From Munich with Love

Another update from the travails of Frank, Polar Bears and Gaslights around Europe. We’re in Munich today (as the strapline would suggest). My love affair with Germany continues apace – after tonight I will essentially be out of merchandise, having started the tour thinking i had enough to take me all the way through to Ireland. Obviously this isn’t a bad problem to be having in life, but I suspect that the people of Austria and Italy may be a little short of options.

Last night we played in Wiesbaden, which is near Frankfurt in the West of Germany, in a venue called the Schlachthof. That means “slaughterhouse” in German, and apparently the venue used to be one. The actual gig room is in a side part of the building, which is a cavernous warehouse. It was all a bit weird. We ended up staying there (they have a band crash space, like many European venues, and damn the UK / USA need to catch up with that idea). Mass whisky drinking unfolded, and we passed a merry evening running round the main room tripping out to the sight of a torch beam flashing from the huge mirrorball. A fun way to pass an evening.

Tonight Munich, and I’m continuing with my tour theme of not seeing much of the places I’m in. It’ll be a shame to leave Germany tomorrow, but Austria is great from past experience, so it’s not too bad.

Some links? How about a link to a live set in Amsterdam (supporting the Levellers) from last November? Also, Ben from Million Dead is selling his kit, used to record the last album and much more besides. Have a look.

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Stranded In Stockholm

So, after the calamitous cancellation of the Helsinki show on Sunday, the tour has ended up on an extended hiatus in Stockholm. We arrived Saturday night and will finally play a show tomorrow (Tuesday). In the meantime, we’ve been sleeping 14 people in two hotel rooms (and trying to hide the fact), and exploring the city. Stockholm, I can confirm, is gorgeous, particularly the old city, which is on an island in the middle of the river. It’s interesting coming to an old city in Scandinavia – this end of Europe has the distinction of not having been steamrollered too badly in the 20th Century, and thus being genuinely old (rather than part or whole reconstructions). My only misgiving, other than the cold – it’s snowing – is the European habit of closing everything from museums to record shops on Mondays, thus derailing the day of culture that I planned first thing this morning from my corner of the dormitory.

It’s nice to spend some time in one place for once and actually get to see a city I’m in. As noted below, my experience of Berlin and Cologne consisted of some dressing rooms and some strangers’ floors. It’s got me in a pensive mood. I’ve been getting to know the Gaslight and PBC guys a little better, setting the world to rights over excess-Valentine’s bottles of champagne and so on. Working on demos of new material too, which is always encouraging. Trying to fill the gaping holes in my knowledge of Scandinavian history. Bettering myself, ha!

Some points of interest, to help pass the working Monday. A friend of mine is running in the London Marathon to raise money for the Parkinson’s Disease Society. You can find out more and help out here. If you’re a Last FM type of person, you should go and join this. And finally, some words of wisdom (at long last).

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Helsinki Disasters

Shitpants. Tomorrow’s show in Helsinki is off. This is because last night, in Gothenburg, someone tried to break into Gaslight Anthem’s van. Thankfully they didn’t get anything much, but police inquires meant that they missed the ferry from Stockholm, and they don’t come so often. So there’s no show tomorrow. This really sucks, everyone is gutted. I’ll be back in Finland with Anti-Flag in March, so hopefully anyone coming down can make that instead. Apologies everyone.

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A Vast International Conspiracy

When you wake up on the floor of a Swedish University Hall to a batch of emails about shows in New Mexico and questions about Russia, you start feeling invincibly international. At times that’s a good thing, hell, I’d be an arse to complain about my lot in life right now, but at times it can be a little, um, daunting. Anyways, this all gives me occasion to talk about American shows!

As many people already know, I’ll be at SXSW in Austin this March (I have this nightmare day where I have to fly from Riga in Latvia to Texas, through about 4 different flights; the mind boggles). I’ll actually be playing half-solo and half-full band, though I’m only meeting the musicians I’m playing with a massive 5 hours before our first show..! Then I’ll be off on tour with the good people of Look Mexico and Steve Soto & The Twisted Hearts (members of whom will kindly provide my backing). The dates at the moment look like this:

  • 19th March @ NME Showcase, Latitude 30, Austin, TX, USA, 8pm
  • 20th March @ Jail Guitar Doors Showcase, Friend’ Bar, Austin, TX, USA
  • 22nd March @ Rock Bottom Tattoo Bar, San Antonio, TX, USA
  • 25th March @ Hensley’s Flying Elephant, San Diego, CA, USA
  • 26th March @ The Viper Room, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • 27th March @ The Blank Club, San Jose, CA, USA
  • 28th March @ Thee Parkside, San Francisco, CA, USA

There’s more shows TBC, of course, in New Mexico, Arizona, and then Oregon, Idaho and Colorado. Also, for people on the East Coast / South, I’m back over in May for some more shows in your areas, so hang tight. Essentially, though, it’s awesome to have some more great US shows in the diary, and with some great bands too.

Berlin was great, the drive / ferry to Sweden was long and crushingly early but beautiful. Malmo was cool, and today we drive to Gothenburg. I’m still breaking new ground every day, which is too awesome for words.

A quick one to finish off today… Jenny Hardcore, a photographer friend of mine, has a post here about the photo in the sleeve to Love Ire & Song (one of my favourites). Enjoy.

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Europa Europa

Hello from backstage in Berlin. This is shaping up to be one of the most fun tours I’ve been on in a while, but also probably the worst for sightseeing. This is the first time I’ve ever been to Germany, let alone played here. Last night in Koln / Cologne, we had a blast – sold out show, an extra show in the car park, the works. Alas I missed the entire city, and am in the process of doing the same in Berlin. Shucks.

The tour is generally ace. The UK shows were all a blast, really nice to play to old friends and new alike. Gaslight fucking rule, but we knew this. Polar Bear Club, my erstwhile travelling companions and other support act, are the turn up for the books – excellent people, excellent band. I feel adventurous. Tomorrow we’ll be in Sweden, another first. I feel European.

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Snowed In

Hi everyone. You may have noticed snow in the UK today. Alas, this means that while I am stranded in Kingston, the Gaslight guys’ plane got diverted to Glasgow, meaning that tonight’s show in Portsmouth ain’t happening. The good news is that it’s been rescheduled for the Saturday. Hopefully everyone can still come. Sorry for the inconvenience…

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Saddle The Horses

What a fun week of instores that was – thanks to everyone who came down and saved me from Spinal Tap-esque embarrassment, much appreciated. I’m now at home doing some last minute washing before heading off on a mammoth run of dates. First up is the UK and Europe with the excellent Gaslight Anthem and Polar Bear Club. Then some dates in Ireland, then Russia with Anti-Flag, and then off to SXSW in Austin Texas, followed by a short run of US dates. Phew.

Once I get back from that, I’ll be in rehearsals with the band for album 3, and then into the studio with Alex Newport to record in May. We’re looking at a September release, with a single beforehand. I’m really excited – things have come together a lot material-wise in recent weeks, and my lyrical block has gone too. So, expect face rocking and all that kind of thing.

One last thing: on a frankly ridiculous stop-over between Belfast and Samara (Russia), I’m playing one last instore at Pure Groove on March 7th at 6pm. This is in part to promote a limited run 7″ vinyl of ‘Reasons Not To Be An Idiot / Thunder Road‘. Every single last damn one of them will be hand numbered and annotated (whose idea was that, ffs?). You can pre-order them now from the Pure Groove site. There’s only 300, so get cracking.

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Instore Overdrive Frenzy

Hello you. To celebrate the fact that Love Ire & Song is being re-released on 26th January (Monday) I’m embarking on an instore spree around the country. Thusly:

  • Monday 26th January @ Rise Records, Cheltenham, 5pm, FREE
  • Tuesday 27th January @ Fopp Records, Covent Garden, London, 6pm, FREE
  • Wednesday 28th January @ Banquet Records, Kingston, 6pm, FREE
  • Thursday 29th January @ Banquet Records, Kingston, 6pm, FREE

All solo, all with the new album onsale, all free. Probably a good idea to get down early as well.

Gigs at the weekend were spectacular. Thanks everyone. I’ve been working on the October tour (dates and supports) today. I think it’s going to be really exciting. Well, I’m excited.

Obama is president. The election of a non-white man to the most powerful post in the world is certainly momentous, exciting, awesome and worthwhile. But that’s happened now. Now we need to see what he’s going to do. Internationally, I’m very hopeful about his foreign policy. Domestically, um, well, watch the US economy cannibalize itself, if he carries out what he says he’s going to. Harsh times.

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Kingston Madness

Hello! Right, the Banquet Records instore on 28th January is now massively over-subscribed. Which is nice. As a result, they’ve asked me to basically do another one, exactly the same set-up, the following day. So, to be clear, 29th January I’ll be at Banquet at 6pm for another free instore.

In similar news, many of the Gaslight shows are now sold out, so it seems I’m in the enviable position of being able to say, buy tickets in advance for shows or you most likely won’t get in. I’m also pleased to say that we’re putting the final touches to a tour schedule for the autumn (after the new album is out) and tickets will be onsale soon. Hooray!

Speaking of new albums.. for anyone who is interested, I’m going to be working on the new record with my band (Ben, Nigel, Matt and Tarrant). The songs are pretty much written, but we’re going to rehearse them and record them live this time, rather than layering things up as before. I want to get a more raw, live sound from the recordings. It looks like we’ll be recording it with the great Alex Newport as well, which I’m really excited about. The aim is to have the album finished by June, a single in the summer and a release in September. I for one cannot wait.

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I Am A Human Crossword

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lh5R-xcMR2k]

So, I did a quick little tour video for St Christopher Is Coming Home using footage from the October tour. Came out quite nicely I think. Enjoy. Speaking of videos, I’m pleased to announce that the Reasons Not To Be An Idiot video came in at Number 5 in the MTV myspace chart – thanks for your support, and feel free to keep voting.

Next up: the single, Reasons, is out today. This morning I did a Live Lounge Session on Radio One for Sarah Cox – and much fun it was too. You can listen again here. The session includes a cracking cover, if I do say so myself, though don’t believe the hype about me and Alanis Morisette… The single is also available for cheap through the good people at 7Digital – check it out and get downloading.

Speaking of all things release-related, yes, the special edition of Love Ire & Song (+ First Three Years) is out on 26th January. It’ll be in all good stores and all that, but you can pre-order a super-cheap version of it from Play.com here. Just saying.

Gigs… Yesterday’s (not very secret) secret show in Brighton, at the Mid-Winter Picnic, was not only a load of fun, but also raised a wadge of cash for the people at Amnesty International. Great bands, great day, long may it continue. In other news, Liverpool is sold out, Oxford has about 3 tickets left at time of writing, and Cambridge is doing well too. Hooray! Also: after the Gaslight Anthem tour, I’ll be in the studio working on album 3, and then it’s festival season. The next big tour will be October, and tickets will be on sale ASAP. Watch this space.

Finally, my career has totally peaked. It’s been brought to my attention that the cryptic crossword in The Independent on October 27th had answers themed around me. That’s right, I was a crossword theme. Words cannot express my joy. It’s all downhill from here…

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