Tues. 2 Nov. Golden Autumn evening sunshine lighting up the room. Dusk is an inspiring time of day at this time of year. On Hallow'een (Samhain) we visited my old friend Jos Braddell who publishes The Handstand. Had some wine and food, while outside fireworks lit up the sky.
Yesterday some photos arrived from Paddy who took a bunch of shots in Waterford a few weeks ago. There I am, playing away in the Arts Center with very expensive Pauline Bewick paintings hanging on the wall behind me. Some were listed in the catalogue for up to 27,000 Euro.!Played at a Holiday Inn tonight. Good PA, very good sound, on stage and front of house, but not many people in. This was because the promoter fucked off to Australia with some band. The Hotel manager does a runner, and we don't get paid.
Wed. 3 November After several calls to the Holiday Inn I'm getting the feeling I'm getting the run-around. There's a dispute over our fee. Eventually talk to the Hotel owner (via email) and as soon as the guy in Australia is contacted we can hopefully get our cash. I've been ripped off too many times. Those cunts who run the Dubliner Pub in Copenhagen...also, in the same city, that fucking weasel Mick Foley ripped us off. His downfall is expected soon. As for Eindhoven, the owner of that kip ended up in prison.
Collected my ticket for the States, on the day we all learn the bad news that the good folk of the US have elected a lying fundamentalist retard to be their president for another 4 years. Armageddon time.
Thurs 4 Nov. Locate the confirmation email which proves our guaranteed fee for last Tuesdays gig. Yesterday I spent some time checking out different effect units. Tried out one of those Zoom multi effects, but I just got confused. Too many dials, and pads, and as for programming, well leave me out. I like a good old-fashioned pedal. Step on it and you know what to expect. Keep it simple and keep it sounding old. Flicked through a few catalogues, a quick search on the internet, and I reckon I might do some retro shopping in NYC next week. Now, I gotta go and play another gig.........
Wed 10 Nov. Celebrity doesn't interest me, so when I see famous people or I even have a chance to meet somebody who I might be a fan of, I usually decline. What's the point ? A few years back, a cold winters morning I was checking in at Dublin Airport, bound (I think) for Denmark. A few desks up from me was Andy Irvine. As a kid I was a huge fan of Planxty, and later, of Andy's solo work. I thought I should perhaps go over and say hello and tell him I was a fan, and thank him for all the great music, but I didn't. It was early, I might be bugging him and it wasn't what I normally do anyway.A few weeks later I met somebody in a bar in Galway and Andy's name was mentioned. I said how I had seen him in the airport and I didn't go over to say hello. My friend went on to explain that he knew Andy well, and how he felt he was sort of forgotten and that he would have loved some youngish rock 'n' roller to shake his hand, even if it was 6.30am. Now, this all happened long before it was cool or popular to say you were a Planxty fan. I had worked with Donal Lunny once, and during a break in the recording session I asked him if Planxty would ever reform, and he replied, " I hope not!" Even Donal didn't seem interested then in Planxty. How times have changed !
This morning, coming through Heathrow (London) I turn around to pick up my guitar and bag as it's coming through the x-ray machine and there's Glen Matlock, the Sex Pistols bass player. I remember the Andy Irvine episode, and being aware that Glen co-wrote some of the best Pistols songs, only to get fired and replaced by Sid Vicious, who couldn't play and quickly descended into junky hell, I reckon Glen had bad luck. Its not every day you rub shoulders with a Sex Pistol, so I said hello, introduced myself, shook hands and he enquired as to how I got my guitar on the plane. "They never let me bring my bass on" he complained. Glen went on to tell me about his new band, and he seemed a bit excited about that, and I told him I was off to New York for a few gigs etc. He went one way and I went the other.
Fri. 12 Nov North Arlington N.J....Rain lashing down as I'm desperately trying to catch a cab at the corner of Houston and Second Avenue. Taxi driver tries to give me a tenner change, out of a fifty!!?! Either the guy is on valium or he's trying to rip me off. Fuck that shit.Bus ride from Port Authority to the town of North Arlington in Jersey. Justine is already there and the PA is up and ready to roll. Eat pizza and have a drink or two. The gig is hard work, but after a while they seem to get into it. Jersey has such a different vibe. Nothing like New York. I'm back on the bus by 10.30 with a roll of notes in my pocket.
Sun 14 Nov New York...HBO show films all day long. I'm out of the scratcher by 8.30,, tea, toast and on Jack's recommendation I watch "Catch Me If You Can." He goes to a football game, I phone Asa in Ireland, take a shower and go for a ramble. Buy a Kinks album, and two samplers, an 'americana' one with Jim Lauderdale, Tift Merritt, BR549, and so on and so forth, and a bluegrass sampler, brand new but only 99 cents. A
s soon as I check my emails I got a few more calls to make, get some food and maybe figure out a set list for tomorrow night. Need to change the lyrics and the title of a new song. It was called "Five Pointed Star" but I don't like the sound of that. Doesn't roll off the tongue, too hard to say.Found a book on the shelf here about the Romans, and I want to understand how their Empire fell, so I can have a more informed guess as to when the Empire of the USA is to come crashing down.
Wed 17 Nov. New York…..On Monday I played a few songs at the Anti Hootenanny at The Sidewalk Cafe, got a plug in for Tuesdays gig and saw a few acts. Its been really warm here, which is unusual for November. I’ve been wandering around wearing the same gear I wear in Ireland during the summer.
Been listening to The Legendry Shack Shakers new CD and a few old country tunes. Got a new melody scribbled down on a scrap of paper that I intend to tackle later this evening.Tuesday nights show at the Sidewalk was great. I was on the ball and the set went down really well. Kelly from Koala Bear Records came down as did Beau Johnson, who has a gig there on Saturday, and he gave me a copy of his album ”Take your Time.” Went for a few drinks around the corner to Sofies Bar, where I hadn’t been since ’99. The bar man had been at the gig and refused to accept my money….so Guinness and tequila kept on arriving in front of me.Thurs.
18 Nov Word of advice…don’t have anything to do with the Holiday Inn in Dublin. If you’re a musician, don’t play there and if you want to see a gig, go elsewhere. Con men, two-faced assholes. Its been a bad year for bad business. Don Coyote in Holland, Molly’s in Helsinki…still, there’s some good honest people out there. Gotta keep on drifting and avoid the icebergs. Enchantments, the occult supply store is only eight blocks away. Must stock up on supplies. As the song says…”revenge is sweet, if you can have it.”
Fri 19 Nov. Lower East Side of New York is where I still am. Tried to buy a book, but didn't find anything inspiring. I've been re-reading Emily Brontes "Wuthering Heights", but I know I won't finish it.Picked up Born Bad Volume 1V today. It's got the Ventures, The Sonics and a great track from J.J. Jackson called "Oo-Ma-Liddi." No idea what J.J. is on about.It's just past 9pm and I have a few business type phone calls to make, and then perhaps get some food delivered. Just had an odd deja vu, so I better stop typing now, as I don't want the future to turn out the way my instincts are hinting at.
Fri 26 Nov. Dublin......Had my first good nights sleep in a long while. Eight or nine hours in the Land of Nod. Feel refreshed and optimistic. Some calls to be made. An email from Holland to confirm a gig in Deventer, a phone call from MIck in Germany about some dates in April, and I hear the recently released radio promo EP has been getting air-play in Belgium, so all in all it's a good day.
Tonights gig at the Mezz gets off to a later than anticipated start, but everybody seems to enjoy themselves. Dave from Triphazzard, writer John Fleming, Mark and Toova and many others I know are there. Glen, the booker, arrives and we have a few late drinks. In fact we have quite a lot of drinks, as we go into the basement venue (the hub) and don't leave 'til 5.30. Don't remember getting home, but there's nothing new in that I suppose.
Sat 27 Nov. Sligo.........The very talented Leon Mooney is support in McGarrigles, Sligo. A small but very appreciative crowd. A great gig really, the sort that reminds me why I bother doing it at all ! Although I was very tired before I went on, I seem to have got a second wind, so afterwards it's over to the Garavogue, Leon is DJ, Gary is there, the drink is flowing. A guy approaches me claiming he saw a gig we did in Phuket, Thailand back in spring 2002. I believe his claims 'cos he remembered me saying I couldn't wait to get out of the place. And that was very true.
Thurs 2 Dec Amsterdam....Eat a Falafel in the same place I dined in, in 1998 ! You can just hang out there, eat a bit, add more toppings, eat more and so on, so I had a good feed. The gig was fine, Jimmy from Kildare showed up and afterward I met up with Jacqueline, a booking agent and friend of Wim from Enschede. We all went for late drinks to some bar that was packed but a cool place all the same. Met a guy from Dublin who tells me I negotiated with bouncers once in a club there, to prevent him from being thrown out. This I have no recollection of what so ever.
Jimmy's expense account covers the 50Euro taxi ride to Almera, where I decide to spend the night rather than the place organized by the bar. We stop off on the way for a piss and to pick up orange juice. Get to the place and crack open a bottle of vodka. Jimmy's a big fan of Nick Cave and the recent album sounds good.
Fri 3 Dec Almera.....Only manage about 5 hours sleep, so I read for a few hours before rolling out of the bed, shower, medication (prescription medication I wish to point out !) and taxi to the town center. It seems to be a bit of a dump. In a bar I get a real half hearted attempt at a sandwich. The cheese is only half melted, there's no mustard and Jimmy gets what looks like raw meat spread on a lump of ill-shapen bread. Two drinks later I'm on the train down through Arhem, Apeldoorn and other places with unpronounceable names.
At Zutphen Mark picks me up. Get a beer and dinner. Make a phone call and we drive to Deventer.The gig is in Cafe de Heks and once I walk in I know it's going to be great. Soundcheck, a drink or two and on we go. A great vibe, Mark's is hitting out at a bodhran with a mic gaffa taped to it. He's also doing backing vocals and playing wind modulator, which is sort of like an electronic sax or clarinet. "Come On Little Baby" is great. Very different to the LP version. Wouldn't be out of place on Springsteens Ghost of Tom Joad album. We've been talking about recording it together. The place is packed and afterwards I sell CD's and then ramble off into the fog looking for something to eat. The town looks very gothic and beautiful at 2 am.
Sat 4 Dec Deventer....A couple of phonecalls after food and we're talking about the possibility of a few gigs for the Queens Festival which is on May Day. Tales of Mark meeting Johnny Cash, and what was said between Ronnie Drew and Peter O Toole, but I can't write about that.Get to Enschede at around 5pm. Its freezing cold here...and it's Xmas !!! In Holland Santa comes tonight so theres a big ferris wheel in the square in front of where tomorrows gig is, ice-skating, merry-go-round, hot-dogs. A friend of Wim's picks me up after I have a ramble around the town and takes me over to Wims place. Here,I got 60 tv channels, beers in the fridge, the use of this computer, and many hours to kill, which is why I'm writing this at this point in time!Now, I'm going to put on THAT Loretta Lynn album, eat something and go ramble off around town for a while.
Sun 5 Dec Enschede.......Champagne and beer to sip and I'm only on the first song of the set. It's going to be a good day. An early gig (4.30) for me. An exhibition by Norbert Sauer has just opened and Wim makes a speech by way of introduction to Norberts pictures and then to my set. (I can't speak Dutch, so I've no idea what was said, but I'm sure it was good.) The people seem to like me. A nice crowd generally hangs out here at Cafe Jansen and Janssen. A bit of a festival atmosphere, with the fun-fair literally outside the door. Spend much of the evening drinking with Frank from local band Porpoise Spit. A good interesting chat. Later with Wim I watch a few DVD's, including interesting footage of Miles Davis.