Bad Manners Ska Tour

Bad Manners On Tour

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Bad Manners T Shirts.jpgBad Manners to hit Kansas City this week, obviously I am excited to see my old mates.  With that in mind, here is some footage from The Belly Up Tavern in San Diego CA, For those who were on the crest of the 3rd wave of SKA you may recognize the bass player Mr. David “ROBBO” Wiens of Let’s Go Bowling fame.

Dave played trombone in Let’s Go Bowling, who are this month celebrating the LGB 25th Anniversary Party on Friday, May 20 at 9:00pm at Fulton 55, 875 Divisadero Fresno, CA.  If you have never seen them, it’s worth the trip out there, an amazing band who opened up for Bad Manners many times on many tours.

Comments: 4
Steve - Wed Nov 24, 2010 @ 05:20AM
Comments: 7

Just one day on tour.......

Bad Manners Tour PassBeing in Bad Manners was anything but normal.  I truly think that if it was not for the band, most of the guys in would be in prison, many have visited institutions.  During “time served” in Bad Manners, eventually “let out for good behavior,”  we had many adventures.  Most of them were brilliant, you tend to forget the bullshit, and there was plenty of it.  One short story to start off with was the show in Columbia Missouri, back in 1993.  We had been on a grueling tour, small bus, cheap hotels, 56 shows in 62 days, 54 States, several states added due to alcohol, drugs, and other mind altering states, bad food, drinking, all the trappings of a British touring SKA band. 

Playing shows in the big cities meant we stayed normally on the edge of town, this was due to the high prices of being downtown and normally a cheap skate promoter squeezing every penny out of the band.  We always found ourselves staying in some dodgy motel, like Motel 8, Motel 6, Econo Lodge……….you can already see we were on a sliding scale.  We were actually banned from Motel 8 Nationwide, of which we were extremely proud, but that’s another story.   On arrival at a motel, you always tried to pair off with a band mate, someone that had similar levels of hygiene as you, basic morals, compatible habits, etc.   

We would then head to the front desk where the road manager would be signing in, basically Dion would putting his financial future on the line for the band.  We would grab keys and disappear, leaving him to wonder who was where and with whom.  I normally paired off with John “Northern” Thompson, who now plays for Selector.  John and I roomed for years together, he got used to all my habits, he did not have any, it was like rooming with John Shuttleworth

I at all cost tried to avoid Alex “Rasta” Arundel who snored so loud, and thenMatt with ciggies up nose and getting a hair cut there was Matt “who may use your bed as a urinal” Godwin.  Matt on occasion (many) had been soooooooooo fucked up that he had just woken up in the middle of the night and just pissed in the opposite bed, that was generally occupied by a band member and a female.  Rooming with Matt defiantly made “Golden Slumbers” a reality. 

Once settled in the room, the phones would start ringing from room to room, “what you doing”  “where we going” “food” “beer” “no free porn”……….DION!

We had road managers and drivers of the bus, but when we landed at a motel, they wanted to sleep, which meant we had no transport to get around, which meant we found the nearest liquor store and sat in our rooms, watched porn and drank beer.

So, when we got to Columbia, it was a welcome relief from the big cities.  Columbia is a small college town half way between St. Louis and Kansas City, we loved small towns, easy to get around, normally good restaurants, bars and the ability to walk to them. 

The Bad Manners Band of 1993We were staying at the Comfort Inn 2904 Clark Lane, I remember heading out down town Columbia, finding a cool coffee shop right next to the Blue Note, where we were playing that night.  Normally people just go their own direction when we hit town, we are on a bus so much together that any chance for some space and peace is welcome.  We were to meet at the venue for sound check around 4:00PM.  As per usual I was right on time with John, Dion, Dave and Erik.  We had a gut on guitar this tour called John Monahan, biggest NY Irish drunk, he was pissed morning, noon and night.  Today was Johns birthday, so he was going to get really drunk….oh wait he did that yesterday and the day before, and the 50 days before that. 

We set up and did the soundcheck, line checking the horns as they were not to be found and overtime relied on the rhythm section to make sure they were turned on.  Between soundcheck and Gig time was always a strange time, what do you do, we always had a ton of people who wanted to come back stage and party, they had not seen us in a while, but we partied last night and the night before and the 50 nights before that as well.  We would just sit around and drink, take the piss out of each other, audience members would come in and we would sign pieces of paper, t-shirts and body parts.  I often wonder if those people ever washed again?

Show time would inevitably grow closer, there was always a building of My old Tour Jacketexcitement, even though we had done this hundreds of times, you cannot describe the feeling of the clock ticking down to show time.  You would hear random shouts of “let’s go” and “free up the herb Dougie “ let the herb breathe, ” Matt would be walking around looking for the whiskey or tequila, already half cut.  Matt had several brilliant habits, one of which was waving a piece of string in the air furiously, he would do this every day, and actually packed pieces of string in his tour bag, cut to the perfect length.    If we had a 50 date tour of the USA, he would have 50 pieces of string, one for each day.

He also had for a while a pebble polishing kit where he would find pebbles and polish them on the bus.  He would then put them in his pocket and literally play with them all the time, just jiggling them around, it was nerves.  When they lost their shine, he would find several new ones and repeat the process.    

Show time was on, we always had this chant we did before each and every show, a sort of Bad Manners HAKA.  It was devised by the legendary harmonica player Winston Bazoomies.  After this was done it was straight on stage, I loved hitting the stage, Ska shows are brilliant.  The fans are the best world over, and if you can’t dance to Ska, you don’t deserve legs.    Every show, minus the ones where there were riots were brilliant.

During the show Buster invited the audience back to the Comfort Inn, room 206 for a party.  Room 206 was Erik & Matt’s room.  We actually did not think anyone would really show up, until we were back at the hotel.  I remember hearing voices, many voices and car doors slamming.  Around 200 people showed up to party at Matt’s room, this was a problem as he only had a small room. 

By this time Matt was very drunk and wanted everyone to leave his room, that was by now standing room only.  Also Erik had gotten a call from the front desk informing him that they would be charging $5 per person sleepover rate.  Matt decided that the only thing left to do was give himself a golden shower, so he laid back on the bed, thought of England and proceeded to provide the crowd his version of the now famous Belagio fountain in Las Vegas, he then passed out  .  People excited Matts room rather quickly, many people now moved next door to Busters room, including Steve Ewing from the URGE, we all sat around and drank Southern Comfort.    People we just hanging in the halls, smoking and eventually all the fire alarms went off, alerting local fire and police, who promptly showed up and broke down Matts door as it was his alarm that went off, Matt did not wake up.

Meanwhile a girl was hitting on Buster, and her brother was pissed.  By now Erik Noise & Northern Johnmany people had been kicked out of the hotel and he could not get back in and felt his sister who was about 25 was being held hostage.  So he went around doing what you normally do in this situation and slashed a bunch of car tires in the car park, several of these tires included the ones on the Bad Manners bus.  It took us 15 hours to get to St. Louis the next day, a drive that is only two

Just one day on the road.........

Comments: 7
Steve - Thu Nov 11, 2010 @ 10:16AM
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12" PotboilerIt has been a month of finding old friends and footage, in the blog post below I talked about how I found my good friend Dave Rapella from Torrance CA.  Well in the past week I have tracked down the bass player from Bad Manners John “Northern” Thompson.  John and I go way back to a time when we were signed to Cherry Red Records with two other mates Dominic Silvani and Gavin Abbs.  We had a band called Penelope’s Web, or for football chanting purposes, “The Web.”   

1990/91: Penelope’s Web was a great band and a great time, we would rehearse at Backstreet Studios 313 Holloway Road, run by my good friend John Dalligan.  We would, or I would normally have to go and drag Dominic out of bed in those days, and after his cup of tea with about 16 sugars we would rehearse.   We had a patron in those days, his name was Robert, can’t remember his last name, strange chap, but really nice.  He would pay for things like studio, rehearsals and breakfast at the café. 

We rehearsed at Backstreet a lot in preparation for our first and what proved to Northern Monkey & Soft Souther Shandy Drinkerbe only gig at Wolves Polytechnic.  I have the show on tape, luckily it is great quality and preserves that one moment in time.  Dominic had/has a brilliant voice, a rich mix of unemployment and Eaton, to this day he is still unemployable, he always said he would be, Unemployable was to be the title of our first album. 

Below is a track called "Rags" from the Wolves Poly night, I have no photos of us together, would love some.

We also as a band had one opportunity to record at Woodbine Street Studios in Leamington Spa, under the direction of the brilliant John A. Rivers.

John was brilliant, we spent several days recording and playing footie in the park and sleeping in this strange little room, where we spent the best part of the night drunk and farting.  Woodbine Street was a great and fun experience, we were recording for Cherry Red Records, and John Rivers was excellent, he has produced many top name acts including The Specials, Fun Boy Three, Dead Can Dance & the late Nikki Sudden.

After the recording we just waited for the release of what was a 12” EP, for the kids, it means it plays on both sides.  Northern John wrote the b-side, a track called Low Sun, the a-side was a great track called Potboiler.  One track did not make the 12' called Political Nightmare, shame, great song. I have just one copy, but have seen it going on ebay for upwards of $50. that's 30 quid!

Buy Hooligan & Bad Manners ShirtsIn the past couple of years there has been a German record label called Firestation Records releasing what they call the "Sound of Leamington Spa." Penelopes Web is slated to be on one of the future releases, which is cool as it means the songs get heard by more than myself and my kids.

Comments: 3
Steve - Thu Nov 04, 2010 @ 05:19AM
Comments: 2

Buy Bad Manners T-ShirtsI recently tracked down an old friend who lived in Torrance.  Dave Rapella and I met back in 1991 in LA, he became a great friend, like a brother and in doing so came to many shows.  Over the next couple of years Dave videoed several shows in California and in England.  Dave wanted to visit the UK and promptly arrived one day, and hung out with myself and the Bad Manners band, videoing shows in Saffron Walden and Norwich and around London.  During Dave’s first trip to the UK he received the very sad news that his Mum had passed, it was terrible.  He was so far from home and we found it somewhat difficult to get him back.  I remember him hanging in my place on Wapping Wall in East London just do distraught.  Dave got home and we continued to stay in touch as best we could, in those days there was no email for Bad Manners drummers, and I suppose I was not in the habit of writing to large Skinhead men, so over time we drifted apart as mates.

Slowly we lost touch, Dave got divorced and moved away from LA.  I tried many times to find him, but no one knew where he was.  Thanks to the power of the internet and Facebook, we were recently re-united and he now only lives about 700 miles away in Colorado.  Though 20 years have almost past, Dave still kept hold of all the videos, tour passes and t-shirts from the old days, some of the few things he salvaged.  We recently spoke for the first time and he promised to send over the tapes, it was a matter of two weeks and I was looking at myself somewhat slimmer on stages all over the USA and UK. 

I now have around seven shows that I am slowly but surely putting on the web for all to see, but more importantly I am reconnecting people and friends who were on the stage that night.  That box of tapes is a great opportunity to bring together old band mates, for them to share thier slightly sordid past with their kids one day, and for people who were there to be reminded of one great night they had probably forgotten about.

The first was the Troubadour back in 1995, great show featuring Buster Bloodvessel, Matt Godwin, Alex Arundell, Dave “Essex” Welton, Erik “Super Deluxe” Noyes, Dave “Big Trombone” Wiens, Scott on guitar(can’t remember his last name, help) myself Steve Oldham on Drums and obviously behind the camera Dave Rapella.

I just started looking at the show from the Coach House in Orange County, this show was played several hours after Buster found out his Father had died.  It was by far the strangest show we have ever played, a kind of Bad manners in Las Vegas….more to come.

Comments: 2
Jake - Fri Sep 24, 2010 @ 11:51AM
Comments: 3

Even though i t's been a flipping chore to write this thing, I'm left wanting to say a little more and wrap it all up. I hope the 2 people reading this blog don't mind.

My top 5 Bad Manners shows of the tour:

  1. Los Angeles
  2. New York
  3. Atlanta
  4. D.C.
  5. Chicago

Top 5 Bad Manners tour memories:

  1. Buster telling stories on the RV
  2. Buster telling stories backstage
  3. Austin, city of romance
  4. The blowout in RI
  5. Singing onstage with the Beat in Austin

HOB Hollywood, CA 9/5/10

Comments: 3
Jake - Sun Sep 19, 2010 @ 10:52PM
Comments: 21

Los Angeles California, September 5th:

Finally, the day I've been counting down to for over a week is here. We're back in California! The tour started in LA, but we aren't playing the Cali dates until the end. Bad Manners is the headliner for the final four shows, and this leg is like a separate mini-tour. We even have new laminates. Austin was the last show with The Beat & Chris Murray and the Tucson show was just a palate cleanser. I am overjoyed when we roll up to my house at about noon. A couple of the out of town guys jump off with me to shower and relax before the show. It's cool to be able return the favor to Matt, who put some of us up in NYC, as well as to Pablo, who took care of us in Charm City. Matt and Johnny got to spend several nights in their own beds when we passed through New York, and Pablo got the same in Baltimore. I envied them at the time, and now it's my turn to be that guy. Passing through your hometown on tour is a good thing, but different for me. I'm used to just coming home to no more shows. We've still got four gigs and thousands of miles to cover over the next 5 days. Still the luxury of being able to take the first shower and pick out some fresh clothes is bloody (See Doug, I'm talking English!) exhilarating. This shirt doesn't smell like the RV. And best of all, speaking of the Bounder (and in full appreciation of her faithful service), here's the best part: I'm driving my own car for the rest of the tour! My 3-yr old, reliable, non-stinky AIR-CONDITIONED whip. No more RV. Can I get an amen? A drive up to the Sunset Strip and it's load-in and soundcheck time. Tonight's show is huge - we're headlining one of the "big" rooms, the House of Blues. of the 600-800 seat venues in LA, HOB is arguably the nicest to play. I've seen so many great shows here - Killing Joke, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Lee "Scratch" Perry to name a few. It's pretty fancy. And now that we're the headliner, we get the first, longest soundcheck and the nice dressing room and plenty of eats and beer. It's like we won the ska lottery. God love 'em, but The Beat are no longer in the picture, and we're finally getting some respect. The dressing room is nicer than we've had this tour, and the staff is really nice to us. No one's yelling. I'm fucking giddy. The scene in the dressing room is mad - full of friends, associates and well-wishers. People like Haydee, Justin's friend Greg, Yossi, and motherfucking Cheeseburger!

Cheesy and Jake, HOB 9/5/10

Cheesy, tour manager Big Mike and I played in a hardcore band called Thretning Verse a few years back. Since then, he's drummed and roadied for Bad Manners. And also got married and had a son. It's great to see my boy again, like I've completed a cycle and we're connected again And my connection with music is strong like it was when we were jamming. Very nice.

This night is huge: Hometown show, all my people will be there, and the buzz is good. We've got two excellent local ska/reggae bands on support, Kingston a Go Go and Viernes 13. It's Labor Day Sunday, which is kind of a weird day for shows. People don't have to work the next day, but it's also a weekend to get out of town. Will we fill the place up? If you weren't there, I won't keep you in suspense: Packed. The. Fuck. Out. Both support bands are good and the crowd's ready when we hit the stage. It's been a long time since I played a show this big in LA. We play a great show, all really excited to be in front of such a large enthusiastic crowd. Afterwards is just a blur of friends, drinks and finally, crashing in my own bed.

San Diego California, September 6th:

Driving down to San Diego with Jonny and Pablo - the sun roof is open, it's gorgeous out, and it feels like we're on vacation, not tour. We make great time and grab a bite before the RV arrives with the rest of the gang. The venue, Sound Wave, is right on the beach. It's part of an artificial wave attraction, Wave House. Pablo and Jonny swear they're gonna surf, and they actually do. Or try to. Pablo is surprisingly athletic in the water and does better than Jonny, but I have to hand it to both of them for subjecting themselves to ridicule by the non-surfing members. Here's a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwGONkwNTvA&feature=youtube_gdata_player

The club sets a full dinner table for us, and for the first time this tour, we all sit together and eat like a family.

Family Dinner

Clockwise from Buster you have: Justino, Lee, Jonny, Josue, Big Mike, German, Matt, Haydee and me. Pablo was elsewhere.

The crowd's a little light, but very into it. A bunch of folks came up from Tijuana to see us, God bless 'em! We were supposed to play a show later in TJ after the Sound Wave show, but it fell through. That's how amazingly cool and dedicated the TJ skins are. Cross de border! Anyways, we give a good accounting of ourselves and the fans enjoy it. My friend Alan comes through and we catch up for a bit. Buster and Pablo head off to TJ for the usual debauchery, but I elect to drive home and get some sleep. Not to wash my vagina, as Pablo claims.

Pomona California, September 7th:

Pomona's a town in the Inland Empire area of Southern California. It's East of LA and North of OC. Lots of music around here and many many punks, skins, mods and other people with funny haircuts. The venue is Angelo's Pizzeria. It's a small (really too small for BM) place, but the promoter Gonzo is such a cool guy from way back, we know it's gonna work out. Getting the 8 members of Bad Manners onto the small stage is a challenge. Lee accidentally steps on my pedals a few times, then I think he decides it sounds cool and does it on purpose a few more times. All in fun. I've been making Matt crack up during instrumentals by standing too close and making faces at him. Now he's wise to me and has learned to kick me away as I approach. It was fun while it lasted. Another good show, and a quick 30-minute drive has me home. Home! So sweet. We're almost done!

San Francisco California, September 8th:

Keeping to my sworn oath never to ride in the RV again, I drive up to SF with Matt. He drives the last 2 hours and we even have enough time to hit Great Wall Chinese Vegetarian and Seafood restaurant in Oakland. Yum. It's weird for the tour to end here, in my hometown. I'm an LA boy now, and was born there, but I was raised in the East Bay and moved to SF when I struck out on my own. Most of my family's up here, and they're all coming: 2 brothers, mom, dad and stepmom. Exciting but nervewracking. I wander off by myself after soundcheck, and hit up a vegan Vietnamese place I've heard about. For the 1st time in a month, I'm actually cold. Good old SF fog!

The venue tonight is the Red Devil Lounge, on Polk Street. Bay Area ska legends Undercover S.K.A. are the support act and they're really good. In honor of Rosh Ha Shana, the Jewish New Year, which is tonight, they do some klezmer/ska, which rocks so hard. Makes me proud to be a ska-loving Jewboy from Berkeley. After a rousing warm-up backstage, we're ready to put this tour to bed with a bang. Instead of the usual "Good evening!" they get "happy fucking New Year!" The crowd is really into it, and so are we. Knowing we don't have to drive 12 hours to the next gig means we can put our all into the last performance, and we do. Brilliant show. We play ALL the songs, including the full 3-song encore of "Baldheads," "Do Nothing" and "Can Can." Then it's over.

After the show we all relax and party for a while. Then it's time for the RV crew to head back to LA. People have flights the next day. I'm staying to visit my family for a few days, so I'll be saying my goodbyes tonight. Matt and Jonny are off to NYC. Buster and Lee head back to London. Pablo's sticking around LA for a bit, so I'll see him on the weekend. Justino and Josue are LA guys, so I'll see them, as well as Big Mike and German. I feel great - we did it, and we did it well. 24 shows in 30 days. Across the USA and back. At the same time, I'm more than a little choked up. I'll even miss that stupid RV! Doing a tour is a little like doing a tour of duty - think "Platoon." There's lots of hardships and bad food, lack of sleep and a lot of sitting around waiting for 45 minutes of action. Probably belaboring the metaphor, but what I'm trying to say is that you bond. You spend so much time together and you play music - even the cats I already know, I feel closer to them. I have a nice warm fuzzy moment with Buster - he tells me some very encouraging and insightful things about my playing and how to improve it. We have a nice long man-clinch. I thought my skin was soft. The man is full of surprises. I load all my gear into my own car, and sit in it feeling bitter-sweet, waiting for the RV to pull away and turn the corner, just like in a movie. Since it's a Bad Manners movie, I get tired of wating for them. It's drizzling as I drive off into the night, my ears ringing from tonight's show. In my minds eye, I can see the RV pulling away from the curb and slowly making the right turn onto Polk, and it's perfect.

 

Comments: 21
Jake - Thu Sep 16, 2010 @ 04:24PM
Comments: 2

Ah, Tucson...so far from Austin and so not worth the drive. The final 12-hour drive completed, we get to Tucson at around 11am. We're booked to close a festival that seems to be about Tucson bands, but early on has a cool vinyl record sale with some good stuff, including a guy who looks like German's dad. There is no tearful reunion, so maybe I'm wrong on the dad thing. We're there so early, that we have the green room to ourselves. The Hotel Congress is a Southwestern deco beauty, like something out of a Jim Thompson novel.

Tucson has a lot of two things: hot girls and cops. Both are everywhere. It's hot, but it's a dry heat. LA is so close I can taste it. Other bands come into the green room throught the day, but most see (and smell) us and move on. I heard that someone said we were "scary."

All the other acts on the bill during the day and evening are either roots, country or some other form of twang. No punk, no reggae, no ska. Just before us, is a band that's obviously a big deal in Tucson. There's an oil painting of them in the lobby. I could swear they sang songs about Jesus. They play too long and we have to enforce our contract the Bad Manners way. Once again we play to an audience who are mostly unfamiliar with the band (or any good music based on tonight) and win them over. Several attractive women in their 40's want to hang out, but we're LA-bound tonight! Tomorrow, I sleep in my own bed.

Oh yeah, fuck SB 1070!

Comments: 2
Jake - Wed Sep 15, 2010 @ 06:02AM
Comments: 2

On to Texas - the drive to San Antonio is long, hot and smelly. Have I complained enough about conditions on the RV? No AC. Smells like a hamster cage. Nothing works. I've got stage 3 tour cancer and no clean clothes.

Not surprisingly, when we reach San Antonio, it's only about 104 degrees outside. What luck! We're back with The Beat, and it's almost a pleasure to hear Riddim sound-checking his drums for an hour again....I have gotten quite attached to getting a free Chris Murray show every night. His songs are one of my favorite things about this tour.

We play a pretty decent show, there are a nice contingent of local skins and they make us feel welcome. We're in the Southwest now, so the majority of younger people at our shows appear to be Raza. It's just like being home in LA. Everyone else stays and parties with the locals at a bar across the street. I'm all fed-up and in a foul mood, so I splurge on my own hotel room and a taxi ride. A mental health night. I love my boys, but I need to get away. I get woken up a little earlier than expected in the morning - the distance to Dallas is longer than whatever random source of information we used had indicated.

Driving from San Antone to Dallas, we get pulled over by the DREAD SOUTHERN SHERIFF!!! DOn don dahhhh! Keep in mind, we've got like 8 baldies, a giant Mexican, Buster, Lee and other unsavory characters crammed into this RV. Which has VERMONT plates. German, our fearless merch guy/driver was apparently weaving in and out of traffic. We drive different in LA. The deputy sheriff is talking to German outside the RV as we wait for the dogs or bees or whatever it is they use down here. After the RV paperwork comes back clean, the cop decides to poke his head inside the door and "check in" with us. He's young, blond and not unfriendly. Asks a bunch of questions about who we are, where we're going, etc. We are obviously a band on tour and not smugglers or coyotes...Seems satisfied. When 6 guys answer a question in unison, and 4 out of 6 are light-skinned, it helps...You can tell that a few guys in the band haven't had much experience with cops, as they want to babble and volunteer information. RULE # 1 when dealing with the Old Bill: Never volunteer information. Don't babble. Sheesh. The deputy doesn't want to get any more intimate with the smell of the RV than he has to and lets us off with a warning.

It's raining so hard in Dallas that even a trip across the parking lot has me soaked. The Granada Theater is a cool old theater with a big stage and friendly staff. They have a professional photographer on staff and he takes some great shots of the band. Go here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stillbreathing/sets/72157624807152892/

We play a pretty good show, although some people are now forgetting the songs we've been playing all along. We learned two new tunes in Atlanta: "Skaville UK" and "Samson and Delilah," that weren't on the original list of 24 songs to learn for the tour. That seems to have taxed some folk's memory banks... Bad Manners material sounds easy, but is harder than it seems. Plus you have to jump about, smile and sing background while playing your parts. I have to let go of my fantasy that we'll get it 100% right at least ONCE. Don't get me wrong - there are many good shows where the audience won't notice any obvious trainwrecks - but shit ain't right and I'm frustrated. At the same time, the end is in sight and I'm closer to home than I've been in weeks.

I'm really looking forward to Austin, our next and final stop in Tejas. I haven't been here in 27 years ("Twenty-seven years!") but I had such a good time the first time...I've got a mission to connect with an old friend/bandmate of my mom's and get a photo of us together. English Beat merch gal Candy snapped this for me. She's aces, but that's another story. Cornell Hurd is an Austin musical institution/treasure and it's cool to see him after 35 years or so. I was just a kid getting dragged around to various gigs, and now look at me. I've come so far...

Jake and Cornell @ Emo's

Again, so freaking HOT in Austin, like the rest of this state, and every other place we've been this summer. It's enough to make even Angry Frank believe in global warming.

Emo's, the club we're playing, is this legendary Austin spot. All the big names have played there. But aside from the smaller inside bar space, it's a dump. I'm sorry Emo's - your staff are so nice but WTF is up with the support dressing room? The part we played is indoor/outdoor, with no A/C. Did I mention how hot it is here? And it's raining in the outdoor part. Small stage, we're in front of the Beat's gear as usual, and there's a pillar right behind my position for me to slam into. During the tour, Buster has encouraged an unofficial competition between us and the Beat. I like hearing who won the next day. It's all in fun, and tonight he's got a plan: we're going "pirate." I'm not sure exactly what he means, but I like pirates. Now I get it - it's so hot tonight, that if we can get the crowd dancing, they may be tired out by the time the Beat hits the stage. We play a fine show, which means lots of energy and jumping about (do you see how this tour has fucked up the way I write? Buster is teaching us "English"). One of the best bits is when Beat bassist Wayne joins us onstage, dancing about and totally throwing me off. It's funny. I almost pass out several times during the set, and I barely get back up from bended knee during the break in "skinhead love affair." Buster's plan is pretty much a success, except that when the rain stops, the temp drops pleasantly. Still, we've scored a telling blow, as the Beat pull out all the stops right from the start of their set. I hear a Marley song from upstairs. Towards the end of their set, I'm in front thinking about getting Wayne back, when I realize that Matt, Jonny, Josue and Pablo are already onstage. I jump up, and next thing you know, I'm singing "mirror in the bathroom" with The Beat! We dance around like idiots and I switch everyone's hat around, before we all file offstage, saying goodbye to The Beat. Buster calls it a draw the next day, but I think we made our mark.

After the gig, there's an after party at a bar around the corner. We all go over and it's cool. There are chicks who don't have boyfriends for a change. I find the locals to be friendly and engaging, and that's all I'm saying about that. But I did have breakfast here the next day:

Magnolia Cafe

As I had hoped, Austin was one of the coolest stops on the tour. Wouldn't mind coming back and hanging out some more.

Here's a cool short review of the Emo's show.

Comments: 2
Jake - Sun Sep 12, 2010 @ 10:46AM
Comments: 3

At this point, this blog is more like a diary...I'm so far from blogging in real time. The tour is over, I'm writing this in my bathrobe in my living room. Pablo Fiasco is snoring on my couch. So, New Orleans - or as I call it, "vegan hell." We arrive in pouring rain on 8/25, the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Unfortunately, our hotel is in the warehouse district. Every time I try and get to the quarter, I get soaked. Local ska musician and dj Maddy Ruthless gives us a place to practice. New Orleans is a Bad Manners headlining show, no Beat. That means we play longer. Some band members STILL don't know the fucking tunes....dicks. The practice space is in Midtown, which was heavily damaged in the flooding post-Katrina. Finally, I get some sense of the trauma, which you don't see in the area around our hotel. I wanted to make some sort of connection between Katrina, the BP spill/response and 9/11 in NYC - how these disasters (really the failures of our institutions & incompetence at all levels) are emblematic of something about the world today, but I've lost the thread. Basically, we're fucked...we've lost our competence. /rant. Amazingly, Buster is allowed BACK into the US after his UK sidetrip, and it appears that we will have to finish this damn tour... On Monday, show day, the rain lets up a bit. We check out and head to the French Quarter. A few of the guys get a ride to visit Maddy's reggae record store, but I miss out on that. Haters. Anyways, we wind up at this gumbo place that actually has two items on the menu that I can eat. Bland, soupy, dishes, but hey...Then it's a day of bored wandering around the French Quarter on a Monday. Nobody's out and the bars are dead. We go into one with blues band. These guys have the SRV/Albert King/Freddy KIng Texas blues thing DOWN. We can't drive the 40-foot RV in the narrow streets of the Quarter, so Maddy Ruthless ferries our gear over from the practice space in two trips. The woman is a saint. I don't think she realized how needy the BM crew is. We need a lot of help to pull this one off, and she comes through like a champ. Thanks, Maddy! She also dj's the show, with mod/soul man Matty. Good sounds. The club has put a local band on the bill...they sound "emo." Gotta start somewhere, I suppose. Bad Manners plays the first "official" headlining show of the tour. The 6 headline dates were only booked 3 weeks out, and it shows. The club is half-empty. Our fans always carry on like a packed house, and we play our hearts out as usual. Turns out that heart is no substitute for actually knowing the songs. Again, some band members didn't do their homework and don't know the material. We give a so-so performance. I'm so sick of excuses at this point. There's no good reason why people shouldn't know the tunes by NOW, if you didn't know them when we left LA. It's not about calling people out -I'm trying to convey my frustration at the laziness and contempt for the BM fans and repertoire. Buster has been claiming, and will claim every night for the rest of the tour that it's his birthday. Someone has told him about the New Orleans birthday tradition of pinning money to your coat, so that well-wishers can add bills to the pile. I am now so sick of being hot, sticky, sweaty and constantly hungry. The RV smells so awful after 2 days in the Lousiana heat., I wonder how I'm going to get back on it. We leave after the show, headed for Texas. No question about it, we are headed West, in other words, homeward-bound for me!

Comments: 3
Jake - Thu Sep 02, 2010 @ 06:35AM
Comments: 1

The sun is BEATING down as we limp into Atlanta...The Variety Playhouse is a cool old theater, and it's right in the middle of the trendy Little Five Points neighborhood.

********Looks like it's time to roll out now, I'll have to catch up with y'all later....

So now I'm back. Blogging this tour is hard as fuck. I'm not gonna lie to you. I'm trying to write about playing Atlanta the week of 8/25, and I'm sitting in Tucson on 9/4. But Atlanta was good. So hot, but good. The Beat are changing buses today, and for a while, there are two sets of fancy tour buses and equipment trailers in the lot next to our jalopy of an RV. Dave Wakeling tells us that the ashtrays were full, so it's time for a new bus. There's some of that famous Brum humor, or is it "humour?" Let's table that one for now. I browse the overpriced but well-stocked thrift store up the block, and get a decent discount from the guy there. Got two shirts I really like and will wear on stage. The gig went down pretty well as I recall it a week later. I know the new shirt looked good. As the support band, you have to take the leftover space at the front of the stage, and hope to get a sound check. it doesn't always work out well, but you have to nail it anyway. The most interestingpart of our Atlanta stay doesn't start until after the gig. We have no gigs until 8/30 in New Orleans. Plus, Buster has to fly BACK to Blighty to do a Hell's Angels wedding gig he can't back out of. Or else, I imagine. Naw, it's his old mates. But still, the idea of getting Buster on a plane at 3AM is a daunting one. Sure enough, by the time we leave the local bars to the locals, Buster is pissed. Matt is also taking off for a few days, so we have him go in a help Buster check in. Buster's wearing a loud jacket and filthy red shorts. He's got a suitcase that must weigh 75lbs and a shopping bag stuffed with who knows what. This is gonna be good. We promise to circle around the huge airport to make sure that Operation Buster Drop is a success. When we get back around, Buster is back outside - now what? Turns out he just needs to wait until the gate opens. We're too early, a Bad Manners first. Matt has a later flight and sees Buster off. Operation Buster Drop is a success.

We're gonna be here for a few days, staying at Mitch's compound, the Blue Tower Gallery http://www.bluetowergallery.org/

It's a really cool space, a re-purposed cotton warehouse with a 5-story blue water tower. Mitch lives in the bottom 3 floors. We stay in the gallery part, which also has a kitchen, bathroom with SHOWER and a washer and dryer. Heaven. Mitch was involved with the Atlanta punk scene from the beginning. One entire wall is covered with pictures and flyers from the late 70s well into the 80s. Cool stuff. We're here for four days, to rest, rehearse, do laundry and check out those famous Atlanta strip clubs. The space is in a black neighborhood on the South Side, and I immediately find the vegan restaurant run by the Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem. They're a little wacky, but who isn't? The food is GREAT and wholesome. A real treat in BBQ city. Justin and I chow down here twice, once with Johnny. Also on the same street is a funky little strip club called Queens Adult Entertainment. We pass it many times on our trips to get beer and food during our time at Mitch's. The four days pass and it's time to get to New Orleans. CENSORED and I decide that we need to run over to Queens and have a quick drink at least before we leave Atlanta. Mom, please stop reading here. The other guys are laughing, saying they'll never let two white skinhead dudes in. The place turns out to be the fucking bomb. $5 dollar dances, lovely Atlanta ladies and nothing but hip hop. The DJ is funny too, and there are no weird vibes. CENSORED makes friends with the owner, fixes the pool table, and starts running the table. We're there for like 2 1/2 hours, before folks start texting that it's time to leave. By then I've spent I don't know how much money, gotten a dance from almost every girl there and had a thoroughly entertaining time. I used to DJ at strip clubs, so it's all demystified for me. I don't really go. But Atlanta was something I always wanted to see. I don't wanna get all cliche with it, but it's fun and affirming of black female beauty in a distinctly Atlanta way. They got they own thing down thurr. I can check off "make it rain at an Atlanta strip club" off my bucket list. On to New Orleans.

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