Selling Out For Fun And Profit

Ah California. Some deep-rooted post-colonial grudge makes me loathe to admit it, but this really is an idyllic part of the world. To have breakfast on the edge of the beach in the sunshine in February (in the northern hemisphere to boot) is a luxury. So it’s nice to spend a few days here, not least considering I was in Dalston the other day, in the post-snow sludge. Contrasts, contrasts.

I’ve been running around doing press, sorting out tour logistics, shooting a new video (for Isabel, since you ask, which will be the next single, in March), that kind of thing. The video shoot ended up with me ankle-deep in the sea in pitch darkness singing into a flashlight. Which was interesting. The show last night at Hotel Cafe was a blast as well. Tonight is Riverside. Looking forward to it.

News on the DVD. The good folks at Xtra Mile Recordings are currently running a pre-order offer on it that will get the DVD to your door 2 weeks before the official release date. More information can be found here. There are also a very limited number of the print posters from Union Chapel for sale as well. Check it out.

Lastly, for today, the news that the London Roundhouse show (March 24th) has now officially sold out. Most of the rest of the UK tour looks set to follow suite in the next few weeks. I’m kind of running out of hyperbole when it comes to playing bigger shows than I ever expected to play, but at the same time I don’t want to come across as complacent about the madness of it all. So let’s just say “gosh”. See you there.

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DVD News

The wonders of modern technology, eh? I’m sat in a (very uncomfortable, actually) seat on train snaking its way along the shores of Lake Ontario in the snow, which is pretty cool. The lake is almost unimaginably huge. I’m on my way to Montreal for one night, and thence to Los Angeles for fun, games and decadence (I’d imagine). Toronto was a blast, four very cool shows in total, lots of new friends made, too much Jagermeister drunk. To paraphrase Radiohead, I do it to myself, I do, and it really hurts when I do too much. Ah well.

I’m also going to take this moment for a quick shout-out to my friend Michael, with whom I’ve been staying. Michael is a friend of a tenuous friend, but he’s consistently put me up and looked after me in Toronto and is an all round diamond geezer. So, thanks and kudos to him. But more to the point, the man is representative right now of all the people who put me up around the world. They are many, they are good people, and they know who they are, but they enable me to do what I do with my sanity in tact. They puncture my fashionable haze of misanthropy with their warmth and generosity. So, thanks guys.

To business! First of all, my very good friends Look Mexico have a new album coming, and it features yours truly guesting on a song, which was an honour – they fucking rule. It’s also out as a 7 inch, and you can find out more / preorder the thing right here. Comes highly recommended.

Finally, DVD news! It’s been a few years since we did the first DVD, and it feels like the time is ripe for another. So, we’ve been collecting material in the last few months, and I’m pleased to say that Take To The Road will be released in March. Full details of the release can be found in next month’s Rock Sound magazine. Just to whet your appetites a little more, here’s a taster…

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Extra Shows

I’m at home in Winchester right now, but I’m surrounded by the weird aftermath of packing – everything was chaos an hour ago or so, but now it’s all been condensed into two bags and a guitar. I’m leaving here for 4 months today, and I’m pretty sure I have everything. I mean, I have some practice at this now, right? Anyways. I’m sure I’ll forget something crucial, but such is life.

I’ve got some big news coming for Monday, but for today, here’s a heads up about a few extra shows I’ve been adding to tours here and there.

  • 24th February @ Asbury Lanes, Asbury, NJ, USA. This is a full band headline show, with The Architects and Dave Hause (from the Loved Ones). Should be awesome. Tickets here.
  • 7th March @ Mac’s Bar, Lansing, MI, USA. Another full band headliner. Tickets here.
  • 8th April @ La Peniche Du Pianiste, Lille, France. Headline full band show, an addition to the European tour. Ticket link coming soon.

Speaking of the European Tour, I’m pleased to say that the good folks in Crazy Arm will be coming with us, which is good news for you, Europe.

Right, to the airport.

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Long Roads

Just a quick stop-off update about shows selling out or getting close to, which is my favourite kind of quick stop-off update, if someone were to force me to choose. Firstly, the show in Los Angeles on 2nd February at Hotel Cafe has sold out of advance tickets. Apparently there will be a handful available on the door if you get down early, but there’s no further way of reserving them. While this is a shame for some, it makes me want to say “Hell Yeah!” and punch my fist in the air like the guy at the end of the Breakfast Club.

In similar news, I remain slightly gob-smacked to report that the London Roundhouse show on 24th March essentially sold out on Friday. As it goes the powers that be have decided to release a further 350 ish tickets, but you can now only purchase them direct from the venue, by following this link. Once they’re gone, that’s it. It’s already the biggest show I’ve booked. Scary times. Incidentally, while London is leading the way, the rest of the shows for the UK tour are all doing swift business as well, so you might want to get your tickets sooner rather than later, if you’re, y’know, currently playing the waiting game or whatever.

Finally, just a quick aside about postcards from the last UK tour. A number of people have got in touch with me to say they never received the cards. Basically, we definitely posted all the cards people bought the next day. The problem, I suspect, was that we did this in the middle of the postal strike last year. Some people have gone on to say they’ve received them recently (in what can only be described as a damning verdict on our postal service), so I guess there is hope, but if there are people who don’t ever see them, well, I want to apologize. Sorry people.

Is this the best thing on the net right now? Probably. I’m going to keep practicing for Kingston and packing for the other side of the Atlantic.

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Happy New Year

2010, a new decade, blah blah blah, Christ, our collective cultural bed-wetting at what is, essentially, the milometer ticking over two columns at once is pretty damning. Humbug. Anyways, it’s good to be back in the saddle, well rested and ready to take on the world in the new year / decade / whatever. Lots to talk about today, so let’s get cracking.

First of all, I’m pleased to say that American denizens of the internet can now buy my merch online from the good people at Kings Road. The store can be found here. Even better news is the fact that, to celebrate the launch, we’ve finally got the first pressing of Love Ire & Song on Vinyl! Yes! 2 colours (black and red), 1000 pressed to start off with, so get them while they’re hot. We have plans to get everything else done soon enough as well. Good times.

Speaking of the North American landmass, I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be returning to Montreal on January 28th for a solo show at Chez Baptiste. More details of supports and ticket links to follow shortly.

Another one-off show for you. My very good old friends at Banquet Records have had some problems of late with their regular (and excellent) club night, New Slang. They’ve now moved to a new venue (the Hippodrome), and I’ll be playing a show there on January 21st. Tickets are £5 and onsale now from this link, and going fast.

Next up. One of my favourite discoveries of recent years has been The Dawn Chorus, an excellent country band from the Portsmouth area. Last summer I went down to the studio to sing on a song of theirs, “Carnivalesque”. You can now vote that song up on BBC 6 Music’s Rebel Playlist, right over here. Check the song out on their myspace and show them some love.

Finally, the European headline full-band tour in March / April this year has now been unveiled in all its glory. The full dates are:

  • 28th March @ Exil, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 29th March @ Universum, Stuttgart, Germany (Tickets)
  • 30th March @ Raucherkammer, Wiesbaden, Germany (Tickets)
  • 31st March @ Zakk, Dusseldorf, Germany (Tickets)
  • 1st April @ Uebel & Gafahrlich, Hamburg, Germany (Tickets)
  • 3rd April @ Lagerhaus, Bremen, Germany (Tickets)
  • 4th April @ AB Club, Brussels, Belgium (Tickets)
  • 6th April @ Tivoli, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • 7th April @ Vera, Groningen, Netherlands
  • 9th April @ Boule Noire, Paris, France

More details, including full ticket links and tour support acts, to follow as soon as possible. For those who we’re missing this time round, we’ll be back in Europe in the summer and then again later in the year. And just to round things off nicely, here’s the final installment of the tour diary from last time I was out on the continent:

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New Year’s Eve

I’m back in Winchester, and the year is officially done for me. I went out in style, typically, with a totally insane race against time to make the Union Chapel show, after the weather destroyed pretty much all cross-channel links. In a weird way, it seemed kind of appropriate, to have a heart-attack of a day followed by an amazing show. Hm.

My last actual show of the year will be in Gloucester on New Year’s Eve. There are still some tickets left, which you can get from here. It’s a full band show, an end of year party, and a champagne hangover-to-be, all rolled into one. See you there.

And here’s part II of the European Tour Diary. Happy Christmas.

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Journal Of A Plague Week

We’re back in Munich, on a day off, after what can best be described as an eventful trip to Austria. After amazing shows in Berlin and Munich, we made it to Vienna, which was beautiful but mind-crushingly cold. At last, we’d found the snow, and the moon boots and longjohns that we’d all brought with us came in handy. Whilst ample protection for the cold, they could not, however, prevent an outbreak of Ebola (sic) among the band and crew. After a great show, a massive total of 5 (from 8) members of the touring party came down with a virus that meant a lot of violent retching, shitting, and quality time in the toilet. Not at all nice. Thankfully I was spared (though I was constantly paranoid about the state of my guts). Yesterday for the Graz show, after much considering of options, Matt and I drove across with the promoter, Silvio, and played a duo show, which actually turned out to be a lot of fun. Now everyone is tired but on the mend, and we seem to have weathered the storm. Still, no fun.

News, news, and more news of shows. Firstly, this year, the band and I will be celebrating New Year’s Eve with a show in Gloucester, at the Spiegeltent. The extremely limited tickets are available now, so if you’re up for a champagne-fuelled end-of-year shindig, come on down.

Next, to the North American landmass! I’m very pleased to say that I’ll be returning to Toronto to kick off 2010. I’ll be busy around the town a fair bit for a few days, but chiefly I’m playing a free show at the Horseshoe Tavern on January 26th. I had a great time last time I was in that neck of the woods, and am hoping for a rerun.

After Canada, I’ll be in Los Angeles, where I’m playing a solo acoustic showcase type show at the famous Hotel Cafe at 9.30pm on February 2nd. Again, limited tickets are available now, and hopefully we’ll have a great evening together.

Shortly thereafter, and just before the Flogging Molly tour kicks off, my band and I will be playing a special warm-up show for that tour in my favourite town, Austin TX. We’re playing Emo’s on February 8th, and I’m over the moon to say that the amazing Possessed By Paul James will be playing too. Tickets for this one can be found here.

Christ, is that enough info for you yet? Haha. To keep you all happy, and to give you an insight into the madness and stupidity of the current European tour, here’s a first installment of a tour diary for you.


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Die Deutschemonsterblog!

Molotow Club in Germany is a cool basement-type place on the Reeperbahn. We’re soundchecking as I write. This place is cool, but with ll 300 tickets sold for tonight, looking around, I;m finding it hard to see exactly where all the people are going to go. It’s going to be tight. Chuck Ragan warned me that this was one of the hottest shows going, and I think I can see why. Hm, a night for sweating some then.

My Helsinki-Manchester-Copenhagen adventure went off OK, although I managed to gather a massive total of 4 hours’ sleep over two nights, which wasn’t much fun. Nevertheless the shows themselves were all top notch. Now we’re back in Germany again, which brings me to today’s business. Lots of stuff to get through.

First up, Germany. This has been my first headline tour here, and I’m frankly gobsmacked to report that the whole thing has been sold out. The shows have all been amazing, and I and everyone in the band are now fully engaged in a love affair with Germany. So the good news is that I have 5 more German shows announced for next year:

  • 29th March @ Universum, Stuttgart, Germany
  • 30th March @ Raucherkammer, Wiesbaden, Germany
  • 31st March @ Zakk, Dusseldorf, Germany
  • 1st April @ Uebel & Gafahrlich, Hamburg, Germany
  • 3rd April @ Lagerhaus, Bremen, Germany

The tickets will be onsale on Monday, and I’ll post links then. We also have a bunch more European shows coming together around that run, but more on them later.

Speaking of tours, the UK run in March is selling insanely well right now. The Norwich show on March 22nd at the Waterfront has now sold out… So we’ve moved the show up to the UEA instead. All tickets still valid, obviously, but there’s a whole bunch more now onsale. The other shows are getting busy too, with London about two-thirds sold already, which is, actually, barmy. Get involved.

Next up, this week’s NME Magazine features an article – a conversation between me and Peter Robinson. It came out pretty good, I think, and it’s my first non-review coverage in that magazine, so it’d be good to show some support and pick up a copy. The voting for next year’s NME Awards has also opened now, and you can go and vote here. Obviously the choice is yours, but a nod for yours truly would be great.

Finally (for today), we’ve added a bunch more stock to my online shop for the UK – we have most designs in most sizes now, and it’s well worth a look in the run up to Christmas…! Haha, can’t believe I actually just wrote that. Anyways, have a look.

I actually have a bunch of other stuff to announce for the USA and Canada, but that, my friends, is going to wait for another day (probably Monday). Peace, love and George Carlin to you all.

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Scandinavian Pause

I sit in a hotel room at the airport in Stockholm. Looking out of the window, it started getting dark at about 2pm. Added to that fact, it’s arse-bitingly cold out. It’s nice to be back in Sweden, haha. Last time I was here, I got stranded in the city with The Gaslight Anthem boys for four days, and after much exploring decided I really like this place. The show last night was a blast, and I have an expensive hangover to enjoy today.

This European run of shows is going well. It’s the first headline tour I’ve done on the continent, and it’s the first full band tour as well. Amsterdam and Brussels were cool, Germany was insanely cool (sold out shows on my first headline tour..! What?). The rest of the run looks great as well – Hamburg and Paris are sold out, most of the others are close to going, and that’s a predictably good feeling. Tomorrow we fly to Helsinki for a show (ferry schedules didn’t work out, long story), and on Wednesday I’m flying to Manchester for the XFM Christmas bash, which is a tiny bit insane, but what the hell.

We had a band meeting yesterday to discuss the next year or so of our lives. I won’t bore you with the details (yes, we are coming to a town near you soon, basically), but it was a thought-provoking evening. First of all, it really hammered home to me how far things have come along in the last few years. I regularly have discussions about international full-band touring, to the extent that after the next album is released (early 2011 hopefully) we’re basically looking at a bona fide world tour. That’s crazy. It also made me think about the band and crew – the family – I have around me. It’s a little daunting, sometimes, asking these people to come with me on my jaunts around the world. It’s fine when it’s just me booking insane tour schedules, but when there’s 7 other people involved, I feel a bit more… responsible, I suppose. But it also made me realize what a great bunch they are, and how lucky I am to tour with them. I try to give them a shout out onstage every night, and I know some people think it’s overly long, but fuck that. They’re hugely important to what I do. A toast, then, to Matt, Ben, Nigel, Tarrant, Barbs, Graham and Sarah.

I finished a new song yesterday, an overtly political number that is sure to piss a whole bunch of people off. But to hell with it; it’s good to stand up for something you believe in every now and again. Watch this space.

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Revival, Sin & Soul

I’m back in London, on my day off. Tomorrow is rehearsals, and the next day we leave for the European tour. Jet lag, coming this way, is a little easier to handle, in my experience, so I’ve been enjoying crisp winter weather, English newspapers and wandering through London town. I had a bit of a shock when I got to Tottenham Court Road. I played the last show at the Astoria, so was well aware of its passing, but in the time I’ve been away the actual building has been demolished, and it was only on seeing that that the reality set in. It felt like there was a chunk of the city missing, it was quite emotional in a way. But in the end cities are organic places, they grow and decay, and such is the passing of time. Still, a shame to see a gap in the skyline where once I saw what was, for me, the home of rock ‘n’ roll.

The Revival tour is done. It was a marathon rather than a sprint, but we made it to the end in good spirits, and the last few shows in Florida were exceptionally ace. New friends made, both at shows and on the bus, and a reminder that Chuck’s concept of Revival is one of the best in music right now. Jon Snodgrass and I wrote a song together on the tour, and here it is for your enjoyment:


Finally, tickets for the Paris show on December 18th. If you want to reserve tickets for the show, the person you need to email is my old friend Cham, the promoter. Drop him a line about it. And see you there.

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