Saturday, 28 November 2009

T-Rexmas: The beast grows

Mike Meadows from porterdavis is today's studio guest. He's a great
percussionist and is really filling out the tracks.

The way we've done it is to play along to the originals. This is a
very fast way of working because the others don't know the structure
of the songs. Once everything is finished we just mute Trex. Easy, but
a little disappointing to hear I'm sure.

Unfortunately, I realised that it sounded better for half the tracks
(the slower ones) if I played them live with my own timing. So a day's
work wasted doing them to Trex first. Oh well, such is life.

The Corner Pub, Conroe TX

Real Texas. Hot and full of red necks, from the sun. Tshirt weather
here folks. Back to Phili on Monday. Pretty cold I imagine.

The show went well. Well paying but almost nobody there - the day
after thanksgiving. I enjoyed it and played anyway because the
acoustics were great and I could play new stuff and the ones I like,
rather than crowd pleasers.

I'm looking forward to living room shows next year. I will carry a pin
to drop for comic effect.


Every year Americans gather together and thank the English for
everything they have.

Dogsitting is quite straightforward

Thursday, 26 November 2009

T-Rexmas continued

Simon in today. Laying down some fat harmonica and some feminine
falsetto. He poses like this to over-compensate.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


I had a Chinese Chi massage yesterday for my back. Not for the faint-
hearted. It hurts worse than it looks.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Booking hell

I'm feeling really overwhelmed with the booking at the moment. My email box is bursting with responses. It's almost insurmountable. I plan to play around 100 shows in six months, and if searching, sifting, getting, booking and confirming each one takes about 10 hours (that's a guestimate) then it is an impossible task.

I'm really making it hard for myself going to so many different states and countries. All the booking experts recommend touring in concentric circles to build and widen a fanbase. Whereas my circle involves a three-month lap of North America and then coming back next year. I'm not really interested in playing the same places over and over again so I'm doomed to marathon computer sessions and venues with an echo.

On the brightside, I've already found half a dozen good house concerts after a few days of looking. That would be the perfect audience for me - quiet, captive and well-paying.

Saxon Pub, Austin TX

I have a pretty bad hangover but it was well worth it.  That was the best gig of the tour by far last night. A packed place supporting my brother's band porterdavis (above). I did a short set of my most slavishly crowd pleasing songs:
1. ADD
2. Lonely stoner
3. Renunciate
4. Gay OK
5. Every day's a joy

I don't want to get stuck doing comedy songs but for a pub crowd they go down the best. Flowers were even thrown on stage at the end (that won't happen again though - too expensive).

It was great hanging out with PD and the supporting cast. Crazy Eric was molesting everyone in the place, wrapping the Christmas lights from my merch stand around anyone within cable reach. I nearly lost my guitar. A bystander's white jumper got red wine down the back. An incident-filled night.

Back very late but the alarm clock showed no mercy.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Recording in Austin

I'm recording again. This time for the annual Christmas album. T-Rex
this year. It's fun to do covers for a change. Today I did the vocals
and will have another session next week for harmonica, guitar and

If you want to receive the album as a Christmas present please sign up to my mailing list here:

Band website hosting

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Back to booking

The joy of booking again. Just bought my Eurorail pass for the first three months of next year. I was originally planning to drive, not wanting to walk around in the rain and take lots of different trains and buses with all my bags. But after this long US tour and hours in the car with only podcasts for company, I have a stiff back and a sore arse. I've also learnt to travel lighter - so train is a much better option.

I will have about 30 shows but only 19 confirmed so far. I need to fill in the gaps. That means hours of internet time. The stiff back and sore arse will continue for a bit longer.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Kickbutt Coffee, Austin TX

My last coffee shop gig. They're really a waste of time.

Went to a gallery opening after with the family. Oscar ran riot, even
playing a piano solo.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Super Happy Fun Land, Houston TX

The couchsurfing community came out to support me at SHFL, a cool squat place on the outskirts of Houston. Lots of them work for NASA and I crashed with Neal, the man in the hat, an aeronautical engineer. We saw a bunch of bars after the show and played darts in Rudyard Kiplings, Houston's English pub. The Flying Saucer (pictured) has 300 bars on tap and if you drink all of them you get a commemorative plate (saucer) on the wall.

The other act at the Fun Land was Poopy Sings, autistic folk. Joanna Newsom on magic mushrooms. Very good. She lives in the venue.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Carousel Lounge, Austin TX

Outside the Carousel Lounge. A funky place. Tuesday night is not it's busiest night though

Simon played as well, looping his Harmonica like a mad man.

My alarm clock. Snooze button not included.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Austin at last

A wonderful welcoming dinner with Melinda and Simon.

Simon with little Oscar, the new star of the blog.

A night off

I stayed with Kevin and Pamela last night after recording all day. They have a really nice old farmhouse an hour outside of Phili.

On the way to catch the Greyhound we went buy a huge guitar conference.

Kevin's going to buy me this guitar if the record goes Platinum.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Drum time

Lickety Split, Philadelphia PA

 One of the bands from last night and my host Sean.

The show went well last night. Quite a busy bar. Had to hand the tip jar round myself which is always embarrassing. I should have got a pretty girl to do it for me and given her half. I'd have made three times as much. It's sad but true. The next band did it and it worked.

I invited the couchsurfing community out as I always do to promote and a lot came out. I crashed with Sean and his soup book. A nice guy and I had a good night with everyone but... the downside of couchsurfing is that you go home when the host wants to go home. Which was 3am. Then up early to come to the studio.

I can moan in the blog but I don't whine to other musicians anymore. I made that mistake in Cologne once, saying how I'd driven 9 hours to get here - since 7am. And he said oh really, I got up at 3 after two hours sleep to get a 7am flight.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Progress report

Well it's all sounding very good here in the studio. We've been working on Debt Train and ADD. I say we but I've been sitting here on the laptop advancing and booking. Got to keep the train rolling

Debt train

I think they've done an amazing a job. Chris is a wonderful arranger and multi-instrumentalist. Debt train they had sound good already, but now we put the same instruments on ADD and it sounds like a film soundtrack. All the sounds are from Chris on the keyboard which is pretty impressive.

I think it helps that we're sticking to a palette of sounds - a souped up marching band... sousaphone, cymbals, strings, snare, guitar, piano. Certain songs fit with this and I'm thinking of old ones to use here, that weren't hits or stuff I even play live but will really come to life with this set-up.

Anyway, listen to the ones we have and please let me know what you think.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Lounge act

Chris who I've been recording with has a weekly lounge singing gig ina bar downtown doing classic covers. A fun night with old folks. He has a fantastic voice. I got up for two songs. Live karaoke.


Back in the studio making that hit record.

The Living Room, NYC

The Yankees won the World Series. It was a good night to be in New York.

The show went ok. People drifted in. I didn't do enough promotion. I
just don't have the time.

And now it's off to Phili. The team beaten by the Yankees. I had a
good time in NYC. No need to write in the blog for company. It was
overly stimulating infact, and I'm glad to be moving on. I could use
some countryside.

Philidalphia is the wilderness.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Arlene's Grocery, NYC

I had the 7pm graveyard shop and only three people showed up. But I'm having too good a time here to worry about it. What a city!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Sidewalk Cafe, New York

The show went well last night in the Sidewalk cafe, home of the NY anti-folk scene. A short set - 5 songs. I did it a cappella (without accompaniment - as I didn't want to carry my guitar around). I also wore black gloves for effect, like Eddie Murphy. I was going to say it was my Halloween costume (rapist) but no one asked, they just thought it my normal routine. It went down well and people listened to the words much more. You can talk through music but not solo singing. I've done it before, kind of beat poetry, but the gloves really added something. I will keep it in the set to break it up a bit I think, at least as a few-song intro, it would lose impact after that.


Well they certainly pull out all the stops for Halloween. I watched the parade in the Village with friends John and Lea for an hour in the rain. It's a sea of inhumanity. You don't even need to see the parade because everyone is dressed up. I didn't dress up personally but I was all in tweed anyway, so people seemed to assume it was a costume.

This is pretty much all you could see of the parade anyway...I should have taken a photo on the subway. It puts a smile on your phase to be riding along with everyone in costume.