FAMOUS A**HOLES I HAVE KNOWNchapter 10   ©Tommy Mandel 1999 
LEDERHOSEN IN MUNICH  (written on the road, back in 1996, I think)

  Well there's another piece of hotel stationary in the leather desk kit here in Frankfurt and it's  only 9:52PM US Time, (3:52AM here), so I'll press on. I've shown the first six pages of this epic  destruction of my future career to a few friends, Chris Chappel, the always cool, witty and  urbane Brit-turned LA-turned NYer, tour manager who counts as friends (and past tourmates)  Pete Townshend & the Who, Mick Jones & the Clash, Bruce Springstein  & the E. St. Band, The  Dame (David Bowie), and most recently, Luther Vandross;  Bill Soden, sage of the NYC  made-to-order music business, and Jim Boggia, (former) teenage head of experimental  synthesizer testing at Ensoniq Corp, (America's only surviving native Synth company), he's also  a scarily good singer and songwriter; They are all amused, and all want the racy sections  extended. As is, I'm drowning in parentheses, but thanks for reading this far. (If you have, that  is.)

  Actually, that last paragraph wore me out. Tomorrow's a big day: I've gotta fake playing organ  on a German TV awards show for their footballers while Bryan actually sings "live to track."  Tonight Marek Lieberberg took us to a great Italian Restaurant in Frankfurt: Alter Haferkasten.  Marek, the Jewish German Promoter who furnished our band with lederhosen to wear for the  encore of his Munich show of '93. When I wouldn't don them because of their cultural  association (in MY mind) with Anti-Semitism, Marek and his lovely staff walked around with long  shamefully embarassed faces. "Ach he Hates Germans, but zat vas 50 years ago", I could  almost hear them thinking.  So the next day I took a walk and bought a $400 accordion, to  prove I respected (elements of) their Teutonic culture.  The gesture was lost on Marek and the  lovely Ula and Anna Lu, his matching goddess/assistants; but not on our band, who promply  outlawed my practicing the poor accordion anywhere within earshot. I was banished to  telephone booths!

  In Germany we move from city to city in a fleet of 3 Mercedes, usually piercing the autobahn  at about 220 klicks (130mph.) I don't feel particularly comfortable at that speed, or in most  Mercedes' with their tight rigidly upholstered seats, but  a) I donít have a choice, and b) most  of the airports are closed, even to private planes by the time our show is done and we've  calmed down and are ready to move. Or so they tell us.  So Mickey Curry, our drummer, who  deserves his own chapter, heck, he deserves his own sitcom!! was sitting in the back of the  Mercedes with me, hurtling towards Dusselforf or somewhere at 130mph, engulfed in the tragic  sounds of me trying to learn accordion, and after about five minutes, I had the clear realization  that he was going to throw it out the window. And I was attached to it.  So I stopped.  I actually played a solo on that accordion on a record a few months ago. But it was for the  Hong Kong artist, Haaken Lee. They have taste over there. Soul. Or hey, maybe I got better!  PS'99: Check out Bryan Adams Unplugged  (the video) (if you can find it) for some of my further  exploits in accordionistic absurdity.)


    There's this spa in Iceland, near the airport, swirling clouds of bluish steam above hot mineral  waters, where people go to get a jolt. From the Arctic cold, into the volcanic mineral laced  waters and then back into the cold. The Blue Lagoon, they call it. We stopped there on the way  home in December of ninetysomething, and before I knew it, I was naked and having the time of  my life swimming around in the bubbly blue brine. Carl Leighton-Pope, the European booking  agent (and Chippendale Baron) stole my clothes whilst I was under, hoping to catch a glimpse  of the fabled Mandel bum to add to his collection of Scandinavian Fantasies. So I had to run  back to the bus in a towel through the snow. I felt great for days after that. But I couldn't  communicate how good it felt, with friends or family back home. When I'd try to describe it, the yawns  would begin, the eyes would wander. Later, someone gave me the pictures of my romp that  appear here.

 I remember one B.Adams show, I was movin around, shakin this and that as I held down the  chords on my B-3, tryin to look like I'm havin the greatest time up there, (which can be work  sometimes.) I think I was quite into the caffeine induced rush that comes from a coupla cups  and a piece of cake before we go on stage... I may have been smiling. Well Bryan looks at me,  his back to the audience, and with stage lights bathing his face in some sort of surreal back  lighting, I see his lips askin me "What are YOU so f*ckin happy about?!" I had to laugh. And  hopefully I'll carry his question to the grave.

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