From the Archives: Yebo’s Junior Senior US Tour 03 Diary (by crunchy.dk 27. November 2003)

As I didn’t really take anything other than mental notes all this is taken from the deep dark dungeons of my memory of the tour we just ended with Junior Senior.
As some may know we have visited the States a few times before but this was the first time we got to go through the whole country in 40 days and 30 shows and play for ”the people” and not ”just” ”the industry”. We all had our doubts if people would know the music apart from ”Move Your Feet” which was a hit on the radio over there, and we had the feeling that we might end up playing for some semi-interested people just waiting to see The Electric 6 with whom we toured on the first leg of the tour. But in all cases I think everybody was set for a great interesting journey. One which very few bands from little ol’ Denmark get to take.
The tour party consisted of:

Junior: Guitar and vocals

Senior: Vocals, handclaps and various percusion

picture: taken at an Indian rest area in the petrified forest, Arizona. They bought these hats in order to achieve a new and more rugged image.

The Rhythm Prophets:

Filip: Bass

Yebo: The drums

The Unisex Backing Singers and Percussion Roadies:

Lars “i lommen” & Joy

and the crew was:
Perry the Driver
Steve the Tour Manager
Mads the Sound Tech

THE MIDWEST part 1
Milwaukee, Chicago, Madison, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Oklahoma City
We Danes landed in Chicago full of expectation and got picked up by the tour bus. Our home for the next 6-7 weeks. It was a pretty nice vehicle with a lot of tacky 80´es kinda big screen TV’s etc. Comfy and spacious enough for 9 people . We were all pretty tired when we got to our first destination: Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We got us some food and hit the sack..

Wisconsin has a lot of Danish, Scandinavian and German decendents and it actually looks very much like a Danish landscape. Everybody we met had a Danish relative, and as Milwaukee is the beer capital of the US we found ourselves right at home. We met The Electric 6 at the Cactus Club where we were to perform. A small club in a residential area. Not flash or glamorous in any way. Kinda like the clubs we know from provinsial Denmark. The E6 guys were really nice people and even though we had some difficulty getting the names right (3 Chris’es) we got along fine and throughout the tour developed a great friendship with these wacky Detroitians.

All our fears about people not wanting to see us play was put somewhat to rest on the first night and the subsequent Midwest dates. ”The people” reacted with great enthusiasm. And the fans knew almost all the songs and chanted along. Really great to experience. It was also good to see that the band could play a really convincing show with only 2 monitors and quite shabby conditions, as we have been used to pretty luxurious PA systems, and especially Junior and Senior are very sensitive regarding monitors. We did what had to be done with the tools we had and kicked everybody’s asses. It was Friday night. People were drunk. It was a beautiful start of the tour.
Next day was in Chicago and we rode there in the night. We woke up at friggin’ 6 am after only 3-4 hours of sleep to play ”Shake Your Coconuts” live on Fox News. Pretty psychedelic experience, but it went rather well. The show at the Double Door club at night was sold out, went great and we had a really good time. Unfortunately Junior had a sore throat and even had to do 1,5 hours of Australian phone interviews after the show. So the next day he was sick and unable to sing more than a couple of songs.
This was something that haunted us for the next few days playing Madison, Minneapolis, Kansas City and Oklahoma City. We had some really good shows but Junior could only play his guitar and sing very few songs. A real bummer but luckily we had Lars to cover for some of the shortcomings, and Senior also sung some of Junior’s lines. It was really annoying that we had to cut the set a little short – especially in Kansas City, but it seemed like the audience had a good understanding that we were doing the best we could, and at least Junior played his guitar and danced like a crazy person.

Joy had her 20th birthday on our off day in Kansas City and we went out to a fondue restaurant that was really really good – and expensive, too.

THE SOUTH
Dallas, Austin, Houston, New Orleans, Atlanta, Charlotte
As the weather got better, Junior got worse. We hit Dallas and Junior was still only able to sing a song or two each night, but Lars was getting really good at doing Junior’s parts and it seemed like we were doing pretty good. It was a great treat for me personally seing the spot where JFK got shot and standing on the grassy knoll behind the picket fence where the killing shot might have been fired.
The day after we got to Austin, one of the only cities we had played before at their SXSW festival. We were there in March and had a great time at the Crunchy Frog show case with The Tremolo Beer Gut, The Mopeds and Crunchster in spe PowerSolo. We were all looking forward to going back, but at this time both Junior and I were feeling quite sick (goddamn air condition!). We had an in-store show at a very cool record shop called ”Waterloo” and we got to play the legendary super cool club EMO’s. We played the big room and close to 1000 people came out to see us. This was probably the best show on the whole tour, I think. Even though I was sick it was just such a great crowd and the band just rocked that night. A GREAT night that I will remember for a long ass time.
Houston was weird. They seemed to still be building the club when we arived, but magically they got it almost completed by nightfall and we had a fun show very close to the audience in a gallery more than a real club. The sound was shit, but it was good fun, and there were a lot of freaky girl fans that was dressed up and – frankly – messed up too.

Now, on this tour we had agreed that we would have a strickt non-alcohol policy on the tour bus. This mainly due to the hard schedule but mostly because of Junior’s body chemistry which dictates that if he gets really drunk he have to sleep for 3 days and looses his voice instantly. So it was very important that he, Senior and myself (who was working for the CF label the whole time on my cell phone and laptop) could get some rest without drunk idiots on the bus. This meant that if people wanted to go drinking they would have to stay off the bus until they wanted to sleep, basically. Well, during the tour we all decided that it would be quite OK to have a couple of drinks before the show to get in the mood, and that was actually all the alcohol most of us consumed on the tour.

Untill we hit New Orleans!!!

Let me tell you about New Orleans. It is a town in which it is practically impossible NOT to get drunk. I think Junior managed, but this is probably more due to him being sick than straight. In New Orleans you have to eat and drink and enjoy life. It was Saturday night and everybody was in a good mood even though for some reason this was one of the worst attended shows of the tour. Afterwards we went to town with E6 and some locals and got pretty drunk. As we passed a gay bar (what a coincidence) they were playing ”Move Your Feet” and I got pretty excited and started shouting ”Bøssefar, Bøssefar” (which means “gay dad” in danish – a nickname for Senior) and we got invited in by the owner and got Jaegermeisters for free. Filip got a lot of C.R.A.Z.Y footage on his video camera this evening. It will probably be included in some sort of documentary we’ll do sometime soon. I shot about 20 hours of video on this trip and Filip and Mads probalby another 10. Stay tuned for the DVD! Candid photography. Nudge, nudge!

Off-day in Atlanta with major hang overs. We watched ”Bruce, Almighty” on pay per view at the hotel room. It sucked. Jim Carey’s worst film. We are a lot of Carey-fans in this band, but we were really disappointed. Junior had to take a trip to the hospital to get a salt water and antibiotic shot as his condition just kept getting worse. Next day we played a good show in Atlanta and afterwards one of Senior’s girlfriends called Elhaam threw an after party for us, where Senior and Filip DJ’ed and Joy broadened her horizon on the dance floor.

The day after that Junior was so sick that he couldn’t perform. The Jr Sr show was cancelled and the rest of us went bowling. That sucked. Hard. But guess who won a free dinner and had the highest score. That’s right punk! The Yebinator!

THE EAST COAST
Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, Hoboken, Pittsburgh
”Washington DC – It’s paradise to me” as The Magnetic Fields sing. And what a great show we had there. Everybody got to see some sights in the daytime (except me working away in the hotel room with Crunchy business – boohoo). The Black Cat Club was a cool place and we had a great crowd. By now we had the show without Junior down pretty good and was able to rock without thinking about the missing voice all the time. The same went for the next two dates in Baltimore and Phily.

We spent Halloween in Philadelhia and the club was in a poor black neighbourhood. It was interesting and nice to see that despite obvious poverty, people in the streets were able to come together and celebrate Halloween together and make it a special night for the kids. The people at the show was also dressed up, as were Joy in here brand new cheer leader outfit. A little weird show under tough circumstances, but I think the audience dug it al the same.

Now it was time for NYC; The big old crazy apple that we had visited several times before. A sort of home-coming. We were excited to get to play at The Bowery Ballroom which was sold out. It was Saturday and Junior’s voice was back on track. Everybody was psyched up for the show and I think we did a really good job. The most legendary event of the evening was when Senior danced backwards into Filip knocking him over and breaking his bass arm against the drum riser. Filip’s bass arm was simply broken off, and he had no way of continue playing. Luckily this was during our last song, ”White Trash”, but it was in the beginning. I think the audience must have seen Filip starting to just bang his bass into the floor like a maniac and think: ”This guy is a FREAK! –Why doesn’t he wait until the END of the song to break the bass?”. It was definitely weird and fun and made the show memorable. Of course this was the one thing we did not get on video tape as Mr. Footage Wizard Nikolic forgot to change the tape. Nice one, Fil!
The same morning we had to leave for Boston at 6am due to the NYC Marathon. At 6 am Senior hadn’t shown up and we waited 4 hours before we had to go. Ian Zaider the band’s US manager jumped off the bus and stayed behind to try to locate Senior (you should know that Senior have a tendency to loose everything, especially his wallet and clothes, so he just might be in a tight spot somewhere on Manhattan). By the time we got to Boston Ian had found Senior but now we noticed that Lars was also missing. Everybody thought he was sleeping in his bunk… Well, like Senior, he had found a romantic interest somewhere in NYC and decided to spend his off day in bed.

The Boston show was GREAT. We played in Cambridge, and even though it was on a Monday we had a full house and a long line outside the Middle East Café. If not Austin, then Boston was the best show of the tour. totally dedicated fans and the band was at it’s best. Total victory!

BUT…

Just now that we were in our strongest line up, what happens? Senior got sick. Same deal as Junior. No voice, feeling ill and even had a high fever. He also had to go to the hospital and get medicated, and the rest of us had to decide what to do in Hoboken. We all agreed that it so sucked cancelling in Charlotte and Senior gave us his blessing to play without him. Whoah… what a challenge. Junior and Lars went straight to the bus and started rehearsing the lines. By now Lars knew most of Junior’s lines in the patented Jr Sr call and response recipe, but now he had to reverse the whole thing. So we went on stage pretty nervous and tried to do the show without the Big Man. I sucked! From our point of view it was really not a good show. A lot of the audience said they loved it, but it was easy to spot the difference as Jeppe is the great party maker and toast master. Junior did the best he could, but we all felt we had a lousy show. Unfortunately we had to play both Pittsburgh and Columbus without Senior as well while he got better in NY, but these shows went much better. Lars once again saved Junior Senior’s ass.

THE MID WEST part 2
Columbia, Cleveland, East Lansing, St. Louis, Lawrence
Rolling back into the Midwest we played a show without Senior in Columbus, the state capital of Ohio. Went pretty good, but we couldn’t wait to get to Cleveland where Senior would join us again. We played the Grog Shop and I gotta tell y’all that it was a great reunion. Senior sang the whole show and it was just good to be 6 again. We had a good show and the owner of the venue was so nice to us, gave us great food and set us up with free drinks all night. The best treatment on the whole tour (together with the Troubadour in LA). A great experience. Hopefully we will be back.

Michigan State University in East Lansing was the last show together with The Electric 6. We had a great time with those guys, and this was their own home turf only 1 hour from Detroit. We had to play in a big booming auditorium and at sound check it sounded like Phil Spector had come to haunt us, talk about a wall of sound! Luckilly the show sold out and about 500 non-alcoholic, non-smoking students made the room much nicer sounding. We had a good show and Tyler (Dick Valentine) from E6 came up and helped the backing vocals on ”White Trash”. In return most of us entered the stage during E6’s ”Gay Bar”. They had tried to convince Senior to do it for obvious reasons several times, but this night we took the stage by storm and had a ball. We hugged our new friends good bye and got on the bus to go to St. Louis for an off day. We’ll catch up with E6 again in a few weeks to play Brixton Academy in London by the way.

After a nice day off we got to the Creepy Crawl in St. Louis. This would be the first show together with IMA Robot. The venue was a heavy metal / punk / hard core club and it probably had the shittiest sound system on the tour.
I only knew Justin from IMAR from before. He plays the bass and used to play with Beck’s band, and both Senior and I met him when Superheroes played with Beck in Stockholm a couple of years ago. I was managing Superheroes and Senior was guest starring on ”Johnny and I”. It was nice to hook up again with Justin and his crew from IMAR. Again we got along really great with the other band, and it was a pleasure embarking on this trip with them. For some reason we again had an awesome show under bad circumstances. The crowd was wild and we just let it rip. we tried to impress IMAR I guess, and we succeded. IMAR was a great experience live as well, they have a certain mad energy that you just gotta love.

Lawrence was fine, but again it seemed like Kansas isn’t the state with the most Jr Sr fans. But the ones that came out were great and we had a good time with them.

MOUNTAIN TIME
Denver, Tempe
Just after the show in Lawrence we got on the bus and headed out for Denver. A pretty long drive, and we woke up lightheaded in the mountain air of Denver. First we thought we were all hung over, but it seems that the height tends to screw with you. We got dizzy and nautious very easy. The show was at a hole-in-the-wall that didn’t even look like a club. Before the show we had a couple of drinks and – probably due to the height – we all got very silly. We decided to ”punk” Senior (like the MTV-series ”Yo Dawg! You been PUNK’D duuuuuude!”) and tell him that everybody left after IMAR had played. Senior is always a little anxious about the crowd and he was getting a little freaked out that the audience left. He was setting himself up for a bad experience, but as soon as he entered the stage he knew, oh yes he KNEW! He had been PUNK’D!! DAWG!!!! He he. You gotta have your little fun on tour. The Margaritas tasted great in the mountain air that night.
Next up was a long travel day on the way to Arizona. We made the drive to Alberquerque where we hung out at the Wyndham in order to get our driver Perry time to sleep. Senior, Filip and Mads spent 9 straight hours on the internet, I had a swim and a sauna, Junior slept and did some phoner interviews and we all just had a lazy relaxed day.

We were supposed to get to Tempe, Arizona the next day in the early afternoon. We left at 3am but only after one hour there was a big BANG and the heavy bus started to swerve on the road as the air filled up with a burnt smell. The right front tire had exploded at 60 mph. Extremely dangerous situation, but luckily our driver managed to stop the bus at the side of the freeway without anybody getting hurt… or waking up for that sake. Actually only Filip woke up during all this. He and Perry went out and looked at the damages, and they were both pretty shook up the rest of the day. Well, it delayed us about 6-7 hours and we didn’t really get a sound check in Tempe when we got there.

On top of all this on this jinxed day our hard disc recorder went bust in the change over between the bands. CRAZY day, and as a result we played our worst show EVER. It really sucked for The Rhythm Prophets, but Jr and Sr did the best they could to entertain the audience and we pulled through it. I had to stay up most of the night trying to recover the hard disc tracks while everybody else went drinking. There was an after party set up where Filip and Senior DJ’ed, and I guess that was a lot of fun. For the others. While I toiled over the hard discs. No thank yous to poor old Yebo of course. Boo hoo.
PACIFIC ROUND-UP
San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle
After the hellish day in Arizona it was nice waking up in San Diego in warm weather and with time to go have some authentic Mexican food. I shaved my beard so I had a moustache and tried to blend in looking like a mexican greaseball, hadn’t got the tan for it though. We got the hard disc working again and we were all set to do the West Coast… West Coast style.
By the time we hit the Pacific coast the whole non-alcohol policy had gone down the drain – or down the hatch so to speak. This was mainly due to the fact that the end of the tour had a lot of off days compared to the start where we did 6 shows in a row, one day off and then 6 more. It simply isn’t possible for this band to do 6 dates and drink at the same time. Actually we had never done 6 straight dates before this tour.
The next day we hit LA. We got there in the morning and spent the day shopping and wandering around. Ate at Sizzlers which was a fun thing. Everything is all you can eat, and we challenged ourselves to eat way too much. We had a good time though. Walked it off. In the evening our friend Alexis stopped by and people got a little drunk. Junior and Senior did a lot of interviews and I watched ”L.A. Confidential” – read the book a couple of months ago. Great stuff. James Elroy is a favourite.
Next day was the show at the Troubadour. It was nice to come back to this venue. We played there before and we got along great with the ladies running the club. This time they had made special ”We love Jr Sr”-T-shirts for themselves and a ”I love Troub”-visor for Senior. So sweet. They also got us the largest bottle of Stoli they could find and some porn for Senior (who is a collector). Cool to be back. L.A. is the home town for IMA Robot, so we had high expectation for the show. A lot of friends on the guest list and a sweet after party set up. The actual concert went really well, but we thought the crowd wasn’t really that responsive. We had a hard time getting their asses in gear, but in the end everybody danced and cheered. Afterwards the guys from IMAR said that they had never seen an L.A. crowd go crazy like that, so I guess we had them going after all.

The IMAR guys had set a party up at Star Shoes, and we had a ball. We convinced our tour manager to let us stay for the night because we had an off day the next day, so we even got to sleep at the hotel and not on the bus.

Next day it was off to San Francisco where we arrived in the evening and had a quiet night before playing Bimbo’s. This was probably the best and most beautiful club on the tour. Nice tables, red plush interior, gold fittings – like a 30’es night club. Nice vibe. Afterwards we had (yet another) after party where Senior and Filip DJ’ed. We had free drinks all night and had a great time. San Francisco is a favourite of all of us. A lot of crazy and sweet people. Gay Dad had a whole collection of BEARS out looking at him at the show, and they also came to the party. I almost regretted having a ’stache at this point, but I avoided getting grabbed too much. A great night out once again. And once again nice we had a travel day afterwards to relax. We stopped in Portland Oregon and had a kind of farewell dinner for everybody on the bus. We went out to this steak house with the band, Mads, Steve and Perry. The best fucking steak I ever had. Nice to have this kind of family style dinner and just raise our glasses and say thanks for a great tour.

The last supper (counterclockwise from 7 O’clock):
Steve, Perry, Lars, Filip, Jr, Sr, Yebo, Joy

Last day in Seatlle. We did some live songs at KEXP radio station in the morning. Hard to get up to it when it was so relatively early, but it turned out great. You can hear the recordings HERE. I spent the most of the day videotaping a lot of interviews with the tour-members, trying to get enough good material for our big documentary project. At this point Filip was starting to feel ill, so he spent a lot of time trying to get in shape for the last show on the tour, which just HAD to be great.
As it turned out we had a sold out show. IMAR rocked the house and we got ready to do our business. Filip never got in a good shape for playing and said he had the most feverish psychedelic show. He played well, though. As an encore we did ”White Trash” with Timmy, Justin and Alex from IMAR thrashing the stage. Total mayhem, and a great end to the tour.
The day after Junior and Senior flew to tokyo to do 2 weeks of promotion and the rest of us flew back to good old Copenhagen. What a great trip. We had some hard times but even more good times. We ate great food – loads of sushi and had a bit of a dreeenk. We had sun, rain and snow, and most of all we met some really cool people. Not in the least in the bands we played with. Stay tuned for the DVD!

The Yebinator

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