Yes, I’m blogging again…., “Ehh??...What’s wrong with him?” I sense you wondering since I don’t normally write this frequently…. Well with the forum being so busy following last weeks start to the tour I thought I’d write and give you my version!!!
The week started for me and the guys on Tuesday morning when we all met just outside Devizes for our second full day of rehearsals. Now, not being one who enjoys rehearsing… in fact I hate it actually…. the first one the previous week had actually flown by and so I was looking forward to this. Hmmm strange.. I NEVER look forward to rehearsals! Maybe it was the excitement of having the new line-up, I don’t know. So anyway off we went playing through all the songs again and deciding on a set. We decided to call it a day about 7pm after retiring to the pub for a meal and realising the reality of doing more work after a large plate of Pie and Chips was just never going to happen. So up again on Wednesday morning to tidy up loose ends before a good nights sleep ready for the first show in Chislehurst.
So, after a relaxed set-up and sound check at Chislehurst we ate some burgers and toasties courtesy of Mr Feenstra (Promotor) and then all sat backstage waiting…..that last half hour before stage time seemed to take forever!! It’s funny but as much as we’d rehearsed the set, so many things go through your head just before you go on: would we all remember what we had rehearsed?… would I remember the words?.... then the adrenaline kicks in and you’re off!
For the first night of the tour, it went swimmingly: a really decent crowd who made us feel very at home. Everyone played well and we all came off stage feeling… well, relieved I suppose is the word! The first one was always gonna be the hardest.
Fast forward to Friday night in Sutton. Another cracking turnout instantly made us feel at home as soon as we walked on to Mr Feenstra’s lovely introduction! The set felt really good and much more relaxed than the previous night which I suppose was inevitable really. Already I felt more at ease to try things and mix it up a bit more. With me never working with a keyboard player, it has introduced a whole new dynamic to the sound and certainly from my point of view gives me a lot more freedom to play. In a three piece set up there is always a thing of filling out the sound so when taking a solo for instance, you do… or at least I end up playing in a particular way. Now there is keyboards in the mix, I feel a lot more free about what I can play without the worry of it sounding empty. Also, on sound I had my friend Laurie, so I knew we were in good hands. Overall another good night a notch or so up on Chislehurst.
Then came the last of the first three gigs. We were all so much more chilled for this one…. even if sound check did take about an hour and a half!! Did somebody mention something about a deaf sound guy?! Anyway…nevermind…. They made us some nice food and so all was forgiven
and by the time we went on the place was packed. This ended up being a cracking night with a very enthusiastic lot in there making plenty of noise!!
So there you have it… the start of the tour. Of course over the next months, the sound will continue to adjust as I get used to playing with a keyboard player and the band tightens up as everyone gets to know each other musically.... but it’s all good ya know so come and check it out!
So right now, I’m off to change my guitar strings and make a cup tea
Hey there everyone!
Yes, I’m still here…. and haven’t forgot it’s been absolutely ages since I last blogged! So here I am to fill you all in and tell you what’s really been happening.
Main thing I’m gonna rattle on about is the new album… of course! Well, it’s called Equilibrium and is at the pressing plant as I write this. So, what is it like?... Is it different to the last one?... Is it blues?... Is it rock?... Latin maybe?...Am I happy with it?.....Who’s on it?.... blah blah blah!
Okay, well this album is different from any that I’ve done before, in many ways. Yes, it’s still me…. don’t worry, I haven’t suddenly reinvented myself and completely changed direction! What I have done though is try a lot of new things both in the way it was made and the overall approach to writing the album. It was the first time I have gone into the studio without my touring band. Now while that might seem like an odd decision, it wasn’t for any reason other than to try working with different guys to see what happened… how it can create new ideas, sounds etc.
So, with my first handful of tracks that I had ready, I went to check out a studio down in Ringwood that Alan (manager) had recommended where I met the owner Steve Smith. I played him some demos and then sat back to see what his ideas were. Of course, this is something that could have worked or not. However on this initial meet, it was clear we were on the same wavelength. We messed around with a couple of tracks and then decided to record something rough. Steve got some friends of his to “pop in for a cuppa”… and no sooner was the kettle on the boil than we were jamming around with the first track. From this moment on, I was sold on the whole idea. Brilliant! I’d never met these guys and they’d never heard my stuff but after only a couple of listens to my demos, something pretty damn cool was coming together.
Of course when I write, I have an idea of what each player should be doing and how the song should sound overall but you can be too close to it. With me producing the last album myself, I was closer than ever so on this I wanted to try stepping back a little bit. Again, it was either going to work or it wasn’t but to have guys like this interprate my stuff in the way they did was just awesome. … and so from there it began!
Over the course of the next few months I wrote like mad and bit-by-bit the songs built up, each time doing a few days at the studio and then taking a break. I’ve never done this before, normally just doing a straight run through but by doing it in pieces, it gave plenty of time to sit back and re-evaluate what we had done so far.
So, I suppose a lot of you are wondering why none of the new stuff has been aired at gigs? Well, the live line-up to date has always been a three piece but for this album, I wanted to stretch out a bit and go beyond the limitations of that setup by adding some keys. Writing wise, it gave me a lot more freedom to try some different things and so, to go in sync with this, the live set-up would have to change as well…. and it has!!
So, to the next thing… who is in the new line-up? Well, on bass it’s Midus, on drums it’s Simon Small, and on keys, we have Morgy Morgan!! So there you have it! This year is going to be fun, fun, fun, and to anyone now wondering if the new line-up and album means goodbye to the older stuff, then fear not! The album is called Equilibrium for that very reason: I wanted to try some new ideas but not go completely off track and lose the roots of where it all began!!
So for now, get online, on the phone or whatever and get yourself along to the next gig you can and see for yourself!