Fri Jan 6 Dublin............Played The Belvedere last night. Eoin Byrne was support. Currently living in Berlin, he's taking a break from sculpture/painting to try his hand at making noise, and a good noise he makes too. Enjoyed his set, and after Terry and his van dropped us off, I stashed my gear and we headed out for a late drink or seven.Thankfully all that New Year/Xmas crap is over. Ireland is a dreadful place at this time of year. It just drags on and on making it difficult to get anything done. I had my thinking cap on a few weeks back, and organized things in such a way that we could work through the festivities.
Off to Sweden tomorrow, playing Whoopsi Daisy,Wieselgrensplatsen 11, in Gothenburg. I'll hang out for a few days and meet some friends, buy a few records and travel to Copenhagen for a show next week. It's -10 Celsius there at the moment and tons of white snow drape the landscape.I need a break from recording. It's beginning to drive me mad. All I can hear are mistakes ! An eternal optimist, I posted a few rough mixes to Sheila Sullivan. The idea of a string section on a song or two appeals to me.
Sat 7 Jan 291 KIlometers to Gothenburg I am reliably informed by a very big Danish road sign. We drive over one of the longest bridges in the world, past the reservoirs shaped like alien spacecraft, past red-painted wooden farm houses smothered in snow.Eventually arriving in the Swedish stygian darkness at 7pm. A quick drink in a kip near Central Station and Annelie arrives in the car.
Tonight's gig is at the oddly named Whoopsy Daisy. I've never been here before. The PA seems to work, dinner arrives and all is good. Christopher Matthason is support and seems pissed off that his name isn't on the posters. After his set I do my thing and a few folks get up to dance, stumble around the place and generally behave the way Swedes do when they're a bit tanked up. Its all good fun though.An arguement starts between Christopher and the bar staff over something or other. Its all in Swedish so I've no idea what its about and I couldn't care less. I played the gig, I got paid and Im ready to leave. Pedal to the metal and off we go to Lerum.
Wed 11 Jan Gothenburg.....The snow is starting to melt, slippery slush making it hard to navigate the streets. A visit to Skivandel Record Store down in Jontorget provided me with a wedge of vinyl. For a decent price, I picked up the first two Pretenders LP's, plus records by Fats Domino, Green on Red, an early Rod Stewart LP, Chuck Berry, Chris Spedding and a few other delights. I also got my hands on a few reggae 7inches, Jamaican pressings on the Diamond Rush label (Tony Curtis) and on the Rasta Vibes label a great cut by George Nooks "Come Go With Me"
At Musik Mint I picked up records by Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Bobby Gentry and some Hungarian folk music, part of the Musique Folklorique Du Monde series on the French Musidisc label. Also an LP by by Jerry Lee...The Killer ! Ike and Tina Turner's "River Deep Mountain High" proved a bargain at 20KR.Visited Carolin and Arvid, knocked back a few beers and DJ'd for a while digging deep into Arvid's collection to find The Clash, Gregory Isaacs, The Stones....Went to some Club, slipped and fell on the ice trying to make it up a steep hill in Lerum. No bones broken, no harm done.
Thurs 12 Jan Copenhagen.....Haven't played this city in three years and tonight's gig at Bloomsday Bar on Niels Hemmingsendegad was a good one. Promoter, Eugene introduced me to lots of people including singer-songwriter Sean Needam who lives here these days. The sound was good, the gig was well attended and it went down well. Sold CD's, hung out and had a few drinks....well, in fact we all had a lot of drinks. Stayed in Christiania with E.G. listening to Bonnie Prince Billy before we crashed at 5.30am. I'd forgotten just how good his "Ease Down The Road " LP is. Off to the land of nod with "Just To See My Holly Home" floating around in my tired old brain
Tues Feb 21 Dublin.....Last week something very unusual happened in New York. I beat Jack at pool. This hasn't happened in many many years. We were both in shock . The following evening I played a show at the Sidewalk Cafe on Avenue A and 6th St. A small but appreciative crowd. Bruce Henderson dropped in with his lovely wife. We had never met before, but we had corresponded by email and spoke on the phone a few times. He helped me out with information on German label Ulftone who he done a deal with. I was in the process of doing the same thing myself, but I decided against it. Bruce also introduced me to CD Baby, who are our main online retailer.
Back in the Emerald Isle, work recommenced with Paul Thomas. Tried a few mixes, and got Ger Kiely in to add lap-steel to 5 songs. He also played mando-guitar, electric and acoustic guitar and it all sounds great. Down at the Madison for a few drinks I bump into Justin Healy just arrived back from Dubai via Berlin. Justin used to play with The Golden Horde way back . He also toured with The Racketeers, playing a very mad tour of Sweden Finland and Estonia. He wouldn't talk to me for two years after the tour, then came to the realization I hadn't ripped him off and it's now all water under the bridge. (It wasn't my fault he blew most of his hard earned cash on Estonian prostitutes!)Played three gigs last week, and rode off into the sunset with a roll of notes in my pocket. Yesterday was spent at JJ Smyth's bar. Brian Smyth was kind enough to allow us spend the afternoon in the upstairs venue recording drums. I watched as Mr. Teusner hit his big green premier kit very hard. Paul engineered as usual and we both needed a few drinks. Ate at Govindas wonderful vegetarian restaurant, met Mado, Eric, tattoo artist Dave, drummer Cathal and Fiachra Shanks. Relocated to Anseo on Camden Street and then back to my humble abode to crack open the wine. Fiachra told me how much he liked the painting hanging over the table in the living room. So I gave it to him.
Tues Feb 28 The sky darkened and down lashed the snow. I was having a cup of tea, unwinding after a hectic week. Recording last Monday and Tuesday, and trying to mix at the same time. Then on Wednesday, Nikki Sudden arrived over and we did a gig together at JJ Smyth's Bar on Aungier St. Many drinks were had, and Nikki smoked enough cigarettes for an army. Ger Sweeny, an old painter friend of mine opened a new show in a gallery off South Anne Street, selling his pictures for 8 grand, and more. I played a DJ set at the Gaiety Theatre, blasting out tunes by Elvis, The Stones, Nikki Sudden, Little Junior Parker , Warren Smith, The Cramps, Jonathan Richman, Dave Berry, Johnny Thunders and many more geniuses.
Saturday was spent trying to record a couple of bass parts, and Ger Sweeny hooked up with us and crashed out here following wine, tequila, beer and food...in that order. He told me he had sold 10 paintings since the opening on Thursday. To celebrate on Sunday morning, we went to some big Art gallery to see paintings by Howard Hodgkins. Really impressive abstract expressionistic stuff.Interestingly, some of the rooms in the gallery were painted mint green, some others gold. I gotta get a gold room at some point. Then on to a bar on the North side of the city in what used to be a church. A string quartet playing away ...nice vibe. I don't know much about classical music, so I can't say what the played, apart from Danny Boy. Åsa insisted on pizza in an Italian place on the corner of Dame St. (Swedes always want pizza on a Sunday)Meanwhile, Nikki had trekked off to Waterford, Wexford and Sligo playing gigs, as musicians do. Yesterday was spent with Paul Thomas bouncing tracks and listening back to some of the recent work. Nikki arrives back from his Irish tour, and off we three ramble for a few beers. Back at my place wine and brandy keeps us going as Nikki records a new song, which might be called 'The Way Things Used To Be'...or maybe it's called 'Smoking In Dublin'...not sure. Mr. Sudden sang and played my Epiphone Casino, I played my Epiphone Jumbo Acoustic and added harp and it all sounds great. And that was my week........