Headz Germany 1993

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Headz Tour
Tour by Palm Skin Productions, DJ Shadow, James Lavelle

While the dates and details of this tour are currently unknown, DJ Shadow has often been quoted talking about this tour in Germany that he and James Lavelle took part in, which was Shadow's first time ever DJing in a club[1].

At the time Shadow was still in University, so he had to fax his homework from Germany[2].

Possible Dates

From the bonus features to the documentary The Man From Mo' Wax there is a close up to the Headz Tour poster.[3] The following dates can be seen, though the locations are not clear:

  • 16 November 1993 - Hannover - Palo Palo
  • 17 November 1993 - ? - ?
  • 18 November 1993 - ? - ?
  • 19 November 1993 - ? - ?
  • 20 November 1993 - ? - ?

Excerpt From Endtroducing by Eliot Wilder

When did you finally meet James in person?

He had come from England to LA to DJ, and he took the opportunity to head north and visit me. One thing that I remember about when we met is that I was playing a tape I had made of a David Axelrod song. James, who had never heard of David Axelrod before, said, “What’s this you’re listening to? Oh man, OK. Wow! This is amazing. Where can I get it? When are we going to go record shopping?” So right from the beginning we got along real well. In late ’93 I went with James to do a tour of Germany. It was a really important trip, because it cemented James’ and my relationship. It was eye opening. Nobody in my family had ever been outside of America. It was not something I ever thought I’d be able to do. Growing up, my mom always would say, “Oh, I’d love to be able to travel.” But we couldn’t afford it. So, I felt honored and lucky to be able to go out there. I felt like my music had taken me somewhere that I never dreamed I’d be able to go.

How were you received?

The only people that knew who I was were like the people who booked us. And they probably made an effort to discover who I was, since they paid for me to be there. But James is the type of person who likes to bring new people into his life to keep him constantly learning and evolving. I guess at that particular time he thought, “Well, I’ve got to do this tour in Germany. But I really want to do it with somebody who would be fun and fresh and new.M aybe I can teach him something. And maybe he can teach me something.” I flew to London first to meet James, and I remember I was so wound up before I got there that I didn’t sleep the night before, and then I couldn’t sleep on the plane, because I had never been on an international flight. And it didn’t get any better because I landed and James picked me up, and even though I was feeling ill from lack of sleep I just couldn’t get enough of what London looked like, and the fact that I was actually in another country, which seems kind of quaint to me now. But at that time, it was really exciting. I had no idea where I was in London. I remember feeling nauseated by all the diesel fumes, because they run on diesel out there. Just walking down the street, I felt like I was suffocating. So, I landed in London at noon. At about 5, we had to get on a plane for a gig in Germany that night. We got there about 8, and the promoter—his name was Marley—picked us up at the airport and drove us around. He was with us on the whole tour. It was through Marley, and through James, that I started to just trip off of the lifestyle of these guys and the club scene and the drug culture involved with it all. I was like “Whoa! This is definitely not in my background.”

What kind of drugs? Just pot? Or something harder?

No. There was harder stuff that I saw later. Mostly, they’d be driving around, burning hash. [laughs] It was such a different life than in California, where the rules are so strict. OK, so I still hadn’t slept. We got into Germany, and the gig was actually in East Berlin. The wall had been down for a few years, but when you cross the line everything gets a lot weirder.

Kind of like in Wings of Desire?

Right. Exactly. To promote the gig that night, I did an interview in an old military bunker that had been converted into a radio station after the wall came down. It turns out that MC Jamalski, a guy whose records I knew, was at the same radio show. I felt like I was completely in some fantasy world, because I couldn’t figure out what the hell he was doing there. So then, the gig started at 1 in the morning. There was another Mo’ Wax act called Palm Skin Productions that was the headliner. They were a real acid jazz group, with all the trappings: a bongo player, guys with the certain type of goatee, the whole hippy vibe. But they were cool. And then, I remembered falling asleep against the speaker at 2:30 in the morning; I had just had it. People were stepping on me, but I couldn’t move. And I had to DJ—James put me on at 4 in the morning. I just played hip-hop. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. I had no idea how to cater to that crowd. But over the course of the tour, I watched James and how he would read the crowd. He was on the mic quite a bit. He would tell me things like, ‘Don’t play more than like three funk 45s in a row, because people will desert you.” One night I went against James’ advice and played six funk records in a row, and the crowd seemed really into it. At the end of the night, I got on the mic and said, “Thanks for being funky.” Which is kind of a cornball thing to say. And I remember somebody going, “Fuck you.” I got all embarrassed, like, Geez, the one time I get on the mic, and this is the result I get! The person was just messing around, but it still affected me in some weird way.


External Links

Cropped poster on DJ Shadow's website

Excerpt from Endtroducing by Eliot Wilder