Moore:Music ®

Witch Cross • BC Sweet • Gonads • Christie

5 flights, 3 days, 2 cars, one dead bass player……..

Hopefully a big dressing room, then...

It started off simply enough. Leaving the house at 9am on Friday morning,  I made my way to Alicante airport (with a brief stop in IKEA Murcia to pick up some picture frames).

My first flight was to take me West, to the Spanish capital, Madrid, where I would have a 3 hour layover awaiting a connection, improbably, to Blibao on the Northern Coast.  Kicking my heels in Madrid, I had my fingers crossed that the Bilbao flight would be on time, as I only had 45 minutes with which to connect with my final flight of the day to Frankfurt. Nobody can say our promoter doesn’t have a sense of humour.

View from my second hotel room window in Plauen

Nice 'n' cosy - and barely slept in....

Luckily, that plan seemed to come together, and I arrived in Frankfurt around 10 o’clock at night, with the other guys flying in from the UK  around a half an hour later. Had we arrived at our destination? Well, not really. A 3 hour drive awaited us, which rapidly turned into a 4 hour drive due to autobahn closures. The hotel didnt have 24 hour reception, and luckily our driver had had the presence of mind to check in advance, and asked them to leave a key outside. It would have been amusing if it hadn’t been so late, as we stumbled about in the dark, once we’d enetered the hotel, trying to find the other keys, after having failed to find the light switch. My head hit the pillow around 2.30 am – and left it again around 9 as we had to get up for breakfast and move to another , admittedly more opulent, hotel for the second night.

Jeff discovers we get a free drink on check-in

Salvation was at hand in the form of a whirlpool and sauna in the basement, which the management kindly opened up for our exclusive use. Time that perhaps would have been more prudently spent running through the numbers was instead spent wallowing in the waters!

Environmentally-friendly town, then.

Plauen's busy tram terminus

From my halting German, this seems to mark the site of the first workers protest against the DDR. Hooray!

We also managed to spend an hour or two out in the town of Plauen, a charming, well kept place with trams running through it, and some nice sidewalk cafes – full of Germans braving the autumnal chill. Although it was pleasantly sunny, my defences are low after having lived in Spain for so long, and I persuaded the lads that we should take our coffees behind protective glass!

I know it looks lovely, but it was too bloody cold to sit out!

Simon Kay, Drums, Fos Foster, Guitars. Instruments not included.

Obligatory arty-farty shot

Far from being a typical DDR 'clone-town', Plauen had some lovely architecture

A young German fan is delighted to get Jeff's autograph

A frowning, inanimate object (the one on the right)

Pointy

Plauen had its share of interesting buildings and monuments, and I was glad I’d brought my camera along.  5 o’clock saw us heading for soundcheck. We were opening the show, and were therefore the last band to check, which was perfect, all the settings would remain as we left them! I was debuting my Dan Electro semi-acoustic bass with Christie, and was running it through my Hartke bass attack pedal, so I was reasonably confident of maintaining my signature sound.  So often, these multiple bills with hired backline prove to be more an exercise of battling against the odds than anything else, but tonight was a dream, crystal clear monitoring, a sweet bass sound, and a great onstage mix. The crowd must’ve sensed we were enjoying ourselves, too, as we really seemed to storm the show! As this is probably the last Christie show of the 2010 season, it was great to go out on a high.

Jeff's Stratocaster relaxes backstage.....

Simon sorts his kit out at the sound check

Eric Faulkner's Rollers take the stage

BC Sweet's Pete Phipps on extra-curricular drumming duties with The Rollers

Jeff chats backstage with one of our loyal fans

After our performance, we relaxed backstage and had dinner, courtesy of some excellent catering, and swapped stories with our mates who were waiting to perform. Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich, Sailor’s Grant, Henry, Phil and Nick, and Eric Faulkner of the Bay City Rollers. It was also quite funny to see Pete from my other band BC Sweet – he was standing in for Eric’s drummer, and did a great job, with no rehearsals!  I’ll be seeing Pete again in a couple of weeks for a BC Sweet show in the UK.  One of our fans, going by the name of sweetyglitter(!) who follows all the glam rock era bands, offered to film our set, so hopefully I’ll have a clip up from the show in a couple of weeks.

Photos by me, in case you were wondering!

We were ferried back to the hotel following the show, with only The Dozys left onstage, and continued our conversations in the hotel bar.  We were set to leave the hotel at 3 am, so sleep seemed a little pointless. I relaxed a little in the room and then had a shower to try and boost my energy!

Simon looks pensive......

Heading off into the night along the autobahn to Frankfurt, we braced ourselves for a long drive. The other lads needed to fly at 8 am. Although I was with them, my flight didn’t leave until midday, so I had the prospect of four hours alone in Frankfurt airport!   It’s amazing how things change though……….45 kilometers from Frankfurt, the hire car started to misbehave and our driver became a little restless. Eventually, with smoke pouring from the bonnet, we pulled over onto the hard shoulder as one of the con rods exploded through the side of the engine onto the ground. Our shiny new Renault had died. It would ‘va-va-va-voom’ no more.

...while Fos sees the funny side

Standing in the freezing cold at the side of the autobahn at 7 in the morning, wearing a hi-vis jacket and erecting a little plastic triangle 50 meteres up the road to stop a truck from ploughing into us, I pondered on the glamour of our profession……………….

I'm not sure what it does, but I'm fairly certain it's supposed to be INSIDE the engine.

Jeff, inspired by Fos, also sees the funny side. Simon contemplates suicide.

Needless to say, the lads missed their flight. A breakdown truck came and dropped us at a nearby depot, from where a taxi charged us (well, our promoter) a small fortune to ferry us to the airport. As luck would have it, we’d all been booked with Lufthansa instead of one of these cheapie ‘we take no responsibility whatsover for yo’ ass’ airlines.  As they have done in the past, Lufthansa came through with flying colours, and without question, bumped the lads up to the next flight to Manchester at midday. Needless to say, the promoter was happy, and we didn’t hesitate to point out what a good idea it is to fly Lufthansa for just such eventualities!

So we left Frankfurt around the same time, albeit to different destinations. I landed in Madrid around 2pm, and braced myself to spend a further 5 hours in that airport.  By the time I had caught my next flight and was coming into land in Alicante at around 8pm, I was unravelling. A mild headache had blossomed into a full-blown migraine and I was fighting extreme nausea and exhaustion. I could barely get into the courtesy bus to take me to my car. A woman from a family who shared the bus with me, greeted me, and I must have looked like a drug addict or an alcoholic or something, because I could barely mumble a reply, so scared I was of offering projectile vomiting as an alternative form of greeting, which, even in the age of Reality television, is unlikely to catch on.

I stumbled out of the bus at the car park, alternatively looking for a) somewhere to throw up and b) some way to function.  After getting my key and transferring my luggage, I sat in the car wondering what to do. Speaking to Miki at home, she forbade me to drive back and insisted I find a hotel. I seemed to remember that the services near the airport had a hotel attached, and prayed I was right.  Driving the kilometer or so to it proved very hard indeed, and I was constantly speeding up, in order to get there quicker, and slowing down, ready to jump out and throw up.  I must have been driving like a schizophrenic.

Finally, I made it. There was indeed a hotel, and the look of gratitude on my face that followed the sallow and resolute death mask of a man determined not to toss his cookies, must have convinced the concierge that I’d escaped from the local nuthouse. To his lasting credit, he allowed me to have a key and I trudged up to my room.  I managed to send some kind of nondescript text to Miki to tell her to call, and I lay on the bed with the phone balanced on the side of my head, I couldn’t even hold it in my hand. When she called me, I think she was convinced I was dying!

Another day, another headache, another hotel room.....sweet respite in Alicante

I slept for about four hours before I had the strength to look for the two precious aspirin that I knew were somewhere in my bag, and then I slept for another six hours after that.

Even the following morning, as I drove the two and a half hours home, my headache was threatening to return.  These trips, all for a mere 40 minutes onstage, are a killer.

They say that a man who repeatedly does the same thing expecting a different outcome is clinically insane.

Will I do it again?  Yes.

So colour me crazy!

Kev Moore

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October 26, 2010 - Posted by | Music, Recording, Rock, Thoughts, Touring, Writing | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Comments »

  1. […] place. If you want to read much more about this eventful trip , and see loads more photos, visit moore:music where I’ve written a detailed […]

    Pingback by A tough trip to Germany « Café Crem | October 26, 2010

  2. Wow! What a trip. Glad to hear the show went so well, even if the traveling didn’t. Great pics, Kev. Jeff’s yellow guitar really caught my eye 🙂 I hope you are resting well at home now.

    Comment by shelleymhouse | October 28, 2010

  3. Hello, Kevin !
    It is a great post with nice pics and thanks for sharing this trip. Your report is so “living”, I like it.
    Take care.

    Comment by Joêl | October 30, 2010

  4. Hi Shelley! – Yes, I was happy with the pic of Jeff’s Strat. It’s an old one and quite valuable. It used to be a bit of a dog to play but he had it all set up and now it’s beautiful. I’m getting healthier by the day, ready for the next one!

    Thanks Joel, it was a bit of an epic post, but I wanted to try and include everything. 🙂

    Comment by kevmoore | October 30, 2010

  5. A great slice of “life on the road”, Kev.

    You should write a book, mate…and I’ll help you sell it!

    Comment by David Mortimer | October 31, 2010


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