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.