Sunday, December 18, 2005

The long journey north

The band has clocked up well over a thousand miles, driving up and down the west coast of North America. I have tourer's arse from sitting in a tour bus too much. Numb bum. Need some exercise or a massage, or a sauna and a swim, maybe a jaccuzi with a bottle a champagne....and cake. Perhaps some home cooked food and fine wines and cheese, y'know, the good stuff. It's not too much to ask....not really.

Played Sacremento, Portland, Vancouver and tonight in Seattle, home of Mudhoney, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and of course Frazier. Oh and Starbucks coffee emporium was set up here apparently. Tonight we play a sold out show for the benefit of local radio station KEXP which should be a good night. Our last gig of the tour so we'll give it something extra, by krikey, so we will.

Flying back to Blighty tomorrow to reunite with loved ones, to drink proper beer and to bask in the cold, damp winter in Oxfordshire.

It's been a riot, met some cool people and had some great shows, so until next time America......Goodbye and thanks

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Go West young man

Radio session completed,we head north througth wine country to Monterey, where we hook up with label mate MC Lars, whose folks have the most desirable home any of us have ever seen. Nice.

In the morning we stroll along the beach in a languid fashion and stock up on strings, drumsticks etc in the local music shop, before steaming up to San Francisco and rocking the 'Bottom of the Hill' with a storming set, during which a member of the audience takes it upon himself to leap on stage and play drums for a spell. We would have kicked him off, but he played well, and we thought we'd run with it...

I think some sort of party happened afterwards, and I'm pretty sure Ricky from the Jonestown had a major effect on the procedings.

Word has it tonight's gig is in Sacramento.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Episode IV: A New Beginning...

Down the centuries man has sought to express himself through word and song; to voice his inner dreams and fears in the hope that they may reflect in the eyes of a kindred soul.

Some have also managed to keep their trousers on while they’re at it.

Chicago comes through for us in raucous style despite seriously cold weather, and the cowbell receives its most rapturous response ever. These people are crazy. We like Chicago.

Best gig of the tour so far and the rhythm section are particularly delighted when, whilst awaiting our crack of dawn flight to San Diego (at the bar, naturally..) the staff of the Empty Bottle crank up the Rush and other prog classics for our delectation after hours. Xanadu anyone? Ooh!

Our ‘Oiseau Matinal’ flight takes us from frozen solid Chicago, via a tepid Denver to baking hot Southern California where a period of readjustment commences (coats off, cries of ‘that’s more like it’, general delirium etc…)

Pausing only to descend on our friend Lisah in order to procure vitamins and startle the bejesus out of her loony dog, we valiantly head north to Orange County where time and reality invert themselves and the appalling vortex that is Saturday night spits us out dazed and confused in LA on a bright Sunday afternoon with a birthday party to go to.

Danny Power is a good mate and getting on a bit, so we have cake together on a roof downtown, while four of the band get a haircut in under ten minutes!!

Tonight’s gig is at the Knitting Factory on Hollywood Boulevard and lots of hobnobbing occurs which is the way we like it. Gig runs like a Swiss watch and off we pop to an after-show ‘do’ across town in Echo Park, where we offer dance stylings not witnessed since the culmination of the Salem witch trials.

Pausing briefly to lie on the floor, we compose ourselves sufficiently to be at our KCRW radio session at 7.45am.

Yes, that’s 7.45am. Ouch.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Oh Canada..

Montreal is cold, French and Mark gets a birthday cake.

On to Toronto, which is also cold, less French but gig is groovy and we are taken in by the lovely Nancy and Chris, and wind up playing Hey Joe on a lute at five a.m. The full-throttle 'You'll never Walk Alone' also deserves mention...

Border control OK on the way in to Canada, but for hapless Amish boys Hopewell things turn sour on re-entering the US. They are forced to strip and sing show tunes by over zealous customs oficials, but manage to pull it together for the evening show in Detroit.

Snow gets thicker through the night, and we adjourn to 'The Firehouse', with a dude named Rob, who has a bar/pool hall in his basement, and a band room stocked to the gills with BIG drums, BIG bass amps and other BIG stuff to bang about on.

Goldwell & Hoperush (who have fused inextricably over recent months) lay into musical standards by the likes of Rush, Iron Maiden and Led Zeppelin, at absurd volumes and we play pool until we quite literally drop.
Boston is best summarised by this picture. Alternatively you can listen to our set with Mark Gardener here. I'd write more but it just hurts too much inside.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Note to self: If your going to get a flat tyre, get it in July or August 'cos it's no fun changing a flat on the hard shoulder of a freeway in the depths of winter. Still, we sorted the problem and now we are on the road to Boston, Massachusets.

Played in Philladelphia last night. Aahh....Philly; Home of the Liberty Bell, the world's first grid street system, cream cheese, Will Smith, a friend of ours called Horse( yes, that's right, a man called Horse) and of course the Philly cheese steak. That overblown buffoon Bruce Springsteen sang about the city. He still does, sadly. Now, the Philly cheese steak, for those unfamiliar with the dubious snack is a greasy bread roll smothered with beef, onions, grease, green peppers, some lard, lots of cheese, cheese, a healthy dollop of yak's fat and finally....cheese. Sounds good eh? The majority of the audience at the gig last night didn't think so.
I should also tell you of another culinary disaster that originates from these parts. A traditional Amish 'dish' that goes by the name of 'Scrapple'. Hamish and yours truly were brave/stupid enough to try what can be described as a thick, pan fried slice of pig parts. The taste wasn't altogether bad, but it had the consistency of gritty marshmallow....with a crust.

We always have a great time in Philladelphia. Last night's show was the best yet. We had a great crowd, which included Hamish's old man who came up from South Carolina to get his first born drunk on Belgian beer and to see him rock like a man posessed. Tesco the elder left the gig proud, happy and pissed. Job done.

It snowed last night. As you may or may not know, it doesn't snow much in the Thames Valley so I want to see deep snow, all crisp and even. I'm expecting to see this as we go further north to Canada. It's exciting....cold, but exciting

I keep seeing minature drum kits for sale. You know, kits for kids, which I really keen on getting, so there's a christmas present idea for someone if they're stuck on what to get me. Cheers X

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Story so far..

Well, New York went by in a kind of bourbon haze, as does tend to happen....
Arrived on Wednesday and pleased to find good friends Cat Martino and popular Amish folkstrels Hopewell doing gigs in adjacent venues on Ludlow St..
This led to refreshments being taken and people waking up feeling unusual on Thursday afternoon..

After several hours enjoyably spent hunting for the van keys.... and the van, and a total of 44 hours restringing the sodding twelve string guitars, we got stuck in to the first gig at the Knitting Factory, which was loud & groovy, well received, and infused delicately with a hint of saffron.
The after show party was notable for the attempts made by G and Hamish to teach Hopewell how to play pool by 'Brish Rools' ("nah, nah "Brish Rools, brish rhhoools' ), and for one of our party being punched in the stomach by Meg White, in response to his request that she 'punch me in the stomach'.

So to Friday, and a jaunt down past the White House to Arlington Virginia and a packed gig alarmingly close to the Pentagon.
The IOTA club has friendly staff & a great sounding room, so a good time was had in spite of one of the guitar amps 'shitting the bed' mid way through. C'est la guerre....

More as we get it.