The place above in the image is the Wallhalbinsel (Could be translated like “Wall Peninsula”) of Lübeck. This place is a man-made island or as said a peninsula located in the Trave River and to the west of Lübeck´s inner-city. But now comes a little or let me say big story, before I come back to what the image above means to me.
I play already guitar since my schooldays and met a guy from the parallel class who was a guitarist too. I did know him already for quite some time. Well you know how it is when you are at school several years… you know those faces after some time. I did by the way hate this guy so much. It was this guy who came with his friends to the fitting room after one physical education class and after a soccer match of my team versus his team, to complain with a big mouth that I played too aggressive. My class was known in the school as a great soccer team due to the fact that we won every tournament and soccer match. In my class were many people who played active in a local soccer club and me included. We always played aggressive soccer but this means that we were not afraid of the enemy or the ball. But he said that I pushed him when I wanted his ball.
I thought he was rather frustrated because his team lost again and that we played so good. But this was not the only dispute I had with this guy. Today I wonder that we never fought against each other. But it was always short before until something happened one day. We all had a break and I was sitting on a table anywhere in the school floor with my borrowed guitar of the music room and played the song “Say it ain’t so” of the music group called Weezer. Then this guy I always had a dispute with came along and I stopped to play. Then he said “Why do you stop to play? This song is freaking awesome and you are doing a great job playing the song!”. He was absolutely impressed and asked me if I would like to play in his band, while I knew that he played guitar as well but he said that he prefers to play solo guitar and that they still look for a rhythm guitarist.
I told him that I find it somewhat strange because all the dispute we had before but he answered that music can bring people together, also those who had a dispute. I had to laugh and said yes let´s try! A great time started then and I became impressed, how people can change in your eye´s. We did play with the band together every free time we could find and every time we could get access to the music room. I had so much fun with this guy and for sure with all the other guys of the band but I just mention this because it taught me that you should always give a second chance and a second look into the things. It could appear that people you hated and had disputes with, might become people you enjoy around you.
As said, we now played every school break and even after school, at least if we asked the music teacher and the groundskeeper to get access to the music room with all the instruments. In front of the music room was a kitchen where girls from the school learned how to cook. Sometimes they brought us what they cooked. As a musician you had always girls around you but the kitchen next to the music room was indeed another way to meet them until our drummer threw the empty tableware through the floor of the school. Well, you know… musicians need some drama because it brings some publicity, that was what our drummer at least thought. This might be true if you are already a famous rock star. But we were just school teenagers and the result was that we never got a meal again and sadly we lost trust and therefore the access to the band room for quite some time until were able to form new trust.
The last year of school started and we got the access to the room back and played a lot until we all had to learn too much for the last exams. The last year became stressful and music was now in the background for some time. It was like we all did lost sight of each other. I got my degree and became apprentice while I didn´t have any contact to the band anymore.
But one day, I met the drummer again anywhere in Lübeck. He said that there was a huge dispute with the guitarist I wrote about and that they now have a new guitarist but that he still did miss me on board and that I didn´t knew how to contact me. This is the point where I come back to the image above.
He told me that they got a band room on the Island on the image above. It was once a transshipment point and harbor for wood but it has been abandoned.
We did arrange a time to play together. When I came to our first meeting, I was impressed by the big wood hall we could play our instruments in. Another great time started and we played again every free time we had. But this time with another guitarist and this time also with a bassist. I can remember that it was a time I had to buy new guitar strings every week, because they simply became a horrible sound due to the fact that I played on them too much.
The first months with the new band were great. But then we started to drink beer and also harder stuff always if we met to make music. Today I do think that this was the start of the end for our band. We were drunken and we started to make more and more party instead of practising or creating own music. There were also experiments with drugs. We still made music sometimes but most of the time we were not so productive anymore. We slept in our band room and I woke up one morning to find a lot of our stuff in the band room demolished. Not our instruments but the bar we did build up for example and some studio lights which were not ours. Also furnishing we brought in has been destroyed. We simply invited too much people one evening and it was a wild party. This was the perfect matrix for trouble.
After these days our drummer still had this dream. He knew someone who was organizing a big yearly festival in Lübeck. There was one offer that if we have or can practice five own songs, then we could play as an opening act for another but bigger local band. We had some weeks time to get our already written songs perfect.. I mean perfect to play them on a stage. Equipment was not a problem as long as we have own instruments, because there would be already amps and so on the stage. Weeks can be a long time to get things rolling but in our case we were just too temperamental and playful. Instead of practicing, we had some of these mentioned party’s again and again. There was a pre-installed lighting console in our room, maybe because the room was a party room before it became our band room. We were allowed to use this lighting console but one night at one of our party´s, our drummer decided to take this thing to throw it into the Trave River. Why? I am still not sure today after over ten years. As mentioned, he destroyed already other things and I think he loved this kind of trouble anyhow. I think he wanted to experience this “Rock Star Image”.
I mean I threw one of my old guitars through the air several times too. Girls loved this show, really! Maybe I did watch, listen and read too much about Kurt Cobain and his band Nirvana at this time. My flying guitar gave me by the way a nickname which some people say still today and it sounds similar to Cobain. I just can laugh about it today but maybe all this is something you need to experience if you are younger. I mean, it was a funny time but the by the drummer sunken lighting console was a big problem for us all. Our drummer had to pay it back to the owner and this incident was also one of the reasons why we lost again a band room, which means we didn´t play on the yearly festival, because we couldn´t practice anymore. Contact to the band people broke up slowly because there was even more disputes due to the frustration about the lost band room.
The whole mentioned story here happened over a period of four years. From school time or teenage over the early period of being an apprentice in a company. It was in general a bad time but anyway a funny experience. It still taught me a lot of things. You can´t be productive if you focus on party, girls and being stoned instead of focusing on creating music. I mean we were now able to cover several famous rock songs and we even did write round about ten own songs. But this is not all. You need to take the key you get.. it was the festival in our case, but we didn´t want this key. Participating at the local festival, could have given us at least a little name in our local area and could have opened new possibilities and that would have been already great, because some of our songs did sound great and I do still think so today. But we didn´t want the key.
So, the image above is representing the experience I had there. The last period of our band at that time. Today, round about ten years later I can by the way still play some of our songs and I do it sometimes just to remember this freaking time. At the moment I do not have a band, because I don´t know anybody plays any instruments. But I still make music for myself. Everything what happened at that time, didn´t stop me to learn more and more about the guitar. I enjoy playing guitar but sometimes I wish I could do this with a band again, indeed with decent people this time but in my age they probably would be, same as I am now! Just decent… I ran riot. 😀 And as said… the place in the image, is the place where I did so.
Addition: I didn´t want to write so much, but the image of this location did remind me to that experience and inspired me to write a lot about it. But there happened so much at that time, that the blog post could be even longer, if I would write about everything I experienced at that time.
6 thoughts on “It was a grungy place and a grungy time…”
I liked your story. Those are all life experiences to learn by. There will be many more !
Thank you Vera. Yes, crazy experience of my youth or young age and I learned a lot of it. With todays experience I would have done a lot different. I think we focused too much on party and didn´t use what we got. Nice bandrooms, local offers… and so on. But this experience does not make me mad as I see it like you… they are there to learn some life lessons. 🙂