ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Yes indeed – here is where we are going to give a short account of our travels as we motor around Germany on our “End of Summer Tour” tour. We are very happy to announce that we have added a date in Kufstein in the Austrian Alps. A European tour wouldn’t be a European Tour without big rocks with snow tops.
Huttledorf has become our meeting point for many trips. A coffee, a Kaeserkornspitz, a quick chat and we are on the road. Two cars in convoy. Claudia and I in one and the two Dave rhythm section in another. We are primed. Motorway monkeys on route to Munich.
The road can be hot, long and emotional. What better way to combat this by taking a wee break and a dip in a German “See”. That’s lake to you english speakers out there. And there was a diving board. Yours truly took to jumping like a four year old. We all dived in… and dived in once more. Bikinis were lost and swimming trunks found. It was a necessary moment before the gig in the Ruby Lilly hotel in Munich. Did you know Munich is famous for beer? The Löwenbräu is just across the road from the hotel. Interesting tit bit 😉
THE RUBY LILLY HOTEL
Lovely crew in a great location, an easy going concert and a cool introduction for things to come. Nice groovy atmosphere, the crowd soaked it up. We played old songs in a new way… and maybe even differently. We know how this goes. Strong and steady. It was what it was. Cool and groovy (i’ve said that already), and there will be no mention about drums and taxis. We slept like royalty and now there is even rumour of a breakfast show on the hotel terrace for unsuspecting guests. I shall finish my coffee so and tune up. Day one down. Roll on Dusseldorf!
ON THE RIVER DÜSSEL
Not everything is as it seems. Turns out Düsseldorf, actually located on the Rhein, gets its name from another smaller tributary the “Düssel” river that runs into its much larger sister the mighty Rhein. Who knew? We’ve seen the river Düssel and it’s a fact. It does “actually” exist… and it’s tiny!
Our first gig of the day was a short breakfast concert to unsuspecting guests in the lobby/breakfast room of the Ruby Lilly in Munich. We then hit the roof for an impromptu video shoot with the Ruby crew, over looking Munich city. Nice view and a cool garden… you must check it out! Video shot nailed – we then hit the road for a seven hour journey that took us from Munich to Düsseldorf and the Ruby Coco, situated between the Düssel and the Rhein. I think there’s a connection to Coco Chanel in here somewhere. Will get back to that in a later post. I’ll do some digging!
Along the way we had to part company. The “Stereo Dave’s”, our mobile Rhythm section went west to find a snare stand and shoes (all will be revealed). Claudia and I headed north to find sense. We both reached our goals and were greeted by the coolest crew at the Ruby Coco (Chanel) Hotel. There’s song in there somewhere. A quick set up in Düsseldorf and a lovely two hour gig ensued.
Three concerts in two days. Energy can be found in amazing places. The Ruby Coco and crew are one such place. Immediately we fell in love with it and it immediately felt like home. But that was last night. Right… gotta get it together now for another breakfast show here in the lobby. I could get use to this. Three days experience in one (It’s a tour concept).
Question of the day. Does anyone actually know how to find an Umlaut on an english Mac keyboard? Copy and paste is driving me mad. Schleswig – Holstein and the Spieker in Ekernfoerde… here we come. Can’t wait!
THREE DAYS IN ONE
Eckernfoerde – Germany 23.08.18
Now I have always been a proponent of extended experience. The idea that when you are traveling around as a songwriter or musician, your life experience for any given day is expanded three fold. By that I mean, the new people you meet, the places you see and visit, the kilometers you travel, shows you play and all of the experiences you have, share and pass through (fun or otherwise) are dramatically increased. Think about it… it just aint normal and the spidey senses are on full alert. Now I know this may include many other trades, but for artists performing on the road I would have to say… Three days experience in one is very real to me… and I love it. Purely out of experience mind!
What it means is this. I’ll be out on the road with The Host for ten days touring. The maths is simple. You but multiply three days experience by the amount of time you are out on the road. So for us – four musicians traveling in two cars – around Germany for ten days would mean; our life experience has been catapulted to 30 days! Now you might think I am nuts and already suffering from faraway fatigue (a new term I will talk about in another blog), but believe you me I have the inside line and the road ridges to prove it. Yeah it’s just a concept that I am throwing out there – but I feel it fits.
You know when you’ve been touring as long as I have and you return home… you’re head is just so full of all the beautiful things that you’ve over experienced. Truth is it’s pretty surreal. I should also mention that this is always done drug free. Maybe some alcohol finds it’s way into the mix… but to live the dream you have to avoid the myth. More coming on the Rock n Roll myths later also so watch this space.
The next stop on the End Of Summer European Tour was Eckernfoerde. My home away from many homes and the one place I need always return to, at least once a year, to help me remember the person I can’t forget I want to be. The Spieker is one of my favourite venues to play and hang out on this cool continent (Europe i.e. In case you’re wondering), and is an amazing room in a beautiful location; a fishing village on a fjord (This could be Denmark). Like all these things however, it’s always about the people. In this life we all share many merry go rounds. I am fortunate to be on one big crazy European spinning wheel that takes me to these people and all the incredible places and faces I have gotten to know through music. You know who you are!
Being scared and brave, all in the same breath, takes you the places that you could never script. It’s the magic that happens and it can never be in your plan. At the Spieker in Ecekrnfoerde the crowd sang and danced us through three hours of a Wednesday evening. Does that mean we had a nine hour show? If so it felt great and every show should be that long! After the show we were lucky then to hang out on a Fjord with friends drinking some wine into the early hours. With the Stereo Dave’s we celebrated Claudia’s birthday (violin) listening to wild pigs rummage through the undergrowth.
We had one night in Eckernfoerde… but luckily that night stretched into three. It was short but with experience made sweeter. Thanks Thom, Anna, Lisa, Claudia and the crew for family. Eva and Andy south of Bonn would be our next port of call. A long trip in the heart of the Rhein land will see us round. Mel and Ulf will be waiting… This could take us three days!!!
SANDALS AND SCANDALS
End of Summer Tour 2018
My mother always says, an empty sack never stands. Me granny was also famous for her own alternative history. Stuff I will stand by to this day as being the funniest version of history I have ever heard. If only it were real. My favourite being “I’m telling ye Shane, the vikings built the bull wall in 1014 as part of their plans before the battle of Clontarf”. An absolute classic. For those of you who know Irish history, those dates are slightly off. My granny, Olive Byrne, of Eccles Street and Ballyfermot, was a national treasure and would challenge historians and philosophers alike. And she’d be right! There is a book coming and it might be called “Alternative History – According to Olive”.
My mother Mary has now thankfully inherited this prose position. Her words are works that I live by. “Empty sacks” I was pleased to realise don’t actually stand. You need to fill them to keep them steady. Old dogs and new tricks also comes to mind. “Sure you’re never too young to learn old tricks son”… and I know exactly what she meant. Like Noel Gallagher lifting his mothers words verbatim in the song “Don’t look Back in Anger” – “Stand up beside the fireplace and take that look from off your face”… you quickly realised as a songwriter with Irish heritage that many a classic was penned by the wisdom of mothers. Blessed even.
Before I hit the scandal I want to talk about sandals. Being in a band with like minded individuals is interesting enough, what with musicians and creatives that have their own focus and feel. It’s a marriage of sorts. A social experiment on speed… if you will! Now throw into the mix language barriers and massive cultural differences and you have a modern primordial soup that has many serving suggestions. Don’t get me wrong… I love it but it does take learned perspective to deal with such recipes.
Truth is I’ve been in many bands and I have made all the mistakes I would like to make. I have been messed around and messed others around. Not proud of it but it helps you learn right. You need to experience (there’s that word again), all the avenues or a-venues to eventually find the road you want to take, possibly live on, or even stages you’d like to play upon. So when you’re drummer rocks up to you at the start of the first gig on your tour (Munich), to tell you he’s left his snare stand and tom stand in a taxi in Vienna… you don’t panic. You tend to draw on all your collective musical know how to deal with that situation.
For me there was an internal giggle, as there was with the other band members, knowing well… as we’ve all been well drilled in this collective on the concept that, every gig is different and what we can always draw on is the consistency of self. Truth is you need a little challenge right. Where’s the fun in everything going according to plan!?!
There must always be a positive. Dave, our delectable beat master, as always and being faced with the challenge of not being able to play a full kit (we trying to keep it stripped down and roots), maybe took that information literally if not subconsciously, by leaving half of his drum kit in a Vienna taxi… also remained positive. Did I mention he left his shoes with the gear also. No… ok well these things happen. The positive was the gear was found in Vienna and for the whole of our trip and tour he managed to play and make his way across Germany in flip flops. In what became a brilliant running gig gag that expanded to hysterical and historic proportions – our attempts to buy shoes in each town toured was thwarted at every turn by relative size issues. Lets’ just say he has big feet and leave it at that. Some might call this scandalous. We like to see it as “sandalous”… and a new verb is born.
Moving swiftly on. Now in the past I would be reluctant to speak about the shit that we have to go through as we make our way up, down or across the so called ladder of success. The older you get the wiser you hope to become. You only learn by sharing information that the real crux is in that transference. The reality was simply this. I was penciled in by a promoter to play at the Electric Picnic in Ireland at the end of August /beginning of September. As this blog is now in fact in catch up territory I should be there now and writing this in Stradbally County Offaly. I’m not I’m afraid and also not afraid to share this information as I feel we are all learning and in that learning some good comes out of positive community. You’ll agree if we are of the same mindset.
Back in April I was booked to play the Uisneach Festival. A cool new Irish Cultural festival that draws on the power of the past. Uisneach is a legendary place in Irish Mythology. The centre of Ireland where events were central to Irish Gaelic cultural. A magical place. Check it out! I loved the idea and money was never the issue. A small fee was agreed which would cover my flight – so I wasn’t making a loss (this is important in business… so they tell me). It was also agreed that I would be given a slot at one of the stages at Electric Picnic (you can see where this is going)… Which was a super bonus and which I felt was a universal gift for being open and easy with the initial Uisneach gig idea. They seemed genuine enough and it’s always how I look at things. What comes around… etc!
Long and the short of it was that after doing the gig on Uisneach – (which was mind blowing and the festival is incredible… if Ireland and Gaelic stuff is your thing – get our there at the end of May) – the money never came across and calls and messages went unanswered. Now I’d call myself an established artist albeit small… but I got stung. Shit happens. It shouldn’t but it still does. Event organisers trying to fill their roster cheaply. I run a festival I know how it works. We try to be fair and at most and at best honest. “Small fishes in big pools” springs to mind as I imagine me Ma with a cuppa tea and a cheesy tomato toasted sandwich at lunchtime while we had our kings crisps on bread. I think Mary would often have had raw onion on her sandwich – especially when we were younger!
Anyhow – you live and keep learning. I’m down the price of a flight but will continue to see everything in a positive light as that’s what’s gotten me here and I love it. I’d normally use contracts when booking gigs as a rule – that way you’re covered. Sometimes handshakes do do. In business however, like all steely deals, and it’s a business after all folks… “The pen is mightier than the sword”! That’s me Da’s line!
EVERY CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING