3 July 2006


CINC got into the van with driver Amos Scattergood and started our roadwork on Saturday the 10th, performing in Cleveland (my first gig there in nearly two years). We played one longer set as the trio needed to be offstage early so that a rock show could start by 9 o’clock. Phil had been able to coordinate a better amp/mic setup for the violin and his effects since our first gig in Chicago and this, coupled with a chance to get a feel for the new sensibility of the trio, made the Cleveland gig feel like a large step forward for the band. From Cleveland we headed about eight hours further south and east, to Arlington, VA. This turned out to be the worst attended
concert I’ve performed on the road since I started touring in the United States- five people were there. To do all the work necessary to get Paul Lytton and Phil Wachsmann to the United States, and then coordinate a first time tour for this trio in North America, only to have such a lack of interest in one of our concerts was a major disappointment. People have repeatedly asked me in the last few years if I feel that there’s a difference between playing in Europe and the United States and I have always said that the audiences were very similar. However, now it seems that there is more of an interest on just my work with the Vandermark 5 when in the U.S. as compared to abroad. In Europe I’ve found an open mindedness over the last few years, which keeps expanding, which allows room for all of the different kinds of music I want to play. My hope is that it will be possible to build an awareness for the range of aesthetics I’m working with in North America as well, but it’s difficult to present these ideas in a live forum when presenters and fans sometimes believe that touring twice year with different groups is once too often. For a variety of reasons it’s been possible to work overseas with a half dozen different ensembles each year. Rather than burn out the audiences, this has helped build them, and listeners are hearing the differences in the music on a regular basis and associating my ideas with more than one ensemble.

Thankfully, after Arlington, things picked up considerably. Two excellent sets at Tonic in New York on the 12th, a great double bill the following night with the Braam/DeJoode/Vatcher Trio in Philadelphia, then a day off in Philly to check out its museum again and wander the streets. It was supposed to be a chance to recharge, and we all felt pretty great after viewing the art (interesting to watch people walk in and out of the room that holds Duchamp’s, “Given: 1. The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas,” without them realizing that there is more there than a large wooden gate), but there was more in store for us. After the time at the museum, the four of us visited the old town, splitting up so I could look for records while the other guys explored the city a bit. At 6:30pm I strolled back to the scheduled meeting point and saw Paul and Amos waiting for me. I figured Phil was running a bit late until Paul ran up to me:

-“Do you want the good news or the bad news?”

-(I realized immediately something bad had happened to Philipp.) “Let’s try the good news.”

-“Well Phil’s in the emergency room, but it could be a lot worse.”

-“What do you mean, ‘worse’?”

-“He’s okay, he’s okay. But he took a nasty fall when the two of us were walking around, and split open the side of his head right above his left eye.”


-“People were very helpful and got us an ambulance right away, you Americans can be very generous. I keep trying to tell friends in Europe this, that you’re not all like what gets shown on the news.“

“Thanks Paul.”

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