Diversions, a recurring feature on Aquarium Drunkard, catches up with our favorite artists as they wax on subjects other than recording and performing.
As the guitarist for post punk legends Mission of Burma, Roger Miller has played in some pretty crazy locales over the years, but he has never before boarded an airplane intent on playing in a divided country balancing the tensions behind a potential outbreak of civil war. What had before been an expected week of exciting performances with Alloy Orchestra (in which Miller plays keyboards) was now filled with curiosity as to how the people of the Ukraine were reacting to these developments, and what would it mean for the band and the concerts? There was only one way to find out, so he took his seat on the plane to Kiev and wondered what lay ahead…
Tuesday June 24:
Leaving Boston at 8:45pm, we were bounced up to Business Class at no extra charge: that was a definite bonus. Notice the expansive leg-room? After a pasta dinner with wild-caught mushrooms (probably grown on the lush organic gardens of Lufthansa’s rear airplane wings), slept almost the entire flight in my seat’s “Sleep Mode” position. Bodes well for the 7-hour time-change adaption to Kiev. Jimmy (Mission of Burma’s Tour Manager), if you’re reading this, get us a free upgrade up to Business Class when Burma heads out to the West Coast in August: I know you can do it….
Wednesday June 25:
Arrived zonky in Kiev. Amazingly easy Customs – they looked at our passports, at our faces, and let us right in. Didn’t ask us a single question. More like entering a high school than a country in the middle of a crisis. Anna, our Ukrainian hostess from last year met us outside. She works for the U.S. Embassy, which is the organization that brings us here (your U.S. Tax dollars at work!). We were glad to see each other again, and off we were whisked into a van.
We unloaded our gear at the venue for tomorrow’s show: a huge old arsenal turned into a Ukrainian avant-garde gallery/show-space. Cool. Then to the Intercontinental Hotel (same as last year) – good rooms, good English spoken, everyone charming and eager to help us. After settling in we had a classic Ukrainian dinner in a local tent-restaurant: a bit kitschy, but great. Beef Stroganoff please with various pickles and Borscht, please. No reason to complain (except for the mild lager beer).