Wednesday, 28 December 2005


Sat 10 Dec Nothing like a deadline. We've been busy working on a whole bunch of songs...23 at the last count, but it looks like we will try to finish 17. With Paul Thomas (who did Exit well as work with Thin Lizzy, Horslips, Whipping Boy, U2..) things are going good. The rhythm section is sounding tight and I reckon I'm singing in tune...most of the time !Played a gig on Thursday night, and was up cock crow yesterday morning re-recording "Evil".... the last version was too fast. I've been listening to Loretta Lynn's Greatest Hits these past few days. It's good to have a break from my own songs. I saw the wonderful "Coalminers Daughter" a few weeks back starring Sissy Spacek as Loretta. THE best movie I've ever seen when it comes to depicting the music business in a true manner. Fascinating to see the way things were done in those days.I kind of miss being out on the road, but I'm sure 2006 will keep me busy, especially if we can get this new stuff sounding good, get it out into the world....the road will beckon....and I'll be gone. Already there's a few gigs in the diary for Switzerland/Denmark/Sweden. But first we gotta get these songs down. Bukowski talks about 'getting the word down on the page' . I know what he means. We got to 'get the song down on the tape'

Tues 13 Dec Dublin........Where does all the time go ? On Sunday night we went down to Pravda for The Sunday Roast Club. David Judson Clemmons and Mark Mulholland were both on the bill. I got to know Mark in Berlin almost two years ago when he did sound for one of my gigs in that fine city. We stayed in touch via email, swapping info on gigs. In fact, a few of the dates on the Irish leg of their current tour are due to my contacts. Mark played a great set, as did David, who I'd not seen before. After a few Brahma Beers (quality Indian stuff) we headed out into the night looking for a late drink. Following a bit of headless chicken type confusion, the posse arrived at Sin E, where I haven't been in over a year. We got a lock-in organized. Before long I was bugging Mark about getting The Racketeers distribution in Germany, and he seemed up for getting involved, but that's a story for another day. Monday afternoon was spent trying to bounce songs from one hard-drive to another. While the computers where in cahoots, we grabbed the cure in Madisons Pub, Rathmines. Later, Chris got some drum parts down, Paul Thomas taking care of business, Joy and Åsa knocking back the wine. However, the gremlins in the software woke up again and we had to abandon the session. It was late anyway and we got some things achieved, but we're running a bit behind schedule. Also, Xmas is coming and its difficult to get anything done around this time of year. I hate Xmas, and I hate it more every year. ...Jingle Bells !

Sat 17 Dec Loosing one of my rings was a bad start to the day. It seems to have slipped off my finger on a trip to the shoe repair man. (I don't actually own any shoes, boots only) It's cold outside, so I presume it slipped off as my fingers got skinny. It was a silver ring I've owned a long time. I've had it at least 13 years, but only started to wear it again recently. An black onyx stone between two triple spirals. I've never seen another like it, and now it's gone. I realized to my horror last night that come Xmas Day, I'll probably not have had a day off in three weeks. Keeping busy is something I'm all in favour of. The other day it took me two hours to put down a kick drum track down. Another hour or so to get a simple guitar part done. Other days we can fly through stuff, I can nip out to the post office, check emails, make a million phone calls and still get closer to throwing a shape on the new LP. A working title that I can't shake off is 'Silver and Dust'....thanks in part, to Gustav Meyrinks' 'Angel At The West Window.' I've been reading it , on and off for the past few weeks. A fictionalized account of the life of John Dee, court astrologer/occult advisor to Queen Elizabeth 1. It's mostly set in Prague where he hung out with the Czech Emperor Rudolf.

Sat 24 Dec A week of recording and mixing and going mad. Thursday was the only day I wasn't with Paul Thomas. That night I had a gig to play. Jimmy turned up, we had a few late drinks and then a taxi to my place where I played him a few rough mixes, listened to his CD of his band in rehearsal (recorded on a Dictaphone) and then various soul records were taken down and given a spin. Jimmy split and I fell into bed at 4.30.Up bright and early, recorded a few vocals, a guitar part too. Brian swung around for some bass over-dubs, another bottle of wine was opened. Later, Cormac Figgis called in. Cormac's getting ideas together for the sleeve. Finish up around 10pm. Have a few drinks in a local bar. Today we're off across the country to the real Wild West. Two days off, and I do need the break.....jingle bells...

Wed Dec 28 Spent two days in South Mayo for the xmas. Played a few tunes on the fiddle with my Dad. He's 82, but still plays great. I've seen him suddenly lash into a tune, off into that realm where only great musicians go when they hit those notes...the way Rory Gallagher did, the way Van did and occasionally still does. Then my old man will say..."I haven't played that tune in forty years." Magic.Back to work for me. Recording yesterday and the day before and tomorrow etc...etc...Paul Thomas brought me "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Musical Instruments" as a present. It a great book and includes hundreds of strange and beautiful instruments from pre-history up to the present day, including a Racket, a wind instrument from the 15th and 16th centuries. The illustration shows one that belongs to the Bombard family of Vienna. Apparently it makes a tone that is soft and pleasant. It's a double reeded instrument with a coiled tube enclosed in a dragon-shaped casing. I should get one. Come to think of it, I wouldn't mind getting my hands on a Sumerian 11-stringed Lyre made of silver. Better wait for the next Royalty cheque before I get too excited.

Sunday, 18 September 2005


Thur 16 June Mullingar .......Not a bad night by any standards. Felt tired and disinterested all day, but once I got out of Dublin and on the road I felt better. Good audience, good vibe, chatted to some local guys afterwards and Finbar and Lucila from Celtic Ninja Construction were kind enough to give me a place to crash after we dropped off for a bag of chips on the way to their house. Ended up reading the tarot for Lucila at about 3am. Slept for a few hours, and got to see the two Ninja videos in the morning, one which was shot in Argentina.

Thur 7 July Dublin....Linda Lucas is support at The Belvedere on Gardiner Row. She plays a great set, but it's not really an ideal place for a gig....too big...too empty, but I need the money. Simple as that. Earlier in the day I made several phone calls, scoring a few gigs in the process, including a nice one in New York. (I'll be there in September)

Been listening to The Radiants, a lot of Ann Peebles and I've sort of got addicted to Urge Overkill 'Goodbye to Guyville'. It's got an incredible guitar sound. I was in Sweden for a couple of gigs last month and I didn't get around to writing anything in this diary about it, but as usual I picked up a lot of records...The Stones 'Stripped'...Hank Williams, Warren Zevon, an old rock 'n' roll compilation, Green on Red, Charlie Rich, The Cramps.....they're all on the turn-table a lot these days....

Sat 9 July Frank Rynne (and un-named guitarist) are support tonight. I know Frank from his day's fronting The Baby Snakes, before they moved to London. An acoustic set from Frank tonight, although he had expressed a desire to bring down his Vox AC30, the one he got from Jeffrey Lee Pierce, but it seemed like too much hassle. Our own set was good, but not as on the button as two weeks ago when we were here at the Mezz. Good crowd though, considering the Oxygen Festival is on this weekend. A lot of familiar faces, some old friends...a lot of hand shakes.

Liis from Tallinn, Estonia shows up. Hadn't seen her since our last trip to the fine Baltic country, when (her then boyfriend) Max tour managed us on our adventures down south, and boy did we need a tour manager. We were in pretty bad shape after Estonia. By that point we were out on the road for only three weeks, but we'd been burning the candle at both ends and 14 gigs in Finland lay ahead, mostly one night stands !! Those were (not) the days and now they're gone.

After the gig, have a few drinks, get paid, change into a dry shirt and go for a late drink to Carnival with Åsa and Liis where we hook up with Steve Wall, Ollie Cole, Daniell and a few other folks.

Sun 10 July Not big on Festivals, especially something like Oxygen, but when I get a call from my old friend Jona Cox I change my mind. These days Jona is taking care of The La's who are playing Oxygen, so I'm on the guest list. Armed with a bottle of vodka and accompanied by Miss Kärrman, I make my way out to wherever the fuck it's happening....a big field in the country ! (I later learn it's actually Punchestown Race Course)

It's real hot, 29 degrees Celsius, so a few beers are required. Meet up with Jona at the mixing desk while the La's are on. Later, we're all backstage for beers and a chat, Åsa is up on top of the tour bus sun-bathing, I'm on the phone organizing transport for a gig in Tramore. The only dilemma of the day is the fact that soul brother number one, Mr James Brown is on at 10 o clock, the same time Foo Fighters are on. What is one to do ? As the Foo FIghters are on the main stage way off in the distance and James Brown is booked to appear on a stage right beside where I'm at, the decision is made. I'm in the toilet when James' van pulls up, so I don't get to see him close up, but Åsa gets a kick out of being within a few yards of this living legend. We watch the gig from the side of the stage and it surely is some show. Wonderful stuff. I was blown away.

Sun 17 July I have great neighbours. They never complain when I stay up playing records until dawn. Sometimes on my own, sometimes with a bunch of merry pranksters. They never complain either when I'm doing work with my little home studio. Spent the last few days working on a bunch of new songs, putting down electric guitar parts....very loud....using my Marshall Valve State and my new acquired Fender amp. Got a lot done in three days, drank some wine, made phone calls, scored a few gigs, got a few things in the pipe line. Life is good, most of the time.

Paul (who was at a gig last weekend) is a man of his word and sent me a copy of The Ramones documentary "End Of The Century." I watched it the other night and enjoyed it immensely. Phoned up Jack in New York to check if he'd seen it yet (I thought he had) and I was right. This evening I needed a lie down after dinner and was awakened by my missus playing The Racketeers on the stereo. Every now and then she does this........and I don't really like it. Don't like having to listening to my own records as all I can hear is half finished songs, badly played parts, stuff that needs to be remixed. I'm reminded of dreadful record sales, being ripped off by assholes, being banned from venues, people being hospitalized in Finland, armed border police, broken bones in South East Asia, badness in the Baltics and too many hours spent on the ferry. But then I think of the songs we got right....the stuff that still sounds good, that would knock the shit out of a lot of the current pretenders. I think of the great folks I've met along the way, the mad mad times from Donegal to Dattingen.....the rolls of cash in my pocket coming through Dublin airport. The fact that I'm here at all is a bit of an achievement, and I think of what adventures lie ahead. As Vinny O'Connor's swirling organ drifts through the air I know I'm going to sleep good tonight. See you out there........

Sat 20 Aug Walking around in the rain at 5am carrying two guitars (Damian had the other) is not the glamorous rock 'n' roll lifestyle I had envisioned for myself when I was 18. Trying to get a taxi on a Saturday night is not always easy. Eventually I thought to myself, fuck this, went back to the Hotel and got the guitars locked up and had another late drink. Eventually made it home. The following afternoon Steve (my driver for the day) who I'd never met before arrives in his jeep. Steve plays bass in Chris's other band Communal. Throw my bag in the back, hop in and drive to the scene of last nights crime. Pick up the backline, Chris and Brian are in another wagon, and off we go, a bright sunny day, bound for the South East. See my first I Pod. Had no idea what the thing was.

Four hours later we're sound checking in Tramore, a sea-side town down south. Sounds alright. Last time I played Tramore was twelve years ago. The guys grab something to eat, I'm not hungry. Have a drink instead...I am thirsty. All in all, not a bad gig. A bit of hard work never killed anybody, as the saying goes, although I think there may not be much truth in that. I'm sure hard work has killed a LOT of people. Sleep for a bit on the way back, arriving home around 5am. Have a drink or three, crash out around 7am.A few days later I was in Waterford for a show in an Art Gallery, and then one with Anto White, who is a much better singer/songwriter than a lot of the current crop.Today, my office job. Get gigs in New York sorted and a phone call from Spain brings good news. Last time I was in Spain was 1986. I'll be there again in two weeks time.

Tues 23 Aug Dublin........Recording is never easy, even listening back to stuff that had been put down a week ago. Some of it sounds a bit rough, so I manage to get a few good vocal takes. One on a new song 'Gone Again' and another vocal on 'Five Pointed Star'. Been listening to a lot of Deep Soul, stuff that's re-issued on Dave Godins series entitled Deep Soul Treasures on the Kent label. Doris Duke, Jimmy Robins, The Knight Brothers, The Incredibles. Also Green On Red, 'Thirteen' by Big Star and The Pretty Things are on the stereo a lot.Got an email today from Wally at the Beautiful Music record label to let me know who's been playing us on the radio in Canada. Apparently five or six different DJ's on CKCU have been playing tracks from Exit Hellsville. So that's good news.

Also got some email saying something about that Hard Working Class Heroes festival that takes place this weekend. Nobody I know whose playing is getting paid, so what sort of a 'festival' is that ? There's too much of that these days, and it makes it harder for those of us who are in it for the long haul, not just to impress girlfriends or family members. Those of us who remember what its like to get paid. Thankfully I wont be around. I'm off to Sweden bright and early tomorrow morning where I WILL be getting paid and generally treated like royalty....and proper order too. Then onwards to Spain for a few gigs. See you out there......

Mon 29 Aug Just got back from Sweden via Copenhagen. Met Donal Lunny in the Airport and we had a chat. Last night in Lerum we watched a great documentary on one of my favourite writers-Charles Bukowski. Actually only caught the last forty minutes, so we missed most of it. Seemed to be put together by one of the Swedish channels. So I've got seven hours in Dublin before I'm off again. Enough time for dinner, a shit a shower and a shave. Going to Spain in a few hours. Gotta dash...............

Tues 30 Aug Three hours sleep, taxi, bus and airplane in that order. Arrive in one piece at Sevilla Airport. Mado picks me up. We drive through what I imagine Mexico would look like. The occasional Hacienda in a vast expanse of dead land. A lunar landscape of 37 degrees Celsius. White-washed bodegas where they make the famous Andalusian sherry. After an hour or so we arrive at Mado's Mansion. It's siesta, so there's not much happening. A few hours pass and we go to the beach. When I say we went to the beach I don't mean we go swimming and chatting up senoritas. We find a table about 100 yards from the sand, order tapas and a drink or two. I'm surprised to find Alan is actually off the booze. He seems content with non alcoholic beer. My beer is real.

Later we organize getting extra posters printed and ramble around El Puerto de Santa Maria. Get something to eat and meet a lot of people. I haven't a word of Spanish. Later I get to see Mado's band, with Mercedes on vocals. They do a set in Barsito, a tiny little bar down a side street, and they're great. Mercedes doesn't want to do 'I shot the sheriff' so I give it a go. Realizing I haven't heard the record in years I can't remember the words, but Mercedes prompts me and we all have a good time. She downs a few large (very large) whiskeys and isn't feeling too good afterwards.

Thurs 1 Sept El Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain......Last night we played a short set in Barsito to promote our proper gig in the town on Saturday night. A quiet night in El Puerto, not a lot going on. We had late drinks in a club where it was mostly hip hop or flamenco influenced dance music. "Lick my neck, lick my back, my pussy and my crack.." goes the lyric to one tune I heard tonight. Classic. Got to bed around five a.m. last night.

Up around 10, and hopped on the bike and got bread, fruit, yogurt and wine in a local shop. Cycled off into the wilderness, horses grazing in the fields on whatever little grass they could find, past the Booty Bars (brothels masquerading as hotels) past the poor folks farm houses, past the derelict factories and apartment blocks, ghosts from the Franco era. Democracy is here but they're still under some of the influence of the old days. Even the feudal system has left it's mark. Rehearsed for a while, listened to some records, stories, tall tales, more wine, something to eat locally, sangria.......Si, Si Senor...perfecto...

Fri 2 Sept Rota.........Drive to Jerez, a local town. Have a look around, see some cool snake skin cowboy boots at the right price, but it's siesta so everything is closed. I got a new pair of western boots anyway a few weeks back so I'm content with the current state of footwear. We call to visit Nacho. He sorts me out with a glass of beer and a PA for tonight's gig. Later we rehearse using Nach's PA, and the sweat is dripping off me all over my Epiphone acoustic guitar. Sounds good though.

After checking emails and we hit the road for Rota, I almost nod off on the way, but manage to stay awake somehow. Pat, who runs the bar, is a sweet guy and makes me feel welcome. There's a big lighthouse right beside the bar which is handy as I've a terrible sense of direction. The gig is great. Alan joins for the latter half of the show. Sell a few cd's and have a few drinks.

Sat 3 Sept El Puerto de Santa Maria.........The ghost of Count O'Reilly presides over Cadiz. A lot of Irish moved here during the Flight of the Earls. They were accepted and even allowed to inter-marry with the Spanish Royals. Many made a precarious living as mercenaries while others got into the wine/sherry business. The name Garvey adorns the wall of one of the biggest Bodegas in the area. Over in El Puerto it's a hot and humid evening, the sun slowly sliding down the arc of the globe.

Milwaukee is a big barn of a place. There's a disco bar out front, then a big spooky courtyard, and at the back a big room where the gig is. The stage is a decent size, but the PA needs re-wiring. Luckily we've brought our own mixing desk. The sound is good and a nice crowd arrive. Tequila and pineapple juice for refreshments afterwards. Lots of photos are taken. The whole town seems to have gone mad tonight. A lot of folks are well out of it. Well, it is Saturday night.

Wed 14 Sept New York.......It's always good to be back in one of the best cities in the world. Great to see Jack again, and it certainly doesn't feel like six months since I was last here. After he helps me drag my bags and guitar up four flights of stairs, we phone for some Chinese food. Within an hour we're back on the subway bound for Brooklyn. Then it's a few blocks on the bus and a short walk down lonesome deserted streets. The occasional car drives by. Knee-high grass and weeds sprout from the cracks in the sidewalk. I expect to see tumbleweed roll by. We hang a right on ghost town and down past the enormous sinister satellite dish we find Sonny's Bar.

Megan Van Dusen is playing a show and we grab a few drinks, say hello to Megan and enjoy the evening. Sonny's is the sort of place you'd expect to see a bunch of pirates drop in for a drink, sit in the corner and not bother anybody. The place apparently only opens Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. What they have against Thursday beats me. Megan's songs are great and the audience really pay attention. I get thinking to myself, I'd like to do a solo gig here sometime.

Thurs 15 Sept Manhattan, New York.....While out on a ramble I get this melody swirling around in my head. After visiting Kim's wonderful record store up on St. Marks, and a few other places, the tune is still in my head. Back to base, grab a guitar and start getting it down. I get two verses and reckon it doesn't need a third. Another slow slow song, but what can I do? I have too many real good slow ones at the moment waiting to be recorded. The next LP should have a bunch of good rockers....there's at least five I can think of off the top of my head, but three slow songs is enough on an album, unless you're going for the full-on laid back vibe ala Nick Cave's 'Boatman's Call' or Bonny Prince Billy's 'I See A Darkness.'

We take a short walk from Stanton Street, up past Broadway to the pool hall, meeting a few of the guys from Dublin band The Radio along the way. They're in town for the CMJ Festival. Nice to see them. I tell them I had no idea such an event was on. CMJ is one of those industry get togethers. Lots of gigs nobody gets paid for, A+R men are supposedly on the prowl for hot new acts get the picture. CMJ is of no use to me. Most of the time I don't feel like I've anything whatsoever to do with the music "industry".Of course, Jack beats me at pool. I win one game, he wins four. Later, my gig at the Sidewalk Cafe is not well attended, but I enjoy myself and I entertain the good folks in attendance to the best of my ability. The sound engineer tells me how great I am, and how cool I am etc. So I suggest, next time I'm back he should get the booker to put me on at perhaps 10pm on a Saturday night, as opposed to 8pm on a Thursday.

Sun 18 Sept New York........Haven't been shopping much. Picked up two americana compilations and The Warlocks wonderful "Surgery" album. Jacks been listening to a lot of the White Stripes and The Stooges. Bumped into Leagues O Toole on Houston yesterday and we rambled up Lafayette together. A few years ago Leagues gave Long Time Gone a great review in the Dublin Event Guide."An accomplished and rich sound, augmented by the liquid boogie of a Wurlitzer, a mournful fiddle, and the dexterous pen of Mr. Dowd....they come close to cruising with the harmonic country-rock of The Band. On other occasions the simply rely on a fantastic vulnerable voice, and are the sound of a band both touching the heart of this city and following it's lineage to America and beyond." He's right too you know ! That was when the Dublin Event Guide was still a great paper. Now it's crap.

Hot and humid. 82 Fahrenheit during the day, it only drops to 77 at dusk. Tonight's gig is at the Swift Hibernian Lounge between Lafayette and Broadway on 4th Street. A good crowd, some nice folks. Sound is ok. I do the show, have a few drinks, get the money, all is as it should be. Didn't get around to doing the song I wrote last Thursday, which incidentally is called "Don't Walk Away". I don't feel fully comfortable with it yet.

Sunday, 1 May 2005


Thur 7 April Dublin...........Meet up with Brian down at the Viper Rooms along the banks of the smelly ole River Liffey. Had spent a few hours at home having a few beers and grooving away to Clarence Carter records and Loretta Lynn too. It turns out that Gavin Glass runs a little acoustic gig here and he wants us to do a slot in a few weeks. Why not !

After a few liquid refreshments, we pile into the taxi for the East Wall Road, way down past the Point Theatre where Kylie had a gig tonight. We're doing an interview and playing two songs live on a show called Mishmash which broadcasts on Anna Livia 103.2FM. Daryl is the DJ and we have a good laugh, tell a few stories, play acoustic versions of 'Come On Little Baby' and 'Nowhere Fast'. Then it's back to the Viper Rooms for a drink or two, Gavin does a great version of the Stones 'Wild Horses' pounding it out on the piano, and eventually it's off into the night....southbound.

Fri 8 April Bray..........Been listening to a lot of deep soul, a title coined by some Brit enthusiast (whose name I can't recall) but fair play to him, he's dug out a lot of classics for this Kent compilation. The Knight Brothers, Larry Banks, an old fave of mine: Irma Thomas is in there, along with The Incredibles, Van and Titus, Bessie Banks, Raw Spitt and the amazing Jaibi. Trying to finish off reading DBC Pierre's novel 'Vernon God Little.' Started reading it in Sweden a few weeks ago, but somehow or other I've kept getting sidetracked into doing other things...gigs, writing, and I've started re-reading a lot of Peter J. Carrolls' books, as he's one of the best writers on sorcery these days, even though his best output was in the early 80's.The gig in Bray was a bazaar affair as Bray often is. However I got a kick out of it and a few of the lunatics in attendance seemed to enjoy it. Then I got the money real quick and was gone.....

Tues. 12 April Dublin.......The sound is good, as it usually is at this acoustic gig as part of the Ruby Sessions. The weekly show hosts 4 acts and all the money goes to the Simon Community, a very worthy cause as we have an unbelievable number of homeless people in Dublin and it seems to be getting worse. We play 'Evil' for the second time, the first being at Annesley House a week ago. It worked well and I used the wasabi delay pedal I acquired recently. It will also do a reverse delay, an effect I have never used live, but it might come in handy recording. Hung out with Brian and Darren for a while after and saw some of the gig. Chris taught me how to say ' I haven't a clue what you're on about' in German as preparation for the upcoming tour. Ate a falafel on Dame St before hopping into a taxi.

Wed. 13 April The new album from Swedish band Moneybrother arrives. They're really wearing their influences on their sleeve. I can hear the Clash influence and the Northern Soul vibe too. It's a very good album. 'You got Me' by Jaibi is getting a lot of spins here too, as is an Incredibles 'Best Of' called 'Heart and Soul'.Need to get the material that makes up the 'Hellsville' LP plus some acoustic tracks off Paul Thomas's Pro Tools set up and onto another hard drive. A Lacie Drive was delivered here yesterday so off I go down to Paul's place and the job is done.

We retire to the Harold House Pub, just down the road and we have more pints than I bargained for, but I always have a good time with Mr PT. Unfortunately this means that a few things didn't get taken care of. I needed to fax my lawyer ( I can do that from Germany) and I needed to pay the rent ( I can do that when I get back). A quiet night in might have been an idea, as I have to get up at 4am to make it to the airport in time for my early flight to Frankfurt. Doing this with a hang over is not much fun.

Thurs 14 April Frieburg..................Arrive in one piece. Couldn't get to sleep on the plane. Gotta hang around in the airport for an hour before my train and I get taking to an Irish guy from a band called The Prophets ( Ithink). He's doing a few solo gigs himself. We have a beer in the bar to kill time, and I DO need the cure. Mick Morrissey is at the station in Freiburg to meet me off the train. We drop in to the nearby Jos Fritz Cafe where tonights show is. Eat a bit of apple pie, two drinks and off for a lie down My head hardly hits the pillow when it's time to get up again and sound check, although it is an hour and a half later.

After sound check we eat some pasta in a place around the corner. Mick and Nikol are now called Summer Bride and are support on all the gigs (except Greiz). The sound is real good, great acoustics etc. My set goes down very well, one of the best solo acoustic gigs ever. Afterwards its nice to hang out and meet some folks I last met in Staufen last year...Wolfgang, Ralf, Norman...A great night...late drinks with Gunther who owns the place and tells me I must come back again.....yes...this is why I do it. Sometimes it's easy to forget.

Fri 15 April Greiz.....What a day. After three hours sleep, I'm up, quick brekki and off to catch the 9am train to East Germany. Summer Bride aren't playing tonight so I'm all on my own, hungover, and I have to change trains four or five times so grabbing a bit of kip is an impossibility. It's a hot sunny day as we roll across the German countryside. The first indication that we are in what used to be east Germany is the amount of graffiti. Its everywhere, and I mean everywhere. After seven hous I finally disembark in Gera. Norbert picks me up. He has hardly any English, and all I can say in German is "dangeshan" (thank you) and yes, of course I've spelt it wrong. So, with the language barrier we don't get around to discussing the Anglo Irish Agreement. I do however learn that Griez is actually 40 kilometers away, so it's another hour on the road. Eat, soundcheck, and Norbert's PA people drive me out into the countryside to this little pension type Hotel.

Relax for about half an hour and then back for the gig. The place is called Peanuts. It's real small, but full, and they seem to like what I do. A lady at the bar is taking photos with her little digital camera and then before I know it there's a guy in front of me lying on his back on the floor (to get a cool angel, I presume) with a huge lens, click click click...lots of photos. Afterwards I learn he's Karsten Schaarschmidt from a local paper and is both a photographer and a journalist. I need to eat something, and a cheese sandwich with some salad does the trick. Norbert wants me to have a Jameson Whiskey, but I decline explaining that whiskey drives me mental, so I wash down the sandwich with vodka instead.

Sat 16 April Griez.....I'm all alone for breakfast in the ghost hotel. Earlier I saw two old ladies on a balcony having a cigarette and I politely said 'gutten morgan' (however you spell it) but since then not a soul. The food is all laid out for me and I gulp it down, cos it's gonna be a long day. Another 8 hours on the train. Norbert turns up at 9.30 as planned and drives me in the morning sunshine to the station. I've got a Wordsworth Dictionary of Mythology with me so I'm reading about Gilgamesh, the Sumerian goddess Inanna, the Nordic goddess Frejya and various dragon myths. (This sort of stuff stimulates the brain...believe it or not).

Later in the afternoon I venture as far as the dining carriage and order a baked potato with salad and this is washed down with a solitary glass of beer. Then, back to my book.Mick is at the station in Frieburg to meet me. We take the short walk to his fave book shop which also has a little cafe where you can read the English newspapers. This he does, while I drink strawberry juice and check my emails. As it turns out our respective drinks are on the house, cos the girl working in the cafe heard my accent, reckoned I was Irish, and seeing as she lived in Cork for a while, she's given us our tea and juice for free. You can't argue with that !Find a bar for a drink, but the only other customers are two middle aged guys and a fight is brewing. One of the guys seems really pissed off with his buddy and they're bickering and after one beer we nip next door to Atlantik. This turns out to be a good move. It's a venue as well as a bar, posters for The Misfits upcoming show are on the wall, and one for Nashville Pussy. I like it here although the service is real slow, but the beer is cool and inexpensive and when it came to dinner, the meal was excellent. Later we hook up with Wolfgang in some terrible Paddy Pub. Get caught in the rain and in the final bar of the night some guy wants to know if I'm Spider Stacy. Get a pair of glasses son. Goodnight Frieburg.

Mon April 18 Sultzburg........I'm in Sultzburg as I write having taken the train through Dattingen, with a change at Mullheim and enough time to send a fax to my solicitor (don't ask) and to buy an envelope before catching the bus here to Sultzburg. Seems like a quiet laid back town. I had a ramble around, sat by the river for a while, made a phone call, walked back here and fell asleep on the sofa. Mick's gone off to some early evening party where parents and kids will attend. I hang at the flat, and start reading Ian Hunters excellent 'Diary Of A Rock 'n' Roll Star'. Later I get some work done, finally getting a much needed second verse to a song I started writing in Sweden a few weeks ago. It may be called 'Swedish Eyes, Russian Blood' but I may change the title later.

Earlier I had been saying to Mick how I've grown weary of the road and I might stop touring and have a re-think. Then I notice that the pen I'm writing this diary with came from Lafitte Guest House 1003 Bourbon St. New Orleans. Its a place I've never been but a place that has been talked about . I'd like to swing down there in the next year to check it out and if possible, do a few gigs so I could have some cash to play with. So perhaps this pen is telling me my rambling days are not over yet.

Tues April 19 Schallstadt.........After a few hours rambling the streets of Frieburg I head towards the station. I've just bought a much needed umbrella and a shirt for seven euro. Train stations are the same all over the world. Populated by the dissolute and the deranged. I have a beer in the midst of the low life's and read Ian Hunters great tales of touring the USA in 1972. Take the 6.46 train (on time as always) to Schallstadt and Wolfgang meets me at the station.

Tonight, I'm dinner guest to Wolfgang and his lovely wife Daniella. Of course the media are getting great mileage out of the fact that today the first German pope in 900 years or so, has been elected. Apparently this guy is even more conservative and fucked-up than the last guy. The TV is turned of and the records come on. Wolfgang is DJ for hours and he really takes his music seriously. He's really a huge fan of the whole Americana / alternative country stuff. Dinner is great, a few beers and lots of wine, good conversation...what more could you want.

Wed April 20 Kandern.........After breakfast, we feed the rabbits, take pain-killers, and watch a DVD of The White Stripes live from Blackpool, which is excellent. Listen to a bundle of stuff including Duane Jarvis. Wolfgang drives me to Sultzburg and Nikol has just arrived. Out of one car and into the other. We got two guitars, a PA, piano, box of CD's and various bit 'n' pieces crammed into this station wagon. Rain is coming down in bucketfulls. Takes about an hour or so to get to Kandern, tonight's stop on the This Road Is Rocky Tour. (it's good to have titles, in case you get too disorientated, as I did a few days ago and started rambling on about retiring).

A Wednesday night, pissing down rain, a small town in the Black Forest area of Germany.....given such conditions you don't expect much. But how wrong we were. A great crowd turns up, Summer Bride get an encore, so when I go on (after a shot of tequila) I've got them in the palm of my hand. They're clapping along, shouting up stuff, and staying (sort of) quiet on the slow quiet songs. Everything about the gig was great, dinner was Thai food at its best, the shape of the room was ideal, the PA, the lights and of course the crowd. We all played well and a few late drinks were in order. Hopefully, we'll be back again in Chanderer Bahnhofle.

Thurs April 21 Denzingen..........Visit the post office and drink ice tea in the afternoon sunshine. In Hetiersheim we have tea and cheesecake, before continuing on to Denzlingen . Mick gave me a present of a little clip on mic holder that I can attach to a regular stand so I can have my stomping foot miked up. My left foot becomes a human drum machine on these solo dates. The venue is Humpen, and it's tiny and owned by the Harrold, same guy who owne's the place we were last night. He seems like a nice fellow.

Nikol is complaining he's feeling real horny and has been for days. Over at the magazine rack I find a copy of Maxim and he's flicking through it, which is probably making him even more edgy. I glance at some photos of a Miss Jakki Degg (27) from Staffordshire. There's an interview with Miss Degg (it's in German, so I'm none the wiser) Nikol thinks she's hot and I'm thinking to myself that this lady looks a lot like my missus : Å.K. It's a real sweaty gig, (three encores !!) and I didn't bring a change of clothes, and I'm completely soaked afterwards. Harrold is talking about the full band coming next time and I'm all on for that. I explain how much cash we would need and perhaps we could do the show in Kandern.

Fri. April 22 Emmendingen.....In the afternoon we walk up to the old Jewish Cemetery. It's dated back to the 13th Century and it's a bit of a miracle that it's still here as the Nazis destroyed virtually everything to do with Judaism during their reign of terror and ignorance. A spooky place but with a charm. Then again, I've always felt very at home in any sort of spooky environment. The bar is right beside the main railroad tracks that lead all the way from Amsterdam down to Switzerland and it makes some racket as it whizzes by at top speed. No messing with precision German engineering.

Played very well tonight, the sound was great, but a poor attendance. A slightly deranged lady arrives after the gig and is pissed off cos she thought she might have caught the last hour !!?! I can't deal with this, but Mick, being the gentleman that he is, gets out his Guild acoustic and sings the Jarvis/Williams composition 'Still I long For Your Kiss' . I think to myself, what the hell, so I sing 'Drunken Angel' sitting at the table especially for this lady and her boyfriend. They seem to be genuinely grateful that we made the effort. Later a few people join us at the table, but I smell trouble. One of the cunts starts saying he's offended by my language...I use the word 'fuck' too much. So I go " fuck...fuck...fuck...cunt...fuck...fucketty ...fuck !" He doesn't seem amused. He storms off in a huff, and his friend joins me at the bar, where I've moved to, to get away from the madness at the table. The guy apologizes profusely for his friends rude behavior and buys me a Jagermeister and down the hatch it goes. Ten minutes later we're on the road, the gig just a memory...................

Sat 23 April Titisee-Neustadt is actually two towns that have grown together. The gig at the Kultur Kafe is on the Neustadt side. We're way up in the mountains and the scenery was beautiful on the drive up. Again, we're playing in a place that has wonderful acoustics, especially for an acoustic / unplugged type show.Dinner is the best all week. Potatoes (fried) with sheep's cheese and a great salad. In case you don't know this, dinner is very important for the itinerant musician. It may be you're only chance for a proper meal all day, and if the food is shit, or worse still, there's none, the gig is going to suffer. Likewise, you shouldn't eat too much too soon before the gig.

After dinner we go for a bit of a ramble, only to discover that the nearest bar, about 100 yards down the road has a big neon sign outside boasting "all drinks 99cents." How are we supposed to compete with that ? It's 8Euro in to see us, so as you can imagine, not many alcoholics show up for the gig.The show itself was nothing to write home about....a small crowd. I enjoyed playing however, and 'Swedish Eyes' could become a great song. It's my second night playing it.. A bit of a bummer to end the tour on a low note, but it just goes to show, you never can tell what's around that next corner.

Sat 30 April Dublin......Been living a bit like a recluse for the past few days. After a tour I sometimes need to disappear from the world for a while. Spoke to a lot of people on the phone but the only person I actually saw was Steve Wall, who I bumped into outside, and Carl upstairs who kindly collected my mail while I was away. Today I'm recording. Got a good version of 'Caroline Says' down. Four hours it took me to get three acoustic guitar parts down, electric guitar, vocals and back-up double tracked vocals. It doesn't sound bad at all. It seems mostly in tune too !

Sun 1 May Kilkenny......My instincts told me to watch out ! After consulting the tarot I was prepared for disappointment, but all is not lost was the message, the problem could be dealt with...etc. It's not easy read for yourself. So, I decided to put my vintage Burns amp in the van, just in case my regular amp gave me any hassle. It's a bright sunny day and after our two and a half hour drive we roll into KIlkenny and witness a party atmosphere on the streets, which is what one would expect at the Rhythm and Roots Festival.

We're playing at the Kyteler Inn, named after the 12th century witch Dame Alice Kyteler. And just as I had feared, my Marshall Valve State amp is fucked. It was ok during yesterdays recording session, although the reverb wouldn't do it's thing. Today, it's useless, royally fucked. I plug in the old Burns amp, given to me by my old buddy David Bickley in Cornwall back in '95 I think. It really doesn't have enough poke for a loud gig like this but it will have to do. I need a certain overdriven sound and the Burns is too clean. Again, luck is on my side as our van driver JP happens to have a Boss distortion pedal on the dash-board, so together with my Rat pedal I've got all the dirt I need.

During soundcheck some people wander in, one guy, obviously into old amps, takes a photo of the Burns...and not of any of us humans. Sheila Sullivan (who played fiddle on both "By Hook" and "Long Time Gone" and gigged with us through from '97-'99) is in town and arrives down for sound check. It's good to see my old friend and she tells me she's off to play a few gigs in England with the Dead Plants. Si from Dead Plants use to drive for us back in '97 and '98, and his band played support to us in Galway once. I have fond memories of that big blue Mercedes van. And I recall the night we nearly got thrown out of a hotel because our post gig session was turning into a gig in my room, Seb had the double bass out and I'm not sure who else was there, most of the Racketeers, Si of course was there and I remember his missus was downing most of the bottle of tequila given to us by the promoter.

The gig kicks off and Sheila joins us for "Apology Not Accepted" "Racketeers Lament" and "Too Far Gone". It sounds great, and I reckon we must get her to guest with us again soon, a Dublin gig hopefully. WE sell a few CD's sign some autographs and after a quick two drinks we hit the road.

Tuesday, 15 March 2005

WINTER OF DISCONTENT TOUR - Switzerland/Ireland/Sweden/New York(Jan-March 2005)

Wed. Jan 26 Switzerland...........After a midday flight I'm sitting on a train whizzing through the snow-covered Swiss countryside, leaving Zurich behind. The onetime hotbed of Dadaist activity must surely have some great Art Museums. Hopefully someday I'll have a chance to spend enough time there to look into it. Its minus 8 degrees, with a nasty wind blowing in from the farmlands when we reach Biberist, me, Brian O'Toole and Al Cowan. Al is an old friend of mine from the eighties and he's filling in for Teusner on drums. Chris wants to cool his heels after 6 or 7 weeks in Australia. We've a few rehearsals with Al under our belts, he knew most of the stuff anyway as he recorded most of the first album at his Sonic Studios back in '97.

After getting set-up and checking out the rented backline, there's time for a drink and dinner before the gig. Somehow or other I manage to fall out of bed, whacking my mouth on a bedside glass of water, luckily not breaking the glass, but still managing to give myself a cut lip. Could have been worse. A close call.Thurs.

Jan 27 Biberist.............The guys want coffee in the new upstairs Cafe at the Co-op store. I have a beer. Back at the bar, eat and take the train into Solothurn, leaving village life behind for a slightly more urban vibe. It's cold so we go to Solheur for a few drinks and a really interesting chat about all sorts of things. Later, the Bistro over near the train station.

Later we check out two of the subterranean bars in the actual station. Keep missing the train, but eventually do catch one back to Biberist in time for dinner.. I'm reading Last Train To Memphis, Peter Guralick's tale of the rise of Elvis. A present from the wife. I've brought a walkman with me too, but haven't got around to listening to it yet. Not enough time. The gig is another gig.

Fri. Jan 28 Mathias, our old friend, drives in and after hanging out in the next door music store, we drive out to his place. Can't remember the name of the town, but it was a hour well spent. See a bit of the countryside, dwarfed by the mountains towering over us, a different type of civilization. Kris DJ's before we go on, playing all his fave English bands, and a lot of Welch one's. He's from Cardiff and a patriot.

The gig is enjoyable, with several songs dedicated to Anita Blond, Lea Martini and Brian's fan, Michelle Wild !The drinks keep on arriving afterwards, as does very hot pizza (too much chili) and this plays havoc with my stomach. We all stay up late, Al telling how we first met up at Clonegal Castle, where the Fellowship of Isis were having their Spring Equinox celebrations. I think it was 1986 or '87. The wonderful Honourable Olivia Robertson presided, as did her brother Baron Strathlock. He's no longer with us, but Olivia is still alive and well and is now a Lady. A few years later I did some recording at his Studio, as did our old buddy from HyperBorea, David Bickley. It all seems like a previous lifetime, and I suppose it was.

Folks drift off and crash out, but me and Kris drink until around 7.30am.

Sat. Jan 29 Biberist......Don't get out of bed until 7pm, and feel terrible. Can't face food. Seems I've caught a terrible bug. Just about manage to get through the gig and feel so fucked up I can't join in and of the late night shenanigans. Get the money, sign the relevant paper-work and instead of partying, I lie in bed tossing and turning with a real bad throat a headache and sweating profusely.

Sun. Jan 30 Zurich......At the airport I manage to eat a chocolate bun, washed down with a cup of tea, the only thing I've eaten since a banana yesterday. After paying our excess baggage bill, Brian and I are approached by some autograph hunters, who want us to sign their notebooks, have their photos taken with us etc. I'm not sure if they're mixing us up with somebody else, or if they know who we are or what's really going on, but we sign everything, do the photo routine, act polite.

In a newsagents I manage to loose our boarding passes. Later, I find them, and due to lack of sleep everything seems complicated. Loose a bag with about 800Euros worth of gear, but luckily I find that again. Change the money from Swiss Franks into Euro, stash the bookers 15%, and do the split, a fat roll of notes in my pocket. Back in Dublin, I manage to get to sleep at around 1am....after 30 hours without shut eye.

Tues. Feb 1 Dublin.....Yesterday I did absolutely nothing, apart from go to the doc, get antibiotics for my throat infection and an anesthetic spray. Been taking lots of hot lemon drinks, trying to eat some decent food into me and get some rest.

A compilation CD from Paddy Lynch in NYC arrives in the post. It's got a great version of The Lowlands of Holland by Susan McKeown with some great eastern sounding violins, either Japananese or Chinese, can't tell. First time I heard this song, it was sung by Dolores Keane, a magical version with John Faulkner on guitar. The CD also contains the spooky Incantation by John Zorn and a track by the Carmelite Nun of Lucon. Nothing to do with the 70's movie I presume.

Later in the evening I'm beginning to feel the drugs kick in so I manage to get some of the recording machinery turned on and lash out rough mixes of 13 songs. Bang 'em onto a cassette for Chris who is curious to hear the new material I've been working on while he was down under (in Oz). Then off to bed.

Wed. Feb 2 Galway..............An email informs me we made it into some local papers, photo as well. Its a long day in the van. There's a serious crash, a truck and a few cars all in a pile up on the motorway, so we loose a good hour in the tailback. Realize I haven't approached Galway from the Dublin side of things for many years. Although The Galway Advertiser claims it's two years since we last played this western city, it's actually almost 4, and how things have changed.

The last time we drove into Galway we were coming from Sligo, up north, so it's an eye opener to see all the new buildings, even villages that didn't exist before. After soundcheck I meet up with Killian and Thor who have organized the gig, as well as brothers Noel and Aidan Furey who I haven't seen in years. Also Olly Longhair, the Saw Doctors live sound engineer. We do the gig, and although it's a small crowd, they're really into what we do and after we sell a few CD's and have a quick drink before hitting the road again.

Fri. Feb 4 Dublin.....A trip to the bank and the Post Office. Also, I collect my ticket for Gothenburg. Pick up a Northern Soul CD with Frank Wilson, Terry Callier, Jerry Butler, Edwin Starr and a bunch of other great floor fillers. Also got a thing called 'Texas Troubadours' which includes a few great tracks from the likes of Rosie Flores and Slaid Cleaves. T Rex's 'Electric Warrior' arrives in the post and I get a letter from the Customs and Excise people to say they've got another package and they want my permission to x-ray it, which I give, and apparently it's also a CD and not a home bomb making kit !!

Word comes through from the US from a label who are looking for a track for a future release on that side of the Atlantic. Which reminds me, I have a trip to the States planned for March so I'd better get a ticket organized.

Sat. Feb 6 Dublin...........A good lie in...recharge the batteries, fighting fit for the gig in The Mezz in the middle of Dublin's tourist hang-out area. Not a bad gig at all. Jimmy is there, shouting up "Midsummers Eve".....a track off Long Time Gone, and if memory serves me correctly, only ever played live twice. Once, in The Pine Lodge, Myrtleville, County Cork (before it was recorded) and once in Helsinki, where I think we made a balls of it. It's time for a resurrection. If we can get a few rehearsals in to try out some of these new songs I've written maybe we can do a re-arrangement on Midsummers Eve too. Million Miles Away could do with a dusting off as well. That was only played live a handful of times back in '99.

Sold some CD's, collected a few email addresses from people who had never heard of us before, and it's always good to see people turned on by what we do. What do we do ??? Americana ? Rock 'n' Roll ? Alt. Country ? Outsider Rock 'n' Roll ??? I like the phrase outsider.....

Sun. Feb 6 Arvid, my reggae loving friend in Gothenburg is going to be the recipient of a couple of cassettes of the hardest hitting stuff to have come out of Jamaica during that golden period from the late 60's to the end of the '70's. I'll throw on a few rock steady classics too. Arvid, unlike most of the Sweden is not appalled by tapes, vinyl or other such analogue formats. Most of my best reggae , Bluebeat, Ska and Rocksteady stuff is on vinyl, and even if the computer/burner was working, its too time consuming to get the songs onto the hard drive then burn them. Straight to tape is quickest.

Write a bunch of emails, phone calls, no time for the Sunday papers. Off to Bray to do a gig, after that I reckon I'll catch about 4 hours in the land of nod, and then off to Sweden, where I'm gonna be for three weeks. See you later Alligator...............

Thurs. Feb 10 Gothenburg, Sweden........Picked up a few records...Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, the soundtrack to that great movie, 'Round Midnight ' starring Dextor Gordon and a Russian pressing of a Stones compilation called 'All Together Volume 12 !! It's got a whole bunch of early obscure early tracks, plus a few I know like 'Yesterdays Papers'. These I bought at Mynt and Musik down on Friggagatan. Over at another shop I got Elvis Costeeoe's 'My Aim Is True' (never owned that before) a couple of early rock 'n' roll samplers and an Iggy Pop LP. Problem is, everything I bought is on vinyl and there's no record player where I'm staying. The one CD I found worth spening money on is a compilation of stuff that Presley covered early in his carre and stuff that influenced him. Big Mama Thornton, Lowell Fulsome, Carl Perkins etc.I'm still reading Peter Gularnick's biography of Presley. Now, I knew he was white trash, but I hadn't realized he was such a mama's boy, so I've used this line in a new song I wrote today called 'Roll Away.' The line goes..."Elvis was the King alright, the King of mama's boys..."It's a good song and I'll be performing it tomorrow night for the good people of Gothenburg.

Fri. Feb. 11 Gothenburg......The gig is at Kom Musik bar on Olivesdalgatan. A good crowd are in and they listen to every note, so it's just as well I'm on the ball tonight. A great gig, get an encore, chat to some new fans, sell a few CD's. Meet up with Alex Niitsoo from local band Guru Baba who reckons he can help me out with some new contacts. Annalie, Pieter, Carolin, Arvid are all down for the gig. Meet Arvids cousin Andreas who is a great guy and we all wander off into the night in the direction of Jantorget. Have a few drinks in Louisse Bar which I like a lot.

Sat. Feb 12 Gothenburg......Swedish TV is truly terrible. Bad enough giving Cagney and Lacy a prime time slot, they've gone mental on reality shows, home produced and imported. Paradice Island, Big fucking Brother, Poor Little Rich Girl, Babes in The Bush, Nanny 911...the list is fucking endless. There's one about a middle aged big titted lady who has had more plastic surgery than Michael Jackson. She's the ex-wife of some mafia Don and she's looking for a new husband. Good luck !

On Channel Z I see a great band called Vijaya, but after doing some research I'm told they released one single a year ago, no album available, so thats it. While taking the piss out of Swedish TV commercials I slip on the frosty grass and land badly...flat out .... really hurt my back. I reckon Loki (Nordic trickster archetype) is responsible, decided to teach me a lesson for taking the piss, and perhaps I deserved it.Later at night we have a few drinks (in fact we have quite a lot of drinks) down town. On our way to meet up with Andreas at Sticky Fingers I fall for the second time. At least this time I can blame it on the snow which has been falling steadily for the past few hours. Luckily no bones are broken and we have a wild time at the club.

Wed. Feb. 16 Stockholm.........Roll out of bed after four hours shut-eye. Grab a coffee and catch the 8am bus. Luckily I sleep for most of the seven hour bus ride. The place we're staying in is a hell of a lot better than the kip we stayed in the last time we were in this town. One's got to be careful walking around in the snow and ice. Don't want to fall again. The gig at Wirstroms in Gamlastan is ok. Hang out with Swifty's old friend Furnace who organized it for me. He's got a baby due any day now, but his mobile doesn't ring, so it's not tonight.

Thurs Feb 17 Stockholm.....After checking my emails and generally TCB (taking care of business) I call the Frames management in Ireland to get the OK to play support to them in Gothenburg next Saturday night. The venue people are cool, they're saying, get the OK from the band, which I do. So, there's another gig for me. Then its time to get down to Central Station. I buy Lemmy's autobiography 'White Line Fever' and hop on the bus for the 700 Kilometer drive west. By the time we reach our destination I've finished Lemmy's literary classic. It made me laugh out loud more than once, which isn't a bad complaint.

Sat Feb 19 Gothenburg......................Blame it on the beer packages. As an enticement to customers if you buy a beer they give you a bottle of the same brand for free. It's called a beer package and a lot of the bars do it. I kind of over-did the beer packages last night. Got out of it, fell over, couldn't get up. Eventually got into a taxi but the guy thought I was gonna puke. Åsa convinced him I'm not a puker. Once every four years or so. Now, Brian O Toole is a great man for what he describes as "the casual puke". Nip around the corner, throw up and then he's back in business. Åsa K- she'll say ..."I don't feel so good.." Into the toilet, a few minutes later she emerges a little red-eyed but soon she's knocking them back again. By the time we get to Kaggeledstorget I've lost my serial killer hat, but the taxi driver is kind enough to carry me to the door. Of course I can't remember any of this. First I heard about it was when I woke up this afternoon at 2.30........Can it be true ???

On the way to the venue I stop off to buy another hat identical to the one I lost. It was very good to me, looked good, kept head warm and my ears safe from the bitter Nordic wind. (Andreas says it makes me look like a serial killer, but I can live with that)Tonight's venue is Sticky Fingers and I'm opening for the Frames. Meet Glen Hansard right inside the door. We shake hands. It's been a long time. "I bet you're wondering what the fuck I'm doing here" I ask. "Actually Yeah" he says. I explain the venue wanted me, but I have got the ok from mission control in Ireland. The E.Q. for the monitors breaks down during sound check and it never gets going again so the onstage sound is thin, and front of house could be louder, but generally it's an ok gig. The venue owner goes over to Alex and says "I only have to hear 15 seconds of this guy to know he's good". This I take to be a compliment.

Hang around and watch The Frames. Haven't seen them in a few years, in fact it's about 8 years ! Afterwards we drift towards the dressing room.. The bass player reckons we met before in Dublin and I don't doubt him one bit. I give Glen a copy of Exit Hellsville, he gives me a contact for Prague and the tour manager gives me another beer from the fridge. Just like that.

Sun. March 6 Dublin......Spring sunshine streaming through the window. Cup of tea and Swedish biscuits. Life is good. Dreamt last night I was in New York, and having a bad time. I AM going to NYC on Tuesday, but as always I'm going to have a good time. Last night's gig in town was fun. Thin Lizzy's 'Boys are Back in Town' on the PA before we went on was a good omen, and put me in good form instantly. Enjoyed myself, amused myself and I think I'm correct when I say the audience were entertained, and that's what it's all about.

Chris played great as always. He's much better when he leaves his ear-plugs out. If he has them in , he hits the drums even harder, if he leaves them out, there's more dynamic, and he's a hard hitter anyway. T-Bone came by to check us out, gave me a copy of his new CD. A few familiar faces in the crowd which is always nice. Chat with Tom from Cork and his buddy. Also meet up with Rob Murphy and Cormac, a friend of his that I hadn't seen in about fifteen years, or more.

Tues. March 15 New York.....Played earlier at The Sidewalk Cafe to a decent crowd. I played well and handled the occasion admirably. A few nights ago I caught up with Bronagh Gallagher. She and her band played a gig down at the Crash Mansion, followed by Mainline, who certainly have been studying Black Rebel Motorcyle Club. They were good, but maybe took themselves a bit too seriously. And the name is a bit of a joke....I can't imagine any of these black clad middle class boys dabbling with smack.

Jack's guitar playing has come on a lot and we've have a great time hanging out. A few days ago we visited the Chelsea Museum of Modern Art and saw a lot of cool installations and some great paintings. Saw 'The Village' on DVD. Really liked it. Bought a few records and battled my way through a snow storm.