Sunday, October 12, 2008

last show. Vienna.

'Ohhhh..Vienna..' yes..we all know that song.
All very tired. We had an enormous travel day, then off to FM 4 Radio for 3 live songs and a chat with Eva. A taxi ride back to the venue through the beautiful city..half an hour later, we are on stage performing. I'm trying to boost my energy levels. The choice of fuel available is red wine, white wine, beer, ham, cheese, bread, chocolate ooo and water .
mmmm...I choose wine and chocolate...and I am back! The classic combination.
Again, Robert was in top form and we all played well.

The tour is over.
We celebrate.
We have news we have been asked to perform 'All Tomorrows Parties' shows in Australia, January 2009 and have been nominated for an ARIA for Best Adult Contemporary Album of the year for 'The Evangelist'. We feel excited, as we know we have reached another level within this band and we are very happy as we get to play together again in 3 months.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Switzerland. Winterthur. 7th oct..Salzhaus

We had the morning off as we drove all day yesterday.Tis a very still, warm day here. We have walked to the Venue as its just around the corner from the hotel. We are awaiting soundcheck..nibbling on the usual bread, cheese and sliced meat. Robert is busy working on his new song ...we have come up with a groove that is sounding a little like a 'Spanish Stomp.' This is our 2nd last show and I am feeling a little cheated as we are just now playing like 'Spicey Demons',s really great fun. Robert is in fine voice,Glenn has now mastered his transistion from The Go Betweens Drummer to Multi Instrumentalist and lovely Matt has settled into this world of touring, live radio and big shows like an old pro...even though he is only 21...The Engine Room is steaming ahead, the throttle is open and temperature needle has gone off the dial.

Cologne. sunday 5th oct...Gloria

Could this possibly be the best show we have ever played this tour?
I await those who were there to give feed back.
I have to apologise for my blogging..daily free Internet can be hard to find on the road, and i,m too tight to put my visa card number in to every hotels hot spot...i,m sure you all understand.
We love playing at Gloria. The sound on stage thumps!

Berlin..The Passionkirche.oct 4th

Ah yes....One big hangover in the morning.
Too many weiss beers and, of course, the 'The Long Island Ice Tea'.....a favourite of the band.
We had a super night.

Tonights show is in another beautiful church.
More fudge arrived too...thankyou to our special friend. Does life get any better, i ask..?

Monday, October 6, 2008

3rd October

Day off – Berlin.

We have our first real day off today and we are not having to drive anywhere..
We are in Berlin. The sky is blue and there is a funky vibe is in this town that we are off to explore. It turns out to be a big day and night out...

2nd October

2nd Oct. Dresden.

It’s a public holiday here today. All is quiet on the Eastern front. Again, we don’t have time to explore this city. We play in a beautiful church which is still used by the famous Dresden Orchestra to record their albums. It’s a special sound here.
A natural reverb that blows you away.
We play quietly. I’m glad we are able to do this as the audience still captures the urgency and drive of the rock songs and the intricate playing and story telling of others. We are turning into a very versatile band who can now play Libraries, Churches, Rock n’roll venues with sticky carpet, garden and house parties.
What next I ask??

I wish I could have explored this city. We are all intrigued by the history and ask many questions to our German friend ‘Pe Pe’ who is our driver and general helper. He tells of the bombing that happened her during the war. The city was flattened, but is now being rebuilt beautifully.

1st October

1st Oct 2008.

Here we are on the ‘autobahn’ 172 km from Regensburg. Tonight we play Munich but before Munich we must spend a few hours in Regensburg. Robert has a photo shoot there. So while he is off posing and preening we shall be running around town drinking coffee and seeing the sights of this wonderful city.

We are now deeply in tour mode. The days and nights blur. What is real and what is not, and days in the van and lack of sleep and one petrol station after another and it is all getting a little crazy. Our next day off and chance of rest and stabilization for
ourselves is in Berlin. Till then we swing with the circus and the shows we play are all the better for it. Frankfurt last night was a winner. Hamburg amazing.

New songs are coming into the set and we are also developing a ‘visual’ style on stage. Robert is telling the lighting operators at each show to only use 6 white lights and no more. This is causing controversy and the lighting operators keep talking of washes and colour wheels and backdrop lighting and Robert gamely rejects all of this insisting on only 6 white lights. It is a battle.

Celebrity Watch. Still no one.

So Munich tonight. Rumour has it that it shall be recorded for local radio. Robert is working on a new song that has developed over the last week or so – we play snatches of it in soundchecks. It sounds a little like ‘Song From Under The Floorboards’ by Magazine I think. Robert says lyrically he is aiming for T. S. Elliot circa 1909 – a sick inner city malaise captured in music. There is a bit of early period Franz Ferdinand (circa November 2004) about it too. The title seems to be “I Am Not What I Seem’. But then I could be just mis-hearing him.

That is it for now.

Post Munich Show.

Very happy with our performance. The songs are shinning.
The beer is flowing and we get to meet some fabulous folk.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Monday 29th September 2008

Welcome to Steep Hills. We are on the road to Hamburg with the ferry trip from Denmark to Germany recently behind us - lots of boats and sailors and small waves and wooden huts around us over the last day. They flash by. And now we approach mighty Hamburg.

Hamburg is full of memories. Tiny harbour bars we have visited in the past filled with sailors and their wine and their sardines and their Jacques Brel cassettes. White bearded and white haired men in caps sitting at their tables talking of their days at sea. Robert enjoys these ‘taverns’ as he calls them. The women behind the counters greet him as he takes his table by the window. Normally he doesn’t speak to anyone but soaks up the atmosphere as he listens to the wind at the door, the lapping waves outside, and the tales and laughter of the old sailors. It is a vanishing Bohemian world that he holds onto and the harbour taverns and bars in Hamburg are one the last places in the world where this scene goes down. All of it of course preparation for the Hamburg show tonight. As we stand on stage we will hear the wind, the old Brel and Scott Walker songs that the sailors still sing late at night and this shall push us on to whatever heights we reach. Inspiration is here.

Third fudge tin gone.

Celebrity Watch…… this is a new feature of Steep Hills where we will keep you posted on some of the big names that come backstage to ‘hang’ with us and then follow us as we take them to the night-time (is the right time) delights of clubs and bars that our names instantly open up. So far we have met no one. Oh well…..

Eating a dark chocolate Toblerone. Yum.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Post show.
We have driven fom London to Copenhagen with the help of the Euro Tunnel and a Ferry over the last 2 days.
A lovely drive..yes..and long..but great to play here. The sound on stage was fantastic and put us all in a great mood to play. Fantastic crowd!!
Back at the hotel...The X files is on's 1.20am. Wake up call 0730am .
Can't wait for my roll mop herrings in a bun and coffee...yum!
To Hamburg in the morning.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bury FAMOUS Markets

Since meeting Robert and Glenn in 1995, I have spent many hours probably boring them, as I do tend to repeat myself, telling them of my many trips to Bury Markets with the family, meeting Grandma and Grandad, trying to look cool and hang a distance.. at Vibes records shop ( cause the punks scared me a little), and my regular Black pudding indulgence as I grew up in Holcombe Brook until I was 15, then we emigrated to Australia.
Nelly, Matt, Glenn, PP, Robert and myself dashed from the car park to the markets..and straight to Chadwicks Black pudding stall. I ordered a hot and fatty one... plenty of mustard and tomatoe sauce ...all had a nibble..I think they liked it...!!
Now in Lancaster Library...sound check...goodbye!
The Duchess

23rd Sept: The Oxford Fudge Incident


There is a person known to us whom we shall call Special Friend. Special Friend has supplied The Go-Betweens on their last few European tours with homemade chocolate fudge. The fudge is much prized and enjoyed by the band. It is eaten on the bus, backstage, or late at night in hotel rooms when ‘normal’ found can be hard to find.

Yesterday in Oxford, Special Friend bought a tin of the fudge to the bands dressing room before the show. This was met with warm appreciation from the band. The fudge was tested and approved and we all vowed to enjoy it over the next days, expecting it to last to at least London. Some wag in the band had even said ‘it shall last till Berlin’.

We have woken today to find the fudge tin empty. And the search for fudge eating culprits is on the way.

Tallys are being done in the tour bus now on who ate what. It can be revealed that this correspondent ate a very judicious amount; two pieces. Others have eaten three and others have eaten two. Some whom will never be named ate four. It should be pointed out that there was fudge being eaten by people not in the band. It can also be pointed out that some of the four piece eaters were people outside the band. But we are not angry. We are happy that Special Friends fudge is so popular. And we know that Special Friend when delivering his much-appreciated batch backstage said another round of fudge will be ready for London.

We will take delivery. And keep it under lock and key.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

23rd sept. back to manchester for bbc2 radio tonight

Good morning!
In Oxford.
Blogging post bran flakes and hotel coffee is da bomb!
We had a great show yesterday. My amp is back working and that makes me very happy indeed. Robert is in fine voice. Glenn (looking like a cross between Charlie Chaplin and Bob Dylan's 60's period) is adding his 'Gold dust' and Matt is pushing us into another dimension.
We are really enjoying these shows.
We are driving back to Manchester today and heading to BBC Radio for a' live to air '....sorry vague on details....but around 7 pm ish...on BBC radio 6. iley/.. He's a grand lad!

Looking forward to playing Lancaster Library on Thursday.
Tomorrow I'm taking the band to Bury Markets for a black pudding (No...they don't know about the pigs blood, best not to tell them until after,) then for an excursion up to Holcombe Hill . Can't wait!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday 22nd Sept

Last night the stage had the odour of an old television. Robert's Fender twin was as hot as an oven. Valves glowing like a pinball machine with three extra balls and on target for a record score. We played in a room that felt like an American school gymnasium. The sound was bouncing around the brick walls like the silver balls in that pinball game. No one seemed to mind accept for the two toiling away in the engine room, struggling not to be tripped up by the phantom beats flying around the room.

Life in the road is gig-sleep-breakfast-drive-setup-gig-repeat. So here we are on the grey route to Oxford. We've never been here before so there is a low glow of anticipation in the van.

So far the tour has progressed without major incident. There have been some close calls, Adele narrowly escaping superheated broken glass showering down from the ceiling in Frisco, and Robert almost falling into one of those basement trapdoors on the sidewalk in New York. My major fear is leaving something valuable behind. There is no going back. On the road everything is valuable because you can only afford to carry essentials.

This tour will be remembered for its great leap forward in technology. Laptops and Satellite navigation. Life just keeps getting better. I remember first touring with a mobile phone and wondering how anyone ever managed before.

Thomas Hardley

21 Sunday sept

We are on the road to Manchester. Glasgow behind us – and what a show!

Band mood is good. We are at the most hectic and demanding section of the tour with travelling and playing happening every day. Still we remain in good humour and good health. Healthy breakfasts are behind this we think. Robert has been seen taking three bowls of fresh fruit with his cereal and Earl Grey tea. Glenn is on the black pudding.

Manchester is of course of special importance to Adele being her home town. She is excited and is threatening to wear a BURY tee shirt on stage, which is where she is from. Big home town show for Manchester.

The highway spins by. Next stop is newspapers, coffee, and more black pudding!


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday 21st

In Glasgow. It's a lovely sunny Sunday morning. We played here last night and Dublin Friday night. Both shows were greatly received. Robert is no longer writing a set list before we play- we are just going on stage and waiting for him to call out the next song. We love it!
Manchester tonight!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

18th Sept.2008. London

Ah . Ol' Blighty!
We arrived yesterday from New York. Wow.!I'm experiencing jet lag today, or was in the G+ T's at the hotel bar last night. I'm not sure, but anyway, we are in our favourite hotel in London, (We have been staying here over the last 12years when we play here....Robert over 20 years. ) in Lancaster Gate next to Hyde...yes...there is wild life in London!!
I bought myself an indoor remote control helicopter which has turned about to be great fun for the band as the tall ceilings allow us not to stack it too often, but only has 3 minutes or less of flying time, so it's fun...but very short lived.
Robert has been off to do BBC radio today. The rest of us have been sorting out the gear to hire and a van as we are driving the rest of the tour around Europe. We have joined up with the rest of our team..Nellie will be doing the merch and Pe Pe will be our driver/ guitar tech/everything else..
Dublin tomorrow...looking forward to the 'Tonic of Life'- Guiness!
Over and out....oh..will try to load up photos

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tuesday 16th sept....Goodbye USA

Tuesday 16th.sept
At The JFK airport. 2 hours to go before we head off to London. We played 2 shows last night at Joes Pub. The second set Robert described as 70 minutes of the best music he had ever been involved in. We winged it with no set list.
The hair spray is out and the band is starting to take on a ‘look’ – this can happen on tour. Robert is going for early seventies Waylon Jennings.
We are looking forward to Europe. There shall be surprises. Wardrobe is being re-assessed and attitude is being finetuned. I can reveal Robert is lost in the Mama Cass biography and its loving depiction of the early to mid Sixties folk rock scene. He tells us he is ‘digging’ it – this is some of the ancient hipster speak he favours and which we at time struggle to decode. We think it means he is enjoying the book. Read on, Robert.

sunday 14th sept

Sunday 14thSept day from Columbus to The big apple.
Glenn’s driving. It a big red truck…basically drives itself as Glenn said.
Band is on post gig high. The Velvet Show in Wexner Centre , Columbus Ohio was wonderful. The people at the gallery made us feel at home and the stage and venue was just right. Today, the 4 of us have been on the road. High on coffee. High on life and diggin the 500miles to NYC.
Tomorrow night we bite into the Big Apple. No one is nervous but we are excited. We may do a little shopping and be seen in The Other Music Store and St Marks Book Shop.
2 shows tomorrow night and we are ready.
The big decision is what to wear

Band On The Run

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Catch up on blog day today.
Over the past 3 days away from computer we have traveled to Pittsburgh and Columbus to perform 2 special shows of The Velvet Underground music for The Andy Warhol exhibitions. Wow! Mr Warhol was a busy man..what great collections.'s post gig and bedtime.
I have to navigate our way to The Big Apple tomorrow. (Oh dear...)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Day2. San Fransisco show day

In The Great American Music Hall. Band room: Matt. Glenn

San Fransisco:
Quite fuzzy again this morning from a jet lagged sleep….awake/ sleep/awake. You know how it goes. Woke and had the famous bagel and coffee at the hotel. Again, bumped into Quasi and chatted. Sam has a new exercise which is great for your core strength- it’s called…?… a thick strap that you set up between 2 trees/ poles..quite slack but just above the floor and you balance on it. I’m keen!
Quasi head off on the road . Buy Janet, Sam and drivin'.

Again, another acoustic rehearsal and lunch at ‘Lee’s sandwich place’
Show day: Playing the Great American Music Hall, what a grand old place.
We sound checked… No roadies these days, we set up our own gear. Glenn was very excited about the JC120 guitar amp the venue supplied. With a little help from the Duchess we dialled up the classic 80’s sound heard later that night in “Clouds”.(Glenn wrote that sentence)

The highlight of the evening, aside from the great sounding venue and keen audience was the unexpected light show… I stood back close to the drums for "German Farmhouse" ..suddenly...bang/ fizz/smoke/flash of light, heavy glass falls from above, just missing my head and then my bass amp stops..ahh..I'm about to die!! All i could think of was a potential deadly electric shock..which when I thought about it after the show...if it was meant to be that i popped off on stage, then this venue and the city of San Fransisco was a great place to do it in. It was not meant to be..thank goodness, but i placed the bass on the floor, as that's the only thing i could think of doing. We stopped playing...of course.I had to ask for help..'DI the bass??' "Sure" I said, "after you unplug my bass amp from the wall!" So that is what happened and we started the song again on the solo. A great night!

Had a we post gig party in Glenn and Matts room with Austin, Geff, Bobby... Lovely.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

day 1. San Francisco. 09/09/2008

P Js come to mind when one is sitting at a communal breakfast setting at the Phoenix ( Rockin' Roll) Hotel, surely someone has to turn up in them....the only cool character that did was Janice Ian...yo and behold..we were very excited !
Anyhow, I will leave that one to your own imagination. We then went from there to rehearsal for the Velvet show in USA, this time, Glenn and Matt's room .
Robert had only 2 hours sleep...but was in fine form for rehearsal..I think we sound good! Jet lag is great... a lovely local Chinese food place.
Then picked up by Dennis The Menace from Radio KUSF 90.3FM (4-6pm Sunday...'Just another menace Sunday) ...a music fan version of Woody Allen....Very generous and great to listen to!
we played at 4 songs :Pandanus, Surfing Magazines, Head Full of Steam and Did She Overtake You,then a great interview with Robert by Dennis.
Photo (left): Glenn. Robert, Dennis, Adele and Young Matt.

While eating our take away dinner outside on one of the benches at our hotel, we got to meet up with Janet Weiss and Sam Coomes from Quasi..we were thrilled to see them again!!
Then Janice Ian happened to walk by and stop and chat....I had to stand and curtsy....what a pleasure again!..Janice has just released her own book...busy touring with that and her troubadour commitments...many respects to her..
( Last night, Glenn and i' you tubed' her playing '17' at the 'Old Grey Whistle test'... what a simple beautiful pleasure!)
we might go see Quasi at slims tonight..
oh..jet lag...will we..
oh...Fuzzy wuzzy..