Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Göteborg / Berlin / Greiz / New York


Sun 3 February, Göteborg – Early morning start on Satrday 19th January in the recording studio at Molndal. Minus 12 degrees on the street, snug and cosy inside. Tons of vintage amps to choose from with Thomas on the controls. Got down to business with Andy whacking out the beat on an old Ludwig kit. I used a Mainman amp. Our Greek buddy Marios from Nightrage dropped by as did Kris Panic. A week later Daniel Kjølsrud AKA Dick Tator arrived down from Oslo and got working on some tunes in my absence. Two rehearsals were organized and it was sounding very raw and real and fast. Late drinks in Cicero and Cans Bar. Daniel wants to change his name to Sir Galavant. Played Hagabion on the Saturday after the longest sound check in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. But the gig was fun and I think somebody filmed it…or bits of it.

Fri 8 February – Nereus Joseph gives us hope for the future of reggae. As does Mikey Spice, after a time when it really did seem like that all the good records had been made …back in the 70’s. Watched the watchable video for Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds “Jubilee Street” on youtube.

SMS from a lost Sir Galavant. Went out into arctic conditions to locate this underdressed bass player. Coffee was brewed, tea was drank, we got down to work  recording bass parts with Dick. We eventually got to the beer and he was flying through the songs. Andy arrived, Freja took photos and an excursion to the Maxi Grillen Pizzeria finished off a productive day. Fun too !

Thurs 14 February Berlin – Neukoln was my destination and I sat in Kalaja, a small café on Wildenbruchstrasse and waited for Eb, sorrounded by elderly men from Kosova who mostly drank tea. Later we met up with Fergus from Galway and Audrey from Scotland and had a meal.

Fri 15 February, Greiz – A blond lady helped me locate the proper S-Bahn train and on arrival to Hauptbahnhof I bought a ticket and with time to kill had a small Berliner beer in the fish and chip place. Lana Del Rey came on the stereo reminding me of Freja and home. Missed the connection from Leipzig. Platform 10a is in a ‘secret’ location tucked away at the end of 10 way outide the station itself. Wont make that mistake again…..but I probably will on second thoughts. Onwards down through Zeitz and Bad Könstritz, leylines of pylons carrying the current like refugees from a HG Wells novel. Berga and Pegau whizz by. Get to Gera and change train once again arriving into a snow covered Greiz, ready to set up and play the gig. Spending time with Matthias and his wife and also with Norbert and crew.

Sunday 4 March – New York....Ran into a spot of bother in Brussels Airport. My ESTA Visa wasn't coming up on their system, although ESTA had accepted my $14 and sent me an email to confirm that the Visa was fine and all was above board. The plane had almost fully boarded when it was discovered that a digit in my passport number was a zero and not the letter 'O'. They all look the same to me. With no computer available I made a phone call, the form was once again filled up online and hey presto, i got to travel onwards to New York. It being Brussels Airways / Lufthansa, all drinks were free so I settled in to several bottles of red wine. The food wasn't bad either. Read some of Ismall Kadare's historical novel "The Siege," watched some of a bad French movie and nodded off.


Jack met me at JFK, we had a drink in an over-priced place in Brooklyn, relocated to the Jalopy Tavern and in to Manhattan on the F Train to see a great gig by Naomi Shelton stopping off at Joe's Pizza Corner with photos of Tommy Lee and Kirsten Dunst and other pizza loving celebs on the wall, Joes big smiling face in each photo.

Naomi shook my hand not once but twice throughout her blistering set of gospel infused old school soul. Got her album and a 7 inch single afterwards and somebody robbed my coat. Luckily my passport was in my jacket pocket. Out into the cold night without my coat, caught the train back to Brooklyn for a gig by The Whiskey Spitters in Jalopy Theatre where I met (amongst others) historian , collector and musician Pat Conte. Told him I had his record...on red vinyl. Then it was time for drinks and devilment in the Tavern.


Slept a few hours, having been on the go for 29, and then we bundled into a car and drove north through the pissing down rain past the signs offering such services as 'window tinting' and 'wheel alingment.' I needed neither. Up past Queens in Flushing is the largest Chinatown in the world. outside of China, that is. Entered a gigantic run down warehouse masquerading as a food-hall. Found a table, somebody went to fetch a few six-packs while the others read the menu which boasted such delights as roasted rabbit, tripe and shredded intestines. I decided to stick with vegetarian dishes. The food was incredible. Tasted nothing like the Chinese food you get in Ireland or the UK or anyplace in the western world. Heavily spiced cucumbers,shredded potatoes, veggie dumplings.


Read parts of Hew Trachans book about the First World War trying to get my head around what sparked it off. Now I know. In Other Records in Manhattan they were playing the new Psychic Ills LP and it sounds very good indeed. Book store, gift shop, Dorian Grey's bar and and Indian restaurant on First Avenue were all visited and good times were had for sure. Walked the long walk from Columbia Street along the shore arriving out where both the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge almost meet, taking photos along the way. Called into visit a florist friend of Jacks and then to 68 Jay where we have a gig on Saturday. Posters are up, we had a drink before J. Lynch went out to New Jersey to do a TV show.

Rain was heavy and unrelenting. Shot some video, recorded a song and Jackson took  photos. Went down to visit Red Hook before catching the Roots and Ruckus gig at Jalopy with The Four O'Clock Flowers, Feral Foster, Dolunay, Ommie Wise and Rashad Brown.

Played Rod and Gun to an appreciative crowd on Friday night, and 68 Jay down in Dumbo under the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday night.