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June 1: NYC
Well, it's pretty simple really; we get there at 11 in the morning and rehearse until 5 in the afternoon. We've got five days and then into the Bowery Ballroom for my first American gig in at least 10 years (maybe more). It's a good band, potentially a great band. The English band's a good band - this is a different kind of good band so it's fun watching it grow into its own identity. Please - I don't need a bunch of mail telling me which band is better! They're different and they're both good. They've done their homework (except for Tommy Mandel of course, who is still a ringer for Harpo Marx). Tommy chimes to his own bells. Astonishing, stuff comes out, but he's very hard to harness!
When we finish Andy and me adjourn to the Empire Diner for Fish 'n' Chips and Sam Adams. Hardly the nectar of the gods, but more than a passing imitation after 6 hours in a rehearsal room. We then wind up at my hotel watching baseball or basketball (sort of) and imbibing even more. Sony have seemed to pick up interest in the double CD "Once Bitten Twice Shy" over here. It is coming out on or around July 25th.
If you are at the Bowery show you will hear a couple of tunes you're probably unfamiliar with, but they are on the Sony set. The only new song is, "Death of A Nation." That's not on the Sony set, that's going to be on the new album we're working on. DOAN sounded great yesterday.
The annoying thing about rehearsals is that you always get the songs right the second time you do them. I wonder what would happen if we did an entire set playing each song twice in a row. It takes one time around to get into the mood, and the second time, you're there. Fire brigade's all over the place. I hope it's not us. Another day in NYC.
Not bad, eh!!
I've never rehearsed so much in all my life! First with the Bash Street Kids and then with "The Americans." Holley being my transatlantic partner. It's a good band - potentially a great band.
A word of praise for Paul Bevan, the sound man at the Bowery gig. He came to one rehearsal and then did the gig the following night. I've had no complains about the sound at all - so thank you Paul. I hope we'll be working together again soon.
Will we tour? I can't say as of yet. We have some sorting out to do logistically. There is interest - and we're interested too, but we ain't doing it for nothing! I think our first priority is to go back to the record that Andy and I are in the early processes of recording. People seem to like "Death of A Nation" which will definitely be on it. To those of you who were at the Bowery gig I have to thank you for a great night out. Especially who traveled so far to be there. What with my birthday and the reaction you gave us, I was frankly a little stunned after the gig. Then there was a feeling of peace you always get when you know something special happened. Yes, there were a few cock ups - I can't remember exactly where or when, but all in all it was a great night and the band were great and I was proud of them.
After the gig we had the chaos of the gear - where does it go - mine's sitting in my mate, Rick's garage in Danbury at the moment. Rick is not a roadie, but he helped me out for the day and thanks for that Rick and thanks to Andy's mate, Frank. That was it - our crew! John Conte, poor lad, was having a problem with his bass rig. It was perfect all week, but decided to cut out indiscriminately on the night (Murphy's Law). Fortunately, he was going direct as well so the audience probably didn't notice.
Thank you James for the superb mandolin. Stout fellow!
We got home yesterday afternoon sometime and I lay on the floor most of the evening and watched TV. Then Jesse's band, American Degenerate, turned up and started up in the basement - so there ain't no peace for the wicked...
Song of the year: Kitty Lester's "Love Letters Straight From My Heart" PBS old time special. The most moving and convincing performance I've seen in a long while. Great lady too.
Just having a look at the e-mail from the web site. There's an awful lot of e-mail. Please understand that I can't get to you all individually.