Story 1996-04-19 Berlin, Germany

19.04.96 Berlin, Germany, intro to ´Adam Raised a Cain´
´´Guten Abend, Berlin….guten Abend, Ich freue mich in Berlin zu sein (chuckles)….alles ok ? (chuckles) there you go, I worked for the past week on that (chuckles)…thank you, this is a, uh, this is where I make my little disclaimer that most of the music tonight´s real quiet and so, for, in order for me to give you my best, I need a certain amount of silence and if there´s somebody around you making too much noise (chuckles) you should feel free, it´s a community event, feel free to band together and in the most constructive spirit please ask them to shut the fuck up, alright (chuckles) aah, alright (chuckles)….´´

19.04.96 Berlin, Germany, intro to ´Straight Time´
´´Thank you….uh, thank you very much….this is a song about a….fellow….and about trying to be new, trying to….find your way into a, uh….a family life, about a fellow who gets out of prison, he´s trying to find his way back into the world….trying to….and uh, but all your old habits and the things that you did that make you feel, maybe they made you feel alive, whether they were things that were gonna destroy you or not…..can be hard to let go of…. this is called ´Straight Time´….´´

19.04.96 Berlin, Germany, intro to ´Highway 29´
´´Thanks, this is a, uh….a song about a wayward shoesalesman, I suppose….it´s, uh….also, I guess, about self-knowledge, it´s funny, you know, when you´re…..when I was around 23 or 24, I was filled with self-knowledge (chuckles) you know, but then you realise that the more self-knowledge you think you have, the less you actually have, you see, that´s the blessing…. it´s like fool´s gold, it´s called fool self-knowledge instead (chuckles) but this is a song about little self-knowledge coming little too late….´´

19.04.96 Berlin, Germany, intro to ´Murder Incorporated´
´´Thank you….in the, uh, States we got a…..whole part of our citizenship whose, uh, lives and dreams are considered expendable, as a price of doing business….we got murder incorporated….´´

19.04.96 Berlin, Germany, intro to ´It´s the Little Things That Count´
´´Thanks….thank you very much….alright, this is a song about, uh… and women, Mann, Frau….love, sex…..Liebe, Sex (chuckles) why is that the same in every language, I don´t understand ? (chuckles) uh….sehr schwierig…..sehr kompliziert….aber notwendig (chuckles) so (chuckles)….it´s about the size of it right there (chuckles) uh, no pun intended, alright (chuckles) well, I have a story that goes with this song, should I tell it ? (cheers) yeah….ok (chuckles) I´ve told it before but maybe you haven´t heard it (chuckles) it´s not exactly a joke ….but, uh….I´m in my mother´s Cadillac going to a friend of mine´s house…..and I´m on a freeway….in the States that I can´t name and I get stuck in traffic and I´m gonna be late….so I decide to practise some new-found maturity and to pull of the highway and call my friend and tell him I´m gonna be late….I pull off the freeway but I get lost in an industrial area, I don´t know where I am… I´m feeling a little disoriented when I see a bar on the corner…. I pull over the Cadillac, I get out of the car and I go into the bar, I ask the bartender where the payphone is and he sends me into the back…..I go into the back and when I go into my pocket I only got 20 bucks… I go to the bartender and I say ´Gee….can you give me change for a 20 ?´….and he just says ´Well, we don´t give any change around here´….I say ´Well, do you mean, uh, no-one in the bar gives change or has the whole community got together and said ´Fuck ´em if they stop here, no change for anybody´ or´….I don´t know, you know….so, anyway, a waitress is watching and she saunters over sort of and just goes like this and she holds up a quarter….so I take the quarter and I say ´Thank you´ and I go to the phone….put the money in and I dial the number but it seems that I´m just a little bit of the area code because it´s a 50-cent call, you see… I look at the waitress and I say ´Gee….. the call´s 50 cents´ (chuckles) and she says ´Well….well, that´s too bad´….then she says ´But ….I´ll give you another quarter if you give me a ride home´….(no response from the crowd) that´s the whole story….there´s a little bit more to this song than that (chuckles) now, first understand that I make all this shit completely up, alright, and if I didn´t make it up, it´s something that happened a really long time ago (chuckles)….´´

19.04.96 Berlin, Germany, intro to ´Sell It And They Will Come´
´´Gee, I got a, I got a question for you, do you have those late-night infomercials on, where, you know, there´s a, a bunch of Americans in little shorts trying to get you to do push-ups ? (few yells) yeah ? (chuckles) I mean, that´s unfortunately been imported over here ? uh, did you ever hear of a guy named Tony Little ? (no response from the crowd) oh, fuck, this song, I can´t do it (chuckles)(?) now, it´s sort of, you see, it´s, it´s this sort of really stupid song about TV-commercials (chuckles)(?) oh shit, alright (chuckles) ok…..well….alright, I´m gonna do it (chuckles)(some cheers) no, no, don´t, don´t applaud it, it, it, it, it may just be ridicilous, alright (chuckles) I can´t tell, I don´t know… know, I really….oh shit, oh, I got myself into it, alright….I forget how to play it (chuckles)(Bruce hums) I figured I haven´t played it in a while, why I wanna play it now….(Bruce hums) oh, I got it, alright, here we go (cheers)(chuckles) I, I wouldn´t get too excited about it yet (?) it may make absolutely no sense, I can´t (chuckles)….´´

19.04.96 Berlin, Germany, intro to ´Brothers Under the Bridges´ (following ´Sell It And They Will Come´)
´´I told you (chuckles) oh man….yeah, we, uh, we cover all aspects of American culture in the course of the evening (chuckles)….yeah….this is a song, uh…..set in the San Gabriel Mountains which is a mountain range in-between San Fernando Valley and the Mojave Desert….and uh, you get about 25 minutes out of Los Angeles and you can go for about 100 miles and there´s nothing….but national forest….and there were a group of homeless Vietnam Vets that left the city and set up a camp out there in mid-80´s and, uh, this is a song about, about one of them that has a grown daughter and uh…..who he´s never seen, she comes looking for her dad…..and what he tells her….this is called ´Brothers Under the Bridges´….´´

19.04.96 Berlin, Germany, intro to ´Dry Lightning´
´´Thank you, this is a, uh….another song about men and women….Mann, Frau…..Liebe, Sex ….sehr schwierig….sehr kompliziert….aber notwendig….this is about one of those relationships where you think you´re trying hard, I guess you are but, uh, you don´t quite know what you´re doing, can´t keep it from falling apart….got some part of yourself falling apart more likely….this is, uh, this is called ´Dry Lightning´….´´

19.04.96 Berlin, Germany, intro to ´Spare Parts´
´´Thanks, when I was, uh…..I remember when I was a kid and I first picked up the guitar…. you always thought that if you wrote the right song or you did the right thing and took the right stand, you could have some effect on, on the world or change it in some way….I think you get older and….a lot of that gets knocked out of you sometimes….and uh…´s easy to forget, so this is a song about somebody that….changes the….saves the part of the world that, that they can touch….that´s not so bad….´´

19.04.96 Berlin, Germany, intro to ´Youngstown´
´´(?)….a couple of months ago I was in Youngstown, Ohio and uh, that was the, uh… of the steel industry in the States for about the first half of the century and uh….oh, most of the mills closed down in the late-70´s and early-80´s and the town lost two-thirds of its population, I played this little town hall and there wasn´t anybody there that hadn´t had a brother or a father or a son or a grandfather who at some time hadn´t worked in the steel industry….and, uh, they´re the people that built the buildings we lived in and the bridges that we crossed and what we know….knew of as America and uh….I don´t know what it´d be like for somebody to come along 30 or 40 years into a job that was the only thing I knew how to do and tell me that….that, uh, I wasn´t needed any more……..´´

19.04.96 Berlin, Germany, intro to ´Sinaloa Cowboys´
´´Thanks, this is, uh, this is Kevin Buell, my guitar man (chuckles) my financial advisor, sexual counsellor (chuckles) yogi, guru and bookie (chuckles) ´cept he always wins (chuckles)….mystery keyboardist….alright, this is, uh, this next series of songs were all set on the….California-Mexico border and uh….I was in this little Arizona desert town, it´s a town about 80 miles east of the California border, I think it was, it was in the fall around 19….I think it was 89 and, uh….these little towns, they come about every, every 100 miles once you get off the interstate and you take the little state and county roads and uh….they´re really, there´s, uh, there´s a gas-station on one corner, there´s a grocery store on the other corner, there´s a motel on the other corner and of course there´s a bar on the other corner (chuckles) you know, all the necessities of human existence (chuckles) and uh….I was sitting outside this little motel, you know, this little one, you know, one-story motels out in the desert where around 11.30 at night it´s still, you know, 85 degrees and the heat of the day is coming up at you from the, out of the ground and uh….I was sitting out there with a few buddies of mine and these two Mexican men came in from the west and they were driving a truck and there was a young fella, he was kind of high and having a good time and, uh, and there was a fellow about my age and he just, they took the room next to us (?) and came over and looked at the motorcycles….and he started, told me he´d had a younger brother that died in a Southern California motorcycle accident a couple of months earlier and uh, he sat for about an hour and talked about his, talked about his brother and I think it´s, uh….that´s, you know, once you have your own kids, it´s funny how you get used to living with…..sort of a lot of….a lot of joy but this whole other level of fear too, you´re worried about protecting ´em, if they´re safe, I think that first line of family always feels like it´s protecting the ones that come after you…..and uh, when that breaks down, whether it´s your fault or not, I don´t know, I don´t know how people….heal themselves after losses like that….so I was writing a song on the Central California drug trade and a song about two brothers….and, uh, I kept hearing my friend´s voice in my head from, from in the desert….these Mexican drag, Mexican drug gangs come up and they hire the migrant workers in the Central Valley to mix up the metamphetamine, they´re the ones that end up busted or put in jail or blown up….uh, but I dedicate this every night to, uh, to my mysterious friend out there, wherever he may be, this is called ´Sinaloa Cowboys´….´´

19.04.96 Berlin, Germany, intro to ´The Line´
´´Thank you….this, uh, this next song, it´s set at the, at San Diego border station, uh, what you get in Southern California is a lot of young guys that get out of the army and they end up going to work for the….for the California border patrol….and uh…..was, uh….I think it´s a confusing job, there´s a Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes who said ´California was Mexico till about 1848 and so the border´s more like a scar than a borderline´…so this is, uh…..this is a song about a young…..young border patrolman trying to figure out where that line really is ….´´

19.04.96 Berlin, Germany, intro to ´Balboa Park´
´´Thanks, this is, uh, this next song is a song about….(?) kids….and uh….I lived alone for 35 years….and, you know, before you have kids, kids seem like, well, they´re little….they´re just kind of aggravating little bastards, you know what I mean ? (chuckles) and then you have your own….and they´re aggravating little bastards (chuckles) but they´re yours (chuckles) but uh….I was always, I used to hate it when my friends´d come over and, particularly if they´d just had kids, you know, they´d sit on the couch and they´d go on and on and on about how, how great it was and how, you know, ´Gee, he took a piss, it went in the pot for the first time´ and….you gotta go ´Oh, that´s wonderful´ (chuckles) ´Call up that Guinness Book of World Records right now´ (chuckles) but then what´s worse is they start running around and touching all your stuff….I don´t like that (chuckles) and uh, you can´t yell at somebody else´s kid, though, you know, it´s…..doesn´t feel right….but then you have your own….then you get to bring ´em over your friend´s house and you get to let them stuff all their stuff, you see (chuckles) ´Yeah, go ahead, go, go, go, go, go, go, quick, quick, quick´ (chuckles) people always, people always ask you ´Hey, what´s, what the difference, you know, and…..what´s the difference since you´ve had kids, you know ?´….I say ´Well, I get to sit up here and bore thousands with my stories about kids´ (chuckles) and besides that they sort of, they bring, I think kids are, they have a window onto the grace that´s in the world and they´re not closed up yet, you know, they haven´t, either they haven´t been hurt enough….but that window´s wide open and everything comes rushing through it and when it comes rushing through it for them….some of it comes rushing through it for you and uh, I think as you get older that window closes down, which is always why I say, you know, people go out and go to movies or read novels or go out see art or engage in unusual sexual practises (chuckles) to bring that grace back into their lives (chuckles) so….this is a song about kids that…..come across the border into San Diego (?) some of them 11, 12, 14 years old and they end up running drugs across the border or selling themselves in this place called Balboa Park and, uh, they are unprotected….that´s what happens when that grace gets violated, I think….´´

19.04.96 Berlin, Germany, intro to ´Across the Border´
´´Thank you….when I was, I was 26 and a good friend of mine showed me John Ford´s Grapes of Wrath….I grew up in a house where there wasn´t a lot of culture or a lot of, of books and up that point, I think, most of the inspiration…..or sense of life I got I´d gotten from music….but I remember after seeing that film, I remember sitting there thinking ´Yeah, that….you know, that´s what I wanna do´, you know, I think you work hoping that your work´ll mean something to somebody and I thought that that film and, and the novel by Steinbeck asked real fundamental questions that we sort of answer on a daily basis with the choices we make, it was sort of whether your salvation is independent, you know, whether your soul has some independent fate or whether its fate is tied up….as just a piece of something and that we all sort of rise and fall somewhere together….uh, there´s a scene at the end of that picture where he sort of hits that on the head but it gets set up by this, there´s this dance scene in this workcamp and it´s shot very lovely, the faces and, and the music and people holding onto one another and moving across the floor and I always thought it was Ford´s way of holding out the possibility of beauty in a very brutal world and where there´s beauty there´s hope and where there´s hope there´s divine love or whatever you wanna call it, you know….but after that scene Tom Joad, who has earlier killed a security guard who killed a friend of his, knows that he has to, he has to leave his family and they´ve come thousands of miles and they, they have nothing, they´ve left their home…..and the things that they knew and now he has to tell his mother that she´s going to lose her son along with everything else….and he slips into her tent and he wakes her up and he says ´Mama, I gotta go now´….and they step outside underneath these…..dark trees…..and she says ´Well, Tommy, I knew this day would come but… am I ever gonna see you again ? how am I ever gonna…..know if you´re well, if you´re alive ?….you know, how will I see you ?´….and he says ´Well, all I know is I gotta go out and I gotta kick around and see what´s wrong and see if there´s something I can do to make it right and you´ll see me…..because at night I´ll be in that darkness that´s all around you when you´re sleeping and I´ll be in men´s voices when they´re yelling because they´re angry…..and you´ll hear me in the way that kids sound when they´re coming in and they know that there´s food on the table and that they´re safe…..that they´re protected´…..he says ´You´ll see me, Ma´….and he disappears off into the night….. and, uh…..the next scene is the Joads heading, heading north looking for work in the morning and the father says ´What are we gonna do, you know, we lost Tommy´ and the mother says ´Well, we´re gonna keep on going´….so this is a song about that sort of mystery of human nature, why, uh, why people keep on going, why they return to faith or, uh, hope or belief in love….´cause that´s all there is…..´´

19.04.96 Berlin, Germany, intro to ´Bobby Jean´
´´(chuckles) Thank you (?)….I´m not sure why people bring 46-year-old men stuffed animals but thank you very much (chuckles) my kids´ll love it (chuckles)….´´

19.04.96 Berlin, Germany, intro to ´This Hard Land´
´´Thank you very much…..alright…..alright, this is a song about, oh, faith, hope, love, brotherhood, sisterhood, uh, community, every Western I ever saw, little tequila mixed in there somewhere (chuckles) and good, uh, and old friends…..´´

19.04.96 Berlin, Germany, intro to ´Galveston Bay´
´´Thank you, Ich liebe Euch…..first I´d like to, I´d like to thank everybody for coming out to the show tonight and, uh, thank you…..and also I´d like to say this is, uh, music that means a lot to me and I appreciate being able to come out here and do this like this, it´s something that takes, it´s a real collaboration between the singer and, and the audience and it´s a gift that you give me and I wanna thank you for it tonight so thanks…..this song, this was, uh, this was the last, the last song that I wrote for the Tom Joad record, you know, I was, uh …. in the mid-80´s there was a…..series of incidents that happened down in Texas….at the end of the Vietnam War, there were a lot of Vietnamese refugees that came and settled in the Gulf Coast area of Texas and they went into the fishing industry and there was tremendous tension between the Vietnamese refugees and the Texas fishermen, many of whom had served and, and fought in Vietnam…..this is called ´Galveston Bay´….´´

Compiled by : Johanna Pirttijärvi

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