Make Way For Mongol Horde

I’m back in London after a busy festival weekend – Strummer Of Love, Beautiful Days and V Festival. Hyper-busy, but a lovely way to finish off the summer’s gigging.

Well, I say “finish”, but… It’s been a reasonably open secret for a while now that I have a side-project band in the offing. It’s kind of heavy, noise rock, maybe a little bit “hardcore”, and a lot of fun. It features me, Ben Dawson (of Pale Horse and Million Dead) and Matt Nasir (of the Sleeping Souls). We are called Mongol Horde.

We released two songs over the last few weeks – “Casual Threats From Weekend Hardmen” and “How The Communists Ruined Christmas“. To celebrate our coming out, here’s a new song: “Tapeworm Uprising”.

We are playing on the Lock Up Stage at this year’s Leeds (Friday) and Reading (Sunday) festivals. We may also have some warmup shows coming. Check us out on twitter and facebook for more info. Enjoy.

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New Releases

I’m back from my brief holiday. I walked the entire length of the South Downs Way – just over 100 miles through the hills of Hampshire and Sussex, from Winchester to Eastbourne. It was amazing, I heartily recommend giving it a go sometime. To top off my break, I also saw Refused last night in London, who were completely awesome, as expected. Anyways. Back in action now, and there’s some various bits of news for y’all to have a look at.

First of all, the Wembley DVD. This is being released in the UK on September 3rd. It will feature two discs – one with the full show, and one with Greg Nolan’s tour film and a bunch of other cool stuff. Details and preordering can be found here.

For people outside the UK, fear not! Firstly, you can always order the above package from Xtra Mile (although it will be a UK region disc). Beyond that though, the good folk at Epitaph are releasing a compilation CD called “Last Minutes & Lost Evenings“. This is a two disc set. The first disc is a compilation of what I consider to be my favourite songs from the releases before “England Keep My Bones”. It’s kind of a primer for new people coming on board in Europe, North America and so on. The second disc is the complete live show from Wembley, with region settings appropriate to wherever you are in the world. Details can be found here. This is being released on October 7th, though you can preorder it now. We are also working on getting the DVD extras from the UK release out to everyone further afield as well. And if you’re in the UK and fancy getting this release yourself, you can order it here.

Finally (for today), I’d like to remind people about my next London show on August 20th at The Roundhouse in Camden. It’s a benefit show for ABLE2UK, a great cause, and I’ll be playing a solo set; there are tons of other cool people playing too. Tickets are still available here.

Right, have fun everyone, see you soon.

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Fields Of June

Emily Barker is an old friend and collaborator of mine. Many of you may have seen the two of us sing her lovely murder ballad duet, “Fields Of June”, at shows lately. Well, the good folks at Xtra Mile are releasing that song as a 7″ single, complete with music video and everything. Hurrah!

Youcan have a listen to the track now right here (the video is coming soon, I’ll post when it does) and you can buy the white vinyl 7″ right here. You can also buy the song on iTunes UK here. Happy shopping!

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So the last 12 hours have been interesting. I posted some thoughts on some shennanigans I witnessed backstage at T in the Park, and then got inundated with poorly-written bilge for a while on Twitter. You can have a read on my feed here.

I have no interest in rehashing the specifics of what happened, it’s not, in itself, a massive deal to me. I still don’t really know who Nicki (sic) Minaj is, and I don’t really care. I have no opinion on her music, for all I know she’s a genius. Good for her.

The central point I wanted to make, and the thing that got me pissed off in the first place, is about respect. A lot of bands (and me) spend a lot of time talking about respect for the people who listen to your music, the people in front of the stage, the “fans” (I still hate that word) or whatever, and rightly so; personally, I feel that showing up late and not apologizing is a little weak. But the thing that got to me yesterday was more about respect for a different group of people: the crew.

There are an awful lot of people who work on making shows and festivals happen who don’t get to stand in the middle of the stage and bask in anyone’s adulation. In fact, it’s the vast majority of people. This includes my crew (sound guy, guitar tech etc.), the stage hands, the promoter who books the show, and the hundreds of people who run the backstage organization, and more. These people all work their arses off, they’re there from first thing in the morning to last thing at night, and they don’t get paid as much as the musicians on the stage. Without them, nothing would get done, there would be no shows for anyone to enjoy. I couldn’t do what I do without my crew.

Running a festival is a logistical nightmare; it takes a lot of people an awful lot of time to make sure everything runs even vaguely smoothly. If there’s one person in the midst of this who has a pretty easy, highly paid job (show up, mime, go home) who refuses to do this, and thereby fucks up the day of all the hard-working, sleep-deprived, exhausted, under-appreciated festival crew, well, that pisses me off. It means everyone has to do a ton more work just to make sure that the people at the festival and all the other bands don’t have their day ruined.

For some reason, doing this when you’re holding a microphone makes you “artistic”, “difficult” or maybe a “Diva”. In any other walk of life it’s called being rude, selfish and inconsiderate. Of course, Henry Rollins already said this better than I ever will.


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Lazing On A Sunny Afternoon

It’s been a little while since I updated anything on here. From an organizational point of view, summer is in full swing, though the weather would seem to suggest otherwise. Ah festival season – three months of trekking around Europe praying for sunshine, and playing to undismayed optimists wearing shorts, t-shirts and sandals in the pouring rain. All good fun though, as yesterday’s Eden Session will attest – thanks everyone who came out for that one.

Speaking of such things, the Truro show on November 30th at the Hall For Cornwall is now officially on sale – you can get tickets here. After a few years of neglecting Cornwall (sorry about that everyone), it’s great to be heading back down that way so soon after such a great show. As with all other shows on the tour, the line-up of Tim Barry and Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun as supports is going to be awesome.

Next up, I’ve added a London show on August 20th at The Roundhouse in Camden. This is a benefit show for ABLE2UK, a disabled charity, and I’ll be playing solo. It’s a great cause and there’s a great line-up, so get your tickets now.

Finally, just in case anyone missed it, the tour photography book Photosynthesis that Matt and I made is now available through the webstore for everyone in Europe and North America (at last). Enjoy. Right, that’s me for today, off to keep working on new songs and planning the next stage of world domination…


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November UK Tour Supports

It gives me enormous pleasure to announce the supports for the UK tour in November. Coming on the road with me and the Sleeping Souls will be Tim Barry and Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun.

Tim used to play for legendary punk band Avail, but now has a long history of releasing solo country punk records under his belt. We met on the Revival tour in the USA in 2008, and have been firm friends ever since. For those unfamiliar with his work, I’d start with the album “Manchester”, or maybe his latest, “40 Miler”. Both classics.

Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun, well, what can I say that I haven’t said already? My favourite new band. Get down early to check them out. The dates and ticket links are all to be found here.

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Strummer Of Love

One festival that I’ve announced myself as playing but which I feel I haven’t given enough love to yet is Strummer Of Love. It’s 17th-19th August, down in Somerset. It’s organized by the Strummerville people, who are friends and co-conspirators of mine, in memory of the late great Joe Strummer. It’s the same weekend as Beautiful Days and V, but I was so keen to play that I’ve worked out a way to do a set on the Friday. The rest of the lineup is also amazing, and well worth checking out. You can buy tickets here, or indeed enter a competition to win some right here. See you there.

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Silver Linings

It occurred to me, as I was about to go onstage in Toronto the other night, that I was at the end of the touring cycle for England Keep My Bones. In some ways that doesn’t really mean all that much – it’s not like the breaks between schedules are particularly long or significant for me. But it was a cool moment of reflection. A quick bit of calculation gave me the following numbers: 13 months, 245 shows, 20 different countries. Not bad. It’s time now to get into the rehearsal studio with the Sleeping Souls, in preparation for hitting the studio in the summer to make another album. I feel primed and ready. And then I can do all the touring all over again, huzzah!

I got some amazing news this morning, which, given all that, feels very appropriate in its timing. Both Love Ire & Song and England Keep My Bones have just been certified silver in the UK. That means that they’ve each sold over 60,000 copies in the UK alone. Again, on a lot of levels, it’s not that important – I’m not in this game to shift piles of CDs or collect industry accolades or whatever. Having said that, if I put myself back in the shoes  was in in 2008, when Love Ire & Song came out, the idea of getting a silver disc for it would have been faintly ridiculous. Given that I’ve remained on the same (small, independent, awesome) label, working with the same team, ever since, I think that I’m allowed a small moment of pride about this one. As of course is everyone at Xtra Mile and all the people I’ve been working with these last years. I can’t say we’re going to have a crazy rock’n’roll party, but I might treat myself to a whisky tonight to celebrate. And of course, the main point is to say thanks to everyone who picked up a copy. I couldn’t do any of this without you. Big love.

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Woke Up Feeling Like Sigourney Weaver

It’s that joyous time of year again, time to announce another full band headline run of shows in the USA in September! The dates are listed on the upcoming dates page, check it out. Some more information:

  • Tickets go on sale on Friday (tomorrow)
  • The incredible Larry & His Flask will be joining us for the tour
  • There’s another support to be announced soon
  • There are some more solo shows to be added in October around the USA
  • I’m really excited to be coming back again!

So yeah, enjoy. In other news, I am absolutely obsessed with recent Australian touring buddies, The Smith Street Band. I mean, if this song doesn’t blow your mind, I give up. Check them out if you have a spare moment.

Right, hello Toronto, what time is it here exactly?

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How You Going?

The solo section of the Australia tour has come to an end here in Townsville. It’s been fantastic to be over here and hitting new places. Darwin was a blast. In Alice Springs I played a festival out in the outback that was full of friendly hippies, and climbed a small hill in an unsuccessful attempt to spot a wild kangaroo for Casey, who had eaten one but not seen one (still hasn’t). Cairns was great, though we were there for a grand total of 11 hours and didn’t actually see the sun. The show in Townsville was cool (very early set for me) but it’s been blissful having a proper day off here in a hotel with a pool and a bar. Tomorrow we head for Perth to meet the Sleeping Souls and the return to more familiar Australian towns. I’m excited, almost enough to forget about my sunburn (ouch).

An update about the November UK tour. Bath, Leamington Spa, Norwich, Oxford and Liverpool are now sold out, with many others soon to follow suite. The shows are listed on the “upcoming gigs” tab up there; if you’re planning on coming, it’d be a good idea to get your tickets sooner rather than later.

Next up, my good German friends The Donots recently asked me to sing on a song for their new album. The song is called “So Long” and is featured on their new record, “Wake The Dogs”, which is out now. You can find out everything you need to know right here. Enjoy.

Right, some food, an early night and some after-sun on my poor scorched skin. Adios for now.

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