As I see the relentlessly horrifying things that the dominant culture of my species does to its home on a daily basis, sometimes I want to grow scales, gills and fins. Devolve. We fucked it up! Back to the swamp! Back to the soup that we came from!
Human guilt is a shitty feeling… you know what I’m talking about. If you’re not comfortable in your own skin, you won’t be comfortable anywhere on this earth. Packing up your baggage and moving to a new place (i.e. running away) is not a good way to deal with shit. However, if you can find a way to joyously sing and share yours with an understanding of the fact that everyone is also wading through the same swamp, and do this with a lack of shame, then you might be on to something worthwhile…
Like it has for so many other humans, art and music have kept me sane in a seemingly insane world. To me a good show is when there is a feeling that both performer and audience are acknowledging the fact that while everything outside of this living room, basement, gallery, club or bar is really messed up, here we are, joyously sharing our shit with each other… better out than in!
Freddy Fudd Pucker
has toured a lot. Touring is madness. Especially touring in a DIY fashion. Booking shows in Hungary, finding booze in Mississippi, staying awake while driving from Zürich to Vienna in a blizzard, sleeping in truck stops the world over, trying not to get arrested in Texas… You have to continuously slap yourself in order to avoid slipping between realities. It is my favourite thing to do, but it is not easy.
In early 2013, four or five years into almost constantly touring NZ, Australia, the US and Europe, I found myself asking some questions about ways to make this lifestyle socially, financially and most importantly, mentally sustainable. I was asking things like, ‘Where can I live cheap enough to not work much, giving me time to dedicate myself to creative stuff?’ ‘Where can I tour a lot, nurturing a small, but growing fanbase while constantly finding new crazy places to try?’ ‘Where can I find a mix of the inspiration that comes with chaos and at the same time find the time and calm for this inspiration to manifest into songs, etc.?’ ‘Where can this NZ passport get me into for more than three months at a time?’ ‘Can I seriously still go to a bar, pay $10-$12 for a pint of beer and look myself in the mirror tomorrow afternoon?’
After asking these questions, Berlin was the winner. Considering its popularity with the cool kids, Berlin is still relatively cheap. If my monthly rent is not much, then I don’t have to worry so much about working. Heck! Sometimes I can pay rent from being a touring musician. Crazy idea huh?
Berlin’s geographic location is superb to tour Europe from. So, as long as you’re willing to put in long hours booking (by this I mean developing real and constructive relationships with people that organise shows in their town), there are shows to play in weird places all over Europe.
Actually, Freddy doesn’t really perform so much in Berlin. I prefer to book regular, small tours around Germany and Europe. Mostly, I use my time in Berlin to take in the weird stuff other weirdoes do, work on new songs and projects while drunkenly ranting to friends by the canal in my neighbourhood… yes, the beer is cheap and affords me this luxury.
Berlin is a genuinely multicultural city with a vastly diverse array of people living in it. For me this is probably the most charming and inspirational aspect of living in one of the biggest, dirtiest, poorest capital cities in Europe.
It is easy to think of Germany and just think of fat, pinkish-white dudes eating würst and drinking huge beers. Although, of course, there is a portion of the population that fits that description, that perspective is very skewed. For example, Berlin is home to the most concentrated population of Turks anywhere in the world outside of Turkey. It also has one of the most concentrated Vietnamese populations outside of Vietnam. Poles, Ghanaians, Russians, Australasians, Americans, Serbians, Spaniards, Roma and Sinti, a huge amount of Arabs mostly from Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine. To me, every ethnicity and culture is an integral part of this city. They are celebrated by the everyday hustle on the streets and in the process get morphed into new cultures. (Fun meat fact: the döner kebap was invented in Berlin, not Istanbul.)