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August 9, 2003. Přeštěnice Festival, Přeštěnice u Milevska

We need a secretary. The three of us were working on the mistaken assumption that we'd take the stage on the second day of this festival in South Moravia at 9:30 p.m. That's what Barry told us, but apparently he'd been passed the wrong information - we were actually supposed to play at 6:30.

Oh shit. We made it there at 6:00 and just after we climbed out of our cars, one of the organizers came up and said we were! Uh, uh, we had to scramble to set up, more complicated for me because I didn't have my own bass rig and had to borrow one. Luckily enough, the bass player for the band following us - a group of friendly German kids called Green Frog Feet - was willing to loan me his powerful Ampeg set-up.

The unexpectedly early start threw us off, and much of the music, to be honest, was poor. 6:30 is also not an ideal time to play a rock festival, as the crowd is a bit too sober and anticipating the bigger acts that play during Prime Time.
The set was short, too, as we started playing ten or so minutes past 6:30. We managed only four or five songs, most of which were played sloppily. What saved us was the last song, "Na sracky", again a crowd favorite. We got a few spectators down to stagefront for that one. "TAKTO NEJSEM JA!!!" some shouted along during the song's refrain. What made it particularly cool is that we were billed (not altogether accurately) as a band directly from the U.S., so it was a surprise to the crowd when we started singing in Czech.

I'm glad we left the stage on a good note, because none of us was happy with our performance on the other songs. As soon as we start making some money, maybe we can hire that secretary, who'd be better than us at keeping track of critical little details like when we're actually supposed to start playing.

Prestenice marked the worldwide debut of the official The Joint t-shirts. A little marketing plug here: they're made of durable cotton, attractively styled in black and feature a full-color shot (the same one as on the Web site's home page) of Us Truly on the back. Available in ladies one-size-fits-all and men's L, XL, and for the stout and tall, XXL. A veritable steal at 260 Ka - e-mail Barry at if you want to buy one.

Back to our regularly scheduled program. Yeah, the t-shirts. There was a guy in one corner of the fenced-off compound that served as the festival grounds selling various shirts, though none seemed to be of the bands that were playing. We struck a deal with him wherein he'd sell the shirts and even drape them over the doors of the truck he was using as an office/supply vehicle. We're such a capitalist band.

But maybe not good capitalists. Despite the shirt hanging, the guy didn't sell a single one. Quite a shame. But at least we scored some free advertising. Though I'd rather see our band name and faces splashed on every telephone pole and magazine cover in Prague, I'll take the back of some guy's truck in a pinch. You can't be too particular in the early days.

Overall, the festival was impressively well organized. There were enough toilets, food and beverages (particularly beer, of course) for the 800 or show people that showed up. In one corner of the festival ground there was even a tea room - a little bit of Prague culture exported to South Bohemia. None of us ended up going to the čajovna, unfortunately, to sample a Sahlep or perhaps take a few tugs on one of their big water pipes.

Instead, we simply drank a few beers, ate some festival food and listened to the other bands. Particularly impressive, in my opinion, was Lety Mimo, a Slovak threesome playing basic rock and roll with a lot of cool effects on the instruments. Divokej Bill, whose star seems to be rising, took the stage late at night and played an energetic, fun mix of the better elements of country and rock. They reminded me a bit of the British band The Levellers, which played Prague several times and was popular in the late 90s.

I got to sleep not long after the festivities were over. Though a room at a nearby pension had been booked for us, we were too spent to actually go there. Barry and I crashed in the car we came in, he in the driver's seat, me in shotgun. Brian neglected to take any kind of initiative at all and ended up sleeping on the ground outside. Maybe when and if we get a secretary/manager/assistant/slave he or she could make sure we get to the proper beds - as well as keeping us straight on our stage time.

Eric Volkman



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