Nothing I say is written in stone.....
|Monday November 20th 2000|
|Monday November 6th - Tuesday November 7th 2000|
|Monday October 30th - Friday November 3rd 2000|
|Thursday October 26th 2000|
|Wednesday October 25th 2000|
|Tuesday October 24th 2000|
|Wednesday October 11th 2000|
|Thursday September 14th 2000|
|Tuesday September 12th 2000|
|Saturday August 26th 2000|
|Saturday August 19th 2000|
|Wednesday August 2nd 2000|
|Friday July 28th 2000|
|Monday July 24th 2000|
|Friday July 21st 2000|
|Thursday July 20th 2000|
|Tuesday July 18th 2000|
|Thursday July 13th 2000|
|Thursday June 29th 2000|
|Wednesday June 14th 2000|
|Tuesday June 13th 2000|
|Monday June 12th 2000|
|Sunday June 11th 2000|
|Saturday June 10th 2000|
|Friday June 9th 2000|
|Thursday June 8th 2000|
|Wednesday June 7th 2000|
Wednesday June 7th 2000
Arrived in Toronto this afternoon to play the NXNE festival, a four-day long blitzkrieg of gigs that takes place here every June.
Thursday June 8th 2000
We get invited to a rooftop party at EMI. I take in the Toronto skyline while Corrinne (The Manager) schmoozes. Mucho air-kissing. A girl turns up so beautiful that --- to judge by Nietzsche's dictum that the world can only be justified in aesthetic terms -- this vision of beauty in hot pants alone justified all life On Earth & Mars & Jupiter & Pluto. And I might've flung myself off that roof at the thought that she'd never be mine but I had a gig to get to at a club called C'est What on Church Street. Richard, the stage Manager is a world-class authority on X-Files. The Toronto Globe & Mail had listed the show as a must-see, a gig to storm the doors for ! I played nine songs and the gig was a cracker. All the songs strain towards silence -- and in those silences you could hear a pin drop. A journalist came up afterwards to say he'd be writing about it. There was a strong lesbian presence for the all-girl band that took the stage after me, and over the next few days I kept getting recognized on the streets by lesbians. Smoking! . Caught Josh Rouse at The Horseshoe --- he was great. Corrinne handed George Howard a promo CD -- he's head of Slow River and the guy that first signed Sparklehorse. Come on, George, listen to the fucker! .
*Most overused phrases: No, I can't get you a gig at the Molson Amphitheatre by Sunday; No, I don't know where you put your capo; For God's sake don't declare THAT; Do you know where your passport/airplane ticket is?; I don't think the rider will include one of those; Where can I get a cup of tea?;
Did a live interview with Radio Woodstock, a New York station broadcasting from NXNE: they spun Goodbye Isabel. Went to a Manitoba Film Company barbecue in a parking lot somewhere. Some cheesy boy/girl duo enjoined us all to sing along --- a wag raised a solitary lighter aloft in the dusk. Caught Songs: Ohia's set later that evening, but the cigar goes to Super XX Man --- that's SUPER XX MAN --- a Bill Gates-lookalike from Austin, Texas who sang his beautiful little songs to the accompaniment of the rumbling bulldozer bass from the band upstairs. He did a cover of Neil Young's Too Far Gone and it was even more poignant than the original. His website is on www.peekaboorecords.com. He told me it was sad that I didn't own a record-player anymore and I know what he means .We shared a table with the arts editor of a student magazine. To this guy everything was "awesome" -- anything he heard, saw, felt, got told, it was all "awesome". So what superlative will he have left to use if he ever --- oh, I don't know --- bumps into Elvis Presley at a carwash or something? .I find this inflation of language just ..awesome
Saturday June 10th 2000
Played the Oasis Club, standing in at the last minute for a no-show. No pre-publicity this time so the audience was sparser but very attentive. There was a Russian chanteuse on before me. The stage-manager, Darcy, told me the songs had moved him to tears -- and he meant this in a complimentary way .obviously! I even got paid!
Last gig of the visit, at Ted's Wrecking Yard, College Street. The people at the back chatted away throughout the set like the freeloaders do in every club in every city in the world. (Some nights in London I feel like I'm murmuring prayers in a disco). Beatle Bob came up and asked if we could have a photograph taken together. He's an eccentric DJ/journalist from St Louis; he danced like a dervish to all the rock bands that came on after me. The last act on was a transvestite-fronted schlock band from New York. Great night!
Caught Super Furry Animals at The Horseshoe. They were da da da (that's Welsh for good good good).
Our EP was Number 1 over here on JamMusic's Alternate Top 10 for the week of May 31st. And the C'est What gig gets a good review from Paul Gangadeen of Chart magazine. Went Out looking for music --- strolled into a Canadian Songwriter's Association gig, there were four singer-songwriters taking turns onstage. All too traditional for me but it sure beat an English pub with football on the telly. Came across a band from Vancouver at another club --- more riffs, more powerchords, more guitar-god histrionics. Over here, when they say "Hey, let's rock and roll!" they don't mean it ironically!
I don't wanna go home! I really don't wanna go home! Please God don't make me have to go home! ..Storm conditions caused them to close Toronto airport for three hours and we waited out the delay right there on the tarmac. Then got to Montreal and waited another hour there. But I still don't wanna go home!
Thursday June 29th 2000
Gig at the 12-Bar, always a great place to play. The set sounded wonderful and the audience was great. Some afficionados of my old band complained that I'd recast a few tunes to use in the current set --- as if
a) this band doesn't absolutely bitchslap the old one!
b) I should be happy to let some very beautiful tunes rot away unheard and forgotten, to crop up now and then in some fucking bootsale somewhere!
c) the new lyrics and arrangements aren't way superior to the old renditions! As if my old stuff wasn't often undermined by overplaying --- by lumpen, insensitive, cloth-eared musicianship! It's easy to get buried in the past, mes braves. I was so much older then, etc. etc. But I give you "Shipwrecks" and boy do I rest my case!
Thursday July 13th 2000
Did a 45-minute set at Borders in Glasgow, enjoyed it a lot, sold some CDs, imagined I was playing to Kafka and Burroughs and all those other sexy, big-knobbed Modernists. Liked what I saw of Glasgow. Dave bought underwear and I had a baked potato. Checked out King Tut's, nice venue but the bands onstage on this particular evening were terminally indie--- still, they have Ron Sexsmith coming soon! Kept awake all night by seagulls and carousing pissheads --- and our train back to London was at 7am!
Tuesday July 18th 2000
Borders, Bournemouth. I'm mid-song and a fat, lobster-pink woman bends over just feet away to inspect some frothy tome on a low shelf, just as if I wasn't there. Rolling acres of complacent flesh crammed into lycra shorts, twin Jupiters of an arse expressing her bland, smug indifference to me and my songs. A worshipper at the altar of David & Victoria, she stank like. I didn't know whether to twat her or marry her (in some supreme act of grotesque self-abasement, like Daniel marrying Marcelle in Sartre's Les Chemins de la Liberté).
Thursday July 20th 2000
Borders, Charing Cross Road. Great gig, great audience. We set up in the "Religion" section and played nine psalms for atheists (but spiritually-minded ones. Which is how Proust described himself).
Friday July 21st 2000
Borders, Brighton. I did an interview with a local radio DJ before the gig, she'd been playing 'Piranha Quickstep' a lot on her show. She told me golden showers were dead cool in Brighton. Sounds like my kind of town. But I couldn't find a copy of Nijinsky's diaries anywhere.
Monday July 24th 2000
Corrinne got an E-Mail from the President of EMI Music Canada asking for copies of the EP.
Friday July 28th 2000
Borders, Ellesmere Port. The Duty Manageress said someone had complained about some of the lyrics and she quoted a line from 'Jezebel' as if in irrefutable evidence. She was word-perfect so she must've been really listening. One guy had travelled forty miles to see us. 'Getting known!' --- to quote Beckett's Krapp. Karl found one last copy of a Tom Waits biography we'd searched heaven and hell for in vain. We knew he was due some good luck because a bird had dumped on him the day before. But we were dreaming that the luck would take the form of a twelve-album, multi-billion dollar deal and never imagined for a moment it'd be the Tom Waits book ..
Wednesday August 2nd 2000
Gig at The Toucan, Cardiff. Just yards from Hayes Island and St Mary's Street, where, as any Songdog buff could tell you, the 'action' of "Blind Picasso" takes place. (Dave was disappointed, had pictured somewhere more glamorous). A lovely gig. Within a couple of songs we had the crowd listening hard and really behind us -- but for one braying retard in a polo-neck (and even he complimented Karl afterwards on our 'intensity'!). A local singer/songwriter called Cal Newman went on after us and I enjoyed what I heard of his set. Drove home in teeming Welsh rain, skirting the mountain where me and Goldilocks park up in the song. We'll do this place again soon.
Saturday August 19th 2000
Borders - York. We came, we saw, we blew it!
Saturday August 26th 2000
Borders - Leeds. Did an interview with Andy O'Brien, of BCB Radio, Brian Wilson buff and general good egg. In NME's gig guide Leeds had but two entries - us at Borders and the whole world and his brother at the Carling Weekender. This is of course symbolic of Songdog's Great Outsider status. The only way we could've got onto that stage would've been by sweeping up between acts!
Tuesday September 12th 2000
Borders - Oxford St, London. The last -- and very best -- of the Borders gigs. Debuted "I Love My Angel's Plastic Wings", a song I started in Canada. Heard a rumour that Hunter Thompson was close to death: but Allah (or whoever) be praised, it can't have been true.
Thursday September 14th 2000
12 Bar - In the afternoon did a phone interview with John Gill of BCB (again). The 12 Bar gig was a stormer -- maybe the hottest one of the year. We encored with a raggedy, half-improvised "Chainsaw Lullaby". Rhatigan were shit-hot too.
Wednesday October 11th 2000
The Toucan, Cardiff - Another rainy night in Caerdydd. Great crowd. A Japanese guy on before us did a good version of Radiohead's "Exit Music", so I'm learning it to do at soundchecks instead of "A Day In The Life". The soundman got the band's name wrong, had us cut a song and gave us an outrageous onstage sound though...
Tuesday October 24th 2000
A live session on Gideon Coe's programme on BBC London Live. I was ushered in to the studio about two minutes before we went on air --- No soundcheck! No headphones! No reverb on the vocal! Yikes! -- and strummed a couple of tunes across the desk at Gideon, as lo-fi as scratching out a blues on an Alabama porch! (Cousteau had done it the night before and Liam, the lead singer, told me he'd felt the same way -- vulnerable!) Great fun though, and the session was repeated again on the following Sunday afternoon as part of a round-up of the week.
Wednesday October 25th 2000
Supported Eliza Carthy at the Mick Jagger Centre, Dartford.
Played a beautiful set -- I was proud of us! But in the dressing-room afterwards dramatic scenes ensued and Dave spat the dummy like it was an ICBM in a hurry! Emergency booster shots of St John's Wort were administered to no avail .He pinned me in a corner till I feared for the lapels of my cool and costly Diesel jacket! (Will Dartford Borough Council be putting up some kind of commemorative plaque in that corner? It's a goddam rock n'roll historic site!).
Thursday October 26th 2000
Did the 12-Bar Club as a duo. I was really happy with our performance, but when we came off everyone's telling me the sound wasn't loud enough .?
Monday October 30th - Friday November 3rd 2000
Five days' recording time at Escapade Studios in Greenwich, working on an album for release at the end of January (we'll be mixing the stuff through Monday to Wednesday of next week). We did the EP here in February, I highly recommend the place.
It's run by Gary Brady, a man of great taste and myriad abilities (and he loves his Beatles, as all decent human beings should). He's playing some bass and bazouki on some of the tracks and cooking up all kinds of lovely stuff at the board. "South London Winter" sounds gorgeous. "The Girl Downstairs Has Nightmares" comes complete with a Bollywood strings sample and a vocal we recorded outdoors one night. "I Love My Angel's Plastic Wings" has a sublime string part on the middle-eight, we've got chiming 12-strings on the coda to "In the Well Of Lost Causes" and a blinding version of "Lazarus in Chains". Frank Goodhind came in and played piano on "Shipwrecks".
We're dead happy with the way it's turning out. Gary has a book on cheese recipes which gets hauled down from the shelf whenever anything fromage-y is played or suggested-- it gets so you're constantly checking to see where the book is ! It's been a good week.
Monday November 6th - Tuesday November 7th 2000
Finished the album mixes.
Monday November 20th 2000
Went down to master the album with Denis Blackham at Country Masters in Surrey.