgium and we may have a layover there after the tour so it would be great to have a place to stay overnight before our flight to Atlanta in two weeks. I tried to call her from the Hotel here in Amsterdam, to no avail. I wonder where everyone is. Maybe they’re downstairs having breakfast? The receptionist has an attitude! But the bartender is cool. I should say something nice to Gene. He paid for everyone’s laundry while we were in London. I think the bill was $21.00. Ouch! I’m sure we have to pay him back.

THAT AFTERNOON, 1:15 p.m… Went downstairs to find the gang, but the doorman said that everyone had already split. But he wasn’t sure who everyone was and he didn’t have a clue where they went. Well, I believe the sound check’s at 5:00 p.m., so I’ll walk around a bit and maybe buy some postcards. Better yet, I’ll find a bar. This city is beautiful. It’s a bit chilly out, but the canals look so romantic. The lovers take boat rides around the city through the many canals of Amsterdam. Van Gogh would probably laugh.

EARLY EVENING, AT THE BAR WITH ARTHUR, 5:00 p.m… Wound up hanging out with Arthur. As It turns out, the gang left Arthur and me to fend for ourselves so we did what any self-respecting Americans would do when put in that position. WE WENT SHOPPING. We checked out a couple of cool clothing places and I bought a real cool necklace. Arthur found a rad scarf and a very cool jacket.

So now we’re having cocktails, basking in the warm sunlight that billows through the bar window. Thinking not of Los Angeles. Thinking not of traffic tickets. Thinking not of Downtown smog. Thinking only of music, and how to make it better.

THAT EVENING, STILL, 6:50 p.m… The sound check was o.k. The PARADISO club used to be a church so there’s loads of echo. It’s difficult to tell how it really sounds. Gene, Arthur, D.F., Daddio, Rusty, Eric, and Chapple all went to eat. This is the perfect time for me to do some sightseeing on my own. I hung out with Arthur all day, and I didn’t mind, but I didn’t get a chance to do some of the things that I wanted to do and explore. So now’s my chance. This place is very interesting.

WEDNESDAY, May 29, 2:00 p.m… Just arrived in Rotterdam, Holland, by van. The ride took an hour or so. Last night’s show was great! In the middle of the show, a fan jumped on stage and started playing Arthur’s guitar. It took everyone by surprise. The guy also tuned it first! Gene went to stop the guy but Rusty gave Gene a tambourine when he stepped on stage. When I split up with the guys last night, I found a nice bar called, The Palladium. The bartender’s name was Roger and he was a bit Macho. While walking around, I bumped into Richard Meehan and Mike “Ringo” Harrison. We walked over to the club (Paradiso) to see if there were any posters for the show. There were, and they were big and looked real good. Frank Black (of the Pixies) is playing there in a few days. The funny thing about the Amsterdam show was the crowd. They were totally stoned. You could smell marijuana in the air the whole time. After the show, we all kicked back outside the dressing room because Arthur wanted to be alone. A guy from the opening band offered me some hash (which I smoked) and we also hung out with a guy who worked at a record store there called, FOREVER CHANGES. After that, a bunch of us went back to the Teardam Hotel bar for cocktails. I ordered a round for everyone (including Cindy Lee Berryhill and her boyfriend/ Manager, Paul). I felt sick and went to my room and that’s the last thing I remember. According to Richard, however, I went to my room, threw up, and passed out. Richard was supposed to sleep on my floor but I was too out to answer the door. Finally, the Hotel manager opened my room with his key and found me laid out, snoring! Mind you, this was 3 a.m. in the morning! Richard said if it weren’t for the snoring, they would’ve thought I was dead. We checked out of the Hotel and said goodbye to the bartender, Walter, and to the Hostess, Denke. Said goodbye to Amsterdam.

The guy who drove us here is also named Eric. The ride was particularly hard for me because I was (am) extremely hungover. He was the sound guy from last night’s show and was sweet enough to drive us to Rotterdam. Let me get straight to the point; Rotterdam is a very rough-looking industrial city. We should be arriving at our Hotel real soon.

SAME AFTERNOON, 2:30 p.m… Ringo and Richard took a train from Amsterdam so they should be pulling in soon. Our Hotel is a piece of shit. It was provided by the club. Had Gene known how horrible it would be, he would’ve taken liberties and gotten a really good Hotel for the last show of the tour. My room is the size of Rusty’s closet and I have to share it with Daddio.

EARLY EVENING, 5:05 p.m… We (not including Gene and Eric) went looking for a place to eat and found a Spamburger joint. Well, they said it was a Hamburger but we knew better. Yet, we still ordered them and they tasted like shit. We left that place and found a cool pool hall/Bar across the street from the Hotel called THE JUKEBOX. Arthur beat everyone at the pool. The place was dark and smoky and we loved it. We drank REAL Heineken and the locals were friendly. Tonight’s show is the last one. From here, Arthur and Fairweather fly back to Los Angeles. Gene and Eric are going back to London so that they can catch a flight to Stockholm. The rest of us are going back to London to stay at Richard’s flat for a day, then we’re all off to York, where BABY LEMONADE has a show in a few days at a club called, FIBBERS.

SAME DAY, 6:19 p.m… Being on tour is a real trip. I was so drunk last night. I don’t even remember going to my room. Starting tomorrow, I’m taking it easy on the drinking. This was a short tour so it was easy, but, as anyone who has toured will tell you, there’s a lot of dead time and a lot of waiting. Some people you meet, you remember for the rest of your life. Life becomes one loud wake-up call.

THURSDAY, May 30, 10:00 a.m… I’m sitting on a train at the moment, on my way back to London. The train’s crowded. Gene, Eric, and I are in the non-smoking car, and Daddio, Richard, Rusty, Chapple, and Ringo are in the car behind us, the smoking car (Europeans LOVE to smoke. Arthur quit smoking and stuck to it the entire tour). The train stops in Brussels, Belgium first, before going to England.

Last night’s show was great, second only to the Powerhaus show in London, in my humble opinion. The crowd was a very boring crowd, maybe because they were stoned, but we played the music as if it were our last day on Earth. Arthur was extremely focused and sang like an Angel. Afterward, we hung out with some fans and it turned out that they weren’t bored but rather, mesmerized. The club we played at, ROWTOWN, was small and there were about 150 people there. Ringo and Richard sold 24 shirts @ 30 Guilders ($19) each. We did EVERYBODY’S GOTTA LIVE as the encore. That was a fun show. During SIGNED D.C., when Arthur sang, “I got one foot in the graveyard”, he looked at Rusty and added, …” and one on a banana peel, if you know what I mean!” I started laughing! I’ll never forget that. Later, I smoked a “fatty” with the club manager, Margarite. She said she’d love to have us back. I gave her a Baby Lemonade tape. She was offended when I asked if she was French.

We’ll be in London in about 5 or 6 hours. Said goodbye to Arthur and David Fairweather. This was the best time I ever had in my life. Absolutely.

THAT AFTERNOON, 3:20 p.m… Finally, back in London. Gene and Eric have a while before their flight to Stockholm so I think they’re going to get a bite to eat. Our train ride from Brussels (Rotterdam-Brussels-London) was good fun. We drank beers and laughed n’ stuff. At last, a happy ending. The tour was a success and Gene hinted at another tour soon, possibly in Japan and New Zealand. Tomorrow we’ll be in York, England for 10 days. Then it’s back to Los Angeles (via Atlanta) and the crazy, fast-paced life of Southern California. So for now, goodbye Europe. You have my heart.

Part 1  |   Part 2  |  Part 3

Mike Randle