The entire January is dedicated to the production of the new album. The songs are done already, but this time Neoangin decided to release a book along with the album—his own creative way to throw some obstacles into the path of those who merely want to rip the cd: photocopying the book would actually be more expensive than just buying the darn thing! Several print-shops say no to the job before a printer in Poland agrees to print the book in cd-format, with a hard cover and soft, matte paper.
The label Lieblingslied has garnered some attention with some unusual publications, and it seems to be the appropriate partner for this production.
Neoangin goes to Israel for a week to perform ambitious shows in Tel Aviv and Haifa—before a mostly Russian audience. The very strict airport security is at a loss of words when they check Neoangin’s luggage: they find a bunch of cardboard-masks and colorful stage paintings. They close the suitcase and wave him through.
Scratchbook, the new album, has been released and the reviews are pretty positive. However, the record release party at Galery Tristesse in Berlin ends up being somewhat disastrous: no one thought of getting a proper PA system, and the living-room loudspeakers at the gallery sound atrocious. Nothing but a sad whimpering sound emanates from the speakers. The audience talks of lo-lo-fi and the TAZ writes about no-fi. After only a few songs the record release party is over and Jim disappears to New York and
soon thereafter he comes up with a new event idea: Berlin Blinddate: The potpourri of half-, fake- and visiting Berlinians hits the nerve of the notoriously curious New Yorkers and their constant quest for something new.
Neoangin also starts collaborating with some New Yorker Russians in exile. Together with Radik aka DJ Spacedog he cooks up parties in Coney Island. This is how he meets Aleks Budovsky, a wicked animator who already has received numerous awards for his animated cartoons. It is decided that Aleks will do the video for Hello Jukebox. Aleks’ mastermind combines images from scratchbook into a topsy-turvy story. Half a year later the video is completed and is celebrated in a gaudy party by the Astroland. Jim is so enamored with the video that he decides to put it on a special mini CD, which is released as Chinese Horoscope in the fall.
A sore topic is the fact that Neoangin has never been invited to an open air festival. There have been talks with several organizers but in the end they never wanted him—except for one exception: the klangtherapie festival in the Bavarian backwoods. In 2005 he had already demonstrated that has the skills to turn a sparsely visited area the size of a football field into a crowded field with a screaming audience—this year this feat shall be repeated. Even in the port-a-potties the Bavarians sing along to Nightbus. Blinded by the overwhelming response Neoangin goes overboard with his encores; the only ones not happy about this great success is The Boygroup, who are lined up to play after him, the climb the stage with grim faces. So let me take a moment to once again apologize to The Boygroup.
Let’s not leave out the fact that in the summer Neoangin does a Russia tour along with a charming French man named Chazam, that he organizes gaudy Blinddate Berlin parties in New York with the likes of Masha Qrella, Nova Huta and Frau Kraushaar. Still he spends most of his time masterminding a serious Europe tour. Not only is he planning an extensive Germany tour and concerts in Lisbon, Paris, Zurich and Moscow, also on the agenda is the “goldene Zweitalter”, a media revue with performances in theaters and cinemas. Neoangin is joined by two old partners in crime: Mr. Multimedia Prof. Thalhofer and Mr. Nova Huta. Not on board: a script. Days before the opening night the only useful idea they came up with is to have an optimist and a pessimist discuss the state of the world in songs.
And wouldn’t you know it: it’s the first day of the tour, our men are in Lisbon, and Avignon loses his voice. Completely. No remedy comes to his rescue: hot tee with honey, miracle cures, booze, pills…Neoangin expresses the wish to only perform instrumental pieces, but the organizers oppose vehemently. They want him to sing. That means only one thing: lip syncing. If it has been working on TV for 40 years, it cannot be that hard. Neoangin is so good at pretending, that he receives a plethora of complements for his full voice—he accepts while coughing. He decides to stick to lip syncing from now on.
The tour is marked by the usual highs and lows. The media revue goes surprisingly well. But Zurich brings a showdown. Thanks to incredible media coverage announcing the show the club “Helsinki” is at full capacity at 9:30 p.m. It is so crowded that the owner doesn’t even want to let in the folks on the guest list. Not only that: he asks the bands to shorten their sets and to allow for longer breaks in between acts, so that the audience can be swapped. This is bound to fail. Nova Huta goes way over his allotted time, the organizer flips out and tells Neoangin to stop his partner. Needless to say that Neoangin refuses to do such a thing, instead he uses his own performance to announce his resentment over such strange habits per microphone. They part on bad terms, the bands wave their hotel privileges and crash with friends, and now they are stuck without a club in Zurich. But there are golden evenings as well: the show in Stuttgart-Schondorf only comes to an end when all the bar’s supplies have been drained and the audience’s t-shirts have been painted. In Cologne the “Raum für Kunst und Musik” is so packed that the only way to get to the bar is to stage dive.
The grand fall tour ends with shows in Hamburg and Paris, and a mini Russia tour with “Fraufrau” (aka Frau Kraushaar). After the final show our Russian organizer Sergej passes out and remains ill for 6 months. Since then we have gotten used to his new habits of only drinking tea and yogurt drinks. Mostly we are relieved that he is feeling better again.
What happens in 2007, and why Neoangin didn’t do a New Year’s show will be revealed right here very soon.