Tuesday, September 30, 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
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 tv...it'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
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!
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.
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
We will take delivery. And keep it under lock and key.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
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. http://www.bbc.co.uk/6music/shows/marc_r 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
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.
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
Thursday, September 18, 2008
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
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 14thSept ..travel 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
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. Anyhow..it's post gig and bedtime.
I have to navigate our way to The Big Apple tomorrow. (Oh dear...)
Friday, September 12, 2008
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 Joanne...safe 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
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...
Lunch...at 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 .......studio. 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..