Moore:Music ®

Witch Cross • BC Sweet • Gonads • Christie

Return to the Grugahalle

Fos, Jeff and Yours Truly throw a few shapes.....

One of my favourite gigs on the German circuit is the Grugahalle in Essen, and I’ve been lucky enough to perform there many times over the last 20 years. It is a venue famous for many legendary concerts. The German Rockpalast shows that made the names of ZZ Top and Mother’s Finest were staged there, and it has hosted concerts from Prince, Toto…in fact just about everyone you can think of.

8,000 crazy Germans

Deep in Germany’s industrial heartland, the Ruhr, Essen itself is a sprawling mass of concrete and steel, but they still manage to add some Germanic old-world charm with the Christmas markets that insinuate themselves into every pedestrian thoroughfare in the centre, even shoe-horning a giant ferris wheel in between the buildings!

That's wheely big.....

We shared the stage with a number of our old mates including Showaddywaddy and Dozy, Beaky Mick and Tich, and we all played to a capacity crowd of 8,000.  The following morning, I shared breakfast with that 60’s legend Spencer Davis, who was kind enough to give me a copy of his most recent album “So Far”, which is a beautiful autobiographical account of his life, both personal and musical,  from Swansea in Wales to Catalina Island off the California coast, where he lives today.  It really is such a privilege to meet and work with these people.

The previous night we’d played in Oldenburg, about 3 hours away, and the second gig always benefits from having ‘played the songs in’.  We had a great night and met up with a group of our fans, including Tonie Griebl, whom I must thank for the stage shot.

The calm before the storm...the Grugahalle awaits

A ghostly looking stage pre-soundcheck

In the early hours of the coming morning, I will head to Alicante once again, on the way to Antwerp via Madrid and Brussels to appear at the Golden Years festival, where we first appeared 20 years ago. Full report will follow!

PS: Don’t forget – you can now download my new solo album for free by clicking on the image in the sidebar

Kev Moore

November 27, 2009 Posted by | Music, Recording, Rock, Touring, Writing | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Keep on Runnin’

Picture 1

It has to be said (and I say it here quite a lot) that I’d probably do the time on stage for free. There, I am in my element. But the logistics of getting me onto one of those stages across the world can be so mind-bogglingly complex and frankly exhausting, it is THAT that I expect to be paid handsomely for!

Last weekend , for example, I appeared with CHRISTIE at the MDR Radio-sponsored open air concert in Kamenz, Germany. It started normally enough, rising at 7 a.m. here in Almeria, out of the house in half an hour and on the Autovia up to Alicante for a relatively civil 11.05 a.m. flight to Berlin.

My flight landed on time but unusually deposited me at Terminal E, the aviational equivalent of a space-time anomaly, out of synch with the rest of the known universe, and more specifically, my driver. After 30 minutes and no sign of a “meet’n’greet”, I texted the band, and the promoter. Some time later, our promoter, the annoyingly cheery Rudi, informed me to get up into the main terminal building, where Benny my driver was wandering the halls. For those of you familiar with the character Benny in the old English soap Crossroads, his name is strangely appropriate.

So, about 70 minutes after landing I was in a car, heading for Kamenz.  Fos, our guitarist whom I’d texted earlier, texted back to inform me they were heading for the hotel, after checking out the venue. He also informed me that I was, for some inexplicable reason, staying in a different hotel to the rest of the band, in a different town.  Okay, I thought, no problem. I’ll head there, get a shower get ready for the gig and rendezvous with the guys at the gig at 7.30pm. “No”, announced Benny, firmly in command, “We go to the gig first”.   I found this inexplicable, but later to my cost, I would understand why.  I asked him to phone Rudi to find out if there were hot water & shower facilities at the venue. “Ja, ja, naturlich”, came the breezy reply. Mollified, I settled back to ‘enjoy’ the rest of the three hour drive from the airport.

Arriving at the venue, I took advantage of the backstage catering had had dinner with friends from The Rubettes, Middle of the Road and other 70’s luminaries. My appetite sated, I eagerly sought the shower, armed with two towels the size of postage stamps that Rudi had thoughtfully provided for me.  Have you ever had one of those moments of clarity? – when you realize that no matter what you do, the day is heading down the toilet? Mine came right then, as I stood naked and shivering in the shower tray as ice cold Saxonian water gushed out all around me. Having lost all sense of feeling in my feet, I exited the shower in short order, before I lost all sense of feeling elsewhere.  Not easily defeated, and mindful that a rock musician’s hair has to be sorted at all costs, I retired to our dressing room, where I discovered to my unremitting joy that the sink had hot water. Very hot water. Impossible to touch. And, more importantly, no cold water supply with which to render it usable to humans. There followed a comedy of errors where I attempted to procure a number of plastic coffee cups in order to decant cold water from the sink in the toilet, into the sink in our dressing room, so I might be able to immerse my head in it. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, a glamorous profession indeed.

Suitably fed, frozen, scalded and coiffured in equal measure, I grabbed a few minutes to watch a couple of numbers by the Animals with Spencer Davis guesting, and met up with our friends Rainer, Tonie, and Franz to briefly say hi and exchange gifts. Promising to catch up with them after the show, I retreated backstage, where Fos, Simon and Jeff had finally arrived. We barely had 30 minutes to say hi, discuss the set, get dressed, and we were onstage at 8.30 pm. I considered wandering over to Fos during one of the songs to catch up on gossip, but thought I might put him off his solo….

The gig went really well, and we were all happy with the performance and the crowd’s response. I was just taking a deep breath back in the dressing room, looking forward to a few hours chilling with the guys when my nemesis, Benny reappeared. “Time to go” he said. “What???” I replied, nonplussed. “We must leave for the hotel.”  Heavy sigh.  Barley a word exchanged with my mates, I headed off into the night with Benny. “Where’s the hotel?” I asked him, as we wound our way through heavily wooded back roads.  “Cottbus”. He;’s very economical with his words, is Benny. But he only needed that one for maximum effect.  Dreading the answer, I asked the question: “How long?”  “Two hours”.  I plugged in my ipod and sank into misery. If I’d had some Leonard Cohen, I’d have listened to it.

At some point, we arrived at the Best Western, ironically situated in the East.  Bleary eyed, I signed in and asked Benny the next $64,000 question: “What time am I leaving?” “2.30 a.m.”  he said, with not a hint of humour. “Prompt.”

And so it came to pass that I staggered into a minibus outside the hotel at that ungodly hour and spent the wee small hours in the company of  the legendary Spencer Davis and assorted Animals.  I expected to arrive at the airport at least 3 hours before my flight, but even that didn’t happen. As we neared Tegel, Berlin’s airport, our driver encountered a series of roadblocks and diversions that ultimately prevented us from reaching our destination. He was one of those people that worships Sat-nav as some kind of ancient God, and defers to no other source. Like roadsigns. Or maps. Or common sense. My recently washed hair was in danger of being ripped out in sleep-deprived frustration. This whole macabre motorized ballet around the deserted streets of Berlin was brought to an overdue conclusion by Spencer shouting “turn left NOW! – Turn right HERE! ”  . Even to the last, the driver was intent upon turning one way, and almost taking control of the wheel, we finally succeeded in steering ourselves into the airport departures area.  Luddite note: I will never , ever buy a Sat-Nav, except to prop open a door. If you don’t know where you’re going, you shouldn’t be allowed to leave the bloody house.

Somehow, after a 2 hour wait, a 2 and a half hour flight, and a 2 and a half hour drive, I managed a sunny smile for Miki when I finally arrived home Sunday lunchtime.  How the other half live, eh?

Kev Moore

September 17, 2009 Posted by | Music, Rock, Touring, Uncategorized, Writing | , , , , | 4 Comments

Germany – There and back, and back again!

Sound check: Crowds gather in Schwarzenberg, as do the stormclouds!

Sound check: Crowds gather in Schwarzenberg, as do the stormclouds!

Weiswasser 22/23 May

So, as May sneaked up on us, the Christie rehearsals and Tour 2009 got underway, seeing us travel to the east of Germany, so far East, in fact that we were just a 5 minute drive from the Polish border!  the guys from Showaddywaddy took the opportunity to hop across and check out the local market, which is what most of the locals around there do, in addition to getting cheap Polish petrol.

For our first two shows of the year, we were in the town of Weiswasser, performing at a large outdoor event, for which the weather was just perfect.

Other acts on the bill were Dozy, Beaky Mick & Tich, Sailor and Middle of the Road. Between them, the bands had dozens of Top 10 hits throughout the 60’s and the 70’s.

It was great to take the stage as CHRISTIE again, and I particularly enjoyed playing the two songs from the first album “Inside looking out” and “Gotta be free” which haven’t seen the light of day for about 35 years.

I had flown directly to the UK for the two days rehearsals with Christie, and it gave me the unexpected and rare opportunity to watch my son Corey perform with his band Jilambis. It was the first time I’d ever seen them! needless to say, I was the proud Dad, his playing, and that of the band’s was awesome.

Flying out with Jeff, Fos and Simon from Leeds early Friday morning, we changed planes in Amsterdam, landing in Berlin just before lunch. Our promoter had mistakenly booked me to return with the others via Amsterdam to Leeds on the Sunday, but I wasn’t up for that, and booked my own flight directly from Berlin to Alicante. the downside of that being that I had to leave the hotel around 3 a.m. on the Sunday morning, devoid of sleep!

However, all this sleep deprivation resulted in me being home in Turre by midday, whilst the others weren’t even scheduled to leave the hotel until around 2 that afternoon.  I emailed Jeff the following day to see if they’d had a good trip back. It transpired that, due to traffic jams and accidents, they got to the airport late and missed the plane, causing the promoter to have to try and find new flights for them later that evening, which took them into Luton in the south of the UK, where they had to hire a car to drive the 200 miles north! Suddenly, my early morning seemed “a whole lot better” to quote a Roger McGuinn song we do in the Christie show!

Schwarzenberg 6th.June

Barely two weeks later and it’s off on the road again, this time leaving home at 2.30 a.m., grabbing an hours rest on the way, and arriving in Alicante for my flight to Munich around 6.   When I touched down in southern Germany, I linked up with Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich, and we were all driven up to Schwarzenberg, a good four hours North east. Once again our easterly location had us within spitting distance of other cities, this time Prague. The journey was accompanied by torrential rain, which only eased up a little on our arrival. We checked into a nice little hotel, Die Blauer Engel (Blue Angel, I think) in the nearby town of Auer, about 2o minutes from the gig, and put our feet up while we waited for other bands to arrive.

The Dozys postpone the soundcheck in favour of dinner....

The Dozys postpone the soundcheck in favour of dinner....

Jeff, Fos and Simon were en route from Berlin, and I was driven to Schwarzenberg for the soundcheck. The rain was unrelenting, and I began to realize, as the car made its way up a switchback road threading across vertiginous slopes, that the show was at the top of a mountain!  Funnier still was finding Jeff, Fos and Simon’s driver had skidded their car off the track and they were forced to walk the rest of the way in a quagmire. I gave them a cheery wave as we sailed past. They gave me the finger. As we met up and unloaded guitars, etc, I wasn’t prepared for what I saw when I peered front of house. An enormous stepped amphitheatre rose up and away into the distance, and, under the pouring rain, a crowd of around 7,500 was gathering, oblivious to the conditions, waiting for the show!

Amongst the throng, three of our most dedicated followers, Rainer, Toni, and Franz, stood right in front of the stage, waving hello!  This was Toni and Franz’s first time at a Christie gig, despite Toni having the most amazing Christie memorabilia collection., and we hadn’t seen Rainer for some years, so it was great to catch up.

Toni, Franz & Rainer brave the elements, sporting the new CHRISTIE T shirts by Miki

Toni, Franz & Rainer brave the elements, sporting the new CHRISTIE T shirts by Miki

We were on early, at 7.30 p.m. just after opening act Chris Andrews, which meant we could then relax and watch the other bands. I particularly wanted to see the Spencer Davis group, and they didn’t disappoint. The other highlight of the evening was to be The Glitter band, which featured my BC Sweet bandmates Pete Phipps and Marc Pearson. It was quite strange seeing them onstage without me!  Catering backstage was pretty good, and also gave us a chance to catch up with friends such as Dave from Showaddywaddy and Sally and Ken from Middle of the Road. This weekend , the lads drew the short straw and had to leave around 6 a.m. for the first of their two flights home.  I had a civilised 10 a.m. breakfast with The Dozy’s and we left the hotel around noon, the sun making an appearance as we headed down to Munich.

Spencer Davis just keeps on runnin'....

Spencer Davis just keeps on runnin'....

The brave, rainsoaked masses

The brave, rainsoaked masses

Next foray into Europe, after Miki and I slip away for a break to Portugal, is a trip to Bosnia with BC Sweet. I certainly can’t complain that my life is dull!

Kev Moore

June 12, 2009 Posted by | Music, Rock, Touring, Uncategorized, Writing | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments