|Ginger & Friends Tour Diary|
|Written by Rich Jones|
|Tuesday, 11 January 2011 05:00|
Day 1 - Dec 17th - London
Well, here we are. Day one. After months and months of emails, phone calls, arm-twisting and favours we'd finally arrived at show day. I've got to admit that I approached this tour with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. After all, playing a lot of great songs with great friends is all well and good but I felt like I had a lot to live up to. These songs deserve to be done justice, not just 'played right' if you get my drift, and with no proper Wildhearts tour this Christmas I'm hoping that the fans will be kind to Tom, Denzel and I on this run.
Anyways, the beautiful orange nightliner has pulled up, I've just had a massive breakfast and we've been blanketed in snow all in the space of about 20 minutes. So it's off to the Garage for soundcheck and last minute-rehearsals.
Day 2 - Sheffield
I woke up with a pounding head this morning, the aftermath of Nathan Connolly's post-show hospitality coming back to haunt me. Coffee, codeine, clean clothes on and I stepped out of the bus to find myself in Sheffield. By all accounts we've been lucky to escape the snow that seems to have blanketed the rest of the UK and everyone is looking forward to tonight's show at The Corporation. Assuming the Glitterati can escape the London snow and make it up here on time. Stay tuned...
Last night's show was a blast. We were really lucky to have a great cast of characters, old and new friends turn up to play with us. We got Buckcherry's Jimmy Ashhurst, Nathan Connolly, PAUL COOK FROM THE SEX PISTOLS, Random Jon Poole, my Sinatras bandmate Dave Kerr and the usual assortment of friends up onstage. The show was chaotic and the crowd was fantastic last night, singing their hearts out on every song. Despite its surly, jaded reputation London is gonna take a lot of beating in terms of crowd participation. So let's see what you've got, Sheffield. I'm off to soundcheck.
Day 3 - Manchester
Well, last night was another great night. Unfortunately The Glitterati couldn't make the show due to the snow so Ginger and Hot Steve decided to step in with an acoustic warm-up set. They were great and the crowd was fantastic, once again singing along with every song. We also saw the debut of our 'One String Wonder' guitar competition where we get an audience member to guest on 'Vanilla Radio' with us. The winner, decided by us at the end of the tour, gets to keep the guitar. Tom, Ginger and I are customising the guitar every day so it should look like SHIT by the end of the tour! Anyways, last night's guy was pretty good so it looks like we're in for a fun and funny competition. Thanks Sheffield, you made it a ton of fun!
So here we are in Manchester, somehow we managed to make it past the snow once again! I spent the morning finishing all my christmas shopping and then Ginger, Tom and I had a huge Sunday roast... in Wetherspoons. Oh, life on the road is glamorous. I also bought some eyeballs for the one-string guitar and the lovely folks at Rockers hooked us up with some free t-shirts. Tonight's show should be a blast - we've got Eureka Machines back with us and Tony from Terrorvision's band Laika Dog. I'm also looking forward to seeing my Sorry & The Sinatras tour buddies from Obsessive Compulsive. I wonder if it's possible to die from an overdose of Good Times? Fuck it, let's tempt fate and see what happens.
Day 4 - Glasgow
There is literally NO stopping us. We once again sailed through the snow and made it to Glasgow in one piece. One huge breakfast down and we're out shopping for xmas decorations for the stage. I managed to stumble across the most suggestive, offensive xmas decorations ever. Those things are going on our amps for the remainder of the tour, no question.
Tonight's show sees us joined by Sluts Of Trust and a one-off reunion show from Baby Chaos. To say we're all excited about the bill is an understatement. We managed to get some beautiful art prints for tonight's show designed by Dave and Alan Kerr. And then spent the better part of two hours in the dressing room signing them all. Man, these things look great.
Manchester last night was another awesome gig. An absolutely packed out house singing so loud it was ridiculous. It was our soundman Shaun's birthday and we managed to crowd surf a cake from the stage all the way back to the mixing desk to him! It's starting to feel like the band is really coming together now. I think the chaos of organising the birthday gig and getting all the guests rehearsed up left us with little time to concentrate on how WE actually sounded, but I felt like it really clicked in Manchester. I'm looking forward to the extra level of enjoyment that comes with stepping onstage feeling 100% confident from now on.
We had a quick drink after the show last night with Kelii and Giz from Obsessive Compulsive, Tom took a lot of enjoyment from a 9% beer called Old Tom, tour manager Gav found Denzel sleeping in a pile of bags and suitcases on the floor of the bus and then we were off through the snow...
Day 5 - Newcastle
Here we are, in the Toon! Once again we defied logic (and the snow) and made it here intact. Let's just start off by saying that last night was fan-fucking-tastic. According to Shaun we played a concert last night, as opposed to just a gig. Baby Chaos were ridiculously loud, tight and sounded like they'd never been away. Chris told me after the gig that they'd had just three rehearsals. Immense. It was suggested more than once that they should make this reformation more of a permanent thing. Sluts Of Trust never made the gig... something about dinner running late.
Over the last two days I've been hit by some mystery illness that's seen me shivering, feverish and plagued by horrible headaches. So the nightlife hasn't really been happening so much for me and I spent the night tossing and turning in my bunk. I was awoken this morning by (what I thought was) everyone getting up to go out for breakfast. Turns out they were all going to bed. At 9am.
The snow is getting heavy outside so Tom, Ginger and myself are heading out to find a pub. Strictly for medicinal purposes of course...
Day 6 - Wolverhampton
Snow be damned! There is NO stopping our rock juggernaut and I've awoken in Wolverhampton. Hats off to our intrepid driver Moose who has powered us through all kinds of bad weather on this tour.
Newcastle last night was a weird one. If I'm being kind the venue was, shall we say, grim. The dressing room had a delightful aroma of sewers and the shower looked like it would make you dirty, rather than clean. But we're not the types to complain or let that stop us from having a great show, and a great show we had! Local boys Supercharger put on a fired-up Supersuckers-y opening set and Eureka Machines were their usual bastard great selves. A couple of technical problems led us into doing impromptu acoustic versions of 'Geordie In Wonderland' and '29 X The Pain' mid-set and then we were back up and running! Once again another fantastic crowd made us all feel welcome.
Tonight is one of my favourite venues in the UK. A warm welcome, a hot shower and we're having a whisky coffee for breakfast in the dressing room. This is living! Tonight Ginger and Jase Edwards are going to do an acoustic Quireboys set with Spike to kick things off so it's a day of learning and rehearsing backstage. We've also got the mighty Wolfsbane on the bill and Brian Tatler from Diamond Head is going to do a guest spot with us. But for now I'm off into the snow to sample the cultural delights of Wolverhampton town centre. See you very shortly...
Day 7 - Southampton
We awoke this morning in what seemed like a residential neighbourhood. Tonight's venue, Talking Heads, appears to be sandwiched in-between rows of houses. Checking the gig listings it seems that Atari Teenage Riot played here a couple of months back. I can't even begin to imagine what the locals made of that!
Last night was the highlight of the tour for me so far. Wolverhampton gigs always make me feel like christmas is finally here as it seems I end up playing there almost every year, despite receiving a letter from the City Council many years ago when I was in Amen banning us from not just the venue, but the entire city. But that's another story.
Lots of family came out to the show last night and the turn-out was great despite the snow. Sadly Spike found it too difficult to make the 3-mile trek to the venue and was a no-show so we once again had Ginger and Hot Steve opening the show. They did a great job and even threw in an impromptu version of 'Loveshit' after someone in the audience yelled it out. And to make up for the no-show we drank Spike's rider. It was also great to meet and play with Brian Tatler, one of the nicest guys in rock. We'd offered to learn some Diamond Head songs but he insisted that he guested on something from the set so we got him up for '...Headfuck' and '29 x The Pain'. We had a quick run-through backstage and then he joined us for a mini-guitarmageddon with him, Hot Steve and Jase Edwards guesting on '29 x The Pain'. A great way to end a great night.
Tonight should be interesting. The landlord at the venue has to go out for a while so he's 'stocked up' Tom, Ginger and myself with drinks to hold us over until he gets back. In six hours. Uh-oh....
Day 8 - Homeward Bound
Southampton last night was a great night, once again. We were supported by the mighty OAF, an amazing drum/bass duo with songs about time machines and stealing people's chips. I wasn't sure how they'd go down but the crowd really loved them and they sold out of CDs by the end of the night. We had a fun show, although it was somewhat anti-climactic after Wolverhampton's festivities.
Christmas Eve and we rolled back into London at 4am. Goodbyes were said, tears were shed (well, maybe not) and we all went our separate ways. I have to say, this tour was one of the most fun I've ever been on from start to finish. There's a lot to be said for a bus full of friends traveling the country and playing our favourite songs every night to noisy, appreciative audiences. Believe it or not we've already got bigger plans in place for next year's festivities and it's gonna be NUTS. So roll on Dec 2011... see you then!
Guide to Photos:
Read the Über Röck review of the Wolverhampton show by Ginger and Friends here!
Photo kudos to Rich Jones, Gaz E and Rob Watkins