not in kansas anymore

Foreword to live in st. petersburg cd by tuxedomoon


In November 2000, contrary to what any of us might have believed, Steven Brown, Peter Priniciple, and I found ourselves playing together again as Tuxedomoon. Even more astoundingly, we were to play in St. Petersburg, the first time any of us had been in Russia. Fortune does indeed seem to favor the foolish. This band, this vehicle we have made, has taken the three of us, together and separately, to far flung and unlikely parts of the world. Amazingly enough, it continues to do so, so long after its inception.

As American members of a generation which grew up during the cold war, we were most curious to see just what Russians were like. We knew less than nothing about the Russians except what our government had told us, and the American government then as now, like the Russian, is not noted for telling the truth.

We were frankly astounded that anyone had heard of us at all in Russia. As we sat backstage, autographing collections of our material more complete than our own, we could only shake our heads in delighted disbelief. The fact that some of the CD’s in those collections were bootlegs seemed no great problem. At least people were listening to us and appreciating what they heard. The effort required to find our admittedly obscure offerings just about anywhere, let alone in Russia filled us with amazement and admiration for the dedication of our Russian public. It was a privilege to play for such an appreciative public.

“Rock and roll is the best travel agent in the world” as one musician of my acquaintance has put it .One travels the world and is privileged to see the places one visits from an insider’s point of view rarely afforded to tourists. There is, however, usually very little time or opportunity to get a real feeling for how people live in any given place. What I can remember of St. Petersburg comes as a series of snapshots. I remember the sound of the river, as its blocks of ice slushed by. I remember that the traffic lights were enormous, bigger than those in Europe or America. Everywhere, those Russian hats for sale, offered by sombre men on the street. The joy of eating borscht in the place it originates. My delight at knowing how to smoke “papirosi” russian cigarettes, from watching spy films. (You have to bend the tube here and here to make a filter, see?) My amazement that so many Russian women were blonde and delightful to the eye. The sound of the tourguide’s voice as we did a quick guided tour of the city, rubbernecking like the tourists we were at the flat out gorgeousness of Peter the Great’s capital. All of this and the cold. “You are lucky you are here while it is so warm” joked one of our Russian friends. “Ha ha ha”, we said, wrapping our scarves a little tighter.

So, here it is my friends, the documentation of the event, presented post facto for your listening pleasure. Our Russian sojourn proves yet again that in life, the story is never over. There is always some surprise waiting around the corner.

(Blaine L. Reininger

October 2001







Last changed: 11/06/2001, 22:27:59