Thursday, 10 June 2010

5 days to tour time...!

I wrestled the cases out of the loft today in a rather early attempt to pack properly for the tour. Normally I leave packing until the night before, and usually find myself frantically and without observation throwing the contents of random draws from the other side of the bedroom into a case. This results in a third of the contents of my selection not being worn, and my wife complaining that some of her underwear is missing.

The wardrobe preparation has been cut short because I’m sitting on the couch with a cold and feeling rather sorry for myself. Thankfully this minor malaise has presented itself now and not next week. I’ll be better by the time I fly off on tour and of course will be raring to go.

In addition there are no more depping jobs in the book before the US tour starts, which is quite nice actually, probably the reason my body has decided to put me to bed for a couple of days, it’s the first rest I’ve had in ages.

During my delimitation, the Internet has been my closest friend and as a true friend should, has never ceased to amaze me. A lot of time has been spent looking at drum equipment (I like to stay abreast of these things you know) and I’ve found a set of groovy electronic cymbals by a company called Alesis. These Surge Cymbals start life as a real cymbal but are then laminated and, as I use a hybrid kit for both the Moody Blues and The War Of The Worlds, would be ideal for my use.

Currently my kit has some rather simple looking black rubber pad cymbals, which although sound great and do the job are not very stimulating to look at. Although these new Surge Cymbals will not be on the Moody’s summer tour, I will be looking to get them up and running for the UK tour in September this year.

So I leave you with 5 days and counting before the crowds shout “The British Are Coming”.

Friday, 4 June 2010

12 days and counting

The weather in the Lake District is beautiful. When the sun is out and the temperature at 27 degrees there is no better place in the world. Unfortunately the backdrop of the dreadful events in West Cumbria only a few miles away have darkened the mood on this pre tour mini vacation.

The train journey tomorrow back to London will start my official countdown to the beginning on the Moody Blues summer tour, and I will be flying to Chicago in twelve days to meet the gang, who will be commuting from all four corners of the globe in order to create some great music, spread good feelings and maybe even a bit of low level mayhem. Graeme and I have closed at least one bar in every state of America, and even though we tend to be less er, adventurous these days, we still put in a sterling effort to keep the flame of drumming behaviour alive.

Our first concert is in South Bend, Indiana; which has a population of around 100,000 and holds the county seat of St. Joseph County, it also has the beautiful St. Joseph River running through it on the south side. And of course is home to the famous University of Notre Dame (which sounds quite comical to this European's ears when pronounced phonetically in the local accent). It's a great place to start a US tour.

One of the benefits of being a touring musician, especially to the extent the Moody Blues do it, is the opportunity to visit places I would otherwise only read about. My love for the US comes initially from watching old black and white hollywood movies as a child such as "A Street Car Named Desire", "Yankee Doodle Dandy", "42nd Street" and "The Benny Goodman Story". Clearly America has changed beyond recognition since those times, but I still get a twinge at the thought of standing on the same soil of these wonderful stories.

The first realisation of fulfilling a childhood dream of traveling extensively around America, came in a small hotel room in New York 1995 after touring for five years. I was watching the tv (before the ubiquitous broadband and 24/7 everything) laying on the bed, channel surfing in that post New-York-day-out-numbness one feels after being hit with every conceivable stimulus, and chanced upon the weather channel. It came to the bit where a series of small randomly obscure towns, a few cities, and the occasional hamlet scrolled down the screen whilst giving the temperature, type of weather and chance of precipitation, and it slowly dawned on me I had been to every single one of them! After twenty years of touring I have visited them so many times I not only know where the best place to get a cappuccino, buy a good book, and where the closest art gallery is (not mention late night jazz club) but I could direct you blindfolded to the nearest gents toilet at the closest airport.

I am yet to get an itinerary for the tour, so I have no idea where we will be staying in South Bend, but I am looking forward to it immensely, and can't wait to get behind the kit, and play some of the best music a contemporary musician can get his hands on. Looking forward to seeing all the folks from "Wagon City".