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Latest tales of the road

OK, so either I’m getting old and just have to accept that some of the things I used to be able to do without a second thought, I can’t now OR… well there isn’t an OR, that must be just it. The kind of stuff that if you went to your doctor feeling a bit worn out and then explained your recent activities, you can imagine the look of disapproval on his face. The fact is if you actually break down what an average day on the road consists of, then it all makes a little more sense. Usually a combination of loads of driving, loading and lifting, performing, eating and drinking, more loading and lifting, more driving, sleeping wherever and whenever etc. Now that’s all fine, but here lies the problem: it is usually in the wrong order. If you were an athlete and you went for a run, your routine would be fairly well thought out. First you’d eat all the right stuff to fuel you up properly and drink plenty of fluids, then after an hour and a half or so you’d start to warm up by stretching etc and getting your muscles loosened up. Then, you’d pop off on your little run taking with you a drink to keep you hydrated. Afterwards, you’d warm down by stretching again and then put on some warm clothes pretty much straight away. Fairly soon after that you’d eat lots of carbs to stock up on energy again and you’d drink loads and loads of water. Now if you did this in the wrong order, you would burn out pretty quickly and likely cause yourself an injury. Ahaa !!!! Now normally on tour we try and get it as close to the ideal as we can but of course on this tour, it’s a little harder as we are the opening act. I suppose the main difference is it all happens a lot quicker. We arrive at the venue and load in but we sound check last. Now in an ideal world a sound check should be pretty straightforward and once set up and switched on should take a mere ten minutes or so. Unfortunately, this is where things invariably get eventful. Surely a PA system and sound crew are there to basically make what the band do louder… i.e. we as a band provide the sound and then they put microphones in front of us to make it loud enough for you to hear!!?. Robin’s road crew are quite particular… and rightly so too. They want the sound to be as good as possible for the audience and so when they arrive at venues and half the PA is missing and there are no monitors whatsoever – they are gong to do something about it. Of course this takes time and so until it’s right we hang around until they’ve finished. For the support band this usually means chucking all the gear on stage about 20 minutes before your performance, switching on, trying to get some kind of monitoring so you can hear yourself, maybe getting some nice blasts of squealing feedback from the monitor guy who has wired his desk up back to front (while the audience is coming in)…..tuning up and then going for it only to have the monitor guy screaming ONE TWO ONE TWO down a mic that he has inadvertently channelled through to your in-ear monitor during the first song!….then rushing all the gear off stage again to make way for the main band. That was Saturday’s gig in Glasgow anyway. Sometimes it is much better as in last night at Norwich where the venue guys were brilliant… but sometimes it’s errr… not so good! The prospect of playing Newcastle’s Carling Academy was brilliant. So, Friday came and there we were. The sound check went according to plan as did the gig which was a lot of fun. Unfortunately it was the events that followed straight after that left us all a bit miffed. We were told to get our gear straight off by the venue people and were instructed to load off the front of the five-foot high stage. We thought they were taking it down to the dressing room area so we could pack everything away in cases etc. Oh no. They were loading it straight onto the street outside the venue. So down I came to see a big line of drums and guitars lined up along the path! The next twenty-five minutes had us scrambling about trying to get everything in cases before anything got damaged. It was probably this and a combination of not getting chance to wrap up warm that led to my injury of the week. My shoulder decided to give way and so the next morning had me booked into the local osteopath clinic! After an uncomfortable nights sleep I made my way for my 10am appointment. After an hour of.. err… whatever you call it…..I was told that my spine is out of alignment, my thingy neck muscle is knackered and that my back is pretty much not looking good. Great. The advice is rest, no lifting, no driving and no rocking. Yeah right!! So off we travel to Glasgow with Rich taking the wheel and me in the back complaining!!! It was on arrival at this gig that we realised we were in for a heavy night. Please refer to paragraph four for more details. So there you have it. Maybe that’s why Keith Richards looks the way he does.!? Uhhh? Oh, sorry…. no that’s not right is it? Anyway… the moral of this rant?? Well maybe it’s time to start looking after myself a little better. I mean I do but short of warming up for ten minutes prior to humping any gear and having a rider consisting of pumpkin seeds, umba gumba Eau der mineral, Chinese herbs and a personal crew of ten on the road with us…. It looks like we’ll be carrying on as we know it. Oh, and maybe I’ll dig out the yellow pages and find a local osteopath…. And the advice I’ll get? Stop, NOW! Tell next week!!

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